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Archives On The Air 144: A History Of Impossible Missions—Various Collections

The Mission Impossible film series has dazzled audiences since 1996. But the franchise has a history before Tom Cruise.

The original Mission Impossible TV series ran from 1966 to 1973. Many of the franchise's persistent hallmarks were created for the TV series.

Lalo Schifrin's now-iconic Mission Impossible Theme was written for the show.

Other familiar elements like the self-destructing tape briefing and the team's use of complex deceptions in their missions originate from the TV series.

But one major difference remains between the show and the movies. In the show, governments and their agents almost never turn on each other.

Episode scripts and Schifrin's score from the Mission Impossible TV show can be found at UW's American Heritage Center.