Season 1 - originally broadcast
September 22, 1965
French: "Le verre de l'amitié" (The Cup of Friendship)
German: "Feuerwerk in Hongkong" (Fireworks in Hong Kong)
Writers: David Friedkin & Mort Fine
Director Leo Penn
In Hong Kong, they are ordered to kill one of their own colleagues, Russ Conley, who has turned traitor.
David Friedkin (Russ Conway), Irene Tsu (unnamed girl), Lee Kolima (Kwan Tak), Robin Lee (Child), Tommy Lee (Bellhop)
FROM THE NOTEBOOKS - Rating
Synopsis: Kelly's spy teacher turned into a traitor?
Highlights/Comments: Memorable firecracker scene ... Kelly prophetically quoting his mentor "We must all be on guard not to become corrupted." ... Kelly praises Scottty "the wonderfulness of your mind"...Locked in room with flutes Kelly asks "Are you going to pied piper your way out?"
Read the tribute to this episode by DEBORAH YOUNG-GROVES
The “I Spy” Forum comments on "A CUP OF KINDNESS"
Author: Colonel Boris Benkovski
Date: 6/26/01 12:15:54 PM
This was the very first episode of I Spy I ever saw, back in I guess the fall of 1982, when CBN started running the show on weekday evenings. I was immediately hooked.
I agree with everyone that this has probably the best of the many great "locked room" scenes (my other faves are in Will the Real Good Guys PLease Stand Up and the Medarra Block). The making of the "fish bomb" was a great scene, though it is somewhat less enjoyable now knowing that it was a fertilizer bomb that McVeigh used in Oklahoma.
But let`s start at the beginning.
The pre-credits scene was short and attention grabbing, and they would use the sjoes behing the curtain trick more than once on I Spy. Then we are introduced to Russ Conley (someone on the production team really liked the name Russ). I love Scotty`s question "So you know ol` Tricky Dick here?" A prescient reference to Nixon perhaps? Nixon had already picked up that nickname long before the election of `68.
The story of how Scotty got recruited 4 years previously is an interesting element to the character of the "the Department", and again they keep mentioning the Pentagon, not the CIA in Langley.
The there is the poker faced reaction that both Kelly and Scott have to the contents of the message. And when Scotty asks Kelly "What are you going to do" and "You know what I mean, Robinson." It`s the only time in the entire series that recall Scotty referring to Kelly as "Robinson". It almost sounds strange. And the obvious conflict inside Kelly is done nicely by Culp.
Terrific scenery on the train ride and on the cliff at Victoria Peak, and notice that this is one of the few times that you can see the city through the window of their hotel room, showing that this was a location shot hotel room.
On the peak there is wonderful dialogue and non-verbal communication in the friendship and the discussion about evil between Kelly and Russ. David Friedkin was so soft spoken in this episode, always spoke so quietly and with a hint of melancholy that even though I have seen the episode several times, I believe him. One wonders if he chose Hong Kong because he knew about the Tai Ping operation, or because he knew he could convince Kelly to give him the second chance. That wordless exchange of glances between Scott and Kelly as they make the final decision to help Russ is a classic.
The tone of the episode changes easily from the earnest seriousness of the first 20 minutes to the comedy of Kelly and the warehouse personnel. I love Kelly's reaction when he first sees the manager, a hulk Neanderthal looking bruiser. Kelly's verbal exchanges with this character are terrific - "Sir, my arm does not bend in that direction." "I`m going, sir, I`m going."
The fireworks gambits are a little bit unbelievable, and the first time it was all an elaborate way just to see the safe, then to do it all over again as a distraction, - well it took quite a bit of courage on Kelly's part. It would have been interesting if they had chosen Scotty to bring in the second box of fireworks. Although we would have missed Kelly's great line "Miss, you're not listening to me!"
Cosby is very convincing when he speaks Chinese to the little girl, almost as if he really did know the language, a sign that he did have alot of acting talent, still in it's growing stage. His gag about feeling the gun behind him was in character and amusing. Kelly's "JUST ONE MINUTE!" warning to them was also a nice touch, in a well choreographed fight scene.