Weird old title sequences: It Takes A Thief (1968)

It Takes A Thief

Ah, what tangled TV webs we weave. We’ve done a lot of ‘cult’ American TV shows over the last few months and that gives us a certain set of building blocks to work with. Let’s try joining them all up.

Take Tales of The Gold Monkey. That was created by Donald P Bellisario, who also created Magnum, Quantum Leap and various other shows.

He learnt his craft working with Glen A Larson, creator of Knight Rider, Battlestar Galactica and, of course, Manimal.

Then there was Hart to Hart, which was created by neither of them, but starred Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. What links all these shows?

Well, it was It Takes A Thief, one of whose producers was Glen A Larson, and which starred the then movie actor… Robert Wagner. Oh, and Stefanie Powers guest-starred on the episode Fortune City.

So that’s Tales of the Gold Monkey linked to It Takes A Thief. Easy.

Actually, I could have done it with Switch, as well, which Glen A Larson created, Donald P Bellisario wrote for and Robert Wagner starred in, but that would have been way too easy. And I’m doing It Takes A Thief this week, so ner.

(God, long intro this, huh?)

Anyway, It Takes A Thief (originally called Magnificent Thief) starred Wagner as cat burglar, pickpocket and thief, Alexander Mundy, who steals to finance his playboy lifestyle. He’s in prison when the US government’s SIA (secret intelligence agency) proposes a deal: steal for the government in exchange for his freedom. He takes the deal and for over two seasons, steals things for his SIA boss Noah Bain (Malachi Throne) – who later turns out to be the police detective who caught Mundy in the first place

Sounds a bit like White Collar, doesn’t it? They’re both the properties of 20th Century Fox. Hmm, coincidence?

Robert Wagner and Malachi Throne

I never watched any of this – way before my time – but I am intrigued to learn that Fred Astaire popped up during the third season playing Alistair Mundy, Alexander’s father who is also a master gentleman-thief. If you want to know more, there’s a lovely Cinema Retro article on it.

But what I do know right now is that it had a weird – but very cool – old title sequence:

“Let me get this straight – you want me to steal.”

Here’s an old promo for it: in case you recognise the voice, it’s the guy who did the voiceover at the start of… The Invaders. See, everything’s linked.

And here’s the entire pilot episode, which I might watch at my convenience, too.


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.