Tag Archives: Jean Stapleton

SMK Disguises part one: Francine, Billy and Emily

welcome Welcome to the first of a series of posts showcasing the highlights (and lowlights!) of the fashions of SMK. I’ll be swimming in the shallow end of the SMK pool – nothing deep and meaningful here; just a bit of fun. Plus I am the world’s most unstylish person, but I am opinionated. Feel free to be rude about my taste (or lack thereof). I’ll include a few polls so you, Iswod’s wonderful readers, can vote for your favourite fashion horrors (and best moments).

Thanks to Iwsod for allowing me to “host”  this series of posts and to KC for technical advice and being a sounding board for me.

Initially, I’ll be covering seasons one and two. And to start off: two posts on the disguises and uniforms of SMK. The second post will cover Lee’s uniforms and disguises. But hold onto your helmets for that second post, because first I’m covering disguises used by three other SMK characters. As Miranda would say on with the show:

First up is Francine dressed up as Amanda in Filming Raul – or what she calls “suburban frump”. Curlers under a headscarf. Lovely….Meanwhile, back in the car  driving , Lee and Amanda are having a ‘steamy’ blush moment .


Next is Francine in Spiderweb as the ticket seller at the theatre. Did ticket sellers wear outfits like that in the 1980s? Anyone remember? Anyway, it’s a good look for her. Even with her snarky facial expression. And those big bows were very popular. (Worryingly, I’ve seen a few similar bows in Australian mothers’ hair recently yuck  – in pale florals!)


In, Life of the Party, Francine (rather unsuccessfully) is forced to get in touch with her domestic side: first as a maid. Look at those heels. Perfect for stamping on a baddie’s instep; not so good when whizzing around with the vac (does she realise that’s a vacuum cleaner?) And later as a waitress. I have to say, I like the refined French plait compared to her usual “styles”.

S2E16_maid_Francine   S2E16_waitress_disguise_Francine

Next Billy! And as far as I am aware, the only time we see Billy in “deep” disguise as an African dignitary (Mr Ngamo) in the same episode. Why didn’t they get MS to do more of this type of thing? His facial expressions and hand gestures are hilarious.

S2E16_African_official_disguise_Billy   S2E16_African_official_disguise_kiss_Billy

His bottle shop owner in The Three Faces of Emily is too similar to his normal outfit to merit more than a brief mention here…I’m more interested in the age of that cash register. Was that a mid-eighties cash register? Had it been in the shop for 20 years before it was seconded by the Agency as “retail” grouping furniture?


Then there is Dotty as “Mrs Marston” and Phillip and Jamie as intelligence operatives at The Agency in Amanda’s “dream” in Delirious on Arrival – OK they weren’t in disguise, they were “real” in Amanda’s chicken-sandwich-poisoned brain.

S2E19_Dotty_as_MrsMarston How long did BG spend in the hairstylist’s chair having her hair “set” to achieve that hairstyle (and how many cans of hairspray did it take?).





I think Jamie makes a more earnest spy than Phillip – Phillip with his snazzy hairstyle and jacket over his shoulder looks like a mini-playboy (Mini-Lee?).


No post on disguises would be complete without Lady Emily Farnsworth and her “three faces”. Except I found four faces (other than her “normal” face). Am I having problems counting crazy ?

Here is the “real” Emily, intelligence operative posing as evening party guest.

S2E11_Normal_Emily  S2E11_Normal_Emily_full

First is her KGB interrogator look: it’s all about the posture and the facial expressions: I’d be pretty scared if I was a baddie:


Then she’s a rich old lady choosing paint with her personal assistant (Lee – pictured in next post). She just can’t decide what colour to choose (and she doesn’t like any of the options in the hardware store) but she manages to keep an eye on Amanda. Love that hat… and the glasses make me remember my mum’s  in the 80s.


Her next look is a bit of a come down: maid Emily-style. She looks more comfortable with the equipment than Francine does wink (plus I’m sure she’s wearing comfortable shoes – maybe a certain brand as Amanda favours??)


Finally, Emily’s best disguise: the homeless woman (bag lady?) in the above-mentioned bottle shop. Is that an old-style tea cosy on her head? I gather her outfit was sourced from the 70s (the unremitting brownness). S2E11_homeless_disguise_Emily  S2E11_homeless_gloves_Emily

Now for the vote. Who’s your favourite?

That’s all for the first disguise post. Please vote and let us know which is your favourite!! Anything I’ve missed out on? Comments and suggestions are very welcome!  Bye until Lee in Part 2 wave.

A Tribute to Emily

Hello Everyone,

FOE 15As you may be aware, Jean Stapleton a.k.a. Emily Farnsworth passed away on 05/31/13 from natural causes.  She was 90 and fortunate to have lived such a long life!  I was very sad to learn of her passing and asked IWSOD about doing a tribute post for the blog.  Emily has always been one of my favorite SMK characters and I thought it would be fun to go back and capture my favorite Emily moments in her honor. 

Emily shows up in two SMK episodes, The Legend of Das Geisterschloss and The Three Faces of Emily.  If you’d like to go back and read iwsod’s original posts about them, here are links for you to click on:


Okay, let’s get started with TLODG.  In this episode we learn a few things about Lee and his start in the spy business.  Lee’s first assignment was with Emily.  She pulled him through some tight spots, apparently taught him patience and self-control along the way – huh?  Guess he forgot what she taught him….  Lee says she is one of the best field operatives MI-6 has got.  Wow!  That’s pretty high praise coming from him!  And she is his friend.  Double wow.  We see a little of the softer side of Lee.  After all, she is old enough to be his mother!

We first meet Emily sketching a picture – she is a posing as a British tourist.

dg 2

I know it’s a cliché, but I love the tongue!  Such an artisty thing to do, eh?

dg 3

She’s now off to find the Ghost Castle.  Wonderful 16th century architecture!

dg 4

We soon learn that Emily is no British tourist.  She is a spy for MI-6!  Boy does she look serious.  This next part always puts a smile on my face Smile

dg 5

Emily gets caught – oh no!

dg 6

But she’s a spy so she manages to escape his grasp – (love the shoes!)

dg 7

dg 8

Only to be grabbed by the 2nd baddie….

dg 9

I love this one – it looks like she’s putting up her dukes saying, “Bring it on!  Who do you think you are picking on a sweet little ‘old lady like me?”

dg 11

1st baddie grabs her again, but she won’t go without kicking and screaming!

dg 12

ALL the way down the tunnel!  Bet his shins really hurt!  Did you see her shoes?

dg 14

Another of my favorite Emily faces….love the look she’s giving old Dr. Hanover here!

dg 17

Remember her sketch at the end?  See the “M” just above Lee’s finger?  And does anyone out there not think she is noticing some chemistry between a certain super handsome spy and his pretty housewife sidekick?

dg 18dg 19dg 20

Awww, love this pic!  Please forgive the fading bar at the bottom…didn’t realize that was there till now.

Ahhh, now on to TTFOE!  Such a fun episode!   We also get to learn a lot more about Emily and how she came to be in the spy biz.


We first see her at a reception for the British Ambassador.  Emily and Lee are on another case together.  Amanda learns that Mrs. Farnsworth is actually Lady Farnswort.!  Emily tells her to drop the Mrs. and the Lady and to call her Emily – they are after all, friends!

Love the next few pictures….Emily tells Lee he must learn how to improvise!  Hahaha!   Amanda could prove to be useful!  Hint, hint Lee!  He is a slow learner.





At least he doesn’t get annoyed with Emily!  She’s earned his respect.   You were right, Lee – Emily is one smart lady, like you told Amanda in TLODG.


Ahhh, next we learn that Emily isn’t really British after all!  She’s really an American from Santa Barbara.

FOE 10

Actually, she’s really Tatiana Federovna Romarcheva!  And she’s now in the Soviet Embassy….err, Amanda’s dining room.

FOE 11

That would be KGB Head of Operation Security…and discipline!!!

FOE 12

Vhy???  You ask ME vhy??   ROFL!!  Rolling on the floor laughing

Before becoming a spy, Emily studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (located in London, England). Her first role was at the Liverpool Repertory Theatre. (Yes, another real place, now called Liverpool Playhouse).

FOE 13

Back to Rrrrrrussia!  This line gets me going everytime!

FOE 14

Here we have “Madame” and “Walter” tee hee…she wants to see ALL the proprietor’s red and gold paint samples!

FOE 15

What a lovely photo….here in Amanda’s kitchen we learn that Emily got into the spy business just like Amanda – by accident.  In 1952 She was able to get a secret message from Cairo where she was living with her late husband James to Gibraltar and was hooked!  She’s been a spy for over 30 years!  No wonder Lee thinks she is an amazing woman!

FOE 16

Emily the cleaning lady come to save Amanda!

FOE 17

Falcon Ving is safe!!  Love this picture of these two.

FOE 18

Bag Lady Emily.  No wonder Amanda is frightened!

FOE 19

In the tag, we see that Emily already knows Amanda’s mom and the kids.  I guess they must have met when Amanda showed Emily around Washington the year before.  Guess it’s way easier to explain how there can be a sweet, old Enlish woman in her life versus a young, super handsome, super charming red-blooded American male in her life to her mother!  Is that a red and gold dress on Emily!  Good job Wardrobe people!

Thank you Jean Stapleton for giving us such a wonderful and fun character in Emily Farnsworth.  I wish we could have seen you again in S3 and S4, because I would have loved to have seen what the writers would have done with your character and how much they would have revealed to you!  We’ll have to have that discussion when we have walked that far.

FOE 20

Jean Stapleton (January 19, 1923 – May 31, 2013)