Tag Archives: Mission: Impossible

Jews of the Week: Sydney Pollack and Bruce Geller

Mission: Impossible

Bruce Geller

Baruch Bruce Geller (1930-1978) was born in New York City. Although he studied psychology at Yale University, he was far more interested in theatre, and ended up working as a screenwriter. Finding little success in New York, he moved to Hollywood and worked on a number of television shows. In 1965, Geller had an idea for a new secret agent thriller TV show, and created Mission: Impossible. The show ran from 1966 to 1973, with Geller as producer, writer, and director. The hit series went on to win 8 Emmy Awards, including two for Geller as producer and as writer. The show was resurrected in 1988 for another couple of seasons. (Its extremely popular theme song was written by former Jew of the Week Lalo Schifrin.)

Sydney Pollack

In the early 1990s, Sydney Irwin Pollack (1934-2008) began working on a film adaptation of Mission: Impossible. Starring Tom Cruise, the movie became a huge hit, and spawned five sequels, become one of the highest-grossing film franchises of all time, and earning over $2.7 billion, so far. (The latest installment of the film series, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, opens tomorrow.) Pollack was born in Indiana to Russian-Jewish immigrants. After finishing high school, he moved to New York City and studied acting. Pollack served two years in the armed forces, then returned to theatre as a stage assistant. He moved to Hollywood in 1960 to coach child actors, and slowly shifted from acting to directing. Pollack first worked on television shows, then made the jump to feature films, and was hugely successful right from the start. His films went on to earn 48 nominations and 11 wins at the Oscars. Pollack eventually went back to acting, and appeared in numerous films and TV shows. He died of cancer in 2008. Both Pollack and Geller were avid pilots, and enjoyed flying their Cessnas. Sadly, Geller’s life was cut short when his plane crashed in 1978.

Tu b’Av Begins Tonight – Chag Sameach!

Why Tu b’Av Is More Important than Yom Kippur

Words of the Week

I’ve lived through Israel’s entire 70-year history and I believe it is one of the most remarkable countries in the world.
– Warren Buffett

Steven Hill in the lead role of the 1966 pilot episode of Mission: Impossible, and Tom Cruise in the lead role of the 1996 film, together with the film’s most famous (and oft-spoofed) scene.

Jew of the Week: JJ Abrams

JJ Abrams (Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore)

JJ Abrams (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Jeffrey Jacob Abrams (b. 1966) was born in New York, and raised in Los Angeles where both of his parents were involved with the film industry. (His father, Gerald W. Abrams, produced over 70 movies and TV shows, and was nominated for two Emmy awards.) Young JJ was inspired by the films of Steven Spielberg, as well as the first Star Wars trilogy. Though he wanted to go straight to film school after high school, his father convinced him to go to college first, saying “it’s more important that you go off and learn what to make movies about than how to make movies.” It was in his last year of college that Abrams co-wrote a screenplay, which was bought by Touchstone Pictures. His next film, Regarding Henry, starred Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson. Abrams was also part of a group developing computer animation technology, and his team was involved with the animation for Shrek. Meanwhile, Abrams worked on the 1998 blockbuster Armageddon, before shifting his focus to television. His first TV series was Felicity, ranked by TIME as one of the best TV shows of all time. In 2001, Abrams co-founded a new production company called Bad Robot. With this new label, he created the TV shows Alias and Lost. Amazingly, not only did he serve as a writer and executive producer, he also composed the opening musical themes for these shows. (In fact, Abrams first work in film was writing the music for the movie Nightbeast, which he did when he was just 16 years old!) Abrams then decided to try his hand at directing films, the first of which was Mission: Impossible III. (Tom Cruise gave Abrams the job after watching Alias.) He then directed the new 2009 Star Trek film, and its 2013 sequel. Just a few months before the sequel came out, it was announced that Abrams would produce and direct a new Star Wars film. Abrams ended up co-writing the screenplay, too. The 7th episode of Star Wars, The Force Awakens, had its Hollywood premiere last night, and has already garnered critical acclaim. It made him the first director to work on both Star Trek and Star Wars films. Abrams has also guest-directed episodes of The Office and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, appeared on Family Guy, and played small roles in three films. Abrams has won multiple awards and has been ranked among the ’50 Smartest People in Hollywood’.

Words of the Week

When two people meet, something good should result for a third.
– Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn