Phantom Agents was a live action Japanese show and was known there as Ninja Butai
Gekko, airing on Australian TV in 1966 - 1967. It never aired in
It was created by Tatsuo Yoshida who later went on to produce Gatchaman aka Battle of the Planets. The similarities between these two shows is uncanny. After Phantom Agents Tatsuo went on to produce Speed Racer. The executive producer was Minoru Tomura. .
The show used similar ideas to those in the Ninja stories like the Samurai, but set in modern times. In the English version words such as F.B.I. 007 and U.N.C.L.E. were used, bringing the series much nearer the spy action, espionage films of the 60s. In each series the Ninjas were the same but their enemies were different. Phantom Agents were secret agents using all types of modern equipment. One of the secret weapons was a silver golf stick (used because of golf being popular in Japan) which had supernatural powers, and sent out bolts of lightning. The Agents used to make themselves invisible by holding a brick- patterned sheet in front of them, thus blending into the background of brick walls. They used to trot everywhere in single file and sometimes use to drive around in a Toyota Crown.
"The Phantom Agents" premiered on Monday, 31 January 1966, screening (in Sydney) on ATN 7, but probably at various times in other States. In detailing the new shows for the year, the 29 January edition of "TV Week" described "Phantom Agents" as."....a modern-day Samurai adventure series, expected to be one of the most successful shows of 1966. It is described as a mixture of "The Samurai" and "The Man From UNCLE". Star of the series is Joh Mizuki, an expert swordsman and an agile exponent of Ninja fighting methods".
The show was often described in programming blurbs as "Adventures of Modern-day Samurais" or "Adventures of Modern-day Samurais who battle an international organisation of evil". The blurbs would also often refer to the show as "starring Joh Mizuki as Fanta" who was the leader of the team of Agents. Tomudu Terru (a new actor at the time) played the role of a scientist while others worked in the chemists laboratory.
The show screened five nights a week, Monday to Friday, at 6PM. Each adventure was screened over two nights, and all adventures appear to have had the word "Operation" in the title. Adventures included:-"Operation Gold", "Operation Squall, "Operation Tornado", "Operation Illusion", "Operation Lightning", "Operation Condor", "Operation Shadow", "Operation Balloon Dynamite", "Operation Seagull", "Operation Bat", "Operation Clouds" and "Operation Space Station". The show finished its initial run on Friday 22 April 1966. Although it returned to the screen several times thereafter. (information from TV week from Mark Cannon)
Since the Phantom Agents moved around by night or by the light of the moon they were given names depicting various phases of the moon. In the Japanese speaking version, the character Gekko (Fanta in the english dubbed version), who was the hero of the series, meant moonlight, Gingetsu, the girl in the Ninja group meant Silver Moon, Tsukinowa meant Eclipse of the moon , Hangetsu meant Half Moon, Meietsu meant Full Moon and Shingetsu meant New Moon.
Minoru Tamura (the executive producer) used a variety of settings for the show. He had huge plans for the show and even talked about sending a company to Australia to film some episodes with Australian backgrounds, but it never seemed to eventuate. It seems that Phantom Agents had a very limited release with Australia being the only country outside Japan to show it.
The rumours going around were that all the 16mm English dubbed masters were burnt in a fire before any videos were made, but that is untrue. At least 2 episodes are included in the Japanese language boxed set versions as English language extras. On one disc is the first half of part 1 of "Operation Balloon Dynamite", (but not under that title) On another of the discs is the second half of part 2 of the same episode. The first episode includes the titles (and commercial break film leader too!!!); the second episode includes the closing credits.
In other words, they've only given us a "tease" by giving us the halves of 2 different episodes.
The master English versions have been kept in Japan all this time. If anyone buys the boxed set I'd love a copy.
The following article was written by Mark Cannon from Canberra, Australia who like many of us kids growing up in the 60s played Phantom Agents in the school playground. The second article is from Chris Hoare, Tasmania who was also a huge fan and the third by Mark Krywienko.
MEMORIES OF "THE PHANTOM AGENTS" (Mark Cannon, email - Mark.Cannon@dcita.gov.au)
"The Phantom Agents" were a modern group of special agents for the Japanese Government, who featured in a Japanese adventure show of the same name which ran on television in Australia for several years from circa 1966 onwards. I am unaware of whether or not the original Japanese show had the same title.
The Agents regularly faced bizarre threats and schemes against world (or at least Japanese) safety. According to the newgroup posts of more reliable memories than mine, one of their major opponents was a group called "Black Flag". All of the Agents were, however, trained Ninja. It was an unusual mixture of 1960's James Bond antics and threats and Japanese Ninja / Samurai / Martial Arts adventure. However, Australian audiences took to it immediately; high-tech spy fiction was a craze of the times, and we had already been prepared for the Ninja aspects of the show by the popularity of "The Samurai", which had already been screening on Australian TV for at least a year. In fact, I remember the advance advertising for "Phantom Agents" as actually drawing parallels between the two shows.
The Agents all dressed identically; a sort of t-shirt or skivvy undershirt that was either diamond patterned or was something like a string vest (identical to a garment worn under their blouses by all the Ninjas in "The Samurai"), a black leather jacket, lighter coloured tight-fitting trousers, high leather boots, and a 1960's-style motorbike helmet with leather side flaps that tied under the chin. The main thing distinguishing them from a motorcycle courier was the addition of a Samurai sword strapped to the back - another Ninja touch.
They displayed many of the skills as the Ninjas in "the Samurai"; to invisibly blend into backgrounds, leap up into and down from ceilings, trees, etc, Martial Arts fighting skills, and so on. They also made use of the traditional Ninja weapons - particularly the ever popular star knives.
One thing which always sticks in the minds of Phantom Agent viewers was their main method of transportation. Basically, they would trot everywhere. I have seen this described as "The Asymmetric Run" - one hand holding the base of the sword strapped across the back, the other arm free to counter-balance, with the Agents all running in single file.
One nostalgic fan (in one of the very few internet postings I have found on the topic) described a typical Phantom Agents' episode as follows:-
"Each day I would wait for one of the Agents to utter the unforgettable lines:"(grunt) there they go, (grunt again) don't let them get away". Then they would stoop into a half crouch and tear off in the same direction like a bunch of crabs in fancy dress :-)"
The main line of dialogue that I remember was that used to introduce themselves:-"We are - "Phantom Agents " (emphasis on "Phantom"); however, their method of transportation is the one thing that every old viewer remembers. Even at the time however, this method of travel struck us young viewers as somewhat impractical. What if they had to get to the other end of Japan? It also made them rather conspicuous for secret Government operatives. Still, at least it made it very easy to play "Phantom Agents" in the school playground - half a dozen kids trotting around in single file.......
There were roughly half a dozen regular characters in the Agents (there may have been a couple more). If I remember correctly, two of them were female. Part-way through the run of the show, one of the Agents died on active duty, and was replaced at the end of that adventure by a young boy (The only name that I can remember "Tommy or "Tomi", if my memory is correct) who they had befriended in the course of the adventure). He basically appointed himself; Im not sure what sort of Japanese Government guidelines regarding youth employment this may have violated ! Luckily, he had been taught in the Ninja ways by his grandfather (?), who had also conveniently died in the course of the adventure. He rather cemented his credentials with the group by ducking behind a tree for a split second and re-emerging in full Phantom Agent regalia (how did they do that sort of thing, we young fans wondered, and why couldnt we)? They then happily accepted him, among much merriment, and the entire group of Agents trotted off single file, the little kid bringing up the rear, en route to their next adventure.
Whereas "The Samurai" had led to an outbreak of kids wearing dressing gowns in scorching heat pretending to be Shintaro, or ruining mums best sheets to make ninja outfits, Ive often wondered whether "Phantom Agents" resulted in big brothers everywhere having their bike helmets and leathers "borrowed" temporarily (as an oldest child, I had no such opportunity). However, both shows resulted in craze for home-made star knives. Often cut out of cardboard, but the more adventurous, foolhardy or just plain irresponsible of us soon found that a can opener (the kind used to punch holes in the tops) could soon turn the most simple of metal containers into a deadly instrument.
Despite several intensive searches, I have been unable to find any internet resources on "Phantom Agents", beyond the aforementioned on newsgroups. Even most of those have been simple requests for information from nostalgic Aussies like myself, and they have been unanswered. Like "The Samurai", "Phantom Agents" had been dubbed into English, with American accents so the producers presumably expected sales in the US. However, Im unaware of it ever running there, or anywhere else outside Japan, for that matter.
While "The Samurai" has had a dedicated fan base for many years, with unauthorised videos, episode guides and posters of the original bubble gum cards circulating, eventually culminating in the release a couple of years ago of a couple of authorised videos of old episodes, "Phantom Agents" appears to have vanished into history. Even unauthorised videos seem non-existent.
If anybody out there has further information on the show - episode guides, background information, and particularly videos, I would love to find out more; even if only to finally perfect my Phantom Agents' running style........
(A note of trivia - Brad Shepherd, of the recently split Hoodooo Gurus, used to play in a band in Brisbane called - The Phantom Agents !)
PHANTOM AGENTS (Chris Hoare, email - email@example.com)
In the opening sequence of the Phantom Agents, after the Agents chase the 'baddie'
around, one of the Agents actually shoots the bad guy! At this point he is told ( by
Fantar, I think) "YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE SHOT HIM........ ALWAYS REMEMBER.......WE'RE
PHANTOM AGENTS !! " It is a very vivid memory.
Also when they were in some situation where there was no escape they would always come up with some outrageous "trick". I lost count of the number of times an Agent got shot at point blank range, but when the body was examined it was a dummy and the Agent was elsewhere. No explanation, just 'the old dummy trick' (to quote another famous agent). By far the best ever, and even as a kid I wet myself laughing at it, went as follows - An Agent is locked in a car surrounded by bad guys who I think were shooting the car. After some grunts and groans he is UNDERNEATH the car and escaping. When asked how he did it he replied " I used the squeezing between the car door and body trick"---- I KID YOU NOT.
Rob McKenzie's memories of Phantom Agents (email - firstname.lastname@example.org)
I really liked the phantom agents: jumping backwards up in trees: holding up a piece of
cloth with bricks painted on it that made them look like a wall or being shot at: that is a large picture of them shot at by the baddies who run over and watch the photo fall backwards.
Now two things are in contention here: what was the leader's name what was the words spoken to at the beggining of the show?
1. The leader's name was Phantar not Fanta! Phantar, Phantom Agents, get it????
2. The words spoken are thus (I learned them!):
"That was not necessary, guns are a last resort, we're Phantom Agents".
Well, the Phantom Agents: old Phantar : nothing like the begining: on a dam wall, the
Phantom Agents creeping up on the soldiers guarding the dam: then huh, aiee! etc till we
are with a pair of Phantom Agents on the stairs: one, a women I think sees a guard still
moving up on her companion and pulls out her pistol and shoots the guard.
The Phantar comes across and puts his hand on her shoulder with the immortal words: "That was not necessary, guns are a last resort....we're Phantom Agents".
William Hawkins memories of Phantom Agents - email
I just discovered your website. Thank you. The collective memory of respondents jogged my memory too. One thing the Phantom Agents wore at times was a packet with a fur collar. I had such a jacket so I spent a lot of time trying to jump backwards onto my front fence with a plastic gun in the inside pocket and a plastic samurai sword stuffed down the back. In addition to all the memories mentioned I especially remember an episode where the agents climb high voltage power stachans, glow brightly for an instant as they grab onto the cable before crossing hand over hand. Why weren't they electrocuted? Loved Phantom Agents. I'm glad others do too.
Mark Krywienko's memories on Phantom Agents (email - email@example.com)
One thing I would like to add is that I remember the opening titles of Phantom Agents where they kill the baddies using theur traditional martial arts however one agent (in a panic perhaps) pulls out a gun and shoots the Ninja (Raiders of the Lost Ark!!!) and Fanta reprimands the agent by saying 'Remember, a gun is our last resort, we are Phantom Agents'
Colin McFarland's memories of Phantom Agents (email - firstname.lastname@example.org)
I too have vivid memories of watching the Phantom Agents on reruns in the 70's.
I was pretty lucky, in that I had a mini-bike at the time, and had a 'pudding basin' style motorbike helmet, justlike the phantom agents!
Three endearing memories I recall of the show:
the opening sequence, where there are 2 Phantom Agents chasing a baddie. The baddie runs up some stairs, and one agent (female I think) shoots the baddie. The other says "Only use a gun as a last resort."
Another is them using some sort of backpack flying device, that gave of poison gas. It required the user to excercise their 'ninja skill' of holding their breath interminably! ( I have memories of 'flying' around the schoolyard holding my breath like a Phantom Agent!)
Finally, I remember one of the good guys being captured by the bad guys when they threw a hand grenade, a large phosphorous explosion later, and when the smoke clears, the good guy is chained from chin to ankles to a tree! I always wondered how they did that! And how did they throw so
many shuriken out of their sleeves? They always caught on mine.
Vince Dale's memories of Phantom Agents (email@example.com)
In 1966 I was 10 years old, and Phantom Agents was my second most popular show (after Shintaro, of course!). One of the villianous groups that the Agents battled was called Smig Zee. They wore reflecting dark glasses which made them look menacing, and dressed like mafia types, with white suits and black shirts (or something like that).
What I particularly remember was a haunting theme tune which was whistled whenever the bad guys appeared. I think they were using this to hypnotise everyone. It was very psychedelic (and the closest I got to drugs in the 60s).
Craig MacMillan's memories of Phantom Agents (firstname.lastname@example.org)
First shock I ever had watching tv as a kid was (maybe the last episode I saw?) where they were being pursued by the mafioso type guys <the Black Flag or the other mob The Moccula> across a bridge and it was getting desperate and last Phantom Agent had his arm shot/blown off (I nearly cried, first time this kid had seen a severed arm on tele!) the injured Phantom got up and kept running and just as the bad guys got to the severed limb it exploded , killing the bad guys! As the Phantoms gloated over their victory, the one armed one just pulled his arm out and Fanta said "ah the old exploding arm trick"
Other bits I can recall , the Black Flag / Moccula ? used a black toyota crown, they had playing cards with razor sharp edges instead of throwing stars. Fanta said "You shouldn't have shot him, guns are our last resort, remember we're phantom agents"
One episode they got a crash course in listening to people dialling phone numbers, they listened for the clicks on the dial and by counting them they could hear the numbers!
Leslies memories of Phantom Agents (email@example.com)
I remember the Phantom agents well from my childhood, living here in Sydney. One particular episode that stuck in my memory for some reason involved one of the rival Ninja groups using "magic" Marbles which would leave the intended victim under in a hypnotic state.
"Little glass balls of secret charm,
Do your work, do your work,
Little glass balls of secret charm,
Do your work, as your master commands."
The bad guy sang this as he rendered his victim helpless haha!
Matthew Shaw's memories of Phantom Agents (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My recollection is that the show opened with a scene of the girl agent (was'nt she beautiful) crouching on some concrete steps shooting a baddie below. She looks up to Fantar who says, in that very deep and serious voice "You should'nt have shot him, a guns a last resort. Always remember, we're Phantom agents."
Also I recall towards the end of the show one of the baddies (perhaps from Mocula) was badly injured in a fight with the agents. He ended up with a terrible scar down his face, an eye patch and one hand missing.
Patrick Farnell's memories of Phantom Agents (email@example.com)
I finally did a Phantom Agents search, and here two of you are, unbelievable, Im 41, now, and not a single soul I've ever asked recalls Phantom Agents, now I see its rightfully a cult-show, with both sites Australian-based, and witnesses from the US and south-america doing the right thing and owning up,ha!!!!
Everyone recalls Shintaro the Samurai, but that show never caught with me, PA was on when I lived in Redcliffe, Qld, was one half of a 1-hour double with 'Ripcord' making up the other half, which I also loved and leapt off my 2nd story window-ledge to emulate.
Reading your testimonials, the lovely girl who takes the BlackFlag out with a pistol and is chastised by Fanta,'you should'nt have shot him [silly girl???,unspoken what would our feminists have to say about this????] the sad death of a PA with the smoking boots remaining is burned into my memory [wonder if the writers took that from one or two 3-stooges stories which used that image], and the punch-palm and
point gesture which we enthusiastically copied in our schoolyard PA adventures I remember like yesterday. The 'assymetric' Id forgotten, but it soon came back to me.
I do recall the exciting leap in the air by Fanta or one of the others in opening credit scene to avoid a Black Flag sword slashing at his legs.
I remember one episode ended with a nasty 'cliffhanger', in which an open-top car with happy male and female persons in it, and I cant recall if they were PA's or anonymous expendable personel, are given chocolate by black-flags or macula, which is poisoned, chomp away happily, and lapse in unconsciousness or death.
I never saw what the outcome of this horrific lead in was, perhaps it was the
beginning of the 3-parter I've perhaps never seen. Can anyone tell me?
I've been waiting since 1969, I think, Ha Ha.
Thanks for the memories, Patrick, Melbourne.
Fabian Colussi's memories of Phantom Agents (email - firstname.lastname@example.org)
I vaguely remember two series generally speaking, I liked the original one better. I think the second
series seemed a bit more modern. I think that's the one where they had the Toyota. The names of the guys in the first series from memory were Fantar, Cordo, Zemo (or Zeno), a woman called Geena, and the boy, I really can't remember his name, although if I had to guess I would have said Tomba. From memory only Fantar carried over into the second series, and I can't remember the names of anyone else in that one.
I could be getting mixed up with Shintaro from The Samurai series, but I kind of remember the Ega Ninja and the Koga Ninja being in the Phantom Agents series as well. The Ega Ninja were good guys and wore pale clothes, the Kogas were bad guys in black.
Phantom Agents was my favourite show as a kid and I've never forgotten it. I wonder if it had any
influence on my becoming involved in the martial arts and owning a samurai sword! Who knows!!
Jack Dwyer's memories of Phantom Agents (email - email@example.com)
Who can forget the odd method of communication employed by the Agents when out on a "raid"...?! I refer to the various hand-signals they'd use to silently advise each other that they were going to use
"plan x" or whatever... Fanta (?) would clap his hands silently, then move them into a certain position.
From memory, the others would nod acknowledgement in typical Japanese fashion... I can't remember if any other agent signalled, but I'm sure fanta did, possibly exclusively... That's pretty well all I do remember...
Rod Ling's memories of Phantom Agents (email - firstname.lastname@example.org)
I recall that the PAs impersonated a jazz ensemble to get close to some > crooks who they wanted to arrest. They were playing in an ampitheatre - outdoors. Dark suits and sunglasses. Phantar was playing upright bass.
Anyway, at the very end of the episode after the crooks were vanquished, the PAs returned to this ampitheatre to do a bona fide gig. Old Phantar
was gently setting up a lovely groove on the bass. The people booking the bands must have been impressed by the PAs when they were gigging
undercover. I remember thinking that with the double bass, and in a dark suit and tie, Phantar looked like a Japanese Athol Guy. Frankly, I reckon
Phantar was a lot cooler than Athol.
Another episode that I remember was where a scientist had come into possession of the plans for a flying saucer that had been left behind by
aliens at some indeterminable point in history. The old scientist wanted to destroy the plans because he thought the world wasn't ready to have such
technology/weapons. But the bloody Mocula or Black Flag heard about the plans and plotted to get them. Hence, the PAs had to be called in.
And I recall the episode where the PA was killed, trying to throw a bomb off a bridge. At the end of that episode, Phantar and the others threw
flowers off the bridge into the water below.
And I 'saw' the 'spirit' of the 'elite' warrior in another episode when one of the PAs was 'killed' by Mocula or Black Flag. The PAs discussed the
events of the murder of their comrade and I recall one saying - very seriously and solemly - 'No. It would take more than that to kill a Phantom Agent'. So by deduction, and confidence in their abilities they knew their friend was alive and sure enough, as we later found out, he was. Have to admit I got > bit romantic about the PAs confidence in their super human powers and wanted other people to have similar confidence in me. Still I was only > somewhere between about 8 or 9. Ha!
I must say, that while I found Black Flag and Mocula evil - I imagine I the real life Yakuza are probably worse. Maybe the images of Black
Flag and Mocula prejudiced me.
Finally, I have to say I have become interested in Japanese cinema generally. The Japanese don't muck around as their acting and scripting cuts
to the chase. They don't hold back. Maybe Shintaro and the PAs cultivated my interest - I don't know.
Dave Lovegrove memories of Phantom Agents (email - email@example.com)
I remember a guy turning himself into a rubber tyre to escape detection, and one of the agents noticing the tyre rocking slightly and of course then either shot it or shurikened it, and hey presto, dead guy. Also I remember a guy who had the secret of squeezing himself into a tiny box (might have been the same dude!)
Gerald Grant's memories of Phantom Agents (email - firstname.lastname@example.org)
i) Opening scene: A shooting in something like a quarry: "remember...we don't use guns...we are Phantom Agents"
ii) Jumping up into trees: Looked cool as a kid, but that was before I knew about reversing the film.
iii) Back in those days, we had Fanta (Orange fizzy drink) vs Coca Cola. It was also the time of the YoYo craze, and you either had a Coca Cola YoYo or a Fanta one. That's probably why everybody spells Fanta that way.
iv) I remember a scene when Fanta was sitting around a table in a house with the team and was about to tell them his plan. He glances down into his coffee cup and sees a reflection off the surface of the coffee of the baddies hiding in the ceiling spying on them, so on the spot he makes up a fake plan to trap the bad guys.
Warren Beaton's memories of Phantom Agents (email - email@example.com)
Some Of my vivid memories of Phantom Agents as a Sydney kid in the 60's, raised by TV, were:
the tubby guy in later episodes, who would roll up, transform into a big grey ball, & roll into bad guys. The lesson in counting the phone clicks to get the number (something, I've tried to master ever since).
One event that stuck in my memory was the "Breathe-in-a-Vacuum Trick" used to "float" through a room with no air. As Phantar explains to a dubious girl agent "everybody knows, there's no gravity in a Vacuum!".
These things had a huge effect on my growing up (not to mention screwing up my conceptions of reality). I guess they're a big part of my eventually working in TV & Film Special effects nowdays (even found myself making monsters on episodes of "Ultraman").
I'm Positive, if Phantom Agents were remastered & reissued today, they'd be more popular than Austin Powers!
Robert Allen's memories of Phantom Agents (email -firstname.lastname@example.org)
How nice to find people who remember the Phantom Agents. I was 6 when it was shown on 7 in Sydney. I remember tearing around the school yard playing Phantom Agents. My brother and I would love doing that manical Mocula laugh/cackle. From memory another of the evil doer groups was the Ghost Group. I still remember being deeply troubled by the death of one of the Phantom agents during the series. Finally I recollect reading somewhere the actor who played Fanta coming to Australia on a promotional tour; apparently he was allergic to nuts.
Nick's memories of Phantom Agents (email
My recollection of the original Phantom Agents was Fanta, Tugor (the agent blown up in one episode leaving behind a boot), Zemo, Cordo and Margo. Later on Margo was replaced by Gina. The boy agent that joined was Tonba. The fat agent was Mundo and I can recall another agent called Andar. I distinctly remember Tugor as having the same English dubbed voice as Fuma Kotaro/Kongo of Koga in the Samurai. He didn't get to Some more recollections of Phantom Agents: I said the leader was Fanta, but I think it was more Phantar with the "r" on the end. My favourite bad guys were the Moccula (I notice that it's spelt as Macula but that's how it sounded in the English version). The two leaders were a sinister duo of a
man with a scar on his face (and patch over one eye) and a hook where he lost an arm, and a woman with a sinister voice as his evil colleague. I
think the guy was referred to as No 1 and the woman was No 2. Margo was the girl who Phantar reprimanded when she used her gun to shoot a
guard in the opening sequence. His exact words were: "You shouldn't have shot him. A gun's our last resort. Always remember, we're Phantom Agents". Margo hardly spoke in the series. She did a lot of nodding. The replacement of Margo with Gina later in the series was never explained. It was always a mystery to me. Tonba, the kid, must have been put into the Agents by the producers to give a similar impact as Shusaku in Shintaro the Samurai. Cordo was very prominent in the series and spoke a lot, seeming like Phantar's second in command. Phantar, Cordo and Zemo were the only originals that went right through the series from the first to the last episode. Whenever Phantar gave an instruction for a manoevre, he would touch the back of one hand in the palm of the other hand, and then point to where he wanted the Agents to go. Tugor, the Agent that got blown up, was one of my favourite Agents and I remember how upset I was when I saw that fateful episode. It was a great series and I encourage all fans to write to Siren and lobby them to get it released in Australia.
Elliott memories (email - email@example.com)
I recall the fat agent, I think his name was Tomba, had the most amazing ability to roll himself up into a bowling ball, How or why he learnt this most ancient and mystifying skill one can only guess, but it did come to some purpose when the troop were being chased up a hill from a cliff. Without a second thought & no previous explanation or apparent reason he carried out this dramatic transformation and rolled himself back down the hill at their enemies, thereby sweeping the evil Mokula off the cliff and exploded. With no explanation from Fanta than a distant look to his now smoking friend he ran off up to the top of the hill and jumped in his white Toyota corolla 7 and sped of to their next bemusing episode.
Eoro Quiroz's memories of Phantom Agents email - Euro Quiroz firstname.lastname@example.org
"It was a surprise for me to find a reference to this show in the Internet. It was shown in Venezuela during the late 60's and early 70's. I don't have all the details clear, but still some of the people who are 30 years or older can remember the sign that Fanta did to show the way, hitting the palm of his left hand with the right fist and then with the right hand showing the way.
I remember one episode where some "panteras negras" (black panthers, that was the name in spanish) talked with two soldiers and the soldiers offered them their money and they answered "No, we want your faces."
Those tricks when they were supossedly killed and actually they found a dummy.
I really enjoyed the show. They didn't show it anymore in Venezuela,
even though it had a good rating, it seems that they were burn in a fire."
I was under the impression that Phantom Agents was never shown in the U.S, but I recently received the following emails
Phantom Agents in the U.S by Jose Aponte( email - email@example.com)
As a kid growing up in New York City , I too enjoyed watching Phantom Agents. The Show first aired on channel Eleven on Saturday afternoons, late in the day, after all other cartoons (which ran from about 6:00 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m.). I believed it aired around late 1965 or early 1966. We were fascinated mostly by the shrunken (throwing stars) which were used quite effectively. The show did not gain popularity as it was aired sporadically first on channel eleven then on channel nine. Ultimately it was cancelled. So, yes indeed Phantom Agents were on U.S. television, in New York City, around the same time it aired in Australia.
This show fired the flame for my eventual entrance into the Japanese martial arts.
Phantom Agents in the U.S by
Bruce Eder ( email - AGwyn97710@aol.com)
I'm from New York City, and wanted to add my recollections regarding Phantom Agents.
It aired in New York in 1965-66 as I recall, and I may have seen it as late as 1967. It aired around 5:30 or 6 o'clock on Saturday afternoons, which made it difficult to see for most kids -- I'm not sure that the station ever figured out exactly who was supposed to watch it, since it was in a kid's time-slot but had a fair amount of violence, in the context of the usual kid's shows of the time. It also ran very sporadically, when and if there was time to fit in the show after New York Yankees baseball games (there often wasn't time).
The introductory and closing sections of each broadcast were narrated by Jack McCarthy, who was a resident announcer and kid-show host for the station, and used to bring us up to date on what we might've missed or forgotten about. I recall the prints and the sound being very muddy, which made watching it a bit of a chore, and I believe also contributed, along with what I recall as somewhat crude
dubbing (I'm also assuming it was in black-and-white -- that was all we had in those days, in any case, though there were color broadcasts). I thought the female agent was especially attractive, and the action and the heroes were very intense, on a whole other level from what we usually saw in spy programs of the period.
A few years back, I checked in the files at the Performing Arts Library in New York, to see what they had on PHANTOM AGENTS, and they had what appeared to be the totality of Channel 11's promotional efforts on behalf of the series, a single faded mimeographed sheet that gave a general description of the series and its time-slot, and no other information. By the end of 1966, or the beginning of 1967, the show had faded out, at least at Channel 11, though I may have caught sight of it once or twice in the following year -- it's funny, because like another live-action show from Japan of around the same period, Ultraman, it seems almost like a dream more than something that I actually saw, though Ultraman has re-surfaced in recent years.
New York, NY
Phantom Agents in the U.S by Larry Chung( email - firstname.lastname@example.org)
I also watched the Phantom Agents as a youngster in New York, USA during the 1960's. I had all the same recollections as the other New Yorkers
who e-mailed about the show except that I recall channel 11 and then channel 9 played them on Sunday afternoons. Well, I guess you Aussies
can see how fickled the American TV stations were about scheduling the show. It did not matter that the TV Guide (our TV Week) said that the
Phantom Agents will be broadcasted. A Yankee baseball game or some other news event can easily and heartlessly preempt the Phantom Agents. The program did not regularly appear on TV at the same time slot every week. Sometimes it was at 5PM, sometimes it was 2PM. Yet, I see that
Sydney TV played the program 5 times a week, consistently on schedule.
You kids down under were so lucky.
Yes we had a "Captain Jack McCarthy" who hosted the program. He was a local TV announcer who dressed up as modern sea captain for the show and got us kids all revved up with a pre-show summary of each exciting episode. However, somehow I suspect he never watched a minute of the Phantom Agents' action.
I am struck by the revelation that Aussie kids in the 60's were fans of Japanese anime, Samurais, and ninjas. Wow. I couldn't very well play "Phantom Agents" in a New York school playground because no one else in the neighbourhood knew the TV program. I can't get even one other kid to trot around in single file.
Come to think about it, doing that was the right way to get beat up by the Italian toughs in my school.
Anyway, in the time of James Bond, Man from U.N.C.L.E and even Batman, I thought the Phantom Agents were the best because they primarily depended on their personal physical abilities. They would jump and fight without resorting to imaginary high tech weapons. They didn't even have two-way radios because they used those cool hand signals to communicate. Thank you for creating the web page so that we can meet and exchange such fond memories.
Phantom Agents in Brazil by Jurandyr de Souza Fonseca( email -
Looking for the Phantom Agents in the net to show something about my childhood to my son, I found your site, so here I'm writing to let you from Australia know that here in Brazil we also had the Phantom Agents in the late 60's!
I also have some vivid memories from the show that maybe would be interesting to share with other Phantom Agents' fans:
-The Phantom Agent who died in an explosion (grenade? mine?) and all that was left was one of his boots, falling right in front of the camera, then the military honors on the spot right after...
- Another Phantom Agent on top of a tree surrounded by lots of enemies below; he shoots a star knife to rip off the boss' hand off, together with his handgun; another hand comes off right out of his sleeve, and picks the gun from the dead hand to point back to the poor good Ninja; he tears off the hand with another star knife, and yet another hand appears; and this goes on and on I don't remember how many hands more...
- The initial selection of the Phantom Agents: a bunch of soda cans thrown into the air, and those who hit them with their star knives were selected to be Fanta's squadron...
If other fans are interested in more half-faded memories, please let me know!
Phantom Agents Theme Music
Nikki Whites Phantom Agents Page - heaps of info and an episode guide www.home.netspeed.com.au/reguli/default.htm
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