One year ago yesterday we said goodbye to one hell of a man. Robert Martin Culp dropped dead from a massive heart attack while out for a morning walk (that proves it, exercise is for the birds). While Culp was best known as an actor in such TV shows as "I Spy" and "The Greatest American Hero," he was also an accomplished cartoonist, writer, (Culp actually wrote some of the screenplays for "I Spy") director and—believe it or a not—a pole vaulting champion. But, more than that, Culp was firearm enthusiast who not only enjoyed shooting, he applied his love for firearms to the characters he portrayed by outfitting them with custom guns.
For example, his character Kelly Robinson from "I Spy" carried a special short-barreled Walther P38. While often misidentified by fans as a truncated P1 and P4 and even more erroneous as a P38K, the short semi-auto was actually a war-era P38 (judging by the presence of a firing pin and indicator cover on the pistols' slide). Curiously Culp's P38 contained post-war black plastic grips—probably to match the custom-made, glossy black shoulder holsters he and Bill Cosby used.
Then as FBI agent Bill Maxwell in "The Greatest American Hero," he eventually carried one of Charles Kelsey's highly customized Devel Model Smith & Wesson 39 in an Alessi shoulder holster that was converted from horizontal to upside-down carry by the legendary Arvo Ojala.
Cheers Robert. Rest in Peace
Robert Martin Culp August 16, 1930-March 24, 2010