The Double Life of Henry Phyfe

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The Double Life of Henry Phyfe
Red Buttons Double Life of Henry Phyfe 1965.JPG
Genre Sitcom
Created by Luther Davis
Starring Red Buttons
Fred Clark
Parley Baer
Zeme North
Theme music composer Vic Mizzy
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 17
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Luther Davis Productions
Filmways Television
Distributor MGM Television
Original network ABC
Original release January 13 – May 5, 1966

The Double Life of Henry Phyfe was a 17-episode American sitcom broadcast on ABC from January 13 to September 1, 1966, and starring Red Buttons.


Henry Phyfe (Buttons) was a mild-mannered accountant, until circumstances forced the American Counter Intelligence Service (CIS) to recruit him to impersonate a foreign agent named U-31, who had been killed in an automobile accident. The agent looked just like Phyfe, but the two men's personalities were drastically different. That severe contrast laid the groundwork for many of the episodes.

Phyfe's girlfriend, Judy Kimball, her mother Florence and his boss at the accounting firm, Mr. Hamble, were all unaware of Henry's secret life, with Gerald Hannahan, the regional director of the agency the lone person to know the secret. The characters of the girlfriend and mother-in-law were phased out halfway through the abbreviated run.



Buttons noted that, unlike Agent Maxwell Smart in NBC's new hit Get Smart, his character was shy, used no gadgets in his work, and was an impostor, not an actual agent. Phyfe's CIS boss was played by veteran character actor Fred Clark, who bore a superficial physical resemblance to Smart's "Chief" played by Edward Platt.

The show marked Buttons' return to weekly television after his variety show had ended a three-year run in 1955. During the interim, Buttons found roles in 15 different motion pictures, including an Academy Award-winning performance in the 1957 Marlon Brando film, Sayonara.

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