COME SPY WITH ME
During the height of the ’60s spy boom, a few actresses headlined their own movies as female James Bonds. Most fans remember Monica Vitti as Modesty Blaise, Raquel Welch as Fathom, and Doris Day as “the spy who came in from the cold cream” in Caprice.
Less remembered but equally memorable was former model Andrea Dromm in Come Spy with Me. Unfortunately the movie is not out on DVD but check out the trailer as it is fast paced fun and hopefully someday will be available.
The lithsome blue-eyed blonde was born in 1945 on Long Island, New York. She grew up in the upper middle class town of Manhasset. As age six she began modeling and progressed from department store catalogs to the cover of True Confessions. Modeling took a back seat to her education for awhile until she returned to New York City. She immediately became one of the most in-demand models and was earning close to $75,000 a year before graduating from print ads to TV commercials. Her most memorable ad was for National Airlines. Dressed as a stewardess, she asked the TV viewer, “Is this any way to run an airline? You bet it is!”
After appearing in the second pilot of Star Trek and making her film debut in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, Dromm was handed the lead in her next film Come Spy with Me (1967) co-starring fading matinee idol Troy Donahue. Since the film’s tag line proclaimed. “They Frug in the water…Swim on the floor…And blow up the Caribbean…Come blow your mind…Come Spy with Me” it’s no surprise the movie opens with a number of go-go boys and girls dancing in silhouette to the title track written and sung by Smokey Robinson. As secret agent Jill Parsons, Dromm (“I’m an agent not a spy!”) is sent to Jamaica to solve the murders of two Americans just before a big meeting of the world’s leaders aboard an aircraft carrier in the island’s waters. Financier Walter Ludecker (Albert Dekker) has been laying bombs throughout the ocean floor to destroy the cruiser and to create an international incident.
Parsons masquerades as a skin diver contestant in a competition hosted by swinging ex-surfer Pete Barker (Donahue) on his boat. She goes diving, does the new dance craze “the Shark” at a local discotheque and lounges by the pool. Oh and she also finds time to locate Barker’s kidnapped friend Samantha (played by Donahue’s then wife Valerie Allen, under 20 pounds of eye makeup), uncover Ludecker’s plot and defuse the bombs.
Regarding the on location work in Come Spy with Me, Andrea Dromm recalls, “ I had to learn how to ride a motorcycle, dive into the water and scuba dive for this. The thing is I thought the scuba diving was very dangerous. I didn’t take an official course and they had us go down in really quite bad weather as practice. They wound up using a double for me because I was really nervous doing it and I just didn’t want to take my life in my hands. When they shot the scene I think the regulators weren’t checked properly and one of the actors—it may have been Troy Donahue—got into some trouble under the water. One of the other actors, Martin Hewitt, who had taken a scuba diving course, had to save him.”