Meet Danny Biederman: Inside the Collection

A broad valuation of Danny's collection just might be enough to cover the cost of the world's best spy.

Aug. 21, 2022

It’s no secret that Danny Biederman knows his spy stuff. With more than 4,000 spy and espionage-related collectibles, Danny’s obsession for all things spy began after seeing some spy shows and movies in the 1960s.

His collection includes some of the most iconic items you can think of, like shoes and cigarette cases – or are they? – as well as some one-of-a kind-collectibles from the James Bond series, Get Smart, Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mission Impossible to name a few. He even had his collection exhibited at CIA headquarters. Joining Lisa is our pop culture expert Mark Short, who’ll appraise Danny’s collection and see if he can convince him to make a spy-guy trade—a quintessential Get Smart gadget for one of Danny’s more modern and recognizable collectibles.

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1. Dr. No tarantula

While this isn’t the actual spider that crawled along James Bond, this prop tarantula did get to interact with legendary actor Sean Connery while Dr. No, the first Bond film, was in production. With the correct documentation and photo evidence to prove it, this killer-crawler could be worth several thousands of dollars!  

2. James Bond prototype toy

The best spy is the most deceptive spy, and this book could have been the ultimate toy for espionage! Danny has a one-of-a-kind toy prototype of an item that never went into production as a complete set. The toy book, with hand-drawn and original artwork, is authored by “J. Bond.” It seems like a regular old novel until it’s opened and the hidden compartment is revealed! While the gadgets inside the book - such as a Bond ID bracelet and trick pen - were sold separately, these items together make it unique.

3. Self-destructing tape recorder

Another one-of-a-kind prop has found its way into Danny’s collection. This is the only tape recorder prop ever created for the series Mission Impossible! Plenty of tapes were used in the show, but were all simple, regular and real tape recorders. This one was custom-made for the series and is perhaps one of the most iconic parts to the show. There is only one way to receive information regarding an impossible mission, and that is from a tape recorder that self-destructs after the message is revealed!

4. Man from U.N.C.L.E. cigarette communicator

Danny says this piece was the hardest to find throughout his entire collection, part of the reason it is his favorite collectible. Robert Vaughn and David McCallum used this communication device as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin in the spy series. Masked by a cigarette case, the golden communicator is hidden away for maximum deception. Danny, during his pursuit of this collectible, quite literally saved this piece from being swept away in the trash. It might be a priceless item for Danny, but there is nothing deceptive about how much this piece could be worth!

5. Get Smart shoe phone

This iconic piece of spy-based technology is arguably the most recognizable piece in Danny’s massive collection. It’s a special collection, especially when the real-life CIA calls and asks to see it! That’s exactly what happened to Danny and of course this was a shoo-in to be the best item.

6. Log phone from Get Smart

If communicating by shoe doesn’t have the best reception, perhaps Danny can try to reach a spy via this Get Smart  log phone! It’s no surprise Danny is already familiar with this communicator, which up for trade from our expert Mark. Will a deal get done?

7. Ethan Hunt’s communicator watch

This communication device, used by Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible movies is perhaps the best way to discretely communicate as a spy. Hunt is played by Tom Cruise, part of the reason this is a widely recognized item in the spy-movie world.

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MikefromJersey 5 months ago
I understand Danny will be on this Sunday's(1-28-24) show, I hope he might have the TVLAND
Get Smart shoe phone they were selling over 20 years ago. I bought one, I liked it so much
I wanted to buy more as gifts but the promotion was short lived and was over before I
could get another. I have searched many times and haven't able to find one bit of
info on my phone since.
I can't be the only one to have bought one.
Does anybody else here know what they are worth?
By the way, they actually worked.
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Pacificsun MikefromJersey 5 months ago
😉 With all due humility , did I deliver on that tip, or not! 😉 Reason being is, I think they pumped it up a little. I don't remember those stellar clips. Surprised Warner's would part with them. Didn't even see the credit at the end. But they were beautiful. Danny Biederman seemed so much more excited, and rightfully so. Am betting he received a ton of excited feedback. And his story was even more impressive than the first time. Forgot that it was his favorite collection, favorite prop, and favorite Series!!! Hope you enjoyed watching as much as in my appreciating it the second time. Did you note the mind-blowing valuation. Icing on the cake. Although to Danny Biederman, of course, it's priceless.
MikefromJersey Pacificsun 5 months ago
Yes indeedy, you were spot on. For me that was the best show of the series, and on reflection,
after you noted they "pumped it up" I would wager the one they spent the most money on
producing. I like Biederman because he loves his stuff, it's value not the point, and he'd
probably welcome informed fans like you to come over and see it.
Pacific, I loved your story about you and your buddy slipping into the Back 40, taking pics.
Maybe some day you might submit that story and some pics to the Stories section, they
invite we posters to do so. I am sure they would be interested as well.
I would have gladly snuck into the Back 40 with you guys if I had been around then!
"REMIND" magazine loves to publish those stories from it's readers. It's a lightweight
mag, but a lot of fun.
Pacificsun MikefromJersey 5 months ago
Re: "Yes, indeedy....."
I didn't want to drone on chaotically, but since you seem to enjoy the trivia, I'll add to it. As mentioned the Tour Guides (college interns) roamed the grounds all the time. They concluded our tour outside the studio where the show filmed. And told their visitors, sometimes the actors came out. Not intentionally, just probably breaks or end of day. We weren't lucky that day. But the guide felt bad they disappointed us. And pointed out one of their cars. And you know what, as enthusiastic as we were, in those simpler times, that was still pretty cool. I thought about it later on, and compared the detail (identified) to an interview or whatever referencing something else. And realized it it was more likely a loaner. But even that didn't really matter. As compensation the guides passed out (what came to be very rare) memorabilia. Call Sheets and Scripts, and lots of printed materials, which the true collectors worked so hard to acquire over time. Not props because the production was active. But day-old sheets they would've tossed. The point? That it was that kind of serendipity good fortune, that would never exist today. And would've returned every so often, to gain more, not for value but memories. We were staying at one place, and another guy handed us a can of film, knowing we were fans, and thought we'd enjoy. People were kind and approachable and into the moments, without taking advantage of opportunity. It was a good time. And why it was so special.
MikefromJersey Pacificsun 5 months ago
I do enjoy the trivia and you aren't droning. That the guides felt bad! and passed out memorabilia is amazing. I am beyond jealous. When I was a little kid I got a big thrill out of going to
the Lincoln Memorial because the week before CBS ran the Gomer Pyle episode
where Gomer is there talking to a Park Ranger. And getting older I appreciated Jimmy
Stewart being there as well. I did happen to drive by Dinos of 77 Sunset Strip fame,
with the adjoining PI office, literally right before it was torn down, so I get a kick out
of seeing it in 77 Sunset Strip reruns on MeTV+. But you living there where all the action is,
a TV/movie buff's nirvana.
I did find out the Get Smart phone I have is worth $80 to $150, depending who you ask.
Thank you for the tips, it was a lot of fun tracking down the information.
I'll say it again, its a shame MeTV doesn't provide a forum for we posters to go back and
forth. You for one are a font of info, and no doubt others would have interesting
"Hollywood" stories to tell.
RichLorn 22 months ago
I would love to read the instruction booklet inside the James Bond Prototype Toy.
1. Try on size 5 bracelet.
2. Make a squiggly line with the pen.
3. Return to store for your $19.95 refund.
Dave 22 months ago
I'm a secret agent and spy toy and prop collector and found this collection outstanding! Lots of cool stuff from all areas of spy collectibles!
MikefromJersey Dave 5 months ago
Hi Dave,
Do you know anything about the working Get Smart shoe phone that NickatNite(or TVLand,
I forget which) sold for a very short time 20 or 25 years ago?
I can find no information on it anywhere. People claim they never heard of it till
I showed them. I have wondered if it was a copyright violation so they were all quickly
pulled back.
Pacificsun MikefromJersey 5 months ago
Hi Mike (F.J.), are you looking for a story about it? Like how it was promoted to fans. And how they appreciated it, meaning details around the experience? It sounds like a working one (?). There are companies which procure small figures, most prevalently characters, and a lot having to do with Sci Fi and fantasy. People collect a lot of those. But some sites take questions on unique memorabilia. And it's always worth a search. I'll try to give you some of those URL's. There one with a phone number, in Calif. who happily takes questions. I'm sure you've searched eBay if you're looking for a replica (or do you still have yours, and want to exchange memories)? Collectors are fussy, in that they'll exchange based on what the contact can provide them, or lead them to. But not as informative when it comes to competing for something. I would make a pure search, including "NickatNIte" and the year, and maybe how or from where you acquired it. Manufacturer, as many details as possible. That's kind of the fun of searching; it's a real treasure hunt, and very addictive. Example: I was searching on MFU, and was directed to all kinds of stuff. It always takes several search attempts too. I think our browsers kind of learn what we're interested in, which improves the next search (JIMO). You can try searching on images, too. Have you gone to the fandom site of Get Smart. Usually, if one person is interested in something, other fans are too.

Ping me back. So you keep on top of my stack of notifications. This Thread is an aside of MeTV's general Thread (with stories and quizzes). So it's tricky to keep track of.
Pacificsun MikefromJersey 5 months ago

Monsters in Motion -
(714) 577-8863 He'll answer questions. Calif. area code.

MikefromJersey Pacificsun 5 months ago
Hi Pacific,
Yes, when I see you replied to me, the link announces it doesn't work, so I have to go to
"Stories" and get in thru the Danny Biederman page.
As for the phone, I have it somewhere in a box. I was wondering if it had any interest
to collectors as some years back I asked at different sites and nobody knew of it.
And I recalled it wasn't on sale long, as I bought one, liked it, was going to buy
more for a gag gift but the offer was already gone.
I am very happy you provided the above info and I really appreciate it.
As for the phone, I wouldn't mind seeing it getting a home with someone who
would appreciate it more. I am into autographed pics.
For example I wrote Gale Gordon for an autograph when he was on Lucy's last
sitcom - "Life With Lucy" - in the 1980's, I think it lasted 8 episodes so there is hardly anything
out there connected to it. It was a legendary disaster.
Gale - who I consider among the all time great straight men -
not only sent me his autographed pic but one signed by the whole cast, including Lucy.
My sister's friend has half his house devoted to Lucy, his eyes lit up when I showed him
the cast photo. My family doesn't care about my autograph collection so I am going
to just give it to him. I have no idea if it's worth $100 or $500 but I know it's finding
a home with someone who cares. That's why I liked Danny Biederman, he really
loves his stuff, it's not the money. Well of course it is the money to some extent,
everyone likes a profit but he loves his collection.
Some of these people who deal in Hollywood items, it might as well be gold bars or
stock in a garbage company.
It's too bad MeTV doesn't do like the Magnum Mania site and provide a forum where the
readers can post to each other or start threads, they are a lot of fun.
I did a thread there in the "Other TV Shows" forum that over 250,000 have read, which
amazes me. In any event, thank you again for the info on the phone.
I will let you know what/if I find anything.
Monteolsen12 22 months ago
Awesome article and lots of fun to read and remember. Except the “log phone?”
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