“Mission: Impossible is an American television series created and initially produced by Bruce Geller…
…(the tape) explains the situation and ends with “Your mission Dan/Jim, should you decide to accept it” or words to that effect, with a brief explanation of the mission. At the end of the instructions, Phelps/Briggs is notified, “This tape will self-destruct in five [or, occasionally, “10”] seconds. Good luck, Dan/Jim.” Then smoke would rise from the tape, and the instructions would be destroyed. In some initial episodes, however, self-destructing tapes were created by adding a chemical to the tape and blowing air onto it, forcing the chemical to react by crumbling. This method was abandoned due to cost. The word “self-destruct” was coined by the show’s writers, but became widely used.
“Theme from Mission: Impossible” is the theme tune of the TV series Mission: Impossible (1966–1973). The theme was written and composed by Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin.
The theme is written in a 54 time signature, which Schifrin has jokingly explained as being “for people who have five legs”. Schifrin started from the Morse code for M.I. which is “_ _ ..”; if a dot is one beat and a dash is one and a half beats, then this gives a bar of five beats, exactly matching the underlying rhythm. The first notes of the theme are played by a flute using a trill. Schifrin’s working title for the song was “Burning Fuse.”
The actor Martin Landau, who played the character Rollin Hand on the show, attended the recording session for the theme song. “Lalo raised his wand to the musicians and I heard ‘dun dun, da da, dun dun, da da’ for the first time, and it was deafening,” Landau recalled. “Lalo interrupted the band and said, ‘no, no, it should be like this.’ They resumed and before we could say anything, they had recorded it. I was stunned. It was so perfect. I came out humming that tune.”
In 2010, a fictionalized account of Lalo Schifrin’s creation of the Mission: Impossible tune was featured in a Lipton TV commercial aired in a number of countries around the world.”