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Kevin Parry/The Paley Center for Media
PopcornBiz caught up with TV’s sexiest married couple of late 70s and early 80s as the iconic ABC series was celebrated at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, and the chemistry that characterized their warm on-screen coupling was still cooking. We asked exactly when they knew something special was simmering between them.
“It was the first day,” offered Powers, kicking off their trademark back-and-forth banter.
Wagner: “I can you tell you, I worked with Stefanie, we worked together on…”
Wagner: “And on 'It Takes a Thief', too. So I knew Stefanie and I always felt the chemistry. I just felt that she was one of the nicest and best actresses that I'd ever worked with, and we got along great. We had nice timing together and all of that, but we didn't really have the best writing then–”
Powers: “No, not in the beginning–”
Wagner: “And then we got good writing on 'Hart to Hart.'"
Powers: “The point of fact is that if it weren't for R.J., I would never have been Jennifer Hart. So it was his determination to have me be that part that cast me.”
Yeah, that kind of nostalgic give-and-take warmed our harts, er, hearts, too.
Though it may seem tame by today’s standards, Jonathan and Jennifer Hart’s scenes were considered pretty racy in their heyday. “We kind of took it up to the edge as far as we could go,” chuckled Wagner. “It was great for us. We caught a good time. We caught an interesting time in our lives, and we put a lot into it and we got a lot out of it.”
“We had what we used to call our ‘Hart-to-Hart’ scenes and they were usually in bed,” remembered Powers. “We would sort of roll around on top of each other and do these scenes, these conversations, but the fact that I was lying on top of him, it didn't seem to be irregular. It wasn't obscene, it wasn't suggestive, because we were talking about something else. So we got away with that kind of intimacy, and I think that people actually enjoyed it more because it was intimate. I think that we've lost the value of intimacy.
“That's the only thing that they have left, intimacy,” agreed Wagner.
“You can see sex from now until Tuesday,” said Powers. “If it's not intimate, it doesn't mean anything. It's just a physical act.”
In an age where Hollywood is reviving just about every pre-existing property it can get its hands on, do the stars think a recast version of “Hart to Hart” would work for today’s audiences?
“Without us? What made it work was the chemistry,” said Wagner. “We had good writers and we had good directors and that's what made it work. I don't know whether it would go now. What do you think, Stefanie?”
“I don't know,” replied Powers. “BIG question mark.”