1. Peter Graves’ obit omits one long-forgotten job: his voice-over and introduction work for a U of M documentary series called “Matrix.” At least I think it was called “Matrix.” I did one show back in the 80s; learned to drive a Zamboni, and cleared a rink. Graves introduced the show, but I’m sure he did so from a distant studio, or used a double. Possibly sent his brother to do the job as Peter Graves, wearing a Peter Graves mask. I always waited for the moment when someone on “Mission: Impossible” would pull off one of those full-facial masks and they’d have the same face underneath.
2. Where did the name Graves come from? Did he just make it up? No: I found a genealogy site that says “Graves” was his grandfather’s middle name. His brother, James, modified the family name “Aurness,” shaved off a vowel, and passed the savings along to you. (He’s still alive, by the way - Jim Phelps may no longer be with us, but Matt Dillon is.
3. I can’t find his boyhood home. The phone directories at the paper only go back to 1953, and the only Aurness left in town - a fellow named Olaf - lived on the north side, at 5208 Camden. Probably Graves’ uncle. Graves said he remembered the days when Minneapolis stopped at 54th, and the creek; he was a Southwest kid, which means he probably took in a movie or two at the Twins - later the Boulevard - at 53rd and Lyndale. (The video store that occupies the theater’s space just announced it will close; one of those Grandfather’s-Clock things, perhaps. This old shot shows the theater in '74, when the red sign was blue.)
4. Wikipedia says Graves was disappointed he didn’t get the role of Jim Phelps in the “Mission: Impossible” movie, but I prefer to think he was relieved when he saw the movie. They made Jim Phelps into a traitor, which is like making Steve McGarrett a Chinese spy.