The rescue of the “Canadian Six” is the true story made into the movie Argo.
On 4 November 1979, militant Islamic students took over the US Embassy in Tehran, Iran, and took hostage the 66 US personnel inside. Avoiding capture that day were six US State Department employees who took refuge in the homes of Canadian Embassy officers. The US Government developed several major operations to address this national crisis. Among them was a scheme developed by a small team of CIA disguise and false-documentation specialists to exfiltrate the “Canadian Six” (as they became known) from the country….
After careful consideration of numerous options, the chosen plan began to take shape. Canadian Parliament agreed to grant Canadian passports to the six Americans. The CIA team together with an experienced motion-picture consultant devised a cover story so exotic that it would not likely draw suspicions—the production of a Hollywood movie.
The team set up a dummy company, “Studio Six Productions,” with offices on the old Columbia Studio lot formerly occupied by Michael Douglas, who had just completed producing The China Syndrome. This upstart company titled its new production “Argo” after the ship that Jason and the Argonauts sailed in rescuing the Golden Fleece from the many-headed dragon holding it captive in the sacred garden—much like the situation in Iran. The script had a Middle Eastern sci-fi theme that glorified Islam. The story line was intentionally complicated and difficult to decipher.
The CIA Museum also houses paraphernalia created for the mission:
“Studio Six Productions”, was the dummy studio set up by CIA to rescue the six Americans trapped in Iran at the Canadian Ambassador’s home…
…The CIA team set up “Studio Six Productions” and titled its new production “Argo.”
To lend credibility to the ruse, Studio Six Productions set up offices on the old Columbia Studio lot formerly occupied by Michael Douglas, who had just completed producing The China Syndrome. A logo was created, and cards, stationery, and other logo items were produced.
The script had a Middle Eastern sci-fi theme that glorified Islam. The story line was intentionally complicated and difficult to decipher. Shown here are the artist’s concepts for the “film.”
Ads and articles were placed in Variety. The ads proclaimed Argo to be a “cosmic conflagration” written by Teresa Harris (the alias selected for one of the six Americans awaiting rescue).