'Famous Duos' Reunion, Good Morning America, 1982.
Lunden: "As secret agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin on The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Robert Vaughn and David McCallum were two of the most popular TV performers of the mid 1960s. And the show went off the air in 1968, and they haven't seen each since then! And today, as part of our Famous Duo series we are reuniting Robert Vaughn and David McCallum. I can't believe you haven't seen each other, good morning.
Vaughn & McCallum: "Good morning."
Lunden: "Why haven't you seen each other in, what is it, thirteen, almost fourteen years?
Vaughn: "Yes, well, we disliked each other intensely (McCallum laughs) and we had great animosity... (Vaughn laughs).
Lunden: "You better watch it, you'll start... there were rumors that you two did not get along!"
Vaughn: "Absolutely untrue."
Lunden: "Totally untrue."
Vaughn: "Yeah, right."
Lunden: "How did that affect your working relationship?"
(Vaughn and McCallum start laughing)
Vaughn: "Well, I don't know. As far as I was concerned...."
Lunden: "Did you have to live under all those rumors? Did it affect, did it have an effect on the way you worked together?"
McCallum: "I think anybody who works in Hollywood lives under rumors. It goes on all the time. I mean, there were rumors that we knew each other 'very' well...
Vaughn: "Also untrue."
Lunden: "That's right. Well, do you think part of it came from the fact that you (McCallum) were originally cast as really a sidekick to Robert and that character became, I mean it was such a, so popular. You really became a co-star. Was that tough? Robert, you've always said you had no problem with it."
Vaughn: "I had no problem with it at all because it reduced the workload by half. (all laugh) And I'm basically rather lazy."
McCallum: "There were a couple of lines for Illya in the first episodes, and he had some jazz records under his bed, and that was all that was known about him. So, we got rid of the jazz records and added a few more lines and took it from there."
Lunden: "What happens when a show like that ends, and the two of you have to shake those images. Robert, you went back into film primarily, for a while."
Vaughn: "Uh, yeah, I don't think I ever... I guess I had an image, and if you don't have an image you don't work in this town - or 'that' town, I'm not in that town now. I went into motion pictures and did, never did play a secret agent in America again.
Lunden: "Was that by desire?"
Vaughn: "No, I just took the next job that came along."
Lunden: "You did something else, though, at a time when you were very, very successful as an actor. You went back to college and got your Ph.D. It's a Philosophy of Communication."
Vaughn: "Right, yeah."
Lunden: "What made you do that?"
Vaughn: "Well, I didn't go 'back' to college; I never stopped going. I mean, I was going concurrently when I was doing The Man From U.N.C.L.E., I was going two nights a week to USC, and as to why I did it I can't tell you, because like Everest, it was there, and I had to scale it."
Lunden: "Well, you've said that... that you need to be more than an actor, that being an actor isn't enough in your mind, and you had I think, your aspirations for a while of going into politics. At least that's what was said of you. Do you still have those ambitions?"
Vaughn: "Well, I've never had those ambitions."
Lunden: "You really didn't?"
Vaughn: "No. My..."
McCallum: "Oh, come on!"
Lunden: "Ah, the truth over here!"
Vaughn: "My... (Lunden cracks up) My..."
McCallum: "What we had... day in and day out."
Vaughn: "My, my ambitions were political, but not for myself. Basically, there were political issues that I was involved in - and still am."
Lunden: "David, what about you. First of all, what have you done.... (both McCallum and Vaughn laugh)
McCallum: "First of all, what have you been doing the last fourteen years? Good question."
Lunden: "First of all, how did that popularity of your image affect your personal life. Was it difficult for you to keep your own identity as David McCallum?"
McCallum: "Well, my identity went right out the window..."
McCallum: "...after like two years of the series and you become Illya Kuryakin, and we couldn't go anywhere or do anything - it got mad and hysterical. Umm, about a year to two years after the series was over, all the hysteria vanished and that whole energy was put on to somebody else, and it switched... it switches to whatever the current fad is."
Lunden: "But how did that affect you?"
McCallum: "Well, how if affected me was that the character of Illya Kuryakin sort of remained. And even now, I am known as I go about the streets as Illya, not as David. I mean it's..."
Lunden: "Does it bother you?"
McCallum: "It's... no, not at all. I mean, it... that series gave us both an opportunity to have extraordinary identity and take it from there."
Lunden: "What about though... getting roles in that old, typecast problem?"
McCallum: "I'm sure the characters that I would have played in films since then, if I hadn't done the series, would have been more interesting. I think I would be hesitant about employing Illya Kuryakin to play a certain part in a film. But at the same time, I've done, what, three series in England, and..."
Lunden: "You did go back to England..."
McCallum: "... and plays, and television and I've been doing all sorts of things ever since."
Lunden: "Why did you go to England? You really worked there mostly for, what, four years?"
McCallum: "The last four years I've been working there, almost constantly. My mother's there, my brother's there, my family's there and um, I still like working there."
Lunden: "Is there a big difference in television abroad as opposed to here?"
McCallum: "It's changing in both places, year by year. Hollywood is still the great place to work because it's so efficient."
Lunden: "Well, now, we hear the rumors that there is going to be a film - a Man From U.N.C.L.E. film. Is it true?"
Vaughn: "Uh, as I said before, when the camera turns for the first time, I'll believe it. It's been discussed for many, many years - it was discussed about eight years, at MGM. It's been discussed as recently as yesterday, David had lunch with a gentleman who wants to do it. I'm going to meet with him this morning for breakfast. CBS, I understand, is interested in the project, but it may go someplace else."
Lunden: "Would you... would you like that? Because when you, when Man From U.N.C.L.E. went off the air, I mean, I think you described it as 'escapism done in a very flagrant, theatrical manner' and you really had fun with and I just... would you be interested in bringing back Napoleon Solo?"
Vaughn: "Well, I'd certainly be interested in doing the motion picture, or TV movie, either one, which has been discussed. I don't live in California any longer, so I don't know about ever being involved in that particular situation again, in terms of episodic television, but (shrugs) that remains to be seen. Who knows? You never say never."
Lunden: "Well, the hysteria could come back, David. (guys laugh) It's been fun, though! I'm glad that we got you two together after fourteen years. You two have a lot to talk about."