source: unknown 1977?

David McCallum to film documentary pilot here

Noted actor David McCallum, who first gained television fame in the role of secret agent Illya Kuryakin in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and starred last fall in the NBC series, "The Invisible Man," was in Hazelton Wednesday to begin filming the pilot program for a unique documentary series he plans to write and direct.

McCallum, as well-versed behind the camera as he is in front of it, told this reporter he is enthusiastic about his new effort, in which he plans to select "unknown" persons with interesting backgrounds and to trace their lives and careers.

As he subject for his pilot film, which he hopes to screen for TV network officials at a later date, he has selected a native Hazeltonian residing in New York City.

She is 74-year-old Marie Lickvar, who lives in retirement following a 21-year career in a university hospital.

Here with McCallum on Wednesday to begin location shooting of backgrounds for the documentary, she visited the Hazelton City Authority's industrial building on East Diamond Avenue.

She told McCallum she made parachutes. From the early 1900's until the early 1950's, the Duplan mill was the world's largest textile plant under one roof, with an employment force of 1,750 persons.

The idea for McCallum's potential new series sprung from a television film he directed two years ago for the British Broadcasting Corporation. Titled "The Explorers," it was a dramatized documentary tracing the journeys of famed Arabian explorer Doughty.

After filming the BBC special along the Moroccan-Algerian border, the actor-writer-director said he began thinking that the lives and careers of outstanding "ordinary" people, rather than the famous, would lend themselves to documentary treatment.

The proposed new series is not yet titled, and McCallum said he will continue with location shooting in and around the Hazelton area to complete the pilot program.

Asked why his latest dramatic series, "The Invisible Man," pulled a disappearing act itself and faded from the TV screen, McCallum said the series--which relied heavily on special effects and trick photography--was "too expensive" to produce.

He said he thoroughly enjoyed filming the episodes, based on the H. G. Wells' classic novel about a scientist who discovers the secret of invisibility.

In a time when many new television series are turned out quickly, almost haphazardly, "The Invisible Man's" quality production values--skilled direction, scripts, performers, photography and special effects--were evident.

Despite a favorable TV timeslot--8 p.m. Mondays--the series, which premiered last September, was cancelled by mid-season. Often pre-empted by special programs, it soon became as on-again, off-again as the invisibility of its title character.

McCallum, with an extensive theatrical background, catapulted to TV stardom a decade ago when he co-starred with Robert Vaughn in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The series, highlighted by fast action, blazing guns, daring feats and high adventure, had been designed by NBC as a tongue-in-cheek spoof of the popular James Bond thrillers.

But viewers took the action seriously and flooded the show's two male stars with fan mail.

So popular was "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." that it spawned a spin-off, "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E." with Stephanie Powers as a daring female agent.

After the "U.N.C.L.E." craze had run its course, McCallum turned to guest appearances on top dramatic shows.

What's next for "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and "The Invisible Man"?

"This time," he told the Standard-Speaker, "I'd like to stay behind the camera and give the spotlight to relatively unknown people with interesting lives to be retraced."