He gives his kisses to only one girl. But who can count the girls who steal them!
In New Orleans, a beautiful redhead met David McCallum at a press conference and promptly returned her engagement ring to the fellow she'd been dating for two years. In Chicago, a slender brunette touched his hand in the control room of a radio station and fainted. In St. Louis, a pretty waitress implored him to whisk her to Hollywood and make her his favorite Thrush agent. In Dallas, a whole Bevy of young lovelies actually brought him to his knees with their affection.
As a matter of fact, from Dallas to New York, from Los Angeles to Miami, the quiet Scot with the shy, stern look is suddenly target-A for love. It's impossible to count the girls who try to steal his kisses--and you want to know the truth? The handsome Scot is in a state of shock! He gives his kisses to only one girl--his wife Jill. Recently, he took off for Florida with Jill and their three young sons for what they hoped would be a peaceful vacation. They were heading for a quiet, unpublicized spot, away from the swarm of females who follow David everywhere he goes.
But as they walked toward the air terminal in Dallas, David sensed something new. The group of girls suddenly kindled. There was a flicker of recognition mounting to a quick blaze. They recognized him!
"It's David!" someone cried and the group was immediately beset with a sort of hesitant hysteria. You could feel it.
"Everything all right?" David asked MGM public relations man Chuck Painter who was hurrying along on the other side of Jill.
"Everything's great!" answered Chuck. "They really dig U.N.C.L.E. down here."
With which the thirty girls, all very chic, surged past the ropes with their autograph books.
"May I give you a Texas welcome?" asked a brunette in a neat beige suit.
David had no idea what a Texas welcome might be.
"Yes, indeed," he said.
An arm wound tentatively round his neck, the neat beige suit came up close, the girl gave him a bashful peck on his cheek. Before he could react, a taller girl, a blonde this time and slightly more ambitious, stepped up.
"Do you mind?" she asked, turning to Jill.
"No, indeed, be my guest," Jill said graciously.
With which the girl put both arms around him and gave David a real smackeroo!
As if at a signal, they all moved in at once. The barriers were down, the major offensive was under way. They used wrestling holds, each girl had her turn. David was beginning to feel like a cyclotron bombarded with atoms. It was all very lovely but a little hectic. They kissed him and they kissed Jill, chattered a mile a minute, about U.N.C.L.E. and how they loved David and how exciting the show was. By the time a couple of policemen had escorted the McCallums to their car, David and Jill had realized that something new had definitely been added in the way of public response.
In a restaurant that night, the waitress sidled up to their table, leaned intimately against David's shoulder and whispered in conspiratorial tones, "Next time, get a welding torch that works." She was referring, of course, to a recent episode in which, in a crucial moment, his welding torch didn't work.
"Watch out for the waitress," crooned the hat check girl, snuggling up to him, "she's a Thrush agent."
"Next time get a box of matches," whispered a handsome young redhead cuddling close as David and Jill rode the elevator up to their hotel room. She, too, was alluding to the inadequate blow torch.
The entire Dallas interlude was like this. The phone never stopped ringing, the girls never stopped following him. Everyone wanted to get in the act. David realized every moment with increasing surprise, the size, the complexity and the ingenuity of the audience that watches The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and the amazing reaction they seem to have to him!
He appeared on TV and radio shows. In one control room, a girl somehow got past all studio personnel, walked in, stood there gazing at him in such a trance, as if any minute, she might faint. She was a pale, sweet-looking child and when David said hello, she trembled and said, "Can I.....could I....please, may I have your autograph?"
"As I took the book from the girl's hands, about 4000 volts went from her to me," David says. "I was afraid she was going to fall onto the controls and the whole station would be off the air."
"May I just touch you?" she whispered, and when she touched his arm, David received another shock as 4000 volts again went right through him.Then the girl's attractive young mother arrived, and when she shook hands with him, it was another jolt.
That's how it was in Dallas. Electricity was really in the air and it was fun and some moments it was a little scary.
Like the scene at the airport as they left. He and Jill approached Gate 17 to join a group of waiting passengers, while MGM man Painter checked in the luggage. They'd had a good night's sleep, were feeling refreshed, and they looked immaculate with Jill in her crisp Givenchy suit, David in sport jacket and well-pressed slacks. They were talking to each other, totally absorbed, when suddenly they heard a scream.It was what very special scream, identifiable to any age as the star-identification syndrome, fearful as a Comanche war whoop Down upon them swooped what seemed like an army of 17 and 18 year olds--their friends from yesterday's welcoming committee, producing dozens and dozens of new recruits. A front line lieutenant carried a huge sheaf of roses which she thrust toward Jill. In the momentum of the onslaught, Jill not only took the roses, she got pinned back against the wall....David tried to help her, couldn't, and went down into a crouching position, as girls swarmed all over him, all over both of them. They kissed David from stem to stern,---his head, his jacket, every inch of it--they surrounded him so completely that MGM's painter, having heard the screaming, and dashing to the rescue, could see only one scrap of David's tweed jacket throughout the melee.
"David, oh David!" screamed the girls. "Don't go. Don't go, David. We love you in Dallas, David!"
"Let him breathe," yelled Painter, diving into the huddle. "Here, here, where's your respect?"
For answer, he got a purse slammed onto the back of his head, someone scratched his arm, and a dainty girl, in a stunning Neiman Marcus ensemble, bit his right hand. Now Chuck is a good-looking guy, redheaded, well built, well scrubbed and young. In another situation, they'd have vied for him, but he was their enemy of the moment because he was trying to whisk darling David away from Dallas. So they clawed Chuck and smothered David with embraces. Chuck, who could be a football tackle, finally made it through the line, grabbed David by the shoulders of his coat and yanked him to his feet. Then he swung around to rescue Jill, who was still backed up against the wall, the roses clutched to her chest, and absolute terror on her pretty face.
With order restored, David and Jill were stashed behind the ticket taker, but in view, and the girls could converse with their idol.
"Next time you come to Texas, stay at my house," pleaded one girl.
"What about your father and mother?" laughed David.
"Oh, Mother'll get rid of Father, " the girl said.
"Oh David, we love you," cried the girls, and again the piercing scream. "Jill, we love you too."
And then there was no more time. The plane was leaving, and David, and Jill still in a state of shock, were whisked away from Dallas, from the arms of the McCallum adorers.
David's handsome face, grave and reflective as always, was covered with lipstick and he felt their fellow passengers on the plane were regarding him with something close to disdain. Not the stewardesses, however. Stewardesses are girls and if you are a girl in this year of our Lord 1965, you just naturally give off sparks for this shy, sexy Scotsman with his shock of blond hair. He made both stewardesses U.N.C.L.E. agents and went on to Chicago where he was mobbed in the hotel lobby and almost torn to pieces. Girls hugged him and girls kissed him and buried their faces in his hair, while stalwart citizens in the lobby simply stood there as if--who does he think he is?
Well, he's The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and he couldn't be more surprised.
"I expected some people to recognize me. It's become difficult , for example, to go to the beach with Jill and the children as we've always done because people come up constantly to ask for autographs, but I never expected anything like this traveling. The first time we went out, the show had just gone on and no one knew who I was. But this time, obviously, they knew, and obviously a lot of people watched the show. It's all very simple. All entertainment is identification in one form or another. If you're going to do derring-do adventures with pretty girls in people's living rooms, you're going to take your audience along with you. You have to accept this. The last thing I've ever dreamed of being is a walking sex symbol. But I do see that especially the young people in the audience find it difficult to divorce the reality of what they see on screen from you as a person. And if they find you attractive.............."
We were having lunch at MGM the day after his return and I never let him get any further in this, if they find you attractive...............Because of course they do find him attractive, and I thought to myself, when he and Jill take off for other towns, MGM's public relations department would do well to have a cordon of police on hand.
What makes it especially amusing is that David is a quiet, self-contained man who isn't in the least overwhelmed by show business and has no predilection for its glamorous overtones.
He's a man dedicated to his wife and three kids. At every stop on the trip, as soon as he could disengage himself from the girls, he'd head for the newsstand at the airport, to send his son Paul a post card. Paul is six and David sends him a post card from every village and hamlet and delights in finding him educational toys, always something that's a challenge. He and Jill hate to leave the children, and couldn't but for the Welsh housekeeper Jean, and her Scottish friend Margaret, who look after the youngsters, so that on these brief flying trips, Jill and David can see America together. First with the McCallums, before anything, is their own life. Then, acting.
David loves acting. He's planned his career carefully, and as a matter of fact, he and Jill together do a great deal of planning about life.
"We've worked together to choose the way I should go. We decided that if you want to spread out in this business, and we both want to do that, then the choice has to be New York, Hollywood or Rome. Since I'd been chosen as Judas in The Greatest Story Ever Told, we decided on Hollywood. And the reason for taking a TV series was strictly for exposure. International recognition if possible." It's proved very possible.
"But neither of us is satisfied to let acting be the predominant force in our lives. Pictures, all acting, the whole entertainment business is fast-moving and has no great depth. Therefore, if you want to have an interesting life, you have to have something more than acting which is, basically, false from the word go. You're always acting out a truth that has no truth. If you're going to make a living in a shallow medium you must be successful and you must carefully plan the rest of your life. You must have a personal life, intellectual interests, some solitude."
The new popularity has added a new facet to the plan--a boat is the newest facet. Now that the girls have discovered David, he would like to buy a boat and learn to sail. The sea is a way of isolating himself, isolating himself with Jill, with Paul, with Jason and with the baby, Valentine. He knows nothing about boats or the sea, but the last time they tried going to the beach, they were surrounded by girls wanting autographs. Now he loves girls but on occasion, he must be his own man, so a boat is the next step. And if they keep shuttling him from one place to another every weekend, he says he'd better learn to pilot a Boeing 707.
No matter how he gets there, the girls are going to be waiting, and for once they latched onto a young intellectual from whom they can learn a great deal...if they'll stop kissing him long enough to listen. For example......"Male and female means nothing until they are married.. Marriage does not mean much until children come along and then you become a family, the basic of mankind. Morality, marriage, religion.They're all very much bound up with the question of existence."
He wasn't quite aware of all this when a week after they'd started dating, he married Jill. But he's aware of it now, and with effort, his aim and his plan is to make their marriage the rock on which his existence is founded.
His one concern is that Jill have her own individuality, not be swept up into his. He admits that his favorite U.N.C.L.E. episodes have been those on which Jill appeared as a guest star, his romantic interest. The girls loved those episodes and are great fans of Jill's--as testimony are the sheaf of roses and the fan mail addressed to her.
There are people who allow life to use them, but David and Jill are not of that ilk. They are thinkers and they are planners and they are doers. Two years ago, they flew out of fog bound London, flew over the pole, and arrived in Chicago in the dead of the night, terribly tired, and without their luggage, David carrying Paul who was four then and sound asleep. No one knew them. No one sensed that they were gambling two good careers on a whole new way of life, for very big stakes. They caught the next plane to Los Angeles and walked all over the city in the sun, found little restaurants and sat for hours, talking, enjoying the luxury of uninterrupted conversation, planning.
The gamble paid off and the plans materialized faster that they'd bargained for. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. has caught on, David is becoming familiar wherever they go, and there is less time for uninterrupted conversation. There is now a need for a new plan or two.
Article by Jane Ardmore.