THE MAN FROM UNCLE
Four series, 105 episodes, 1694-1968
Plus, one TV movie, 1983
WHAT’S ALL THAT ABOUT?
Two men saving the world from THRUSH.
NOW I’VE HEARD IT ALL
UNCLE stood for the United Network Command for Law Enforcement, while THRUSH was the organisation’s deadly foe.
OKAY, YOU’VE CONVINCED ME, BUT YOU SAID TWO MEN – SHOULDN’T IT BE THE MEN FROM UNCLE?
Good point. Desperate to cash in on the success of the James Bond films, US TV company NBC asked 007’s creator Ian Fleming for an idea for a spy series. He suggested a tongue-in-cheek show centring on a suave secret agent called Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn). But it was the series co-creator and producer Sam Rolfe who came up with the master stroke – giving the urbane, dark-haired American a partner in crime fighting, the blond, more serious-minded Russian Illya Kuryakin (played by Scottish-born David McCallum).
AND THEY FOUGHT THRUSH TOGETHER?
Yes and no. Each episode, their superior Mr Waverly (Leo G Carroll) would tell ‘Mr solo’ and ‘Mr Kuryakin’, as he always called them, of THRUSH’s latest nefarious scheme. Armed with this information, the agents went into action following up separate leads. Inevitably, though, one of them would get captured and have to be rescued by the other.
THRUSH was always inventing diabolical new weapons, but luckily UNCLE agents weren’t short of electronic gadgets, most importantly their two-way radios concealed in fountain pens. ‘Open Channel D’ usually got a message back to their headquarters.
As was UNCLE’s New York HQ which was hidden being a tailor’s shop. UNCLE agents were let in via a hidden door in a changing room which was activated by a tailor lifting the clothes press.
AND NO DOUBT THE AGENTS LEFT THEIR SPARE TROUSERS TO BE PRESSED
Well, Solo was always well turned out, while Kuryakin was no slouch when it came to looking cool.
SO THEY WERE RATHER DASHING FELLOWS
Indeed. They were handsome, charming, sophisticated and, when required, witty.
THEY SOUND LIKE A CATCH
Beautiful women did fall at their feet, which was very useful when Solo and Kuryakin needed assistance on a case, or ‘Affair’ as the stories were titled. But, unlike James Bond, these agents managed to keep their minds on the job.
HOW DID IT ALL END?
In 1968, after three years, when the silliness of the plots became too much even for the psychedelic 1960s.
The Man from UNCLE
(Series Two, 1965)