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The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.jpg
Genre Spy-fi
Format Espionage
Developed by Sam Rolfe
Starring Robert Vaughn
David McCallum
Leo G. Carroll
Theme music composer Jerry Goldsmith
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 105 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Norman Felton
Running time 60 min.
Original channel NBC
Original run September 22, 1964 – January 15, 1968

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an American television series that was broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1964, to January 15, 1968. It follows the exploits of two secret agents, played by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, who work for a fictitious secret international law-enforcement agency called U.N.C.L.E. (the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement).



There were 105 episodes (see 1964 in television and 1968 in television) created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that made up this series. The first season was broadcast in black-and-white.[1]

James Bond creator Ian Fleming contributed to the show's creation.[2] The book The James Bond Films reveals that Fleming's TV concept had two characters: Napoleon Solo and April Dancer (The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.). ("Mr. Solo" was originally the name of a crime boss in Fleming's Goldfinger.) Robert Towne and Harlan Ellison wrote scripts for the series, which was originally to have been titled Solo. Author Michael Avallone, who wrote the first original novel based upon the series (see below), is sometimes incorrectly cited as the creator of the series (such as in the January 1967 issue of The Saint Magazine). At one point, Fleming's name was to have been connected more directly with the series. The cover of the original prospectus for the series showed the title Ian Fleming's Solo.[3] Solo was originally slated to be the "solo" star of the series, the only "Man". But a small scene by a Russian agent named Illya Kuryakin caught fire with the fans, and the two were permanently paired.[4]


The series centered on a two-man troubleshooting team working for U.N.C.L.E.: American Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn), and Russian Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum). Leo G. Carroll played Alexander Waverly, the British head of the organization (Number One of Section One). Lisa Rogers (Barbara Moore) joined the cast as a female regular in the fourth season.

The series, though fictional, achieved such notability as to have artifacts (props, costumes and documents, and a video clip) from the show included in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library's exhibit on spies and counterspies. Similar exhibits can be found in the museums of the Central Intelligence Agency and other agencies and organizations involved with intelligence gathering.

U.N.C.L.E.'s archenemy was a vast organization known as THRUSH (originally named WASP in the series pilot movie). The original series never explained what the acronym THRUSH stood for, but in several of the U.N.C.L.E. novels written by David McDaniel, it was expanded as the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity, and described by him as having been founded by Col. Sebastian Moran after the death of Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Final Problem". Later, an alternate – and more plausible – explanation was offered, with THRUSH rising out of the fall of Nazism and founded by high-ranking Nazi officials – including Martin Bormann – who fled to Argentina when defeat was seen as inevitable, taking with them enormous financial wealth, including gold and precious works of art.

THRUSH's aim was to conquer the world. Napoleon Solo said, "THRUSH believes in the two-party system: the masters and the slaves." adding that "THRUSH kills people the way people kill flies. A reflex action. A flick of the wrist." So dangerous was the threat from THRUSH that governments, even those most ideologically opposed such as the United States and the USSR, cooperated in the formation and operation of U.N.C.L.E. Similarly, if Solo and Kuryakin held opposing political views, the writers allowed little to show in their interactions.

Though executive producer Norman Felton and Ian Fleming had developed the character of Napoleon Solo, it was producer Sam Rolfe who created the organization of U.N.C.L.E. Unlike the nationalistic organizations of the CIA and James Bond's MI6, U.N.C.L.E. was a worldwide organization composed of agents from all corners of the globe. The character of Illya Kuryakin was created by Rolfe as a Russian U.N.C.L.E. agent.

The creators of the series decided that the involvement of an innocent character would be part of each episode, giving the audience someone with whom it could identify.[2] Through all the changes in series in the course of four seasons, this element remained a factor — from a suburban housewife in the pilot, "The Vulcan Affair" (film version: "To Trap a Spy"), to the various people kidnapped in the final episode, "The Seven Wonders of the World Affair".


The Organization

Season 1

The show's first season was in black and white. Rolfe created a kind of Alice in Wonderland world, where mundane everyday life would intermittently intersect with the looking-glass fantasy of international espionage which lay just beyond. The U.N.C.L.E. universe was one where the weekly "innocent" would get caught up in a series of fantastic adventures, in a battle of good and evil. In its idealistic depiction of an international organization that transcended borders and agents of all nationalities worked together, Rolfe's U.N.C.L.E. anticipated Gene Roddenberry's interstellar United Federation of Planets in "Star Trek" two seasons later. Rolfe also blended deadly suspense with a light touch, reminiscent of Hitchcock. In fact, U.N.C.L.E. owes just as much to Alfred Hitchcock as it does Ian Fleming, the touchstone being North by Northwest, where an innocent man is mistaken for an agent of a top secret organization, one of whose top members is played by Leo G. Carroll. This role led to Carroll being cast as Mr. Waverly in the show.[2]

U.N.C.L.E. headquarters in New York City was most frequently entered by a secret entrance in Del Floria's Tailor Shop. Another entrance was through The Masque Club. Mr. Waverly had his own secret entrance. Unlike the competing TV series I Spy however, the shows were overwhelmingly shot on the MGM back lot.[5] The same outside staircase was used for episodes set throughout the Mediterranean and Latin America, and the same eucalyptus dirt road on the back lot in Culver City stood in for virtually every continent of the globe. The episodes followed a naming convention where each title was in the form of "The ***** Affair", such as "The Vulcan Affair", "The Mad, Mad, Tea Party Affair", "The Waverly Ring Affair", and "The Deadly Quest Affair", the only exceptions being, "Alexander the Greater Affair", parts 1 & 2. The first season episode "The Green Opal Affair" establishes that U.N.C.L.E. itself uses the term "Affair" to refer to its different missions.

Rolfe endeavored to make the implausibility of it all seem not only feasible but entertaining. Frogmen emerging from wells in Iowa, shootouts between U.N.C.L.E. and THRUSH agents in a crowded midtown Manhattan movie theater, top secret organizations hidden behind innocuous brownstone facades—this was a parallel universe that lay just beyond our own.

The series also began to dabble in science fiction-based plots, beginning with "The Double Affair" in which a THRUSH agent, made to look like Solo through plastic surgery, infiltrates a secret U.N.C.L.E. facility where an immensely powerful weapon called "Project Earthsave" is stored; according to the dialogue, the weapon was developed to protect against a potential alien threat to Earth.

Rolfe left the show at the conclusion of the first season.

In its first season The Man from U.N.C.L.E. competed against The Red Skelton Show on CBS and Walter Brennan's short-lived The Tycoon on ABC.

Seasons 2–4

Switching to color, U.N.C.L.E. continued to enjoy huge popularity, but the new producer, David Victor, read articles that called the show a spoof and that is what it became. Over the next three seasons, five different show runners would supervise the U.N.C.L.E. franchise, and each one took the show in a direction that differed considerably from that of the first season. Furthermore, U.N.C.L.E. had spawned a swarm of imitators. In 1964, it was the only American spy show on U.S. TV; by 1966, there were nearly a dozen. In an attempt to emulate the success of ABC's mid-season hit, Batman, which had proven hugely popular on its debut in spring of 1966, U.N.C.L.E. moved swiftly towards self-parody and slapstick.[4]

This campiness was most in evidence during the third season, when the producers made a conscious decision to increase the level of humor (though season two had moved in this direction in episodes such as "The Yukon Affair" and "The Indian Affairs Affair").[4] With episodes like "The My Friend the Gorilla Affair" (which featured a scene in which Solo is shown dancing with a gorilla) the show tested the loyalties of its supporters and this new direction resulted in a severe ratings drop, and nearly resulted in the show's cancellation. It was renewed for a fourth season and an attempt was made to go back to serious storytelling, but the ratings never recovered and U.N.C.L.E. was cancelled midway through the season.[4]


Theme music

The theme music, written by Jerry Goldsmith, changed slightly each season.[6] Goldsmith only provided three original scores and was replaced by Morton Stevens, who composed four scores for the series. After Stevens, Walter Scharf did six scores, and Lalo Schifrin (who later wrote the Mission: Impossible theme) did two. Gerald Fried was composer from season two through the beginning of season four. The final composers were Robert Drasnin, Nelson Riddle and Richard Shores. The music reflected the show's changing seasons – Goldsmith, Stevens and Scharf composed dramatic scores in the first season using brass, unique time signatures and martial rhythms, Gerald Fried and Robert Drasnin opted for a lighter approach in the second, employing harpsichords and bongos and by the third season, the music, like the show, had become more camp, exemplified by an R&B organ and saxophone version of the theme. The fourth season's attempt at seriousness was duly echoed by Richard Shores' somber scores.

Soundtrack albums

Although album recordings of the series had been made by Hugo Montenegro (ironically, Montenegro never worked on the series itself but did score an episode of Mission: Impossible), and many orchestras did cover versions of the title theme, it wouldn't be until 2002 that the first of three double-disc albums of original music from the series would be released through Film Score Monthly.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Disc 1:

  1. First Season Main Title (:45) – Jerry Goldsmith
  2. The Vulcan Affair (14:01) – Jerry Goldsmith
  3. The Deadly Games Affair (11:48) – Jerry Goldsmith
  4. The Double Affair (6:51) – Morton Stevens
  5. The Project Strigas Affair (7:14) – Walter Scharf
  6. The King of Knaves Affair (12:22) – Jerry Goldsmith
  7. The Fiddlesticks Affair (6:30) – Lalo Schifrin
  8. Meet Mr.Solo (2:05) – Jerry Goldsmith
  9. First Season End Title (:49) – Jerry Goldsmith
  10. Second Season End Title (:49) – Jerry Goldsmith, arranged by Lalo Schifrin
  11. Alexander the Greater Affair (13:12) – Gerald Fried

Disc 2:

  1. The Foxes and Hounds Affair (5:16) – Robert Drasnin
  2. The Discotheque Affair (8:49) – Gerald Fried
  3. The Re-Collectors Affair (6:29) – Robert Drasnin
  4. The Arabian Affair (5:29) – Gerald Fried
  5. The Tigers Are Coming Affair (4:20) – Robert Drasnin
  6. The Cherry Blossom Affair (5:12) – Gerald Fried
  7. The Dippy Blonde Affair (7:50) – Robert Drasnin
  8. Third Season End Title (:39) – Jerry Goldsmith, arr. Gerald Fried
  9. The Her Master's Voice Affair (4:50) – Gerald Fried
  10. The Monks of St.Thomas Affair (7:37) – Gerald Fried
  11. The Pop Art Affair (4:50) – Robert Drasnin
  12. Fourth Season Main Title (:32) – Jerry Goldsmith, arr. unknown
  13. The Summit-Five Affair (5:52) – Richard Shores
  14. The "J" for Judas Affair (8:03) – Richard Shores

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Volume 2

Disc 1:

  1. First Season End Title (1:16) – Jerry Goldsmith
  2. The Vulcan Affair suite No.2 (9:59) – Jerry Goldsmith
  3. The Iowa Scuba Affair (6:54) – Morton Stevens
  4. The Shark Affair (7:55) – Walter Scharf
  5. The Deadly Games Affair suite No.2 (3:40) – Jerry Goldsmith
  6. Meet Mr. Solo (1:45) – Jerry Goldsmith
  7. The Giuoco Piano Affair (3:23) – Walter Scharf
  8. The King of Knaves Affair suite No.2 (3:40) – Jerry Goldsmith
  9. First Season Main Title (revised) (:56) – Jerry Goldsmith, arr. Morton Stevens
  10. The Deadly Decoy Affair (4:32) – Walter Scharf
  11. The Spy With My Face (5:12) – Morton Stevens
  12. Second Season Main Title (:37) – Jerry Goldsmith, arr. Lalo Schifrin
  13. Alexander the Greater Affair (1:25) – Gerald Fried
  14. The Ultimate Computer Affair (5:00) – Lalo Schifrin
  15. The Very Important Zombie Affair (4:10) – Gerald Fried
  16. The Dippy Blonde Affair (2:01) – Robert Drasnin
  17. The Deadly Goddess Affair (2:31) – Gerald Fried
  18. The Moonglow Affair (7:09) – Gerald Fried

Disc 2:

  1. One of Our Spies is Missing (3:08) – Jerry Goldsmith, arr. Gerald Fried
  2. Third Season Main Title (:31) – Jerry Goldsmith, arr. Gerald Fried
  3. The Sort of Do-It-Yourself Dreadful Affair (6:39) – Gerald Fried
  4. The Galatea Affair (5:36) – Robert Drasnin
  5. The Pop Art Affair (4:34) – Robert Drasnin
  6. The Come With Me to the Casbah Affair (4:16) – Gerald Fried
  7. The Off-Broadway Affair (7:12) – Gerald Fried
  8. The Concrete Overcoat Affair (6:48) – Nelson Riddle
  9. The Napoleon's Tomb Affair (5:17) – Gerald Fried
  10. Fourth Season Main Title (alternate) (:37) – Jerry Goldsmith, arr. Gerald Fried
  11. Fourth Season End Title (:36) – Jerry Goldsmith, arr. Robert Armbruster?
  12. The Test Tube Killer Affair (7:05) – Gerald Fried
  13. The Prince of Darkness Affair (11:39) – Richard Shores
  14. The Seven Wonders of the World Affair (11:46) – Richard Shores

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Volume 3: Featuring The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.

Disc 1:

  1. First Season Main Title (revised/extended) (1:00) – Jerry Goldsmith, arr. Morton Stevens
  2. Jerry Goldsmith Medley (2:57)
  3. The Quadripartite Affair (3:27) – Walter Scharf
  4. The Double Affair, suite no. 2 (6:20) – Morton Stevens
  5. Belly Laughs (2:21) – Jerry Goldsmith
  6. The Finny Foot Affair (4:51) – Morton Stevens
  7. The Fiddlesticks Affair, suite no. 2 (5:17) – Lalo Schifrin
  8. The Yellow Scarf Affair (3:35) – Morton Stevens
  9. Meet Mr. Solo (3:03) – Jerry Goldsmith
  10. The Spy with my Face (4:09) – Morton Stevens
  11. The Discotheque Affair, suite no. 2 (4:31) – Gerald Fried
  12. The Nowhere Affair (2:48) – Robert Drasnin
  13. U.N.C.L.E. A Go Go (3:05) – Gerald Fried
  14. The Bat Cave Affair (4:42) – Gerald Fried
  15. One of Our Spies is Missing (1:09) – Gerald Fried
  16. The Monks of St. Thomas Affair, suite no. 2 (3:46) – Gerald Fried
  17. The Spy in the Green Hat (3:19) – Jerry Goldsmith, arr. Gerald Fried and Robert Armbruster
  18. Gerald Fried Medley (7:21)
  19. The Karate Killers (1:51) – Gerald Fried
  20. Richard Shores Medley (6:37)

Disc 2:

  1. The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. Main Title (:34) – Jerry Goldsmith, arr. Dave Grusin
  2. The Dog-gone Affair (5:28) – Dave Grusin
  3. The Prisoner of Zalamar Affair (6:32) – Richard Shores
  4. The Mother Muffin Affair (10:59) – Dave Grusin
  5. The Mata Hari Affair (7:44) – Dave Grusin
  6. The Montori Device Affair (5:31) – Richard Shores
  7. The Horns-of-the-Dilemma Affair (2:05) – Jack Marshall
  8. The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. End Title (:39) – Jerry Goldsmith, arr. Dave Grusin
  9. The Deadly Quest Affair: Teaser (3:57)
  10. The Deadly Quest Affair: Act I (7:48)
  11. The Deadly Quest Affair: Act II (9:07)
  12. The Deadly Quest Affair: Act III (7:24)
  13. The Deadly Quest Affair: Act IV (8:06)

Tracks 9–13 Jerry Goldsmith, ad. and arr. Robert Armbruster:

FSM also released The Spy With My Face: Music From The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Movies, a disc of music specifically written for the feature film versions culled from episodes of the series (One Of Our Spies Is Missing and The Karate Killers are particularly strongly represented, due to the original TV episodes – "The Bridge Of Lions Affair" and "The Five Daughters Affair" respectively – having been tracked with music written for other episodes).

To Trap A Spy (Jerry Goldsmith):

1. Main Title/Solo Strikes Again (Main Title) (1:19)

2. The Kiss Off/Main Title (Meet Mr. Solo/End Title) (1:54)

The Spy With My Face (Morton Stevens):

3. Main Title (4:09)

4. Phase Two/Sub Male/Bugged Bobo (3:09)

5. New Alps/Impostor's First Test/Cyanide Cigarette (2:52)

6. Incarcerated Swinging (5:01)

7. The Real McCoy/End Title (2:17)

One Spy Too Many (Gerald Fried):

8. Dog Fight on Wheels (Main Title) – Goldsmith, arr. Fried (2:56)

9. Briefcase/Follow That Spy (:55)

10. The Three Alexanders/The Great Design (2:45)

11. Farm/Skip Loader/Wrong Driver (2:28)

12. End Title – Goldsmith, arr. Schifrin (:31)

One Of Our Spies Is Missing (Gerald Fried):

13. Main Title – Goldsmith, arr. Fried (3:08)

14. Go-Go in Soho/Cat Jam (1:46)

15. Duel by Flashlight/Fat Vat/Bridge of Lions (3:36)

16. Love With the Proper Mannequin/Thrush Cycle (1:29)

17. Thrush Guards/The Sacrifice/Jordin's Demise (2:31)

18. Hot Tie (1:58)

19. End Title – Goldsmith, arr. Fried (:37)

The Spy In The Green Hat (Nelson Riddle):

20. Main Title – Goldsmith, arr. Fried/Robert Armbruster (2:09)

21. Sicilian Style/Sacre! (1:22)

22. Stilletto Tango/Wrong Uncle (1:52)

23. Von Kronen/Kit Kat Klub (1:29)

24. Mr. Impeccable/I Sure Do/Right! (1:38)

25. End Title – Goldsmith, arr. Fried/Armbruster (:32)

The Karate Killers (Gerald Fried):

26. Main Title – Goldsmith, arr. Fried/Search Party (2:46)

27. Coliseum a Go Go/Arrivederci/Drain Pipe (3:08)

28. Along the Seine/Anyone for Venice (2:45)

29. Snow Goons/Touchdown (02:30)

30. Sidewalks of Japan (1:40)

31. Karate & Stick Game (1:24)

32. Mod Wedding/End Cast (1:03)

The Helicopter Spies (Jerry Goldsmith, arr. Armbruster):

33. Main Title (2:01)

34. End Title (:25)

How To Steal The World (Richard Shores):

35. Crazy Airport (Main Title) (2:08)

36. Trouble in Hong Kong (End Title) (:37)

Guest stars

Apart from Solo, Kuryakin and Waverly, very few characters appeared on the show with any regularity. As a result, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. featured a large number of high-profile guest performers during its three and a half year run.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy appeared together in a 1964 episode, "The Project Strigas Affair", a full two years before Star Trek aired for the first time. Shatner played a heroic civilian recruited for an U.N.C.L.E. mission, and Nimoy played the villain's henchman. The villain is played by Werner Klemperer.[7] James Doohan appeared in multiple episodes, each time as a different character.

Barbara Feldon played an U.N.C.L.E. translator eager for field work in "The Never-Never Affair." Robert Culp played the villain in 1964's "The Shark Affair".

Woodrow Parfrey appeared five times as a guest performer, although he never received an opening-title credit. Usually cast as a scientist, he played the primary villain in only one episode, "The Cherry Blossom Affair." Another five-time guest star was Jill Ireland, who at the time was married to David McCallum. "The Five Daughters Affair" featured a cameo appearance by Joan Crawford. Janet Leigh and Jack Palance appeared in "The Concrete Overcoat Affair" and Sonny and Cher made an appearance in the third season episode "The Hot Number Affair".[7] Other notable guest stars included Vincent Price, Joan Blondell, Eleanor Parker, Joan Collins, Terry-Thomas, Nancy Sinatra, Dorothy Provine, Leslie Nielson, Kurt Russell, Sharon Tate, Kim Darby, Angela Lansbury, Cesar Romero and Allen Jenkins.


Solo and Kuryakin, trained in martial arts, also had a range of useful spy equipment, including handheld satellite communicators to keep in contact with UNCLE headquarters. A catchphrase often heard was "Open Channel D" when agents used their pocket radios (originally disguised as cigarette packs, later as a cigarette case, and in following seasons, as pens[8]). One of the original pen communicators now resides in the museum of the Central Intelligence Agency.[9] The museum is not accessible to the public. Replicas have been made over the years for other displays, and this is the second-most-identifiable prop from the series (closely following the U.N.C.L.E. Special pistol).[8]


One prop, often referred to as "The Gun," drew so much attention that it actually spurred considerable fan mail, often so addressed. Internally designated the "U.N.C.L.E. Special",[10] it featured a modular semi-automatic weapon, originally based on the Mauser Model 1934 Pocket Pistol, but was unreliable, jamming constantly, and considered so small that it was dwarfed by the carbine accessories. It was soon replaced by the larger and more reliable Walther P38 pistol. The basic pistol could still be converted into a longer-range carbine by attaching a long barrel, extendable shoulder stock, Bushnell telescopic sight, and extended magazine. In its carbine mode, the pistol could fire on full automatic. This capability brought authorities to the set early on to investigate reports that the studio was manufacturing machine guns illegally. They threatened to confiscate the prop guns. It took a tour of the prop room to convince them that these were 'dummy' pistols incapable of firing live ammunition.

The long magazine was actually a standard magazine with a dummy extension on it, but it inspired several manufacturers to begin making long magazines for various pistols. While many of these continue to be available 40 years later, long magazines were not available for the P-38 for some years. However, they are now being custom made, as are reproduction parts for the U.N.C.L.E. carbine, and sold at "".[11] "Pictures" of their U.N.C.L.E. gun reproductions[12] can also be seen on the official "Man From U.N.C.L.E. DVD set".[13] The "U.N.C.L.E. Special"-configured Walther P38 would later become the distinctive alternate mode for the Transformers character Megatron, the evil leader of the Decepticons.

The P-38 fired the standard 9 mm bullet, although sometimes it was loaded with a special dart tiipped with a fast-acting tranquilizer when it was preferable to have a live prisoner. The drug lasted, according to Solo, about two hours. THRUSH never bothered. As Solo commented in the pilot, "...THRUSH kills people like people kill flies. A careless gesture. A flick of the wrist...".

THRUSH had a range of weaponry, much of it only in development before being destroyed by the heroes; a notable item was the infra-red sniperscope, enabling them to target gunfire in darkness. A major design defect of the sniperscope (in the TV series) was that its image tube's power supply emitted a distinctive whining sound when operating and (in reality) relied on a searchlight to illuminate the target. It also required a heavy battery and cable arrangement to power the scope. This weapon was built around a U.S. Army-surplus M1 carbine with a vertical foregrip and barrel compensator, and using real Army surplus infrared scopes. We see the fully-equipped carbines only once, in "The Iowa Scuba Affair". After that, a mock-up of the scope was used to make handling easier.

A few of the third-and fourth-season episodes featured an "U.N.C.L.E. car", which was a modified "Piranha Coupe", a Chevrolet Corvair-based plastic-bodied car built in limited numbers by custom car designer Gene Winfield.

German small arms were well-represented in the series. Not only were P-38s popular (both as basis for the U.N.C.L.E. Special and in standard configuration), but also the Luger P-08 pistol. In the pilot episode "The Vulcan Affair, Illya Kuryakin is carrying a stand Army .45 pistol. The "Broomhandle" Mauser carbines and MP40 machine pistols were favored by opponents, both THRUSH and non-THRUSH. U.N.C.L.E. also used the MP-40. Beginning in the third season, both U.N.C.L.E and THRUSH used rifles which were either the Spanish CETME or the Heckler & Koch G3, which was based on the CETME.

There were also an assortment of other weapons, ranging from sniper and military rifles to pistols of various caliber, plus swords, knives, bludgeons, staffs, chains, etc.

Awards and nominations

Emmy Awards

  • 1965: Outstanding Individual Achievements in Entertainment – Actors and Performers (Nominated) – David McCallum
  • 1965: Outstanding Program Achievements in Entertainment (Nominated) – Sam Rolfe
  • 1966: Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series (Nominated) – David McCallum
  • 1966: Outstanding Dramatic Series (Nominated) – Norman Felton
  • 1966: Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama (Nominated) – Leo G. Carroll
  • 1966: Individual Achievements in Music – Composition (Nominated) – Jerry Goldsmith
  • 1967: Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama (Nominated) – Leo G. Carroll

Golden Globes Awards

  • 1965: Best TV Star – Male (Nominated) – Robert Vaughn
  • 1966: Best TV Star – Male (Nominated) – Robert Vaughn
  • 1966: Best TV Star – Male (Nominated) – David McCallum
  • 1966: Best TV Show (Won)
  • 1967: Best TV Show (Nominated)

Grammy Awards

  • 1966: Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show (Nominated)- Lalo Schifrin, Morton Stevens, Walter Scharf, Jerry Goldsmith

Logie Awards

  • 1966: Best Overseas Show (Won)[14]


The series was popular enough to generate a spin-off series, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. The "girl" was first introduced during "The Moonglow Affair" (February 25, 1966) an episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and was then played by Mary Ann Mobley.[15] The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. spin-off series ran for one season, starring Stefanie Powers as agent "April Dancer" (a character name credited to Ian Fleming). There was some crossover between the two shows, and Leo G. Carroll played Mr. Waverly in both programs, becoming the second actor in American television to star as the same character in two separate series. (The first being Frank Cady who played General Store owner Sam Drucker on Petticoat Junction, Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies).

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. rated so highly in America and the UK that MGM and the producers decided to film extra footage (often more adult to evoke Bond films) for two of the first season episodes and release them to theaters after they had aired on TV. The episodes with the extra footage that made it to theaters were the original pilot, "The Vulcan Affair," retitled To Trap a Spy, and also from the first season, "The Double Affair" retitled as The Spy with My Face. Both had added sex and violence, new sub-plots and guest stars not in the original TV episodes. They were often released as an U.N.C.L.E. double-feature program first run in neighborhood theaters, bypassing the customary downtown movie palaces which were still thriving in the mid-'60s and where new movies usually played for weeks and even months before coming to outlying screens.

A selling point to seeing these films on the big screen back then was that they were being shown in color, at a time when most people had only black and white TVs (and indeed the two first-season episodes that were expanded to feature length, while filmed in color, were only broadcast in black and white). The words IN COLOR featured prominently on the trailers, TV spots, and posters for the film releases.

Subsequent two-part episodes, beginning with the second season premiere, "Alexander The Greater Affair," retitled One Spy Too Many for its theatrical release, were developed into one complete feature film with only occasional extra sexy and violent footage added to them, sometimes as just inserts. In the case of One Spy Too Many, a subplot featuring Yvonne Craig as an UNCLE operative carrying on a flirtatious relationship with Solo was also added the film (Craig does not appear in the television episodes).

All of the films were successful in many parts of the world, even those where the TV show did not air, sometimes surpassing box office receipts of the most recent Bond film. The later films were not released in America, only overseas, but the first few did well in American theaters and remain one of the rare examples of a television show released in paid theatrical engagements.

Among the films in this series:

The U.N.C.L.E. fad also inspired a related series of books, some written by David McDaniel.

Spin-offs included a Man from U.N.C.L.E. digest-sized story magazine, board games, action-figures, and toy pistols.

Several comic strips based on the series were published. In the US, there was a Gold Key Comics comic book series (one based on the show), which ran for about a dozen issues. Entertainment Publishing released an eleven issue series of one- and two-part stories from January 1987 to September 1988 that updated U.N.C.L.E. to the Eighties, while largely ignoring the reunion TV-movie. A two-part comics story, "The Birds of Prey Affair" was put out by Millennium Publications in 1993, which showcased the return of a smaller, much more streamlined version of Thrush, controlled by Dr. Egret, who had melded with the Ultimate Computer. The script was written by Mark Ellis and Terry Collins with artwork by Nick Choles, and transplanted the characters into the present day.

Two Man from U.N.C.L.E. strips were originated for the British market in the 1960s (some Gold Key material was also reprinted), the most notable for Lady Penelope comic, which launched in January 1966. This was replaced by a Girl from U.N.C.L.E. strip in January 1967. Man from U.N.C.L.E. also featured in the short-lived title Solo (published between February and September 1967) and some text stories appeared in TV Tornado.

Reunion TV movie

A reunion telefilm, The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E., subtitled The Fifteen Years Later Affair was broadcast on CBS in America on April 5, 1983, with Vaughn and McCallum reprising their roles, and Patrick Macnee replacing Leo G. Carroll as the head of U.N.C.L.E. A framed picture of Carroll appeared on his desk. The movie included a tribute to Ian Fleming via a cameo appearance by an unidentified secret agent with the initials "J.B." The part was played by one-time James Bond George Lazenby who was shown driving Bond's trademark vehicle, an Aston Martin DB5. One character, identifying him, says that it is "just like On Her Majesty's Secret Service," which was Lazenby's only Bond film.

The movie briefly filled in the missing years. THRUSH has been put out of business, and the remaining leader was in prison. (His escape begins the story.) Illya has quit U.N.C.L.E. after a mission went sour and an innocent woman was killed, and now designs women's clothing at Vanya's in New York. Napoleon has been pushed out of U.N.C.L.E. and now sells computers, though he still carries his U.N.C.L.E. pen radio for sentimental reasons (which is how the organization is able to contact him after so many years).

Solo and Kuryakin are recalled to recapture the escapee and defeat THRUSH once and for all, but the movie misfired on a key point: instead of reuniting the agents on the mission—and showcasing their witty interaction—the agents were separated and paired with younger agents. Like most similar reunion films, this production was considered a trial balloon for a possible new series.


The first Man from U.N.C.L.E. novel, by Michael Avallone. Pictured: Robert Vaughn.
Rare children's storybook based upon The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Left to right: David McCallum, Robert Vaughn and Leo G. Carroll.

Two dozen novels were based upon Man from U.N.C.L.E. and published between 1965 and 1968 (for a time, the most of any American-produced television series except for Star Trek, though there have now been more original novels published based upon Alias and Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Freed from the limitations of network television, these novels were generally grittier and more violent than the televised episodes. The series sold in the millions, and was the largest TV-novel tie-in franchise until surpassed by Star Trek novels.

  1. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (a.k.a. The Thousand Coffins Affair) – Michael Avallone
  2. The Doomsday AffairHarry Whittington
  3. The Copenhagen Affair – John Oram
  4. The Dagger AffairDavid McDaniel
  5. The Mad Scientist AffairJohn T. Phillifent
  6. The Vampire Affair – McDaniel
  7. The Radioactive Camel Affair – Peter Leslie
  8. The Monster Wheel Affair – McDaniel
  9. The Diving Dames Affair – Leslie
  10. The Assassination AffairJ. Hunter Holly
  11. The Invisibility AffairBuck Coulson and Gene DeWeese (writing as "Thomas Stratton")
  12. The Mind Twisters Affair – "Stratton"
  13. The Rainbow Affair – McDaniel
  14. The Cross of Gold Affair – Ron Ellik and Fredric Langley (writing as "Fredric Davies")
  15. The Utopia Affair – McDaniel
  16. The Splintered Sunglasses Affair – Leslie
  17. The Hollow Crown Affair – McDaniel
  18. The Unfair Fare Affair – Leslie
  19. The Power Cube Affair – Phillifent
  20. The Corfu Affair – Phillifent
  21. The Thinking Machine Affair – Joel Bernard
  22. The Stone Cold Dead in the Market Affair – Oram
  23. The Finger in the Sky Affair – Leslie.

Another volume, The Final Affair, also by David McDaniel, was completed but not published. Copies of the manuscript have circulated among fans for decades. Written after the series was cancelled, it was intended to provide a definitive conclusion to Solo and Illya's adventures. At one time there were plans to publish The Final Affair in a limited deluxe edition, but the project failed. Another book, The Catacombs and Dogma Affair, has been mentioned in some sources, but it isn't listed as one of the official U.N.C.L.E. novels (it's possible it might be one of the above volumes, retitled, or it may be the unpublished second U.N.C.L.E.novel by J. Hunter Holly, which has been circulated in mimeographed form among fans). Volumes 10–15 and 17 of the series were only published in the United States.

Two science-fiction novels – Genius Unlimited by John Rackham (a pseudonym used by Phillifent) and The Arsenal Out of Time by McDaniel – appear to be rewrites of "orphaned" U.N.C.L.E novel outlines or manuscripts.

The Rainbow Affair is notable for its thinly-disguised cameo appearances by The Saint, Miss Marple, John Steed, Emma Peel, Tommy Hambledon (at whose flat Solo and Ilya encounter Steed and Peel), Neddie Seagoon, Father Brown, a retired, elderly Sherlock Holmes, and Dr. Fu Manchu. The novel uses the same chapter title format that Leslie Charteris used in his Saint novels. (The title of one of the theatrical versions of UNCLE episodes, The Spy in the Green Hat, is very close to the title of The Man in the Green Hat, one of the "Hambledon" novels by "Manning Coles".)

Whitman Books also published three hardcover novels aimed at young readers and based upon the series. The first two books break the naming convention "The .... Affair" used by all other U.N.C.L.E. fiction and episodes:

  1. The Affair of the Gunrunners' GoldBrandon Keith
  2. The Affair of the Gentle SaboteurBrandon Keith
  3. The Calcutta Affair – George S. Elrick

A children's storybook written by Walter Gibson entitled The Coin of El Diablo Affair was also published.

The aforementioned digest magazine based upon Man from U.N.C.L.E. and often featured original novellas that were not published anywhere else. These novellas, published under the house name "Robert Hart Davis," were actually written by such authors as John Jakes, Dennis Lynds, and Bill Pronzini. There were 24 issues running monthly from February 1966 till January 1968, inclusive.

Science fiction writer Jack Jardine (wrting as Larry Maddock) originally came up with an idea for a "Man From U.N.C.L.E." novel called "The Flying Saucer Affair", but it was A) deemed too sci-fi for the series' concept, and B) written shortly before the series' cancellation. He later adapted this novel into his "Agent of T.E.R.R.A." series, which enjoyed a brief run of four titles altogether, and were published by ACE Books. They are:

"Agent Of T.E.R.R.A. #1: The Flying Saucer Gambit", "Agent Of T.E.R.R.A. #2: The Golden Goddess Gambit", "Agent Of T.E.R.R.A. #3: The Emerald Elephant Gambit", and "Agent Of T.E.R.R.A. #4: The Time Trap Gambit" (the latter title dispensed with the "Agent of T.E.R.R.A." moniker).

DVD releases

In November 2007, after coming to an agreement with Warner Home Video, Time-Life released a 41 DVD set (region 1) for direct order, with sales through stores scheduled for fall 2008.[16] An earlier release by Anchor Bay, allegedly set for 2006, was apparently scuttled because of a dispute over the rights to the series with Warner Brothers.[17][18]

A region 2 DVD (PAL for Europe) release of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. movies was released on September 8, 2003. The DVD contains five of the eight movies, missing the following: To Trap a Spy (1964), The Spy in the Green Hat (1966) and One of Our Spies is Missing (1966).

On Oct. 21, 2008, the Time-Life set was released to retail outlets in Region 1 (North America) in a special all-seasons box set contained within a small briefcase. The complete-series set consists of 41 DVDs, including two discs of special features included exclusively with the box set. Included in the set was the Solo pilot episode, as well as one of the films, One Spy Too Many; to date this is the only Region 1 DVD release of the feature films.

Paramount Home Video released The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. to DVD in Region 1 on March 3, 2009.[19][20]

U.N.C.L.E. in popular culture

During the show's original run, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was parodied in an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, fittingly titled "The Man from My Uncle." In this episode, Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) allows his suburban house to be used as a stakeout for an unnamed government agency. They want to spy on one of his neighbors who has a deported nephew that may be back in the country illegally. Comedian Godfrey Cambridge guest stars as an agent whose name is Mr. Bond, a recurring joke in the episode. In the show's final scene, referred to in sitcom circles as the "tag," Rob is playing with the agent's walkie talkie and fantasizes that he is negotiating a hostage exchange with THRUSH. The show was also parodied by MGM itself on "The Mouse from H.U.N.G.E.R.," an episode of Tom and Jerry. The British TV series The Avengers featured an episode titled "The Girl from AUNTIE" (a double in-joke in the UK, where "Auntie" was a nickname for the BBC).

Robert Vaughn makes an uncredited cameo appearance as Napoleon Solo in a dinner party scene in the Doris Day film, The Glass Bottom Boat. Solo is shown at the bar (complete with U.N.C.L.E. theme music), operating his pen radio and giving Paul Lynde (as Homer Cripps) a smiling, almost lecherous look as he walks by in drag. Day's film plot is about an Earth-based secret zero-gravity test laboratory built to train astronauts.

Both Vaughn and David McCallum made brief appearances in character in a Please Don't Eat the Daisies TV episode titled "Cry UNCLE". The star of the show Patricia Crowley had costarred in the original UNCLE pilot The Vulcan Affair. The end credits of the episode, like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., thanked the United Network Command for its co-operation. McCallum also hosted an episode of the popular 1960's TV variety show Hullabaloo as Illya Kuryakin.

Leo G. Carroll had a cameo on the first episode of Laugh In broadcast on Jan. 22, 1968 in which he spoofed U.N.C.L.E. Ironically that was the show that took over Uncle's timeslot when it was cancelled. A bartender at one of Laugh In's standing comedy sketch locations, a go-go party scene, he suddenly turns as he pulls out an U.N.C.L.E. pen radio and intones into it, "Open Channel D: Come in, Mr. Solo, I think I've found THRUSH headquarters!"

A British secret agent who always survived through ingenuity despite being ineffectual-looking and short-sighted appeared as 'The Man From B.U.N.G.L.E.' in the 1964 UK comic Wham!.

A season five episode of the 1980s adventure series The A-Team was entitled "The Say U.N.C.L.E. Affair" and featured both Vaughn and McCallum. Vaughn had a recurring role as a member of The A-Team's cast at this point, playing General Stockwell, while McCallum appeared as Stockwell's former espionage partner, Ivan. The episode was loaded with in-jokes referencing the 1960s series. The signature bongo drums & pan from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was used whenever scenes changed in that episode. McCallum played one of the few characters ever to have been killed in an A-Team episode.[21]

In an episode of Tales from the Darkside titled "The Impressionist", a government organization named U.N.C.L.E. hires an impersonator to talk with an alien.

A few brief references to U.N.C.L.E. are made in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, along with appearances by characters from The Avengers, Danger Man, and The Prisoner. U.N.C.L.E. is never called by name in the story, although Waverly is mentioned, albeit by his last name only, as a schoolmate of Billy Bunter's at Greyfriars and also a member of a Cambridge Five.

In his 1980 album Get Happy!!, Elvis Costello wrote the track "Man Called Uncle". Although the lyrics do not make any references to the show, the song has a Sixties upbeat feel connected with the original "Man from U.N.C.L.E" soundtrack. An Argentinian Funk duo was named Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas honoring the fictitious spy. Alma Cogan paid a similar tribute to the Russian agent in her single "Love Ya Illya", released in 1966 under the pseudonym "Angela and the Fans". In the 1980s Cleaners From Venus penned "Ilya Kuryakin Looked at Me"; the song was later covered by The Jennifers. The English 2 Tone band The Specials made an instrumental song called "Napoleon Solo." It was also the name of a Danish 2 Tone band. Space–surf band Man or Astro-man? covered the theme song for their 1994 EP Astro Launch. The Pet Shop Boys song "Building A Wall", from their 2009 album 'Yes', contains the lyric "Jesus and the Man From U.N.C.L.E".

In the video game Duke Nukem 3D, there is a secret military base, and hidden on a telephone booth it says "U.N.C.L.E." rather than the typical "PHONE." Using this phone leads to a hidden area.

In the Randall Garrett novel Too Many Magicians, character Tia Einzig's father's brother Neapeler is said to come from the Isle of Mann, and thus is the Uncle from Mann. "Neapeler Einzig" is recognizably a variant of "Napoleon Solo" ("Neapel" is the German name for Naples; "einzig" is German for "only" or "unique"). And Tia's Uncle has a friend, "Colin MacDavid", whose name is recognizably a variant of the actor's name "David McCallum".

The British comedian Ben Elton starred in two series of his own stand-up comedy and sketch show entitled The Man from Auntie, in 1990 and 1994. The title of the show was a play on the title of The Man from UNCLE and the fact that 'Auntie' is a nickname for the BBC.

Forty years after the debut of this series, its stars appeared on TV, Vaughn in the British caper series Hustle and McCallum in the American military crime investigation series NCIS. In the season two NCIS episode "The Meat Puzzle," Leroy Gibbs mentions that when he was younger, Ducky Mallard looked like Illya Kuryakin. To which 30-something Kate asks, "Who?"

In an interview for a retrospective television special, David McCallum told of a visit to the White House during which, while he was being escorted to meet the President, a Secret Service agent told him "You're the reason I got this job." [1]

On the popular morning drive time radio show Bob and Brian morning show, out of Milwaukee WI, Brian has made himself the Man from U.N.C.L.E regarding sports. In his case he "rules" on all sports Uniforms Nicknames Colors Logos and Emblems and deems them appropriate or not.

In the video game Team Fortress 2, one of the achievements for the Spy, The Man from P.U.N.C.T.U.R.E, is a reference to the show.

See also


External links


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