Great news! The first season of the classic spy TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is now available from Greenwich Library in one nice 10-DVD set. These 29 episodes, shot in moody black and white, date from 1964-65 when the world was riding the wave of 007 mania! (And find out how James Bond creator Ian Fleming helped create the series here.)
The show’s premise was pretty much ahead of it’s time. A multinational organization representing most of the UN, the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (UNCLE) takes on threats against either various nations and/or the whole world, armed with various futuristic gadgets. American Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Russian Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) report to their superior British Alexander Waverly (Leo G. Carroll), who sends them off to battle various enemy agents, terrorists (usually working for the sinister THRUSH organization) and the occasional gangster or two. Their “affairs” usually involve getting an innocent civilian -often a beautiful woman- to assist them.
(Here’s the opening sequence used in early episodes to explain the show’s premise.)
The series kicks off with a bang in “The Vulcan Affair” when THRUSH agents attack UNCLE’s New York headquarters, Subsequent episodes are hit or miss, with “The Double Affair: and “The Project Strigas Affair” (with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, two years before they started working on Star Trek!) among the early standouts. By the 15th episode, “The Deadly Decoy Affair”, the series settles into a comfortable mix of humor and suspense, Definitely check out “The Mad, MAD Tea Party” and “The Never-Never Affair”.
Lots of great guest stars pop up, including Eddie Albert, Martin Balsam, Robert Culp, Barbara Feldon, June Lockhart, William Marshall, Cesar Romero, George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, and Sharon Tate. Future Chinatown writer Robert Towne pens one episode. And Richard Donner (The Omen; Lethal Weapon) and John Newland (One Step Beyond) are among the directors.
Although dated somewhat, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is still a lot of fun! Check it out!
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Thanks to the online Man From U.N.C.L.E. Episode guide!