Chicago Tribune: "Women of a certain age used to crush hard on ‘NCIS’ David McCallum"

Women of a certain age used to crush hard on ‘NCIS’ David McCallum

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Oh, let’s be honest. The opening of the movie version of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is all well and good. But within a certain demographic, namely mine, it is setting hearts atwitter with memories of our long-ago crushes on Illya. Illya Kuryakin, played by David McCallum, was the quiet, enigmatic Russian agent in the original series who worked with Napoleon Solo to defeat the evil empire of THRUSH.

Ah, Illya, with that exotic, unplaceable accent and that air of mystery, intellect and possible tragedy; Illya, with that shining blond hair; Illya, in that black turtleneck that had us fanning ourselves with our Tiger Beat magazines. We adored him, we who were young girls in the ’60s. “I was completely obsessed,” says Alison Pohn, who grew up and play-acted “The Man from U.N.C.L.E” on the North Side of Chicago. “You could not see wall or closet door — my entire room was papered in him.”

What was it about Illya? I took the signed photo of Illya/McCallum off my cubicle wall where it hangs — along with an Illya Kuryakin U.N.C.L.E. ID card — and gazed at it. For research, you know.

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