Monday, November 28, 2016

Fritz Weaver, guest star of the very first The Man From UNCLE episode, is dead


Fritz Weaver (1926-2016) 
as Andrew Vulcan in 
The Vulcan Affair episode


Fritz Weaver, Tony-Winning Character Actor, Dies at 90


Sunday, November 27, 2016

UNCLE: The geo-credibility factor


Produced with a low budget and precarious resources, The Man From UNCLE needed to maintain a certain tone of realism in its episodes. One of the instruments for this was to insert elements of geographic identification before each scene. This detail gave the series a journalistic feel. Some examples:







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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Associated Press: "Robert Vaughn, suave ‘Man from UNCLE’ star, dies at 83"




New York (AP) — Robert Vaughn, the debonair, Oscar-nominated actor whose many film roles were eclipsed by his hugely popular turn in television’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” died last week at age 83. Vaughn passed away Friday, Nov. 11 after a brief battle with acute leukemia.

“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” was an immediate hit, particularly with young people, when it debuted in 1964. It was part of an avalanche of secret agent shows (“I Spy,” ‘’Mission: Impossible,” ‘’Secret Agent”), spoofs (“Get Smart”), books (“The Spy Who Came in From the Cold”) and even songs (“Secret Agent Man”) inspired by the James Bond films.

Vaughn’s urbane superspy Napoleon Solo teamed with Scottish actor David McCallum’s Illya Kuryakin, a soft-spoken, Russian-born agent. The pair, who had put aside Cold War differences for a greater good, worked together each week for the mysterious U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement) in combatting the international crime syndicate THRUSH.

“Girls age 9 to 12 liked David McCallum because he was so sweet,” Vaughn said in a 2005 interview in England. “But the old ladies and the 13- to 16-year-olds liked me because I was so detached.”




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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WSAU: "Open Channel D"



by Tom King
I failed to mention yesterday, the passing of actor Robert Vaughn. From 1964-68 he starred in one of my favorite tv shows, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. What started as a mostly serious James Bond imitator eventually devolved into campiness...but for a kid in elementary school...this was good tv. From the secret entrance in Del Florio's Tailor Shop...to the cool gadgets like the pen communicators ("open Channel D" became a catch phrase and had us all talking into our BICS). The suaveness of Vaughn's character Napoleon Solo (cool name too) and the total coolness of his Russian counterpart Ilya Kuriakin (played by David McCallum) was like catnip. The plots got pretty silly near the end and most of us had moved to other things by 1968...but for a couple of years "The Man From UNCLE delivered the goods. They also had UNCLE books, toys and other merchandise available. I have a record album of the music from the show.


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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

N4BB: "Robert Vaughn - 5 Interesting Facts You May Not Know"



by  • in Celebrity Net Worth

How many of you are fans of the spy genre? I can’t imagine there are many who aren’t. It’s a genre filled with an exciting blend of reality and fantasy. It’s about the dangers of exposing secrets and the game of intelligence. We’ve seen it unfold in the news and in television, film and novels. From the thrilling adventures of James Bond, to the more gripping, intense thrills of Jason Bourne (and Jack Bauer). At a time when Bond films were first being produced, there was an extremely popular 1960’s series titled “The Man from U.N.C.L.E”, which starred Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo (a film which was recently remade into a Guy Ritchie-vehicle starring Henry Cavill). Robert Vaughn soon became a star and has had roles in the A-Team and, most recently, on “Hustle”, where he played grifter Albert Stroller. Unfortunately, Robert Vaughn passed away yesterday, at the age of 83. He had a very prolific career and will always be remembered. Here are 5 Interesting Facts you May Not Know About Him:

1) Robert Vaughn Is An Academy-Award Nominated Actor

The Academy Awards is the biggest awards ceremony in Hollywood. Receiving one is perhaps the highest honour any filmmaker or actor can receive, but it’s not just about winning. It really is an honour just to be nominated and considered to be amongst the very best in the world. In 1960, Robert Vaughn got nominated for his performance in a film titled “The Young Philadelphians”. This happened in the same year he was cast in “The Man From U.N.C.L.E”. Quite a victory for the then upcoming spy series, wouldn’t you say?

2) Ian Fleming Helped Create Napoleon Solo

This one is rather surprising. It turns out the famed creator of James Bond worked with the show’s creator to help bring a Bond-like character to the small screen. This resulted in the creation of Napoleon Solo. At one point the show was to be titled “Ian Fleming’s Solo”. Robert Vaughn then went on to establish the character and make him unique in his own right.



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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Washington Post: "It was a cultural phenomenon"


 
From 1964 to 1968, Mr. Vaughn was one of the most recognizable stars in Hollywood, playing Napoleon Solo in the NBC spy spoof “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” The character was developed by Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, as something of a small-screen Bond.
Darkly handsome, with a prominent chin and a distinctive, cultivated voice, Mr. Vaughn starred alongside David McCallum, playing the Russian spy Illya Kuryakin. Together, they were an international crime-fighting duo defying Cold War convention in a tongue-in-cheek series that was one of the most popular shows of its time.
Each week, the pair from the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, a private organization “involved in maintaining political and legal order anywhere in the world,” accepted a mission from their boss, played by Leo G. Carroll. With wit and panache, they overcame the deadly gadgets and thugs put in their way by their nemesis, THRUSH — while finding time to romance glamorous women.
“There was something cool about it,” Ron Simon, curator of television and radio at the Paley Center for Media in New York, told the Los Angeles Times last year. “It created an emotional resonance for TV. It became the most popular show on campus in 1964, ’65 and ’66 — the first two seasons. It was a cultural phenomenon.”No matter how perilous their travails, they always managed to escape with their well-fitted suits, stylish hair and debonair manner intact.
Mr. Vaughn and McCallum had a genial screen chemistry, trading quips and maintaining a blithe sang-froid in the face of danger. They received thousands of letters a week from fans, and when the Beatles came to the United States in 1966, they asked to meet Mr. Vaughn.
To read the complete story, click here.


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Saturday, November 12, 2016

USAToday: Robert Vaughn life in rare pictures

Robert Vaughn (Napoleon Solo) and David McCallum (Illya Kuryakin) in the remains of what used to be UNCLE's secret entrance in the MGM studios. The set was destroyed by fire in March 31, 1967. (AP)

Surrounded by fans and protected by police in London, as a rock star. (Getty Images)

With bride Linda Staab, June 29, 1974. (AP)

As president Harry S Truman in President: The Man From Independence (1974). (AP)


Winning the Emmy Ward as supporting actor for the drama series Washington: Behind Closed Doors in 1979 (AP).

Atending the Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony in July 27, 1998 with wife Linda Staab, daughter Caitlin and son Cassidy. (Wire Image)


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NYT: Robert Vaughn, Who Starred as Napoleon Solo in ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.,’ Dies at 83


By LESLIE KAUFMAN
NOV. 11, 2016

Robert Vaughn, the cleft-chinned actor who reached the peak of his fame in the 1960s playing Napoleon Solo, the debonair international agent tasked with saving the world each week on the hit television series “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” died on Friday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83. His manager, Matthew Sullivan, said that the cause was acute leukemia, for which Mr. Vaughn had been under treatment in Manhattan and Connecticut.

Mr. Vaughn had numerous roles in film and on television. He played an old boyfriend of Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore) on an episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and a gunman in “The Magnificent Seven” (1960). He was nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actor for his role as a man accused of murder in “The Young Philadelphians” (1959) and won an Emmy in 1978 for his performance as a White House chief of staff in the mini-series “Washington: Behind Closed Doors.”

But no character he played was as popular as Napoleon Solo. From 1964 to 1968, in the thick of the Cold War, millions of Americas tuned in weekly to “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” to watch Mr. Vaughn, as a superagent from the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, battling T.H.R.U.S.H. (Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity), a secret organization intent on achieving world domination through nefarious if far-fetched devices like mind-controlling gas.

At the height of the show’s popularity, Mr. Vaughn said he was receiving 70,000 fan letters a month. The show was a self-aware parody of Ian Fleming’s creation James Bond, who had been played by Sean Connery in two hit movies by the time “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” made its debut. (Fleming served as an adviser to the show, and is widely credited with coining the name Napoleon Solo.)

“The whole show is a joke. It’s an extension of the Bond joke into a gigantic cartoon in prime time,” Mr. Vaughn told The Saturday Evening Post in an 1965 interview, to which, the magazine noted, he arrived wearing a custom-tailored Italian suit and a black silk tie.

To read the whole story click here.

Robert Francis Vaughn
1932 - 2016


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GQ: "The Best Movies to Watch on an Airplane Right Now"

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Available on:  American Airlines Is Guy Ritchie the world’s best Airplane Movie director? Other films ...