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U.N.C.L.E. background and historydivider

by Kathleen Crighton

Originally published in Epi-Log Journal, issue 12, January 1994
Used with permision from author



As U.N.C.L.E.'s star of popularity rose, it became quite a coup to do a guest shot on the hottest show on TV. Among the movie stars who made appearances on U.N.C.L.E. were Joan Crawford ("The Five Daughters Affair"), Boris Karloff ("The Mother Muffin Affair" on The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.), Vincent Price ("The Foxes and Hounds Affair"), George Sanders ("The Gazebo in the Maze Affair" and "The Yukon Affair"), Elsa Lanchester ("The Brain Killer Affair"), and Jack Palance and Janet Leigh ("The Concrete Overcoat Affair"). Some guest stars became more famous in later years as they starred in popular television series and movie roles: Carroll O'Connor (horribly miscast with a goatee and an English accent in "The Green Opal Affair"), Leslie Nielsen (playing it straight in "The Seven Wonders of the World Affair"), Ricardo Montalban ("The Dove Affair" and "The King of Knaves Affair"), Martin Landau ("The Bat Cave Affair"), Robert Culp ("The Shark Affair"), Kurt Russell (a child when he appeared in 1964's "TheFinny Foot Affair"), Angela Lansbury ("The Deadly Toys Affair"), Joan Collins ("The Galatea Affair"), and Barbara Feldon ("The Never Never Affair"), for example. Even popular rock stars got into the act, such as Sonny and Cher ("The Hot Number Affair") and Nancy Sinatra ("The Take Me to Your Leader Affair"). Because of their big-name guest stars, many of these episodes are now available on pro tapes. Unfortunately, some of the episodes these stars appeared in are products of the "camp" era and are embarrassingly bad.

Perhaps the two most famous television stars who appeared in an U.N.C.L.E. episode while relative unknowns were William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. They first appeared together on TV in "The Project Strigas Affair," a first-season episode. Shatner and Nimoy fans who expect to find some glimmers of Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock in their U.N.C.L.E. roles will be sorely disappointed. Shatner plays the hapless owner of an exterminating business who is hiding from bill collectors when Solo recruits him for an U.N.C.L.E. mission. Nimoy is the bumbling assistant to an Eastern European ambassador U.N.C.L.E. is trying to discredit. On its own merits, it's a good episode--we get to see Kuryakin in one of his wonderful disguises--but for Star Trek fans, there's the delight of watching the future Capt. Kirk and Napoleon Solo walking down the street together. P.S.: Nimoy's character triumphs over the ambassador at the end.

Oh, yes--James "Scotty" Doohan turned up as a sailor in "The Shark Affair," too, but you need a good eye to spot him. You can also see him in small role in the movie version of "The Bridge of Lions Affair".

McCallum's first wife, Jill Ireland, appeared in five U.N.C.L.E. episodes--"The Quadripartite Affair" and "The Giuoco Piano Affair," two related episodes in the first season; "The Tigers Are Coming Affair" in the second season; and the two-part "Five Daughters Affair" in the third season. By the time "Five Daughters" was filmed, the McCallum marriage was on the rocks. It is interesting to observe that in the scenes in which both actors appear, they keep a distance apart and have no dialogue with each other.

U.N.C.L.E. fans got a special treat in "The Giuoco Piano Affair" (Giuoco, by the way, is pronounced "zhwocko"). Jill Ireland's character, Marion Raven, has a nonstop party going on in her apartment for four days. Among the guests at this party are a chess player (executive producer Norman Felton), a Texan (producer Sam Rolfe), a drunk (director Richard Donner), and a sleeping writer with a typewriter (associate producer Joseph Calvelli).

Vaughn's long-time girlfriend, Joyce Jameson, also had a role on U.N.C.L.E. She played Jojo Tyler, the namesake of "The Dippy Blonde Affair," in the second season. She also appeared in a Girl from U.N.C.L.E. episode, "The Carpathian Caper Affair."

Part I: Introduction
Part II: The Birth of U.N.C.L.E.
Part III: The U.N.C.L.E. Organization
Part IV: Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakin and Alexander Waverly
Part V: Evolution of a Hit Series
Part VI: Guest Stars
Part VII: The U.N.C.L.E. Sets
Part VIII: The Four Seasons
Part IX: Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.