There are a couple of television series that I was kind of programmed to love from an early age, all thanks to my Father telling me about them as I was growing up. Classic TV series like The Prisoner, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Night Gallery, The Twilight Zone, The Saint, and of course The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to name a few.
Even before I watched my very first episode of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. one lazy Saturday afternoon as a teenager I was already well informed of the adventures of the suave Napoleon Solo, played by the Magnificent Seven’s Robert Vaughn, and his ally Illya Kuryakin, who was played by David McCallum of The Great Escape fame. The two obviously are agents for the international law-enforcement agency known as the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, or U.N.C.L.E. for short as they attempt to thwart the global schemes of T.H.R.U.S.H. ( Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity though that was only revealed in the books). Their boss is Mr. Waverly (the legendary Leo G. Carroll) and assigns them missions from their secret location disguised to look like Del Floria’s tailor shop.
For those that haven’t yet had the pleasure of watching The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I am quite happy to inform you that Warner Bros. is releasing the complete first season on August 4, 2015. That is 29 episodes from the 1964/1965 season that have been digitally remastered over 10 DVD’s for viewing enjoyment and might I add that this would be a perfect time to pick it up, think of it as a primer to your ready for the upcoming The Man From U.N.C.L.E. theatrical release from Director Guy Ritchie?
Now let me give you a breakdown on the episodes for season one, you will quickly notice that all episodes titles end with affair in them:
The Vulcan Affair: Actually edited into a first episode from the pilot movie for the series, after THRUSH attacks the tailor shop in an attempt to assassinate Mr. Waverly, Napoleon Solo is tasked with preventing another attempt on African Premier by Andrew Vulcan (Creepshow’s Fritz Weaver).
The Iowa-Scuba Affair: Solo is on a most bizarre case when an Air Force Officer is found dead in Iowa…while wearing scuba equipment. Special guest star for this episode is played by Slim Pickens.
The Quadripartite Affair: Napoleon and Kuryakin are in Yugoslavia attempting to stop a fear gas being released to overthrow governments! Special guest stars for this show are Jill Ireland and Anne Francis (Forbidden Planet).
The Shark Affair: This time our duo must face a modern day pirate, played wonderfully by Robert Culp, named Captain Shark of course!
The Deadly Games Affair: Solo and Kuryakin must stop an effort by T.H.R.U.S.H. to bring back Adolph Hitler who has been kept in suspended animation. When Napoleon is capture can Illya rescure him before his blood is used to bring back Hitler?!
The Green Opal Affair: The setting for this episode is the Yucatan, where Carroll O’Connor (Archie Bunker!) plays a T.H.R.U.S.H. mastermind who is kidnapping and “programming” people of power then releasing them so they will further the evil organization’s goals. Can Solo put a stop to this?!
The Giuoco Piano Affair: Anne Francis returns to the series, and our heroes are once again hot on her trail, which leads them to the Andes where they must contend with a untrustworthy Police lieutenant.
The Double Affair: Solo is seeing double in this episode and that’s because T.H.R.U.S.H. has kidnapped and replaced him with a duplicate. Hoping that their agent won’t be discovered before he can the secret plans for U.N.C.L.E.’s new weapon. Thankfully Kuryakin realizes something is up but can he stop the double in time?
The Project Strigas Affair: Okay. This episode has two important guest stars. William Shatner AND Leonard Nimoy! The plot for this show has Napoleon and Illya trying to pull a fast one over on a Balkan intellligence official.
The Finny Foot Affair: It’s a young Kurt Russell and Solo teaming up to find the source of the deadly chemical that wiped out a Scottish village. I should also add that during this adventure Kurt’s character is also trying to get Solo to fall in the love with his widowed Mother.
The Neptune Affair: Napoleon must attempt to infiltrate an underwater rocket site that is launching missiles that are spreading a deadly fungus through the Soviet Union’s wheat crop.
The Dove Affair: Assassination is the subject again in this episode with Solo doing his best to outsmart the devious Satine (Fantasy Island’s Ricardo Montalban) with the aid of a school teacher, played by Lost in Space’s June Lockheart, and her wards.
The King of Knaves Affair: Napoleon and Illya are together again and trying to find out why numerous criminal figures are disappearing. Their search leads them to Fasik el Pasad who having been deposed as a ruler has decided to build an army using the greatest criminals the world has known.
The Terbuf Affair: In this episode Solo gets a vacation from his world-saving efforts but of course gets wrapped up in serious affairs when he is asked by an old love interest to help get evidence out about the secret police of Terbuf.
The Deadly Decoy Affair: Napoleon and Illya must transport a T.H.R.U.S.H. official from New York to Washington…or is it actually Mr. Waverly that is transporting the real agent?
The Fiddlesticks Affair: When Solo and Kuryakin have to try and crack the treasury vault of a T.H.R.U.S.H. controlled casino, they must rely on the skills of a safe cracker extraordinaire played by the Last Starfighter’s Dan O’Herlihy!
The Yellow Scarf Affair: Solo goes…well…solo on a trip to India in this episode to investigate the murder of a fellow agent by plane crash. Our hero has to race against an opposing T.H.R.U.S.H. agent in an attempt to locate a new polygraph device.
The Mad, Mad Tea Party Affair: Napoleon and Illya are put in charge of protecting a conference that is being held at U.N.C.L.E. headquarters, hard to do when a strange man keeps appearing and disappearing within the building.
The Secret Scepter Affair: Solo meets up with his former commanding Officer and he as well as Kuryakin find themselves tasked with stealing a sceptre, an item that is a national symbol from a dictator. But are things exactly as they seem?
The Bow-Wow Affair: Mr. Waverly’s cousin is murdered by his own dog and it’s up to Illya to find out what it has to do with stocks and a gypsy.
The Four-Steps Affair: Our duo are together again and charged with protecting a young man who happens to be a Himalayan Prince.
The See-Paris-And-Die Affair: Napoleon is on his own for this episode, relying on a former girlfriend of two brothers who are attempting to control the diamond market.
The Brain-Killer Affair: When Mr. Waverly is poisoned he is of course rushed to the hospital, but sadly for him he is exposed to the altering effects of a brain machines controlled by a T.H.R.U.S.H. agent (Bride of Frankenstein’s Elsa Lanchester!). Solo teams up with young woman played by Batman 1966’s Yvonne Craig to get to the bottom of the mystery.
The Hong Kong Shilling Affair: Napoleon tries his best to discover the location of a black market in Honk Kong that is auctioning off military secrets. It’s up to Illya to infiltrate the auction as a…Mongolian warlord.
The Never-Never Affair: A practical joke of sorts turns deadly when Solo and Illya send a translator who is craving excitement on a “fake” mission that actually turns out to be real and full of danger when T.H.R.U.S.H. agents are on the translator’s trail.
The Love Affair: When Napoleon has to attend a revival meeting being held the charismatic Brother Lover, played by Green Acre’s Eddie Albert, he is shocked to learn that the evangelist is actually a leader of T.H.R.U.S.H. and is attempting to build a spaceship powered by nuclear energy.
Wait a minute…Brother Love?! Hm, Neil Diamond’s hit song “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” came out in 1969. Curious…maybe Diamond is also a big Man from U.N.C.L.E. fan?
The Gazebo in the Maze Affair: It is Illya’s turn at being captured, used as bait by George Sanders’ crazed Squire G. Emory Partridge in an attempt to get his hands on Napoleon as well to do them in with the aid of his torture chamber, in his personal dungeon.
The Girls of Nazarene Affair: Solo and Kuryakin make a trip to the Riviera to investigate claims of a serum that grants the subject supernatural strength and is even rumored to have the ability to raise the dead.
The Odd Man Affair: Napoleon and Illya find themselves sort of babysitting a retired agent of U.N.C.L.E. played by Psycho’s Martin Balsam who has been brought out of retirement to impersonate a crime lord. The problem is he doesn’t want to be saddled with the younger agents and decides to run the operation on his own.
A big thanks to our friends from Warner Bros. for letting me review this collection, if you are a fan of spies and more importantly classic television then do yourself a favor and pick up the Man from U.N.C.L.E. complete first season!