#JusJoJan: Solo…

…as in Napoleon Solo…

L-R: Ilya Kuryakin (David McCallum), Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn), Alexander Waverley (Leo G. Carroll). Source: Pinterest

The Man From UNCLE. Man, we loved that show. UNCLE (okay, U. N. C. L. E.) was an organization named United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Its top agent was Napoleon Solo, a sort of James Bond ripoff who went about the world preventing agents of Thrush (I don’t think it stood for anything) from hatching wild plots to take over the world and subjugate all of humanity to their evil ways. Oh, and to seduce beautiful women. His partner was the Russian Ilya Kuryakin, who did most of the work and almost never got the girl. Their boss was Alexander Waverley, who was the typical manager, admonishing Solo on what not to do on his next assignment and admonishing him after the assignment for what he did and for not turning in his paperwork.

Solo was the focus of the show, but naturally we liked Kuryakin better. He was the guy who got dirty and got to use all the cool gadgets, and we liked his accent, Russian via the Highlands of Scotland (McCallum being a proud Glaswegian). We weren’t quite into girls just yet, so we didn’t quite understand the appeal of Napoleon Solo. Strangely, all our female classmates dug Kuryakin as well.

I didn’t pick this up until I had a chance to watch the reruns on MeTV: the first season was shot entirely in black&white. It was kind of strange, as the series ran on NBC in the US, which made a big deal about being an “all-color” network soon after the first season. Didn’t matter: we didn’t have a color TV until 1972, anyway, and the series ran from 1964 to 1968, during my third grade through sixth grade years at St. Ignatius School. We didn’t know the difference, and frankly, we didn’t care. You don’t miss what you never had…

The lovely Linda Hill is the hostess of Just Jot It January. Today’s prompt comes to us courtesy of Dar of Darswords.

25 thoughts on “#JusJoJan: Solo…

  1. You know, this show was never in syndication qhwn I watched TV so I never saw it. I’d love to see some episodes. I loved David in The Great Escape. I also liked the film version of this TV Show that flopped at the box office but, I think, is quite clever.

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    1. Movie adaptations of TV shows tend to flop. They adapted “The Avengers” (the one with Patric MacNee and Diana Rigg) as a movie with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman, which I thought was okay but hardly anyone went to see. I’m kind of hesitant to see the big-screen “Man From UNCLE” because the whizbang technology from the ’60’s is practically commonplace now.

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  2. This show was a regular for my husband when he was young. I, never having seen it, had no idea what the show’s premise was until now. Happy to have read your summary!

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    1. Apparently the meaning of the acronym THRUSH was created by the guy who wrote the novelizations, David McDaniel. Producer Norman Felton insisted it was just a name. For what it’s worth… I kind of like the acronym, myself…

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  3. U.N.C.L.E. = United Network Command for Law and Enforcement

    Wikipedia says

    U.N.C.L.E.’s primary adversary was Thrush. The original series never divulged who or what Thrush represented, nor was it ever used as an acronym. In the U.N.C.L.E. novels written by David McDaniel, it stands for the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity, described as having been founded by Colonel Sebastian Moran after the death of Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls in the Sherlock Holmes short story “The Final Problem”. But in a second season episode, guest star Jessie Royce Landis plays a character who claims that she founded Thrush. Producer Felton always insisted that Thrush was not an acronym and stood for nothing.

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    1. He’s kind of semi-retired from that, isn’t he? He turned 90 this past year… Did you ever see the show “VR.5”? He had a small role in that. He was in “The Great Escape,” too. A great actor…

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