The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was originally a television adventures series first released in 1964. The books followed fairly close behind starting in 1965. They were a wonderful series full of tongue in cheek references, humour and great actors. Ian Fleming had a big hand in developing this series and there were references to James Bond.

Napoleon Solo was played by Robert Vaughan (currently playing Albert Stroller in Hustle), Ilya Kuryakin by David McCallum (currently playing Dr Donald Mallard in Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service) and Leo G. Carroll played Alexander Waverly. This was the basic cast and many stars of the day had guest roles. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy paired together two years before Star Trek, the gorgeous and glamorous Barbara Feldon (from Get Smart), Robert Culp, Vincent Price, Joan Collins, Terry-Thomas, Nancy Sinatra, Leslie Nielson, Kurt Russell and Angela Lansbury among many others.

There appear to be 23 books in the core collection and others in the periphery as well as some spinoffs. For many years I thought I had the whole collection until tonight when I thought I’d talk about them and in doing some research discovered I’m quite a way off. I have numbers 1 through to 16, The ABC of Espionage and The Girl From Espionage numbers 1 and 3 and the best one of all is one I can’t name as it’s in Hebrew. And just to make collecting harder I’ve been checking the titles I have with this list on Wikipedia and they don’t match up so I have no idea which ones I’m missing. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more.

I’ve read all of the English ones several times and the magic has been the same each time. I’ve also managed to pick up some recordings on VHS of some of the episodes. How I picked them up is an interesting story and I only have my part of it. Some amazing person had carefully recorded many, many series and movies from the TV. They had taken great care to remove as many ads as possible, labelling the cases with the appropriate clipping from the The Age’s Green Guide and a catalogue number. I can’t believe the amount of work and care that went into amassing this collection, when we saw them outside the house there were three big boxes and more arrived some time later. We managed to pick up some treasures including a couple of episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Dad’s Army.