1966: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. meets The Beatles

This month marks the 45th anniversary of The Beatles’ final U.S. tour, which included a meeting the group sought with Robert Vaughn, the star of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

According to a 2004 blog post by Derek Lamar, the meeting took place on Aug. 24, 1966, at the Capitol Records building. The blog entry includes a photograph. Here’s an excerpt:

All sorts of people started showing up: both to gawk as well as to be let into the basement door in the back of the building. Robert Vaughn showed up and everyone yelled their support for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. television show.

Vaughn, then 33, wasn’t there as a Beatles groupie. Instead, the Fab Four were fans of the show, which was in production for its third season. They wanted to see the actor who played Napoleon Solo. Lee Pfeiffer, publisher of Cinema Retro magazine, briefly describes how it came about around the 3:50 mark of this video related to the 2007 release of U.N.C.L.E. DVDs:

Pfeiffer also wrote about Vaughn describing the meeting in a post on Cinema Retro’s Web site. Here’s an excerpt:

(Vaughn) also recalled an ill-advised meet-up with The Beatles that turned to potential disaster when word leaked out. The crowds were so crazed, Vaughn and the Fab Four had to be rescued in an armored car.

To see another photo of the meeting, CLICK HERE.

This was just part of the ending of an era. The Beatles became strictly a studio band after this, according to Wikipedia’s entry on the group. U.N.C.L.E.’s popularity, meanwhile, had reached its peak and less than 18 months later, it would be canceled in January 1968.

The meeting, though, is significant for fans of 1960s spy entertainment. James Bond in 1964′s Goldfinger referred to drinking warm champagne as being as bad as “listening to the Beatles without earmuffs.” Ian Fleming’s other spy, Napoleon Solo (at least the actor who played him) got to hang with the band. As people might say today in the 21st Century, “Way to go, Dawg!”

(Thanks to our friend Marc for a research assist.)

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One Response

  1. Actually, I’d think (if they were big Sean Connery fans… but, then again, why wouldn’t they be?) they would be more likely to say “You’re the man now, dawg!”

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