Happy 76th birthday Robert Vaughn

It’s been a quarter century since we’ve heard Robert Vaughn say, “Open Channel D” in The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. TV movie. But it’s still worth noting the actor’s 76th birthday today. His autobiography is out and he’s enjoying a late-career revival with the Hustle television series.

Forty-five years ago today, Vaughn was having another active birthday. He was filming the pilot to a series to be called Solo when word reached the set that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

The Solo name spurred Eon Productions to sue to try and shut down the show. Eon would be unsuccessful but the series name, of course, was changed to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. And, for a time, it was so popular that series episodes would be turned into “movies” (including extra footage for the paying customers). Here’s the trailer for To Trap a Spy, based on the pilot episode, The Vulcan Affair. Connery-era Bond fans will appreciate the inclusion of Luciana Paluzzi:

Two notes about the trailer. The shots of David McCallum aren’t from the pilot episode/movie. He was barely in it and those shots are from a later episode/movie (Alexander the Greater Affair parts I and II/One Spy Too Many). Also at the end of the trailer the announcer tells us excitedly the movie is in color. The pilot was filmed in color but a black and white print was shown on television.

Finally, there’s quite a bit in common between U.N.C.L.E. and Bond. To look at a pretty good list, click RIGHT HERE.