We just wanted to wish Mr. Norman Felton a happy 96th birthday. It was Felton, looking for a change of pace from producing TV dramas, who spearheaded the project that would become The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Felton had a notion about a character he dubbed Edgar Solo, who seemed ordinary but worked for a special agency. Felton hoped to entice Ian Fleming into the project. But the author didn’t want to offend Eon Productions, which was beginning to crank out James Bond movies. Nevertheless, Fleming contributed a few ideas, including renaming the hero Napoleon Solo.
While it would be writer/producer Sam Rolfe who’d bring everything to life, it was Felton who oversaw The Man From U.N.C.L.E. for all four of its seasons, 105 episodes and eight theatrical movies developed from episodes.
Back in 2002, HMSS wrote about how Felton’s papers (along with those of 007 screenwriter Richard Maibaum) are stored at the University of Iowa.
And, below, are the end titles of The Giuoco Piano Affair, a first-season episode. In the final shot, that’s Mr. Felton looking over a chessboard at a party scene. Once again, happy birthday, Mr. F.