007’s intersections with U.N.C.L.E.

We were watching some DVDs and kept getting reminded about how the world of James Bond intersects with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Those intersections go beyond the basic category of spy-related entertainment.

A few examples:

Luciana Paluzzi. The Italian actress was hired to pad out the pilot of U.N.C.L.E. in case the series didn’t sell and a “movie” could be salvaged. As it turned out, the Paluzzi footage showed up in both formats: on TV as The Four-Steps Affair and in the “movie” To Trap A Spy, where she was billed as “special guest star.” The TV version was shown while Thunderball, the fourth 007 film where she appears as the femme fatale, was still in production.

“Bon appetit.” U.N.C.L.E. agent Illya Kuryakin utters this line in The Gazebo in the Maze Affair, a first-season episode that aired in the spring of 1965. The impetus was outsmarting a thug so a wolf was devouring him. James Bond (Sean Connery) utters the same line in You Only Live Twice after tossing Blofeld’s thug Hans into a pool of man-eating fish.

The Incredible World of James Bond was a 1965 special that aired on NBC and was produced to promote the upcoming Thunderball. It aired in U.N.C.L.E.’s time slot in the 1965-66 television season. Evidently, NBC figured there was what executives would not call “synergy.”

Solo: The hero on U.N.C.L.E. was originally to be called Edgar Solo. The show’s producer, Norman Felton, wanted to get Ian Fleming on board and the author suggest Napoleon was a much better first name. So it came to be. Solo also happened to be one of the gangster names in Goldfinger (and had appeared in Fleming’s 1959 novel). This coincidence became Eon Productions’ main point in trying to stop U.N.C.L.E. (which was to originally have been called Solo). Eon didn’t have much of a case to actually halt the series but Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer agreed to shelve the Solo title to settle the case. Eon got its revenge (possibly unintentionally) by having the gangster Solo killed in spectacular fashion and in a way not used in Fleming’s original novel.

There are, actually, lots more. Just click RIGHT HERE.