Tracing Ian Fleming’s involvement with U.N.C.L.E.

Ian Fleming

We’ve referenced Craig Henderson’s U.N.C.L.E. timeline that details 007-U.N.C.L.E. ties going back more than a century. With the news of the recent death of Norman Felton, executive producer of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., we decided to revisit that site, in particular the parts that dealt with Ian Fleming’s role in the 1964-68 television show.

Henderson’s research shows Fleming was quite interested for a time. Fleming’s first meeting with Felton was at the end of October 1962. By Nov. 21 of that year, according to an excerpt of Henderson’s timeline:

First presentation — 12 typewritten pages with a cover sheet reading “Basic Material Pertinent To… A New One Hour Television Series… SOLO. Assembled by: Ian Fleming and Norman Felton” — is sent by Jerry Leider of Ashley-Steiner to Jack Ball at J. Walter Thompson. (snip)

Fleming’s interest continues into early 1963. Also, lawyers already were doing research to ensure nothing in the television project infringed on the James Bond film rights held by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Fleming first indicates a change of heart on May 28, his 55th birthday, and signs away his U.N.C.L.E. rights on June 26.

To read more, CLICK HERE FOR 1962 DATES, HERE FOR 1963 DATES and HERE FOR 1964 DATES. You get an idea of some of Fleming’s suggested plot lines and the origins of Eon’s 1964 lawsuit and how it affected development of the show. (Among other things, the villainous organization Thrush was called MAGGOTT for a time in development.)