July 1963: U.N.C.L.E. presses on without Fleming

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'s logo from a second-season episode

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’s logo from a 2nd-season episode

With Ian Fleming out of the picture, producer Norman Felton continued to press on with his TV spy project that would eventually become The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

NBC was still interested, but Felton would have to make a pilot episode. NBC had been willing for dispense with a pilot had it been able to promote the show as being created by the James Bond author.

Sam Rolfe, who had been working on the project since March, continued writing a detailed outline for the show. It had gone from a five-page memo in May to a 40-page presentation in early July, according to Craig Henderson’s U.N.C.L.E. TIMELINE.

Rolfe elaborated on the character of Napoleon Solo and devised new characters, including Mr. Allison, the U.N.C.L.E. chief, and a Russian agent, Illya Kuryakin. Author Jon Heitland, in his 1986 The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Book, wrote that Rolfe reworked ideas from a series he had proposed called The Dragons and St. George.

Felton hired Rolfe to write the script for the pilot in August and the first draft was submitted in mid-September, according to Henderson’s U.N.C.L.E. Timeline. A second draft would be completed in October and Don Medford, who had credits extending back to 1951, was hired to direct.

The question now was who Felton would cast to bring Napoleon Solo to life.

JANUARY 2013 POST: DON MEDFORD, VERSATILE TV DIRECTOR, DIES

JUNE 2013 POST: JUNE 1963: IAN FLEMING SIGNS AWAY HIS U.N.C.L.E. RIGHTS

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