How U.N.C.L.E. was ahead of its time on drones

Robert Vaughn in a first-season main title.

Robert Vaughn in a first-season main title.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. showed up in an unusual place: JIMROMENESKO.COM, a website about trends in journalism.

Romenesko, run by its namesake, Jim Romenesko, had a post concerning a journalism professor trying to track down early media mentions of drones.

The professor, Barney McCoy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, wrote the following to Romemesko:

The FAA’s restrictions over the commercial use of drones in this country left me and Matt Waite, Drone Lab founder in UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, discussing the earliest media mentions of drones.

Then I recalled a drone memory I had from a popular fictional TV show from the 1960′s.

The show was The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and the specific episode was “The Mad, MAD Tea Party Affair from the first season. McCoy asked Romenesko readers if they knew of any earlier media depiction of drones.

The professor also uploaded a YouTube video of a scene from the episode. He included an audio recording of the Hugo Montenegro-arranged version of Jerry Goldsmith’s theme music that most definitely wasn’t part of the episode.

In any case, in the clip, a drone sort of attacks U.N.C.L.E. headquarters in New York. which Robert Vaughn’s Napoleon Solo and David McCallum’s Illya Kuryakin have to deal with. Those who have seen the episode are aware of the twists that follow.

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