Jack Turley, veteran TV writer, dies

A group of “test tube” killers in a fourth-season Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode written by Jack Turley

Jack Turley, an American TV writer who was active for three decades, died last month at the age of 93, according to the Writers Guild website.

Turley wrote in various genres including westerns, crime dramas, and soap operas. He found work in spy television shows of the 1960s, including The Man From U.N.C.L.E., I Spy, and Blue Light, the latter a short-lived World War II spy drama starring Robert Goulet.

Turley wrote three U.N.C.L.E. episodes. One of his best-remembered stories was The Test Tube Killer Affair in the show’s fourth season.

The villainous organization Thrush has raised young killers from childhood. One of them, Greg Martin (Christopher Jones) is the prize pupil of the bunch. As a demonstration project, Martin is on a mission to blow up a dam in Greece and destroy a nearby village.

Turley also was often employed by QM Productions. Among the series he wrote for were The Fugitive, 12 O’Clock High, The FBI, and Dan August.

The writer’s IMDB.COM ENTRY lists 54 credits.

1960s: John Frankenheimer directs a spy woman pilot

Sometime in the mid-1960s, CBS had a proposed series starring actress-singer Polly Bergen as a spy for Section Q named Selena.

A 15-minute “presentation” was produced. It consists of several apparently unrelated situations. The director was John Frankenheimer, who by this time already was an accomplished movie director after earlier helming live TV dramas.

Selena works with fellow agent Alex Pierce (James Daly). Selena’s husband had been killed by enemy agents. Selena proves to be an adept operative but refuses to carry a gun. Daly provides narration for the audience.

In the presentation, Selena encounters villainous types played by, among others, Carroll O’Connor (as an assassin disguised as a woman, his voice dubbed for part of the sequence), Albert Paulsen and Reggie Nalder.

At the time, there weren’t many spy shows with such a prominent woman lead aside from The Avengers. You can take a look for yourself below.