Alan Caillou: Colorful writer-actor

Alan Caillou, right, with Albert Paulsen in The Terbuf Affair, an episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. that he also wrote.

Another in a series of unsung figures of television.

Alan Caillou (born Alan Samuel Lyle-Smythe in England in 1914) worked in front of and behind the camera.

He appeared on television shows as a character actor sporting a distinctive mustache. Behind the camera, he spun colorful tales as a writer. At times, he acted in stories he had written.

In the 1930s, he served as a member of the Palestine Police. During World War II, he served in the Intelligence Corps. It was during this time he adopted Caillou as an alias. According to his Wikipedia entry, he was captured in North Africa and imprisoned in Italy.

After the war, Lyle-Smythe returned for a time to the Palestine Police and then various posts in Africa. He later moved to Canada.

Lyle-Smythe eventually moved to California, where he was frequently employed in various television productions. His IMDB.COM ENTRY lists 80 credits as an actor and 28 as a writer.

One of the shows where Lyle-Smythe had a major impact was The Man From U.N.C.L.E. He wrote five first-season episodes and appeared in one. The character of Illya Kuryakin had been created by Sam Rolfe. But Lyle-Smythe’s scripts expanded the mystique of the character. He wrote the first U.N.C.L.E. story, The Bow-Wow Affair, where the primary attention was on Kuryakin.

Lyle-Smythe was back at the start of U.N.C.L.E.’s second season. But there was a new production team and Lyle-Smythe departed after writing two scripts (and making another appearance). He would also appear in two episodes of The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., strictly as an actor.

Lyle-Smythe died in 2006 in Arizona at the age of 91.

2 Responses

  1. I interviewed him at his home in Sedona, Arizona, in 2001 I think. Afterward he took me on a wild ride in his car over the nearby hills to see the scenery that city is known for. A wonderfully kind man, he had a genuine fondness for the U.N.C.L.E. Series.

  2. An enjoyable retrospective on AC and one of my most favorite contributors. In terms of storyline and setting he seemed to know what fans wanted. The Giuoco Piano Affair w/ famous chess scene, cameos by Rolf, Calvelli, Felton, Donner, but (modestly speaking) wasn’t in it himself. But he did in the Terbuf Affair (as you’ve noted) also a very nicely written premise. A deeper range of emotions expressed than usual, by catching the natural chemistry between the characters/actors. Especially NS’s rare emotion at the end in realizing he’s lost his old flame for good. What he knew, is that the plot only works, when the relationships do!

    Thank you for spotlighting the MFU, is always appreciated!!

    p.s. the comment added by Jon Heitland, how grateful we were for his book!

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