2021’s spy entertainment “In Memoriam”

As 2021 draws to a close, here’s a look at those who contributed to spy entertainment (or at least spy-related). These are not listed in any particular order.

Cicely Tyson (1924-2021), actress: Distinguished actress. Her many credits included appearances on I Spy and Mission: Impossible.

Leslie Bricusse (1931-2021), songwriter: Bricusse had a varied career that included collaborating with the likes of John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith and Henry Mancini among others.

In the 1960s, he worked with Barry on Goldfinger, Thunderball (the “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” song that wasn’t used but figured into the score) and You Only Live Twice. He worked with Goldsmith on “Your ZOWIE Face” from In Like Flint.

Nikki van der Zyl (1935-2021), voice artist: She voiced over Ursula Andress and other actresses during the run of Eon Productions’ James Bond film series. Eon also called upon her services to dub Anita Ekberg in Call Me Bwana, the comedy Eon made in-between Dr. No and From Russia With Love.

Yaphet Kotto (1939-2021), actor: He played Dr. Kananga, the villain in the film version of Live And Let Die. Kotto had a long career. He became an actor in the dying days of “old Hollywood.” One of his early films was Five Card Stud, a Dean Martin-Robert Mitchum western produced by Hal B. Wallis who had produced Casablanca.

William P. Cartlidge (1942-2021), production staff: Cartlidge worked on three James Bond movies directed by Lewis Gilbert — You Only Live Twice (as assistant director), The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker (as associate producer).

Jack Turley (1927-2021), writer: American television writer whose work included episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The FBI.

Arthur Weingarten (1935-2021), writer/producer: He penned episodes of The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Later, he had the title of executive story consultant for the final season of The FBI and wrote an episode for that show. He later became a producer of U.S. television shows.

Peter Mark Richman (1927-2021), actor: Veteran character actor who often played villains. His many credits included appearances on The Man From U.N.C.L.E., It Takes a Thief, and Mission: Impossible. He also starred in spy-fi curiosity Agent From H.A.R.M.

Tanya Roberts (1955-2021), actress: She played Stacey Sutton, the lead female character in A View to a Kill. She previously had been in Charlie’s Angels.

Tommy Lane (1936-2021), actor/stuntman: Lane played Adam, one of Dr. Kananga’s henchmen in Live And Let Die. In a movie full of colorful characters, he still made an impact. In the movie’s boat chase, Adam has a faster boat than Bond (Roger Moore). That forces Bond to improvise.

Jessica Walter (1941-2021), actress: Walter enjoyed a long career. That included two episodes of The FBI where her characters were part of espionage rings.

Edward Asner (1929-2021), actor: Veteran actor who played the gruff Lou Grant in two series (The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant). He also played villains on The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and The Wild Wild West.

Neil Connery (1938-2021), actor: The younger brother of Sean Connery was cast in the lead of a Bond takeoff titled Operation Kid Brother or OK Connery depending on which version you saw. The movie featured other actors (Adolfo Celi, Daniela Bianchi, Anthony Dawson, Bernard Lee, and Lois Maxwell) who had appeared in Eon’s 007 film series. The movie was even released by United Artists. In the movie, Neil Connery plays “Dr. Neil Connery.” He uses hypnotism as if it were a superpower.

Frank McRae (1941-2021), actor: The one-time football player transitioned to acting. His roles included Sharkey, the likable “sacrificial lamb” in 1989’s Licence to Kill.

Richard Donner (1930-2021), director: Donner is best known for directing the 1978 Superman film with Christopher Reeve and the Lethal Weapon series of movies. In the 1960s, working in television, he directed episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West and Get Smart. In the 1980s, Donner was offered Never Say Never Again but turned it down.

John Pearson (1930-2021), writer: Pearson wrote on various subjects, including a 1966 biography of Ian Fleming. Pearson had worked with Fleming at The Sunday Times.

Charles “Jerry” Juroe (1923-2021), publicist: Juroe’s long career included stints as a publicist at United Artists and Eon Productions. He published a book about his career in 2018.

Al Harrington (1935-2021), actor: Harrington was a cast member of the original Hawaii Five-O series during the show’s fifth through seventh seasons.

Frank Jacobs (1929-2021), writer: Jacobs wrote many parodies for Mad magazine. In 1965, he penned a satiric version of a James Bond musical. The songs were sung to the tune of songs from Oklahoma!

Michael Apted (1941-2021), director: Apted was known for directing dramas as well as working on the 7-Up series of documentaries. His selection to direct The World Is Not Enough (1999) was seen as unusual.

Helen McCrory (1968-2021), actress: English stage and film actress, she had a key role in Skyfall (2012).

Arthur Weingarten, TV writer-producer, dies

Robert Vaughn and Leo G. Carroll in a moment from The Thrush Roulette Affair, written by Arthur Weingarten

Arthur Weingarten, a writer or producer on various U.S. television series in the 1960s into the 1990s, has died at 86.

His death was noted on the In Memoriam page of the Writers Guild of America West website.

Weingarten wrote for both The Man and The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, The Green Hornet, Honey West and The Name of the Game.

He also worked on different Quinn Martin shows, including Dan August (writer), The FBI (executive story consultant in the final season) and The Manhunter (producer).

On The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., Weingarten penned The Carpathian Caper Affair. That episode was typical of the show’s campy style. Carpathian Caper included a giant toaster death trap.

Yet, on The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Weingarten wrote The Thrush Roulette Affair which was in line with the darker tone of that series’ final season. The episode included a brainwashed Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) trying to kill fellow agent Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn).

The producer of Man’s final season was Anthony Spinner. He’d hire Weingarten to work on QM’s Dan August and The FBI.

Napoleon Solo’s blood type and continuity

Fugitive Nazi scientist Prof. Amadeus about to drain Napoleon Solo of his blood in The Deadly Games Affair.

Fugitive Nazi scientist Volp about to drain Solo of his blood in The Deadly Games Affair.

In the 1960s, continuity wasn’t a high priority for the makers of television series. It turns out The Man From U.N.C.L.E. had a remarkable piece of continuity — intended or not.

In the first season, in The Deadly Games Affair, Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin (Robert Vaughn and David McCallum) are on the trail of a fugitive Nazi scentist, Wolfgang Volp (Alexander Scourby). It turns out Volp, who now calls himself Professor Amadeus and teaches in a New York City-area college, is selling off rare stamps.

Volp/Amadeus isn’t working on any ordinary project. It turns out he has Adolf Hitler in suspended animation. But the scientist needs “fresh, whole blood” to reanimate his former boss. He’s selling off his rare stamps to buy enough blood for the task. Solo falls into Volp’s hands. This turns out to be the answer to Volp’s “last, desperate prayers” because Solo has the same blood type as Hitler.

Needless to say, things don’t go the way Volp wants. Solo wheels Hitler into a fire. Volp, who can’t stand it anymore, throws himself into the flames as well.

To be sure, the name “Hitler” isn’t actually uttered. But in the context of the episode (particularly Solo’s look of horror when he finds Hitler in suspended animation) it can’t be anybody else.

Flash forward to the show’s final season. In The Thrush Roulette Affair, around the 38:00 mark, the viewer gets a look at a Thrush dossier of Solo. We’re told he’s 6-foot tall (taller than actor Robert Vaughn) and weights 175 pounds. It also says Solo’s blood type is A.

Well, according to the website WHAT’S MY BLOOD TYPE, the two episodes are actually consistent. Solo had type A. Hitler had type A. (So did Alan Alda, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon.)

Was this actually planned? Doubtful. The Deadly Games Affair was written by Dick Nelson, who penned three first-season episodes and never worked on the show again. The Thrush Roulette Affair was written by Arthur Weingarten, who never worked on the series before its final season. Also, there’s no guarantee that Weingarten supplied the Solo dossier materials.

Anyway, given how continuity was normally an afterthought in 1960s shows, it’s remarkable the two references actually match up.

UPDATE (March 20): In case you’re wondering how common Type A is, the answer is at LIVESCIENCE.COM.

In the U.S.,34 percent of the population has A-positive and 7 percent has A-negative. The most common type is O-positive at 38 percent. The rarest is AB-negative at 1 percent.