Danny Biederman’s spy fi collection

Danny Biederman has an impressive collection of spy fiction props, covering James Bond, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart and much more. Biederman has uploaded a YouTube video of highlights of news reports when parts of his collection were displayed at the CIA and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

During clips of the movies and shows in question, there’s music from a Gerald Fried tune originally composed for U.N.C.L.E. and part of Jerry Goldsmith’s score for Our Man Flint.

Take a look:

Almost 30 years ago, Biederman and Robert Short attempted to put together a movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (CLICK HERE and scroll to the second entry). They had gotten Bond veteran production designer Ken Adam interested in the project but it was not to be. There’s also a clip of Robert Conrad wishing he had kept James West’s sleeve gun that’s part of Biederman’s collection.

Happy birthday No. 78, Robert Vaughn

Robert Vaughn, the original Napoleon Solo (aka The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), turned 78 today. We wish Mr. V a happy birthday. Here’s a clip from Vaughn’s final performance as Solo, the television movie The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. It includes the original CBS intro and the main titles. The Jerry Goldsmith theme is there, in an arrangement by Gerald Fried, who scored the most episodes of the original series:

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: variation on a theme

It’s a few days before The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’s 45th anniversary. So here’s are variations on a theme — namely the Jerry Goldsmith-composed theme.

There were five different versions of the opening theme (two in the first season), and four different end title versions. Here’s an first-season end title, using an edited version of Goldsmith’s original. The episode is The King of Knaves Affair, the last to feature an original Goldsmith score:

For season two, Lalo Schifrin did a new arrangement. Here it is from the end titles of Alexander the Greater Affair Part II:

By season three, Gerald Fried had become the lead composer for the show and he was given the chance to do his arrangement of the Goldsmith theme. This is from The Galtea Affair, which ran early that season.

For season 4, Fried did another new arrangement that was rejected. That version turned up in one of the U.N.C.L.E. CDs produced by TV and movie music expert Jon Burlingame. Instead, MGM music boss Robert Armbruster came up with a brassy arrangement that fit in with a more serious tone that occurred with season 4 episodes. The title of this episode was The “J” For Judas Affair:

UPDATE: We were remiss in not pointing out that Sept. 19 was David McCallum’s 76th birthday. So happy birthday, DMc.

UPDATE II: The Bish’s Beat blog reminded us of something we should have linked — namely, a 2004 HMSS interview with Jon Burlingame about the U.N.C.L.E. soundtrack CDs. Better late than never, you can view it by CLICKING RIGHT HERE.

HMSS nominations for top composers for 1960s spy entertainment

In a previous post, we touched upon this subject. The more we thought about it, the more we thought we had an excuse to make another post. So, without further ado:

1) John Barry: arranger, The James Bond Theme, in Dr. No; composer, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Ipcress File, The Quller Memorandum.

Born in 1933, Barry (birth name John Barry Prendergast) helped shape the James Bond Theme and composed the score for five of the first six 007 movies. On top of that, he did the scores for two more serious 1960s spy movies. That’s an enormous legacy, no matter how you view it.

2) tie, Jerry Goldsmith and Lalo Schifrin. For Goldsmith: composer The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Theme, three episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (with those scores repeated in numerous first- and fourth-season episodes); composer, Our Man Flint, In Like Flint, Our Man Flint, The Chairman.

For Schifrin: arranger of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Theme (second season), composer, Murderers Row, composer theme, Mission: Impossible plus several episodes of that series, composer, The President’s Analyst, The Liquidator.

To be honest, you could make the case for either composer. Goldsmith is no longer with us, but Schifrin (b. 1932) is still around. So we’ll make it a tie.

3. Gerald Fried: composer for numerous episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible. A sometimes overlooked artist, he also composed music for several episodes of the original Star Trek series including an episode when Kirk fought Spock, which Jim Carrey used in The Cable Guy.

4. Richard Markowitz: Who, you ask. Well he composed the theme for The Wild, Wild West and quite a few episodes during that series first two seasons.

5. Robert Drasnin: composed scores for episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E, The Wild, Wild West, (including the “Dr. Loveless Theme”) and Mission: Impossible, he is perhaps the least know of the composers on this list. But he is far from the least talented.

6. Hugo Montenegro: arranger, two albums of music from The Man From U.N.C.L.E.; composer, The Ambushers, The Wrecking Crew. Montenegro’s two U.N.C.L.E. albums have fans to this day. He also composed scores for two of the four Matt Helm movies starring Dean Martin.

Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. out on DVD

The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the 1983 made-for-TV movie, came out on DVD this week. It wasn’t included when the original series came out on DVD in 2007. So here’s a look, starting with the main titles:

Gerald Fried, the veteran composer who did more MFU episodes than any other composer, was hired for the ’83 TV movie and did the arrangement of the Jerry Goldsmith theme. While OK, some fans aren’t happy with it. However, Mike Post was the choice at one time to be the composer for Return. Fried ended up being one one of two U.N.C.L.E. crew members on the film. (Director of photography Fred Koenekamp being the other).

The U.N.C.L.E. TV movie also featured George Lazenby (sort of) reprising his role as James Bond. It was filmed at the same time Roger Moore was going before the cameras in Octopussy and Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again. Thus, it was the only time all of the actors playing Bond were doing the role (sort of, at least) at the same time. Take a look:

Of course, it should be remembered that Ian Fleming helped (in a small way; Sam Rolfe did the heavy lifting) to create the original show.