Evolution of the spy turtleneck

David McCallum's main titles credit in the final season

David McCallum’s main titles credit in the final season

The unveiling of SPECTRE’s teaser caused a bit of stir when it was released on social media on Tuesday.

Star Daniel Craig, instead of the traditional Bond tuxedo or business suit, wore a black turtleneck as well as a shoulder holster while holding a gun. While a different look for the current 007, turtlenecks and spies have gone together for a half century. Here’s a quick look.

David McCallum, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: U.N.C.L.E. agent Illya Kuryakin had an iconic look with his black turtleneck. Ironically, he actually didn’t wear it that often in the show but it’s an image that many people remember.

As we noted IN THIS POST, Jon Heitland’s Man From U.N.C.L.E. book includes a photo of McCallum making an appearance in a parade accompanied by Boy Scout “bodyguards” wearing turtlenecks and carrying toy U.N.C.L.E. Special guns. The actor, though, was wearing a suit and tie.

Occasionally, Kuryakin might vary his wardrobe by wearing a gray turtleneck or, in a second-season episode, a white one with a red jacket when he was going undercover as a musician. Armie Hammer, who has the Kuryakin role in this year’s movie version of the series, has worn dark turtlenecks.

Dean Martin as Matt Helm with Stella Stevens in The Silencers.

Dean Martin and Stella Stevens in The Silencers.

Dean Martin, Matt Helm movies: Matt sometimes wore suits but he often favored light-colored turtlenecks, including tan and yellow ones. In the final film of the series, The Wrecking Crew, Helm donned a black turtleneck with white jacket and pants.

Sy Devore designed Dean Martin’s clothes for the 1966-68 film series. For whatever reason, turtlenecks (as well as dress cowboy boots) were a big part of the Matt Helm look. Devore had other celebrity customers, which is noted ON THE HOME PAGE of the store that bears his name.

Another moment of 007 clothing splendor

Another moment of 007 clothing splendor

Sean Connery, Diamonds Are Forever: Some fans make fun of the pink power tie that Sean Connery wore as 007 in his sixth Bond film for Eon Productions.

Yet, he had another outfit that sometimes draws comments: a brown turtleneck with a plaid sport jacket. Anthony Sinclair, it wasn’t. It’s only seen during a brief sequence where Bond accompanies Willard Whyte (Jimmy Dean) to find out what Blofeld (Charles Gray) has been doing with Whyte’s business empire. Bond is back in a three-piece suit for the climax aboard an oil rig.

Roger Moore in Live And Let Die

Roger Moore in Live And Let Die

Roger Moore, Live And Let Die: Many Bond fans reacted to the SPECTRE teaser by saying it was an homage to Roger Moore in his initial 007 film in 1973. The actor donned black turtleneck and pants along with a shoulder holster to sneak around San Monique prior to rescuing Solitaire (Jane Seymour) and taking down Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto). The outfit was also similar to an outfit Steve McQueen wore in Bullitt, which came out five years earlier.

UPDATE (March 18): Feedback here (see Orange Wetsuit’s comment below) and on social media call for mentions of:

–Jonny Quest and his trademark black turtleneck. He wasn’t a spy, of course, but Race Bannon was.

–The Saint (Roger Moore), who, while not a spy, did wear turtlenecks as part of “sneaking around” outfits.

–Derek Flint (James Coburn), who wore a white turtleneck as part of a white outfit in In Like Flint.

–The Archer spy cartoon series.

The U.N.C.L.E. movie’s `Easter eggs’

Napoleon Solo, past and present

Napoleon Solo, past and present

As filming of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie continued this week in Italy, it seems as if the film has “Easter eggs” for fans of the original 1964-68 series.

The term “Easter Eggs” could be heard this summer when Warner Bros.’s Man of Steel, which starred Henry Cavill, came out. There were references to other DC Comics characters, such as a Wayne Enterprises sign on a satellite or refernces to references to Lexcorp, the conglomerate run by Lex Luthor. The idea is provide fans of the source material a little something extra while (the studio hopes) providing a movie that appeals to a broader audience.

The U.N.C.L.E. movie may be doing something similar.

Cavill, who’s playing the Napoleon Solo role originated by Robert Vaughn, was photographed in a black outfit, including a black jacket, apparently as part of a sequence where U.N.C.L.E.’s ace sneaking about. The black jacket, shirt and pants looks similar to outfits Vaughn wore in episodes of the series such as The Quadripartite Affair and The Dippy Blonde Affair.

Cavill's Solo, complete with pinkie ring

Cavill’s Solo, complete with pinkie ring

Earlier in the week, Cavill was photographed in a suit and wearing a pinkie ring. Such as ring was also a trademark of the original Solo. Now, Cavill has been photographed with a pinkie ring at other times, as can seen on the home page of the DAILYCAVILL.COM fan Web site. So it may just be coincidence.

On the other hand, Armie Hammer, who plays Illya Kuryakin, the role originated by David McCallum, has been seen seen in a turtleneck, which was one of the trademarks of McCullum/Kuryakin.

Even assuming all of these are intentional “Easter eggs,” that doesn’t mean director Guy Ritchie won’t put his own spin on the material. The guess here is he will, and in ways that remain to be seen.

What’s more, Man of Steel, despite its “Easter eggs,” made some major adjustments to the Superman mythos, including the Clark Kent-Lois Lane relationship and having the hero take the life of villain General Zod whereupon the comic book Superman once took a vow to never kill. The repercussions of the latter is supposed to be explored in the Superman-Batman film that Cavill will film in 2014.

As for the U.N.C.L.E. movie, one request. No clogs for Solo as an “Easter egg,” please.

Return of the iconic U.N.C.L.E. turtleneck?

Photo of Armie Hammer and Guy Ritchie that appeared in the Daily Mail

Photo by Xposurephotos.com of Armie Hammer and Guy Ritchie that appeared in the Daily Mail

The Daily Mail newspaper in the U.K. published a SEPT. 21 STORY about filming of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie that indicates Illya Kuryakin’s iconic turtleneck is making a return.

The story has a photo of actor Armie Hammer and director Guy Ritchie. Hammer, who has the Kuryakin role played by David McCallum in the 1964-68 original show, is wearing a cap, jacket and a turtleneck. Hammer has been seen with the cap in other published photos with Henry Cavill, who plays Napoleon Solo, who was played by Robert Vaughn in the original series. But many of those photos didn’t hae a clear view of Hammer’s face.

The turtleneck was part an iconic look for McCallum/Kuryakin. The actor didn’t even wear a turtleneck in that many episodes. He was more often seen in a simple black suit, white shirt and black tie.

David McCallum's main titles credit in the final season

David McCallum’s main titles credit in the final season

Nevertheless, many original fans still remember Kuryakin with the turtleneck. On page 40 of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. book by Jon Heitland, there’s a photo of McCallum (in suit and tie) in a parade accompanied by Boy Scout “bodyguards” wearing turtlenecks and carrying toy U.N.C.L.E. Special guns. In the show’s final season, the main titles were reshot to have McCallum in a turtleneck.