The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’s 55th anniversary

Familiar third-season publicity still for The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Adapted and updated from a Sept. 22, 2014 post

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. debuted 55 years ago today with the telecast of The Vulcan Affair on NBC.

The series had false starts. First Ian Fleming was a participant, then after several months he wasn’t, bowing out to pressure from Bond movie producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Then there was threatened legal action from Eon Productions stemming from the show’s original title, Solo.

In turn, the series got a new title and the legal problems went away. The makers of Goldfinger did make one change in their film. A gangster named Solo died the most spectacular death among hoodlums invited to Goldfginer’s Kentucky stud farm, a change from earlier drafts and from Fleming’s original novel. (Adrian Turner’s 1998 book on Goldfinger details the changes in the movie’s script.)

Rough Start

Nor did U.N.C.L.E. get off to an easy start. Airing on Tuesday nights, it was up against The Red Skeleton Show on CBS, which nearly led to cancellation before a mid-season switch to Monday nights.

But the audience discovered the series, eventually ensuring a renewal for a second season for 1965-66, which would be its highest-rated campaign.

Executive Producer Norman Felton (1913-2012) faced other challenges.

His developer-producer Sam Rolfe (1924-1993) departed after the first season and things weren’t quite the same, certainly not as consistent.

Various other producers — David Victor, Boris Ingster and Anthony Spinner among them — put their own stamp on the show with varying degrees of success. Major contributions were made by writers such as Alan Caillou (who arguably shaped the Illya Kuryakin character), Dean Hargrove and Peter Allan Fields.

Time Takes Its Toll

Few of the creative personnel are still with us. In the five years since the show’s 50th anniversary, time has taken its toll. Star Robert Vaughn died in 2016. Fred Koenekamp, who work as director of photography on U.N.C.L.E. got him movie jobs, passed away in 2017. Peter Allan Fields died earlier this year at 84.

Dean Hargrove

There are still survivors. David McCallum just celebrated his 86th birthday. Dean Hargrove, 81, in a long interview in March with the Writer’s Guild Foundation provided some insights into the show. He acknowledged it put him on the map, setting up a long and successful career as a TV writer-producer.

The franchise is in limbo. A 2015 movie based on the series wasn’t a financial success. There was talk of trying to get a sequel going but there’s no sign much is happening.

Hargrove, in the interview this year, said studio Warner Bros. may have simply waited too long to do a movie version.

All of that is a story for another day. For now, happy anniversary, U.N.C.L.E.

Peter Allan Fields, U.N.C.L.E. writer, dies

Movie poster for The Spy in the Green Hat, movie version of The Concrete Overcoat Affair, scripted by Peter Allan Fields

Peter Allan Fields, one of the key writers of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. whose career also extended to The Six Million Dollar Man and Star Trek, has died, according to the Gizmodo website.

He was 84, according to his Wikipedia entry.

Fields had worked at the William Morris Agency. He switched careers to television writing.

Midway during The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’s first season, he was assigned to write an U.N.C.L.E. script.

In the documentary that was part of a 2007 DVD release of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., star Robert Vaughn said Fields simply didn’t know how long it was supposed to take to write a script for a one-hour TV show. As a result, Vaughn said, Fields turned out a “shootable” script in four days, writing one act a day.

His first U.N.C.L.E. credit was The Fiddlesticks Affair. It was the second episode after NBC switched the show to Mondays during its first season (1964-65).

The story evoked Mission: Impossible (which wouldn’t debut until the fall of 1966) where agents Solo (Vaughn) and Kuryakin (David McCallum) plot to blow up a key treasury of the villainous organization Thrush. The episode even was scored by Lalo Schifrin, who’d later do the classic M:I theme.

From that point through the show’s third season, Fields was a major U.N.C.L.E. contributor. Fields also became a friend of Vaughn’s.

Fields’ final writing credit for U.NC.L.E. was the two-part The Concrete Overcoat Affair, which was re-edited into the movie The Spy in the Green Hat for international audiences.

Fields turned out scripts for various shows, including The FBI, McCloud, and The Six Million Dollar Man. He was also one of the story editors for A Man Called Sloan, a 1979 series from QM Productions that contained elements from U.N.C.L.E. and James Bond movies.

The Gizmodo obituary emphasized Fields’ contributions to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Fields; death was referenced by Ira Steven Behr, a producer for that series.

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UPDATE (July 10, 2019): The Writers Guild gave a belated tribute on Twitter to Peter Allan Fields.

 

U.N.C.L.E. script: Nazis and a femme fatale Part II

Solo is about to get the shock of his life when he realizes the identity of “the sleeper.”

Dick Nelson, in writing The Stamp Affair (renamed The Deadly Games Affair when broadcast) came up with a mix of a fugitive Nazi scientist, a femme fatale and (as we’ll soon see) a bit of science fiction.

This wouldn’t be The Man From U.N.C.L.E. without an “innocent,” an ordinary person who gets caught up in the adventure.

Nelson’s script supplies two: a college couple, Chuck Boskirk and Sue Brent (who would be renamed Terry Brent in the final version). They’re planning on getting married.

Chuck has been contacted by an anonymous person. It is Chuck who sold the rare stamp, acting as a middleman, in return for a percentage. For the couple it’s a chance to make extra money and get married sooner.

Chuck calls the auction house. The stamp fetched $6,500. Chuck arranges to come by later to pick up the proceeds.

We soon learn why Chuck was selected to perform this service. One of his instructors at the college is Professor Amadeus, who is none other than fugitive Nazi scientist Wolfgang Krug (Volp in the broadcast version).

Thrush Makes Its Move

At the auction house, U.N.C.L.E. agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin await. Chuck and Sue retrieve the money (all in cash, per the seller’s instructions). Before the agents make their move, a Thrush assault team disguised as security guards (the script calls them “Brinks” men) strikes.

A fight breaks out, some of the Thrush operatives are killed but the criminal organization still manages to kidnap Chuck.

Back at U.N.C.L.E. HQs, Sue is with Solo and Illya. Sue was brought through an alternate entrance (rather than through Del Floria’s), but it’s only described and not shown. Some reference sources refer this as the Mask Club entrance described in Sam Rolfe’s series proposal titled Ian Fleming’s Solo. But there’s no explicit mention of that in the script.

The scene also has Solo describe Thrush to Sue, in effect also reminding the audience about the villainous organization. Thrush was used less in the first season than it would be in subsequent seasons.

In any case, Solo says he has an idea where Chuck may be. In the next scene, Thrush operative Angelique, the story’s femme fatale, appears to rescue Chuck and kill one of the guards.

After Angelique speeds off in her Corvette (supplied by Chevrolet, sponsor for the first-half of the show’s first season), the guard “gets to his feet, unhurt, and brushes himself off.”

Cup of Coffee?

Angelique and Chuck arrive at Chuck’s home. She tells the college student that she’s with U.N.C.L.E. She offers to make him some coffee.

Solo, however, comes by. He’s brought a policeman with him, who arrests Angelique for immigration violations.

Solo fills Chuck in on the real situation and enlists his help. U.N.C.L.E. has been monitoring his telephone from its New York headquarters. Chuck has been getting calls at regular intervals.

Chuck is present at U.N.C.L.E. HQ for another one of the calls with the seller of the stamp and they set up a meeting. Chuck will wear a homing device so Solo can keep track of him.

The meeting goes bad, Professor Amadeus/Krug sets off a bomb and gets away. Sue is injured and is hospitalized. Once Chuck knows Sue is OK, Solo agrees to take Chuck back to the college so he can get Sue’s books.

Solo looks at him for a moment, feeling deeply sympathetic for the boy, who might very well feel resentment for what happened tonight. At this moment, Solo decides he likes Chuck very much. His voice and expression tell us so.

SOLO
It won’t be out of the way.

When Solo and Chuck arrive at the college, Angelique is prowling about. Solo decides to keep her busy while Chuck retrieves Sue’s books. Solo and Angelique engage in some banter for a bit.

Amadeus Runs For It

Unfortunately for Chuck, he encounters Professor Amadeus “who seems to be leaving the premises for good.”

Amadeus convinces Chuck to help load some of his papers to his pickup truck. The Nazi knocks out the student, leaving him in the rear of the truck. Amadeus/Krug drives off. But he’s unaware that Angelique is following him.

Amadeus arrives at his home but is intercepted by Angelique before he can get far. He forces her inside his garage. It turns out the garage is also the entrance to an underground laboratory.

The script has a bit from Angelique that didn’t make the final version where she describes how she made the connection between Krug and Amadeus.

ANGELIQUE
…and when we had young Mister Boskirk under sodium pentathol, we made him name all his acquaintances, you see. And, of course, Professor Amadeus was on the list. Now, earlier this evening, I had a few hours to think….and I recalled Doctor Wolfgang Krug had been named for one of my favorite classical composers…Wolfgang Mozart. I also remembered Mozart had an unusual middle name
(snip)

Angelique’s dialogue in the script goes on for a bit, but she put together that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart might to a clue to Wolfgang Krug.

Solo, meanwhile, is on the way. Chuck’s homing signal still works and he finds the home of Amadeus/Krug. He contacts Illya at headquarters. Solo will break into the house while Illya and back up agents are on the way.

Solo finds a way to the underground lab. While Amadeus and Angelique talk back and forth, the U.N.C.L.E. agent find himself in a room full of tanks that “are vaguely coffin-shaped, are covered with heavy glass, and some kind of liquid bubbles softly inside them.”

In the other room, Amadeus/Krug tells Angelique just how important he was in the Third Reich hierarchy. As he talks/brags, Solo checks out the first tank. Inside is “something shaped like a man.”

CLOSER – SOLO

As he squints down through the vapor and liquid at the face, and in B.G., hears Amadeus’ voice continuing, he begins to realize who it is he is looking at. We see his dawning recognition, incredulity and then horror as Amadeus’ voice rises to a climax:

AMADEUS’ VOICE (O.S. offscreen)
The world thinks he died when Berlin fell…but like Barbarossa in the legend, he only sleeps, waiting to rise up when the fatherland needs him. And I who perfected a process for suspended animation — I alone can wake him!

Solo’s face confirms what Amadeus is saying……he stares as though hypnotized into the face (BELOW FRAME) in the tank. And then, too late, he realizes that the vapor he has been inhaling — the fumes from the tank — are poisonous. He tries to stifle a coughing fit, but does not succeed. Choking, clutching his throat, he slumps to the floor, unconscious.

FADE OUT

To recap, Solo has had a long, hard day. The hunt for a fugitive Nazi scientist has led the intrepid agent to finding ADOLPH HITLER in “suspended animation,” as Krug/Amadeus calls it elsewhere in the script.

What else can go wrong?

Fugitive Nazi scientist Prof. Amadeus about to drain Napoleon Solo of his blood.

Solo: The Human Blood Bank

Well, it turns out Krug/Amadeus tried to revive the SS officer with his own blood, preserved for 20 years. But to make the scientist’s rejuvenation process work, fresh blood (and the same blood type of the individual) is needed.

As an aside, this idea wasn’t new, even in 1964. A 1963 Fantastic Four comic book featured a villain called the Hate Monger, who was revealed to be Hitler. An episode of The New Avengers in the 1970s had Hitler in suspended animation. So did a 1980s story line in the Dick Tracy comic strip.

Amadeus/Krug needs blood that matches the same blood. He intended to discreetly purchase blood from blood banks. Time has run out. However, Solo’s blood type matches that of the sleeper.

As things turn out, Solo’s blood type actually matches Hitler’s. although this wouldn’t be established until a fourth-season episode. In any case, Krug/Amadeus now plans to drain all of Solo’s blood to revive the “sleeper.”

To ensure his privacy, the Nazi scientist detonates another bomb, destroying his own home.

So, to recap, Solo is about to be drained of his own blood while Angelique and Chuck look on.

Luckily, Illya is on the scene. And he’ll help Solo get out of this mess.

Amadeus/Krug was a little too quick to activate that last bomb. The scientist’s underground laboratory is about to catch fire. Solo begins to get himself out of his fix. Illya finds his way to the underground lair and overcomes Angelique.

Solo uses the sudden change in fortune to put an end to the “sleeper,” which has managed to grab the agent while receiving rejuvenation fluid as part of the process.

CLOSE – SOLO AND SLEEPER

as Solo, face contorting in hate and revulsion, struggles to free himself from the thing’s inhuman grip. He finally rips free, and then in a reaction of pure animal hate, he gives the gurney [where the sleeper is lying on} a violent shove forward.

The gurney with the “sleeper” goes into flames. Amadeus “follows the ‘sleeper’ into the burning gasoline. There is one horrible cry, then silence.”

Illya tells Solo he better tend to the disturbance at the security entrance.

‘Better Attend To It’

After the long night, Chuck and Sue are at U.N.C.L.E. HQs. Solo tells them about the honeymoon they’ll receive for their cooperation. On top of that, U.N.C.L.E. has recovered Krug’s stamp collection and will give it to them.

Chuck and Sue, however, feel the latter gift isn’t correct. As a result, the stamp collection will be donated to the collection.

Just then, Illya arrives to inform Solo there’s a disturbance at the security entrance (Del Floria’s). “Better attend to it….before the place gets a bad name.”

Solo goes outside where Angelique awaits. After some banter, the sometime adversaries “drive off together.” One can only imagine the time Solo will have this coming evening.

NOT QUITE THE END

Like other early U.N.C.L.E. scripts, Dick Nelson’s The Stamp Affair had off-beat introductions where Solo broke the fourth wall. To read a summary of the one for this episode, CHECK OUT THIS NOVEMBER 2018 POST. It involves Solo at a coffin store.

The Nelson script also has a preview for the next episode where the fourth wall is smashed.

INT. COFFIN ROOM ROOM – MED. SHOT – NIGHT

The Girl is standing besides the coffin as Solo talks to The Camera.

SOLO
Now those are what I call real first class villains. I mean, they just don’t make them like that anymore…
(straight)
…at least let’s pray they don’t.
(lightens)
But now…for next week…
(indicates off stage.
FLASH PAN TO:
TRAILERS
A series of trailer scenes. Then:

BACK TO SCENE
Solo is signing the girl’s order book. He looks up Into Camera, smiles.

SOLO
With action like that coming up, I may have to ask for a raise.
(to girl)
Would you like..? cash…?check…? trading stamps…?

She reaches up, pulls his head down gently, and kisses him for a moment. As she releases he looks Into Camera:

SOLO (clears throat)
Well..! From each, according to his ability. to each, according to her needs.

He smiles, turns, picks up the coffin, and walks out with it under his arm (NOTE: or, if the coffin is too heavy, it is on a small dolly and he merely rolls it away with him). Girl turns, looks Into Camera and winks:

FREEZE FRAME
FADE OUT

THE END

We wish to thank the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement without whose assistance this blog post would not be possible.

U.N.C.L.E. script: Nazis and a femme fatale Part I

Thrush operative Angelique with her Corvette supplied by first-season sponsor Chevrolet.

The Stamp Affair would mark a foray by The Man From U.N.C.L.E. into science fiction, deal with a fugitive Nazi scientist and feature a femme fatale character, Angelique.

Before broadcast, as the fifth episode shown by NBC, it would be renamed The Deadly Games Affair. But the script by Dick Nelson would be close to the version seen by audiences.

However, the script (dated July 15, 1964, with some revised pages about a week later) does contain some interesting differences compared with the broadcast version.

Nelson’s script includes act titles. But some of his have a chess theme while the final act titles played off the Deadly Games title. Only one of Nelson’s act titles would be used.

NELSON’S ACT TITLES

Act I: Queen’s Gambit Accepted
Act II: The Three Cornered Game
Act III: A King in Perpetual Check
Act IV: White Plus Black Equals Red Death

BROADCAST ACT TITLES

Act I: The Games Begin
Act II: A Game Of Hare And Hounds
Act III: The Three-Cornered Game
IV: The Game Is Up

At the start of Act I, the stage directions introduce the reader to a “small, bald clean-shaven elderly man” driving a pickup truck out in the country . He backs up the vehicle and parks it off the road near a stream.

Interestingly, the part would be cast with character actor Alexander Scourby (1913-1985), who wasn’t bald and had a beard. (In 1965, the actor would be a last-minute hire as narrator for the television special The Incredible World of James Bond.)

“Despite the old clothing he has worn for this task, he seems notably out of place here,” according to the stage directions. “He looks a good bit like a college professor, which, among other things, he is.” Eventually, the stage directions say he is known as Professor Amadeus.

An Interruption
The mysterious figure “begins to half-drag, half-roll” a drum stored in the back of the truck. “It’s a struggle — the drum must outweigh him by several pounds.” However, a group of boys emerges, firing sling shots. The man gets back in the truck and goes off with the drum rolling of the tailgate.

The drum is at the edge of the stream. By this time the boys notice it and start shooting their slingshots.

ANGLE – ON THE BOYS
They stare in open-mouthed terror at what is happening to the drum.

BACK TO THE DRUM
Its lid is being is being battered loose from within. As we watch, the lid gives way and a ghastly figure spills out into the daylight. Its form is of a man — but a man in the process of decay. His skin the color of pewter — his hair is dead white. The thing is mouthing insane gibberish that sounds somehow Germanic but is no recognizable language. The thing takes a few faltering steps up the slope of the bank, eyes rolling blankly, then with a last shriek of rage, collapses and rolls back down upon the drum. A final tremor passes through it and then it is mercifully dead.

Dead, maybe. But not without a calling card of a sort. The corpse has an SS tatoo on one of its forearms.

This leads into a scene where the pages are dated July 21, 1964. Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) is telling Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) about the incident.

Normally, you’d expect Alexander Waverly, the Number One of Section One, to be delivering the briefing. However, actor Leo G. Carroll was already in his 70s when the series began. It’s possible this is a rewrite made because Carroll wasn’t available.

Regardless, the audience is provided background for the story. The dead man was with the SS but had disappeared before the end of World War II. He was assigned to work with scientist Wolfgang Krug, described by Illya as “a brilliant medical researcher. His field was blood chemistry.”

Notes in the script indicate that Wolfgang Krug’s name was to be changed to Max Volp. However, the final version would split the difference and refer to his real name as Wolfgang Volp.

In any case, Krug (as he’s called in this script) was also a noted collector of rare stamps. One of his collection appears to be available at an auction in Manhattan.

Angelique’s Entrance
The agents show up separately. At a reception area there’s a reception table “where ILLYA KURYAKIN, in caterer’s white uniform, is dispensing punch, etc. He looks a bit sour.”

As an aside, that stage direction is written as though this was the first time Illya appears in the episode. But we’ve already seen him in the previous scene. That’s one reason why I suspect the previous scene was revised.

In any case, Illya is in a bad humor. “It is ANGELIQUE, looking ravishing.” Angelique is an operative for Thrush, the villainous organization of the series. Clearly that group is also interested in Krug.

Solo reacts with a slow smile. He’s beginning to like this assignment. At his shoulder, Illya looks more sour still.

SOLO
Angelique! Well!
(sees Illya’s look, loses smile)

ILLYA
Sometime you must tell me what’s like….romancing a woman who would kill you without a qualm, if Thrush ordered it. And knowing Thrush, that order might be given already.

SOLO
It adds spice, Illya
(about to start away)
And — I flatter myself that she might have a few qualms….just the slightest, fleeting regret.

He gives Illya a parting wink, and heads for Angelique.

As the two meet, Angelique “is all warmth and effervescence…she goes close against him, offering her cheek for a lover’s greeting kiss. Solo bestows it.”

With that established, Solo and Angelique flirt and decide to avoid getting into a bidding war for the stamp, lest they scare off Krug.

As in the final version, the opposing operatives decide to decide who buys the stamp with a coin flip. Angelique attempts to use a double-headed coin but Solo isn’t fooled. The U.N.C.L.E. agent wins “by default.”

Afterward, Solo and Angelique pay an after-hours visit to a stamp expert while Illya waits nearby. The expert verifies the stamp is genuine. He says he saw the stamp as a boy. But it was one of a pair. It also lacks the identifying mark of Krug, which is presumably on the other stamp. Thus, it’s a dead end.

Slay It With Flowers
As she gets ready to depart, Angelique takes a flower from her purse and pins it to Solo’s lapel. Angelique then leaves, making “a Loretta Young exit.” Solo is pleased with himself. As Illya enters, he’s more wary. With good reason.

INSERT – ROSE AND SPIDER

The flower, as a spider emerges and starts up Solo’s lapel.

This actually sounds more suspenseful than the final version, where the spider wasn’t terribly convincing and wasn’t moving up the lapel.

Nevertheless, in the script as in the final version, “Illya slaps the spider to the floor and steps on it. The expert is alarmed and puzzled. Solo loses his smile.”

“A poisonous spider,” Illya says in the script. “One of Angelique’s relatives, perhaps?”

TO BE CONTINUED

U.N.C.L.E. script: The well-meaning villain

Captain Shark (Robert Culp) during a dramatic moment with Solo in The Shark Affair.

The Shark Affair, the fourth episode broadcast of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., would feature a different antagonist — well meaning but in the end one who had to be stopped.

Captain Shark (Robert Culp) is convinced the world will soon go up in atomic war. He is kidnapping people of various talents from ships. He disables and sinks the ships while sending the rest of the passengers on their way in lifeboats. Shark’s ship is a sort of modern day Noah’s Ark.

The episode was written by Alvin Sapinsley (1921-2002), a veteran with credits going back to 1949. The Shark Affair would be his only U.N.C.L.E. script.

Sapinsley would later be a key writer on the original Hawaii Five-O series, where his contributions included the only three-part story. He also wrote Sherlock Holmes in New York, with Roger Moore as Holmes and Patrick Macnee as Dr. Watson.

Saplinsley’s script, dated June 22, 1964, is very close to the final episode. A ship in his script is called the Woonsocket. It would be changed to the Whippett for broadcast.

At the end of the episode, Captain Shark’s real name is revealed as Arthur Englander Courtney. It would be changed to Arthur Farnley Selwyn. Those changes are noted on the page after the title page. But the original names are used in the script itself.

Normally, U.N.C.L.E. writers didn’t specify act titles. Those were usually added in post-production. But Sapinsley’s script has “chapter” titles.

All match the final broadcast version except for Act I (or Chapter One as specified in the script). Saplinsley’s original is “Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax.” It would be shortened to “Of Shoelaces and Ships” in the broadcast version.

U.N.C.L.E. has been drawn into the affair after a series of ships, from various nations, have been sunk and a handful of passengers abducted. One is a librarian, Harry Barnman.

Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Illya (David McCallum) interview his wife, Elsa (Sue Ane Langdon), “a warm, earthy girl in her late twenties.” Later, she receives airline and ship tickets and bolts her New York apartment.

Mr. Waverly, the agents’ superior, decided to strand the agents on a raft in the path of the ship the librarian’s wife is on. But they end up being intercepted by Captain Shark’s vessel instead. Regardless, the agents are where they want to be.

An ‘Urbane’ Villain

Curiously, the script doesn’t provide much in the way of description for Captain Shark. He is “urbane, spotless, commanding” in an opening scene where he commandeers a ship.

Guest star Robert Culp, who turned 34 in August 1964, would have his hair streaked gray at the temples to make him look older. It’s not until the end that the audience is told Captain Shark/Selwyn commanded a ship in World War II, which would probably make the character a decade or so older than the actor.

After being brought aboard Shark’s ship, Solo and Illya encounter Harry Barnman, described as “a mild-mannered man of thirty.” The part would be cast with actor Herbert Anderson,, 47 at the time of production. Harry acts as “Leo the Explainer,” a character who explains things to the heroes as well as the audience.

Solo and Illya prove careless at a key moment and Shark discovers they’re with U.N.C.L.E. The captain decides to give Solo a taste of discipline. It’s here where Sapinsley’s script goes into more detail than audiences would see. Shark delivers a line about how he and Solo will get along nicely once Solo receives his discipline.

He gestures toward the deck. Immediately each of the two sailors holding Solo places a foot across his ankles, then jerk his arms forward, dropping him to the deck. They drop him into a sitting position and shift their feet to pinion him into the attitude of a crucifix, face down towards the deck. (NOTE: This is the old slave-whipping position: each man holding a wrist, one foot planted in the victim’s armpit, the other braced between his neck and shoulder.) As Shark snakes out his whip, the two sailors lie back flat against the deck, pulling Solo’s arms taut. Illya steps forward, his eyes glittering.

ILLYA
Do not do this.

SOLO (to Illya)
It’s just a spanking, Illya. Don’t make a fuss.

 

Later, Shark gives Solo a tour. They go to the ship’s library where Harry Barnman is at work. There are no books. Everything is on microfilm.

“The stored wisdom of man’s brain — from Plato’s Republic to Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams,” Shark says. “When we create the new world we’ll have this for a foundation.”

Gravitas

Nevertheless, you can’t keep good agents down. Solo and Illya are seemingly out of options. The passengers, freed from their everyday responsibilities, mostly are contented. But Solo decides to search for explosives to sink the ship, which will force everyone to abandon the vessel.

The plan works. The explosion goes off in the middle of a big party on the ship. As the ship is ready to go down, it sets up a chance for some moralizing by both Solo and Shark. (An early example of how Solo, co-created by Ian Fleming, has more of a moral core than Fleming’s James Bond.)

SOLO (moving forward)
Room for one more, Captain
(no answer)
I want to help you.

SHARK
Help me? You’re like all the others — the leaders, the parliaments, the senates and houses of government! When you see something that’s good and useful, you must step in and destroy it. I tried to create a safe harbor —

SOLO (interrupting)
There is no safe harbor, not here, not anywhere. The only safety lies in agreements between people. Now I want you to come with me.

SHARK
No, my friend. Yours is a world I don’t believe in. Perhaps only the optimists, like yourself, can go on living in it. I don’t know which of us is the right one…or which is the strong one. I only know that I must sail this dream to wherever it takes me.

SOLO
It’s not a dream, it’s a nightmare. Abandon it.

SHARK
I can’t!
(stiffens, lifts gun)
I will stay with my ship.

Solo hesitates, but the ship begins to list dangerously. Finally, as the smoke almost obscures Shark from this view, he realizes saving the man is impossible — the Captain’s dream has disintegrated and he wishes to perish with it. Solo starts away, but hesitates as:

SHARK
You’ll see! They’ll destroy your world! Soon! A few months. At most three or four…
(muttering)
Three…four…

SOLO (softly)
…Shut the door…

To be clear, this episode is escapist entertainment. But the Sapinsley-scripted scene provides it more gravitas even at this early point in the series than audiences were used to. At this point in a 1960s Eon-produced James Bond film, Sean Connery’s Bond would be impatient to make out with the female lead ahead of the end titles.

At the end of the Act IV, Mr. and Mrs. Barnman are back in their New York apartment. Mrs. Barnman (who loves to cook) has whipped up a large dinner while Mr. Barnman (who can’t keep up with his wife’s cooking) gets to take an evening off while Solo and Illya (the latter always enjoying a large appetite) get ready to chow down.

Not Quite the End

However, that’s not where the script ends. The Shark Affair was among the early U.N.C.L.E. scripts that included never-filmed introductions that break the fourth wall, as detailed in THIS POST.

Sapinsley also wrote an unused epilogue with Solo again breaking the fourth wall to show previews of the next episode. To be hones, had it been filmed it probably would have ruined the mood of the episode’s ending.

FADE IN:
EXT.-LIFE RAFT-SOLO

It is bright and clear now. Solo in foreground looking into CAMERA. In b.g. we see the girl.

SOLO
Well — too bad about Captain Shark — but as Mother always said — “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
(beat)
Let’s see what kind of trouble we have for our next adventure —

SERIES OF SHORT SCENES FROM SHOW TO COME

BACK TO SOLO

He picks up oars, saying:

SOLO
Well — I guess it’s time to shove off — I’ve got a two thousand mile row back to headquarters — Tired, lonesome — and thirsty — but it’s all in the day of the life of a dedicated U.N.C.L.E. agent —-

The POP of a cork makes Solo react slightly. HOLD on his reaction, then he shrugs it off and begins to row again. CAMERA MOVES PAST Solo and we see the girl with a bottle of champagne and two glasses. She pours the wine — MOVE IN on her face as she gives the CAMERA a big wink.

FADE OUT.

THE END

U.N.C.L.E script: Getting the series started Part II

Robert Vaughn in The Iowa-Scuba Affair

With authorities have suddenly solved the case of a member of the U.S. military (really a saboteur killed by Solo), the U.N.C.L.E. agent quickly flies back to Iowa from New York.

Solo resumes his cover as the man’s brother. He’s with authorities who are showing him where a bookie died, supposedly while smoking in bed, which caught on fire. The authorities are ready to declare the case solved. Solo, though, acts indignantly and comments harshly to a newspaperman witnessing the scene.

The pages for this scene are dated May 29, 1964, two days later than the date on the cover page. In this scene, the name Blair (the name assumed by the saboteur as well as Solo) has been changed to Blenman instead of Blair. The broadcast version would go with Blenman.

Solo returns to the hotel. The same scrub woman who saw him earlier when the agent had been shown the saboteur’s body by authorities. She tells him she’s just turned down the bed.

After she leaves, the scrub woman goes to a pay telephone and makes a call. She tells “Hod” (presumably her supervisor in this operation) that “the little do-hickey is in the shower head.” It will make it look as if Solo died of a heart attack.

Solo, in the meantime, is radioing back to New York and gets in touch with U.N.C.L.E. chief Alexander Waverly. He provides his superior an update.

INT. RESEARCH ROOM – NIGHT
(snip)

WAVERLY
I trust you were appropriately indignant.

SOLO’S VOICE
Yes, sir. Particularly to the newspapers.

WAVERLY
Very well. I needn’t remind you that you are inviting an attempt on your life.

INT. BATHROOM – NIGHT

SOLO
Isn’t that the idea?

WAVERLY’S VOICE
Report any such attempt immediately.

SOLO
Yes, sir. Unless it’s successful.

In the final version, Waverly’s line becomes, “Report any such attempts immediately — unless they’re successful.” Solo replies, “Yes, sir,” before doing a double take at Waverly’s remark.

Shortly thereafter, Solo prepares to take a shower, wearing a robe and slippers. The “little do-hickey” in the shower head begins to emit gas. The door knob to the bathroom has been tampered with and Solo can’t get out. But using his wits, He wrap “an aerated bomb of shaving lather” in a towel. He then lights the towel and pours rubbing alcohol over it. The agent moves away as far as he can before it explodes which kicks the door open.

Having established the threat that Solo faces, Harold Jack Bloom’s script calls for Jill Denison, the episode’s “innocent” to knock on the door to Solo’s hotel room.

ANOTHER ANGLE

He opens the door to reveal Jill. She is somewhat intimidated to find him in his robe, but tries to carry it off.

JILL
Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize…

SOLO
No, no. It’s all right. Come in.

She does, delicately aware of the door closing behind her. But then she reacts to the unhinged bathroom door. He moves to her side, aware of her curiosity.

Solo talks Jill into taking her home. As they talk, Solo looks at dark windows across the alley from his hotel room. “But now a MATCH flickers there momentarily.”

The agent sends Jill to the hotel lobby while he changes. As he gets ready to leave, he turns off the light. But he gets his camera and takes an instant picture of the dark windows across the alley.

INSERT – PHOTOGRAPH

in Solo’s hands. The photograph shows a fleshy, middle-aged woman dressed in the black lace-and tiara fashion of Spanish aristocracy. And she is smoking a cigar.

What follows is mostly like the finished episode. Solo and Jill drive into the country. But Jill’s vehicle is low on gasoline — even though she filled it up that afternoon. They’re being followed by a car with its lights out.

A second car appears and cuts off Jill’s vehicle. Solo and Jill ditch her car (in the finished episode it’s a pickup truck) and they begin to flee. There are four men in pursuit of them. “They are masked by black sheer stockings pulled down over their faces, and each carries a rifle with bulky sight attachments above and below the barrel.”

Solo and Jill eventually reach a grain silo. They go in, ride up an elevator and hide in the grain. But Solo also sends the elevator back down because their pursuers will know for sure their quarries are inside if the elevator isn’t on the ground floor. Solo finally tells Jill who he really is and he’s an agent for U.N.C.L.E.

The assassins do come up the elevator but Solo and Jill successfully wait them out. After the killers leave, Jill gets another shock. The body of the real Tom Blenman/Blair is buried in the grain. Jill feints in Solo’s arms in the script, but it would be staged slightly differently by director Richard Donner in the televised version.

After Jill recovers, the pair exit the silo. Jill suggests they go to Clint Spinner’s place which isn’t far away. “He’d help us,” she says.

Suffice to say, Spinner isn’t the country bumpkin he seems. He parts of a conspiracy that intends to take over a South American country. The mysterious cigar-smoking woman has a brother who will seize power. Spinner’s well is actually a subterranean series of tunnels, some of which are underwater.

The conspirators are going to break into the Air Force chamber that houses the “catapult” plane (equipped with an H-bomb) which will be used to exterminate the current South American government.

The script, however, gives the principals more lines than the final TV version. Spinner, in particular, gets to be more evil than he’d appear on television.

SPINNER
Yes. Some friends of mine are standing ready to take over a particular government. I call them friends because once the present government is blown out of existence, my friends and I will merely walk in and take over.

SOLO
While the rest of the world watches?

SPINNER
“The rest of the world” has developed a talent for just watching. Once the strong and the smart take what they want, the “rest of the world” says that was naughty, but we won’t make a fuss if you promise not to do it again.

SOLO
And your phony promise is your talent.

SPINNER
No…your weakness…sentimental faith…
(exposed viciousness)
I clawed my way up from a dirt farm learning that human nature is fear and greed, not the milk of human kindness. A powerful lesson, and a lesson in power.

Solo foils the plot, saves Jill and personnel from the Air Force base help clean things up.

At the end of Act IV, Solo is with Jill at the farm house where she lives. She says she may visit Solo in New York. They nearly kiss when Aunt Martha “stands in an open doorway, watching with a jaundiced eye.” Solo merely kisses Jill on the top of her nose and leaves.

MARTHA
You should have slapped his face!

JILL
Why? He only kissed me on the tip of my nose.

MARTHA
Call that a kiss? I certainly hope he can do better than that when you visit him in New York.

Aunt Martha goes about her business. HOLD on Jill’s reaction.

FADE OUT:

THE END

NOT QUITE THE END: In a Nov. 24 post, the blog wrote about early U.N.C.L.E. scripts had introductions where Solo broke the fourth wall. The Iowa-Scuba Affair was one of those episodes. The script also had an epilogue/next week previews that also broke the fourth wall.

SAME SCENE AS TEASER…

SOLO
Well, we made it this time, didn’t we?
(a beat)
But next week…well…here’s a taste of what we’ll encounter:

WHIP PAN TO A SERIES OF TRAILER CUTS FROM THE FOLLOWING WEEK:

THEN, BACK TO SCENE.

SOLO
Look interesting? It will be. See you next week.
(a smile and a wave)

THE END

We wish to thank the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement without whose assistance this blog post would not be possible.

U.N.C.L.E. script: Getting the series started Part I

Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo in the early moments of Act I of The Iowa-Scuba Affair.

Having sold Solo (now-renamed The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as a series, it was now up to executive producer Norman Felton to get the series underway.

In place as day-to-day producer was Sam Rolfe, who wrote the series proposal for “Ian Fleming’s Solo” as well as the pilot script and its expanded movie version To Trap a Spy.

The critical first post-pilot script would be penned by Harold Jack Bloom. Rolfe and Bloom co-wrote the 1953 western film The Naked Spur. They were nominated for an Oscar for their efforts on that movie.

Bloom would also be the first writer employed on the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice. He’d receive an “additional story material” credit for the 007 movie.

The copy the blog has of the script is dated May 27, 1964, just a few days before filming would begin on June 1, with Richard Donner directing. Some pages are dated as late as June 4, after filming had begun.

FADE IN:
INT. FARMHOUSE NIGHT
Just inside the door JILL DENNISON, nineteen, eyes closed dreamily, is wrapped in the arms of TOMMY BLAIR, twenty-seven, a uniformed non-com in the Air Force. But then her defenses become alerted to his rising passion.

JILL
Tommy…?

He stops, moving his head back to meet her eyes. A heavy sigh seems to restore his self-control.

TOMMY
Tomorrow night?

She nods. He gives up and grins. This wins him a final peck before he exits.

However, after the final “peck,” things are about to take a bad turn for Tommy. He drives off on a motorcycle.

ANOTHER ANGLE
As Tommy comes out of the turn, he reacts to something he sees ahead, o.s.

SUBJECTIVE FROM HIS POV

CAMERA MOVES ALONG ROAD APPROACHING the silhouette of a man who stands in the center of the road. The cycle’s headlights stop short of the man’s legs.

REVERSE

Tommy has stopped. Bends forward to raise his headlight.

HIS POV

The light picks up Solo standing in the road, his gun held, assembled for automatic fire. He holds his free hand up in a gesture of “halt”. ZOOM INTO CLOSE.

INTERCUT
Tommy reacts. His boyishness is gone now, replaced by an ugly intent. He kicks the motorcycle into full speed and it jerks forward. Solo FIRES. The shots go through the cycle’s plastic windshield behind which Tommy is crouched. Solo somersaults at the last moment to avoid the swerving machine. The cycle swerves past, skidding over on one side to dig its own halt.

The scene in the final version wasn’t quite as dramatic (Robert Vaughn’s Solo didn’t somersault) but it’s pretty much what Bloom wrote.

Solo inspects the body. He also sees that the dead man was carrying scuba diving equipment. The stage directions state that Solo holsters his gun. That would be difficult with all the attachments of what would become known as the U.N.C.L.E. Special. “A final look at Tommy, then MOVE INTO CLOSE OF SOLO.”

In the next scene, Solo poses as the dead man’s brother. He acts outraged when the local authorities have no clues who killed him. The only lead Solo has is Jill, the young woman that Tommy was with just before Solo killed him.

As the agent leaves, he passes “an elderly SCRUBWOMAN” who radios the information to someone named “Hod.” She indicates no harm should come to the stranger yet.

Solo then visits Jill. They’re being observed by “AUNT MARTHA, a hawk-faced spinster in her mid-forties.” She is “doing needlepoint with quick, angry thrusts.” Jill, meanwhile, is telling Solo that she and Tommy “weren’t in love or anything.” It quickly becomes clear Aunt Martha wasn’t happy with Jill dating Tommy.

During the conversation, there’s another visitor: “CLINT SPINNER, a tall, raw-boned man in his early fifties.” It turns out Spinner’s father was a “sharecropper” in the area. He’s purchased land nearby after being a successful oil man. Spinner has dug a deep well to benefit his new farm.

The scene becomes a way for writer Bloom to provide information to the audience. A secret U.S. Army base has built in the area. Spinner says the base houses the SX-9 “catapult plane” which in “case of war” can be hurled “into the air going better’n three thousand miles an hour.”

“They make such a big deal about military secrets,” Solo responds. “I bet everyone around here knows what you just told me.”

“They know what I know,” Spinner says. “We was all right here when they built it.”

As the scene concludes, Solo asks Jill about why Tommy would have scuba gear. The question surprises Jill. Tommy said he couldn’t swim.

It turns out the entire scene has been observed at a distance by three people in scuba outfits including “an exotic Spanish woman.” The other two are men who hold “strange looking rifles.” One begins to aim his weapon but the woman “gently” pushes the barrel of the rifle down.

Solo then returns to New York and U.N.C.L.E. headquarters. He confers with Alexander Waverly. It turns out Tommy was really Eric Freedlander, a saboteur. Solo had been on his trail. Freedlander slipped away in Berlin but then showed up in Iowa, the site of the secret base. There was a real Tommy Blair but he is missing.

What follows is a briefing scene which provides more details for the audience. We’re told more about the plane and its capabilities. In the middle of the briefing, Waverly is told that the authorities in Iowa have released a statement they’ve found the murderer of Thomas Blair.

They react.

WAVERLY (looking at Solo as he answers)
Isn’t that interesting…?

TO BE CONTINUED