A proposal for revamping U.N.C.L.E. creator credits

All of a sudden, if you want U.N.C.L.E., you got U.N.C.L.E.: the complete Man From U.N.C.L.E. series (first released in 2007), The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. (out today, Aug. 23) and the eight Man From U.N.C.L.E. movies (ditto). But there’s one nagging aspect about all of them: none of the creator credits is entirely accurate.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. series and movies have the credit, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Developed by Sam Rolfe.” The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. has “U.N.C.L.E. Format Developed by Sam Rolfe.” Both are accurate as far as they go. But do they go far enough?

Rolfe created a good 90 percent or more of the finished product. Still, he wasn’t brought in until an idea had been hatched, and developed for a bit, by producer Norman Felton, who tried to get Ian Fleming involved., The 007 author had contributed some ideas, the most enduring to name the lead spy Napoleon Solo and the other that a Miss Moneypenny type be named April Dancer.

Trying to entice Fleming was a bit of salesmanship by Felton; NBC was willing to commit to a series without a pilot made if it could market a show as being created by Ian Fleming. (For further details, VIEW CRAIG HENDERSON’S FOR YOUR EYES ONLY WEB SITE BY CLICKING HERE. Meanwhile, Rolfe didn’t really have much to do with The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. itself. The spinoff show would be part of the U.N.C.L.E. universe that Rolfe had mostly created. But writer Dean Hargrove did the heavy lifting in coming up with a woman U.N.C.L.E. agent.

With that in mind, these revamped credits might be more accurate. They might not pass muster with the Writer’s Guild of America (which has specific rules for creator credits on TV shows). In any case, judge for yourself:

FOR THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.:
(Big type)
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Developed by
SAM ROLFE

(smaller type)
Based on a Character Created by
NORMAN FELTON and IAN FLEMING.

FOR THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E.:

(same size type for both)
The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. Developed by
DEAN HARGROVE

Based on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Developed by
SAM ROLFE

Of course, it’s too late to change at this late date and Fleming signed away any rights he had for one British pound to keep 007 producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman off his back. Still, credits approximating these might be more representative of what actually happened.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movies available on DVD tomorrow

We overlooked this, but the eight movies re-edited from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. are available starting tomorrow, Aug. 23, from Warner Bros.

The movies were comprised of television episode footage plus additional scenes of sex and violence for the paying customer. The pilot episode was filmed in color, but broadcast in black-and-white. Extra scenes were shot to ensure enough running time as a film. A first-season epsiode, The Double Affair, was likewise shot in color to provide the basis of a movie, with extra footage. The series was popular enough that the first few films, primarily intended for the international market, were released in the U.S.

Then, the ever-thrifty Norman Felton, U.N.C.L.E.’s executive producer, took some of the extra footage from the first two films, had a script written to incorporate it with an entirely different story. The result was the 21st episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,The Four-Steps Affair. There was one problem. In some of the footage, Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) had his hair parted one way while having his hair parted the opposite way during the rest of the footage. So, there’s an insert shot of Solo combing his hair to change his part. Ain’t Hollywood great?

For the remaining films, Felton & Co. had two-part episodes produced for the series that could more easily be turned into films for the international market. For more information, including how to order, JUST CLICK HERE. There was a previous release by Warners of five of the eight movies outside the U.S.

Instead of relying on “Affair” for titles (as with episodes of the television series), the films relied on using “Spy” for six of the eight titles: To Trap a Spy, The Spy With My Face, One Spy Too Many, One of Our Spies Is Missing; The Spy In the Green Hat; The Karate Killers, The Helicopter Spies and How To Steal the World. All eight were shown in one day on TCM in late 2008. The Helicopter Spies is of note because it fixes a number of bad editing mistakes in the second part of the fourth-season story The Prince of Darkness Affair.

Here are a few of the trailers for the U.N.C.L.E. movies: