We were reminded how this month is the 50th anniversary of The Beatles meeting Robert Vaughn, the star of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The gathering reflected how U.N.C.L.E., for a time in the 1960s, was a very big deal.
It was the Fab Four who requested the meeting. They were fans of the show and wanted to see the actor.
Vaughn was busy simultaneously being the lead in a U.S. television series and studying for a Ph.D. But the meeting took place anyway.
U.N.C.L.E.’s history is very much one of ups and downs. It almost got canceled in its first season. It enjoyed its best ratings in its second season (1965-66).
In fact, James Bond films actually benefited from U.N.C.L.E. Two 007 television specials, The Incredible World of James Bond and Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond (made to promote Thunderball and You Only Live Twice), aired in U.N.C.L.E.’s time slot on NBC.
But by January 1968, U.N.C.L.E. was canceled as its ratings plunged.
For the most part, U.N.C.L.E. was like catching lightning in a bottle — bright and powerful. For enthusiasts (including the Spy Commander, it should be noted), the light still shines bright. To the broader population, not so much. The same applies to other ’60s spy entertainment such as The Wild Wild West, I Spy and other shows.
In the 21st century, the “lightning in a bottle” shows still are fondly remembered by the original fan base. Trying to interest younger viewers remains a challenge. A year ago this month, a new movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. didn’t find an audience even as the fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible film series was a hit.
So it goes. Nevertheless, those who were along for the ride originally still have their memories.
Filed under: James Bond Films, The Other Spies | Tagged: A movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.?, I Spy, Robert Vaughn, The Beatles, The Incredible World of James Bond, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, The Wild Wild West, Thunderball, Welcome to Japan, You Only Live Twice | 1 Comment »