R.I.P. Robert Vaughn, aka Napoleon Solo

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When it came to 1960’s spies, James Bond may have ruled the big screen, but on television The Man From U.N.C.L.E. won hands down.

The best part was every week starting in 1964 we got to see good versus evil play out from the comfort of our own living rooms.

Sure every girl had a crush on his Russian sidekick Illya Kuriakin, the “cute one,” but I much preferred the dashing Napoleon Solo, played by Robert Vaughn.

They were the good guys agents of U.N.C.L.E. and each week they battled the bad guys –agents of THRUSH a shady criminal organization bent on world domination.

 

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Gold Key Comics The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

If it seemed a little like James Bond well it could be because the shows creator was Ian Fleming the man responsible for James Bond.

He and U.N.C.L.E.’s producer Sam Rolfe, got together to do a tongue in cheek  version of the spy thriller. Fleming wanted to call it “Solo” after a character in one of his James Bond books, Goldfinger.  But when Fleming had to withdraw from the project because of a heart attack, the owners of the Bond films told Rolfe they owned the name. The show was changed to U.N.C.L.E. and the main character became Napoleon Solo.

In the cold war spy vs spy world of the 1960’s, suburbia was filled with untold small fry wanna-be spies and manufacturers were more than happy to lend a hand offering up all sorts of Man From U.N.C.L.E. merchandise to help out  the kiddies in their undercover adventures.

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The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Napoleon Solo Action Figure by Gilbert. U.N.C.L.E. stood for United Network Command for Law Enforcement

 

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A low tech View-Master version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. David McCallum as Illya Kuriakin and Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo

 

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1966 Official Man From U.N.C.L.E. Counterspy Outfit by Ideal

 

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Corgi Toys Man From UNCLE Car

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6 comments

  1. A welcome distraction from you know what… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leonard Cohen yesterday, and Robert Vaughn today. Sad, really sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Laura C.

    I was sad to hear of Robert Vaughn’s passing. He was great as Napoleon Solo! I used to watch U.N.C.L.E. with my dad (as well as Perry Mason). What a great show.

    I also crushed more on Napoleon than Ilya – though its a tough choice 🙂

    Like

  4. Being a Bond fan this saddened me for sure. If you have a chance, I’m doing a Beers and Bond series. You should check it out. Great article! Keep it up

    Like

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