"The Man from U.N.C.L.E." The Vulcan Affair (TV Episode 1964) Poster

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Meet Mr.Solo
ShadeGrenade24 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It is difficult to imagine the impact 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' must have had on American viewers in 1964. The airwaves were saturated with Westerns, war dramas, detective and police shows, when along came this - up-to-date, imaginative, and bold. A spy series with a sci-fi flavour. Nothing like it had been seen before.

Though slow to catch on initially, when it did it edged out 'Bonanza', 'Bewitched', and 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' to become America's favourite series.

It should come as no surprise to learn that the source was Ian Fleming, creator of 'James Bond 007'. Producer Norman Felton approached the novelist for ideas for a new adventure show, and he coined the name 'Napoleon Solo'. But a threatened lawsuit from Eon Productions resulted in Fleming's withdrawal from the project, hence Sam Rolfe was brought in. The award-winning co-writer of the film 'The Naked Spur' created a whole universe for Solo to inhabit, establishing the U.N.C.L.E. ( United Network Command for Law & Enforcement ) organisation and its evil counterpart THRUSH.

The pilot - 'The Vulcan Affair' - was originally made with Will Kuluva as U.N.C.L.E. chief 'Mr.Allison', the enemy organisation known as W.A.S.P., and the show itself called 'Solo'. But when it finally reached the small screen, Leo G.Carroll was 'Mr.Waverly', W.A.S.P. became THRUSH, and the show retitled 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'.

It opens with an assault force from THRUSH breaking into U.N.C.L.E. H.Q. They do not get far before alarms sound, doors slide into place, and security men dash to apprehend the intruders. One blows open a door. Behind it is the silhouette of a man. The intruder shoots three times, but the bullets splinter a sheet of protective glass ( this scene became the symbol of the show in its first year ). The lights come up, and Napoleon Solo ( Robert Vaughn ) stands revealed. Emerging from behind the glass, he kills the intruder.

THRUSH had wanted to silence Mr.Waverly before he could uncover their latest plan - industrialist Andrew Vulcan ( Fritz Weaver ) intends assassinating the premier ( William Marshall ) of a newly independent African state so that THRUSH can take over his country. Solo enlists the help of housewife Elaine May Donaldson ( Patricia Crowley ) who had dated Vulcan ten years earlier when they were at college.

The 'Donaldson' character would be the first of many 'innocents' - ordinary people enlisted by U.N.C.L.E. in their fight against THRUSH. Crowley is not only beautiful but funny too. As 'Vulcan', Weaver is good, as is Marshall as 'Ashumen'. I would like to have seen a bit more of Eric Berry's 'Alfred Ghist' though. His old-school English chumminess makes him a more menacing character than 'Vulcan'.

As an introductory episode, this is both well written and performed, though for excitement nothing tops the break-in at the start. Solo's evading security guards at Vulcan's plant is also memorable ( see if you can spot Richard Kiel, who played 'Jaws' in two Bond movies ) 'Illya Kuryakin' ( David McCallum ) does not get a lot to do, but that would change over the course of the series.

When it was released as the feature film 'To Trap A Spy', the Kuluva footage was reinstated, and W.A.S.P. mentioned as the villains. I for one am glad they did not stick with Kuluva as he lacked the warmth Carroll brought to the role of 'Waverly'.

In common with 'The Double Affair' from the same season, 'Vulcan' was omitted from the original run on B.B.C.-1. When the now-defunct satellite station 'Granada Plus' screened 'M.F.U.' a decade ago, the 'Solo' version of the pilot ( running ten minutes longer ) was screened for the first ( and only ) time.

'U.N.C.L.E.' was up and running, and American television would never be the same again.
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gdhughes200215 March 2006
I just saw this episode on cable, it was the pilot for the show. Interestingly the show was called "Solo" at the beginning of this episode. They must have subsequently renamed it "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." Leo G. Carroll did not appear in this episode. The head of U.N.C.L.E. was called Mr. Allison in this episode and was played by Will Kuluva. I notice that it notes "scenes deleted" next to his name on the "Vulcan Affair" page, but the version I saw did have Mr. Kuluva's scenes in it. David McCallum's Ilya character had a very small role in this episode. I also noticed that this episode included the scene with Solo getting shot at while behind a piece of bulletproof glass. They used this in the intro to the show in later episodes.
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An exciting confrontation.
oscar-3510 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
*Spoiler/plot- "The Vulcan Affair", Man from U.N.C.L.E. Thrush sets its sights on taking over an African emerging country with the power and money of an international industrialist. UNCLE gets enlists the industrialist's old college sweetheart to stop the take over.

*Special Stars- Regulars: Leo G. Carroll, Robert Vaughn, David McCallum. Pat Crowley, Fritz Weaver, Ivan Dixon, Richard Kiel.

*Theme- MOney and power can be a force for good.

*Trivia/location/goofs- B & W. Shot at MGM studio lot and back-lot, now gone. Look for Ivan Dixon from 'Hogan's Heroes' as one of the African countries statesmen. Pat Crowley did another TV show for MGMTV called 'Please, don't eat the Daisies' where she played a suburban mom and that show did a crossover funny show of the family children, UNCLE TV fans suspecting their father of being a UNCLE agent. You Tube Fun.

*Emotion- An exciting confrontation of two fictional international spy rings with many spy gadgets, cars, guns, and beautiful women to keep the viewer interested in the plot. Almost an 'exploitation' genre of the spy plot from a major weekly TV show of the early 60's times.

*Based On- The TV show spy craze of the early 60's.
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Great first episode!
gordonl5610 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. – The Vulcan Affair – 1964

This is the first episode of 1964 to 1968 spy series, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The series ran for a total of 105 episodes. The first season was filmed in B/W with the remainder shot in colour. Robert Vaughn plays agent Napoleon Solo while David McCallum plays Illya Kuryakin. Leo G Carroll plays Mister Waverly, the boss of the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement) Their main enemy is THRUSH, an organization out to take over the planet.

The episode opens with an attack on U.N.C.L.E. headquarters. The failed attack was an attempt to kill the boss, Carroll. U.N.C.L.E. has received word that THRUSH intends to kill the visiting leader of a new African country, William Marshall. Then they can put in their own people.

U.N.C.L.E. sends agent Vaughn in to put a stop to the evil plan. He recruits civilian Pat Crowley to help in the case. Crowley it seems was the college sweetheart of the main THRUSH baddie, Fritz Weaver. Crowley is to help gain entrance to the site where the assassination is to take place. Needless to say the good guys prevail in defeating the evil THRUSH and its minions.

Look close and you will see future "Bond" villain, Richard Kiel in a very small part. It was also interesting to see Ivan Dixon of "Hogan's Heroes" fame in an early role. Another bit part was played by Roy Jenson who helped slice up Jack Nicholson in 1974's CHINATOWN.

The look of the episode is quite good with big screen veteran, Joseph Biroc handling the cinematography. His big screen work include, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, AIRPLANE, THE CHOIRBOYS, CRY DANGER, THE KILLER THAT STALKED NEW YORK and THE LONGEST YARD (1973)

This is a fun episode with plenty of action and tongue in cheek humour. It was one of the first television series to cash in on the "James Bond" craze.
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edwagreen14 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
In the season premiere, Ilya had such a tiny role and Napoleon seemed less sarcastic and at some point, he was actually giving psychological advice to the woman.

Though 10 years had passed, and the THRUSH culprit had long since stopped seeing this woman, UNCLE recruited her to gain information regarding a plant and to thwart an assassination attempt on the leader of a newly emerging African country. I love the way the housewife is adamant about not participating in this and by the next scene she is in full throttle.

That steam room segment was energetic and that new leader really had surprises up his sleeves.
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