Monday, September 23, 2013

Man from UNCLE

The Man from UNCLE premiered 49 years ago. I've been reminded of this by a friend posting about it on Facebook. Normally, I wouldn't make note of an anniversary not divisible by 5, but I thought I'd share my comments here, especially in light of the fact that a Man from UNCLE movie is currently in production.

I watched the second half of that first episode of The Man from UNCLE. And the second half of the rest of the episodes until they moved it to a different night. Because back then, primetime started at 7:30pm. The Man from UNCLE (MFU) came on at 8pm, but another show, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, started at 7:30. My father, a former Navy man, wanted to watch the show with the submarine and we had only 1 TV. I can't be too upset with my father, though. He was also a space buff, so when Star Trek started, he decided that's what we were going to watch. And in checking IMDB, not always the most reliable source, I see different dates for MFU and Voyage.... If not Voyage, then what was on opposite MFU? I've been remembering it for nearly 50 years now as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. hmmmm......

I also have to admit that at first, MFU was just another show for me. I loved it, but I also loved every other action/adventure show I got to watch. I was a very big fan of 77 Sunset Strip and a show that a lot of people don't remember, The Roaring 20s. I hated going to bed at 10pm. The best shows were on at 10, like The Fugitive (if my memory is serving me correctly). I wanted to watch the shows my parents were watching.

My father didn't control the TV in the earlier hours. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Star Trek (do I really need to provide a link for this?) were the exceptions. I became a fan of Voyage, too. My sister, with the earliest bedtime, got to choose until 9pm, her bedtime, on most nights. Then I got to choose from 9-10, when I had to go to bed, and my parents then watched what they wanted. There were plenty of arguments until 9pm. How I got to watch the second half of MFU, and then the whole show is beyond me. She didn't watch it, so there must not have been anything else on she wanted to watch.

What made MFU stand out for me was Illya. As David McCallum's role as Illya increased, so did my love for the show. I was only 11 when it first came on, and I went through puberty with that show. But while I playacted some UNCLE with a friend in junior high, my first fan stories were other shows, and I wrote only a few things.

I never wrote in to the show. I didn't have friends who watched the show until my second year of junior high, midway through the series. I really had no idea it was anything more than another show with a popular actor who made it into the teen magazines. Star Trek was the show that did that for me because it was everywhere, in newspapers and magazines. But when I think of Man from UNCLE, I'm transported back to that time. I hope the upcoming movie is good.