The following is from the recently discovered treatment for a Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode that began filming in the early spring of 1966, but for some reason, was never completed...
NAPOLEON SOLO is in the midst of a desperate foot-chase, following two
enemy agents through the alleys of a major American city.
Unbeknownst to the gentleman spy, just up ahead--
Are the Three Stooges, MOE, LARRY AND CURLY JOE...
Finishing or starting a construction, painting, or some kind of job....
As the Stooges are endeavoring with a ladder, or long plank, or some
seemingly innocent object--
The two enemy agents come running through, taking the Stooges by
One of the malefactors bumps into Larry, and something falls from the
The agents keep running, but "the Stooges" have been disrupted.
As SOLO comes running through the area, the Stooges turn--
KNOCKING Solo out, accidentally, with their equipment. Solo crumples to
the ground, up against the wall, unconscious.
After some general hubbub, and concern, Curly Joe spots the item that
fell out of the enemy operative's jacket.
It's a T.H.R.U.S.H. badge....
LARRY: T.H.R.U.S.H.? What's a T.H.R.U.S.H.?
CURLY JOE: A thrush is a little birdie!
Moe slaps Curly Joe.
MOE: T.H.R.U.S.H. is an organization of criminal masterminds, you
lamebrain! They wanna take over the world!
LARRY: Those no-goodniks.
CURLY JOE (thinking out loud): Yeah....
LARRY (indicating Napoleon Solo): Moe, then who's this?
CURLY JOE: Maybe we caught a bird with six hands!
Moe goes over to Solo, leaning unconscious, up against the wall. Moe goes
through his pockets.
Larry and Curly stand near by.
MOE: Let's see here...
Moe pulls out Solo's special U.N.C.L.E. gun, which only tranquilizes. He
hands it to the boys.
MOE: Here, take this. Be careful, you quince-heads...
Curly Joe takes the gun.
Moe has gotten to Solo's I.D. billfold.
MOE: This guy isn't THRUSH. He's from
U.N.C.L.E...! He's one of the good guys!
LARRY: I was an uncle, once.
Curly Joe, meanwhile, has been examining the U.N.C.L.E. gun. It goes
off, making that unique U.N.C.L.E. gun SOUND.
Curly Joe has shot himself.
He does a quick, slow fade, looking more dreamy than dead, and falls to
LARRY: Moe! Curly--Quick!
Moe and Larry hurry over to Curly Joe''s prone figure, frantic. Moe
starts slapping Curly Joe's face.
MOE: Speak to me, kid. Speak to me!
LARRY: We're too young for you to die.
Solo, meanwhile, rubbing his brow, has come to.
SOLO: There's no need to worry. He'll only be
unconscious for a while.
MOE (looking at the smiling, unconscious Curly Joe): Sleeping on the
job, huh?! Why, I'll give you...
Moe grabs Curly by the lapels and starts shaking him, Curly's head just
happily lolls back and forth.
Larry looks concerned.
Solo, now standing; puts his hand on Moe's shoulder.
SOLO: I'm certain that won't help.
Moe, responding to the voice of quiet authority, stops, stands, and
looks at Solo.
SOLO: My gun, please.
Larry picks it up, from where it's fallen, hands it over to Solo.
Solo places it back in his jacket-holster.
SOLO: Now, as I'm certain you don't work for the competition, perhaps
you fellas can help me...
ROLL U.N.C.L.E. Title Credits...
James H. Burns, April 1, 2012
BITS AND PIECES
3 of the Brothers Howard: Shemp visits Moe and "Babe" on the set!
Check the dateline!
This bit of parody was originally written for the good folks of the 3
Stooges Fan Club, which you can find out about at:
They produce a TERRIFIC quarterly newsletter/magazine, have a wonderful
internet group, and host an annual FREE get-together in Fort Washington,
Pennsylvania (about thirty minutes outside of Philadelphia). (This
year's confab is the last weekend of April.) The centerpiece for the
festival is the Stoogeum (in Ambler, Pennsylvania (Gwynedd Valley)). The
Stoogeum is an absolutely first rate treasure trove of all things
Stoogey, maintained and presented with the quality of a top-of-the-line
art gallery. You can visit the Stoogeum on many weekends (about once a
month, for an "open house"), and elsewhen, by appointment. Details can
be discovered, here:
Speaking of, "Crying, Uncle..." I recently caught up with the DVD
collection of THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. film compilations (eight movies,
on four discs), released some months back from Warner Archives. (Fans
had been surprised when a few years ago, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
episodes collection DIDN'T include the "movies.")
The theatrical releases--edited mostly from U.N.C.L.E.
two-parters--orginally caused controversy in the United States, in the
1960s, because MGM was essentially just asking folks to pay for what
they had already seen on television, for free!
But it's always fascinating to see the color version of U.N.C.L.E.'s
pilot, fleshed out with new scenes featuring Luciana Paluzzi. (The
Paluzzi scenes, along with additional sequences shot for THE SPY WITH MY
FACE feature ("The Double Affair"), were cleverly combined to make up
much of ANOTHER first season show, "The Four Steps Affair.")
It's also intriguing to see Will Kaluva as the first head of U.N.C.L.E.,
"Mr. Allison," before the producers decided to recast Leo G. Carroll as
Mr. Waverly... (The uncut SOLO pilot, without the additional footage, is
available on the aforemented U.N.C.L.E. TV set.)
ONE OF OUR SPIES IS MISSING ("The Bridge of Lions Affair") also features
"new" scenes shot with Yvonne Craig as an U.N.C.L.E.secretary (and Mr.
Waverly's niece!), the role she previously played in the two-part "The
Alexander the Greater Affair" (ONE SPY TOO MANY).
MGM ultimately stopped releasing the movies in America, but it's
interesting to realize that in many European nations, and elsewhere,
these movies would have been shown in ADVANCE of their publics' chance
to see them on television. In fact, the U.N.C.L.E. films were
contemporary with the James Bond blockbusters, THUNDERBALL and YOU ONLY
(THE KARATE KILLERS commences with a pretty spiffy aerial attack by
mini-choppers--no doubt designed to take advantage of the vast advance
publicity for YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE's special Q-branch helicopter, "Little
The Warner Archives set might seem only for completists (although WELL
worth it, at that!). It's disappointing, after all, that many of the
movies' opening credits are simply shown over footage from the adapted
episode's' initial minutes (sometimes played out in
ULTRA-SLOW-MOTION...!) (And surely, only the most die-hard of fans would
notice that some of the later films might possibly include alternate
takes, or moments, from their televised versions.)
But to me, the collecton is almost worth its purchase price alone for
what struck me as an incredibly rare bit of U.N.C.L.E. arcania: the
theatrical trailers/coming attractions for FIVE of the films (and one
"double feature" rerelease)!
(For those "cousins" among you, here are all the film titles, with the
episodes they were drawn from: TO TRAP A SPY (SOLO pilot, aka "The
Vulcan Affair"), THE SPY WITH MY FACE ("The Double Affair"), ONE SPY TOO
MANY ("The Alexander the Greater Affair"), ONE OF OUR SPIES IS MISSING
("The Bridge of Lions Affair"), THE SPY IN THE GREEN HAT ("The Concrete
Overcoat Affair"), THE KARATE KILLERS ("The Five Daughters Affair"); THE
HELICOPTER SPIES ("The Prince of Darkness Affair"), and HOW TO STEAL THE
WORLD ("The Seven Wonders of the World Affair".)
Sam Rolfe and David McCallum
By the way...
A strange piece of misinformation about U.N.C.L.E. has been appearing
lately, that Ian Fleming, the father of James Bond, created the series.
Now, I bow to no one in my admiration for the author (and a quick glance
at my bookshelves would reveal nearly a DOUBLE set of Fleming's work,
including his non-007 efforts)!
But Fleming DID NOT create THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
In the early 1960s, executive producer Norman Felton (DR. KILDARE)
wanted to produce a new show about an international man of intrigue. He
also wanted to include the Ernest Lehman/Alfred Hitchcock/NORTH BY
NORTHWEST element of an "innocent" getting involved with the character's
In only a couple of VERY BRIEF meetings, Fleming named the lead
"Napoleon Solo." He wanted Solo to live in Manhattan, wear bow-ties, and
have as his two main research associates a local, elderly, lady
librarian, and a newspaper editor. Fleming also wanted Solo to flirt
with the secretary of the boss of whatever organization he worked for
(a la Bond and Miss Moneypenny). Fleming named her "April Dancer" (which
the producers later adopted for THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E.)!
None of these concepts, of course, made it into the series.
Felton turned to noted writer-producer Sam Rolfe (HAVE GUN, WILL
TRAVEL), to develop the show. Rolfe wrote an EIGHTY-PAGE format, with
MANY episode synopses, and launching points...
Fleming was to be a consultant on the program, and made some rough notes
on Rolfe's treatment. But when the Bond producers objected, Fleming sold
any claims of his to Felton for one dollar! Fleming also rather
charmingly offered to buy some of Rolfe's ideas, for future Bond
The confuson about U.N.C.L.E.'s origins might stem from MGM, and then
NBC, referring early on to the series as IAN FLEMING'S SOLO. Fleming's
credit even appeared in some later press materials.
But a Google-check, or any interview with Norman Felton, OR Ian
Fleming's biographers--or, most specifically, Jon Heitland's EXCELLENT
history of the show, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. BOOK--
Reveals that EVEYTHING one associates with THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.--
From the cut of Napoleon Solo's jib, to Illya Kuryakin, to even the name
"U.N.C.L.E.," its organization, and its arch nemesis, T.H.R.U.S.H--
And BEYOND(!) :
Was the creation of Sam Rolfe.
James H. Burns
Go to the Burns in the City Archives
Jim with the second daughter of Curly (Janie Hanky), Moe's son (Paul),
and Larry's sister (Lyla Budnick), in 2001! (Photo Credit: David
You can contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org
James H. (Jim) Burns was a pioneer of the second wave of fantasy and
science fiction movie magazines, being one of the first writers for
Starlog (and several other late 1970s publications), and a contributing
editor to Fantastic Filmsand Prevue. (He wrote the earliest of these
articles, when he was thirteen...!
Jim was also a key figure in many of the era's North Eastern American
comic book and Star Trek conventions.
Burns was one of the field's first writers to cross over to such
mainstream fare as Gentleman's Quarterly, Esquire, and American Film,
while still contributing to such genre stalwarts as Cinefantastique,
Starburst, Heavy Metal and Twilight Zone magazines.
He also wrote articles for Marvel and DC Comics.
(As an actor, Burns has been seen in a handful of films (including with
James Earl Jones), on television, and on stage with the New York Actors
Ensemble (amongst others!).)
More recently, Jim has made several behind-the-scenes contributions to
Off-Broadway, and Broadway productions, become active in radio, and
written Op-Eds, or features, for Newsday, The Village Voice,
TheSportingNews.com and The New York Times.)