U.N.C.L.E.’s ties with James Bond

Sean Connery and David McCallum in 1966

Sean Connery and David McCallum in the 1960s.

There are a number of ties between Britain’s top spy, James Bond 007, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Those connections increased even more when a movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was filmed during the fall of 2013. What follows is a look at the major connections. Text ©   1997-2015   William J. Koenig

Ian Fleming (1908-1964). 007: Created James Bond, publishing his first 007 novel, “Casino Royale,” in 1953. Overall wrote a dozen Bond novels and several short stories. U.N.C.L.E.: Created (with Norman Felton) the character of Napoleon Solo. (American writer Sam Rolfe devised virtually everything else about the series format). Also came up with the character name April Dancer, whom Fleming envisioned as a Miss Moneypenney-type character. The name was used for the lead character in the spinoff series “The Girl From UNCLE.”

Fleming's Solo

Fan image that poked fun at  the title of a 2013 James Bond continuation novel

Solo: Original title of the pilot for The Man From U.N.C.L.E., based on the name of the lead character, Napoleon Solo. Producer Norman Felton originally wanted to bill it as Ian Fleming’s Solo. But pressured by 007 producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, Fleming sold his interest in U.N.C.L.E. for one British pound in June 1963. Pilot filmed under the Solo name in November 1963. Broccoli and Saltzman threatened legal action in 1964, claiming it violated their Goldfinger film rights (story included a minor gangster character named Solo). Title changed to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 007: Title of James Bond continuation novel by William Boyd, published in 2013. Ian Fleming Publications, while marketing the book, plays up the originality of the title without ever mentioning the Solo flap of 1964, or even that Ian Fleming had already named a character Solo in his Goldfinger novel.

Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004): U.N.C.L.E.: scored the pilot and two other episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Goldsmith’s work included the show’s distinctive theme. 007: music director for the CBS series Climax!, which included an adaptation of Casino Royale in October 1954. Goldsmith selected from “tracked” music to use in that broadcast.

George Lazenby's title card in The Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

George Lazenby’s title card in The Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

George Lazenby (b. 1939). 007: Played James Bond in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), first Eon Productions/Albert R. Broccoli Bond film not featuring Sean Connery as Bond. Quit series after the one film. UNCLE: Played mysterious British agent “JB” in “The Return of The Man From UNCLE” (1983 TV movie). TV film clearly seeks to imply this is Bond as he is driving an Aston Martin DB5 (the car model used in “Goldfinger”). “JB” helps Solo out of a tight spot and refers to the now-retired operative as “UNCLE’s finest.”

Patrick Macnee (1922-2015), British actor and star of the television series The Avengers. U.N.C.L.E.: Played Sir John Raleigh, new head of U.N.C.L.E. in The Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Sir John summons a retired Napoleon Solo back to duty. 007: Played Tibbett, an MI6 operative. He’s assisting James Bond in his investigation of Max Zorin, an industrialist suspected of having ties to the KGB.

Jack Lord (1921-1998). 007: Played Felix Leiter, Bond’s CIA friend, in “Dr. No,” the first Eon Productions/Albert R. Broccoli 007 film. UNCLE: Played Mandor, a top Thrush official engaged in a brutal power struggle within the criminal organization, in Eps. 95.

Richard Maibaum (1909-1991). 007: Screenwriter on 13 of the first 16 James Bond movies produced by Eon Productions Ltd. Was there from the beginning of the Eon series as one of three credited screenwriters on “Dr. No.” His final effort was to contribute to the plot of 1989’s “Licence to Kill” (sharing screenwriting credit with Michael G. Wilson). He died in 1991. UNCLE: in the mid-1970s, he proposed some ideas for a never-produced UNCLE revial, according to personal papers he donated to the University of Iowa.

Harold Jack Bloom (1924-1999). UNCLE: Wrote Eps. 2, “The Iowa Scuba Affair,” the first episode produced after the pilot was made. Had co-authored the 1953 movie “The Naked Spur,” with UNCLE developer Sam Rolfe. 007: Received an “additional story material” credit for Bond movie “You Only Live Twice.” Apparently, Bloom worked on an early draft and was replaced by Roald Dahl, who received sole screenplay credit.

Luciana Paluzzi and Sean Connery pose for photographers during production of Thunderball.

Luciana Paluzzi and Sean Connery pose for photographers during production of Thunderball.

Luciana Paluzzi (b. 1937). UNCLE: Played sultry Thrush villainess in footage used to expand the pilot for The Man From UNCLE into a feature film. The Paluzzi footage, however, did not appear in television version of the pilot aired Sept. 22, 1964. Instead, her scenes were incorporated into Eps. 21, “The Four-Steps Affair.” The Paluzzi scenes were an important part of “To Trap a Spy,” the theatrical version of the pilot. In “Four Steps,” NS retreats discreetly into the other room while her character changes clothes. In “To Trap a Spy,” he doesn’t. She also appeared as a helpful hotel owner in Eps. 1 of The Girl From UNCLE. 007: Played sultry SPECTRE villainess in 1965 Bond movie “Thunderball.”

Curt Jurgens (1915-1982). UNCLE: Rich businessman who is courting one of five daughters of a deceased scientist (Eps. 87-88). 007: Played Karl Stromberg, lead villain in “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977).

Telly Savalas (1922-1994). UNCLE: Played buffoonish Italian count married to one of five daughters of a deceased scientist (Eps. 87-88). 007: Played 007 arch-villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969).

Richard Kiel (1939-2014). UNCLE: Has one scene in Eps. 1 as a Thrush thug. In Eps. 23 (“The Hong Kong Shilling Affair”), he has a more extended role as a thug. 007: Played Jaws, initially a freightful character who evolved into Bond’s version of Wile E. Coyote in “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977) and “Moonraker” (1979).

Anthony Zerbe (b. 1936). Veteran American character actor who normally plays villainous roles. UNCLE: Cast as Justin Sepheran, a Thrush leader who escapes prison after 15 years to revitalize the criminal organization in The Return of The Man From UNCLE. 007: Portrayed Milton Krest, a lackey of drug kingpin Franz Sanchez in Licence to Kill (1989).

Nancy Sinatra (b. 1940). UNCLE: Played Coco, daughter of scientist Adrian Cool in “The Take Me to Your Leader Affair.” 007: Performed the John Barry-Leslie Bricusse title song for “You Only Live Twice” (1967)

Paul Baxley (1923-2011). UNCLE: Stuntman and stunt arranger. Also second unit director for Eps. 93-94 (“The Prince of Darkness Affair”). Was one of the “Karate Killers” in Eps. 87-88. 007: Was stunt arranger for Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971). Most likely, Baxley only worked on sequences filmed in the United States; credits for the film indicate there were dual crews for the U.K. and U.S. Veteran Bond stunt arranger Bob Simmons also worked on the film with Baxley.

Dick Crockett (1915-1979). UNCLE: Another one of the “Karate Killers.” He also appeared on other episodes in small roles. 007: Appeared in Diamonds Are Forever as the operator of a crane on Blofeld’s oil rig. He’s trying to put Blofeld’s minisub into the ocean when his character is overcome by Bond (Sean Connery). Crockett also played a thug in the 1966 Batman theatrical movie as well as episodes of that series.

Eddie Saeta (1914-2005). UNCLE: Assistant director, second unit director and, finally in Season Three, director. 007: Was location manager for Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971).

Harold E. Wellman (1905-1992): UNCLE: director of photography on The Dippy Blonde Affair (shared duties with series regular Fred Koenekamp). 007: second unit cameraman, Diamonds Are Forever.

Antony Ellis. 007: Co-scripter of 1954 CBS television adaptation of “Casino Royale.” The hour-long, live show took some liberties with Ian Fleming’s first novel. Bond is an American (Barry Nelson), while Felix Leiter (renamed Clarence Leiter) is British. The show was long thought lost until early 1980s when a filmed copy showed in a warehouse. UNCLE: Plotted and co-scripted Eps. 27, “The Gazebo in the Maze Affair.”

“Bon appetit.” UNCLE: Witticism uttered by Illya Kuryakin after thug gets chewed on by a wolf in Eps. 27 (original airdate 4/5/65). 007: Witticism uttered by James Bond (Sean Connery) after thug falls into pool of man-eating fish (“You Only Live Twice”). Witticism uttered by James Bond (Timothy Dalton) after leaving a thug in a container of maggots (“Licence to Kill”). Witticism uttered by heroine Cheryl Haven as she lifts her right breast to Bond’s mouth at the conclusion of “Blast From the Past,” 007 short story by Raymond Benson first published in Janurary 1997 issue of “Playboy” magazine.

Janus. Roman two-faced god whose name is too good to pass up when creating villains. UNCLE: Name of a woman Thrush operative in MFU Eps. 78 (first name Jenny). Name of a traitorous UNCLE agent who joins forces with a resurgent Thrush in The Return of the Man From UNCLE. 007: Name of a Russian mobster who turns out to be James Bond’s old comrade Alec Trevelyan in “GoldenEye.”

Teru Shimada (1905-1988). UNCLE: Played Sing Mok, president of an unnamed Asian nation who is the target of an assassination plot by the mysterious billionaire Mr. Alexander in Eps. 30-31. 007: Played Mr. Osato, Japanese industrialist whose company is a front for SPECTRE in “You Only Live Twice.”

Walther. German manufacturer of guns preferred by leading secret agents. 007: M. forces James Bond to give up a Baretta .25 that Bond was quite fond of in the novel “Dr. No” (1958). Bond uses the Walther PPK 7.65mm pistol for the rest of the Fleming stories. John Gardner, in the first of his 007 novels in 1981 indicates the Walther was phased out and has Bond using a variety of pistols. Raymond Benson, in the short story “Blast From the Past,” has Bond again using the Walther. In the films, the switch from the Baretta to the Walther PPK was replicated in Eon’s Bond film, “Dr. No” (1962), almost line for line from the book. However, according to postings by eagle-eyed viewers writing in the alt.fan.james-bond news group, the filmmakers have had Bond using the Walther P38, PP and P-9 without mentioning this fact to the audience in films including “Goldfinger,” “You Only Live Twice” and “Octopussy.” In “Tomorrow Never Dies,” Bond (Pierce Brosnan) uses the PPK in early sequences but switches to a Walther P99 in the second half of the movie. It appears that he uses the P99 in “The World Is Not Enough,” due in U.S. theaters in November 1999. UNCLE: The U.N.C.L.E. Special is a modified Walter P38. The first UNCLE gun was a modified Mauser, but producers decided it looked too small, especially with the attachments. The switch to the Walther version occurred during Season One.

Alexander Scourby (1913-1985). UNCLE: Played Professor Amadeus, who is really an ex-Nazi scientist who has Hitler in suspended animation in “The Deadly Games Affair” (MFU Eps. 5). 007: Narrated “The Incredible World of James Bond,” a documentary directed by Jack Haley Jr. that aired Nov. 26, 1965 on NBC. “Incredible World” included information about the novels, scenes from the first three Bond films and scenes from the upcoming “Thunderball” movie. The special pre-empted “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” which normally aired in that time slot (10 p.m. ET Fridays) during the 1965-66 television season.

Al Ramrus. 007: Wrote the narration for the 1965 special “The Incredible World of James Bond.” UNCLE: Co-wrote Eps. 65, The Pop Art Affair.

Richard Loo (1903-1983). UNCLE:  Plays Dr. Yahama, a Thrush official, in The Indian Affairs Affair, the final episode of season 2 of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 007: Plays Hai Fat, an Asian industrialist who employs Scaramanga in 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun. (Thanks to Timmer at the MI6 website message boards for pointing this one out.)

Victor Buono (1938-1982), American character actor who usually played villains. 007: Screenwriter Richard Maibaum’s recommendation to play Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger. Producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman cast German actor Gert Frobe instead. U.N.C.L.E.: Played Colonel Hubris, a Thrush operative, in The Deadly Goddess Affair in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’s second season. Played Sir Cecil Seabrook in The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. episode The Phi Beta Killer Affair.

Aliza Gur (b. 1940). 007: Played Vida, one of the two gypsy fighting women in From Russia With Love. UNCLE: Plays an UNCLE operative who assists Solo in The “J” for Judas Affair.


Ken Adam (1921-2016). 007: Production designer on seven James Bond movies. His interior sets for Dr. No made the modestly budgeted film look more expensive that it was. As 007 films became more expensive, Adam’s sets became more expansive, including Blofeld’s volcano headquarters in You Only Live Twice and Drax’s space station in Moonraker. U.N.C.L.E.: Expressed an interest in working on a proposed movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.  circa 1979-1980. That project didn’t materialize.

Jane Seymour (b. 1951). 007: Played Solitaire, the lead female character in 1973’s LIve And Let Die, the first James Bond film starring Roger Moore. Solitaire can see the future but loses that power after making love to Bond. U.N.C.L.E.: Was part of the same U.N.C.L.E. project Ken Adam was attached to and, had it been made, would have played the “innocent,” an advice columnist for The New York Times.


Henry Cavill during filming of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Henry Cavill during filming of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Henry Cavill (b. 1983). 007: Finalist for the role of James Bond in Casino Royale (2006). The actor played Bond in a screen test. Cavill, then 22, was passed over in favor of Daniel Craig. UNCLE: Played Napoleon Solo in a Guy Ritchie-directed movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The actor got the Solo role three months before the start of principal photography after Tom Cruise declined it. Cavill thus became the only actor to play both spies associated with Ian Fleming.

Leavesden Studio. 007; Studio built at a former Rolls Royce aircraft engine plant for 1995’s GoldenEye. The studio was constructed because the 17th 007 film produced by Eon Productions didn’t have access to Pinewood Studios, the traditional home base for Bond films. U.N.C.L.E.: Warner Bros. eventually acquired Leavesden and uses it as its U.K. production base. Harry Potter films were made there and the Guy Ritchie-directed U.N.C.L.E. film was also based at Leavesden.

Robert Short (far right) as an extra in The Seven Wonders of the World Part I

Robert Short (far right) as an extra in The Seven Wonders of the World Part I

Robert Short: U.N.C.L.E.: Extra in The Seven Wonders of the World Affair Part I, next-to-last episode of 1964-68 series (airport sequence shot at LAX); would-be producer of never-made U.N.C.L.E. feature, circa 1979-81; technical adviser, The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E.; visual effects compositor, 2015 The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie. 007: Extra, Diamonds Are Forever (casino scene with Sean Connery and Lana Wood).

Terry Bamber: Production manager on a number of James Bond films, including The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. U.N.C.L.E.: production manager and assistant director for the second unit of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

The following names were provided by Terry Bamber:

Paul Jennings: 007: stuntman on GoldenEye,  The World Is Not Enough. U.N.C.L.E.: second unit director and stunt coordinator The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

Lee Morrison: 007: stunts and/or assistant stunt coordinator, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall. U.N.C.L.E.:  assistant stunt coordinator The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

Terence Madden: 007: second assistant director (second unit), Casino Royale, second assistant director, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall. U.N.C.L.E.: second assistant director (second unit) The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Arabella Gilbert: 007: assistant production coordinator, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall. U.N.C.L.E.: production coordinator (second unit) The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

Lulu Morgan: 007: production coordinator, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall. U.N.C.L.E.: production coordinator, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

Harvey Harrison: 007: second unit camera operator, GoldenEye. U.N.C.L.E.: second unit director of photography The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie (latter per Mr. Bamber, who should know); not listed in IMDB.com).

Hiller UH-12E helicopter: 007: helicopter depicted as being piloted by Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) when atomic bomb is taken to Fort Knox in Goldfinger. U.N.C.L.E. The very same helicopter appears in a sequence in 2015’s movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.  According to Robert Short, helicopter had to be shipped from England to Rome for use in the movie.

Scott Z. Burns: U.N.C.L.E.: Wrote a script for a movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in the early 2010s when Steven Soderbergh was attached to direct. When Soderbergh departed, the Burns script was scrapped. 007: Hired to rewrite script for No Time to Die. He did not receive a screenplay credit.

New entry, March 12, 2020:

Jeff Kleeman: 007: Was an executive at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer executive in the 1990s, helped oversee some Pierce Brosnan films. U.N.C.L.E.: Got a “story by” credit for the 2015 Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

David C. Wilson: 007: Was one of the uncredited screenwriters on Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). U.N.C.L.E.: Got a “story by” credit for the 2015 Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

New entry, Aug. 15, 2020

Barbara Bouchet (b. 1943): U.N.C.L.E. Played Narcissus Darling, a self-absorbed Thrush operative in Season Two’s The Project Deephole Affair. 007: Played Moneypenny in Charles K. Feldman’s 1967 Casino Royale comedy.

New entries, Jan. 7, 2021. Thanks to reader Steve Oxenrider

Henry Rowland (1913-1984). UNCLE: Played Fritz in The Adriatic Express Affair. 007: Played Dr. Tynan in Diamonds Are Forever.

Nicky Blair (1926-1998): UNCLE: Played “Photographer” in The Sort-of-Do-It-Yourself Affair. 007: Played “Doorman” in Diamonds Are Forever.

Jerry Summers (1931-2006): UNCLE: Cab driver in The Very Important Zombie Affair and another Karate Killer in The Five Daughters Affair/The Karate Killers. 007: CIA agent (uncredited) in Diamonds Are Forever.

New entry, Dec. 15, 2021.

Sid Haig (1939-2019). UNCLE: Played Alex, one of the thugs working for Dr. Karmusi (John Dehner) in The Prince of Darkness Affair Part I. 007: Played a hood in Diamonds Are Forever (“I got a bruddah!”)

1 thought on “U.N.C.L.E.’s ties with James Bond

  1. Willie BOWEN




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