Ask anyone about the American TV spy genre and he or she will mention The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Often touted as television's version of James Bond, the show broke away from tradition and was rewarded for its risks by becoming one of the country's top ten rated shows at its peak. Here are a few additional facts about the espionage series.
Eight feature films were created from Man from UNCLE episodes and released to great success throughout the U.S. and Europe.
In addition to the normal spy villains of the time (Cold War criminals and Nazi dictators), UNCLE stars Robert Vaughn and David McCallum also battled the fictional secret society, THRUSH. THRUSH was comprised of elitists who believe their wealth and supposedly superior intellegience entitled them to world domination.
Though the show only lasted four seasons, it's popularity attracted several A-list guest stars, including George Sanders, Joan Crawford, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and a young Kurt Russell.
The series' only official spinoff, The Girl From UNCLE, debuted in 1966 and starred Stephanie Powers as agent April Dancer. The short run of the show (it barely survived its first season) is at times attributed to its mimicry of the newer and more outlandishly colorful Batman TV series, which seemed to be on its way to the top of the ratings charts as Man From UNCLE slid down.
In the end, the show sank to 64th place in the ratings, only to be replaced by Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In in 1968.