Friday, August 31, 2012

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Quiz


Robert Vaughn (left) and David McCallum

The Complete Directory to Prime Network TV Shows: 1946 - Present describes The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as "American television's answer to the very popular James Bond movies."  Despite the Cold War, Robert Vaughn and David McCallum were paired as an American and a Soviet agent who worked together fighting an international crime syndicate.  Test your knowledge of this memorable 1960s spy series by completing the quiz below.

1.  What does the acronym U.N.C.L.E. stand for?

A.  Union of National Crime and Legal Enforcers

B.  Ultimate Network for Crime and Lawbreaking Elimination

C.  United Network Command for Law and Enforcement

D. United Nations Community Law Enforcement

E.  Underground Network for Creative Law Enforcement

2.  What was the name of the international criminal organization that was U.N.C.L.E.'s arch-enemy?






3.  In which city was U.N.C.L.E.'s secret American headquarters located?

A.  Washington, D.C.

B.  Los Angeles California

C.  New York City

D.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

E.  Chicago, Illinois

4.  What was the name of the man who ran U.N.C.L.E., the boss of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin?

A.  Robert Waterford

B.  James Wilson

C.  Peter Wyatt

D.  Weston Davis

E.  Alexander Waverly

5.  In what year did The Man from U.N.C.L.E. make its debut?

A.  1965

B.  1964

C.  1966

D.  1967

E.  1968

6.  The original title of the series was not The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  What was the show's original title?

A.  Spies

B.  Ian Fleming's Solo

C.  Espionage

D.  Undercover

E. Agent Napoleon

7. How many seasons of the series were broadcast in black and white

A.  Only the first season was aired in black and white.

B.  None.  The entire series was broadcast in colour.

C.  The first two seasons were in black and white.

D.  The first three seasons were in black and white.

E.  The entire series was broadcast in black and white.

8.  What was Napoleon Solo's badge number?

A.  32

B. 16

C.  009

D.  11

E.  8

9.  Who starred in the Man from U.N.C.L.E. spinoff series, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.?

A,  Lesley Ann Warren

B.  Lee Meriwether

C.  Mary Ann Mobley

D.  Julie Newmar

E.  Stefanie Powers

10.  When The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was cancelled in 1968, which hit series replaced it?

A,  Hawaii Five-0

B.  Rowan & Martn's Laugh-In

C.  The Fugitive

D.  Here Come the Brides

E.  The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

11.  Napoleon Solo was not originally intended to be an American.  What nationality was Solo originally to have been?

A.  Dutch

B.  English

C.  Canadian

D.  Australian

E.   Irish

12,  The title of almost every episode of The Man from Uncle began with "The . . . . and ended with the same word.  What was that word?

A.  The title of each episode ended with the word "solution"  as in "The Double Agent Solution"  or "The Ultimate Solution."

B. The episode titles ended with the word "conflict" as in "The Vulcan Conflict' or the "The Midnight Conflict."

C.  The episode titles ended with the word "puzzle" as in "The Missing Agent Puzzle" or "The Dangerous Puzzle."

D.  The episode titles ended with the word "affair" as in "The Yellow Scarf Affair" and "The Deadly Games Affair."

E.  The episode titles ended with the word "mystery"  as in the "The Hidden Room Mystery" and the "The Disappearing Spouse Mystery."

13.  Was Illya Kuryakin married?

A.  His marital status was unclear.

B.  No, he was single.

C.  He was divorced.

D.  Yes, he was definitely.

E.  He was a widower.


1.  C

U.N.C.L.E. stands for the fictional United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.  The co-creator of the series, Sam Rolfe, wanted to leave the meaning of acronym unclear so it could be thought to represent the United Nations or Uncle Sam.  There were concerns, however, that the acronym would violate New York law prohibiting the use of the initials U.N. for commercial reasons.  Therefore, the producers of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. made it clear that the acronym stood for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Unlike nationalist organizations such as the CIA and James Bond's MI6, U.N.C.L.E. is an international crime fighting organization with agents from every nationality and from all over the world.

2.  A

THRUSH was U.N.C.L.E.'s arch-enemy.  The series never revealed what the acronym THRUSH stood for, but in several U.N.C.L.E. novels written by David McDaniel, it stood for Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity.  THRUSH''s goal was nothing less than world domination.  In an episode titled "The Green Opal Affair," Napoleon Solo stated that THRUSH's aim was to conquer the world.

3.  C

U.N.C.L.E.'s secret headquarters was located in New York City behind a false wall in Del Floria's Tailor Shop, near the East River and the United Nations complex

4.  E.

Leo G. Carroll

Alexander Waverly was the head of the U.N.C.L.E. organization.  Leo G. Carroll portrayed Mr. Waverly.  Aside from his role as Mr. Waverly, British-born Leo was best known for his performances in Alfred Hitchcock films and the fantasy movie Topper and the American television series of the same name.  Topper, the TV series ran from 1953 until 1955 on the CBS network.

5.  B

The Man from U.N.C.L,E. first aired on September 22, 1964 on  the NBC television network.  The series ended in 1968 and 105 episodes were produced.  It was cancelled midway through its fourth season.

6. B

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was originally called  Ian Fleming's Solo and then just Solo.  The title was changed, however, because a new James Bond film, Goldfinger, was released in 1964, with a gangster character named Mr. Solo.  In fact, Eon Productions, the producer of the James Bond film series. launched a lawsuit to prevent production of The Man from U.N.C.L.E..  As a consultant for the series, Bond creator Ian Fleming had contributed some ideas for The Man from U.N.C.L.E., including the name of its hero, Napoleon Solo.  Although the Solo character was billed as a television version of James Bond, Ian Fleming signed an affidavit declaring that nothing in the Solo pilot encroached on any of his Bond characters.  The continued threat of legal action, nevertheless, necessitated a change in the title of the series.  The name "Napoleon Solo" was maintained despite the lawsuit.

7. A

Only the first season was broadcast in black and white. The pilot episode, "The Vulcan Affair," however, was shot in colour.  It was filmed from late November to early December 1963 on location at a Lever Brothers soap factory in California.

8.  D

Napoleon Solo's original badge number was II (Roman numerals), signifying that he was the head of section II.  When filming in colour began at the start of the  show's second season, however, the number on the new coloured badge was written in Arabic numerals as number 11.  The error was never corrected and Solo's badge number remained 11 for the remainder of the run of the series.

9.  E

Stephanie Powers starred as April Dancer in The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., a short-lived series that aired on NBC from September of 1966 until August of 1967.  In addition to his role on The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Leo G. Carroll also appeared as Mr. Waverly on The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.  Noel Harrison portrayed Mark Slate, a British spy from U.N.C.L.E.'s London office, who teamed with April Dancer in the never-ending battle against THRUSH.  Powers went on to star in the hit series Hart to Hart  with Robert Wagner.
Note: The "girl" (April Dancer) was first introduced in an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. entitled "The Moonglow Affair" that aired on February 26, 1966.  Mary Ann Mobley played the role of April Dancer in that episode. The Mark Slate character was originally played by the late Norman Fell who was best known for his role as Mr. Roper on Three's Company and The Ropers.

10.  B

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was replaced by Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.

11. C

The Napoleon Solo character was originally planned to have been a Canadian.  The producers decided that it would be preferable to make him an American.

12.  D.

All the titles of the episodes ended with the word "affair."  The only one that did not begin with "The . . Affair was a two-part 1965 episode entitled "Alexander the Greater Affair."

13. A

Illya Kuryakin's marital status was unclear.  In most episodes filmed before mid-1966, he wears a wedding band.  In an episode entitled "The Bow-Wow Affair," (Season One, Episode 20) he is asked directly whether he is married.  He responds enigmatically by paraphrasing the opening line from Andrew Marvell's poem To His Coy Mistress.   "Had I but world enough, and time".is his reply.


* Robert Vaughn is best known for his role as the debonair spy Napoleon Solo.  Born in New York City on November 22, 1939, Vaughn is 79 years old.

* Scottish actor David McCallum played the mysterious Russian spy Illya Kuryakin.  McCallum, now 78 years old, remains active and currently portrays NCIS Medical Examiner, Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard on NCIS.

* Leo G. Carroll died in Hollywood, California on October 16, 1972 at the age of 79.

In 1983, Robert Vaughn and David McCallum reprised their roles in a television film entitled The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair.  The Mr. Waverley character was not recast after the death of :Leo G. Carroll.

* U.N.C.L.E. agents used many gadgets including small cell phones, years before they were commonly used in the real world.

* Although U.N.C.L.E. is a fictional organization, there was a bogus disclaimer after every episode stating, "We wish to thank the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, without whose assistance this program would not be possible."  There were so many requests that MGM-TV was obliged to send out U.N.C.L.E. membership cards to letter writers.  Talk about blurring the line between reality and fiction!

To watch a video of a Man From U.N.C.L.E. trailer, click on the link below.

- Joanne

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jay North: TV's Dennis the Menace

TV's Dennis the Menace turned 61 years old recently.  Jay North, who played the mischievous little rascal, was born Jay Waverly North, Jr. in Hollywood, California on August 3, 1951.  His parents, Jay Sr. and Dorothy, had an unhappy marriage,  When Jay was only four years, his alcoholic father abandoned the family.  Dorothy North raised her son as a single mother and found employment with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).

When Jay was six years old, Dorothy used her association with AFTRA to arrange for him to appear on a children's television show in Los Angeles.  He caught the eye of a Hollywood talent agent and soon found himself making commercials and winning small parts on several popular 1950s variety shows.  In 1958, when the television division of Columbia pictures announced a nationwide search for a boy to play the lead role in the TV adaptation of the Dennis the Menace cartoon.  Jay auditioned and won the role over hundreds of hopefuls.

Based on the popular comic strip by Hank Ketcham, Dennis the Menace ran for four seasons from 1959 to 1963 on the CBS network.  146 episodes of the series were produced featuring North as the impish Dennis Mitchell.  Dressed in his trademark striped shirt and overalls, the blond-haired youngster with the distinctive cowlick would wreck havoc in his neighbourhood.  The show was hugely successful and Jay North was catapulted into stardom.

In February of 1962, however, Joseph Kearns, who played Dennis' nest-door-neighbour, George Wilson, died unexpectedly after filming the 100th episode of the series, "The Man Next Door."  The show was never the same without Kearns.  He was replaced by Gale Gordon who did an admirable job in the role of George's brother, John Wilson.  Something, however, was missing.  Perhaps it was the dynamic between Keans and North.

Whatever the reason, the show's ratings plummeted after the death of Joseph Kearns and it was cancelled in the spring of 1963.  By that time, Jay North was almost 12 years old and rapidly outgrowing the part of "little Dennis."  The young actor was also tired of the gruelling hours on the set and felt deprived of a normal childhood.  The demise of Dennis the Menace came as a relief to him.

Jay's portrayal of a happy and spirited child had been an illusion.  Even the blond hair had been artificial.  His strawberry red hair had been bleached platinum blond every two weeks so that he would more closely resemble the Dennis the Menace cartoon character.  His years as Dennis had been anything but happy and carefree.  Working long hours on the show while continually appearing in commercials and promotions, had taken its toll on the young actor.

As a teenager, Jay tried to get his post-Dennis career on track.  He had a starring roles in two MGM feature films, Zebra in the Kitchen, a family comedy about a boy who sets the animals in local zoo free, and Maya (1966).  He also starred in the television version of Maya and travelled to India where the series was filmed on location there.  It chronicled the adventures of two boys, Terry Bownen (Jay North) and Raji (Sajid Khan), a Hindu boy, who travelled around India on the back of an elephant named Maya.  Their goal was to find Terry's missing father, whom they never located.  The series aired on NBC from September 1967 until  February 1968.

Jay North (right) and Sajid Khan in Maya, 1967

After Maya, Jay North became involved in voice acting for animated television shows. He provided the voices of Prince Turhan on Arabian Nights and the  teenage Bamm-Bamm Rubble on The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show.  As an adult, however, Jay's career didn't just stagnate.  It came to a full stop.and he became a self-described "professional has-been."

In 1977, unhappy and disenchanted with his career, Jay North left show business and enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  He served on the USS Iwo Jima which was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia.  As a former child star, Jay was treated roughly by both his mates and his superiors.  On August 10. 1979, he left the service with an honourable discharge and returned to Hollywood.

After his return from the Navy, Jay could never quite revive his career and he failed to find steady work.  In 1982, he appeared as a character named Al Barker on General Hospital but his stint on the afternoon soap lasted only a week.  Tired and frustrated, he left public life for several years and made his living in the health food industry.

In 1993, Jay revealed that he had suffered childhood abuse, both emotional and physical, at the hands of his aunt and uncle, Marie and and Hal Hopper.  Due to Dorothy North's  full-time job at the American Film and Regional Theater Arts, Dorothy's sister, Marie and her husband, Hal served as  Jay's legal guardians on the set of Dennis the Menace.  Hal, a former member of the Pied Pipers, a 1940s music group, was also an actor.  On weekends, the child star went on promotional tours with his aunt and uncle.

The Hoppers were strict disciplinarians and Jay was always under their watchful eyes.  They would slap him if he performed a scene below their perfectionist expectations.   In an article by Ray Richmond in the Los Angeles Daily News (published in June of 1993), details of the abuse were brought to light.  Jay is quoted as saying: "If it took me more than one or two takes, I would be threatened and then whacked."

Jay North has been married three times.  He wed his first wife, actress Kathleen Boucher, when he was 21 years old.  The two had met while touring in a production of Butterflies are Free.  After travelling with the production for a year, they returned home to Los Angeles and married on on July 20, 1973.  The marriage, however, was short-lived and they divorced on October 21, 1974.

On March 2, 1991, North wed his second wife, Rositia, whom he had met on a blind date.  The couple separated three months later and divorced on May 5, 1992.  In April of 1992, Jay met a caterer named Cindy Hackney at a charity event for victims of pediatric AIDS.  They were married on March 3, 1993.  Months after the wedding, North left Los Angeles and relocated to Cindy's hometown of Lake Butler, Florida, near Jacksonville.  He became stepfather to her three daughters.

Jay North had to leave Hollywood in order to "put this 'Dennis the Menace thing' behind me at last."  After years of trauma, drug problems and weight gain, he seems to have finally found some contentment in his life.  He has also come to terms with his resentment toward Dennis the Menace.  In a 2011 television interview with KTLA 5 News in Los Angeles, he declared, "I've made peace with the show.  I realize that I had to physically remove myself from Los Angeles to get the show business mentality out of my head."  Jay said he's very happy in Florida and that he works with the Florida Department of Corrections.

To watch the KFLA 5 News interview with Jay North, Gloria Henry and Jeannie Russell (Margaret Wade on Dennis the Menace), click on the link below.

The Cast of Dennis the Menace

1960 cast photo

Clockwise from centre:  Jay North (Dennis Mitchell), Herbert Anderson (Henry Mitchell), Gloria Henry (Alice Mitchell), Sylvia Field (Martha Wilson) and Joseph Kearns (George Wilson).

Herbert Anderson portrayed Henry Mitchell, Dennis' bespectacled, pipe-smoking father.  Anderson, a character actor from Oakland, California, retired from acting in 1982 after undergoing heart surgery.  He died from complications from a stroke on June 11, 1994.  He was 77 years old at the time of his passing.

Gloria Henry played Alice Mitchell, The Menace's mother.  Born Gloria McEniry in New Orleans, Louisiana.on April 2, 1923, she began her acting career on radio shows and in small theatre groups.  After signing with Columbia Studios, she appeared in a string of "B" films in the late 1940s and early 1950s before moving to television.  Now 89 years old, Gloria remains active, most recently appearing in an episode of Parks and Recreation.that aired on March 1, 2012.  The episode is entitled ""Campaign Shake-up" and Gloria portrayed a character named Mary-Elizabeth Clinch.

Joseph Kearns played the Mitchell's neighbour, George Wilson.  Good Ol' Mr. Wilson, as Dennis referred to him, enjoyed puttering around in his garden and taking care of his home.  His tranquil existence, however, was constantly shaken by the antics of the young hellion.  Although best known for his role as Mr. Wilson, he made several appearances on such shows as The Jack Benny Program, Our Miss Brooks and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett.  Dennis the Menace never recovered from Kearns' sudden death from a cerebral hemorrhage on February 17, 1962.  He was 55 years old.

Sylvia Field, a veteran performer of the stage, screen and television, portrayed Martha Wilson, George's wife.  When her television husband, Joseph Kearns died in 1962, Sylvia was written off the show.  Through the years, she guest starred in over 30 television shows including  Father Knows Best (1957), Perry Mason (1957) Hazel (1965) and Petticoat Junction (1966).  Her last television appearance was in a 1975 episode of the David Janssen crime series Harry O.  The episode, entitled "The Last Heir," aired on January 9, 1975.  Sylvia Field passed away at a nursing home in Fallbrook, Califormia at the age of 97.


* In 1960, Jay North and Joseph Kearns appeared as Dennis Mitchell and Mr. Wilson on an episode of The Donna Reed Show entitled "Donna Decorates" (Season 3, Episode 3, Air Date: September 29, 1960). During the 1960s, Jay made guest appearances on such television series as Wagon Train (1964), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1965), Jerecho (1966), The Lucy Show (1966),

* On December 8, 1988, Jay became the focus of a hoax when United Press International  reported that he had died in a doctor's office at the age of 37.

* In 1959, during the first season of Dennis the Menace, Ron Howard (then billed as Ronny Howard) appeared in six episodes as Dennis Mitchell's friend, Stewart.

- Joanne