The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.

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The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.
The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.jpg
opening title
Genre Spy-fi
Format Espionage
Created by Norman Felton
Directed by Richard C. Bennett
John Brahm
Herschel Daugherty
E. Darrell Hallenbeck
Alf Kjellin
Mitchell Leisen
Sherman Marks
Leo Penn
Richard C. Sarafian
Joseph Sargent
Barry Shear
Jud Taylor
Starring Stefanie Powers
Noel Harrison
Leo G. Carroll
Randy Kirby
Theme music composer theme composed by
Jerry Goldsmith,
arranged by
Dave Grusin
Composer(s) Dave Grusin
Jack Marshall
Richard Shores
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 29
Production
Executive producer(s) Norman Felton
Producer(s) Douglas Benton
Running time 50 minutes
(Without Commercials)
Production company(s) Arena Productions
MGM Television
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 16, 1966 (1966-09-16) – April 11, 1967 (1967-04-11)
Chronology
Related shows The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. is an American spy-fi TV series that aired on NBC for one season from September 16, 1966 to April 11, 1967. The series was a spin-off from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and used the same theme music composed by Jerry Goldsmith, which was rearranged into a slightly different, harder-edged arrangement by Dave Grusin.

Synopsis[edit]

The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. stars Stefanie Powers as American U.N.C.L.E. agent April Dancer and Noel Harrison (son of Rex Harrison) as her British partner, Mark Slate. Leo G. Carroll plays her superior, Alexander Waverly, in both series. The character name "April Dancer" was suggested by James Bond creator Ian Fleming who was a consultant in the creation of the parent program shortly before his death.

The series was not as successful as its parent program and was cancelled after 29 episodes due to low ratings. Several crossover episodes were produced in conjunction with The Man from U.N.C.L.E., including the episode that introduced April and Mark. In their first appearance they were portrayed by Mary Ann Mobley and Norman Fell, respectively.

In the memorable Girl crossover episode "The Mother Muffin Affair", Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) teamed up with April Dancer with Boris Karloff dressed in drag as the titular villainess Mother Muffin.

Similar to the later spy series Alias, April Dancer often went on undercover missions where she had to affect a foreign accent (Powers is fluent in several languages). Her dance training was also put to good use in several episodes, particularly "The Mata Hari Affair" where Powers recreated the famous Greta Garbo dance from the 1932 film Mata Hari.

Another notable feature was the sometimes outlandish avant-garde outfits worn by Powers intended to make her appear hip and modern. She was featured on the cover of TV Guide (Dec. 31, 1966–Jan. 6, 1967), and the article on her mentions the show "...allocating roughly $1,000 an episode for stretch vinyl jackets and skirts, a bare-midriff harem-dancer outfit, miniskirts and the latest mod fashions from London's Carnaby Street."

The article also underscores the show's major flaw: "Unlike her fellow U.N.C.L.E. agents, the ladylike April is not required to kill the bad guys. Her feminine charms serve as the bait, while her partner Noel Harrison provides the fireworks. She does carry, however, a perfume atomizer that sprays gas, earrings and charm bracelets that explode, among other interesting gadgets."

In contrast to her dynamic, karate-chopping contemporaries Honey West and Emma Peel (The Avengers), the demure, "ladylike" conception of April Dancer weakened the character and often turned her into a helpless damsel-in-distress. Arming her with gimmicks and gadgets was not enough.

Additionally, the stories generally leaned toward parody, campy humor and cartoonish villains instead of the more realistic action-suspense format of its progenitor. This is largely due to the influence of the Batman (TV show) series which became an instant sensation in early 1966. During the 1966-1967 season, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. also suffered a decline in ratings due to a change in format designed to appeal to Batman fans.

Despite attempts at cross-promotion with its parent series — Harrison appeared as Slate in an episode of Man from U.N.C.L.E. while Robert Vaughn appeared as Napoleon Solo in an episode of Girl — the show failed to build an audience and thus lasted only one season. According to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Book by Jon Heitland, and commentary on the DVD release of the parent series, the failure of Girl from U.N.C.L.E. was considered a contributing factor in Man's mid-season cancellation in early 1968.

Cast[edit]

  • Stefanie Powers...April Dancer
  • Noel Harrison...Mark Slate
  • Leo G. Carroll...Alexander Waverly; chief of U.N.C.L.E.
  • Randy Kirby...Agent Randy Kovacs

Notable guest stars[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Episode # Production Code Episode Title Airdate
1 8622 "The Dog-Gone Affair" September 13, 1966
2 8611 "The Prisoner of Zalamar Affair" September 20, 1966
3 8611 "The Mother Muffin Affair" September 27, 1966
4 8617 "The Mata Hari Affair" October 4, 1966
5 8601 "The Montori Device Affair" October 11, 1966
6 8606 "The Horns-of-the-Dilemma Affair" October 18, 1966
7 8615 "The Danish Blue Affair" October 25, 1966
8 8605 "The Garden of Evil Affair" November 1, 1966
9 8609 "The Atlantis Affair" November 15, 1966
10 8621 "The Paradise Lost Affair" November 22, 1966
11 8626 "The Lethal Eagle Affair" November 29, 1966
12 8630 "The Romany Lie Affair" December 6, 1966
13 8628 "The Little John Doe Affair" December 13, 1966
14 8614 "The Jewels of Topango Affair" December 20, 1966
15 8613 "The Faustus Affair" December 27, 1966
16 8623 "The U.F.O. Affair" January 3, 1967
17 8610 "The Moulin Ruse Affair" January 17, 1967
18 8629 "The Catacomb and Dogma Affair" January 24, 1967
19 8625 "The Drublegratz Affair" January 31, 1967
20 8605 "The Fountain of Youth Affair" February 7, 1967
21 8631 "The Carpathian Caper Affair" February 14, 1967
22 8603 "The Furnace Flats Affair" February 21, 1967
23 8632 "The Low Blue C Affair" February 28, 1967
24 8634 "The Petit Prix Affair" March 7, 1967
25 8619 "The Phi Beta Killer Affair" March 14, 1967
26 8638 "The Double-O-Nothing Affair" March 21, 1967
27 8636 "The U.N.C.L.E. Samurai Affair" March 28, 1967
28 8620 "The High and the Deadly Affair" April 4, 1967
29 8640 "The Kooky Spook Affair" April 11, 1967

Syndication[edit]

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Beginning in 1968, reruns of all 29 episodes of The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., including 99 of 105 of its parent series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., were combined into a 128 episode syndication package in the United States.[1] Years later, a few more episodes were added to the package, rounding it out to 132.[2]

DVD release[edit]

On August 23, 2011, Warner Bros. released The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Series Part One & Part Two on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time, via their Warner Archive Collection. The two 4-disc collections contain all 29 episodes of the series. These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively through Warner's online store and only in the US.[3][4]

Soundtrack[edit]

Original novels[edit]

First Girl from U.N.C.L.E. novel. Pictured: Stefanie Powers as April Dancer. Note misspelling of Powers' first name.

The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. was featured in five original novels, only two of which were published in the United States:

  • The Birds of a Feather Affair by Michael Avallone
  • The Blazing Affair by Michael Avallone
  • The Global Globules Affair - Simon Latter (Published in United Kingdom and in France as L'affaire des Globules)
  • The Golden Boats of Tatadata Affair - Simon Latter (Published in United Kingdom only)
  • The Cornish Pixie Affair - Peter Leslie (Published in United Kingdom only)

Unlike the series, the novels were quite serious, with the plot of The Birds of a Feather Affair ending in tragedy for April when the 'innocent' character usually featured in the TV show dies despite what April does to stop the villains.[5]

A Girl from U.N.C.L.E. digest magazine was also briefly published, which included novellas not published elsewhere. Gold Key Comics also published a short-lived (5 issue) comic book.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com/hd2/Archive-BC-IDX/67-OCR/1967-12-11-BC-OCR-Page-0039.pdf#search=%22u.n.c.l.e%20128%22
  2. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com/hd2/Archive-BC-IDX/85-OCR/BC-1985-08-19-OCR-Page-0001.pdf#search=%22u.n.c.l.e%20132%22
  3. ^ "Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The: The Complete Series Part One DVD - Warner Bros. Archive: WBshop.com - The Official Online Store of Warner Bros. Studios". WBshop.com. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  4. ^ "Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The: The Complete Series Part Two DVD - Warner Bros. Archive: WBshop.com - The Official Online Store of Warner Bros. Studios". WBshop.com. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  5. ^ "Television Obscurities - Bookshelf: The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. #1, "The Birds of a Feather Affair"". 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 

External links[edit]