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
Genre Spy fiction
Action
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 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Norman Felton
Producer(s) Douglas Benton
Running time 50 minutes
(Without Commercials)
Production company(s) Arena Productions
MGM Television
Release
Original network NBC
Audio format Monaural
Original release 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 fiction 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, differing from the other shows by emphasizing the harpsichord.

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 their superior, Alexander Waverly. 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 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]

The pilot for this series was "The Moonglow Affair," episode 52 of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (February 25, 1966).

Title Air date PC
1 "The Dog-Gone Affair" TBA TBA September 13, 1966 (1966-09-13) 8622
2 "The Prisoner of Zalamar Affair" TBA TBA September 20, 1966 (1966-09-20) 8611
3 "The Mother Muffin Affair" TBA TBA September 27, 1966 (1966-09-27) 8611
4 "The Mata Hari Affair" TBA TBA October 4, 1966 (1966-10-04) 8617
5 "The Montori Device Affair" TBA TBA October 11, 1966 (1966-10-11) 8601
6 "The Horns-of-the-Dilemma Affair" TBA TBA October 18, 1966 (1966-10-18) 8606
7 "The Danish Blue Affair" TBA TBA October 25, 1966 (1966-10-25) 8615
8 "The Garden of Evil Affair" TBA TBA November 1, 1966 (1966-11-01) 8605
9 "The Atlantis Affair" TBA TBA November 15, 1966 (1966-11-15) 8609
10 "The Paradise Lost Affair" TBA TBA November 22, 1966 (1966-11-22) 8621
11 "The Lethal Eagle Affair" TBA TBA November 29, 1966 (1966-11-29) 8626
12 "The Romany Lie Affair" TBA TBA December 6, 1966 (1966-12-06) 8630
13 "The Little John Doe Affair" TBA TBA December 13, 1966 (1966-12-13) 8628
14 "The Jewels of Topango Affair" TBA TBA December 20, 1966 (1966-12-20) 8614
15 "The Faustus Affair" TBA TBA December 27, 1966 (1966-12-27) 8613
16 "The U.F.O. Affair" TBA TBA January 3, 1967 (1967-01-03) 8623
17 "The Moulin Ruse Affair" TBA TBA January 17, 1967 (1967-01-17) 8610
18 "The Catacomb and Dogma Affair" TBA TBA January 24, 1967 (1967-01-24) 8629
19 "The Drublegratz Affair" TBA TBA January 31, 1967 (1967-01-31) 8625
20 "The Fountain of Youth Affair" TBA TBA February 7, 1967 (1967-02-07) 8605
21 "The Carpathian Caper Affair" TBA TBA February 14, 1967 (1967-02-14) 8631
22 "The Furnace Flats Affair" TBA TBA February 21, 1967 (1967-02-21) 8603
23 "The Low Blue C Affair" TBA TBA February 28, 1967 (1967-02-28) 8632
24 "The Petit Prix Affair" TBA TBA March 7, 1967 (1967-03-07) 8634
25 "The Phi Beta Killer Affair" TBA TBA March 14, 1967 (1967-03-14) 8619
26 "The Double-O-Nothing Affair" TBA TBA March 21, 1967 (1967-03-21) 8638
27 "The U.N.C.L.E. Samurai Affair" TBA TBA March 28, 1967 (1967-03-28) 8636
28 "The High and the Deadly Affair" TBA TBA April 4, 1967 (1967-04-04) 8620
29 "The Kooky Spook Affair" TBA TBA April 11, 1967 (1967-04-11) 8640

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]

Home 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 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]

Jerry Goldsmith's theme for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was adapted for the series by Dave Grusin in an energetic, harpsichord-flavoured variation. Of the 29 episodes, eight had complete original scores and six were partial scores, with the rest being tracked by the previously written material.[5]

Grusin wrote four complete scores ("The Dog-Gone Affair," "The Mother Muffin Affair," "The Mata Hari Affair" and "The Furnace Flats Affair"), Richard Shores - who would be the principal composer for The Man from U.N.C.L.E the following season - did three ("The Montori Device Affair," "The Prisoner of Zalamar Affair" and "The Danish Blue Affair") and Jack Marshall composed his only score for either U.N.C.L.E. series with "The Horns-of-the-Dilemma Affair." Jeff Alexander, also writing his only U.N.C.L.E. music, provided a partial score for "The Garden of Evil Affair," sharing "Music Score by" credit with Grusin and Shores (the latter two share the credit on all the other episodes, tracked and partial score alike). The opening and closing title themes and suites from the episodes "The Dog-Gone Affair," "The Prisoner of Zalamar Affair," "The Mother Muffin Affair," "The Mata Hari Affair," "The Montori Device Affair" and "The Horns-of-the-Dilemma Affair" are included on the third FSM album of music from The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

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 Taradata 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.[6]

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]

External links[edit]