“Open Channel D, please.”

Superspies Ilya Kuryakin (left) and Napoleon Solo (right) consult with their chief, Alexander Waverly (played by Leo G. Carroll) in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It was the unflappable Brit Mr. Waverly who would answer the phone (or whatever device that thing was) when “Channel D” was opened.

Clearly you readers are not as enamoured of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. as I am, or at least as I once was. No takers to my challenge in yesterday’s post to, without resorting to Google, come up with what U.N.C.L.E. in the name of that classic mid-’60s spy-themed TV show stood for. Well then, I’ll tell you; but first I will confess that I had to resort to Google myself. The good-guys agency that American Napoleon Solo (the actor Robert Vaughn) and his Russian partner, Ilya Kuryakin (David McCallum), worked for was the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. So there.

The ever-useful Wikipedia tells me that The Man From U.N.C.L.E. ran on NBC from 1964 to 1968. When I was a kid at the Manse in Queensborough in those years we did not even get exotic NBC, so we probably watched the show a little later in reruns on, what? CTV? Who knows? I just know that I loved it, and (as I have mentioned) thought Ilya was very cute.

Mr. Waverly again, with another set of agents: the dreamy Mark Slate and April Dancer in the spinoff The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.

But even cuter was Noel Harrison playing Mark Slate, the British partner of Stefanie Powers‘s April Dancer, in the one-season-wonder-spinoff show The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. I realize that I may well be the only fan of that short-lived series on the planet, but a fan I am. Mainly because of Mark/Noel. Those were the days of Swinging London, and to a girl in far-from-Swinging-London Queensborough, he seemed to epitomize it, what with that accent and slightly shaggy hair and all. (Funnily, I believe Noel Harrison ended up in Nova Scotia after his years as an actor and singer. He was the one who memorably sang The Windmills of Your Mind, the theme for the 1968 movie The Thomas Crown Affair, which starred Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. Is this enough ’60s trivia yet? Perhaps.)

Uh-oh. It looks like Raymond and I are going to have to drink the Grape Crush ourselves. I lost my taste for it somewhere around the age of 12, but it could be okay in an old-fashioned ice-cream float. (Photo by Graham Gough)

Anyway, the prizes for coming up with what U.N.C.L.E. stood for, and also the name of the evil organization that it was combatting (that would be T.H.R.U.S.H., by the way, an acronym that apparently was never explained in the series but in Man From U.N.C.L.E. novels [Who would buy such a thing? Oh, wait; I think I picked one up at a yard sale a year or two back], it was explained as the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity) were the two cans of Grape Crush that were recently left on the Manse porch by our friend Graham Gough, who was proving that that crazy soft-drink flavour still exists, contrary to what I had thought. Good lord: does this mean that Raymond and I are going to have to drink the stuff ourselves, in the form of retro ice-cream floats? That grapey/ice-creamy combo on my taste buds would certainly take me back to the 1960s. And the only thing I can say to that time-travelling notion is the same thing that Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin and April Dancer and Mark Slate were always saying, speaking into some crazy little communication device that in this day and age would be an iPhone:

“Open Channel D, please.”

4 thoughts on ““Open Channel D, please.”

  1. I bet that when Mary Kay opens her Queensborough coffee shop, she will have a menu item entitled “The Katherine” which will be…you guessed it…a Grape Crush float!

    • I pretty much hope Mary Kay spares the customers that, I have to tell you. Now, a coffee ice-cream soda (one of Raymond’s favourite things in the world, and as a long-ago soda jerk at Barry’s Pharmacy in Lowell, Mass., he even knows how to make it) – that would be a good thing to offer!

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