Archive for the ‘"Man from U.N.C.L.E."’ Category

Remembering Producer Norman Felton

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Noted producer Norman Felton died Monday, July 2nd, at the age of 99 in Woodland Hills, CA. Best known for producing the hit series Dr. Kildare and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Felton began his television career in Chicago — during the medium’s first commercial years and worked on such groundbreaking series as Garroway at Large, and These are My Children. He then went to Hollywood where he worked on Robert Montgomery Presents, Playhouse 90, and Studio One and others, before starting his own Arena Productions company. He was interviewed for 4-1/2 hours by Lee Goldberg for the Archive of American Television in 1997. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

On being executive producer of the landmark dramatic anthology series Playhouse 90 in 1959, when the sponsor censored the word “gas” in “Judgement at Nuremberg”

The producer was Martin Manulis, Herb Brodkin, a couple of others. The network [CBS] did want me to have somebody overall in charge, and so I’d make comments to the producer and I would follow through with it. On the “Judgement at Nuremberg” teleplay,  the gas company was a principle sponsor and they said they said they would pull out if we used the word “gas” on the show. Because  how you told the story of Judgment at Nuremberg and Holocaust without using the word seems– Herb Brodkin, who was the producer — ridiculous, and I felt the same way.  The network tried to get me to do something about it.  I said, “there’s nothing that can be done about it.” They said, when they got close to air time,  “we can’t give up the gas company. We promised them that we will take out the word.” It was all live. Herb Brodkin believed that we were going to do it, and I said, “Herb, I’ve got to tell you that that’s what they’re going to do  and I can’t do anything about it. If it’s going through where we are, I might be able to get to the guys who are supposed to bleep that word out, but they tricked me, II don’t know if I could have done anything and they’re sending an engineer over here with someone and if the word is used we’ll bleep it.” And that’s what happened. And he was furious.  I said, “I warned you that that was going to happen.” There was nothing that I could possibly do.  It was the worse thing for the gas company.  It got the worse publicity it could possibly have when it came out that the word was bleeped out…. We didn’t have people telling us what to do until the advertisers came along.

On the creation of television’s Dr. Kildare

I wanted to do a medical show.  I hadn’t been able to do it because at CBS they said, as the other networks did, who wants to go to a hospital?  That’s the last place –  a person comes home from their job and they’re going to turn on television and see sick people?  But in radio, I did plenty of them. I did a series of a medical nature, and I did in Chicago, while I was in radio  for the AMA. I didn’t latch onto any property. [Another company had done a failed pilot featuring Dr. Kildare.] The reason it was called Dr. Kildare was after-the-fact they turned me down.  They didn’t want to do another one. They didn’t want to do anything medical.  I said, “well, I want to do one, and I did.  It was a very successful pilot. E. Jack Neuman was a fine writer. I said I want to do a medical show, and we had two or three discussions and one, he said, “I got a good idea, this is the story. I know it has to be set in a hospital. There are two gangsters who had a fight between them, and but one is on one floor and another is another floor of the hospital and they still are enemies.” I said, “Jack, before we do anything, why don’t you take a week off, go to a hospital, go around there.  That’s what I want you to do for the next week. I don’t want to see you around here.  Don’t come on the lot.  Go to a hospital.”  So he did.  And when he came back, I never heard about those gangsters again. He said, “it’s terrific! I followed an intern and what they go through, and how they operate is just terrific with patients, and themselves and– so I said  go ahead, and write it. It was a half hour script.  Because that’s what my contract at that time, was, we expected a half hour. I went over to NBC with it and they liked it to much they said, “we’ll make you a deal.”  When the word got out that I sold this, then I think somebody in the board in New York said,” is it going to be Dr. Kildare?”  Bob [Whiteman] said, “no, it’s not like those old movies at all.  It’s the story of an intern.” And they said, “can’t he be called Dr. Kildare?” He pointed out, as did the network, that it was a valuable title to get started with, the people would opt to tune it in.  So, that’s how it got its name, is after-the-fact.

Video: On the genesis of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

On the appeal of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

In the sixties, there were a lot of  just unrest in the family. It was an escape.  It was good against evil.  And also, the thing that they liked was it was different nationalities.  At I cast two men in the leads who were short and not big husky men because, on business on Dr. Kildare, I was in London for a meeting, and when I was leaving, a lady, who was a comptroller, came to me and said, “why is it in America that you always have leading men who are big tall, sexy– so called– looking fellow, and why are they always American?”  I said, “I don’t know. I guess because that’s what people seem to like when they see them.”  But the more I thought about it, as time went on, when it came to do the Man From U.N.C.L.E, I’m not going to do it.  And that’s what made me like David McCallum and Robert Vaughn. They were slim and they were not big, as they used to say, ballsy men. That’s the expression that was used.  So it worked. I think today, some of the kids say that’s something that they really can identify more with, because they’re younger than most of the heroes were in the western shows.


The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Series DVD Set Released

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Just released: the much-anticipated The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The Complete Collection DVD set. It’s a definitive, 41-disc set that includes the entire run of the series plus over 10 hours of bonus material, including interviews with stars Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, commentaries, home movies from the U.N.C.L.E. set, and rare promos and TV appearances.

This DVD release features footage from the Archive of American Television’s interview with series executive producer Norman Felton.

The completely remastered set has all 105 episodes of the show and is packaged in a special collector’s U.N.C.L.E. attaché case.

- Featurette—The Cloak & Swagger Affair: The Untold History of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
- “Solo”—The Original Color U.N.C.L.E. Pilot
- Bonus Feature: U.N.C.L.E. V.I.P.S.—A Celebration of U.N.C.L.E. Guest Stars!
- Featurette—The Spy-Fi Tour: Archives, Art and Artifacts- U.N.C.L.E. Feature Film—One Spy Too Many
- Interview—Double Agents: The Robert Vaughn and David McCallum Reunion
- The Secret Tapes of Illya Kuryakin: Home Movies from the Set of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
– Featurette—MGM’s Secret Operations
- Featurette— Cold War, Hot Spies: U.N.C.L.E. and the Cold War
- Featurette— Guns, Gizmos, Gadgets, and Garb
- Featurette— Behind the Wheel: U.N.C.L.E.’s Piranha Fandemonium
- Featurette— The Music From U.N.C.L.E.
- Featurette— The Girls of U.N.C.L.E.
- The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Show Promo – Summer, 1964
- The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Show Promo – 1966-1967
- The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Show Promo – Spring, 1967
- The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Show Promo – “The Test Tube Killer Affair” (9/18/67)
- The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Show Promo – Fall, 1967
- The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Feature Film Trailer – To Trap A Spy (First U.N.C.L.E. movie – - released overseas, 1964; released in the U.S., 1966
- The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Feature Film Trailer – The Spy With My Face (Second U.N.C.L.E. movie – released overseas, 1965; released in the U.S., 1966
- The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Feature Film Trailer – One Spy Too Many (Third U.N.C.L.E. movie – released overseas and in the U.S., 1966)
- The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Feature Film Trailer – One of Our Spies is Missing (Fourth U.N.C.L.E. movie – released overseas, 1966)
- Interview: Dean Hargrove – Writer, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
- Interview: David McCallum – Illya Kuryakin
- Interview: Richard Donner – Director, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
- Interview: George Lehr – Assistant Producer, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
- Interview: Joseph Sargent – Director, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
- Interview: Robert Vaughn – Napoleon Solo
- The Golden Globe Awards for 1965, aired live on The Andy Williams Show, 1/31/66 (NBC – Winner, Best TV Show)
- 1965 Emmy Broadcast, 9/12/65 (Robert Vaughn & David McCallum, Presenters)
- David McCallum on The Andy Williams Show, 9/20/65
- Tom & Jerry Cartoon – “The Mouse From H.U.N.G.E.R.” – MGM, 1967
- Behind the Scenes: Designs and Blueprints From the Set of U.N.C.L.E
- Hidden Camera: An U.N.C.L.E. Photo Gallery
- Classified Files: Network and Studio Documents Image Gallery
- For Collectors Only: U.N.C.L.E. Memorabilia Image Gallery
- Top Secret: U.N.C.L.E. Motion Picture Advertising and Publicity Image Gallery

Archive Interviewee Gerald Fried Joins the Topanga Symphony for a Free Concert

Saturday, August 18th, 2007



Sunday, August 19, 2007 at 7:30 p.m.

Topanga Community House
1140 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. Topanga, CA 90290


Jerome Kessler – Music Director and Conductor
Gerald Fried – Oboe

Christoph Willibald Gluck - Airs de Ballet Suite #1
Benedetto Marcello - Oboe Concerto in C minor
H. Maurice Jacquet - Pour un Petit Chien Clown
Johannes Wenzeslaus Kalivoda - Symphony No. 6 in F

No tickets or reservations required.
For further details call (818) 591-8477

Gerald Fried’s 2-hour interview interview is online. Click here to access all segments.

Interview description:

Gerald Fried talked about his early work as the composer of Stanley Kubrick’s first films, including his pulsating score for The Killing. Fried then discussed his work as a composer for television that began at Revue Studios. He described his continued composing for television in the 1960s, highlighted by such series as Gilligan’s Island (including one episode where he had musicians blow into bottles to simulate sea shell instruments) and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (including an episode entirely done with kazoos). He spoke in great detail about his work on the classic science fiction series Star Trek, for which he was one of the most significant contributors. He discussed his scores for such classic episodes as “Shore Leave”and “Amok Time.” Additionally, he spoke about his later work for television movies and miniseries (including Roots). B-roll (end of Part 4) consisted of Fried performing three pieces on the oboe from his Star Trek compositions as well as several still photos from recording sessions. The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on June 26, 2003.