More McCallum

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Over at The Chiseler I look upon the wonders of Sapphire and Steel, with the great Aryan double-act of David McCallum and Joanna Lumley.

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11 Responses to “More McCallum”

  1. henryholland666 Says:

    I was introduced to this show by a friend, he kept insisting it was a classic. It was very sparse with clues as to What It Was All About and looked like it was made for about £1.25 but I loved it. My favorite is the second serial set in an abandoned railway station. I watched it on DVD in one go, I love the resolution of the story.

  2. Supposedly that wasn’t meant to be the ending, they thought they would do more, but as it’s the only assignment that ends with a horrible cliffhanger (the others all attaining a spurious kind of “resolution”) I have my doubts. It would be typical of the show’s perversity if the episode without closure were planned as the last.

  3. Fiona here. HH666 is talking about the haunted railway station series, which DOES have a resolution, albeit an extremely disturbing one. The final series is set in a car service station and that one ends…well, I don’t want to give it away if you’ve piqued anyone’s interest and they want to watch it, but it doesn’t end WELL. (And I’m convinced it was planned that way)

  4. Slightly Off-Topic: Before he officially “came out” Anderson Cooper “Outed Himself” when covering Charles and Camilla’s wedding he suddenly screamed “Oh Look– it’s Joanna Lumley!!!”

  5. Here, McCallum is forever the Good Russian from THE MAN FROM UNCLE, famously jumping from second banana to costar while becoming an overnight teen heartthrob. He and Robert Vaughn had a nice comic chemistry, but the show frequently put them on separate trails; perhaps to facilitate faster shooting with two units.

    UNCLE ran three years (I think) here. It sometimes challenged BATMAN and GET SMART for intentional silliness; perhaps an effort to shrug off the visibly limited budget. The then-new and modern Los Angeles International Airport was pawned off as a desert stronghold on the strength of a single matte painting.

    Several two-part episodes were released in Europe as movies, spiced up with a few “sexy” scenes (Look! A bra!) but still blatantly cheap. Recently saw “Spy With My Face”; the McGuffin is a weapon to defend the earth from a conceivable space invasion. A line about being “hilariously” outgunned sound remarkably similar to a speech given by Samuel Jackson during the first Avengers movie.

  6. Ilya Kuryakin. Some crushes never end.

  7. Joseph Sargent, of Colossus: The Forbin Project fame, directed at least one Man from UNCLE “movie”.

    I’ve never seen The Girl from UNCLE spin-off, but kind of want to as Mitchell Leisen directed some of it, and it seems more up his street than a lot of the TV assignments he took (eg Wagon Train).

  8. the chiseler Says:

    The Forbin Project!

  9. the chiseler Says:

    Chisel it, David!

  10. Already wrote about it. But am curious to watch Goldengirl, Joseph Sargent’s OTHER sci-fi movie…

  11. The one essential GIRL FROM UNCLE offered Boris Karloff playing a villainous old lady named Mother Muffin. If Karloff in drag wasn’t enough for ratings, the episode replaced Stephanie Powers’s usual sidekick (Noel Harrison) with MAN FROM UNCLE Robert Vaughn.

    Meanwhile, the same week’s MAN FROM UNCLE opened with Vaughn relaxing in a gondola with McCallum as his complaining gondolier. Something blows up, and Vaughn is recuperating off camera as McCallum is teamed with Harrison in his GIRL FROM UNCLE character. The two second bananas compete for the girl, who in the end walks off with a smug Vaughn wearing an arm sling.

    Aside from Leo G. Carroll playing the gentle spymaster in both shows, I think these were the only crossovers. A stealth pilot for GIRL FROM UNCLE starred a different actress.

    One other UNCLE memory: THRUSH henchmen carried distinctive rifles with magnifying-glass sized sites. A toy version was available. I assumed it was for kids acting out the inevitable post-escape scene where Vaughn or McCallum drops one henchman and uses his weapon to take out the rest.

    I could be wrong, seeing how many kids wanted to suit up as cannon fodder Imperial Stormtroopers a few years later. But I don’t like imagining any of my peers watching the THRUSH extras getting mowed down and thinking, “THAT’S what I want to be.”

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