This site is specifically designed for anyone, 18 yrs. or older,
who prefers heterosexual or general posts about
"The Man from U.N.C.L.E.",
David McCallum, Robert Vaughn,
and their alter egos.

Suggested posts include discussion forums,
fics (site links and self-promotion okay),
resources for writers,
pics and news about the guys.
Adult content is okay,
but please remember this is a "slash-free" zone!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Quick update

Hi, all,

Real life has kept me busy lately - I'm playing paralegal for myself, and I've been having some health matters handled this past week.  I should be back with the topics by Thursday of this week.

Just wanted to let everyone know I haven't given up on Section II, I've just had to focus in other directions the past few days.

Peace y'all!


Friday, February 19, 2010

UNCLE Friday - Napoleon and the "Innocents"

Here's a topic that could inspire debate - Napoleon and the "Innocents".

There are some interesting innocents during the course of the series. A few that come to mind are Mimi Doolittle from "Foxes and Hounds", Mary Pilgrim from "See-Paris-and-Die", Clemency McGill from "Bat Cave", Salty Oliver from "Ultimate Computer" and Terri Cook from "Gurnius" (some people like these characters, but they annoy the socks off me!), Elfie van Donck in "Deadly Toys", and Janet Jerrod from "Off Broadway".  Aside from the females, I thought young Chris Larson in "Finny Foot" pairing up like a side-kick with Napoleon was very good.

Cousins, what are your thoughts on the innocents, good and bad.

Thames Thursday - "Sapphire and Steel" Assignment 6

I apologize for the late post.  Things were rather hectic yesterday, and I worked on legal paperwork until late last night.  Looks like I've got a "Jiffy Pop" kind of case and need to turn up the heat.

This week's topic is Assignment 6 of "Sapphire and Steel".  When I first saw the assignment, I took everything at face value.  Then things started becoming clearer to me.  I watched the assignment again, and began noticing strange things - not that most of "Sapphire and Steel" wasn't strange - but strange dialogue, like the repeated "eggs, fruit and milk", the repetition of threes, the gingham checks and chess board. 

I've spent about a year working on a story ida to bring Sapphire and Steel out of the trap.  My story began where the series left off.  Then I heard Joanna Lumley say that she would like for them to be able to leave the trap in the present day.  So, I took all the clues and puzzles I had figured out and moved them forward in time.

Does anyone have any observations they would like to share about Assignment 6?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Writers' Wednesday - A new story by Marianne

I have been under the cloud of the lawsuit for the past two days, but I surfaced long enough to visit Marianne's blogspot for her latest story. 

Marianne's illustrated stories are good, and I love the Tonner dolls.  Check out the Solo doll, complete with that wayward front lock of hair!

Kudos, Marianne!  I love creativity!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Scheduling Note

This week my thoughts are sort of scattered.  I'm trying to deal with settling a lawsuit with my former employer.  I should be back up with the posts on Thursday as it's Sapphire and Steel day, and then we'll have something really good for MFU Friday - the best Napoleon and innocent pairings.

I apologize for the schedule change this week, but I need to have my ducks in a row, rather than be a sitting duck!

Cat : )

Thursday, February 11, 2010

UNCLE Friday - The best of Napoleon

Continuing with UNCLE Friday, when do you think Napoleon was at his best?  Is there a particular episode or season that you think really captured the essence of Napoleon?

Personally, I believe Season One did the best at developing Napoleon's character, and that he was particularly good on his own in "Iowa Scuba" and "Dove".

Cousins, would you like to share your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thames Thursday - "Sapphire and Steel" Assignment 5

We've reached Assignment 5 of the series, the only adventure not written by P.J. Hammond.  Assignment 5 is an "Agatha Christie" style mystery.  It's popular with many viewers, but it wasn't one of Joanna Lumley's favorite episodes.

Personally, I like Assignment 5.  It's probably my second favorite, after Assignment 2, because it puts Sapphire and Steel in such a completely different situation.  There are some interesting visuals that I completely missed the first time I watched it, but it does make one get the impression that there is more to Sapphire and Steel's relationship than just time-mending.

Instead of recapping the Assignment, I'll ask if anyone has any thoughts they would like to share about Assignment 5.

Writers' Wednesday - "The Final Affair"

On Channel D, there have been posts regarding "The Final Affair" written by MFU fic author, David McDaniel.  McDaniel's books were authorized publications, with adventures for the guys written in the style of the series, and were very popular.

If anyone is interested in obtaining a PDF copy of the story, please email me at kitti4940@yahoo.com, and I will be glad to forward your request for a copy of the manuscript.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

NCIS Tuesday - Ducky's Secret

In a recent post on Yahoo Groups there was a comment about relationships.

You recently fielded NCIS questions regarding potential romances for Gibbs, Tony, Ziva, Abby and McGee, but what about Ducky? What does the future hold for everyone’s favorite chatty British medical examiner? —SR

“Ducky is hiding a secret that the rest of the team is determined to find out,” teases Shane Brennan. “And it’s not what they think it is.”

In response to this, I saw that someone responded that possibly Ducky and Jordan had split. In "Jetlag", Ducky made a comment to Gibbs about not having much of a social life, so finding out that there was a split with Jordan would be no big surprise.

During the group chat in the Season Six DVD set, David made the comment about the romance storyline being "tied up prettily" this season.

What do you think it might be?

Monday, February 8, 2010

McCallum-Vaughn Monday: "The Magnificent Seven"

Not posting as often is becoming a challenge for me because I'm concerned that a) people will lose interest (I have some non-members who visit the site), and b) I find myself getting caught up with other projects.

Today's topic is "The Magnificent Seven", released in 1960, which gave Robert Vaughn another opportunity to show his acting talent.  "TMS" was a western with several heavy-hitting actors including Yul Brenner and Steve McQueen, directed by John Sturges (who subsequently directed "The Great Escape").  "TMS" was one of the first Vaughn movies I remember watching on television.  Like "The Great Escape", "The Magnificent Seven" is a movie that hasn't lost its appeal since its release.

Does anyone have any thoughts they would like to share about the movie?

Cinema: The Spies Who Came into the Fold

Cinema: The Spies Who Came into the Fold

Friday, February 5, 2010

UNCLE Friday - Napoleon's Femme Fatales

Wow!  The excitement of Friday night being UNCLE night - I remember it as though it were yesterday.  For the first UNCLE Friday topic, we will mention Napoleon's femme fatales. 

In "Deadly Games" there was Angelique who, as Illya recognized, did have qualities similar to the spider family.  Poor deceptive Angela in "Four Steps", she didn't fare too well. 

There was also the lovely DoDo, who was seriously vicious in the movie made from "Bridge of Lions".  She was bumped off so her brown dress could be used again in "Thor".  (They didn't just recycle sets on MFU, they recycled wardrobe, too.)  At least DoDo redeemed herself as the "innocent" Tavia Sandor in "Birds and Bees" and Abbe in "Maze Affair".

Poor Mara in "Nowhere", its tough to consider her a femme fatale.  Yes, she worked for THRUSH, but she was almost an innocent.  First, she acted per the instructions of Dr. Tertunian, and then she acted per the instructions of Alexander Waverly when she gulped down a batch of Capsule B.  "Happy days," indeed ..., don't you wonder what happened to Mara post Capsule B?

Of all the femme fatales, I have to admit that I liked Serena the best even though she tried to "barbeque" Illya.

What do you say, cousins?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thames Thursday - "Sapphire and Steel" Assignment 4

This week's topic is Assignment 4, "The Man without a Face".  I started writing an overview earlier this morning, but it turned into a dissertation. 

Some folks have commented on not being able to watch Assignment 3 with the animals in the abbatoir.  Assignment 3 didn't bother me as much as this one. There was something that felt just a bit too creepy or sinister. Since it gives me the creeps just thinking about it, I'll summarize quickly the assignment as briefly as possible. 

Everything takes place in a tenement building. The downstairs is a second-hand shop. Steel says that it is a depressing place; a room full of potential triggers. "Nothing here but the belongings of the poor, the hopeless, and the dead."

There are apartments upstairs.  The landlord and Ruth, a tenant, have been missing for months.  In going through photos, Sapphire finds they have been locked into a photo that is 97 years' old. 

Sapphire and Steel discern that the landlord was manipulating photographs. The new landlord takes the photo manipulation further; releasing children from some photos and trapping Ruth and the former landlord in another photo.  Steel figures out the photo manipulation technique, including the use of a prism, and was able to use the darkroom equipment to reproduce a photo of Liz's missing roommate, Ruth. Upon finding the photo of Ruth, the creature, the "new landlord", set it on fire, killing Ruth.

Sapphire and Steel are both locked into photos a few times.  The two enlist the aid of Liz, Ruth's roommate, during the last occasion. Being trapped in a photograph together, the dreaded creature, the image of a man used by time, an image with multiple faces, enters the photo where Sapphire and Steel are.  In order to free themselves from the photo, while trapping the creature inside, the following telepathic exchange occurs between Sapphire and Steel: 

Steel: [We can... we can make a mirror. Make a mirror from... from this... this glass.]
Sapphire: {But how?}
Steel: [If we concentrate, both of us! Think of Mercury, and Silver!]
Sapphire: {Yes.}
Steel: [Think of what they can do. Borrow from their minds! It can be done if we both concentrate!]

This is the first time that we learn that Sapphire and Steel can "borrow" the powers of other elementals.

With the help of the tenant, Liz, Sapphire and Steel escape the photograph, leaving the creature trapped inside.  Steel suggests they find the kaleidoscope in the second-hand shop. Sapphire locates the kaleidoscope, and Steel uses it to trap the creature inside.  The kaleidoscope would be placed within a shipwreck, which would remain frozen for another 75 years.  When Liz asks, what will happen in 75 years, Sapphire says they will be waiting, and Steel comments that there would be other shipwrecks.  Steel also tells Liz to get rid of any photographs of her and to never have another photograph taken.

There is some interesting dialogue in Assignment 4.  Liz and Sapphire are rather merciless in teasing Steel. While Steel is sitting in the apartment with Liz, she comments about having turned on the stereo again. The following conversation occurs:

Liz (talking about the stereo): "Nice, isn't it? You can't dance to it, but it stops you feeling lonely. I suppose you wouldn't know." Then Liz says: "Did she choose that suit for you?"
Steel: "What did you say?"
Liz: "You can turn it off, if you like." When the music continued, Liz looks over at Steel and says: "It's her, isn't it? You can't do anything! The first time, that thing just stopped. She did it, didn't she? Picked your suit, as well?"

Steel makes no comment in reply to Liz as Sapphire draws his attention away from her.

When Steel figures out the photographic technique, he demonstrates what he has learned for Sapphire:

Steel: "Tricks! Tricks, tricks with film, tricks with cameras. We've been looking for proof. For evidence of some great photographic discovery! Mr. Williamson, photographer, was no more than a clever conjuror! Light patterns. Multiple images. Mirrors! That was the extent of his talent! Excuse me."
Steel plugs in a projector near Sapphire's feet and says: "To someone like Ruth it was no doubt talent enough! A few, cheap tricks to impress the ladies!!"

Sapphire: "Well, at least he bothered to impress them."

There are two other things I noted - Sapphire's comment to the "man", that they have only one face, and the concept of mixing old and new together (as in A1) is mentioned again.

It seems that Steel doesn't understand some of the Earth-based phrases Sapphire uses.  Early in the assignment, Sapphire uses the phrase, "A genie in a bottle." Steel doesn't understand, and she doesn't explain.  Later, when Steel solves the problem of what to do with their time gremlin, he tells her about using the kaleidoscope.  This time, Steel uses the phrase, "A genie in a bottle."

This is still a dissertation, isn't it?  Those are just a few of my observations about A4.  What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Writers' Wednesday - Introduction to "Batwoman" Amy

One purpose of this site is to promote the work of writers within the MFU fandom.  Today the writers' guide features the works of Amy, who publishes her stories under the name of "Batwoman".

Amy writes in many fandoms - MFU, GFU, "Scarecrow and Mrs. King", and "Alias".  While she has MFU exclusive stories, she wrote the well-known MFU-NCIS Zine, "Ducky's Pain", and its companion, "Past and Present".  These zines may be ordered through Carriage Hill:  http://www.carriagehillpress.com/.

An NCIS/Man From U.N.C.L.E. crossover novella (het)

When the NCIS team is called to investigate the death of a young woman, Ducky has an unusual reaction. Suddenly, the kindly gentleman the team knew has disappeared, replaced by a man with a different accent and attitude, a man who is friends with U.N.C.L.E. agents. With the help of U.N.C.L.E., Ducky works to take care of something that should have been handled years ago. Features both the Man From U.N.C.L.E. and the Girl From U.N.C.L.E. WARNING: slightly violent situations, non-consensual sex.

The companion to "DUCKY'S PAIN" includes five stories:
First Date - Illya and April are attracted to each other, but they want a relationship based on more than physical attraction. Illya searches for the perfect 'first' date.
Aftermath - Ducky survived "Meat Puzzle." Can his family survive learning he was kidnapped?
Letters - Ducky makes plans for the future.
Decisions - NCIS wants April to work for them.
Mother's Day - April is given the perfect Mother's Day gift; the arrest of an old enemy.

Amy has stories online under the name "Batwoman".  Her stories include "Unexpected Changes", which takes place within the "Ducky's Pain" flashback timeline, along with stories in the MFU/NCIS universe not associated with the "Ducky's Pain" series.  These stories are located at: http://www.fanfiction.net/~batwoman and http://www.mfuarchive.net/.

When Amy isn't writing, she does beadwork. She has two etsy shops that may be of interest:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/amystreasures (earrings and other beadwork)
http://www.etsy.com/shop/amystreasuresattic (various items)

I'm usually a "purist" when it comes to MFU fiction, but I am enjoying Amy's stories.  I hope you will enjoy them, too.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

NCIS Tuesday - Award Nominations

Over the past seven seasons, we haven't heard much about award nominations for NCIS; however, the "imdb" website lists several nominations.  These are the awards listed to date for the series:

ALMA Awards
2008  - Nomination
ALMA Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Television Series 
Cote de Pablo

ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards
2006  - Won ASCAP Award Top TV Series
2004  - Won ASCAP Award Top TV Series

BMI Film & TV Awards
2009 - Won BMI TV Music Award
2008 - Won BMI TV Music Award
2005 - Won BMI TV Music Award

California on Location Awards
2008 - Won
COLA Location Team of the Year - Episodic Television

Emmy Awards
2008 - Nominated
Emmy Outstanding Stunt Coordination
Episode:  "Requiem"

2005 - Nominated
Emmy Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Charles Durning - "Ernie Yost"
Episode: Call of Silence

Imagen Foundation Awards
2009 - Nominated
Imagen Award Best Supporting Actress - Television
Cote de Pablo
2006 - Won
Imagen Award Best Supporting Actress - Television
Cote de Pablo

Young Artist Awards
2008 - Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actor
Dominic Scott Kay
Episode = "Lost & Found".

Who knows, maybe this year will bring more award nominations!

Monday, February 1, 2010

McCallum-Vaughn Monday: "Billy Budd"

I saw "Billy Budd" on YouTube about a year ago and enjoyed it so much I bought a copy (yes, it's another of my David movies that Michael has appropriated). 

Since my son, Jordan, is working on a double major in media studies and political science, I thought "Billy Budd" would be a worthwhile movie for him to watch.

The movie is based on Herman Melville's hand-written manuscript, found after the author's death.  It is believed that "Billy Budd" was written by Melville as a statement against capital punishment.  There is some question if the book accurately conveyed Melville's text and odd notes.

In its most generalized interpretation, the message of "Billy Budd" is clear.  It is a story of good vs. evil; and, in this case, evil prevails.

In Peter Ustinov's production of the movie, Billy Budd was a good-natured young sailor, well-liked by the crew, except for Claggert.  The master-at-arms, Claggert, was ill-willed and vile-natured, and was intent upon destroying Billy. 

Budd was drawn into  circumstances which caused the death of Claggert.  As a result, Budd, though a victim of circumstance, faced court-martial and death.

David McCallum portrayed the young Gunnery Sargeant, Steven Wyatt.  Wyatt, as an officer aboard the ship, was required to hear the case for the court-martial of Budd.  Wyatt believed killing Budd was unconscionable and made an empassioned plea to spare Budd's life. 

Captain Vere, who acted as witness, defense attorney and prosecutor, maintained that though his conscience wanted to spare Budd's life, the law must be upheld.  Failure to maintain the law would bring about chaos aboard the ship; and, regardless of carrying out the law, the officers could face the possibility of mutiny.

Until his death, Budd remained positive, willingly accepted his fate, and his last words to the crew were, "Long live Captain Vere".
Cousins, what are your thoughts on the movie "Billy Budd" and on our young Steven Wyatt?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Discussion Topics for the Week of Jan. 31

This week's discussion topics are:

McCallum-Vaughn Monday:  "Billy Budd";
Thames Thursday:  "Sapphire and Steel" - Assignment 4, "The Man Without a Face";
UNCLE Friday:  Napoleon's Femme Fatales.

Posting Topics

There are some forums with daily posts and multiple daily posts.  Since fewer topics per week have been suggested for Section II, I'm revamping the schedule. 

What I have in mind is to post from Monday through Friday.  The weekends allow time for everyone to review the subjects of the week and post further comments.

Mondays:  Discussion
We will have alternate weekly posts regarding McCallum and Vaughn roles.  This Monday is "Billy Budd"; next Monday will be "The Magnificient Seven".  I'm trying to provide an "equal opportunity" blogspot for both guys.

Tuesdays:  Information
News regarding NCIS, such as PaleyFest, news regarding Hustle, and information regarding any new projects for either of the guys will be posted. 

Wednesdays:  Information
I have a strong belief that writing is an art and resource material is an essential tool.  I'm not aware of any MFU forum that offers technique-specific reference material on a regular basis. 

On the last Wednesday of each month, the forum will be open for writers to promote their work.

Thursdays:  Discussion (Next Six Weeks)
There are three assigments left for review in the "Sapphire and Steel" series.  This week is Assignment 4 - "The Man Without a Face".   After Assignment 6, we will have a wrap-up of "Sapphire and Steel" the following week, so further thoughts or questions about the series can be posted.  When we finish "Sapphire and Steel", we will finish the "Thames" series with "Kidnapped" and "Mother Love". 

Once the "Thames" series is finished, Thursday will be used for informational posts.

Fridays:  Discussion
I remember Fridays as MFU night, so it seems appropriate for MFU discussions.  To balance things out with "Thames Thursday", the next six weeks will be Napoleon-related topics.

Saturdays and Sundays:  Open forum (all weekend)
A preview of discussion topics for the following week will be posted.

Suggestions for future discussion topics about MFU or the guys, and questions about prior topics may be posted.  Links are available to Paul's site, "No Man Is Free", with reviews of the MFU episodes, and to Bill Koenig's MFU episode guide.

The forum topics stay open, so if there is something you would like to add to one of the discussions for the week, please add your post.  Forum topics through January will be archived (if I can figure out how to archive the old topics without archiving February, too) during the first week of March when I return and have a couple of days to recuperate!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Solo-Vaughn Sunday - "Unwed Mother"

Carabele mentioned "Unwed Mother" as a movie for discussion.  I haven't seen it and didn't track down any info about it this week.  Since I haven't seen it, can someone give a synopsis of the movie?

Serendipity Saturday - Ideas

I'm late again in posting.  I've been a bit under the weather today.  I thought I would ask if anyone has suggestions for forum topics.  What do you think cousins?  How about some fic recommendations?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Favorites Friday - McCallum roles

What a week!  We've had fairly warm temperatures; now we're cold again.  We've been trying to make arrangements today for what is supposed to be a massive snow storm.

Since we have had the topic of favorite Robert Vaughn roles, I thought I would ask about favorite television or movie roles of David McCallum besides Illya and Ducky. 

For me, it's easier to list the few roles I didn't like.  I refuse to watch "Morella" - I saw a few segments when it was posted on YouTube and decided ain't no way.  I wish I hadn't watched "Coming Home" - he plays a middle-aged pervert, trying to hit on a very young Kiera Knightley.  "Dirty Weekend" has David as a dirty, middle-aged dentist; that was a strange role for David.  "Shattered Image" begins with David polishing his desk in an unexpected way.  Beyond the first five minutes, it's not worth watching.

For good roles, if you haven't seen it, "Forms of Things Unknown" from the "Outer Limits" is on the internet.  This was just prior to MFU, and David is mesmerizing. 

So what do you say, cousins, what are your favorite McCallum roles?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thames Thursday - "Sapphire and Steel" Assignment 3

We continue our discussion of "Sapphire and Steel" with Assignment 3.
This is an odd episode (aren't they all?) on several levels.

In Assignment 3, Sapphire and Steel assist a family from the future left stranded on earth. Sapphire and Steel know where the family is. Their problem is getting into the family's invisible "pod" on the top of an apartment building. Watching our bright Steel walk along the edge of the apartment building with his heels hanging over is great suspense.

I don't want to over-elaborate about the subject because it interferes with the discussion. I will only mention a few observations:

1) "I Get So Emotional Baby" 
When the creepy doll Steel strangled turned into Sapphire, Steel was overwhelmed with grief.

2) "I'll Be Watching You"
Steel saw the cringe-worthy flirting and fawning between Silver and Sapphire and Silver.  Somehow, Steel kept his jealousy and his temper in check and didn't deck Silver.

3) "Vous le Vous"
As I realized with A5 and A6, there were several visual and verbal messages. In A3, Sapphire and Steel had what I call their "dance around the bed".

4) "Here's Looking at You, Kid" 
I've wondered if the scene where Steel gave Sapphire the infant wasn't a hidden message.  That opens the door for a whole myriad of questions.  Unfortunately, the way the series ended, we can't speculate an answer to that question.
Never mind teasing us with vague terms about the chickens,
and grass and weeds, or the eggs, fruit and milk.

5) "Born Free" - Sapphire and Steel were surprised that there were no animals in the world of the future.  The concept of having pets was foreign to the couple from the future.

6) "You May Be Right" - In A3, Silver showed up to provide assistance. Silver is designated as a "technician", and he informed Sapphire and Steel that he was incapable of making a mistake. Although he may have hidden it from Sapphire and Steel, Silver does make mistakes.

Despite the gross moments with the animals in the abattoir, A3 has some gorgeous scenes.

The rooftop scene, when Sapphire steadies Steel to keep him from falling, is one example.

So, A3 is open for discussion.  One question on my mind is whether Sapphire was playing with Silver to provoke Steel, or whether Silver was playing with Sapphire to irk Steel.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Writers' Wednesday - MFU Archive

Lisa Williams, creator of the screen capture library for Alias Smith and Jones, Blake's 7, The Professionals, Wild, Wild West, LOTR and MFU, is filling another much needed niche for the MFU community.

Lisa's new project is the establishment of the MFU Archive (see listing of links). The site will serve as a centralized location to access existing fanfiction, with stories being indexed by genre (gen/het/slash).  The site also provides a venue where authors of new fiction may upload their work.  MFU-related non-fiction articles are also welcome and will be posted under "General".

This enterprise is a major undertaking, and Section 2 applauds Lisa for her on-going work and her dedication to MFU fandom.

Speaking of the archive, here's a little promotional information for a new story by one of our cousins.  "The Night Watch Affair" is on the MFU Archive and can be found by title or by the author's screen name, Benzadmiral.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

MFU-NCIS Tuesday: NCIS PaleyFest

NCIS will be one of the television series featured during PaleyFest 2010.  NCIS night is Monday, March 1.  Tickets for the event went on sale Sunday, January 24.

The information about the event is a bit lacking.  It was announced on Yahoo Group Channel M, all the actors and production team plan to attend the event.

The information on the Paley Center website is somewhat lacking.  While it does say the event will be held in the Saban Theatre, it doesn't give the address.  Suffice it to say, the Saban is not part of the Paley Center complex.  The Saban is a refurbished Art Deco building on Wilshire Blvd.

Non-member admission ticket prices range from $25 in the rafters to $75 for orchestra front (the orchestra front section is filled).  Seating is general admission; there is no seat assignment.  Nonetheless, I intend to find a way to get there, even if I have to be rolled in with a wheelbarrow!

The PaleyFest website page for NCIS is: http://www.paleycenter.org/paleyfest2010-ncis

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kuryakin-McCallum Monday - "A Night to Remember"

Since yesterday's topic was Robert Vaughn's "Young Philadelphians", I thought today's topic should be an early McCallum movie role. 

Most people are familiar with "A Night to Remember", based on the book by Walter Lord.  Mr. Lord's accounting of the story was based on survivors' recollections.  I recall seeing one of the Titanic documentaries, and a survivor commented that she could not watch "A Night to Remember" because it was so realistic.

During the 1990's David "revisited" the Titanic, narrating two documentaries about the search for the "Titanic".  There was a subsequent documentary, following the release of the movie, "Titanic", in which David spoke briefly about the filming of "A Night to Remember".

Cousins, what are your thoughts about the real Titanic movie, "A Night to Remember"?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Solo-Vaughn Sunday - "The Young Philadelphians"

I'm posting the Sunday topic while it's still on my mind.  Many thanks to Carabele for her suggestion regarding discussions of Robert Vaughn film roles.

Let's start with "The Young Philadelphians", one of his pre-UNCLE hits.  As I recall, Robert Vaughn owned that role.  Vaughn slipped that role on as if it were a custom-fitted dinner jacket.  For a young actor, it was quite a coup to receive an Oscar nomination.

It's been awhile since I've seen the movie.  Cousins, what are your thoughts about "The Young Philadephians"?  You may share an overview of the movie or share what made it memorable for you.

Next Sunday will be "Unwed Mother" which I have not had the opportunity to see (sounds like more research!).

Serendipity Saturday - Websites and Blogspots

It's Serendipity Saturday, and I've spent much of my day doing research for a couple of McCallum-related projects.  I'm going to finish writing the "Sapphire and Steel" sequel if it takes me the next six months!

Doing things like research online, reading fanfic and chatting with friends on blogs, I've had the opportunity to make many friends here in the US and in the UK.  I've even made a friend in South America.  I can read or figure out Rebeca's emails most of the time (many thanks to my three years of Spanish and to Mrs. McCuiston and Mr. Jarrett).

Though I have links to several websites and blogsites here on Section II, I would love to know if I'm missing something significant.

Cousins, what are your favorite places to locate or share information about MFU or the guys?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Favorites Friday - MFU

Wow!  What an awesome day!  Our Cousin 'Lusha came to see me, and we had a blast chatting about MFU and the guys.

The only part of today that wasn't particularly awesome was dealing with the OPM again.  Still no insurance - we are in "interim" status, so nothing becomes fully effective until 2/1.  Yeah, but what if you have a major emergency?!!

Anyway, OPM made me think of bureaucrats, which made me think of megalomaniacs, which made me think of villains.

Cousins, let's talk about favorite villains - MFU villians, or David as a villain, or Robert as a villain.  As always, it's an open forum.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thames Thursday - "Sapphire and Steel" Assignment 2

Assignment 2, "The Railway Station", seems to be the favorite of the six assignments. It was well-done from beginning to end

In this assignment, Steel is forced to make a difficult decision.  There is only one way to set time back on track, and Steel tells Sapphire, "It must be."   

The transcript recounts the final scene between Tully and Steel as follows:

From above Tully heard suddenly the soft whispering that heralded the darkness' approach. He broke out in a light sweat, words he had said earlier passing through his mind - a promise to the devil.  Well it was a payment, perhaps, for abandoning them.  He looked down at Steel and mustered a smile.  "Winning are we?"

This time the shudder that passed through Steel was strong enough to be seen.  Somehow it made Tully feel better. "Yes," the younger man answered.

Steel watched Tully mount the stairs, feeling sick to the heart and fighting it with all his might. I don't sleep, I don't cry, he told himself.  He is only a human, really.  Neither statement helped the moment Tully's horrified death-scream cut the air.  Steel stood frozen a moment longer before turning and stepping heavily out onto the platform.

Both men, ethereal and human, must face each other and their decisions.  In light of the circumstances, does Steel deserve to be considered as bad or as a villain?

What observations do you have about this assigment?  Do you have a favorite scene or special memories associated with Assignment 2?

Daylight Shot
Pit Cam Shot

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Writers' Wednesday - "Woe Is I" New Book on Grammar

I'm sorry for today's late post.  We are fighting with "the powers" that are about getting our new health insurance activated.  Since my spouse is a retired federal employee, dealing with the OPM, a/k/a "Office of Personnel Management" (or "Other Peoples' Money"), is almost as pleasant as going to an endodontist.

In "The Writer's Bookshelf" newsletter from Gotham Writers' Workshop, the latest version of "Woe Is I" was promoted.  This looks like a great addition to every writer's library.

Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English has been called “possibly the most popular book on grammar ever published.” Now the witty bestseller is available in an updated and expanded third edition.

In this new Woe Is I, Patricia T. O’Conner displays the same fresh, irreverent humor that has charmed hundreds of thousands of readers. There are new chapters on spelling and pronunciation, and updates throughout. But you’ll find the same down-to-earth explanations in clear, plain English—the same sensible solutions to the grammar mysteries that bug even the best of us. O’Conner manages to unscramble the most complicated problems in simple, easy-to-swallow language. So you won’t encounter the kind of intimidating terminology that made you want to skip your high school English class. This funny, wise, and indispensable guide shows readers how to:

• avoid the persistent grammatical errors that tie everyone—even presidents!— in knots
• watch their tongues and learn to pronounce commonly mangled words
• correctly use dozens of much-abused words and phrases

Whatever your problem—intimidated by possessives? puzzled over pronouns? clueless about how to say “banal”?—the updated Woe Is I provides witty, jargon-free answers to all your questions about the basics as well as the subtleties of grammar, style, and usage. No wonder The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called O’Conner’s classic “the best primer on English usage to come along since Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MFU-NCIS Tuesday: MFU favorite episodes

I'm sorry I'm late posting again.  I'm working on a writing project, and I became way too involved last night! 

We've shared favorite Illya episodes and favorite Napoleon episodes.  From the comments posted, we have:

Illya episodes:
1st Season:  Bow-Wow, Terbuf
2nd Season:  Recollectors, Birds and Bees, Nowhere*
(*Nowhere is my addition - there's nothing like a good explosion!)

Since there were no third or fourth season choices for Illya, I'll add a few:
3rd Season:  Pop-Art (I liked the flip-flops!), Yo-Ho-Ho, Concrete Overcoat
4th Season:  Gurnius (I thought he was very good at being very bad), Maze, Deadly Quest

Napoleon episodes:
1st Season:  Shark, Terbuf, Fiddlesticks, Dove & Finny Foot
2nd Season:  Nowhere, Waverly Ring, Cherry Blossom
3rd Season:  Deadly Smorgasbord, Her Master's Voice, Candidate's Wife
4th Season:  Maze, Summit Five, Deadly Quest

Favorite character episodes may be different from your favorite episodes in general.  Our friend, Benzadmiral, has his Silver Communicator Awards, but I can't recall them at present.  If I throw in my favorites first, I don't generally get as much response to the questions.  Cousins, what are your favorite episodes from the series?

By the way, all previous topics are still open.  I'm still hoping for an answer about the origin of that Victorian staircase!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Kuryakin-McCallum Monday - favorite IK characterization

We've talked about favorite episodes for the "little blond guy" on MFU.  What is your favorite characterization or disguise? 

Do you like the simple, no disguise needed, characterizations like the "Kuryakin of Paris" stunt in "Deadly Decoy", the little street thief in "See-Paris-and-Die" who needed only a knife and a beret for his character, or do you like the more elaborate disguises like Donyev in "Project Strigas"?

What do you think, cousins?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Solo-Vaughn Sunday - Favorite Episode

So far, we've had other topics for Solo-Vaughn Sunday.  Since the question has been asked about favorite episodes with Illya, why not ask about your favorite Napoleon episodes?  Cousins, what do you say?

Serendipity Saturday - Memorabilia

I had a wonderful surprise yesterday!  My mom gave me something she found in the closet of my bedroom (I haven't lived at home since 1981).  It was a Christmas present I received in 1966 or 1967! 

The present was a ViewMaster set - the regular viewer along with a projector so you could project reels on a screen.  I took it with me to school several times to show reels of different places or historical sites.

inside the box, along with the ViewMaster, were the reels I collected.  In the batch, were my "Man From U.N.C.L.E." ViewMaster reels!  I'm not sure why, but the episode they picked for the reels was "The Very Important Zombie Affair".

I've been worried for years that my mom sold my kid stuff in a yard sale and was absolutely thrilled to see my UNCLE reels are in pristine condition!

I know there are a lot of cousins with wonderful collectibles.  Cousins, do you have any special UNCLE memorabilia you've collected - especially collectible toys from childhood?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Favorites Friday - Vaughn roles

I apologize for the late post today.  I try to set up the posts before I go to bed at night, but it slipped my mind last night.

Since this has been a fairly McCallum-centric week, I thought today's topic should be about Robert Vaughn.  Besides Napoleon Solo, does anyone have another favorite television or movie Robert Vaughn role?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thames Thursday - Assignment 1, "Sapphire and Steel"

Today's discussion topic is Assignment 1 of the UK series, "Sapphire and Steel". 


Each episode contained the opening:


"Sapphire and Steel" was one-of-a-kind series.  There was no middle ground; viewers either loved it or hated it. Most loved the series, even if it frightened the fool out of them, and it has become a cult classic.

Understanding "Sapphire and Steel" didn't matter.  As Joanna Lumley said on "Wogan" during her interview of David McCallum, "It was a bit muddling, wasn't it?"

During the opening credits, there was a shadowy half-visible sort of metallic-looking semi-human image.  Little colored orbs were shown as certain "elements" were named (not all were elements as found on the periodic table, some are composite metals or crystals).  The elements were divided into three categories: investigators, who were called upon first to determined if a time break existed; operators, who repaired the breaks; and technicians, who were brought in to provide a specific skill (Silver was a technician, but he referred to himself in Assignment 6 as a "specialist" and was offended by the term "technician").  Sapphire and Steel were a handsome couple, designated as operators.  They appeared to be human, but had super-human abilities.  In Assignment 1, Sapphire told Rob and Helen there were 127 "of them", but Steel corrected her, saying that there were only 115 because the transuranics were "unstable". 

The preliminary title was "The Time Menders".  As Sapphire explained, "There is a corridor, and the corridor is time.  It surrounds all things, and passes through all things."  Time could break through and take things or people.

Aside from Assignment 3 (the animals in the abettoir), there was nothing gory about the series.  Everything took place within one site, giving a "claustrophobic" feel.  There was a dark, edge-of-your-seat suspense that, on occasion, played on viewers' fears (I first watched the series on YouTube and then bought the DVDs; it took me a year before I watched all of Assignment 4 - "The Man Without a Face").  

Some effects weren't very special, but most had a unique quality.  The effects were done on a shoe-string budget, years before there was CGI.  The creativity and effort needed to make the various effects work was a plus.

ASSIGNMENT 1 - "Escape Through a Crack in Time":

Assignment 1 wasn't the best in the series, but it was certainly good enough to hook viewers.

For Assignment 1 effects, the little spots of light on the floor weren't too intriguing, but there were effects that I liked:

Sapphire's being drawn into a painting - she was pulled into the past, yet she was still able to communicate with Steel and the children in the present;
The tunneled sort of opening in the wall in Helen's bedroom;
Mom's glowing red eyes;
Steel's freezing the painting to release Sapphire, freezing the soldiers and the cornerstone of the house;
Lead's hand appearing frozen when he touched Steel's shoulder;
The transition back in time to the construction of the house;
Lead's smashing the cornerstone. 

Using the negative of black and white film to show the spirits walking down the stairs to the basement was a cool effect.

Things I liked or found interesting in Assignment 1:

The children, Rob and Helen, were excellent.  From an interview with David McCallum, he said that Helen went through the entire "House that Jack Built" from memory, and she did it perfectly. 

The use of something as commonplace as children's nursery rhymes was a brilliant device for a "trigger".

Lead, the "giant" and Steel's "insulation", was great.  Lead picked up Steel as if he were picking up a feather.

There were unexplained aspects to the relationships between the elements:

Sapphire and Steel shared a certain familiarity with each other.  There was something unexplained between them.  In the transcript, Sapphire and Steel were referred to as "companions".  They teased each other; they touched each other; they looked warmly at each other.  They also annoyed the heck out of each other.

The significance of Lead, Jet, Copper and Silver to Sapphire and Steel was interesting.  Lead arrived after Steel dropped his temperature and had warmed up.  Besides having super-human strength (as did Steel), Lead (who wasn't identified as a "technician" or an "operator") provided insulation for Steel when he was required to lower his temperature.  Lead was a bit of a gossip.  When Lead said, "By the way, Steel, Jet sends her love," Sapphire was amused and replied, "Oh ...?  Does she, now?"  Steel wasn't amused (the transcript said when Sapphire looked at him, Steel was "slightly embarrassed"; he seemed annoyed in the episode).  Lead continued, "And Copper's having problems with Silver ...."  Sapphire asked, "Again?"  Lead answered, "Again!" and laughed.  In the transcript, it said that Steel did not like to hear about Silver, but offered no explanation.  Steel walked out of the room, gruffly telling Lead, "When you've finished eating, I'll show you what we have to do."  Lead looked at Sapphire and said, "Always cool, that man."  Sapphire replied, "Well he has to be, in this house."

Some of Sapphire's and Steel's powers were shown including Steel's ability to drop his temperature to almost absolute zero, Sapphire's ability to take time back, and their ability to communicate telepathically.

In reviewing Assignment 1, I noticed a few things that showed up in Assignment 6: the gray checked kitchen curtains looked like the curtains in the cafe kitchen, along with the use of multiple clocks.  Was this just a coincidence or were subtle items from other assignments used in Assignment 6, too?


Overall, Assignment 1 is an enjoyable episode.  I hope you will contribute your thoughts on this Assignment, and we'll tackle Assignment 2, "The Railway Station", next Thursday.

Steel and Sapphire with Rob

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Writers' Wednesday - Zine Stories

Lisa Madden has posted a request on Channel D for material for two upcoming zines.  Here is the info:

Stories and/or artwork are needed for two Man from UNCLE fanzines: The Kuryakin File (gen) and Eyes Only (adult/het).  She also need covers for both if someone is so inclined.

The website is below for guidelines or you can write Lisa. Stories must be submitted to her no later than March 31.  Lisa hopes hope to publish for Media West Con end of May. Send electronic manuscripts in RTF or MS Word format.  Lisa will send the edits back as soon as she can to allow time to get the final drafts back to her by May 1.

NorthCoast Press

MFU-NCIS Tuesday: 150th Episode

Kudos to NCIS!

Tonight, the 150th episode of NCIS will air - Episode 7-12, "Flesh and Blood".  Robert Wagner is the guest and appears as Anthony DiNozzo, Sr.  A video of the 150th episode celebration has been posted on YouTube, along with a preview of the episode.

This is the third time that David McCallum and Robert Wagner have worked together.  They co-starred in the UK series "Colditz" from 1972-1974, and DM was a guest on "Hart to Hart" in the episode, "Hunted Harts".

"Colditz" - Very Important Person
Wagner as Phil Carrington
McCallum as Simon Carter

"Hart to Hart" - Hunted Harts
Wagner as Jonathan Hart
McCallum as Geoffrey Atterton