Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Doll-A-Day 2017 #46: Illya Kuryakin From the Man From Uncle

  Today's doll is Illya Kuryakin.
This is not his original outfit, but an amazing recreation.In other words, I managed to find him a black turtle neck and black pants,similar to what he came in.

Illya was one of the two main characters in the TV series The Man From Uncle,which ran from 1964 to 1968.

Those are some pretty intense eyes! His hair should have some yellow paint, but it's missing most of it.
On the series, Illya was played by David McCallum.

The doll was one of two from the series, made by Gilbert in 1965.
Here you can see his neck markings, (which don't say 'Gilbert' at all!),and what's left of his yellow hair paint.

The other doll was the actual 'Man From Uncle',Napoleon Solo, as played by Robert Vaughn.)

That's Robert Vaughn in the middle.He did many other series, including the fairly recent "The Hustle",(2004-2012). He died in November,2016. There was not a doll made of the guy on the left, Mr. Waverly,the 'Man's' boss at Uncle,played by Leo G. Carroll. In 1970, the Saturday morning kids spy parody,(and one of my favourites), acted by an all ape cast,(No! REAL apes.),featured a spy boss character named Commander Darwin, who bore a great resemblance to Leo G. Carroll.
Mata Hari,Lancelot Link, and commander Darwin.
The Man From Uncle was a spy series.(You may have often read me say how I grew up loving spies.) 'Uncle',which stood for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, was the agency Napoleon worked for. And if that name sounds a little forced,well, it was. It was only thought up after they had already named the agency 'Uncle',and had planned to leave it unexplained. The idea was that people couple assume it meant 'Uncle Sam',or referred to the United Nations. But the show's legal department began to worry they might get in trouble for using U.N. without permission, and an explanation for the name was added.

The doll even came with a child sized 'UNCLE' Id card and badge.

 Illya was a Russian agent on loan.

That's actually snow on his sleeve.
The doll is 12" tall.

More snow on his chest...and a bunch of fuzz balls.I really need to shave his shirt.
Speaking of snow, the other day I showed you my poor little daffodils trying to poke up through the cold,snow covered ground. Here's what they looked like today:

I feel sorry for the poor, confused little guy trying to bloom already!
He has a body very similar to the original Ken doll, only with some abs, and made of a light weight,hollow plastic.

My doll has a replaced right arm.

"Taxi!" It's not the original, but it comes in pretty handy when he needs to hail a cab.
The right arm on these dolls is occasionally missing, or at least broken off. The arm originally had a spring loaded mechanism which allowed the arm to raise, and shoot the cap firing pistol that came with the doll.Those were the days, weren't they?  Dolls came with guns, and the guns actually fired and could blow your hand off.  Now that's what I call fun!

Spy shows were very popular in the 60's, what with the Cold War and all.The Man From Uncle was the first American series to take advantage of the success of the James Bond films. Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, was actually involved in the concept,and suggested two characters:Napoleon Solo and April Dancer. The series was originally to be called "Ian Fleming's Solo".While the Napoleon character was used, April Dancer was saved for the (short lived) Girl From Uncle series, starring Stephanie Powers as April, and Noel Harrison, (son of actor Rex Harrison) as her sidekick.

Illya wasn't originally intended to be a regular character, but fan reaction to his appearance in an episode was so strong,he was added as Napoleon's partner,on loan from Russia.

Although he was played by a Scottish actor.
The show became such a cultural icon, that there are Man from Uncle items in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library exhibit on spies and counter spies, in the CIA museum,and other museums on intelligence gathering.

The doll is little indication of why the character was so popular with girls, but David McCallum became quite a teenage heartthrob at the time.

You are kidding me.

He later appeared in a short lived "Invisible Man" TV series. It was quite advanced at the time for TV to tackle an invisible character.  I remember a whole article in the TV Guide showing how they used blue screen to make him 'invisible'. The article was entitled "Am I Blue?..." (As in the song.),"...Of Course I Am or Else I Couldn't Vanish".

 If my internet will cooperate,they'll be another doll tomorrow,so see you then!

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