The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968)
A series known for it’s progressive music, largely due to the influence of Jerry Goldsmith’s work on the theme and several episodes, it is little wonder that major names in the business were sought to score specific teleplays. Besides Goldsmith, some of the major names included Morton Stevens, Lalo Schifrin, Walter Scharf, Gerald Fried, Robert Drasnin, Richard Shores and Nelson Riddle. But like the story lines in U.N.C.L.E. episodes, it didn’t always go as planned.
Considered by many as one of the greatest arrangers in the history of American popular music, Nelson Riddle scored only one two-part episode, “The Concrete Overcoat Affair.” Riddle’s music was so detested by producer Norman Felton that he never was hired again to compose for the series.
In other interesting trivia, originally co-creator Sam Rolfe wanted to leave the meaning of U.N.C.L.E. undefined, so the viewer could imagine it might refer to or the “United Nations,” or “Uncle Sam.” The MGM legal department, itself an acronym, expressed concern over using “U.N.” for commercial purposes, so the producers simply invented a name. Hence, U.N.C.L.E. became an acronym for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.
Acronyms were very important to this spy thriller series. T.H.R.U.S.H. was the villain organization that U.N.C.L.E. battled against. But, luckily, the musically inspired Every Good Boy Does Fine Always never quite caught on. The Man from E.G.B.D.F.A. just doesn’t have the right ring.