My son Paul knows me – almost too well. The upside of this is that he finds strange and wonderful things that show up on my birthday or Christmas. For my birthday this year he got me the complete DVD collection of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”
This was a popular television spy show from 1964 – 1968 my early teen years. Napolean Solo (Robert Vaughn – now doing commercials for a law firm) was the sophisticated James Bond type. Illya Kuriyakin (David McCallum – now playing Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on N.C.I.S.) was the hip side kick. It was camp, but not too camp – just right for that time period. I had tried to explain the show to my wife, and found a reunion show, “Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E.” at the library which she watched with me. Reunion programs work best if you know the original premise.
Side note – in doing a little research for this, I found out that a movie version is coming out in 2012 – which probably explains why the television show is now available. Hope they do it well….
I got thinking about the premise of the program and, as often happens, ended up with a question. Why do we like stories like this? It’s a common theme – “Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “True Lies” or “Men in Black.” They all have some super-secret organization that saves the world on a regular basis but doesn’t officially exist. Oh, and don’t forget “Mission Impossible” the television show, not the movies. Not only the super–secret organization but the self-destructing message AND the coolest theme song ever (yes, including “Jaws.”)
What is the appeal? I guess it’s because so much of this world fails to make sense or doesn’t fit with our desire to see some degree of logic and fairness. If only somebody or something would make things fair.
I think there’s an intrinsic desire for this built into every one of us. Many of us seek to satisfy that desire through our faith and spirituality. There’s kind of a chicken and egg issue at work. Do we seek fairness because we believe some higher power can provide this, or do we seek a higher power because we believe things should be fair.
I won’t proselytize.
Instead, I’ll merely say that there are some root issues with humans. We know what a powerful feeling fear is – so we ride roller coasters. We know powerful feeling love is – so we want that perfect soul mate. We know that there is a benefit to fairness, so we enjoy Omega, MIB and U.N.C.L.E.
Besides – it’s fun.