Just when I thought I was done with the girls-from-UNCLE, I discovered the archive of newspapers.com
. They don't let you see whole articles without a subscription, but with a little creativity it's not too hard to find pages with partial OCR text, which covers more than enough to give you the gist (if not the full text) of many an article. The auto-text isn't perfect — a search for articles featuring 'David McCallum' will get you a good crop of results, but there's no way to know how many you've missed where his name has been misread as 'MCCALLL;M' or 'MwOellm' or whatever else, and the archive doesn't cover every issue of every paper in US history by any means. But even if you assume whatever you find easily is just the tip of the iceberg, it's still a veritable goldmine of historical data.
For example, limit the dates to 1964-65 and feed in the names of May Heatherly and Grace Lee, and it soon becomes apparently that those first two oft-forgotten UNCLE
girls didn't just appear
in the early promotion for the show, they were major features
. In fact, they were such major features that I've had to split my full, chronological list of who-appeared-where into a second post
, but for the basic rundown and a few key articles, keep reading.
Robert Vaughn is still the star, of course, but any number of articles have more to say about Lee and Heatherly than they do about McCallum or Carroll, and were far more likely to print a picture of them. Some don't even mention Vaughn or UNCLE
as more than an afterthought. At least one article
features no more than a passing mention of anything
relating to the show, but still finds space for a large photo Vaughn flanked by both those lovely ladies. Heatherly in particular was the favourite — not only was she a gorgeous young actress whose career might be just taking off, recently returned to the States from Spain, but she'd reportedly spent some of those years in Spain studying to be a bullfighter
, only to have to give it up on discovering that women weren't actually allowed in the ring. Her casting in UNCLE
didn't need to be more than a convenient excuse; May Heatherly was already a story in her own right.
No matter how long I spent looking for references to her, I went on stumbling onto still more
quite by accident, while looking for something else altogether, such as the one that appears next to a blurb primarily about Anne Francis' role in Giuoco Piano
(Heatherly herself doesn't appear at all in that episode, though she is in Quadripartite
). Indeed, photos of her assuring us that she had a "continuing role" in the series continued to appear long after the last of her episodes had aired. One even turns up in Press and Sun-Bulletin from Binghamton, New York
next to an article about The Indian Affairs Affair
as late as 1966
. (Another paper misidentifies an actress as Grace Lee
in a promotional shot from the end of 1965.)( Collapse )( Collapse )