(This is the fourth in a series of #bloganuary posts, part of a WordPress blogging challenge for the month of January. Never mind that January is two-thirds gone–I’m going to try to get caught up.)
When I was around ten or eleven years old there was a TV show that I watched every week–a spy show called “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” It starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, two cold-war era agents who worked for an organization called the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. It wasn’t necessarily marketed as a show for kids, but it appealed to kids my age a lot, partly because of the intrigue of the spies themselves, partly because of the action and adventure, and partly because of the gadgets and weapons the agents used. There were various toys that came out during the four-year run of the series, and the one I really wanted (and figured I would never get because it was so expensive) was a toy attaché case full of gadgets and weaponry and stuff that was seen on the show. When Christmas came that year, I didn’t get that attaché case, but I did get the next best thing–a Man from U.N.C.L.E. agents kit that had a plastic gun very similar to the ones the main characters used, and a plastic holster for it (but you had to come up with your own strap to fasten it around your chest like Napoleon Solo, who wore his gun under his suit coat). There was also a triangular security badge that was a replica of the badge worn by the agents when they were at their home base, and some other printed material that I can’t remember.
I think I had at least one friend in the neighborhood who got the full attaché kit, which I’m sure caused me to feel a certain amount of envy. I can’t be sure–it’s a long time ago now, of course–but I think there were also similar James Bond toys available at the same time, like an an attaché case with a secret button you could press to pop out a plastic dagger. Too expensive for my family, of course, but so cool to preadolescent me.