Tulsa TV Memories: Tulsa pop culture      

 The T-Town Affair

1966 NBC UNCLE promo poster

Promo poster from the all-color NBC 1966 season

.WAVerly files:

"I'll be leaving for our Tulsa office in the morning"

"Our intelligence reports that various THRUSH personnel are moving into the Oklahoma area"

"I was in Tulsa, waiting for your call"

(Sound clips from "The Indian Affairs Affair", set in Oklahoma.)

YouTube clip and more at bottom of this page.

(8/6/2005) The following statement is currently on the "Man From U.N.C.L.E." page of the Wikipedia (later note: link is to the archived version):

"Fans have noted numerous references to Tulsa, Oklahoma, leading to such jocular assertions as 'The real U.N.C.L.E. headquarters was located under a corn field, between Tulsa and Oklahoma City'."

I searched the internet for evidence supporting this, but found nothing except on this very site, where the above sound bites from "The Indian Affairs Affair" (actually set in Oklahoma) have been featured for the last five years.

I recently discovered a couple of Oklahoma references myself, watching the U.N.C.L.E. pilot, titled "Solo" (later retooled into the first televised episode, "The Vulcan Affair"). The Patricia Crowley character's cover identity was to be from the fictitious "Northridge, Oklahoma", and Solo told her that her plane ticket showed departure from Oklahoma City.

Still restive, I emailed Jon Heitland, author of the definitive The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Book, who replied:

The Man From U.N.C.L.E Book"I'm not aware of any conscious plan to use Oklahoma for in-jokes, although there are the two mentions you listed and a third, I believe, in Alexander the Greater Affair/One Spy Too Many when Dorothy Provine's character talks to Illya, who is posing as the owner of some radio stations in Oklahoma, I think. She says something like 'my friends there tell me they get remarkably good radio reception'.

"It could just be that the L.A. writers, when called upon to think of a non-urban, non-coastal fly-over state, frequently used Oklahoma, just like Solo's aunt in Kansas, or the setting for Iowa Scuba Affair (I live in Iowa). We are all just part of the hinterland to them."

A few days later, Jon said:

"On further thought, two of the UNCLE episodes with references to Oklahoma, Alexander the Greater and Indian Affairs, were written by Dean Hargrove. Don't know if he's from there, I know he went to University of Wichita at one point, so that doesn't help solve the mystery. But the fact the same writer wrote both OK references I thought was interesting."

I then found at the IMDb that Dean Hargrove is originally from Iola, Kansas, just 120 miles straight north of Tulsa on I-169.

His father, Maurice, was a long-time northeast Oklahoma resident.

From the Grove Sun Online:

Maurice D. Hargrove, 92, passed away on June 20, 2001 at the Good Samaritan Center in Olathe. Mr. Hargrove was born on May 6, 1909 in Neosho, Mo., but spent a number of years in old Bernice, Okla., as a child. After his retirement from the Keebler Company, he was a long time resident of both Grove and Miami, Okla., until 1998. He was a WWII veteran of the U.S. Navy and active in the Masonic Lodge in Grove.

He is survived by his two sons, Dean Hargrove of Los Angeles, Calif., and Phil Hargrove of Olathe, Kan.; four grandchildren, John, Joanne, Matthew, and Caitlin Hargrove; and two great-grandchildren, Kyle and Brynna Hargrove.

Jon added:

"Thanks for the info on Dean Hargrove's dad; I think you've cleared up the mystery as to why Oklahoma was mentioned in his scripts.

"('The Iowa Scuba Affair') was originally called 'The Silo Affair', and later, 'The Kansas Scuba Affair', but I've never found out why it was changed to Iowa Scuba Affair. They forgot to change the script to refer to corn instead of wheat; there is almost no wheat grown in Iowa, yet the episode refers to wheat. And by the way, no one in Iowa speaks like Slim Pickens did in that episode. I'm not sure anyone anywhere does."

Possible reason for the change: "Iowa Scuba" rolls off the tongue more easily than "Kansas Scuba". Indeed, any vowel-ended state name (except "A-state" Nebraska and "O-state" Idaho) sounds better with "scuba".

Like "Kansas", "Iowa" immediately suggests "land-locked", as a paradoxical contrast to the inescapably water-linked "scuba". But as the shortest vowel-ended Midwest state name, Iowa visually defers to the more adventurous word, as well as maintaining the vowel-ended parallelism.

Returning to the Wikipedia "jocular assertion" that "The real U.N.C.L.E. headquarters was located under a corn field, between Tulsa and Oklahoma City"

As Jon noted, corn is closely associated with Iowa, not Oklahoma. And, Midwestern "A-states" tend to be lumped together in the minds of non-Midwesterners.

Conjecture: the quipster posited in Wikipedia is a non-Midwesterner who conflated series references to A-states Iowa and Oklahoma.

Attention, card-carrying U.N.C.L.E. field agents! Report intelligence relating to "The T-Town Affair" via Channel E.

2/11/2006: This just in on Channel E from Agent Hillis:

On the subject of U.N.C.L.E., I can stir the pot with one more conspiracy theory: that the Iowa Scuba Affair was actually the IOLA Scuba Affair, a tribute to Dean Hargrove's home town in Kansas.

(Further intelligence must be developed if "Iowa Scuba" writer Harold Jack Bloom is to be linked with theorized conspiracy...W)

Misplaced consonants being what they are, the "L" was relocated to the Hollywood sign, as a precursor to the witness protection program. (Iola was also a 1976 Bob and Ray radio bit, where they pitched the Allen County seat as "The Bicentennial City." One of the selling points in the B&R pitch, as I recall was Iola's proximity to Yates Center.)

Alternative reality theory--U.N.C.L.E. HQ was somehow connected to Bob Cummings's motel empire in Joplin.

Bob Cummings, Ann B. Davis & glamour model (1958 print ad)
"Love That Bob"
"The Bob Cummings Show" (IMDb), aka "Love That Bob"

3/17/2006: This just in on Channel E from Agent Troy:

I read the e-mails concerning the origin of the Oklahoma U.N.C.L.E. headquarters idea. I don't know much about Oklahoma but I thought this link (Iowa: Spy Central) would be of interest. It sheds a little light on the Iowa connection and the origin of Mr. Solo's surname.

7/31/2006:  David W. Brooks, science reporter for the Nashua Telegraph, deleted the questioned Wikipedia statement in its entirety, based on the above exegesis. Here is the current Wikipedia page.

Thus endeth "The T-Town Affair"? Closing Channel E for now.

Visit U.N.C.L.E. HQ in the TTM Gift Shop

For the first season (1964-65), NBC slotted "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." at 7:30 Tuesday evening. But it was seen in Tulsa at 10:30 pm Sundays on KVOO, Channel 2. With what show did KVOO replace it on Tuesday?

A local program, The Joe Krieger Sportsman Show, came on at 10:15 after the news and led directly into the visually and musically exciting opening to U.N.C.L.E.

As a result, I formed a Pavlovian response to Joe Krieger's cheery but banal theme music (a whistled .WAV version).

U.N.C.L.E. Opening sequence from the first season "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." episode, "The Double Affair". Music by Jerry Goldsmith.

Man From UNCLE card

Featured on Boing Boing from this site:

Watch a pair of Ideal Robot Commandos™ attack at the beginning of "The Double Affair".

David McCallum (Illya Kuryakin) memorably guest-starred, pre-U.N.C.L.E., in the original "Outer Limits" episode, "The Sixth Finger".

"U.N.C.L.E." was cancelled in 1968 and replaced with Rowan and Martin's
"Laugh-In". Lee Woodward recalled a Rowan and Martin visit to Tulsa..

U.N.C.L.E. chief Mr. Waverly appeared on the very first "Laugh-In".

In 1970, a syndicated "Man from U.N.C.L.E." episode could be enjoyed at midnight, just before tuning in Mazeppa's "Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting" (1970 Tulsa TV schedule).

U.N.C.L.E., SAGE, SABRE, Strangelove & Tulsa: Connections

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