The Man from N.E.R.D.

If geeks are anything, we’re collectors. Well, and awkward. And pallid.

But yes, collectors. Last week, the Special Ops topic is the new Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie by director Michael Ritchie, and the classic TV show that inspired it. I’m not saying I’ve always had a weird obsession with U.N.C.L.E., but if I ever have a son, I’m prepared to lawyer-up against his mother over naming him Napoleon. You have to admit, “Nappy” is a cute toddler name.

As promised on Spops, here are a few photos of the preposterous U.N.C.L.E. collection I’ve amassed over the years. You think Star Wars is hyper-merchandised? U.N.C.L.E. was first. And with every sort of item imaginable, some not so appropriate by today’s standards.

For instance, this may be one of the most inappropriate children’s toys of all time:


That’s right, a cigarette case and lighter … that’s also a gun. No kid should be without one.

Also in gun form for the youth of the mid-1960s: putty. What other shape would you want the stuff in, you dirty hippie?


In that prehistoric time, kids didn’t have smart phones. Not only are these Mad Men-era high-tech radios suitable for all pre-adolescent communication, but they’re also made to look like CIGARETTE BOXES. No teacher or parent would have given a child a second look.

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Way back then, school kids were forced to deal with unwieldy things called “books.” The fine people at U.N.C.L.E. Headquarters were there for them. Here’s a Napoleon Solo book cover.



It was also a hellish time of deprivation and boredom before the advent of video games that allowed us to shoot an endless procession of bad guys in the face and spackle the walls with their brains in photorealistic color. But U.N.C.L.E. had us covered with playing cards.


Part of the genius of U.N.C.L.E. was that they made games that really didn’t have much to do with guns … still have guns somehow.


Of course, there were also the actual toy guns. Back then, it was Open Carry for kids, all day, everywhere. But it was polite to keep ‘em holstered. I wonder what would happen if a child walked in to school with one of these today. I mean, apart from a total lockdown, expulsion and counseling for the child and all his classmates.


I know what you’re thinking: Hurry up and have kids, Mark. Well, little Nappy’s  going to have to wait, because I spent Nappy’s diaper and college money money on Serious Nerd Items such as these: Man and Girl from U.N.C.L.E. wristwatches, U.N.C.L.E. I.D card, secret pen, and the coveted Thrush-Buster car.


Oh, there’s more where that came from.  But, as the legal saying goes, further deponent sayeth not.

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