With few recurring characters, the series attracted a large number of high-profile guest stars. Props from the series are exhibited at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the museums of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other US intelligence agencies. The series won the Golden Globe Award for Best TV Show in 1966.
Originally, co-creator Sam Rolfe wanted to leave the meaning of U.N.C.L.E. ambiguous so it could refer to either "Uncle Sam" or the United Nations.:14 Concerns by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's (MGM) legal department about using "U.N." for commercial purposes resulted in the producers' clarification that U.N.C.L.E. was an acronym for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Each episode had an "acknowledgement" to the U.N.C.L.E. in the end titles.
The series consists of 105 episodes originally broadcast between 1964 and 1968. It was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Arena productions. The first season was produced in black and white.
It was introduced September 22, 1964, as part of the Tuesday night lineup, but moved to Monday nights, a half hour earlier, the following January.
Ian Fleming contributed to the concepts after being approached by the show's co-creator, Norman Felton. The book The James Bond Films says Fleming proposed two characters, Napoleon Solo and April Dancer (later appearing on the spin-off series The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.). The original name was Ian Fleming's Solo.[page needed] Robert Towne, Sherman Yellen, and Harlan Ellison wrote scripts for the series. Author Michael Avallone, who wrote the first original novelisation based upon the series (see below), is sometimes incorrectly cited as the show's creator.
The series centered on a two-man troubleshooting team working for multi-national secret intelligence agency U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement): American Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn), and Russian Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum). Leo G. Carroll played Alexander Waverly, an English head of the organization. Barbara Moore joined the cast as Lisa Rogers in the fourth season.