For even more U.N.C.L.E. items check out The Little Storping Museum here.
Ideal Toys launches the first of it's long line of U.N.C.L.E. merchandise
Joan Crawford shares in the festivities surrounding the release of the new Thrush Rifle toy from Ideal during the shooting of the "Five Daughters Affair".
From the beginning, toys and U.N.C.L.E. had gone hand in hand. The producers had help in designing many of the iconic props used on the series top toy designer Rueben Klamer and Richard Conroy and at times props would be created at the request of the merchandisers. By 1966, spy-related toys, both licensed and generic, were rampant all over the country. Every major manufacturer, including Ideal, Marx, and A.C. Gilbert, as well as dozens of small companies, signed agreements to produce official U.N.C.L.E. toys. For "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," the merchandising industry's creative departments went into maximum overdrive. There were dozens of products, from board and card games (Milton Bradley got in the fray with spy-related games, but so did other manufacturers that weren't known for their games), to spy magic kits (A.C. Gilbert sold magic sets emblazoned with U.N.C.L.E., just to cover all bases -- never mind that magic tricks had little to do with the spies at all), shooting arcades, ordinary walkie-talkies boxed in spy regalia, cars created to match familiar vehicles from the U.N.C.L.E. series (AMT made a beautiful plastic model of the futuristic Piranha car that graced some of the U.N.C.L.E. adventures), puzzles, bubblegum cards, Halloween costumes, clothes, lunch boxes, books, records...you name it. Ingenious designers even created boxes for U.N.C.L.E. miniature cars that folded out into advertising displays for retail stores.
EXCERPT FROM "THE TOY BOOK" (Alfred Knopf, 1991) by Gil Asakawa and Leland Rucker