Vampires are big business these days but who exactly are we kidding? They've always been big business -- big SHOW business -- from the early days of silent cinema until this very minute. In terms of TV fun, they've been pulled out to do spooky duty many a time, including tussling with the intrepid secret agents on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. back in 1966, though not as a Halloween episode; it aired on April 1 of that year on NBC, of course!
"The Bat Cave Affair" is a crazy mix featuring a psychic hillbilly gal, Illya bullfighting in Spain and ending up hostage to a diabolical mad scientist Thrush agent Count Zark who's cooked up a plan to use bats to throw the world's air traffic into a tailspin. The precognitive Ozark lass is played by actress Joan Freeman, veteran of many TV shows and movies and who played the girlfriend of space-bound TV favorite Don Knotts (post-Barney Fife) in 1967's The Reluctant Astronaut comedy movie.
Count Zark is played by the consummate actor Martin Landau, a perennial acting man of many faces who was a frequent guest on TV series and co-starring in movies. Later in that Fall season he would begin his star-making role as magician/secret agent Rollin Hand in TV's Mission: Impossible which he played for 3 years.
Rather than recap the plot of "The Bat Cave Affair" again here I will refer you to several sites with terrific synopses of the episode, such as Benzadmiral's No Man is Free site with plot here, Morgan Richter's Preppies of the Apocalypse with a complete rundown here, and TV Maze with a detailed storyline recap here. But really, the charm and continuing appeal of this episode is in the look of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and particularly the brilliantly flamboyant work of Martin Landau as Count Zark. In addition to the fact that Landau has never given less than a standout performance in anything, he's got an incredibly expressive face just perfect for topping off the traditional vampire flowing black cape.
So, with great thanks to the wonderful Lisa's Video Frame Capture Library site -- check it out here -- let's feast on some moments from "The Bad Cave Affair"!
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. "The Bat Cave Affair" is worth checking out for its snazzy 1960s' vibe and the always entertaining performances of all the series regulars. You can find and watch it online here.
Happy Halloween to all TV lovers everywhere, and be sure to check out the rest of the other wonderful entries in The Terror TV Blogathan hosted by the Classic TV Blog Association; visit the entire line-up by clicking here. You'll really enjoy it!