Mar. 4th, 2017

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UNCLE canon is an interesting beast. Google the show today, and you're likely to find yourself reading something about the HQ's secret entrance through Mask Club or Illya's love of jazz – both of which came direct from the official production notes, but neither of which ever made it into the series in any form. UNCLE is packed with these sort of idiosyncrasies, but one of my favourite examples of just how odd the blurry outer edges of UNCLE canon can get is the UNCLE gun.

Few could argue that the UNCLE Special was (and is) absolutely one of the defining icons of the show.

And if you'd actually like to hear about it, have a bunch of interesting facts, and plenty of links to more, including scans from a magazine article which went into its internal workings in even more detail )

So it would probably surprise most fans to note that virtually nowhere is any explicit reference to the special nature of the UNCLE gun ever made on screen.

Nowhere are we told that the guns carried by Section II agents were developed by UNCLE's own tech divisions. Nowhere are any of its special capabilities described for us in dialogue. The name, the "UNCLE Special" is never once spoken aloud.

I state this 'fact' with the minor caveat that if anyone can point out an example I've missed, then by all means, please correct me. But given that neither a rigourous text-based search through the complete subtitle files for all four seasons or the response when I first threw the question open to other fans turned up anything, I very much doubt there's much left to find.

The closest we ever get seems to be an incident in the Return movie where Napoleon wants to know, “What happened to the special U.N.C.L.E. guns we used to carry?” – and that coming only some 20 years after the original series left the air. In fact, rarely are any of the gun's special properties brought to our attention, even implicitly. A casual fan without enough firearms knowledge to tell a 'real' Walther P-38 from UNCLE's customised version could conceivably watch the whole series without noting the guns as having any particular significance at all.

Wait, what? )
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