30 January 2011

Methylated cobrox

One of my all-time favorite TV shows is The Man From U.N.C.L.E. from the mid-1960s. I didn't watch TV in the 60s. I discovered The Man From U.N.C.L.E. many years later and got hooked on it only within the last year when I learned that the entire show was available on Netflix. Despite its primitive special effects, outdated gadgetry and the often silly plots, I get a kick out of watching the U.N.C.L.E. agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin carry on their perennial fight against the bad guys of T.H.R.U.S.H.

In the episode I watched last night, The girls of Nazarone affair, a flower vendor is killed and Illya, posing as a doctor, examines him and determines that a poison had been delivered to the victim via the pin on a corsage. Illya later informs Napoleon that the poison was "methylated cobrox". Subsequently, Napoleon and Illya find pins, also dipped in methylated cobrox, sticking out of their pillows in their hotel room.

There is no such chemical as methylated cobrox or even as cobrox as far as I can tell. In fact, a Google search for "methylated cobrox" returned no hits. This post has apparently become the only page on the Internet that now mentions methylated cobrox.

Was the poison needed in the show so unrealistic that it needed to be invented with a new, made-up name? Or was it considered unethical to name a real poison in a TV show back in the 1960s? People, on the other hand, smoked incessantly on TV and in the movies. It probably didn't dawn on the makers of TV shows that cigarettes were killing innumerably more people in real life than could the imaginary methylated cobrox ever do in movies.


therousedbear said...

Apparently there is no "methyl ethyl death" either, which I have heard of more times than I care to.

Bruce Berman said...

You know that Illya is back on TV as "Ducky" on NCIS - which I suspect you might enjoy for the same reasons you enjoyed the man from UNCLE.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is an instance of the telephone game resulting from someone having heard of the poison methyl bromide from someone else?