Happy Birthday, James Bond!

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Happy Birthday, James Bond!

(from different sources on the Internet)

So, today I bring you one and the other about the James Bond story and would you believe, our friend 007 is with us already for 50 years (in 2012)!

The Man behind James Bond

The 007 adventure started with a man who lived his life much like James Bond. Ian Lancaster Fleming was born in London in 1908 and educated in England, Germany and Austria.

After working at the Reuters news agency, Fleming became a stockbroker. During WWII he worked as the assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence in London, privy to many secrets. It was this experience that provided material for many of the characters and incidents in the Bond novels. Fleming was an intelligent man and participated in quite a few covert missions, which he crafted the plans for.

At age 43, Fleming settled at his Jamaican Estate, Goldeneye and produced his first novel, Casino Royale, in less than two months’ time.

His love life was much like that of James Bond, but he eventually married the love of his life, Anne Rothermere, and had a son, Caspar, with her. Unfortunately, their marriage wasn’t very happy.

While recuperating from his first heart attack in 1962, he wrote a short story about a flying car, called Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, for Caspar.

Ian Fleming died at age 56 at Sandwich in Kent – apparently on his son’s birthday. After his death seven other authors were commissioned to write the James Bond novels.

A Bit of History

It’s not that well known, but there were two James Bonds before Sean Connery. Before the movies we came to love so much, there were also unofficial films, comic strips, a TV series, and radio shows and later on also electronic games starring 007 as a spy-hero.

Two of these early Bonds were portrayed by  Barry Nelson in 1954 And  Bob Holness in 1956. From 1962-1967 Sean Connery played the first Bond on the silver screen – as the 007 we know today. He was replaced in 1964 by Roger Moore. David Niven played Bond in 1967 in a rather weird, uncharacteristic, old Pink Panther-like version of a Bond-movie. He was replaced in 1969 by George Lazenby. After that Sean Connery played in another few movies from 1971 on and Roger Moore commenced his duty in the majesty’s service from 1973-1985.

In 1973 Christopher Cazenove portrayed Bond in a BBC documentary and in 1983 Sean Connery returned after he told his wife that he would never play 007 again. The name of that movie? Never Say Never Again!

Timothy Dalton was the first of the younger generation James Bonds from 1987-1989. Scottish Mama Mia singing star, Pierce Brosnan, saved the world from various villains between 1995-2002. He was followed up by the latest 007, the very serious Mr. Daniel Craig.

Daniel Craig even played James Bond in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games alongside a parachuting queen of England.

Frequent Characters

Although their actors die, go on pension and are replaced by new faces, some characters appear in every James Bond movie. They are M, MI6’s boss; Q, the guy behind 007’s gadgets; and Moneypenny, M’s secretary, who is very in love with 007!

The Gadgets

Let’s be honest – James Bond is cool, but his gadgets are just fantastic and some movies had some outrageous stuff! (Although he went old school in the latest movie, Skyfall…)

The Cars

All of Bond’s cars are now on display at a museum in England. Bond’s BMW 750Li is personally my favourite Bond car, because it is the only 4-door Bond car and it is remote controlled with a phone!!! Unfortunately, as always, Mr Bond destroyed it.

Bond’s Aston Martin Vanquish/Vanish (as Q put it) had stinger missiles, shotguns, tyre spikes and can turn invisible. It could also perform a flip (when upside down) with the ejector seat.

The Lotus Espirit was able to turn into a submarine, with little fins and gas launched arrows.

I will stop here, otherwise I can go on forever…

And Then There Were the Girls

And of course, without them, James Bond won’t be James Bond! Actresses such as Ursela Andress, Linda Christian, Lois Maxwell, Zena Marshall, Claudine Auger, a former miss France, Joanna Lumley, who played Purdey, Jill St. John. Lana Wood, Jane Seymore, Brit Ekland, Kim Basinger, Barbara Carrera, Grace Jones,   Maryam D’Abo. Minnie Driver, Teri Hatcher, from Desperate Housewifes, Hally Berry and Ava Green played in Bond movies. Some of them went on to become most successful Hollywood stars, while others’ careers died a bit after their 007 fame.

Some Facts you Probably didn’t Know about 007

  • Sean Connery chose to donate his entire base salary to a Scottish education charity.
  • A quarter of the world’s population have seen at least one Bond film.
  • The first novel, Casino Royale, was published in 1953.
  • Kate Westbrook wrote three novels based on the diaries of Moneypenny.
  • Ian Fleming took the name for his character from one of his ‘heroes’ – an American ornithologist, Caribbean bird expert and author of the Definitive Field Guide Birds of the West Indies.
  • A series for children novels, The Young Bond was written by Charlie Higson and, between 2005 and 2009, five novels and one short story were published.
  • Bond films are produced by Eon Productions, the company of Canadian Harry Saltzman and American Albert R. ‘Cubby’ Broccoli.
  • The Bond-movies are the second highest grossing film series, just behind Harry Potter. (But probably not for long, as Skyfall had just became the 11th movie to ever earned more than a billion dollars.)
  • 007’s parents were Andrew and Monique.
  • In the novels, James Bond apparently had three wives – one, Teresa di Vicenzo died, while the other two, Kissy Suzuki and Harriett Horner became invalids. I couldn’t find out if they are still alive…
  • 007 has a son named James Suzuki Bond!

And I thought that I knew what there was to know about James Bond!

And that in short was the story of James 007 Bond. The newest movie, Skyfall, is still showing in SA cinemas. If you haven’t seen it – go! It’s different, but good.

Happy b’day, 007! May there be many action-filled returns.

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