BCW-007: James Bond Locations! Locations! Locations!
This year’s 7th Annual Bond Collectors Weekend (BCW-007) took place from June 3rd through 7th. James Bond fans from all over the United Stated gathered in Miami & Key West, Florida for a full on James Bond experience.
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FRIDAY JUNE 4
BCW-007 officially started during dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab (aka: Bill’s On The Beach from Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger) in Miami. Their specialty dish, the stone crabs, were exceptionally tasty. The BCW crew ended up back at the Hotel for Costume night. The room was filled with some of most villainous villain (Dr. No, Mr. Goldfinger, Emilio Largo), beautiful Bond girls, & even James Bond himself. Best costume award was given to Danny McCruden, who was dressed as James Bond at the nuclear factory from The World Is Not Enough. As the night came winding down and the drinking went up — Charlie Axworthy (James Bond) and Carla DiShanni (Pam Bouvier) scaled the walls to reenact, for our viewing pleasure, the final scene in Licence to Kill.
“Bond followed suit and proceeded to eat, or rather devour, the most delicious meal he had had in his life. — The meat of the stone crabs was the tenderest, sweetest shellfish he had ever tasted.”
– Goldfinger, Chapter 2
SATURDAY JUNE 5
BCW’s second day started before sunrise. There were a few stragglers and hangovers from the events of the previous night, but things got started soon enough. BCW organizer Matt Sherman loaded everyone into “Moonraker 1” and “Moonraker 2”, our transportation from Miami all the way to Key West.
There was no time to waste, the moment we arrived in Key West our first location was in front of our eyes and at our feet — from Licence to Kill — The scene where Sharky has a little chat with James Bond on his charter boat. Then a little ways down the road, our next stop the Barrelhead Bar (known as: Harbor Lights Raw Bar) where James Bond and Pam Bouvier first meet up with Dario. Much to our surprise we found the fully lit Barrelhead Bar sign inside!
A short drive away from that, our third stop… US Coast Guard Headquarters, known in Licence to Kill as DEA Headquarters where Sanchez is questioned and arrested. Matt Sherman sure had a surprise for us, a uniformed escort led us inside — we were the first 007 fans ever allowed inside the Coast Guard!
We then were dropped of in the middle of Mallory Square (used in Licence to Kill and Nobody Lives Forever) for lunch. This was also a good time to go shopping for some cooler cloths, as the weather was full of unforgiving heat and humidity. It was neat to see the signs at Mallory Square, which Timothy Dalton (James Bond) walks by, in the same places as they are in the film.
“The blue Buick had cruised by twice, and was parked outside the Lobster House, almost opposite the main entrance to the Pier House. ‘They have us staked out,’ murmured Bond as they crossed the street and walked up the drive to the main entrance…”
– Nobody Lives Forever, Chapter 17
After a quick bite to eat the BCW-007 crew began the five-hour “Death March” across Key West. On our way we passed A&B Lobster house, which James Bond mentions in Nobody Lives Forever. At a nearby pier we were able to board the actual “Pilot Boat” that James Bond and Q sail in Licence to Kill. The boat was docked right in front of the location of the Krest Warehouse where Felix was fed to the sharks, which is now a seafood restaurant.
What was a short walk for James Bond was in actuality a very long walk for us, but we finally arrived at the Historic Hemingway House. If you recall in Licence to Kill the Hemingway house was full of cats, and today approximately 60+ dependence of Ernest Hemingway’s six toed cats are still roaming the grounds. While there we did find out that “Marilyn Monroe“, the cat featured in Licence to Kill, had just passed away a month earlier. But I digress… the Hemingway house was the location for the famous “Licence Revoked” scene between M and James Bond in Licence to Kill. There was some confusion about which corner M and Bond were standing in the film, but it was soon found out after viewing the DVD that the correct corner was the one in line with the lighthouse where an MI6 sniper kept a close eye on James Bond.
“Effective immediately. Your licence to kill is revoked. And I require you to hand over your weapon… now.”
– M to James Bond
Licence to Kill, Licence Revoked (region1 dvd ch 17)
We then marched to the southern most point of Key West and continued towards our next destination… Felix and Della Leiter’s house, also from Licence to Kill. The very prominent 707 on the front of house welcomed us along with the “Mrs. Leiter” who currently lives there. She very kindly gave us an unforgettable tour of the magnificent home and it’s surroundings, which included the pool featured not only in Licence to Kill but in a number of Magazines as well. Colin Clark, on behalf of the Ian Fleming Foundation and Dave Reinhardt, presented “Mrs. Leiter” with a poster and framed stills of the house from the film.
Next stop, the church where James Bond and Felix Leiter parachute down for Felix and Della’s wedding in Licence to Kill. On the way to our final destination of the day we passed two dozen restaurants, stores, and hotels either used by Eon’s Cast & Crew or visited by James Bond in Licence to Kill and Nobody Lives Forever.
The end of the “Death March” was near. We were soon welcomed inside Eon’s Licence to Kill security headquarters (weapons storage, security detail, casting) –which was thankfully air conditioned– to enjoy a lecture, reminiscences, and photos with the amiable Paul Meyers (Licence to Kill‘s Technical Advisor). Mr. Meyers worked personally with Michael G. Wilson and the Cast of Licence to Kill each day during their Key West shooting. He has visited Pinewood Studios during shooting of other Bond films and attended Bond movie premiers at Michael G. Wilson and Albert Broccoli’s invitation. We were thrilled to view his personal photos and rare memorabilia (including a “Licence Revoked” crew shirt & Isthmus City police patch) and to hear many stories from behind-the-scenes, including how Paul was able to finagle his way into getting a posed photo with Timothy Dalton (back then Dalton would not take photos with fans). Thank you, Paul!
“All was chatter, and to the left, along the wide Mallory Square, which fronted the ocean, jugglers, conjurers, fire eaters and acrobats performed among a crush of people.”
– Nobody Lives Forever, Chapter 17
The day ended at Mallory Square as we watched the famous Key West sunset and the Sunset Celebration, which James Bond experienced in Nobody Lives Forever. And Saturday faded into the night…
“From Mallory Square, where crowds always gathered to watch the sunset, one could hear the cheers and applause.”
– Nobody Lives Forever, Chapter 20
SUNDAY JUNE 6
The day started at sunrise, which was even more magnificent than the sunset. The crew gathered in front of our hotel, the Key West Ambassador, to talk about the events of the previous night. We soon loaded ourselves back into “Moonraker 1” and “Moonraker 2” and we were off. A short drive took us to the Key West Airport where James Bond learns of Sanchez’ escape in Licence to Kill. After loading ourselves back into our transportation our long drive back to Miami began… but there were plenty of surprises along the way…
Driving back to Miami involved a lot of island hopping which included Virginia Key (Thunderball), Watson Key (Thunderball & Never Say Never Again), and Shark Key (Nobody Lives Forever). And then there was the island, which amazed us the most: Sugarloaf Key.
“We have a mid-course deviation. Target heading 036, 126 miles bearing 064, Havana VOR.”
“He’s landing at Cray Cay. Advise Key West drug enforcement.”
– Licence to Kill, Logos/Aborted Union (region1 dvd ch 1)
Sugarloaf Key is home to what was known in Licence to Kill as Cray Cay. Dan Haggerty invited us on a guided tour of the airfield and it’s surroundings. This was the location used in Licence to Kill‘s pre-title sequence during the gun fight between James Bond, Felix Leiter, and the DEA verses Sanchez and his men. This place was also the stunt scene location of the Tomorrow Never Dies‘ Halo jump. Dan Haggerty showed us his personal collection of pictures that he took during Licence to Kill‘s filming and told us many great stories about the filming and pointed out locations and props used in the film – including some of Sanchez’ drug money that he was able to snag during shooting.
A great surprise at this “Cray Cay” location was the discovery of the actual airplane that Sanchez uses to escape in – which in later lassoed by James Bond and Felix Leiter using their coast Guard helicopter. To read more about the plane and see more detailed pictures please visit this CBn article: “FOUND! Sanchez’ Escape Plane from Licence To Kill“.
On the same lot as “Cray Cay” was Lupe Lamora’s lovers’ home where a bodyguard was garroted on the stairs leading up to the bedroom.
During our continued drive to Miami we stopped by Marathon Key and Pigeon Key (Licence to Kill). The Seven Mile Bridge where the Rolls Royce transporting James Bond, Felix Leiter, and Sharky meet the Coast Guard helicopter in the pre-title sequence. Also the location where the armored truck holding Sanchez’ crashes through the railing of the bridge and Sanchez escapes underwater.
Finally back in Miami after a long drive, Matt had even more surprises in store. The surprise that caused everyone’s jaw to hit the ground was the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) on Royal Castle and Seventh Avenue at which Felix Leiter and Simmons are parked as they wait for Oddjob in Goldfinger. The location is still a KFC after 40+ years! With a little backtracking we were able to locate the junkyard in Goldfinger where Oddjob delivers Mr. Solo for his “pressing engagement”.
We soon made our way to the world famous Fontainebleau Hotel where Lisa Cole, the Director of Publicity, gave us a private tour of the facilities and the inside scoop on Goldfinger. In the film when James Bond first meets Jill Masterson the number on the suite reads “905” but was actually suites 1112 and 1126. The famous pool at the fountain Blue which can be seen in Goldfinger has since been removed and a new pool in a different location on the grounds replaces it.
The day ended with drinks and dinner at Bayside… then back to the hotel.
“I might have know M wouldn’t have booked me into the best hotel in Miami Beach out of pure gratitude.”
– James Bond on The Fountain Blue
Goldfinger, In Good Hands (region1 dvd ch 5)
MONDAY JUNE 7
BWC-007 was a success as everyone went back to their homes. But no need to fear… James Bond and BCW will return next year for BCW8 in New York City!
Reflections in a Double Bourbon: “James Bond, with two double bourbons inside of him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.”
– Goldfinger, Chapter 1