1. James Bond's Unsung Heroes

    By Devin Zydel on 2009-05-21
    The original James Bond (Photo: David R. Contosta)

    The original James Bond

    The Telegraph has published a fascinating set of articles today centered around the unsung heroes in the literary and cinematic James Bond franchises.

    Each playing a different role in either shaping the creation of 007 with author Ian Fleming or sustaining the legacy, the five names and their stories follow below [links to the full and complete Telegraph articles are included]:

    Geoffrey Boothroyd – The Real Q
    The gun expert who banned Bond from carrying a ‘lady’s gun’

    ‘Dear Mr Fleming,’ he wrote after reading Casino Royale, ‘I wish to point out that a man in James Bond’s position would never consider using a .25 Beretta. It’s really a lady’s gun – and not a very nice lady at that! Dare I suggest that Bond should be armed with a .38 or a nine millimetre – let’s say a German Walther PPK? That’s far more appropriate.’

    This was the beginning of a correspondence that would turn Boothroyd, a portly Glaswegian, into James Bond’s armourer, ‘Major Boothroyd’ – ‘the greatest small-arms expert in the world’, as he’s described in Dr No… [Full article]

    Peter Fleming – Adventurer
    Ian’s older brother: explorer, travel writer, and creator of a blueprint Bond

    In the current avalanche of all things Ian Fleming, another centenary slipped quietly by last year – that of his older brother, Peter. Yet, there was a time when he was more famous than Ian could hope to be, both as a writer and as a man who had married one of the most admired actresses of stage and screen.

    Peter not only wrote the blueprint for the Bond books, but also godfathered 007’s debut in Casino Royale and named one of the series’ most memorable characters. Yet, by the mid-1950s Ian had eclipsed his achievements, to the point today where Peter receives only walk-on parts in his brother’s biography. This is a shame, because along the way he wrote some of the finest, and funniest, travel books ever produced… [Full article]

    Moneypenny’s Double
    How Dame Victoire Evelyn Patricia Bennett outshone her literary twin

    The relationship between truth and fiction is rarely straightforward, but Bond enthusiasts are always eager to read Fleming’s books as autobiography. Was Admiral John Godfrey the real M? Or Claude Dansey? Or Maxwell Knight? And what of Miss Moneypenny, Bond’s loyal, lovelorn secretary? Well, one of the main contenders as inspiration for the role is Dame Victoire Evelyn Patricia Bennett – ‘Dame Paddy’, as she likes to be known – who worked as Fleming’s secretary in Room 39, a secret part of the Admiralty Building, during the Second World War… [Full article]

    Robert Brownjohn – Designer
    The debonair, drug-addicted designer who created iconic Bond title sequences

    The Bond producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman first met Robert Brownjohn in a Soho screening theatre in 1963. They had invited him to pitch ideas for the title sequence for From Russia with Love. Brownjohn produced a collection of 35mm slides from his pocket and loaded them into a carousel. Dimming the lights, he took off his shirt and began to dance, allowing the projected images to glance and shimmer across his booze-inflated torso. ‘It’ll be just like this!’ he announced to the stunned movie-makers. ‘Except we’ll use a pretty girl!’

    This bizarre spectacle set an enduring template for the James Bond aesthetic. It might not have looked sexy at the time, but Broccoli and Saltzman had enough imagination to commission the idea for a modest £850. Brownjohn hired a studio, some camera equipment and a belly dancer…
    [Full article]

    The Original James Bond
    How James Bond – the handsome, charming, highly intelligent ornithologist – gave Fleming’s spy his name

    In the mid-1960s, a middle-aged Philadelphian ornithologist and his wife began to be plagued by anonymous phone calls from teenage girls. The man they were calling had the misfortune to be called James Bond, but unlike many others whose lives had been made a misery through an accident of naming, this one had the distinction of being the ‘real’ James Bond. As Fleming explained to Rogue magazine in 1961, ‘There really is a James Bond, but he’s an American ornithologist, not a secret agent. I’d read a book of his [Birds of the West Indies] and when I was casting around for a natural-sounding name for my hero, I recalled the book and lifted the author’s name outright.’… [Full article]

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