Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Secret Origins: Bond Fandom!

I was putting together a post for the upcoming April 2015 A-Z Blogging Challenge that I've participated in four times 2011-2014 - and found myself doing that thing I sometimes do again. I started thinking about how to approach the subject of the post - and started with my introduction to the person in question - then backed up a bit further - and a bit further - then realized half of that post wouldn't even be about the person.

Hence this post. Here's the backed up to the beginning story - of how I became a fan of James Bond 007.

The starting point.

Way back when, my older brother Blake and I watched Goldfinger. This would have been the early 70's and I would have been no older than 4 or 5. The thing is, my memory says we watched the movie during an afternoon showing, like a local channel showing it on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. But I don't think it would have been available for that - I think it would have been licensed to the ABC network exclusively and they only would have shown it as a prime time nighttime movie.

Regardless of my memory - we definitely watched it - and after the big climactic fight between 007 and Oddjob in Fort Knox - with Oddjob's hat getting thrown around by both gentlemen - we went out to our big empty garage and started playing Bond vs Oddjob - which consisted of throwing a fairly aerodynamic orange hunting hat like a frisbee at each other while the target dodged as best he could.

This is the style of hat we were throwing at each other. It flew very well
and had enough weight for a good impact when it connected.

We were laughing and soaked in sweat by the time we tired of the game. I tried to get my brother to repeat the game often - but he was occupied with other things - being a newly minted teen - and we only got in one more game some months later before hanging up the orange Oddjob cap forever. 001 point.

Years pass - as they do. In the very late 70's or very early 80's  - summer - I was over at the house of friends of my parents - they had a pool. I was inside the house checking out this wild thing they had on their TV called Home Box Office - or HBO. The next movie to come on was 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me - which was one of those James Bond movies. I sat through the exciting pre-credits sequence - which had a skiing 007 evading Russian agents by slaloming off a mountain. When his Union Jack parachute opened - I laughed at the coolness of it. Then it was out to jump in the pool and miss the rest of the movie. 002 points.

Later that same summer I half watched Moonraker on my cousins' HBO - and adapted some of the action to our swimming antics in their pool. 003 points.

When home video was in its infancy I saw that The Spy Who Loved Me was going to be showing on ABC, but during a time I was going to be out with my parents. I wanted to see the rest of that movie. My brother's best friend at the time - a guy named Tom - had early adopted a Betamax machine - and I cajoled him on the phone to tape the movie that night - then really cajoled him to let me come over one afternoon after school to watch it. He finally agreed - and while he was out mowing the lawn or something I was boggled to watch the movie from that recording - sitting through the commercials as there was no way with those early machines to fast forward with the picture on - and while I got confused in the middle when a movie that was thematically about the ocean had a major sequence set in the desert - it was the next setpiece. 004 points.

That summer, For Your Eyes Only became the 12th James Bond movie to hit theaters. Seeing the movie playing at the mall theater - I tagged along with my mom and one of her friends for a trip to the mall. They shopped, and I went to see For Your Eyes Only - which I loved. 005 points.

A few months laterin the early 80's I was using OUR brand new Betamax VCR to record that year's Oscar ceremony. During that telecast Roger Moore presented the Irving G. Thalberg honorary award for excellence in producing to James Bond producer Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli. Before Cubby came out they played a brief montage of clips from the series - all set to the iconic Bond theme - and I was so intrigued I kept that tape cued up and played that little montage dozens of times over the next few months. 006 points.

That fall, as a freshman in high school - during study hall - which as you can tell is supposed to be about studying - I was delighted when the faculty used a SelectaVision laserdisc player to show us movies - usually taking three study hall sessions to complete the flick - and one of the movies they showed us was Goldfinger. Full circle - and 007 points. I became a total fan forever and ever amen.

I started reading everything I could about the series - and the Ian Fleming novels. In those early home video days when rentals were still just getting going my best friend was ABC - which still showed several 007 movies a year as their prime time movie on different nights of the week. I think I first saw every Bond movie all the way through (except For Your Eyes Only - first seen in the theater) on ABC.

I then started renting the movies - on Beta and later VHS - to see them uncut and without commercials. I also had gained my driver's license JUST before the premiere of the 13th James Bond movie - Octopussy - and its rival production with Sean Connery - Never Say Never Again - later that summer - and I've seen every Bond movie opening day since (except GoldenEye - which I had to see on Saturday as I was busy working on the CBS series American Gothic the day it opened).

For Pierce Brosnan's later efforts I was actually allowed to leave the set of Dawson's Creek to see Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is Not Enough at noon on Friday the days they opened in 1997 and 1999 - then return to work immediately after.  I was running a bookstore when Die Another Day premiered, and had scheduled the day so that I could pop up to the mall theater for the noon show that day. I now routinely set the day a new 007 movie opens off from work - I had November 6th 2015 set as a day off in late 2014 for Spectre. Feel free to join me that day if you can!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Craig, I absolutely love posts like this - how we came to love some of these films is nearly as important as the films themselves. Sounds like you and your brother had a blast playing -we had similar, movie-related games that we'd play - and it's great hearing how you evolved into a 007 nut. As I've said before, I'm a late starter on the series (Arnie was our guy at my age) but I will mention one of my earliest experiences of Bond: I was watching The Search for Spock on tv one evening (possibly the midweek movie premiere) and my aunt was visiting, along with my older cousin. He started giving out about Star Trek (which I loved, as a kid) and insisted we turn over to Moonraker which was being shown on another channel! I flicked over on a commercial, but damn, was I glad when him and my aunt left! Moonraker did look kinda cool, though, I have to admit...

    1. Thanks for the kind words - I'm always a little worried these posts will be boring - so it's nice to have them be well received. What an interesting introduction to Bond! Hope we'll see a 007 post at the Attic one of these days...

  2. I had heard bits and pieces of this story over the years; glad to finally be able to put it all together!

    1. As someone subjected to my fandom over the years - and with it all cementing into place a year or so before I met you - I'm glad you wanted to know - and thanks for watching all the Bond we saw together with me!