Ian Fleming’s fascination with bowties

Ian Fleming, besides being the creator of James Bond, also had a thing for bowties.

Fleming (1908-1964) was photographed more than once sporting a bowtie. Once he finally had a deal to sell the film rights to 007, he felt bowties ought to be part of the proceedings. For example, he wrote in a memo to producer Albert R. Broccoli, that:

M should wear a dark blue bowtie with white spots.

(from When the Snow Melts: An autobiography of Cubby Broccoli: With Donald Zec, the contents of which can be viewed RIGHT HERE)

Broccoli and then-partner Harry Saltzman may have listened. In the first four 007 007 movies they produced (1962-1965), M (played by Bernard Lee) wore a bowtie.

A short while later, television producer Norman Felton (b. 1913) approached Fleming about a project. Felton, in meetings in New York City with Fleming, had trouble getting the author to focus. Eventually, Fleming scrawled some ideas on Western Union telegraph blanks. One suggested that secret agent Napoleon Solo (Felton’s original idea was the agent be called Edgar Solo) wear a polka-dotted bowtie. The eventual result was the TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. where Solo pretty much only wore a bowtie when he donned a tuxedo.

It could be there was something about the era that Fleming was born. Afterall, To Tell The Truth host Bud Collyer, born the same year as Fleming, was also known for wearing a bowtie.

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