Casino Royale’s 60th to be celebrated at University of Illinois

Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming

The 60th anniversary of the publication of Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, is scheduled to be celebrated at the University of Illinois starting in April.

The programs include the following:

Casino Royale and Beyond: Sixty Years of Fleming’s Literary Bond April 12-July 12. An excerpt from the university’s Web site:

The University Library’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library and Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, along with the Spurlock Museum, are planning several events this spring to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the publication of Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale.

Library Friend Michael L. VanBlaricum, also an Illinois alumnus, was invited to curate a multi-venue exhibition. Not surprising, as VanBlaricum has amassed perhaps one of the finest collections of Ian Fleming material in private hands. He is also President of The Ian Fleming Foundation, dedicated to the study and preservation of the history of Fleming’s literary works, the James Bond phenomenon, and their impact on popular culture.

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library will display all manner of editions of Casino Royale, as well as letters, reviews, photos, and other works. The Casino Royale and Beyond: Sixty Years of Ian Fleming’s Literary Bond exhibit will focus on Fleming, his background, profession, and books. VanBlaricum will give a special talk about the exhibition in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library when the exhibit opens on April 12th.

Unconventional Bond: The Strange Life of Casino Royale on Film April 16-June 16. The exhibit describes the 1954 one-hour CBS adaptation starring Barry Nelson as an American Bond; the 1967 spoof produced by Charles K. Feldman; and the 2006 film produced by Eon Productions that was the first Daniel Craig 007 film.

More information is available by clicking on the links above. The university is at Urbana-Champaign, in the east-central part of Illinois near where I-57 and I-74 intersect.

Roger Moore interviewed by Jeff Westhoff

Northwest Herald film critic and HMSS friend Jeffrey Westhoff had the excellent opportunity to interview Roger Moore. The interview is on the Web site of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

An excerpt:

Speaking by phone from the St. Regis Hotel in New York (where Bond stayed in the novel “Live and Let Die”), Moore said the publisher of his autobiography, “My Word Is my Bond,” approached him about writing another book focusing on 007 to coincide with the 50th anniversary hoopla. “They thought it might be a good time to bring out a book about my opinion of Bond,” Moore said.

He writes his opinions in a tongue-in-cheek style that reflects his portrayal of Bond. Moore frequently refers to Bond as “Jim” or “Jimmy,” and he doesn’t worry if this will further infuriate Sean Connery purists who complain Moore never took the character seriously. “That’s the way I played it,” he said. “That was my reaction to the character I was expected to play. He wasn’t a real spy. The idea that he’s known by every barman in the world, that he has a taste for martinis shaken not stirred.”

In the new book, Moore remarks that recent Bond theme songs have been forgettable. He said Adele’s “Skyfall” theme breaks that trend. “The song is absolutely marvelous. It has the complete John Barry flavor. Unmistakably a Bond song.”

Moore attended a private screening of the new film several weeks ago “when [the print] was literally still wet.” He was “absolutely knocked out by it.” He praised Sam Mendes’ direction and was impressed with the way “Skyfall” presents a new side to 007.

“Bond shows a lot of vulnerability in it, but also that he’s a hard nut,” Moore said. “And I don’t think anybody can do that better than Daniel Craig.”

You can read more of Westhoff’s interview by BY CLICKING HERE.  

Well done, sir.

Hey, it’s Paul’s Birf-day!

A BIG happy birthday to HMSS’s own Paul Baack!  (He’s the one here that looks like a goof…)Image

New Skyfall trailer debuts, first Silva dialogue included

The newest Skyfall trailer debuted today on the official at 2 p.m. in the U.K. and 9 a.m. ET in the U.S. After a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of Javier Bardem’s villain Silva in an NBC commeercial last week, the new trailer includes Silva’s first dialogue. Silva, indeed, is supposed to be blonde.

The trailer also indicates that director Sam Mendes & Co. have borrowed from a literary device Ian Fleming used in his 1964 novel You Only Live Twice. Those who’ve read the book will instantly recognize it.

Finally, the trailer uses a more traditional version of the James Bond Theme. If you haven’t seen it already, take a look:

UPDATE I: The trailer at least partially confirms some fan analysis of clues (some of it based on call sheets and storyboards that were sold on eBay). Bond goes missing, lives the soft life for a while and has to get into shape for a new mission.

That’s not unlike Robert Conrad’s James West in The Wild, Wild West Revisited in 1979, a TV-movie that was played more for laughs than the original 1965-69 series. (And no, we’re not saying that’s a deliberate influence, just noting the coincidence.)

UPDATE II: An amusing Tweet from “Ernst Stavro Blofeld” (well, one of them):

So in #SKYFALL Bond gets ‘killed’ and comes back to life. Haven’t we seen this movie before? #YouOnlyLiveTwice

UPDATE III: This morning we embedded the international trailer. Here’s the somewhat different U.S. trailer:

Amazon acquires exclusive North American rights to publish all 14 Ian Fleming James Bond spy titles

The books will be available summer 2012 from Inc.’s AMZN Thomas & Mercer imprint, which specializes in mysteries and thrillers. Amazon will also give the books a new look.

Read the entire WSJ story here. It’s also mentioned on the Ian Fleming Publications WEB SITE.

MI6 Confidential – “The Art of Bond” (Issue #13) Available Now

Peter Allen and our good friends at MI6 have informed HMSS that the MI6 Confidential Issue #13 “The Art of Bond” is now available to order on-line.

You can read the MI6 press release here, and below are a couple of the layouts and articles. (Go to the MI6 website for full details.)

Exceptionally fine shot(s), gentlemen! The photographs, graphics, commentary, and color are all top-notch. Nice work all around.

The HMSS Team

Omega Seamaster Co-Axial 300 M: Commemorating 50 years of James Bond films

With special thanks to our good friend Dell Deaton, it is a pleasure to release information about the new Omega Seamaster watch commemorating 50 years of James Bond films. Visit Dell’s twitter account here for additional information and more photographs. has the official press release here

No price communicated as of yet. Below are pics. (Click to enlarge.)

Note the diamond at the seven on the dial, the “50″ in red on the chronometer, and the use of Binder’s gun-barrel design on the back.

Cool, and understated. Just the way HMSS likes it. Well done.

The HMSS Editors

RIP Bob Holness, James Bond #2

The second actor to have portrayed James Bond has passed away.

Bob Holness, whose career with BBC radio spanned five decades, died early this morning in his sleep, a family statement . Mr. Holness was 83 years old. He was largely known as the host of the popular ITV game show Blockbusters. James Bond fans, especially those outside the UK, know him best as the star of the 1956 South African Radio dramatization of Ian Fleming’s Moonraker (six years before the cinematic 007 made his debut in Dr. No).

You can read his obituary at the BBC News website.

HMSS sends its condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

(Tip of the HMSS hat to Mike ‘Rhino’ Durham for ringing our bell.)

Former 007 screenwriter does a Twitter parody

Bruce Feirstein, who has three James Bond screenwriting credits (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough) imagines what it’d be like if Twitter existed during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Feirstein’s piece in Vanity Fair presents what would have happened had James Stewart, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchock and others had Twitter accounts. To read Feirstein’s musings, JUST CLICK HERE.

Our salute to Morton Stevens

Before we proceed any further, let’s address the question some of you are asking. Morton who?

Morton Stevens (1929-1991) wrote one piece of music almost everybody knows, the Hawaii Five-O (or with the new show, Hawaii Five-0) theme. But that can explained away. He was just a one-hit wonder. Not really. Still, in the early- to mid-1960s, Stevens did a lot of episodic television along with Jerry Goldsmith, John (then Johnny) Williams and Lalo Schifrin. Goldsmith, Williams and Schifrin all became major film composers.

Stevens didn’t. He ended up, starting in the spring of 1965, taking a job as head of CBS’s West Coast music department. TV and movie music historian Jon Burlingame, in a commentary for the DVD set of the Thriller television series DVD set, says Stevens expressed some regret about that toward the end of his life. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, CBS dabbled in feature films. Stevens could have assigned himself to score The Reivers but assigned the job to Williams. That helped Williams achieve the status of a movie composer.

Still, Stevens shouldn’t be forgotten. The composer did at least one score for 11 of the 12 seasons of the original Five-O series (1968-1980). Here’s a clip from the ninth-season opener, Nine Dragons. Stevens provides the score staring around the 1:40 mark. It may be a trifle padded but that just gives the viewer more of an opportunity to enjoy Stevens’s work:

Three years earlier, Stevens scored the sixth-season opening episode, Hookman, for which he earned an Emmy. Here’s the “coming next week” preview and the start of the episode:

Stevens was also there was the original Five-O finished up its 12-year run. His music would be the best thing about Woe To Wo Fat:

Years later, CBS decided to do a new Hawaii Five-0 series (with the 0 replacing the capital O). When the pilot was produced in early 2010, it had a “rock music” version of Stevens’s theme. Before the network broadcast the show, the decision was made that a more traditional version was needed. Musicians who worked on the original show were called in:

On the Thriller commentary track, Burlingame quotes composer Bruce Broughton as saying that any Five-O composer had to be aware of the template that Stevens provided. In the commentary, Burlingame likens the situation to James Bond movie composers following in the steps of John Barry. That’s high praise indeed, but praise that’s earned. Arguably, Stevens is one of the composers that people don’t know but who should.

UPDATE: We can’t help it, but we have to include the end to a first-season episode (in fact, it’s one of the earliest filmed episodes), where Stevens’s score is a perfect match to McGarrett outfoxing a Hawaiian crime boss.

OK, one more clip, this one from the 1968 pilot:


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