Happy birthday (No. 96!) Norman Felton, the real Man From U.N.C.L.E.

We just wanted to wish Mr. Norman Felton a happy 96th birthday. It was Felton, looking for a change of pace from producing TV dramas, who spearheaded the project that would become The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Felton had a notion about a character he dubbed Edgar Solo, who seemed ordinary but worked for a special agency. Felton hoped to entice Ian Fleming into the project. But the author didn’t want to offend Eon Productions, which was beginning to crank out James Bond movies. Nevertheless, Fleming contributed a few ideas, including renaming the hero Napoleon Solo.

While it would be writer/producer Sam Rolfe who’d bring everything to life, it was Felton who oversaw The Man From U.N.C.L.E. for all four of its seasons, 105 episodes and eight theatrical movies developed from episodes.

Back in 2002, HMSS wrote about how Felton’s papers (along with those of 007 screenwriter Richard Maibaum) are stored at the University of Iowa.

And, below, are the end titles of The Giuoco Piano Affair, a first-season episode. In the final shot, that’s Mr. Felton looking over a chessboard at a party scene. Once again, happy birthday, Mr. F.


The Silencers preview of For Your Eyes Only’s ad campaign

One of the most famous James Bond movie posters was For Your Eyes Only, the 1981 Roger Moore 007 movie, where we see, in the foreground, a woman’s legs rather prominently. If you’ve forgotten, well, just CLICK RIGHT HERE.

Fifteen years earlier, The Silencers, Dean Martin’s first screen outing as Matt Helm debuted. One version of the poster looks somewhat similar. If you CLICK HERE, you get a PDF file. Go down to Page 4 and you’ll see some art that looks awfully similar to the poster for For Your Eyes Only.

UPDATE (July 2013): The link to the pressbook of The Silencers doesn’t work anymore. However, if you CLICK HERE, you’ll see an image of a poster from The Silencers with the meme that For Your Eyes Only would use 15 years later.

More about 007’s alcohol intake

After recovering from our hangover re-reading James Bond’s impressive drinking in Goldfinger, we had to go back over some our old copies of Ian Fleming novels.

For example, there’s the first page of Thunderball:

He had a hangover, a bad one, with an aching head and stiff joints…The one drink too many signals itself unmistakably. His final whisky and sode and in the luxurious flat in Park Lane had been no different than the ten preceding ones, but it had done down reluctantly and had left a bitter taste and an ugly sensation of surfeit.

ELEVEN whisky and sodas? We hope he didn’t try driving home.

Anyway, let’s go a few novels ahead and look at the first chapter of You Only Live Twice. He’s with Tiger Tanaka, head of Japan’s secret service, and some women companions. The two men are having a contest of sorts. Bond remarks:

“All right, Tiger. But first, more sake! And not in these ridiculous thimbles. I’ve drunk five flasks of the stuff and its effect is about the same as one double martini.”

Yeah, just one double martini. What a wuss that Tanaka was.

How much booze did 007 consume, anyway?

Short answer: a lot. Slightly longer answer: an impressive amount. One of our favorite examples from the literary Bond:

Golfinger: Ian Fleming’s seventh 007 begins with James Bond in the Miami airport “with two double bourbons inside him” and nursing a third. Bond is rather moody, thinking about life and death, in particular how quickly death can arrive. Then, Bond’s flight to New York is delayed until the next day.

Bond had forgotten his drink. He picked it up, and, tilting his head back, swallowed the bourbon to the last drop.

(Goldfinger, page 11, Macmillan Company edition)

OK, that’s three double bourbons. Now, Bond has decided to get drunk. (We hope he’s not planning on renting a car around this time.) Then, he runs into Junius Du Pont (not one of the chemical Du Ponts), who had been a gambler the secret agent encountered in Fleming’s first novel, Casino Royale.

Du Pont suggests they share a drink. Bond orders another bourbon on the rocks. Since Bond has to stay the night, Du Pont suggests they go out to dinner. After arriving, Du Pont suggests a cocktail “to start.” Bond orders a vodka Martini and Du Pont likes the idea and orders one himself. When the drinks arrive, Du Pont instructs that another two more be brought in TEN minutes.

When dinner arrives, the men consume pink champagne along with crabs for dinner.

The champagne seemed to have the faintest scent of strawberries. It was ice cold. After each helping of crab, the champagne cleared the palate for the next.

(Goldfinger, page 19, Macmillan edition)

There’s probably more here, but we’re getting hungover just re-reading this.

Preposterous elements of Quantum of Solace

quantum-of-solace-international-posterThe media review website, Television Without Pity , is home to some of the snarkiest writing on the web, and is always an entertaining read. Staffer Zach Oat recently took a look at the Quantum of Solace DVD, in an effort to catalog some of the more… goofy… elements of the 22nd James Bond movie.

Oat writes that “while many thought [QOS] was more Bourne then Bond, you have to admit that the movie had a heaping helping of Bond-level ridiculousness.” He goes on to list various silly things/events that caught his attention, but may have slipped past yours (as they did ours). They’re all time-stamped for your convenience. Here’s a sample:

35:55 – This CIA guy Felix Leiter is working with has a ginormous mustache. Seriously, it’s huge! Is this how the world sees America? Or just the CIA?

His article, QUANTUM OF SOLACE: BOND’S MOST PREPOSTEROUS MOMENTS, will bring a shock of amused recognition to even the sharpest-eyed 007 watcher. Even better, it’ll give you a good reason to watch it yet again. Fire up your DVD player and grab your remote! (After you read his article, of course.)

TCM starts promos for 007/Connery movies

TCM has started running a promo for “star of the month” Sean Connery in May. As you might expect, it relies heavily on Connery appearances in his six James Bond movies filmed for Eon Productions.

Throughout the promo, TCM uses the dots from the main titles of Dr. No superimposed over clips from that movies, the five other Connery/Eon/007 movies as well as clips from non-Bond Connery films such as The Hill and The Wind And The Lion. The promo also uses a piece of music that evokes The James Bond Theme but is different enough that TCM won’t have to pay any royalties to Monty Norman.

In all, TCM will have 15 Connery movies, starting Friday, May 1, with Dr. No and From Russia With Love.

Tribute to Cubby Broccoli on FelixLeiter.com

Over at FelixLeiter.com, there’s a tribute to 007 producer Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli. It quotes extensively from various books about Bond, including Broccoli’s autobiography. If you want to take a look just CLICK RIGHT HERE.