2002: 007’s swan song on ABC

In the fall of 2002, James Bond returned to his original U.S. television home, Walt Disney Co.’s ABC television network.

It ended up being the end of a 30-year, on-and-off relationship between the fictional spy and ABC.

007’s television debut occurred on Sept. 17, 1972, when Goldfinger was shown by ABC. The network was 007’s television home through the 15th Eon-produced film, The Living Daylights.

After that, things began to change. Licence to Kill appeared on Fox. Time Warner’s TBS scooped up the TV rights to the older films in the early 1990s. Pay-cable networks diminished the aura of 007 movies appearing on broadcast television. GoldenEye debuted on NBC, while CBS snared Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough.

So, it was a bit of a surprise when ABC brought 007 back “home” in the fall of 2002. It was an opportunity for MGM and Eon Productions to promote the upcoming Die Another Day. But the media world had changed so much, ABC canceled the Bond Picture Show after nine Saturday nights in the fall of 2002. And truth be told, things weren’t the same after ABC voiceover king Ernie Anderson passed away in 1997.

Below, here’s a promo that ABC aired for the fifth Bond movie, You Only Live Twice.

Moonraker 30th anniversary addendum

ABC and James Bond has a long relationship. So here’s the opening to The ABC Sunday Night Movie when Moonraker appeared a few years after its 1979 debut in theaters. Ernie Anderson does the honors for the voiceover:

And while we’re at it, here’s a 1980s repeat showing of From Russia With Love where Anderson tells us “the Best Bond returns!” Note the parential advisory at the start.

The return of Ernst Stavro Blofeld?

The new face of Blofeld?

The new face of Blofeld?

As the Bond 23 silly season progresses, now we hear from the Guardian that 007’s betê noir, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, will be back to bedevil our hero in the next — and as yet, unscripted — James Bond movie. And, this time, in the personage of British actor Michael Sheen ( Frost/Nixon, Underworld, etc.)

According to an “unnamed source” (cough, cough) talking to the Daily Express newspaper,

Michael is hot property right now and it’s felt that he’s the right man to bring Blofeld back to life. [He] was a Bond fan in his youth, so this would be a dream role for him.

Seasoned Bond fans can observe for themselves from the accompanying picture how Sheen can capture the implacable menace that was the essence of Ian Fleming’s greatest villain creation.

Read all about it RIGHT HERE!

1975: ABC promo for Diamonds Are Forever

For the 1975-76 television season, ABC included Diamonds Are Forever among its slate of theatrical movies it would show. Unlike the 1972-73 season, however, 007 wasn’t the biggest draw for ABC.

In this promo, ABC begins showing previews of its movies around the 3:00 mark. Diamonds doesn’t show up until around the 6:15 mark. By contrast, Goldfinger was featured more prominently when ABC did movie promos for 1972-73.

The voicework is done by Ernie Anderson (1923-1997), best known for saying “The Looooooove Boat” when doing promos for that ABC show.

A new career opportunity awaits!

SIS logoFrom the “tripped over this while looking for something else” department:

Her Majesty’s Secret Service is looking for new hires, in the capacity of Operations Officer. (We’re pretty sure that means “secret agent.”) We don’t know if this is how it was done in the old days — the Cold War years, let’s say — by taking out an ad in the UK Times Online seems slightly unromantic. Efficient and democratic, perhaps, but whatever happened to the ol’ “tap on the shoulder” of legend?

Interested parties can read the advert and begin the application process
RIGHT HERE. Best of luck!

Writers announced for Bond 23

This press release just came in:


LOS ANGELES, CA June 12, 2009 – Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions Ltd and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures have today announced that Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen), Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Quantum of Solace, Casino Royale) will be the screenwriters of the 23rd James Bond adventure.

Neal Purvis & Robert Wade

Neal Purvis & Robert Wade

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 in the film, which will be a MGM release of an EON production. Bond 23 is the latest installment in the longest-running franchise in motion picture history and will be produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. A date for the start of production is yet to be confirmed.

“Peter, Neal and Robert are extraordinarily talented and we’re looking forward to working with the three of them,” commented Wilson and Broccoli.

Peter Morgan is the award-winning writer of such films as The Last King of Scotland, The Queen and Frost/Nixon, which was based on his play. He has also scripted the upcoming The Special Relationship for HBO and Hereafter for DreamWorks. He will turn his attention to Bond 23 on completion of these duties. Morgan is represented by UTA (US) and Independent Talent Group (UK).

Since 1991 Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have collaborated on a diverse range of projects including The Italian Job, Johnny English and the past four Bond films. They recently adapted John Le Carre’s The Mission Song and are also working on the upcoming sequel The Brazilian Job. Purvis and Wade are represented by Endeavor (US), Casarotto Ramsay & Associates (UK).

007, Our Man in Afghanistan?

Daniel Craig as James Bond 007, in a totally unrelated picture from three years ago.

Daniel Craig as James Bond 007, in a totally unrelated picture from three years ago.

The “silly season” of rumormongering between James Bond movies seems to have begun in earnest. Bond fan websites are reporting that the Telegraph UK is reporting that Bond fan websites are reporting that 007 may be bound for Afghanistan in his next screen adventure.

Apparently a former member of the British Foreign Office’s drug task force in Afghanistan has hooked up with Eon productions as a consultant, presumably to advise on matters concerning Afghanistan and drugs. This bit of news should be sufficient for Bond fans everywhere to suss out the plot of the next movie, and cry “rip off!” for a revisit to the background of 1987’s The Living Daylights. In that film, fans with large brains will remember that Timothy Dalton’s agent 007 got tangled up with opium-running Afghan mujahedin, eventually assisting them and helping to pave the way for the birth of the Taliban.

We should at this point also take pains to point out that Sebastian Faulks’ (Ian Fleming Centenary) novel Devil May Care will not be adapted for the next Bond film, nor the one after that, nor even the one after that.

You can read all the nothing about it at the Telegraph website right here

Be sure to check back with The HMSS Weblog regularly, for all your “Bond 23” non-news!

OHMSS voted No. 1 007 soundtrack

A recent poll at LastBroadcast puts John Barry’s soundtrack for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as the best in the 007 series.

An excerpt:

Comfortably winning with around a third of all votes, composer John Barry’s 1969 score for George Lazenby’s debut/swansong features some of the series’ most recognisable music, despite the film itself often being overlooked by the general public.

The rest of top five is also dominated by Barry:

2. The Living Daylights

John Barry’s final Bond score, 1987’s The Living Daylights is also notable for its pioneering use of technology, this time with the introduction of sequenced electronic rhythm tracks overdubbed with the orchestra.

3. Goldfinger

The first of three Bond films with a theme song sung by Welsh singer Shirley Bassey, the 1964 Goldfinger score is widely considered (much like the film) to have set the template for future entries in the series.

4. You Only Live Twice

With its instantly recognisable opening bars, You Only Live Twice’s oft-covered title track was sung by Frank Sinatra’s daughter, Nancy. (According to John Barry, Sinatra was so nervous whle recording that the final song uses 25 different takes.)

It’s not until No. 5, you get a different 007 composer, David Arnold with 2006’s Casino Royale.

To read the entire post, click RIGHT HERE.

Raymond Benson on Sound Authors podcast

dark side
On June 8, 007 author Raymond Benson stopped by the Sound Authors podcast for an interview with proprietor Dr. Kent Gustavson.

After dealing with shoes, and ships, and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings, they got around to the topics of Benson’s new Spike Berenger thriller, Dark Side of the Morgue. It’s a follow-up to the rock ‘n roll detective’s previous adventure Hard Day’s Death. In this one, a Chicago-based progressive rock band is being killed off one member in time, and Berenger is up to his knees in rock snob suspects.

Benson also gets a bit into the details of the process of writing for other authors’ and creators’ franchises. His remarks on writing James Bond will, of course, be a particular interest to literary-minded 007 fans.

You can find a transcript of the interview at the Sound Authors website; there are various links to subscription services where you can listen to the actual podcast.

“Casino Royale” predigested for easy consumption — and laughs

John Crace - The Guardian

John Crace - The Guardian

The Books section of the Guardian’s website has been running a delightful humor series called “Digested Classics.” Author John Crace writes shortened parodies of famous novels, accurately catching their original authorial voice in a skillful pastiche.

Up for the treatment this week is Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale. Crace manages to cram the entire story down into about 20 paragraphs, while still leaving room for some Fleming-esque touches:

“I think not,” Bond smiled. “Suivi.” Two queens. Zero. It was desperate. Then a nine. “Banco”, Le Chiffre was bankrupt. The job was over. Now for Vesper’s cold and arrogant body. “Oh Jamms,” she cried, “I want you but first I must see Mathis.”

You can (and should!) read the whole thing RIGHT HERE. It will only take you a couple of minutes, and you’re guaranteed a giggle or two.

Don’t know how to read? Well, lucky for you then — you can listen to the narrated version without further stress to your rods and cones.