Bond music program on Oct. 5 to feature Black, Flick

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences formally announced an Oct. 5 program in Beverly Hills, The Music of Bond: The First 50 Years. Featured guests are Don Black, who collaborated with John Barry and David Arnold on 007 film title songs, and guitarist Vic Flick, who helped bring Monty Norman’s James Bond Theme to life in Dr. No.

John Barry


An excerpt OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT:

Fifty years to the day after the U.K. opening of the first Bond film, “Dr. No,” on October 5, 1962, the Academy pays homage to the memorable title songs and indelible scores that have become as celebrated as the character’s many exploits.

Over the 22 films released to date as part of the official James Bond series, there have been several constants: suave but deadly leading men, gorgeous and barely clad Bond girls, over-the-top villains and incredible music. Bond theme songs, sung by such leading performers of their era as Shirley Bassey (“Goldfinger”), Nancy Sinatra (“You Only Live Twice”), Paul McCartney and Wings (“Live and Let Die”), Carly Simon (“Nobody Does It Better”) and Sheena Easton (“For Your Eyes Only”), consistently landed on the pop music charts. Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” became the first Bond song to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The host of the program is Jon Burlingame, who has written extensively about film and television music, including the upcoming The Music of James Bond.

The Oct. 5 program starts at 7:30 p.m. PT at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. General admission tickets are $5 and can be ordered ONLINE or by mail starting Sept. 4. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 5 and seats are not reserved.

Two 007 votes: one ending, one starting

James Bond fans now have at least two dueling votes for Best 007 film, with one wrapping up and the other just starting on Aug. 30.



The one nearing its conclusion is the one by Graham Rye’s 007 MAGAZINE, originally announced in May. With that vote, fans can select among the 22 films in the Eon Production series as well as the 1967 Casino Royale spoof and 1983’s Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery’s seventh outing as Bond.

The deadline is midnight, Sept. 1 GMT. To register a choice, e-mail at greatestbondfilmever@yahoo.com . The publication will announce the results in a special edition.

007 Magazine may end up overshadowed by the just-announced vote at THE OFFICIAL JAMES BOND FACEBOOK PAGE. Not surprisingly, that vote is limited to the 22 Eon films from 1962 through 2008. Anyway, the page has 1.1 million “likes” and the Facebook posting about the vote had 665 “likes” and 200 comments within a few hours. The official page has a few more bells and whistles, including the ability to watch a clip from each of the 22 movies.

Results of the latter vote will be disclosed on Oct. 5, the 50th anniversary of Dr. No and “Global James Bond Day.”

Harry Saltzman gets a little attention for 007’s 50th

Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman

Harry Saltzman, the co-founder of Eon Productions is starting to get a bit of attention as the 50th anniversary of the 007 movies approaches Oct. 5.

The official 007 Web page has an announcement Aug. 29 about “Global James Bond Day on the Oct. 5 anniversary date. It includes an image of Saltzman, Eon co-founder Albert R. Broccoli, Sean Connery and Bond author Ian Fleming. On Aug. 28, it was also announced there’d be a new documentary, Everything or Nothing, about the origins of the 007 films that also mentioned Saltzman prominently.

THAT PRESS RELEASE said the following:

EVERYTHING OR NOTHING focuses on three men with a shared dream – Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman and author Ian Fleming. It’s the thrilling and inspiring narrative behind the longest running film franchise in cinema history which began in 1962. With unprecedented access both to the key players involved and to Eon Productions’ extensive archive, this is the first time the inside story of the franchise has ever been told on screen in this way.

Today, in Sony Pictures’s announcement about Global James Bond day, there was the same phrasing about “three men with a shared dream,” also mentioning Saltzman along with Broccoli and Fleming.

We’ve commented before about how Saltzman had been the forgotten man during the film 007’s golden anniversary year. So it’s good to see him get some attention.

ABC orders SHIELD pilot, Deadline reports

Jim Steranko’s cover for Strange Tales No. 167


ABC has ordered a SHIELD pilot to be co-written by Joss Whedon, the Deadline entertainment news Web site reported.

An excerpt:

The project is based on Marvel’s peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D (which stands for Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate or Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) found in both the Marvel comic book and feature film universes, including the blockbuster 2012 movie The Avengers, in which S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury, recruits Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor to stop Thor’s adoptive brother Loki from subjugating Earth.

S.H.I.E.L.D. will be written by Whedon and frequent collaborators, his brother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Joss Whedon also is set to direct the pilot, schedule permitting.

SHIELD (which originally stood for Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division) debuted in 1965 in a story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Strange Tales No. 135. In that initial effort, Nick Fury is recruited to be SHIELD’s director. Lee and Kirby first created Fury in 1963 as the lead in a World War II comic book, Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos. It was established in a Fantastic Four story that Fury survived the war and was in the CIA.

Fury and SHIELD reached their peak of popularity in stories written and drawn by Jim Steranko. Steranko guided Fury into his own title in 1968 but departed after doing four of the first five issues.

The ABC pilot isn’t SHIELD’s first foray into television. David Hasselhoff starred in the title role in a 1998 TV movie, Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD.

77 Sunset Strip’s experiment with film noir for TV

A cast shot of 77 Sunset Strip. All except Efrem Zimbalist Jr., would be gone for the sixth season.

77 Sunset Strip is one of those shows that, despite being popular in its time, doesn’t strike a chord with a lot of people today. It was one of Warner Bros.’s first hits on television and spawned three similar detective shows (Bourbon Street Beat, Hawaiian Eye and Surfside 6). Even more obscure is 77’s final season, which did a drastic makeover and began with an experiment of producing film noir for television.

William Conrad, producer-director of “5.”

A new producing team of Jack Webb (yes, that Jack Webb) and William Conrad (yes, that William Conrad) fired the entire cast except for star Efrem Zimbalist Jr. The actor’s Stuart Bailey character was now a hard-boiled, lone wolf private eye worried about paying his rent. The catchy Mack David-Jerry Livingston song was gone as well, replaced by an instrumental by Bob Thompson.

To kick off the new format, Webb and Conrad began with a five-part episode simply titled “5,” written by Harry Essex and directed by Conrad. The producer-director also made a cameo toward the end of the conclusion.

The show enlisted a large roster of guest stars. Some were key characters in the story, others eccentric cameo roles. The group included two actors who either had or would play James Bond villains (Peter Lorre and Telly Savalas) and others who’d play villains on the ABC Batman show (Burgess Meredith, Cesar Romero, Walter Slezak and Victor Buono). And being a 1960s event, of a sort, it wouldn’t be complete without William Shatner in the mix.

Anyway, “5” recent showed up online (but unofficially). It comes across as very ambitious for its time with some attempts at innovation but with some flaws as well.

Positives: At the end of part I, Bailey is caught off guard by an attack by a thug and rolls down a stairway. Conrad and his crew came up with some kind of rig so the camera in a point-of-view shot seems spin, matching the PI’s fall. Also, there’s some pretty good tough-guy PI dialogue. (“Did I hit a nerve?” asks New York City detective played by Richard Conte. “You couldn’t find one in a dental college,” Bailey replies.)

Negatives: At the start of the final part, the story runs out of a gas a bit and there’s a long recap of the first four installments. Also, it seems improbable that Bailey would lug a big 1963 tape recorder around. The tape recorder is merely a device to justify first-person narration by Zimbalist. It might have been better to just go with the narration and not worry about the recorder.

In any case, “5” nor the new format was a commercial success. Only 20 episodes were made at a time 30 or more episodes made up a full season. ABC showed reruns from previous seasons to fill out the 1963-64 season according to the show’s entry in Wikipedia.

Still, “5” was an interesting experiment and fans of film noir ought to check it out as Stuart Bailey travels from Los Angeles to New York to Europe to Israel and back to New York on the marathon case. We’ve embedded part one below. If interested, you can also go to PART TWO, PART THREE, PART FOUR and THE CONCLUSION. Warning: you never know who long these things will stay on YouTube.

MI6 Confidential looks past and forward in 2 issues

Issue 16


The MI6 Confidential magazine has two issues, one looking to the past, the other forward — an examination of 1962’s Dr. No and a preview of the upcoming Skyfall.

Issue No. 16 concerns James Bond’s film debut. It includes features on Sean Connery, Ursula Andress and stunt arranger Bob Simmons. There’s also an article where crew members discuss the location shooting that occurred in Jamaica in early 1962.

Issue 17


Issue No. 17 features Skyfall, scheduled to premier in the U.K. in October and in the U.S. in early November. Contents include an interview with Gary Powell, the film’s stunt coordinator, Gary Powell as well as features on actresses Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris. There’s also an interview with Meg Simmonds, director of the archive at Eon Productions, which makes the Bond films.

Each issue costs 6 British pounds or $10 or 7 euros. For more information about ordering you can CLICK HERE. Those who want both issues can order them together and save on shipping costs.

Happy 82nd birthday Sean Connery

Sean Connery getting fitted by tailor Anthony Sinclair

Saturday, Aug. 25, is the 82nd birthday for the original film 007, Sean Connery.

It has been almost a half-century since Connery’s debut as James Bond. His performances as Bond have been analyzed over and over (with more to come with the 50th anniversary of Dr. No in October).

We have our own thoughts about the golden anniversary of Dr. No. But that’s for another time. For now, we just want to wish happy birthday to Sir Sean. While not the first actor to play 007 (American Barry Nelson did that in the 1954 CBS adaptation of Casino Royale and Bob Holness had played Bond in a 1956 radio version of Moonraker), the Scotsman born Aug. 25, 1930, put agent 007 on the cinematic map.

Connery enjoyed a long acting career until retiring in 2003 (aside from some occasional voice over work). He turned in many fine performances. Still, for many people, Connery defined the Bond role and still casts a shadow over any actor who takes on the character. Albert R. Broccoli, co-founder of Eon Productions with Harry Saltzman, spent a considerable amount of his autobiography discussing how casting Connery as Bond was one of the smartest things he ever did.

That’s not a knock on those actors. Rather, any actor who fills those shoes will be measured against Connery.

In any event, happy birthday, Sir Sean.