Those odd back covers to 1960s Bond paperbacks

Back cover to a Signet paperback edition of Live And Let Die (it’s on top of a DVD collection of UPA cartoons, in case you’re wondering).

In episode 0028 of the James Bond & Friends podcast, there was a discussion about the back covers of 007 paperbacks and the odd order they listed the Ian Fleming books.

David Leigh of The James Bond Dossier noted how Pan paperback editions of the Fleming novels listed the books in a seemingly random order.

The podcast got a reaction on social media. I remembered the U.S. paperbacks also seemed odd. So I got out a couple of my own Signet paperbacks issued in the U.S. during the 1960s.

A 1963 Signet printing of For Your Eyes Only listed the books in this order:

Casino Royale, Live And Let Die, Goldfinger, From Russia With Love Moonraker, Doctor No, Diamonds Are Forever and Thunderball.

Casino Royale and Live And Let Die were the first two books in the series. But it jumps out of order after that.

At the same time, an inside page lists the Fleming Bond novels in a different order. It starts with From Russia With Love, goes back to Doctor No, then presents the rest randomly (Casino Royale listed fourth, Goldfinger fifth and Moonraker sixth, among others.

The 27th printing by Signet of Live And Let Die (no specific printing date but before The Man With the Golden Gun was out in paperback) has this listing in alphabetical order (discounting “the”) with more titles:

Casino Royale, Diamonds Are Forever, Doctor No, For Your Eyes Only, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Live And Let Die, Moonraker, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice.

RE-POST: Author talks about his Broccoli-Saltzman book

Cover to When Harry Met Cubby by Robert Sellers

Originally posted May 10. Re-posted today, Sept. 1, because the book is due out later this month..

Author Robert Sellers provided an in-depth look about the fourth James Bond film, Thunderball, with 2007’s The Battle for Bond. The writer has re-entered the world of Bondage with a new book, When Harry Met Cubby, about the founding 007 film producers, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.

The blog interviewed Sellers about his new book via e-mail.

THE SPY COMMAND: You did a comprehensive book about Thunderball. What about the Broccoli-Saltzman story enticed you to tackle their story?

ROBERT SELLERS: Mainly because no one had done it before, which is strange because seemingly every other aspect of the Bond films has been covered. But not the relationship between these two extraordinary men, not in any great detail that’s for sure. I just thought it was about time their story was told.

SC: The Broccoli-Saltzman partnership was a bit of an Odd Couple affair. What strengths did each partner bring? What was each partner’s weakness?

SELLERS: The words most people used to describe them was chalk and cheese. They shared almost nothing in common, save for drive, ambition and a love of movies. Personality-wise you couldn’t have had two more different individuals. That included their outside pursuits and social circles. If you went to Harry’s house for dinner, or you went to Cubby’s, even if there were 20 people at dinner there was no overlap. Cubby’s friends were completely different to Harry’s.

At the beginning there was this strange alchemy at work, theirs was a relationship that was based on two opposing points of view reaching the same objective and their combined qualities made for an ideal pairing. Things went bad after just a few movies, mainly because Saltzman had so many outside interests. Harry was always buying up companies, signing up talent or movie properties, he had so many other strings to his bow, other balls in the air, whereas Cubby knew that Bond was like the goose that laid the golden egg and was intent on preserving it and to make sure that nobody tarnished it. Broccoli never understood why Harry needed to make other pictures outside Bond and this did lead to friction between the two men.

Both men certainly brought a lot of separate talents to the Bond table. Harry loved the gadgets and gizmos, Cubby was very much concerned with the casting, making sure that the girls were pretty, and worrying about the script, that it didn’t get bogged down with too much dialogue, that it got on with the action, and that the storyline was straightforward enough so people from ten to 100 could follow it.

As (screenwriter) Tom Mankiewicz so brilliantly put it to me: “So much of the pizazz that went in Bond belonged to Harry, and much of the essence and soul of Bond was Cubby.”

SC: Saltzman exited the world of Bond in the mid-1970s. He is perhaps less well known to newer Bond fans compared with Broccoli (especially since Broccoli’s daughter and stepson still run the show). Should Saltzman be better remembered than he is? Why?

SELLERS: Absolutely. People have told me that in the early days Harry was the driving force behind the films, much more proactive than Cubby. That changed later on when Harry began to diversify all over the place. Harry was a real ideas man; he’d churn them out with machine gun rapidity. The only problem was most of his ideas were either too expensive, too impractical or downright dumb. So, it was a case of sieving through the bad ones to get to the good ones. But those good ideas were often absolute gems.

There was also something of the showman about Harry Saltzman, the spit and sawdust of the circuses he worked in during his early days in show business and it was these elements that he later brought to bear upon the Bond movies; everything had to have an over the top style. That was Harry’s circus philosophy, make it bigger, make it more spectacular, make it something audiences have never seen before. There was something of P. T. Barnum about Harry.

SC: Eventually, each partner alternated as primary producer for each Bond film. When did that start? As early as You Only Live Twice? Even earlier?

Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman pose with Roger Moore during the filming of Live And Let Die.

SELLERS: The fractures in the producer’s relationship was really highlighted around the making of You Only Live Twice, ironically at much the same time as both of them fell out with their star, Sean Connery.

There had always been disagreements behind the scenes, but what had begun to grate with Cubby was the feeling that his partner wasn’t as committed to Bond as he was. This growing imbalance between the two men in their commitment to the Bond pictures reached a point where Cubby just felt aggrieved that he was carrying the load of the franchise almost on his own. As a result, Cubby was pretty much the working producer on You Only Live Twice. I was told Harry never stepped foot in Japan once cameras started rolling.

By the time of Diamonds Are Forever, the two producers could no longer work together and it was decided they ought to take turns being the operating producer on each new Bond. As Guy Hamilton succinctly put it: “I can work very happily with Cubby, and I can work very happily with Harry. But working with Cubby and Harry together is a nightmare.”

SC: Without giving too much away about your book, what was the biggest surprise you encountered during your research?

SELLERS: I guess the thing I could say that impressed me the most was just how much creative control both producers had over the films.

According to Broccoli and Saltzman, there were two kinds of producers, the business and administrative producer and the creative producer. Both men identified themselves as creative producers, involved in all aspects of the filmmaking process, offering ideas and guidance and ultimately putting their individual stamp on the pictures.

In post-production, too, they were a presence in the cutting room and at rushes. Even when the film was in release their job wasn’t finished; they’d scrutinize ad campaigns, carefully go through every detail with the distributors, attend opening nights round the world and read reviews to gauge what the critics were saying.

This was especially important to Broccoli. He might be on holiday or visiting some city in the world, and if there was a Bond film playing, he would go in and sit and listen to the reaction of the audience to find out what they liked, and what they didn’t like.

The way each of them operated as producers on the set was different, though. Harry would be around, but you wouldn’t know he was there. He might be in his trailer or having meetings somewhere. Whereas Cubby was always very visual, always around. And he knew every crew member’s name. The crew loved Cubby, not so much Harry.

Ian Fleming, Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli

SC: In terms of the early Bond films, could any other producers have achieved what they did? Was it like catching lightning in a bottle? I know that a lot of the regular crew members (Ted Moore, Ken Adam, Richard Maibaum) had worked for Broccoli when he was partner with Irving Allen.

SELLERS: I honestly believe the Bond films would not have been the success they were without Broccoli and Saltzman at the helm. Probably their greatest contribution was selecting the right team for the films, many of whom had worked for Cubby before, people that he knew were dependable and could deliver the goods.

On Dr No, Broccoli and Saltzman chose the technicians with the same care and diligence as the actors. They brought together an excellent crew and encouraged them; that was their real talent, hiring the right people and allowing them the creative freedom to express themselves. Can you imagine what the Bond films would have been without the vital contribution of Ken Adam or John Barry? Or for that matter the skillful editing of Peter Hunt, who was brought in by Saltzman.

Broccoli and Saltzman were also risk takers. They knew that in the film business you have to take risks and have the strength of your conviction. Both men were not afraid to make tough decisions and both stood up for what they believed in.

There is no better example of this than their choice of Sean Connery to play Bond. When United Artists voiced their disapproval, Broccoli and Saltzman stood by their man, telling the studio top brass they intended going ahead with Connery or not at all. Instinct told them this was the guy. And history proved them correct, of course. That’s why the Bond films were a success under Harry and Cubby, all the decisions they made were the right ones.

When Harry Met Cubby: The Story of the James Bond Producers is set for publication in September from The History Press. You can view its Amazon entry BY CLICKING HERE. You can view its Amazon UK entry BY CLICKING HERE.

Half of James Bond Radio team signs off

James Bond Radio logo

Half of the James Bond Radio team is signing off.

“This is a bit of a heartfelt message, but with so many ongoing things at the moment, unfortunately, I’ll be stepping away from JBR for the foreseeable future,” Chris Wright said in an announcement on its Facebook page today.

“Sometimes life gets in the way of Bond, and sadly this is one of those times,” he added. “So this is Agent Wright signing off.”

His partner, Tom Sears, also had a message in the announcement.

“What can I say?” Sears wrote. “After 5 years and 2 million downloads, I’m of course gutted to see our man in Cardiff go, but like all good things, it has to come to an end eventually. As far as the future of the podcast goes? I’m not yet sure. I’ll be thinking things through over the next few weeks.”

Since its debut in 2014, James Bond Radio had a lot of 007 chat. It also has had various interviews. A notable “get” was a 2016 interview with seven-time film 007 Roger Moore.

James Bond Radio also had a 2014 interview with Sylvan Mason, daughter of Jack Whittingam, who wrote the first Thunderball screenplays for Kevin McClory.

Literary 007 returns to social media

Part of the original Twitter home page for @JB_UnivEX

The literary James Bond is about to make a return to social media, starting Aug. 19.

Starting in 2018 and running into early 2019, @JB_UnivEx provided a look at what the literary James Bond would have done on Twitter.

Because Bond’s missions were classified, @JB_UnivEx often couldn’t state what was really happening — and that was part of the fun. Also, late in the run, literary Bond (brainwashed by the Soviets at the time) saw From Russia With Love in the theater and took issue with it.

Now, @JB_UnivEx had edited those original tweets. It appears there will be some new graphics. Also, the exploits will now be on Instagram and Facebook as well.

Here are a couple of tweets that were put out to promote his return.

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Without whom, etc. (55th anniversary)

Headline for a 1964 obituary for Ian Fleming

Today, Aug. 12, is the 55th anniversary of the death of Ian Fleming.

Without Fleming (1908-1964), much of the 1960s spy craze wouldn’t happen.

Without Fleming, there’d be no James Bond series of novels.

Without Fleming, there’d be no James Bond series of movies.

Without Fleming, there’s be no Man From U.N.C.L.E. television series. The show came about because an inquiry was made whether Fleming’s Thrilling Cities book could be turned into a television series.

Without Fleming, there’d be no attempts to cash in on 007 films.

Bond 25: Eon pulls a Horowitz?

Lashana Lynch publicity still released during April “reveal” event in Jamaica

Spoilers. Again. Spoiler adverse should move on. That is all.

Eon Productions, with Bond 25, may be adapting an idea utilized in one of Anthony Horowitz’s 007 continuation novels.

The author’s Forever and a Day, set in 1950, begins with the death of 007. But it’s not James Bond. It’s another agent who has been killed while on assignment. That death creates the 00-section vacancy that Bond fills. He also takes on the 007 number.

On July 13, the Mail on Sunday (sister publication of the Daily Mail) said Lashana Lynch’s Bond 25 character assumed the 007 number after Daniel Craig’s James Bond left the secret service. Same idea as the one Horowitz used, just applying it toward the end of Bond’s career instead of the start.

There’s no way to know if Bond 25’s sceenwriting crew actually was inspired by Horowitz’s novel. But Horowitz used it first.

This idea has been speculated by fans for a while now. Still, that hasn’t stopped adverse reaction, which some fans complaining about “political correctness” and so on.

The basic idea means that 007 (or any other 00 code number) isn’t assigned to any one person permanently. It can get passed along as staff turnover occurs.

Also, it means a 00-number isn’t like a uniform number that can be retired, a la the New York Yankees with 2 (Derek Jeter), 3 (Babe Ruth), 4 (Lou Gehrig), 5 (Joe DiMaggio), etc., etc., no longer being worn by current players. Major League Baseball retired 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson for all major league teams.

UPDATE: Jack Lugo, webmaster of the James Bond Radio website, reminds me via Twitter that in the You Only Live Twice novel that Bond was assigned a new number, 7777, when assigned what’s supposed to be a diplomatic mission.

Casino Royale: The manuscript

Top portion of the first page of the manuscript to Casino Royale.

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana — Years ago, I paid a visit to the Lilly Library at Indiana University. I looked at a few Ian Fleming manuscripts of his James Bond novels as well as some correspondence.

This week, I finally returned. This time, I opted to concentrate on one manuscript. Where best to start than with Casino Royale, viewing the very pages where Fleming created agent 007 in the first place?

What follows are basic observations about the manuscript.

Condition: Fleming typed on very thin pages. His handwritten revisions in ink bled through to the other side of pages. The manuscript is contained within a hardback cover. You can view in the library’s reading room. However, you are not permitted to bring in pens. You can have a notebook and take notes in pencil. Or you can type notes into a computer. A patron can take photos, but a librarian instructs you not to take a photo of all the pages.

Format: When writing the manuscript, Fleming had not yet decided to have chapter titles. Each chapter is simply numbered. The numbering is supposed to be with Roman numerals. However, Fleming typed the numeral “1” instead of capital “I.” As a result, it’s Chapter 1, Chapter 11, Chapter 111, Chapter 1V and so on.

When a chapter ends, Fleming simply typed a series of periods. The end of the first chapter has 30 periods. The count varies by chapter. The technique also is used when changing scenes within a chapter.

Fleming’s revisions: Fleming worked over his prose a lot on Casino Royale. Many pages have a lot of handwritten changes.

Some of it is fairly routine, such as tightening sentences. Other changes are more substantial.

On page 25 in Chapter III (or Chapter 111 as typed), there’s a conversation between the Chief of Staff and M’s secretary.

“What do you think Petty?” the secretary is asked. The reader is told, “Miss Pettavel would have been desirable but for her eyes which were cool and direct and quizzical.”

“Petty” is marked out and replaced with “Penny.” “Pettavel” is marked out and replaced with “Moneypenny.”

An even more significant revision was written on page 112. A written insert reads, “nine of harts, the card, known in gipsy magic as ‘a whisper of love, a whisper of hate’ the card that meant almost certain victory for Bond.”

The phrase “a whisper of love, a whisper of hate” would be the title of Chapter 13. It would also appear in the cover of the British first edition of the novel.

It appears in some sections that Fleming made so many changes he retyped pages. The manuscript has normal numbering until page 40. That’s followed by pages 40A, 40B and 40C. On the back of page 40B, there’s a handwritten insert for page 40C.

Meanwhile, pages 97 and 97A have darker type compared with most of the manuscript as if they had been typed later.

Finally, at the end of Chapter 17 (or XV11 as written), where villain LeChiffre tortures Bond, Fleming had a line he felt he could do without.

In the published version, the chapter ends with LeChiffre speaking. “Say good-bye to it, Bond.”

The manuscript had an additional line. “He bent down.” But the line

Ian Fleming inscription in the copy of Casino Royale at the Lilly Library at Indiana University.

is marked out.

Fleming inscription: The library also has an author’s copy of the novel. It’s a third edition (or “third impression” as stated in the book).

Fleming has an inscription on the first page. “This was written in January + February 1952, accepted by Capes in the Spring and published a year later,” it begins. “It was written to take my mind off other matters* at Goldeneye, Jamaica.”

On the inside cover,  there’s an asterisk followed by several handwritten lines that are crossed out.

Thanks to David Leigh of The James Bond Dossier for help in making out the crossed out line at the end of Chapter 17.

UPDATE: Michael VanBlaricum says the following on Facebook: “The Casino Royale typescript at the Lilly Library is not the first draft manuscript. That typescript is in private hands and was displayed at the Ian Fleming Centernary Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in 2008.”