James Bond Radio podcast ends

The James Bond Radio podcast has ended after almost nine years.

Co-host Tom Sears disclosed the development in a short episode today. Sears said he and Chris Wright, the other co-host, have personal reasons for pulling the plug on the podcast. James Bond Radio began in 2014.

Sears said James Bond Radio would maintain a social media presence.

James Bond Radio, in addition to chat about Bond, also talked to 007 film crew members and people with ties to the literary Bond.

The podcast’s biggest “get” was a 2016 interview with Roger Moore a year before the 007 actor died. Moore’s voice (“Hi, this is Roger Moore and you’re listening to James Bond Radio”) has been used to start off episodes.

Below is the YouTube version of today’s episode with the announcement.

IFP unveils 70th-anniversary logo

Ian Fleming Publications today introduced its 70th-anniversary logo for the literary James Bond.

The Bond character debuted with the novel Casino Royale, published in 1953. The book would be adapted in the fall of 1954 on CBS, with Barry Nelson as an American version of Bond.

The rights to Casino Royale weren’t available to Eon Productions when it started its Bond film series in 1962. The novel would be parodied in producer Charles K. Feldman’s 1967 spoof. Eon finally obtained the rights and its version was released in 2006, the first Eon production to star Daniel Craig.

This year, IFP has said it will publish new editions of Ian Fleming’s original Bond stories.

Here is IFP’s tweet with the 70th-anniversary logo.

A look back at a Bond continuation story

Playboy’s publication of Midsummer Night’s Doom

In the late 1990s, Playboy magazine revived a tradition. In the 1960s, Playboy serialized James Bond short stories and novels by Ian Fleming. When Raymond Benson was hired by the Ian Fleming estate in the 1990s, Playboy renewed the connection.

The magazine first published Blast From the Past, a Benson short story ahead of the publication of his first Bond continuation novel. The story connected details from Fleming’s You Only Live Twice Novel (what happened to the son Bond fathered with Kissy Suzuki) to more recent Bond literary events.

Benson also was a friend of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner (1926-2017). So, with Benson taking over from John Garnder as continuation author, Playboy went all in.

With Playboy’s January 1999 issue, Benson’s Midsummer Night’s Doom began thusly:

Five minutes into the briefing, M turned her chair to face him and asked, “What do you know about Playboy, 007?

James Bond blinked, “Ma’am?”

The magazine, 007. how much do you know about it?”

At this point, knowing Eon Production now had a woman M (Judi Dench), Ian Fleming Publications followed stit. Toward the end of the story, the reader is informed that Hefner has long known about Bond.

Bond was amazed. “I’m surprised that you remember that day, Mr. Hefner.”

“We have always kept up with you, James,” Hefner said with a wink. “We’re a lot, you and I. And please call me Hef.”

In the movies made by Eon Productions, Bond knew a lot about Playboy. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the George Lazenby version of Bond read a copy while a machine cracked a safe. In 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery’s Bond switched his wallet with Peter Franks, a villain Bond had just killed. Bond had a Playboy Club card

In real life, Hugh Hefner helped boost Bond’s popularity in the U.S.

The 1999 short story played on all of that. Bond’s mission takes him to Hefner’s Playboy Mansion. The story even uses names of friends of Benson’s (similar to how Ian Fleming did in his originals). Benson even evokes the final line of Fleming’s final line from the author’s Goldfinger novel. “Then he brought his mouth ruthlessly down on hers.”

Ian Fleming Publications prepares for a big 2023

Ian Fleming Publications sent an email this week to various James Bond websites saying it is getting ready for a big 2023.

Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of Casino Royale, the first Bond novel by Ian Fleming. IFP previously has said it will publish new editions of the Fleming originals.

IFP, in this week’s email, said a 70th-anniversary logo will be unveiled in the new year. A teaser version (mostly obscured) was included. Also coming out in early 2023 will be the new covers for the Fleming titles.

Bond 26: On His Majesty’s Secret Service

One-time image or the James Bond feed on Twitter

In 2023, James Bond films and novels will now be On His Majesty’s Secret Service. Queen Elizabeth has passed away, one of the most memorable celebrity deaths of 2022.

Prince Charles is now King Charles III. His mother was one of the youngest to assume the throne. She assumed the title of one of Ian Fleming’s best James Bond novels (1963). That title carried over to the sixth James Bond film made by Eon Productions (1969).

It remains to be seen how the movies and novels will be affected by the death of Queen Elizabeth. But no man, or monarch, awaits or no one.

There are signs that, maybe yes or maybe not, the Bond movies and novels are moving on.

Regardless, Netflix is televising a documentary series about the Royal Family. We’ll see how everything carries on.

It also remains to be seen how the Bond film and literary franchises progress with the passing of Elizabeth.

RE-POST: What 007 and Batman have in common

Adapted from a 2012 post

When following debates among James Bond fans — whether on Internet bulletin boards, Facebook or in person — people sometimes say “try reading Fleming” (or a variation thereof) as if it were a trump card that shows they’re right and the other person is wrong.

Read Fleming. That shows Bond is supposed to be a “blunt instrument.” Therefore, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are really true to Fleming.

“Read Fleming!” = “I’m right, you’re wrong!”

Read Fleming. That shows Bond is a romantic hero, not a neurotic antihero, therefore, (INSERT BOND ACTOR HERE) was true to Fleming. Meanwhile, (INSERT BOND ACTOR HERE) meant the 007 film series had reached a nadir.

In reality, over a half-century, the Bond films have passed through multiple eras. To some, Connery can never be surpassed and Moore was a joke. Except, the Connery films have more humor than Fleming employed (on the “banned” Criterion laser disc commentaries, Terence Young chortles about how Fleming asking why the films had more humor than his novels). The Moore films, for all their humor, do have serious moments (Bond admitting to Anya he killed her KGB lover in The Spy Who Loved Me or Bond being hurt but not wanting to admit it after getting out of the centrifuge in Moonraker). Other comments heard frequently: Brosnan tried to split the difference between Connery and Moore, Craig plays the role seriously, the way it should be, etc., etc.

Lots of different opinions, all concerning the same character, dealing with different eras and the contributions of multiple directors and screenwriters. Which reminded of us another character, who’s been around even longer than the film 007: Batman, who made his debut in Detective Comics No. 27 in 1939.

Early Batman stories: definitely dark. “There is a sickening snap as the cossack’s neck breaks under the mighty pressure of the Batman’s foot,” reads a caption in Detective Comics No. 30.

Then, things lightened up after Batman picked up Robin as a sidekick. Eventually, there was Science Fiction Batman in the 1950s (during a period when superhero comics almost disappeared), followed by “New Look” Batman in 1964 (which could also be called Return of the Detective), followed by Campy Batman in 1966 (because of popularity of the Batman television show), followed by Classic Batman is Back, circa 1969 or ’70, etc., etc. All different interpretations of the same character.

In the 1990s, there was a Batman cartoon that captured all this. A group of kids are talking. Two claim to have seen Batman. The first provides a description and we see a sequence resembling Dick Sprang-drawn comics of the 1940s, with Gary Owens providing the voice of Batman. The second describes something much different, and the sequence is drawn to resemble Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns comic of the 1980s, with Michael Ironside voicing Batman.

Eventually, the group of kids gets into trouble and we see the 1990s cartoon Batman, voiced by Kevin Conroy, in a sequence that evokes elements of both visions.

With the Bond film series, something similar has occurred. In various media, you’ll see fans on different sides of an argument claiming Fleming as supporting their view. Search hard enough, and you can find bits of Fleming or Fleming-inspired elements in almost any Bond film. The thing is, the different eras aren’t the result of long-term planning. They’re based on choices, the best guess among filmmakers of what is popular at a given time, what makes a good Bond story, etc.

In effect, both the film 007 and the comic book Batman have had to adapt or die. Fans today can’t imagine a world without either character. But each has had crisis moments. For Bond, the Broccoli-Saltzman separation of the mid-1970s and the 1989-95 hiatus in Bond films raised major questions about 007’s future. Batman, meanwhile, faced the prospect of cancellation by DC Comics (one reason for the 1964 revamp that ended the science fiction era) but managed to avoid it.

None of this, of course, will stop the arguments. Truth be told, things might become dull if the debates ceased. Still things might go over better if participants looked at them as an opportunity. An opposing viewpoint that’s well argued keeps you sharp and might cause you to consider ideas you overlooked.

Sherwood says she has completed her 2d 007-universe novel

Author Kim Sherwood says she has completed her second (of three) James Bond-universe novels.

This is what Sherwood sent out on Twitter:

Sherwood’s first Bond-related novel, Double Or Nothing, was published earlier this year. The official U.S. publication date is 2023.

Sherwood’s novels are timeshifted. James Bond has been missing for an extended time. The author introduces a new cast of 00-agents, including one named after one-time Bond screenwriter Johanna Harwood.

More about Elon Musk as the new Hugo Drax

Elon Musk photo on Twitter in the 2010s

In Ian Fleming’s Moonraker novel (1955), James Bond is drawn into the affairs of Hugo Drax, a mysterious millionaire who is building a rocket, seemingly on behalf of the U.K.

In the 21st century, Elon Musk, chief of electric-vehicle maker Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX, has emerged as a real-life Hugo Drax. Musk is even a James Bond fan. He bought one of the submarine cars from The Spy Who Loved Me and had something he dubbed Operation Goldfinger.

Musk’s activities have expanded into buying Twitter (a bit of a soap opera but it appears about to happen) and commenting about global affairs, such as Russia’s war against Ukraine.

On Oct. 22, The Washington Post weighed in with an overview about Musk’s activities.

Between launching four astronauts and 54 satellites into orbit, unveiling an electric freight truck and closing in on taking over Twitter this month, Elon Musk made time to offer unsolicited peace plans for Taiwan and Ukraine,antagonizing those countries’ leaders and irking Washington, too.

Musk, the richest man in the world, then irritated some Pentagon officials by announcing he didn’t want to keep paying for his private satellite service in Ukraine, before later walking back the threat.

As Musk, 51, inserts himself into volatile geopolitical issues, many Washington policymakers worry from the sidelines as he bypasses them.

It appears we’ll be hearing more from the modern-day Hugo Drax going forward.

A few thoughts about the 1960 spy craze

The 1960s was the era of the spy craze. But some folks will argue that point with you.

Some James Bond fans will say everything other than Bond are only “knockoffs.”

Meanwhile, some fans of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (on social media) argue that was actually “the U.N.C.L.E. Craze” with Get Smart, I Spy, and The Wild Wild West following.

A few facts:

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. originally was pitched as “James Bond for television.”

Television producer Norman Felton and Ian Fleming co-created the character Napoleon Solo on October 29-31,1962 during their meetings in New York City.

The Wild Wild West was pitched as “spies and cowboys.”

Get Smart originated as a mix of Bond and Inspector Clouseau.

The success of Bond created a market for an “anti-Bond.” John Le Carre (real name David Cornwell) benefited. Still, Le Carre and his prominent fans said Bond wasn’t up to Le Carre’s standards.

Danger Man (Secret Agent in the U.S.) and The Avengers came out before 1962’s Dr. No. Yet both British TV shows were influenced by the Bond films.

The 1960s spy craze was a high point for the genre. But, even to this day, there’s a lot of grumbling going on.

IFP to republish Ian Fleming stories, books

Ian Fleming Publications today said it plans to republish Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels and short stories and other works in 2023.

The new editions will be published under the Ian Fleming Publications imprint. The move is for the 70th anniversary of the publication of Casino Royale, Fleming’s first Bond novel.

The publication date is April 13, 2023, according to an online announcement. IFP had earlier teased it would have an announcement today, Global James Bond Day. Oct. 5, 1962 was when Dr. No, the first Bond film produced by Eon Productions, debuted.

The new editions initially will be published in the U.K. and British Commonwealth in paperback and E-book, IFP said. There also will be “prestige” hardbacks and collector limited editions, according to the announcement.

Besides the Bond novels and short stories, IFP will come out with new editions of Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang novel and the non-fiction works The Diamond Smugglers and Thrilling Cities.