1972: 007’s TV debut on The ABC Sunday Night Movie

United Artists re-released Goldfinger in the summer of 1972 as part of a triple feature a few months before it was shown on ABC.

With all the 007 anniversaries this year, one isn’t getting much attention: the 40th anniversary of the first U.S. television showing of a James Bond film when Goldfinger was shown on The ABC Sunday Night Movie.

ABC, which had obtained the TV rights for 007 films, decided to kick off the 1972-73 season with Goldfinger, the third movie in the series made by Eon Productions. ABC had promoted Goldfinger throughout the summer and especially during its broadcasts of the Summer Olympics in Munich, where 007 promos seemed to air every two hours, prior to the tragic kidnapping and murders of Israeli athletes. United Artists, moving to squeeze out money from one last theatrical run, had a triple feature of Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger during the summer of 1972.

Finally, on the night of Sept. 17, 1972 (right after the eighth-season opener of The FBI), Goldfinger was broadcast to millions of homes in the U.S. Bond fans who’d seen the film in theaters were caught by surprise immediately. The classic 007 gunbarrel logo had been edited out by the network (though John Barry’s gunbarrel music arrangement remained). It would be the first in a series of changes and cuts ABC would make in the Bond movies.

The ABC broadcast of Goldfinger started at 9 p.m. New York time and ran (including commercials) until 11:15 p.m.. In future showings, ABC would take out the pre-credits sequence altogether and start with the main titles so the TV broadcast would run no longer than two hours.

Still, it was a new era. ABC was the U.S. television home for Bond into the early 1990s. ABC even had a last hurrah in 2002, when the network showed the first nine 007 films in the Eon series on consecutive Saturday nights. Today, with DVDs, streaming video, video on demand, etc., none of this sounds special. But, 40 years ago, it was a big deal when agent 007 was available for the first time in living rooms.

How real life may intrude on 007’s Olympics debut

This week, James Bond makes his Olympics debut during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Games in London. But real life may intrude on Bond’s appearance, at least on the U.S. broadcast, in the form of a serious real-life Olympics anniversary.

Daniel Craig’s Olympics appearance as 007 may not be the highlight of U.S. broadcast of the opening ceremonies.


While it hasn’t been officially confirmed, it looks as if 007 will be part of the opening ceremonies on July 27. This first surfaced on April 1 in a story in the U.K. newspaper, The Sun. According to that story, current 007 star Daniel Craig will play Bond in a film where he’s “knighted” by Queen Elizabeth II and heads to the Olympics site by helicopter to help get the Games started.

There have been numerous stories since in places as varied as the MI6 007 fan Web site, the London Evening Standard, the Daily Beast Web site in the U.S. and The Times of Malta, not to mention NBC’s Olympics Web site. Also, MI6 noted filming in June that seemed to be related to the Olympics film.

This has psyched up many Bond fans, including some who argue this is a de facto knighthood for Craig himself (CLICK HERE for a thread on a message board which includes that viewpoint.)

Meanwhile, in the U.S., at least, one broadcaster wants to make note during the opening ceremonies of a more somber event — the 40th anniversary of the killing of Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

NBC’s Bob Costas, who will anchor his network’s coverage of the Olympics, intends to make note of the anniversary, including 60 seconds of silence, according to a July 18 story in the Hollywood Reporter.

An excerpt:

When the London games officially launch July 27, Bob Costas will stage his own protest of what he calls a “baffling” decision: the NBC sportscaster plans to call out the International Olympic Committee for denying Israel’s request for a moment of silence acknowledging the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Games.

“I intend to note that the IOC denied the request,” he tells THR. “Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive. Here’s a minute of silence right now.”

Assuming Costas follows through, it won’t be the first time he’s commented about the 1972 event. In the following video, there are two clips of him commenting on ABC’s Jim McKay, who announced the fate of the Israeli athletes in 1972:

Meanwhile, CLICK HERE for a short commentary in the July 21 edition of the Wall Street Journal that approves of the stand Costas is taking.