About that 007 Stage incident

007 Stage after the June 4 incident.

An explosion (or explosions) on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios occurred on June 4. There have been wildly different reaction.

Tabloids such as The Sun and the Daily Mail have used the incident to proclaim that Bond 25 is cursed.

In reality, most “curses” are unrelated events except for a broad subject matter. There’s the “Superman Curse,” for example.

Except, Bud Collyer didn’t die at age 61 because he played Superman on the radio. George Reeves’ death was ruled a suicide, which is often the result of complicated events, but his death is blamed on him playing Superman on TV in the 1950s. Christopher Reeve didn’t break his neck because he played Superman in the movies. Kirk Allyn didn’t die in his late 80s because he played Superman in 1940s movie serials.

Put another way, calling something a curse papers over actual tragic events. Still, referring using the curse label makes a nice tale.

So it is with Bond 25, which has included a director who departed and a star (Daniel Craig) who injured himself.

At the same time, there’s a temptation to dismiss the Bond 25 explosion, and injury of a crew member as “stuff happens.” That’s bad in its own right.

Some crew members do have hazardous jobs — stunt performers especially.

Aerial cameraman John Jordan lost a foot as the result of an injury during filming of You Only Live Twice. Jordan lost his life during filming of 1970’s Catch 22.

More recently, a stunt performer was killed during production of For Your Eyes Only. Stunt man Martin Grace suffered a serious injury during filming of Octopussy.

With this week’s Bond 25 incident, we just know, via an Eon Productions tweet, that a crew member suffered a minor injury. No details on how minor or what the crew member’s job was.

Regardless, the incident was serious. You don’t poke holes in the side of a massive studio stage unless things got serious. There are various questions that may or may not get answered.

Will all this mean Bond 25 might get delayed? Honestly, I don’t care. I’m more concerned how glib some people are depicting all this.

Curse? No way. But “stuff happens”? Again, no way. This week was a serious incident and it should be viewed way.

1965: To Tell The Truth panel, again, tries to spot a spy

The panel on the popular CBS game show To Tell The Truth in 1963 had to figure out which of three men was a former Polish spy.

On that occasion, the panel was skunked, all four voting for an impostor (Henry Morgan, a panelist on another game show, I’ve Got a Secret).

The panel came up short in 1964 when trying to figure which of three men was the real John Le Carre.

In 1965, the To Tell The Truth panel again had to figure out a real spy, in this case a former British spy posing as a German agent during World War II.

Did the panel do better this time? You can see for yourself because the episode is embedded below. The same episode includes a replay of the daytime version of the show where Otto Preminger tried to fool the panel. And, without giving too much away, it relates to one of the previous spy installments on To Tell The Truth.

1964: John Le Carre appears on To Tell the Truth

David Cornell, aka John Le Carre

David Cornwell, aka John Le Carre

There was a time that game shows sometimes featured major literary or even historical figures. So it was in 1964 on the Mark Goodson-Bill Todman program To Tell The Truth when author David Cornwell, aka John Le Carre, was a contestant.

At the time of the broadcast on CBS, the author’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold was a best seller. Cornwell had sold the film rights and it would be made into A 1965 MOVIE STARRING RICHARD BURTON. One of the screenwriters would be Paul Dehn, who had penned the later drafts of 1964’s Goldfinger.

The regular panel of Tom Poston, Peggy Cass, Orson Bean and Kitty Carlisle faced the daunting task of determining which of three contestents had once worked in British intelligence. The outcome? Well, let’s just say it didn’t turn out well for the panel.

Here’s the broadcast, featuring host Bud Collyer. Our usual caveat: these things are often yanked off YouTube, so it’s possible the embedded video may be gone by the time you see see this. Cornwell/Le Carre appears in the second of the three games:

007 degrees of separation of James Bond trivia

001: Barry Nelson (1917-2007) was the first actor to play James Bond in the 1954 CBS adaptation of Casino Royale.

002: Barry Nelson also played the captain of the airline plane in 1970’s Airport. (Dean Martin was only the co-pilot.)

003: Aiport was the last film to be scored by Alfred Newman (1901-1970), who was also composer of the “20th “Century-Fox Fanfare” that starts every film released by that studio.

004: Alfred Newman is the father of film composer Thomas Newman (b. 1955).

005: Thomas Newman is the composer for Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film made by Eon Productions. It’s his first 007 assignment. He got the gig because he has done other films directed by Sam Mendes, the director of Skyfall.

006: Barry Nelson was once a panelist on an installment of To Tell The Truth, the game show hosted by Bud Collyer (1908-1969), who was the first person to play Superman (albeit on radio, later as the voice of Clark Kent/Superman in movie and television cartoons).

007: That’s all we got; we’ll conveniently ignore the often-cited trivia that Skyfall producer Michael G. Wilson is the son of Lewis Wilson (1920-2000), the first actor to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in a 1943 serial.

1963: To Tell The Truth panel hunts a real spy

The defection of Pawel Monat from Poland to the U.S. caused a stir (as noted in a 1959 article in Time magazine). In 1963, Monat did something unusual for a defecting spy: he appeared on the CBS game show To Tell the Truth.

Going on a national television show isn’t the best way to keep a low profile. But Monat and two impostors wore masks and the real spy’s face was never revealed on the show. So a panel of Tom Poston, Peggy Cass, game-show host Art James and Kitty Carlisle went about trying to figure which of the three was the former spy. The staff of the Bud Collyer-hosted program, though, had one more twist to throw at the panel. Here’s how it played out (the video quality is unfortunately poor):

UPDATE (Oct. 5, 2012): Here’s a better quality video. The title admittedly gives the surprise away:

First 007 meets the first Superman

Of course, that would be actor Barry Nelson (James Bond in the 1954 adaptation of Casino Royale on CBS, being a panelist on the game show To Tell The Truth, hosted by Bud Collyer, the radio voice of Superman starting in the late 1930s.

Orson Bean makes a Goldfinger reference on To Tell the Truth

In 1965, two boys flew a plane across the U.S. The older of the two, the pilot, appeared on To Tell the Truth, hosted by Bud Collyer (the original voice of Superman on radio). The panel of Tom Poston, Betty White, Kitty Carlisle and Orson Bean had to figure out which of three contestants was the right 17-year-old. Bean couldn’t resist making a reference to Goldfinger and it’s at the very end of this video.

And if you’re really wondering who was the real flyer and which were fakes, here’s the conclusion: