Dick Van Dyke says he had a chance at playing 007

"My name is Bond, James Bond."

“My name is Bond, James Bond.”

Veteran comedic (and dramatic serious) actor Dick Van Dyke says he had a chance to play James Bond.

Van Dyke, 87, made an appearance on the Aug. 18 edition of Kevin Pollak’s Cat Show when he surprised the host.

“I was doing Chitty,” Van Dyke said, referring to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, “Sean Connery had spoken about leaving the Bond pictures. He had done several at the time. Cubby Broccoli actually pulled me in and asked me if I wanted to do Bond….That really happened.”

Van Dyke, at Pollak’s urging, said, “Bond, James Bond.” Van Dyke also opined about current 007 Daniel Craig. “For some reason he lacks the panache to be Bond to me. He’s a wonderful actor and great physicality.”

The subject wasn’t explored much beyond that (aside from some banter between the two about Van Dyke’s English accent in Mary Poppins). Albert R. Broccoli produced Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the 1968 film musical based on Ian Fleming’s children novel; it was the producer’s final non-Bond project.

The exchange begins around the 28:45 mark below. The video lasts a little over two hours and covers a lot of subjects.

CLICK HERE to see an earlier Yahoo! Movies post about Van Dyke’s comments.

Recalling the 007-Mary Poppins collaboration

Songwriter Robert B. Sherman died this week at age 86 and, understandably, much of the attention has focused on the many songs he did with his brother Richard for Walt Disney. But Sherman’s passing also reminds us of producer Albert R. Broccoli’s attempt to combine the best available talent from Disney’s Mary Poppins movie and the James Bond film series.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming

To adapt Ian Fleming's children novel to the screen, producer Albert R. Broccoli enlisted the best available talent from 007 films and Disney's Mary Poppins


That would, of course, be Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the 1968 film that would be Broccoli’s final non-007 project, based on Ian Fleming’s children novel.

Officially, Chitty wasn’t made by Eon Productions, which produced by Bond movies. Harry Saltzman, Broccoli’s Eon partner at the time, wasn’t involved with Chitty. So another company, Warfield, was the production company of record.

Broccoli looked to Mary Poppins for key personnel, bringing on board the Sherman brothers, who had written the songs for Mary Poppins, to do the same for Chitty as well as Irwin Kostal (composer/conductor/music director) and Dee Dee Wood (choreographer) not to mention actor Dick Van Dyke to play the lead character, Caractacus Potts.

From the 007 films, the producer hired actors Gert Frobe and Desmond Llewelyn. Behind the camera, Broccoli had even more 007 film veterans: screenwriters Roald Dahl and Richard Maibaum; Peter Hunt (billed as a production associate); production designer Ken Adam; associate producer Stanley Sopel; art director Harry Pottle; production supervisor David Middlemas; assistant director Gus Agosti; assistant art directors Peter Lamont and Michael White; special effects guru John Stears….well, you get the idea. (To see the complete cast and crew CLICK HERE; some crew members on Chitty would end up working on later Bond films.)

Financially, Chitty wasn’t a big success. The film had an estimated budget of $10 million, with U.S. ticket sales of only $7.12 million, not the kind of return that studio United Artists was used to seeing from Broccoli productions. With worldwide tickets sales and later home video sales, UA (and its successors) probably did just fine. But it wasn’t the breakout hit that Mary Poppins was for Disney.

Still, Chitty seems to be mostly well remembered today. Here’s a sample of the work that Robert and Richard Sherman did the for the film:

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car up for sale, AOL Autos says

Oh you Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we love you — to see how much of a sales price you’ll fetch.

According to a post on AOL Autos (which you can read BY CLICKING HERE), the original car from the 1968 movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is up for sales on eBay. (To look at the eBay listing, you can CLICK HERE.)

As we type this, the highest bid was $1 million and the reserve price had not been met, according to the eBay listing. It also has 44 miles on it. Not bad for a 43-year-old vehicle.

The movie was based on an Ian Fleming children’s novel, and was the last non-James Bond film produced by Albert R. Broccoli. The 007 producer talked Walt Disney into permitting the Sherman brothers song writing team (which had written the songs for 1964’s Mary Poppins, among other Disney productions) to work on his film adaptation.

Broccoli also enlisted the talents of various members of his 007 film crews, including Roald Dahl, Richard Maibaum, Ken Adam and Peter Hunt, on the musical. (Hunt in an interview for the documentary Inside On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, says he and Maibaum were already doing work on that Bond film during the filming of CCBB.) The producer also cast Gert Frobe, who had played Goldfinger, and Desmond Llewelyn, who played Q, for parts in CCBB.

A brief excerpt from the AOL Autos post:

To that end, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sports a 3.0-liter Ford V6 and automatic transmission, mounted in a one-off ladder frame. The body features a handmade aluminum hood and red and white cedar boattail rear. Unfortunately, none of Chitty’s magical powers made it to the road car, meaning this thing won’t fly.

Ian Fleming’s heirs try to extend another franchise

Ian Fleming Publications, run by heirs of the 007 author, have commissioned a sequel to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Fleming’s children’s story about a flying car.

In a story by the Reuters news service (which was also Fleming’s employer in the 1930s), we learn this:

James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s other famous invention, the magical car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, is set to fly again with the publication of a new series of adventures by children’s author Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Fleming’s estate, which has already found success with authorized spinoffs of the James Bond series, has decided to re-launch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with three new novels, the first of which is due for release on November 4.

“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again” will be published in Britain by Macmillan Children’s Books and set in the present day.

The Los Angeles Times, in its Jacket Copy weblog, did a follow up YOU CAN READ BY CLICKING HERE. We first noticed all this at the Book Bond Web site WHICH YOU CAN SEE BY CLICKING HERE.

Here’s our question: Would Ian Fleming Publications be able to have an open auction for the film rights? 007 producer Albert R. Broccoli formed a company separate from Eon Productions to make the 1968 musical version of the story. Eon was involved in a stage production of the story several years ago.

Eon has had a right of first refusal on the continuation novels that Ian Fleming Publications has commissioned over the years. Eon hasn’t used any continuation novel as the basis of a 007 movie but has also prevented any other film company from doing so. But could Fleming’s heirs have an open competition for the film rights to sequels? We don’t know. But it will be interesting to watch.

The real-life Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

This just in, from the “Holy Cow, I Did Not Know That” Department:

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian FlemingFirst thing, any James Bond fan worthy of the name knows that 007 creator Ian Fleming also wrote what became to be a classic children’s book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car. What is less known (i.e., I didn’t know it,) is that the famed jalopy actually existed… albeit without the amphibious and flight characteristics.

The facts, briefly, these… Sometime after World War I, lunatic millionaire and motor sports buff Count Louis Zborowski (wouldn’t that be a fine name for a Bond villain?) had a brainstorm: Hey, let’s see what happens if we put a military aircraft engine into a lightweight automobile body! He acquired a 23-liter engine of a surplus German-made Gotha bomber, and loaded it onto a modified Mercedes chassis.

The resulting behemoth [christened “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”] made its debut at Brooklands2 in the 1921 Easter racing series, winning two races and turning laps at over 100 mph, which must have impressed the living daylights out of little 12-year-old Ian Fleming.

“Must have impressed,” indeed! Fleming’s novel went on to acquire status as a children’s classic, spawning a 1968 film adaptation, and a still-touring musical stage show based on Roald Dahl’s movie script.

1922: Start of the first race at Brooklands, Weybridge, Surrey. Left to right No 9 Crouch, D B K Shipwrights experimental SPA, Brocklebank's Berliet, Bentley, No4 HP Talbot, Vauxhall 30/98, Count Zborowski's 'Chitty Bang Bang III' (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)


Read the whole story at the Friday Challenge blog, The True Story of Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.

Additional details are also to be found at the official Chitty Chitty Bang Bang website.