Real-life Hugo Draxes play with rockets

Cover to a recent edition of Ian Fleming’s Moonraker novel

In the 1955 novel Moonraker, Ian Fleming wrote about Hugo Drax, a mysterious multi-millionaire who was building a missile for Britain.

Today, the 21st century has its own billionaire Hugo Draxes, except they’re playing with rockets as part of private space companies: Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic), Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin) and Elon Musk (SpaceX).

These billionaires can be flamboyant as Fleming’s Drax. Branson is scheduled to fly to the edge of space today. Fellow billionaire Bezos is scheduled to fly to space on July 20. The billionaires are feuding whether Branson is making a true space flight.

A Dec. 13, 2019 episode of the podcast James Bond & Friends mused whether you could do an updated adaptation of Live And Let Die in the 21st century. Toward the end (about the 1 hour, 6-minute mark) the discussion briefly turned to how to do a 21st-century Moonraker adaptation and how billionaires and their rockets could be a hook.

Perhaps it could still be done. Branson had a cameo in 2006’s Casino Royale. Bezos, with his shaved head, has been compared to a James Bond villain. And Musk is a big James Bond fan.

UPDATE (11:47 a.m. New York Time): Branson’s flight was successful. CNN provided a lot of breathless, context-free coverage.

Musk-see TV: Mogul’s SNL episode skips Bond skit

Elon Musk photo on Twitter in 2015.

James Bond fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Elon Musk, a billionaire involved with electric vehicles and rockets (Tesla and SpaceX), hosted Saturday Night Live but avoided a “Woke James Bond” skit.

Musk on May 1 floated the idea of a “Woke James Bond” skit on social media. That seemed a real possibility because the billionaire has a Bond fixation. In 2013, he purchased the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me at auction. At one point, his photo on Twitter had him posing as a combination of Blofeld and Dr. Evil. (see above)

Saturday Night Live has been televised on NBC since 1975. The comedy show helped launch the careers of, among others, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy and Kate McKinnon. But critics depict the show in recent years as wildly uneven. And some of the skits on the May 8 telecast were awful.

Vox on May 7 published a story explaining why Musk was a controversial choice to host the show as well as examining its “outsize importance.” Robert Reich, a former U.S. labor secretary, posted a video on social media calling Musk “a modern day robber baron.”

SNL was scheduled to be livestreamed internationally on YouTube, a first for the show, according to Deadline Hollywood.

Could Elon Musk do a Bond skit on SNL?

Elon Musk photo on Twitter in 2015.

Billionaire Elon Musk is scheduled to host NBC’s Saturday Night Live on May 8. Musk also has a fascination with James Bond. Could Musk have the comedy show do a Bond skit?

On Twitter the night of May 1, Musk ssaid he was throwing out skit ideas. This tweet apparently was one of them.

Wikipedia has this definition for woke:

Woke (/ˈwoʊk/ WOHK) is a term that refers to awareness of issues that concern social justice and racial justice. It is sometimes used in the African-American Vernacular English expression stay wokeWoke resurfaced in 2014 during the Black Lives Matter movement as a label for vigilance and activism concerning racial inequalities and other social disparities such as discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, women, immigrants and other marginalized populations.

Woke has also been the subject of memes, ironic usage and criticism.

Some critics argue woke goes too far. If you type in “James Bond woke” into YouTube’s search engine, you’ll find a variety of fan videos who argue Bond has gone woke with No Time to Die, a movie nobody has seen yet outside of Eon Production and its studio partners.

To be sure, Elon Musk generates a lot of publicity. Could he be seeking some more attention with this? That’s an absolute possibility.

On the other hand, when a billionaire who is into electric vehicles and rockets teases the possibility you have to note it. If Jeff Bezos or Warren Buffett pulled something like this, it would get attention.

On top of that, Musk may be the world’s richest James Bond fan. He purchased the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me. At one point he had a Twitter avatar that evoked Blofeld and/or Dr. Evil (see above). And Musk’s Tesla electric-car company, Tesla, once had a “Project Goldfinger.”

Clearly, Musk has Bond on the brain. On Saturday Night Live, guest hosts get a lot of input into comedy sketches. We’ll see if Musk’s Bond enthusiasm spills into SNL on May 8.

Elon Musk cracks a James Bond joke

Elon Musk’s one-time Twitter photo

There’s no question Elon Musk, CEO of electric-car maker Tesla, likes James Bond.  In 2013, he bought the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me. At one point, his Twitter photo evoked Blofeld and Dr. Evil. And in 2016, it was revealed he had a “Project Goldfinger.”

So, it shouldn’t have been a surprise he cracked a James Bond joke in an exchange on Twitter.

Musk started with a message to Twitter followers.

“We’re going to include some fun games as hidden Easter eggs in Tesla S, X & 3,” Musk wrote in one tweet. “What do you think would be most fun in a car using the center touch screen?”

This post came back in response: “A radar tracker, oil slick sprayer, nail spreader, smoke screen, tire slasher, and ejector seat.”

Musk, however, wasn’t going to let that be the last word. His response: “Just order your car with the James Bond option package. It’s an off-menu item for those in the know.”

That response can be viewed below.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Elon Musk has a ‘Project Goldfinger’

Elon Musk photo on Twitter on April 29.

Elon Musk’s one time Twitter photo.

Elon Musk, who builds electric cars and launches rockets, has a thing for James Bond.

In 2013, Musk bought the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me. For a time, he had a picture of himself on Twitter evoking Ernst Stavro Blofeld (and Dr. Evil).

This week, according to the Jalopnik website, there’s part of his Fremont, California, plant that builds electric cars with a sign reading, “Top Secret: Project Goldfinger.”

Here’s an excerpt from the story by Jalopnik’s Michael Ballaban:

It’s a bit of a mystery as to what it is. The paper sign was attached to a temporary wall sealing off an area from prying eyes near a stamping section of the factory, and everyone I asked didn’t know what I was talking about.

Tesla spokespeople had no idea, Tesla employees had no idea, even Elon Musk himself claimed to have no clue as to what I was talking about when I asked him at a press conference. He laughed, dismissed it as “probably a joke,” and moved on.

It should be noted that Auric Goldfinger gave the code name “Operation: Grand Slam” to his plan to steal gold from Fort Knox (as in Ian Fleming’s novel) or to explode an atomic bomb there (as in the 1964 movie).

Anyway, Ballaban writes he’s been told Musk uses Bond-related names for project updates. Musk does have a lot of his plate. Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car company that Musk runs, is in the midst of expanding its lineup. And SpaceX, another Musk company, always is busy.

Elon Musk and Blofeld, the sequel

Elon Musk photo on Twitter on April 29.

Elon Musk photo on Twitter.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, really, really likes to compare himself to Ernst Stavro Blofeld, James Bond’s arch enemy.

This week, SpaceX had a much-publicized launch. It didn’t go as planned. Here’s an excerpt from CNN’S WEBSITE:

(CNN)—SpaceX on Tuesday launched a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carrying an uncrewed cargo spacecraft called Dragon on a flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the International Space Station.

That was the easy part. In a difficult bid to land a rocket stage on a floating barge for the first time, the private space exploration company was unsuccessful.

Musk, whose photo on Twitter evokes Blofeld as well as Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies, had been more optimistic about the outcome. And, in doing so, *again* evoked Blofeld, specifically as depicted in You Only Live Twice:

Musk was less jovial after the landing failure.

Elon Musk evokes Blofeld (and Dr. Evil) on Twitter

Elon Musk photo on Twitter on April 29.

Elon Musk photo on Twitter on April 30.

Elon Musk, the electric-car and rocket magnate, is having a little fun on Twitter. The photo for his Twitter feed features a photo that evokes Ernst Stavro Blofeld from the early James Bond movies — or Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers films, depending your preference. No telling how long it has been there.

In the photo, Musk (or perhaps a double, who knows?) is holding a toy white cat. He also is crooking his pinkie finger like Dr. Evil.

Musk has an affinity for Bond. The billionaire was identified in 2013 as the successful bidder for Wet Nellie, the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me.

Meanwhile, this is Musk’s most recent Twitter posting teasing some new venture:

Elon Musk identified as buyer of 007 submarine car

"Wet Nellie" from The Spy Who Loved Me

“Wet Nellie” from The Spy Who Loved Me

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., the maker of luxury electric cars, has been identified as the buyer of the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me, by the JALOPNIK Web site.

As we POSTED BEFORE, Wet Nellie, the one car that actually operated underway in the 1977 007 film, was purchased for 550,000 British pounds in early September, or about $863,000 at that time. The purchaser, though, wasn’t disclosed.

Jalopnik, in a FOLLOW-UP POST tonight said Musk revealed his plans for the car. An excerpt of what Jalopnik says is a Musk statement “via Tesla’s PR”:

“I was disappointed to learn that it can’t actually transform. What I’m going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real.”

Musk has said nothing on his Twitter account where he sometimes makes public statements.

For the uninitiated, the car that Musk bought was the one Lotus that operated underwater but its operators had to wear scuba equipment to do so. It remains to be seen what Musk — who has been compared to Tony Stark, the hero of Iron Man — will do.

(UPDATE Oct. 18): The comments to the follow-up Jalopnik post are mixed.

“Come on dude, just no. Not to the original,” one respondent wrote. “The Esprit is a pretty simple two-piece fiberglass shell, and I’m sure you can make a mould based on the real thing with no problem. Use that for your submarine, and leave the real thing alone. I say this as a Lotus Esprit owner, a Bond fan, and an all-around car guy.”

Another commenter expressed skepticism. “Next up, Musk buys the original DeLorean to build a time machine.”