Happy 89th birthday, (literary) James Bond

Nov. 11 is the birthday of the literary James Bond, as set by author John Pearson in his “biography” of 007, with a birthdate of Nov. 11, 1920.

So much that could be said, but we’ll suffice with happy birthday, Mr. Bond.

Happy 101st, to Ian Fleming and Ernst Stavro Blofeld

May 28th marked the 101st anniversary of the births of Ian Fleming (real) and Ernst Stavro Blofeld (fictional, as disclosed in the Thunderball novel).

What the hell — happy birthday gentlemen!

Happy birthday (No. 96!) Norman Felton, the real Man From U.N.C.L.E.

We just wanted to wish Mr. Norman Felton a happy 96th birthday. It was Felton, looking for a change of pace from producing TV dramas, who spearheaded the project that would become The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Felton had a notion about a character he dubbed Edgar Solo, who seemed ordinary but worked for a special agency. Felton hoped to entice Ian Fleming into the project. But the author didn’t want to offend Eon Productions, which was beginning to crank out James Bond movies. Nevertheless, Fleming contributed a few ideas, including renaming the hero Napoleon Solo.

While it would be writer/producer Sam Rolfe who’d bring everything to life, it was Felton who oversaw The Man From U.N.C.L.E. for all four of its seasons, 105 episodes and eight theatrical movies developed from episodes.

Back in 2002, HMSS wrote about how Felton’s papers (along with those of 007 screenwriter Richard Maibaum) are stored at the University of Iowa.

And, below, are the end titles of The Giuoco Piano Affair, a first-season episode. In the final shot, that’s Mr. Felton looking over a chessboard at a party scene. Once again, happy birthday, Mr. F.

Happy 100th, Cubby Broccoli

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of James Bond producer Albert Romolo “Cubby” Broccoli.

Broccoli’s life, as has been chronicled in various media, was not one of fast, or easy, success. He was a salesman of everything from Christmas trees to coffins. Eventually, he got into show business and began to have an impact as a producer after World War II in partnership with Irving Allen by making movies in the U.K.

As Bond fans know, that partnership would eventually dissolve and one major point of disagreement was Ian Fleming’s 007 series of novels, which Broccoli very much wanted to make and Allen didn’t. Allen later saw the error in his ways and eventually got into the 1960s spy game himself.

There’s a tendency to either elevate Broccoli to a kind of sainthood or trash him. He made his share of mistakes or questionable decisions, like passing over Julie Christie because of her breast size. On the other hand, he saved the title song for Diamonds Are Forever when then-partner Harry Saltzman wanted to junk it. And Broccoli’s instincts spurred the Goldfinger creative crew to take viewers inside Fort Knox, where Fleming’s novel did not.

The 47-year-old (and counting) Bond series of films that bears his name is the bottom line of his life’s work. In 1977, during an appearance on The Mike Douglas Show, (Roger Moore was the co-host) Broccoli correctly predicted Bond would be around long after “I’m gone.”