20th anniversary of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant

Paul Baack, co-founder of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant, left, along with some doofus, circa 2013.

Next month is the 20th anniversary of the Her Majesty’s Secret Servant fan website.

This blog, which debuted in 2008, was a spinoff of the site.

HMSS was founded by Paul Baack and Tom Zielinski in April 1997 as a James Bond “e-magazine.”

HMSS churned out issues that included contributions from Raymond Benson, the 007 novel continuation novel author from 1997 to 2002.

HMSS’ final issue was in the fall of 2011 and it went offline in 2014.

Still, for those of us (such as the Spy Commander) who contributed articles it was mostly an enjoyable time. In any creative endeavor, there are different points of views. But the end product was always worth it.

The highlight of every issue were the graphics that Paul Baack designed. If an article was OK, his graphics made it good. If the article was good, his graphics made it excellent. He always had exciting ideas to bring articles to life.

A personal note: I’ve always admired Paul’s energy and ideas. Not to belabor the point (and not to go into details), but he’s had health difficulties for a long time. I cannot personally imagine what he’s gone through.

So, with this post, the Spy Commander (figuratively) raises a glass to a special time. Those of us who contributed ot the site will never forget it.

Announcing an archive project

The HMSS Weblog Spy Command has begun an effort to archive at least some articles from the former Her Majesty’s Secret Servant website.

So far, only three articles are back online: IRON MAN, THE COLD WAR YEARS (originally published in 2010), MATT HELM, AMERICA’S LOADED WEAPON, originally published in 2000 with an update in 2007, about the Dean Martin movies, and IOWA: SPY CENTRAL, about the University of Iowa’s collection of papers by 007 screenwriter Richard Maibaum and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. executive producer Norman Felton.

We have the text and art for several other articles and will try to get those up as time and real life permit. There’s no way for the blog to preserve all the stories but we’re trying to do what we can.

Her Majesty’s Secret Servant was published from 1997 until 2014, with the last new issue in 2011. The HMSS Weblog, now The Spy Command, started in 2008, formally became a separate entity last year. The name Her Majesty’s Secret Servant is copyrighted by Paul Baack and Tom Zielinski.

UPDATE (Feb. 8): Two more stories have been archived:

THE BOND TOO BIG FOR 007: The first draft of Moonraker was so big, it was too much even for James Bond. Story looks at that script as well as drafts for Diamonds Are Forever, Casino Royale and Tomorrow Never Dies. Originally published in 2011 in the final issue of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant.

QUANTUM OF FLEMING: How much “Fleming content” is in each James Bond film? A feature article expanded from posts in The HMSS Weblog originally written in 2010. Updated to include Skyfall. The expanded article never ran until now.

The new issue of HMSS has arrived!

The publishers and editors of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant are pleased to announce the publication of our latest issue. This one — our best yet, we think — is packed with interesting reading about all matters Bondian.

We have some old friends returning and some new ones joining us for the first time. Our good pal Deborah Lipp checks in with two fascinating articles; one about Live and Let Die‘s monkeying around with tarot cards, the other about recurring themes of voyeurism and concealment in You Only Live Twice. Ron Feyereisen returns with a contrarian view of the ongoing Daniel Craig “reboot” tenure; suffice it to say that he’s not a satisfied customer. Speaking of reboots, regular contributor Derek Austin Johnson casts his gimlet eye on the latest 007 literary adventure, Jeffery Deaver’s Carte Blanche (the James Bond watches man, Dell Deaton, offers a rebuttal). On the subject of the latest Bond novel, we’re rerunning Mark Henderson’s excellent interview (first published last April here on the blog,) with the author. We’re excited to welcome Stuart Basinger (that’s “Dr. Shatterhand” to you civilians) to the fold with his imaginary interview with former CIA director (and friend of Ian Fleming) Allan Dulles. James Bond is discussed. Ian Fleming Foundation member Colin Clark regales us with the story of the discovery and acquisition of Franz Sanchez’ escape plane — the Cessna we saw Timothy Dalton’s 007 lasso in Licence to Kill. And our stalwart senior editor Bill Koenig unearths the amazing story of what 1979’s Moonraker could have been like, if only Eon’s budget had matched the screenplay’s requirements. Bill’s story also covers script-to-screen changes in Diamonds Are Forever and Tomorrow Never Dies.

So set aside a little time, mix yourself a cool martini, and point your web browser to HMSS.com, for some thought-provoking entertainment and a heaping helping of, as the French say, le jamesbonderie (even though they probably don’t). Enjoy!

Missed Opportunities in the Bond Series

In the next issue of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant (on-line imminently) we examine what some believe to be the biggest missed opportunity of the series. Look for “Ugh! Siamese Vodka?!” and other terrific pieces, including a grand pictorial of our favorite and hottest Bond girls.

What might you consider to be some of the bad decisions the producers of the Bond films made that effected the series? The “comedic” direction of the films throughout the 1970’s? Revolving actors in the Leiter role? Letting Dalton walk?

Share your thoughts.