About that ‘Chairman Mao’ 007 villain wardrobe

UPDATE: @SuperThunderFan on Twitter reminds us that Dr. No had a similar look in the movie of the same name, not to mention Bond himself (of course, those were borrowed clothes) as well as Kamal Khan in Octopussy.

ORIGINAL POST: Is it asking too much for a little variety? Let’s consider, the “Chairman Mao” look appears to have originated with the 1967 spoof version of Casino Royale.

The “dramatic reveal” (such as it is) is that Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen), the nephew of James Bond (David Niven), is the villain.

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Just a few months later, You Only Live Twice, the fifth 007 film produced by Eon Productions, debuted. It’s the first time we see Blofeld on screen. In his previous appearances (in From Russia With Love and Thunderball), Blofeld wore a suit. But not for this big reveal in the person of Donald Pleasence.

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This look for Blofeld would continue for the next two Eon films, including Charles Gray as Blofeld in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever.

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Diamonds would be the final appearance by Blofeld in an Eon movie for a while. But, in 1973’s Live And Let Die, “Wardrobe by Blofeld” continued in the person of Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto). And he had *nothing* to do with SPECTRE.

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A couple of movies later, Bond did battle with rich/crazy guy Karl Stromberg and…oh, for crying out loud, couldn’t he afford his own wardrobe?

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Well, The Spy Who Loved Me was a huge hit. Producer Albert R. Broccoli was ensured the resources for an even bigger hit with 1979’s Moonraker — except for a new wardrobe for his villain, embodied by Michael Londale’s Drax.

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We’ll skip ahead many years (leaving aside the question about whether that guy in the pre-credits sequence of For Your Eyes Only was Blofeld or not). It’s now 1997. It’s a new era.

So in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies….oh, for crying out loud! Apparently, Jonathan Pryce’s villainous media baron is cheap when it comes to clothes!

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OK, let’s go further forward to the 21st century. The franchise has been rebooted. Oh, there’s a new version of Blofeld? Almost certainly, there’s no way they’d copy that campy, goofy 1960s version. Right? Maybe not.

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If the producers need a Blofeld for Bond 25, and Christoph Waltz is unavailable, they should perhaps consider one of the performers in this video. Joey Bishop and Sammy Davis Jr. are no longer with us. But Regis Philbin is still going strong.

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007 talk-show moments (as we remember them)

Even in this digital age, not everything is easily accessible. Not everything is on YouTube. Not everything is on a Web site. So it is with some James Bond moments on television talk shows.

For example, at least the first decade of Johnny Carson-hosted Tonight Shows are lost (save for a few precious exceptions such as the Ed Ames tomahawk incident). In other cases, shows may have been preserved but they’re sitting on a shelf somewhere because nobody has yet to figure a way to make money off them.

In any case, here are a few 007 moments on talk shows, at least as we remember them.

Roger Moore, The Tonight Show, 1973: Roger Moore included a trip to beautiful downtown Burbank, California, to appear on The Tonight Show to promote his 007 debut, Live And Let Die. Carson, though, was on one of his frequent vacations and the future Sir Roger had to settle for Rat Packer Joey Bishop as guest host.

The appearance included a clip of the signature boat chase from the film. Unlike the movie, though, a recording of the original version of The James Bond Theme played over the action.

Sean Connery, The Tonight Show, 1976: Sean Connery was a guest, on hand to promote his latest film, The Next Man, where the Scotman played an Arab diplomat. Things got off to a rocky start. Announcer Ed McMahon, at the show’s opening, referred to the actor as “Seen Connery.” Sometime later, sitting next to Carson, Connery referred to “your Irish friend” with at least a hint of disdain.

Connery and Carson, at least as we remember it, did recall how Carson began his Tonight Show run in 1962, the same year that Connery debuted as 007 in Dr. No.

Roger Moore, The Tonight Show, 1977: Carson is again on vacation but this time Moore is the guest host. It was around the time that The Spy Who Loved Me was coming out. Sorry, we don’t really remember much more than that, other than Sir Roger didn’t seem the most comfortable during the traditional monologue spot.

Roger Moore, The Mike Douglas Show, 1977: Entertainer Mike Douglas’s syndicated talk-show included a co-host, who’d be present for all five shows of a given week. Roger Moore was guest host for a week and promoted Spy. One of the guests that week was none other than 007 producer Albert R. Broccoli. One of Broccoli’s comments was he was confident that James Bond would out-live him.

Pierce Brosnan, Late Show With David Letterman, 1995: David Letterman hosted a week of shows in the U.K. in the spring of 1995, around the time that GoldenEye was wrapping up filming.

Letterman introduced Brosnan as having “the best job in show bid-ness” because he was the new James Bond. Brosnan, making his way to the stage, encoutered a series of models, each holding a tray with a martini (or what appeared to be a martini). Brosnan stopped, taking a sip, eventually working his way to sit next to Letterman.

Pierce Brosnan, The Tonight Show, 1995: As GoldenEye was about to debut in U.S. theaters, Brosnan also made a trip to Burbank, this time for the Jay Leno-hosted version of Tonight. The two watched a clip of GoldenEye’s pre-credits sequence, ending at a spot where it wasn’t certain 007 would survive. Leno complimented Brosnan by saying the film had a detailed plot, unlike other action movies.

UPDATE: A reader who responded to this post reminded of this moment which, of course, was uploaded to YouTube: