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.

The mysterious 007 movie writing credit

One of the more intriguing credits — and one we suspect has an interesting story behind it — is in the main titles of You Only Live Twice. It reads, “Additional Story Material by Harold Jack Bloom.”

It appears in a noticeably smaller font than the “Screenplay by Roald Dahl” credit. What does this mean exactly?

Some Bond reference sources omit mention of Bloom’s work on YOLT entirely, including James Bond, The Legacy by John Cork and Bruce Scivally and James Chapman’s Licence to Thrill. You can read all sorts of things about Roald Dahl, a prolific author who made his screenwriting debut with YOLT, helped by the fact that Dahl himself described his 007 experience in Playboy magazine.

But what of Bloom? Cork and Scivally provide a few clues in their Inside You Only Live Twice documentary that Cork wrote and directed and Scivally co-produced. Ken Adam, the film’s production designer, said this in the documentary:

We were in serious trouble. Because the film had a release date, Sean’s contract was running out and we had no script. So, the pressure was on everybody and we lost the writer.

As Adam says this, there is one shot of five men sitting at a table. Four are recognizable: producers Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman, director Lewis Gilbert and Adam, smoking one of his trademark cigars. At the far left fo the shot is a man who is apparently Bloom, but he’s not identified as such. A few seconds later is a headshot of Bloom, who looks to be the same man as in the previous shot but we’re not told that for sure.

Narrator Patrick Macnee simply says, “After Harold Jack Bloom’s departure, the producers decide to hire noted short story writer Roald Dahl.” No further mention of Bloom, or his apparent troubles, is made.

After Dahl’s death in 1990, Starlog magazine profiled the writer and described how he worked on YOLT.

In the midst of that 1991 article, there’s this mention:

“We had a writer,” Broccoli told a gathering at the Museum of Modern Art in 1979, “who came up with the idea of having these Ninja-like Japanese characters crawling all over Tokyo, and it just wouldn’t work. So, we flew all over Japan with a fleet of kamikaze pilots,, and that’s when we found the volcano.”

So the question remains how much of Bloom’s work made the final film. A set piece or two? If that’s the case, why give Bloom a credit at all? Or did Dahl actually rewrite a Bloom draft rather that coming up with his own story?

This was the first time Broccoli and Saltzman junked the plot of a Fleming novel, retaining only the title and a few characters. The principals in this tale are mostly dead (Bloom died in 1999, Saltzman in ’94 and Broccoli in ’96). Richard Maibuam, whose papers are at the University of Iowa, didn’t work on the film.

In any case, here’s a sample of Bloom’s work pre-YOLT. If you CLICK HERE you can see the trailer to The Naked Spur, a 1953 James Stewart Western co-written by Bloom and Sam Rolfe.

Eleven years later, Rolfe had developed and was producing The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Its second episode was The Iowa Scuba Affair written by Bloom. Here’s a scene;

Questions about You Only Live Twice

While watching You Only Live Twice for the umteenth time on TCM, we starting stockpiling a few nagging questions about the movie’s plot. Yes, it’s not intended to hold up to such examination but what the heck. For example:

1. Bond trains to be a ninja at Tiger Tanaka’s top-secret ninja training facility. Yet, not one but two SPECTRE assassins infiltrate the place. Is it that top secret?

2. What happened to the two Soviet cosmonauts and one American astronauts that Bond freed? Did they slip into the same limbo the reformed scientist did when he fell off the Disco Volante in Thunderball?

3. A number of others have posed this question, so we’ll repeat it here. Japanese agent Aki tells Tiger to arrange “the usual reception please.” A helicopter with a giant magnet hauls a car of thugs and drops it into Tokyo Bay. Usual? How often the Japanese Secret Service do this? Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly?

4. Did screenwriter Roald Dahl screw up when Henderson hands Bond a stirred Martini? Or was Bond merely being polite and not commenting that Henderson got it wrong?

5. Another one we’ll have to credit to others but…when did Siberia (where the Soviets launch their spaceships) develop palm trees?

6. Just what was in all those barrels labeled “Osato Chemicals” on the floor of Blofeld’s volcano hideout? At one point, Bond shoots a thug standing right by one of those barrels. What would have happened if Bond had missed and hit the barrel instead? Looks like workplace safety wasn’t one of Blofeld’s strong points.

7. Is it really a full-time job for one guy to open and close the crater? It looks like only one SPECTRE guy is entrusted with the task. Yet after Bond kills him, he figures out pretty quickly which lever to pull. Perhaps workplace efficiency wasn’t one of Blofeld’s strong points, either.

8. Earlier in the movie, Bond is flying in the “Little Nelly” mini-copter over the volcano hideout. Suddenly, he’s being attacked by four SPECTRE helicopters. Had SPECTRE just done nothing, wouldn’t have Bond just flown by, never the wiser?

9. Again a question posed by others, but what camera is in outer space beaming back all those live pictures back to SPECTRE?

10. It seems to take Bond and Kissy all day to climb up to the top of volcano containing Blofeld’s hideout. In fact, it’s past midnight when they finally get down to the crater (the U.S. spacecraft has launched and we’re told that was happening at midnight Japan time). Bond tells Kissy to get Tanaka. Despite a long swim (and avoiding a helicopter firing at her), she seems to get back a lot faster. So: did Bond and Kissy walk up *really* slowly in the first place? Or did Kissy somehow bend the time-space continum? Or did Peter Hunt and his editing crew either not notice this or were unable to do anything about this?

11. Was anyone even slightly fooled by Bond being disguised as a Japanese man?