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  • Writer's pictureRich Honiball

Today in Brand History: James Bond

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In 1962, "Dr. No", the first James Bond film based on the novel by Ian Fleming and starring Sean Connery and Ursula Andress, premiered in London.

Created by Ian Fleming, he drew inspiration from his wartime service and career as a journalist for much of the original detail in his novels. Fleming worked for Britain's Naval Intelligence during World War II, was involved in planning Operation Goldeneye and in the oversight of two intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force.

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In 1952, he began writing his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale at his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica. His goal was to "write the spy story to end all spy stories" but he wanted "Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened." When asked about the name, Fleming said "I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, 'James Bond' was much better than something more interesting, like 'Peregrine Carruthers'".

Fleming wrote twelve Bond novels and since his death in 1964, eight other authors have written authorized Bond novels including Kingsley Amis, Christopher Wood, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks, Jeffery Deaver, William Boyd, and Anthony Horowitz.

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In 1954, CBS paid Ian Fleming $1,000 ($10k today) to adapt his novel Casino Royale into a one-hour TV adventure as part of its Climax! series. The episode aired live on 21 October 1954 and starred Barry Nelson as "Card Sense" James Bond and Peter Lorre as Le Chiffre.

In 1957, the Daily Express offered Fleming £1,500 per novel and a royalty from syndication to adapt his stories into comic strips. Fleming initially turned down the offer because it would lack the quality of his writing, but ultimately he approved the project.

In 1958, the novel Moonraker was adapted for broadcast on South African radio, with Bob Holness providing the voice of Bond. In later years, the BBC would produce several adaptions for radio.

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In 1962, came the first cinema adaptation of an Ian Fleming novel, Dr. No. Sean Connery went on to star in four more Bond movies before George Lazenby took over as 007 in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969. Lazenby left after the one movie and Connery returned in Diamonds are Forever. Roger Moore took over for Live and Let Die in 1973 and played Bond six times over twelve years before being replaced by Timothy Dalton for two films. Pierce Brosnan was cast as Bond in Golden Eye in 1995 and stayed for four films through 2002. Daniel Craig was cast in 2006 for the reboot of Casino Royal and just concluded his run.

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The franchise has been committed Warner Brothers through 2037, so who will be the next 007? Odds are in favor of Idris Elba, Rege-Jean Page, and Henry Cavill, but Tom Hardy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and James Norton are all at 10 to 1 or under. Harry Styles and Kit Harrington are mid-pack at 33 to 1, and there is a growing call for the roll of Bond to go to a female.

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Shaken, not stirred.


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