Wednesday, July 11, 2012

James Bond and a Box of Raisinets

The recent heat wave has made me think back to the hot summer days of my childhood.  No one I knew lived in a house cooled by a central air-conditioning system; I didn’t even know such a thing existed.  My father bought a small, window air conditioner for our living room when I was about 10, but it made so much noise that if you wanted to have a conversation or hear the TV, you had to turn it off. 

No, for the kids in my neighborhood, when it was too hot to run around and play outside, we went to the movies.

For about 35 cents we could spend all afternoon in a cool, darkened movie theater – I was lucky enough to live near three of them. Throw in Bugs Bunny, buttered popcorn and a box of Raisinets, and it was as close to heaven as I would get all year.

On one of those sticky summer days in 1962, my Mother decreed it too hot to play outside, handed me a whole dollar bill (wow!!) and said, “Here, take your little brother to the movies.” We were out the door like a shot to the Terminal Movie Theater, which was the closest.

We had no idea what movie was playing, and we didn’t really care. We would have watched anything. After about 15 minutes of cartoons, the movie started.

I don’t remember much about the first few minutes of the film, until the camera zooms in on a group of people playing cards in a casino. A man’s perfectly manicured hands appear encased in white French cuffs protruding from a black tuxedo. He turns over some cards. He has won.

When the loser asks to whom she should pay her debt, the camera pans up to the man’s face. Cigarette dangling from his mouth, he says, “Bond…James Bond,” and my 10-year-old heart skipped a beat.

 He was so gorgeous………and that voice!!

And, then, we were on a beach and Ursula Andress emerged from the sea in that skimpy bikini and kick started my little brother’s adolescence years ahead of schedule.

The movie was “Dr No,” and the James Bond Legacy was born.


Bond Leaning on His Aston Martin DB5 - "Goldfinger" 1964

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the release of “Dr No,” the Barbican Centre in London is showcasing the clothes, the cars, the gadgets and the girls that make up the Bond Legacy. The exhibit runs until September 9th.

As hard as it is to believe that it’s been half a century since Agent 007 uttered those iconic words and Honey Ryder stepped out of the sea into the fantasy lives of millions of adolescent boys and men all over the world, it’s even harder to believe that Sean Connery was not the first choice for the role.

 Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books, was dead set against having a Scottish bodybuilder (3rd runner-up for Mr. Universe) cast in the role of his mythic hero.


Bond in Signature 3-Piece Suit - "Goldfinger" - 1964
Fleming had a sleaker, more sophisticated silhouette in mind for 007, along the lines of Noel Coward.

But Director Terence Young, who knew he had the right man in Connery, convinced his friend, Fleming, that the right tailoring would make all the difference; and so the right tailor, Anthony Sinclair, set to work to create the classic Bond image.

Sean Connery in Louis Vuitton Ad
This fall, in honor of the Golden Jubilee, a new Bond film, “Skyfall,” will be released starring the reigning James Bond, Daniel Craig.

 I mean no disrespect to the wonderful actors who have taken up the mantle of 007 that Sean Connery laid down after his last Bond film in 1983; but for me, Sean Connery will always be “Bond….James Bond.”

 And so, I raise my box of Raisinets in salute.

“Happy Birthday, Mr. Bond. You still make my middle-aged heart skip a beat.”


  1. What a fun post -- and a fitting tribute to everyone's favorite secret agent! :-) I may go to London next month and will certainly check out that exhibit you mentioned. I imagine it would be a lot of fun. Loved reading about your childhood memories at the movies. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

    1. Chère Véronique, If you do go to London and make it to the Exhibit, you must take pictures and tell us your thoughts. I would love it!!

      I have been saving your Travelogues to read all in one glorious gulp, the better to savor them.

      I knew I couldn't read them without commenting, and you are so conscientious about responding to comments. that I hesitated to make them while you were on vacation. I just wanted you to enjoy every moment with your beautiful family and friends. Does that make sense?

      Anyway, I will be plunging in tonight with great gusto. Welcome back, M-T (The French Touch)

  2. M-T--- Just sent a blogging Award your way tonight. Details on my blog. Very well deserved if you ask me. Really enjoyed this post, btw :-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  3. This post set my heart aflutter!!! Wow!!! Loved the post!

    1. Thanks, Elaine. I must confess it brought back some heart-fluttering moments for me, as well, while I was writing it. So glad you had the same reaction.

  4. When Goldfinger came out I was pretty sure I was actually James Bond--my girlfriends a the time didn't seem to see the incredible similarity.

    1. Clearly it was their loss. Thanks for the great comment.


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