Monday, 26 June 2017

O.H.M.S.S. cutting continuity script up for sale at auction

On June 27th, 2017 there will be an auction held in Calabasas, California in the US with lots of items connected to the movies for sale. Some of these items are connected to James Bond.

One of the items I was planing to bid on was a script of "On her majesty's secret service" signed by George Lazenby, Richard Maibaum and Peter Raven. The reason I am interested in the scripts are to see if any changes actually were made to the James Bond films that was originally in the script. For a few minutes I was ecstatic about what I was offered to bid on. But then I understood that this was not a usual script....

This was a cutting continuity script dated December 1969. In other words it was printed just days before the London premiere on December 18th 1969.
I have worked with films and distribution for many years now and since my home country (Sweden) subtitle all films from abroad we always get these dialogue scripts sent to us for the translator to use when setting the translation. In other words, what is on sale here is not a script written before the shooting of the film began. This "script" is only showing the cuts and the dialogue and not whether the scene is exterior or interior etc.

In other words this document contains all dialogue in the film and notifications on were sound effects has been added and were the cuts are. The dating in December also shows that this script will not contain any deleted scenes since the prints were ready to be made. To me and my interest this is a much weaker collectable to own then I first thought I had in front of me. Especially when the starting price is $1 000.

Below is the actual description of the item as written by the action house:

936. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service book bound cutting continuity script signed by George Lazenby and writers. (United Artists, 1969) Vintage original studio bound and bradded 170+ page Cutting Continuity script. Dated, “December, 1969” on the interior title page and signed in black ink below by, “George Lazenby, and writers, ‘Dick Maibaum” and “Peter Raven”. Bound in a hardcover board binding with gold gilt embossed title and “007”on the cover and spine. While pages are 3-hole punched in the left margin for bradding, the book is bound by the tops of the sheets. Some paper surface loss to interior front cover, not affecting content or integrity of the binding. In vintage very fine condition. $1,000 - $1,500

What is your take on the collectable for sale here? Is this something you feel the need to have in your collection? Please comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

If you wish to place a bid on this auction you can be the first to do so here. It will be interesting to see what the salesprice + 28% commission will be.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Have you ever heard about The Ian Fleming Foundation?

Have you ever heard about The Ian Fleming Foundation?

Maybe you have visited the London Film Museum and the Bond in motion exhibition but without knowing who actually own most of the cars offered on display.

This will be a very short blog post because I am planing to pass you forward to an interview with Mark VanBlaricum who is one of the founders of The Ian Fleming Foundation.

In the below video from YouTube you can hear him tell the tail about how The Ian Fleming Foundation came to be and why. I find the story very interesting.

During the 90's the foundation produced a magazine called Goldeneye focusing on all things James Bond and Ian Fleming. I only have one or two of these in my collection but some of them are available on Ebay.

Now sit back and enjoy the below interview about how The Ian Fleming Foundation came to be.

Below is the Goldeneye magazine that they produced during the 90's.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Moonraker US cover restoration

Some people turn to yoga for relaxation and others turn to alcohol. I seem to have found a method for relaxation that I find both rewarding and fun at the same time. I retouch old James Bond book covers using Photoshop.

Being a James Bond collector is almost as being a hoarder. We collect far more then we need and even more then we have space for. Therefore I am extra happy when I decide not to buy a book and to just restore the artwork and be satisfied with a JPEG on my computer. As the saying goes "You can't bring it with you..."

So today, there was an auction on Ebay for a US first edition of MOONRAKER that I was planing to bid on. But instead I decided to just use a high resolution scan of the artwork and try to restore it. Especially since I am not to impressed with the design of the artwork that was made by Leo Manso.

Below you can see the finished restoration that took me about 40 minutes.

While doing this I came to think about something. Could the US Moonraker jacked design be the inspiration for the later UK jacket design for Thunderball. Both of the shows a skeleton hand. What is your opinion. Please comment below.

Click on the picture to see a bigger version. 

Thunderball UK first edition dust jacket.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Added to the collection: DR. NO original comic strip from 1960

In conjunction with's current contest regarding the James Bond comics I thought it would be a good idea to show the readers a new edition to my Fleming / James Bond collection.

As most of you may know The Daily Express ran all of the James Bond novels as daily strips during the 50's and 60's.

The comic's artist who got the job of drawing the strips was John McLusky.

The sixth comic to be released was Dr. No and it ran in the Daily Express between May and October 1960. The story was written by Peter O'Donnell who is widely famous for creating Modesty Blaise.  And from the Dr No story I have the second strip which is numbered 585. In other words, I own a comic strip created two years before Sean Connery became James Bond with the entire world.

On the strip we see an angry James Bond just coming out of M's office talking to Bill Tanner who makes fun of Bond's lack of interest in his mission in Jamaica. 

What's is interesting to see on my strip is that in the final frame McLusky has changed the complete image of Bond with a new one. The detail on the drawings are also far better then they were in the Titan Books 2005 edition as you can see below.

I paid £200 for this strip and I am truly happy to finally own one. I have been wanting to add some strips to my collection for a very long time. The James Bond comic ran monthly in Sweden between 1965 and 1995 so I have been growing up with all these comic stories and have every single comic in my collection. They are around 300 comics.

If any reader of this blog post has a strip for sale, please contact me.

If you wish to order the remastered editions of the original comic books from Titan books you can do so on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

The full strip measuring 45x13cm (18x5,2 inches)  
Close up of the third frame were Bond has been changed.
The quality of the Titan Books 2005 edition is a bit weaker then the original drawing.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

What Swedes don't know about Ian Fleming

I started collecting James Bond books at the age of 14 back in 1990. I did miss the opportunity to see LICENCE TO KILL at the cinema and had to wait another five years until GOLDENEYE was released. During that time most you fans would have given up on James Bond if they had to wait as long as I did.

Since James Bond is not a Swedish character and Ian Fleming is no longer a household name here I have always felt like a goof or nerd for enjoying the books as much as I do. When the subject of my collection has come up I still find it troublesome to talk about. I get the feeling that Swedes just don't understand how big Ian Fleming was during his last years alive.

But going through my collection the other day I noticed something that I have been longing to find for decades. It was on the backside of the Swedish edition of Kingsley Amis THE JAMES BOND DOSSIER (released is Sweden under the name "The Case James Bond") On the back of that book it says the following very interesting sentence.
"What is it with Agent 007 that makes the books about him being sold by the millions and even in Sweden sold in 800 000 copies soon". 

Now wee need to take a few things under consideration here.

THE JAMES BOND DOSSIER was released in Sweden in 1965 (same year as in the UK).

According to this website the population in Sweden was 7 777 000 in 1965 (look at the population figures twice).

To be a British spy writer in the UK selling 800 000 copies as early as in 1965 must be considered an fantastic achievement back then. The books were to be released many times after 1965 by the Swedish publishers Albert Bonniers Förlag. My guess is that Ian Fleming have managed to sell more then one million copies in Sweden alone.

And rumour has it that the books will soon be released in Sweden again. This time by publisher Modernista.

So from this day forward I will never feel ashamed of my collection and hobby. Ian Fleming is clearly a household name with in the elder generation of Sweden.

PS. Let me just mention that according to an article on Swedish publishers Albert Bonniers Förlag was quick on their heels. Sweden was the third country in the world (after UK and US) to publish Casino Royale back in 1955.

A wonderful cover design for DR. NO titled DEATH IN JAMAICA in Sweden. This edition released in 1965. 

Swedish edition of THE JAMES BOND DOSSIER.

Text in Swedish regarding the 800 000 sold copies.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Is this how 007 got his number?

Many sources are claiming to be the true source to where Ian Fleming got the, now world wide famous, number for his British spy with a license to kill.

One of the latest theories that surfaced during 2015 is that Fleming got the number from a bus travelling to his house in Kent.

But someone who should know what he talks about is Ian Fleming biographer Andrew Lycett who claims that Ian Fleming did not have to look far for the number he would give his agent. The number is said to be taken from the NID's  (Naval Intelligence Division) great triumph in the first world war. 0070 was the German diplomatic code used to send telegrams from Berlin to Washington. It was cracked by British cryptanalysts in Room 40 (Fleming spent the second world war in Room 39). This later led to the Americans entering the conflict of the first world war.

So sadly the Andrew Lycett theory is not more exiting then that. Have you heard other theories? Then please comment below.

You can read more about Ian Fleming in Andrews excellent biography that you can order on Amazon US here and Amazon UK here.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Steve Cole interview on release day of RED NEMESIS

Today is the release day of Steve Cole's forth and final Young Bond novel RED NEMESIS in the UK and to celebrate the occasion James Bond - The Secret Agent blog has been granted an interview with the writer himself.

Lets get right to it!

How does it feel to be releasing your forth and final Young Bond novel? Was it time for a break?
I signed up for four books right from the start, with a specific story arc in mind, so I’ve done what I set out to do!

Could you take the blog readers through the process of writing RED NEMESIS?
Blood, sweat, tears, more sweat, more blood… For my last one, I upped the stakes a little, made things very full on for both James and myself. I wrote more of this book in the dead of night than at any other time… no wonder it came out a little darker than some!

How much input do you get from Ian Fleming Publications and is Eon Productions in any way taking part in the process?
Eon Productions have nothing to do with it. Ian Fleming Publications are very much involved in approving content and green lighting characters, titles and plots, as well as hands-on editing.

Would you like to write a James Bond novel like the classic ones with a mission and so forth?
There are all sorts of stories I’d like to tell with Bond, at different times in his life. The character definitely gets under your skin!

How does it feel to write young adult books, that will be read by 007 fans of all ages? Do you take that in consideration?
Absolutely. I never write down to an audience, and aim to engage readers of all ages – particularly for 007 fans I slip in a few injokes and references so long as they’re not distracting. Anthony Horowitz was quick to pick me up on this the first time we met, he spotted them all I think!

What will you be writing next?
I look forward to finding out.

What is your favourite Bond novel and Young Bond novel? And why?
On Her Majesty's Secret Service and From Russia With Love are my favourites, the drive and pace of the stories is exceptional. Of my own Young Bonds, I’d say Red Nemesis is probably my favourite because I got to go a bit deeper into James’s past – and his head.

Fans are very much into the cover designs, From all the books do you have a favourite of your own?
I’ve been delighted with the covers. Heads You Die and Red Nemesis are my favourites.

What are your thoughts on Fleming’s writing?
A true one-off: the realism, the authenticity, the action, the level of detail… He balanced cold forensic eye and hot-blooded appetite like no other.

Being on tour in schools have your heard of any kids reading your books and then followed up with Fleming’s books?
Yes, and vice versa, which is nice. I was amused to find a school diary from when I was 9 years old the other day, listing that over Christmas I read two chapters of James Bond and Moonraker, the film novelisation (which I’d bought for my mum as a present!), making that the first Bond fiction I ever read.

I had the pleasure of seeing you in action with school kids. You were like the Duracell rabbit with tons of information and answers to their questions. It was a real treat to see. Why did you decide to write Children’s books instead of adults?
Kids are more fun! They can be a tough crowd to write for but a rewarding one. I enjoy the freedom and also the challenge of writing for young people, particularly as they get older. Having a character like Bond is a great way of giving a hook to kids who might not particularly want to read; they like the character and the action and they know they’ll get a take on that.

If you have not already purchased Red Nemesis that is released today you can do so on Amazon UK by following this link.

Steve Cole

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