From the films to the collectibles, I WAS A TEENAGE JAMES BOND…
Michael Eury’s RetroFan #6 is out Sept. 25, featuring the usual assortment of far out features on our faves from the ’60s and ’70s.
The cover story is on Svengoolie but to me the highlight is a really fun dive into what it was like being a fan of James Bond during the Sean Connery era — 007’s heyday. And that will be this issue’s official 13th Dimension EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT.
Fun stuff, too. We’re highlighting the Goldfinger section because the movie came out 55 years ago this week. (It premiered Sept. 17, 1964.)
But before we get to it, check out the issue’s table of contents and all the groovy features:
Now, do pay attention 007, as we bring you a look at Goldfinger — and a peek at some ’60s memorabilia — from the issue’s lengthy look at Bond in his prime.
The writer? A decades-long fan and filmmaker.
Farino. Ernest Farino.
By ERNEST FARINO
Goldfinger became the gold standard (I couldn’t resist) for the series. The iconic image of the Golden Girl, the tricked-out Aston Martin, Oddjob and his razor-brimmed bowler hat, a spectacular theme song made famous by Dame Shirley Bassey (and which made her famous in turn) accompanied by an equally famous main title sequence, Goldfinger’s laser beam (in the novel a buzz saw, deemed too Perils-of-Pauline quaint and replaced by the laser when recommended to designer Ken Adam by two Harvard scientists), and, of course, Fort Knox.
Many people—including me—marveled over the years at the interior of Fort Knox, wondering how the filmmakers got permission to film inside the United States Bullion Depository. They didn’t. It
all sprung from the fertile imagination of Ken Adam, who surmised that the real vault was probably a dull collection of safety-deposit type boxes and correctly concluding that if no one has been inside,
then who’s to say?
So he let loose and created one of the greatest examples of fanciful art direction in the history of movies. As Johnny Dee wrote in The Guardian (September 17, 2005):
“It is because of [Ken Adam] that people believe criminal masterminds operate from the insides of dormant volcanoes and travel between their sumptuously decorated lairs on chrome-plated monorails. It’s his fault that we think gold bars are stacked in vast cathedral-tall warehouses and that secret agents escape capture by using jetpacks or ejector seats.”
But then again, we want to believe, and are delighted to do so. As Johnny Carson once said, “Like their parents, kids flock to see James Bond and Derek Flint movies, outrageously antiheroic heroes who break all the taboos, making attractive the very things the kids are told they shouldn’t do themselves.”
“Oh, that interesting car of yours!” says Auric Goldfinger — “Interesting” being probably the understatement of the century. The ultimate boy-toy “guy” thing, the Aston Martin DB5 (“DB” standing for Aston Martin founder David Brown) quickly became “The Most Famous Car in the World.”
In addition to the machine guns, smoke screen, oil slick, and, of course, the ejector seat, additional gadgetry not used in the finished movie included front and back over-riders for jamming other vehicles, a weapon’s tray under the driver’s seat, a headlights chamber firing triple-spiked nail clusters, a radio telephone inside the driver’s door paneling, and a thermos with a built-in hand grenade. Director Guy Hamilton came up with the revolving license plates after receiving a parking ticket.
There were a couple of Aston Martins made for the film and a couple more for promotional purposes. In 1965, I saw one of them on tour in Baltimore promoting Thunderball—the ejector seat was in the extended “up” position, and the bulletproof shield and other devices were demonstrated. Somewhere I have a roll of Super 8 film covering my encounter with this Holy Grail.
The bold, brassy music score by John Barry added immeasurably to the feel of the film and its huge success as well. On January 30, 1965, the Goldfinger title theme peaked at No. 8 on Billboard’s Hot Top 100 chart and stayed there for 13 weeks. Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page was a session guitarist on this album. In the late ‘60s, WFAA/Channel 8 in Dallas ended their nightly 10:00 p.m. newscast with the Dawn Raid on Fort Knox track.
By now “Bondmania” was all the rage. I had my own 007 attaché case and trading cards and board games and soundtrack albums and God knows what else. By now, in those prehistoric days prior to home video, United Artists kicked into double-bill re-releases. To us Bond fans it was almost a sacred duty to attend, even though the films were often paired with Dr. No; as a result, by default I have probably seen Dr. No (in theaters, at least), more times than I ever thought possible.
Certainly, we thought, Goldfinger was the high-water mark. This had to be “the biggest Bond of them all.”
I mean, what could possibly top this… ?
RetroFan #6 is due out Sept. 25. You can get it at your local comics shop or directly through publisher TwoMorrows. (Click here.)
— REVIEW: BIG Chief’s Extraordinary JAMES BOND GOLDFINGER Figures.Click here.
— 007’s ASTON MARTIN: The Greatest Toy I Never Owned — Until Now. Click here.