Ok, I am admittedly a huge Bond fan going back to as far as I can remember. I loved the camp of the Roger Moore years before I knew any better and then I learned to appreciate the fierce ruggedness of Connery as I grew to learn the earlier films. Hell I even appreciated Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
I loved the back to basics Bond that Dalton created on screen, even if the stories were a tad weak given the political climate at the time. I did struggle with the Brosnan editions finding them a bit too close to Moore as I matured. Yet I was in the theater every opening weekend.
I know I made a bold, almost outrageous statement saying that Skyfall is the single best James Bond movie of all time; but it’s one I am going to stand behind for several reasons.
As many of you probably know from my exhaustive and often lengthy pieces on the true history of James Bond one William Stephenson of turn of the 20th century Winnipeg that I am both a Winnipeg booster and a James Bond 007 fanatic. I have been to pretty much every opening night of the Bond saga that I could crawl to since I was a teenager growing up in Fort Frances, Ontario.
Well I am happy to say that the latest James Bond production Skyfall will be no different and even a bit better as Darlene and I will be attending the Winnipeg premiere courtesy of the Winnipeg Free Press.
Free Press movie reviewer Randall King recently published a Bond trivia challenge in the pages of the weekend edition of the Winnipeg Free Press and I am the happy winner of that competition.
Even though I am a geek of some long-standing, I must freely admit that I found the questions very challenging. I first probed my mind for the easy questions, the song whistled by the janitor in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (the theme from Goldfinger); to the most obscure asking about James’ witty comeback lines and motivations for the femme fatale bond girls. YIKES!
In any event I must have scored well or been given extra points for showing my work, as I included not only the movie but also character names and actors names for all that I could uncover. In all it probably took me longer than the movie to come up with the quiz answers but being able to count myself among the first in North America to see Skyfall is priceless.
PLUS as readers of my blog you all will get a great review on Thursday so you all can judge for yourselves if you want to plunk down some coin and see Daniel Craig as James Bond shoot up the silver screen in his 23rd film.
So stay tuned same Bond time, same Bond Channel people.
Here’s a taste to make sure you come back for more.
With the upcoming release of the twenty-third movie in the James Bond 007 series I thought it was time to finish the true life story of Winnipeg’s own William Stephenson the inspiration for the character of James Bond.
The morning of May 18, 1940 as recorded by Randolph Churchill: “I went up to my father’s bedroom. He was standing in front of his basin and was shaving with his old fashioned Valet razor. He had a tough beard, and was as usual hacking away.
‘Sit down, dear boy, and read the papers while I finish shaving .’ I did as told. After two or three minutes of hacking away, he half-turned and said: ‘I think I see my way through.’ He resumed shaving.
I was astounded , and said: ‘Do you mean we can avoid defeat (which seemed credible), or beat the bastards (which seemed incredible)?’
He flung his razor into the basin, swung around, and said: ‘Of course I mean we can beat them.’
Me: ‘Well I’m all for that, but I don’t see how you can do it.’
By this time he had dried and sponged his face and turning around to me, said with great intensity: ‘I shall drag the United States in.’
What are the first things that spring to mind when someone mentions the word “Spy”? Well, in my mind images start to appear, men in trench coats, stolen and falsified documents, secret codes and spy gadgets. Not to be forgotten is the legendary drink of fictional super spy James Bond a perfectly poured vodka martini.
Now imagine just for a second that all of these things have a basis in fact and that the man at the center of it all was a real person who inspired the greatest fictional spy of them all Ian Fleming’sCommander James Bond of the Royal Navy. You would think that I’d been staring at my computer screen just a tad long, wouldn’t you?
Well friends gather round and I’ll continue the story of William Stephenson. In my last installment I told you all the story of William’s birth in turn of the century Winnipeg, Manitoba, his exploits as a child and his daring as a World War One fighter ace.
The rest of the story picks up back in Winnipeg with a can opener that William had stolen from the Commandant’s quarters while he was imprisoned in a German POW camp. The design was revolutionary for the time leaving a clean edge on the can lid where other models of the day simply hacked off the top leaving a sharp jagged edge. Since North American patent law did not recognize German patents, William registered the device in North America and went into business forming the Franco-British Supply Company with friend Charles Wilfrid Russell in 1919. Soon after the young business men incorporated the company as Stevenson-Russell Ltd. raising money through selling shares in the community.
The post war period was hard for business and Stephenson-Russell was failing by 1922. William lost face in the Icelandic community he was raised in by not paying back the debts he had incurred while trying to grow the company. He fled to England while members of his extended family set up a hardware store with the remains of the failed venture.
William Stephenson sends the first image via radio. July 6, 1924.
I am going to deviate just a little bit this morning from my normal routine. I had promised all of you the next installment in the William Stephenson story about how he became a key inspiration for Ian Flemming’s master spy James Bond. To be honest though I really haven’t had the time this weekend to hit the books and do the research required to write a top notch history.
This weekend I spent with my darling daughter who lives a couple of hours out of Winnipeg. It was her 14th birthday last weekend so I took the chance this weekend to spend a fun filled day with her bowling and generally having a good time.
In any regard that got me thinking about my own situation, as many of you may know I am an adopted son to my late father and globe-trotting mother. It’s the only life that I have ever known so please don’t feel badly for me. I really couldn’t have asked for better parents and the childhood that I had was a very happy one in most regards, but there has always been a hole in my heart that I have never been able to fill. The one left by my birth mother when I left her arms and was taken into foster care.