John McLusky - the original James Bond 007 comic strip artist for the Daily Express

John McLusky — the first 007 Comic Strip Artist

John McLusky - the original James Bond 007 comic strip artist for the Daily Express

John McClusky – James Bond 007 Comic Strip Artist for the Daily Express

Before the James Bond movies captivated the world, Agent 007 was a comic strip character in the Daily Express.

John McLusky's drawing of James Bond, 007Faithfully inked by John McLusky, the depiction of 007 was quite similar to Sean Connery. In fact, there is a long-standing theory that Connery got the role, in part, due to his likeness to the comic character.

More on that later …

First, let’s dive into the incredible life story of John McLusky — as written by his son, Graham McLusky.


Early days

My brother Sean and I were brought up living in the British countryside, in an idyllic spot, overlooking hundreds of acres of open farmland. A perfect setting.

Our Mother and Father were living in London in the 50’s and after Sean & I came into the world we all moved to this fabulous country location. This may never have come about if Dad hadn’t been asked by the Daily Express Newspaper to develop a new strip cartoon series with them.

This was to be the beginning of the Bond Legend as we know it today. Unfortunately both our parents have passed now.

In 1958, the very first Bond strip cartoon was formulated.

Dad carefully developed a face for this most British of  spies, James Bond. He was presented with a drawing of a face for Bond, which Fleming had commissioned. Dad thought this looked very “Sexton Blake” with a rather pompous demeanour, so rethought it out to be a rugged, good looking chap with that curl of hair on the forehead.

He was given approval by Fleming and then began the drawings for the adaptation of the Fleming story, ‘Casino Royale’.

This series of strip cartoons was first published in August 1958 and ran until the December of that year. It was an instant success and was responsible for increasing the newspaper’s sales. This was also responsible for our parents being able to move to the countryside too! Bond, as we know and love today, was born!

My Father said once, when he had submitted the first drawings of Bond, he had no idea how much of an impact they would make when blown up to enormous proportions and spread all over London on the big hoardings! This was the start of a long and interesting relationship with 007.

Casino Royale #49 - by John McLusky
Casino Royale #49 – by John McLusky

Starting out

My Father first started drawing Bond from our home in London. It was a small ground floor studio flat, just off the Earl’s Court Road, with a raised balcony in the main living area for a workspace. Luxury!

I was only a little lad then and had absolutely no idea as to what my Father was up to every day with his pens and pots of ink, tone sheets, artboard etc.

My Mother, Sheila, had just finished working as a Costume Designer in the film industry in order to bring up yours truly and now it was down to Dad alone to bring in the family income.

Mum worked on such films as Disney’s Treasure Island, Captain Horatio Hornblower, Fools Rush In & It Started In Paradise. Mainly in and around Denham & Pinewood Studios, I believe.

My brother Sean was born in 1959 and we all lived together in this flat until our parents managed to obtain the most incredible, unrepeatable bargain of a country property. Half an acre, four cottages at one end and another three cottages at the other end.

The four cottages became one large house and the three cottages became an artists’ studio for my father to work in. This became our home for many years. Quite a difference from London. It was amazing growing up in the Hertfordshire countryside then.

Casino Royale #52 - by John McLusky
Casino Royale #52 – by John McLusky

Hard work

I can remember my father having to virtually lock himself away for hours on end in his studio to produce the volume of work necessary to keep Bond appearing, daily, in the newspaper.

John would emerge for breath and a meal or two on occasions and then submerge himself again to finish his target for the day.

My Brother and I would play, go to school, come home from school, bring friends back and thoroughly enjoy ourselves whilst Dad was slaving away over his drawing board! I can remember sometimes going up to his studio to pay him visits. I suppose I wanted to remind myself that this figure, with a green eyeshade, bent over a drawing board with a single anglepoise lamp, was indeed my Father.

I would watch the Bond work being composed and inked in, amazed at the skill and dexterity of Dad.

I was unaware as to just how much experience he had at the time. (In later years, after Bond, he went on to draw cartoons for ‘T.V. Comic’ [Laurel & Hardy, The Keystone Kops, Pink Panther and many other characters], ‘Look & Learn’, children’s television programmes like ‘Hatty Town’ & ‘George The Dragon’) plus a raft of incredible graphic design projects!

Was there no end to this man’s capabilities? Well no… in later years become a fully fledged Punch & Judy Professor, performing at events and seaside resorts, well into his retirement! Before retirement, he taught art and history of art at local schools & colleges and made a massive impression on many keen students over those years.

The amount of work and meticulous attention to detail that Dad put into his drawings was amazing. He observed, he noted, he collected references, he studied everything which could possibly help in producing some of the finest comic art we have ever seen.

You Only Live Twice #433 - by John McLusky
You Only Live Twice #433 – by John McLusky

Criticism

Each day he would bring his finished Bond strip cartoon panels back to the house and show my brother and I so that we could comment and pick out any flaws that weren’t immediately obvious to the trained adult eye! (I’m sure that Mother would have made the most sensible observations).

However, Dad would take everyone’s comments seriously and make alterations if necessary. He would be fine tuning his work right up to the point of sending it off for publication.

I have a feeling that my brother and I were responsible once for helping James Bond out of a sticky situation with a toy Luger Pistol!

Dad needed a reference for this particular weapon quickly and had nothing to hand in his archives. (He had just about everything else but Lugers). Sean and I had just the answer. We extracted a toy Luger Pistol from our toy box and loaned it to Dad. (In those days a great deal of attention to detail was given to manufacturing toy guns and it seemed the perfect solution to us at the time).

The moment arrived later for us to inspect his work and Dad produced the strip cartoon panel. The first thing my brother and I asked was why a toy cap gun was being brandished in such a serious situation. “What do you mean?” asked Dad.

It was pointed out to him by his “critics” that the little pop-up hatch for the roll of paper caps had been drawn in!

Back to the drawing board for some white touch up ink and Bond was saved from a seriously embarrassing moment in his career as the number one spy!

On Her Majesty's Secret Service #55 - by John McLusky
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service #55 – by John McLusky

 

The Face of Bond

It has been said by more than one person that it is quite possible that my Father’s face of Bond may well have been responsible for a certain Mr. S. Connery obtaining the position of 007 for the first films.

the-daily-express-james-bond-comicDenied by some but you cannot get over the uncanny resemblance, can you? The first film was not made for a number of years after the first strip cartoon was published. I heard a story once which may well be true.

Sean Connery, appearing in a theatre production, was sitting in his dressing room with another fellow actor who was reading a copy of the Daily Express. The first film, Dr No was being planned and they were looking for an actor to play the part of Bond.

This gentleman remarked to Connery that he thought that he should go for the part of Bond, as he looked remarkably like the face in the strip cartoon. Well, the rest is history!

 

Film connections

For many, many years, both my parents had a very good friend who worked in the film industry. Her name was Freda Pearson, a delightful Polish lady. She escaped Poland, to Britain, during WW2. Her husband at the time was shot in front of her by invading forces and she managed to get away and get to Britain, where she set up home.

The Face of James Bond - John McLuskyShe can be seen on the titles of a number of Bond films as Set Dresser. An incredibly important role as she was totally responsible for making each scene look just right. She would work very hard in making sure that what we see today in those memorable pictures looked absolutely correct.

I believe that at one time she even made the film crew eat most of a meal and leave the table part finished to make the particular scene work!

I remember that after she had finished on some of her films, she would be able to obtain some of the props and furnishings for a very low cost. Many items were unwanted by the film company at the end of the pictures and had to be disposed of. Freda, and I am sure many other people associated with the films, would be able to buy all sorts of things for next to nothing.

We seemed to acquire a bit of the furniture from some of the films on occasions. Poolside furniture from ‘Goldfinger’, a table from ‘Dr. No’, an enormous heap of wood panelling in strips from one of the ‘Goldfinger’ sets and other items which I am unsure about now.

Freda, I seem to remember, managed to furnish most of her flat from Bond items!  Dear Freda, she passed away many years ago, a lovely lady and great family friend, with a heart of gold.

 

 

Fame

I don’t think that anybody in my family had any idea how big James Bond was going to be over the years to come, after Dad first started with the Express. It is a phenomena that really is unsurpassed by any other fictional character. Are there any Sherlock ‘Baker Street’ Holmes Fan Clubs out there or ‘Dracula’ appreciation societies? Shouldn’t think so.

John found the interest, shown by so many people in his work, rather exciting and bewildering.

He was so pleased that there were so many people out there, young and not so young, who would enjoy reading his strip cartoons. (Still read today by thousands of fans). He had many good friends and a large and happy family.

What more could a man want? Well… how about a prestigious Exhibition of his Bond Artwork at the Barbican Centre in London? My Brother Sean and his wife Katie arranged this fabulous exhibition for him while he was alive. Dad was there with all his friends and family members.

 

‘The Face of James Bond’ Exhibition

An exhibition of original Bond Strip Cartoon Work by John McLusky.

It took place from 25th November 1995 to 14th January 1996. There was a press and private view on the Tuesday 28th November during the evening. What an evening that was. Smirnoff Vodka sponsored the show and plenty of Martini’s, shaken not stirred, were consumed by a considerable number of people!

It was a marvellous exhibition and Dad revelled in it all.

Lots of friends turned up for the private view, he was interviewed on T.V., the atmosphere was more of a big party and a reunion. My heartfelt thanks go out to my Brother and Kate for producing such a memorable moment for Dad. So professionally produced and presented. He never forgot that.

James Bond Artwork for sale

It was at the exhibition that Dad started to find that people were becoming interested in buying his work. He sold some to a number of collectors over the years. Now, through my Brother and I, some his original cartoon strips are still for sale. 

I put together a web site about Dad and his Bond Art, along with other interesting items I have found. www.jamesbondcomicart.co.uk. Drop by sometime and take a look.

I just hope that Dad will continue to be remembered by a lot of people. He deserves it, because I feel that so much rests on the first concept of Bond’s face.

If Bond had been initially envisaged in a different way,  the early films would have turned out somewhat differently with a completely different lead actor! Having said that, all the other Bond actors would have been different people too, I imagine!

I really do think that many thanks go to Dad for creating ….The Face of Bond.

To find out more, go to the James Bond Original Artwork Website

… about the author …

Graham McLusky, elder Son of John McLusky is a Theatre Lighting Designer and runs a web and app agency in the UK. Together with his brother Sean, they look after John’s Estate.

Buy John McLusky’s 007 Comics

 


Universal Exports is the world’s oldest James Bond fansite.

Established in 1996, it features thousands of pages about the cinematic and literary adventures of Agent 007.

Since it’s inception, UnivEx has been a site for the fans.

That’s why you’re encouraged to submit articles, artwork, or anything else you want to share about James Bond.

Reach out for more info.


Follow UnivEx on Facebook

 

Now pay attention, 007.


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The Austin Powers - James Bond Connection

The Austin Powers – James Bond Connection

The Austin Powers movies are, from start to finish, James Bond spoofs. The main characters of Austin and Dr. Evil are based directly on Bond and Blofeld as well as countless other references, nods and puns. If you come up with a Austin Powers/Bond reference that is not listed here, please e-mail me.

Thanks to Caroline G, Chris, Tony Mandley, Sally Brake, Kyle Vanover, Evan Symon, Josh McElreath, Eekilb and The FileFly for their contributions.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery


General Bond References

  • Basil Exposition is based on M.
  • Austin Powers is a secret agent working for British Intelligence.
  • Dr. Evil loves sharks as many Bond villains do.
  • Towards the end of the film Scott Evil makes fun of Dr. Evil for not just shooting Powers with a gun when he has the chance. Instead, Dr. Evil tells Powers his plan for world domination then locks him up with one inept guard, just like every Bond villain tends to do.
  • Mr. Bigglesworth is based on Blofeld’s cat.
  • Austin Powers’ very hairy chest is a nod to Sean Connery’s.
  • Dr. Evil has a ring that looks a lot like the SPECTRE ring.
  • Both Dr. Evil and Blofeld are known for their Nehru jackets.
  • Dr. Evil’s obsession with sharks is just like many Bond villains’s similar obsession (Blofeld, Largo, Sanchez, etc.)

Austin Powers International Man of Mystery posterDr. No References

  • When Austin Powers is first dethawed there is a “urination scene” in which the set looks just like the set from the “decomanination scene” on Dr. No’s island.
  • In a deleted ending available on the DVD version, Austin and Vanessa find themselves in a raft with Vanessa wearing Honey Ryder’s bikini.
  • When the laser is being fired into the earth’s core, Dr. Evil wears a protective suit that looks just like Dr. No’s

From Russia With Love References

  • Frau Farbissina is based on Rosa Klebb.
  • When we first see Dr. Evil we do not see his face. Rather, we just see him stroking his white Persian cat. This is a spoof of the first time we see Blofeld.

Goldfinger References

  • Random Task is based on Oddjob. They look the same and while Oddjob throws his bowler hat, Random Task throws a shoe.
  • Alotta Fagina is based on Pussy Galore.
  • When Austin is held captive in Dr. Evil’s lair he asks, “Do you expect them to pay?” To which Dr. Evil responds, “No, I expect them to die!”

Thunderball References

  • Number 2 is based on Largo and they both have eye patches.
  • The casino scene between Austin and Number 2 is a take on the casino scene in where Bond and Largo first meet.
  • The entire plot of hijacking a nuclear weapon and holding the world hostage is based on Thunderball.
  • Dr. Evil has a device that controls the chairs of his subordinates in his lair, just like Blofeld does in Paris.
  • In the deleted “Raft Ending” that features Austin and Vanessa in a liferaft, Bond turns to Vanessa and says “this is how ALL my movies end, baby!”

You Only Live Twice References

  • Dr. Evil is based on the Donald Pleseance version of Blofeld
  • Alotta Fagina says, “In Japan, men come first. Women come second.” Tiger Tanaka says the same thing to Bond in the spa.

One-off Bond references in Austin Powers

  • The song “The Look of Love” appears in the movie, which was the theme song of the 1967 version of Casino Royale.
  • Austin and Vanessa ride On Her Majesty’s Las Vegas Bus Tour, which sounds suspiciously like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
  • Dr. Evil has a giant map of locations he owns with miniature versions of the property on the map. Blofeld has a similar map in his Whyte House office in Diamonds are Forever.
  • The “unnecessarily slow moving dipping mechanism” looks just like the one Mr. Big puts Bond and Solitaire on in Live and Let Die.
  • Austin Powers wears a white frilly shirt and blue top, just like Bond does in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  • The scene where Austin and Alotta Fagina are in the hot tub is reminiscent of Bond and Pola Ivanova in A View to a Kill.
  • Austin receives a video transmission in his car, something that can be linked to You Only Live Twice or GoldenEye.

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me


Dr. No References

  • Dr. Evil’s lair looks like Dr. No’s Crab Key lair.
  • On Dr. Evil’s island, both Austin and Felicity emerge from the water in Honey Ryder’s bikini from Dr. No.

Austin Powers the Spy Who Shagged Me PosterYou Only Live Twice References

  • Dr. Evil’s hideout is a hollowed out volcano, just like Blofeld’s.
  • The entire opening sequence in space is a spoof on the opening sequence of You Only Live Twice.
  • Dr. Evil’s space ship’s front opens up just like Blofeld’s.
  • Austin escapes from a fight by jumping into a car driven by Felicity, just like Bond dove into Aki’s car when escaping from Oasto.

Moonraker References

  • The movie ends in outer space.
  • Dr. Evil has a spacestation.
  • Mini-Me is sucked into space at the end, just like Hugo Drax.

Single Bond Movie References

  • When Austin is dancing with Robin Spits Swallows he sees an approaching attacker in her eye and turns her around to stop him, just like in Goldfinger.
  • During the opening musical montage, there is a sign that says “Casino Royale.”
  • When Bond and Mini-Me fight with glass bottles, it can be seen as a reference to either Tracy and Grunther’s fight in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service or Bond and Nick Nack’s fight in The Man With the Golden Gun.
  • Mini-Me could be seen as a spoof of Nick-Nack from The Man With The Golden Gun.
  • The title is a spoof of The Spy Who Loved Me.
  • The corridors leading to Fat Bastard’s toilet look just like those in GoldenEye.

Austin Powers: Goldmember


Goldfinger References

  • The title Goldmember is a spoof of Goldfinger.
  • Nigel Powers is strapped to a table while a laser quickly approaches his crotch, just like Goldfinger did to Bond.
  • Goldmember loves gold, just like Goldfinger did.

You Only Live Twice References

  • The Japanese setting can be seen as being reminiscent of You Only Live Twice.
  • When Foxy Cleopatra sneaks Austin into Fat Bastard’s sumo lockeroom, she is dressed like Aki.

Austin Powers Goldmember PosterThe Spy Who Loved Me References

  • Austin uses a Union Jack parachute just like Bond does during the pre-title sequence.
  • Austin’s car turns into a submarine as did Bond’s Lotus Esprit.

Single Bond Movie References

  • Austin’s Shaguar has a bulletproof shield that rises from the back, just like Bond’s old Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger and Thunderball.
  • Goldmember’s golden gun could either be a nod to Goldfinger or Scaramanga, from Goldfinger or The Man With The Golden Gun, respectively.
  • Get a private motorhome from Goboony
  • The Japanese setting can be seen as being reminiscent of You Only Live Twice.
  • When Foxy Cleopatra sneaks Austin into Fat Bastard’s sumo lockerroom, she is dressed like Aki from You only Live Twice.
  • The title of the mini-movie during the pre-title sequence is Austinpussy, a take on Octopussy.
  • While in the streets of Japan, Austin his car gets stuck into a giant Godzilla statue and continues to drive with it on top of his car. In GoldenEye‘s tank scene, a horse statue becomes attached to the top of the tank while Bond continues to drive with it.
  • The twins Bond meets are reminiscent of the twins in The Man With The Golden Gun.
  • Austin Powers carries a Walther PPK; however, it is the chrome version.

Watch Austin Powers Now


Universal Exports is the world’s oldest James Bond fansite.

Established in 1996, it features thousands of pages about the cinematic and literary adventures of Agent 007.

Since it’s inception, UnivEx has been a site for the fans.

That’s why you’re encouraged to submit articles, artwork, or anything else you want to share about James Bond.

Reach out for more info.


Follow UnivEx on Facebook

 

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Latest Intel

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a hand-coded 007 art project

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A Brief History of 007 Fan Pages

UniversalExports.net
the world’s oldest James Bond 007 fansite

In the beginning …

When GoldenEye was released in 1995, the modern Internet was in its infancy. Netscape and AOL reigned supreme, and getting onto the World Wide Web” meant listening to that modem sound.

There was no Google, YouTube, or Wikipedia. The “official 007 site” was terrible – so if you wanted to experience James Bond online, you went to one of the fansites.

The first James Bond fansite was launched in 1994 by Kimberly Last.

By 1996, James Bond websites were popping up everywhere. While some have withstood the test of time, most of the early sites are long gone: 007Forever, Sakke’s Bond Pages, King Neptune’s 007 Site, the James Bond Diner … the list goes on and on.

Universal Exports: born 4.3.96

Universal Exports v1 — April 3, 1996I first met James Bond as a kid watching the TBS marathons with my dad. The movies left such an impact that I once spent a summer trying to convince a friend that I was actually James Bond.

In high school, I was given an assignment to pick any subject and create a website about it. The choice was a no-brainer for me.

Little did I know, “UnivEx” would soon become a thriving community for Bond fans to share our love of 007.

Over the years, hundreds of people contributed content to the site, including interviews, fan stories, editorials, reviews, art, scripts, and more.

Together, we created one of the most comprehensive James Bond databases of all time.

Meanwhile, the site’s forum (The MI6 Debriefing Room) gave fans a way to chat about our favorite Bond moments and experiences. Needless to say, the topic of “which Bond movie is the best” was always a heated topic.

Univex-Design-History

A Relic Frozen in Time (2008-2018)

Personally, UniversalExports.net represents an incredible decade of personal growth as an artist and web designer.

Between 1996 and 2008, it underwent dozens of redesigns, each of which represented a jump in either my skills or the capabilities of the Internet.

Then, life happened. Sweet, wonderful life. As a result, the hand-designed site has remained mostly untouched since the release of Quantum of Solace in 2008.

Today, visiting the old “UniversalExports.net” is like a trip to Q’s lab in Goldfinger. The tech might be outdated, but the good stuff’s all there.

Explore the UnivEx Archives
A screenshot of the world's oldest James Bond fansite

UnivEx 007

It’s funny – I always thought of Universal Exports as a software with itterations. Each time I did a major overhaul of the design and functionality, I declared it to be a new version.

The first 6.9 versions of the site were hand-coded in ancient HTML … so updating the decades-old site with new tech was impossible. 

Enter UnivEx: v007 — a completely new take on my high school project.

The newfound coding and design freedom gives me space me to focus on my actual passion: creating new content for the site.

It also allows me to dip into the UniversalExports.net archives, hand-select the best pages, and update them with fresh design and content.

Plus, it gives me something to share on the UnivEx Facebook page.

Submissions Welcome

Universal Exports has always provided a place for fans to share our love of Bond. James Bond.

That’s why submissions of any type are always welcome. We’re especially interested in:

  • Fan Art – add your piece to the gallery
  • Editorials – 500+ words on something Bond-related
  • Interviews – over the years we’ve chatted with Jaws, Felix Leiter, Plenty O’Toole, and more
  • Advertising – hey, a webmaster’s gotta eat, right?

Got another idea? Great! Send it over and let’s chat.


Universal Exports is the world’s oldest James Bond fansite.

Established in 1996, it features thousands of pages about the cinematic and literary adventures of Agent 007.

Since it’s inception, UnivEx has been a site for the fans.

That’s why you’re encouraged to submit articles, artwork, or anything else you want to share about James Bond.

Reach out for more info.


Follow UnivEx on Facebook

 

What sharp little eyes you’ve got.

Just wait ’till you get to my teeth.


Latest Intel

Experience the classic UnivEx

a hand-coded 007 art project

Visit the classic Universal Exports

Search the 00-Archives


No Time to Die

No Time to Die — Bond 25 Title Reactions

No Time to Die — Bond 25 Title (and Font) Reactions

On August 20, 2019, the title of the 25th James Bond movie was revealed to be No Time to Die.

Personally, I could take it or leave it.

We’ve had three titles over the years with “Die” in it (Live and Let Die, Tomorrow Never Dies, Die Another Day) — so on that level, it feels a bit like retreading. 

That said, it also feels like a classic Bondian thriller. The type of thing that Fleming or Gardner or Benson would write (like the 1999 Bond novel, High Time to Kill).

In the end, the only thing that really matters is the movie itself. If No Time to Die is an awesome Bond film, then the title will be a classic. If the movie is a dud, then the title will go down in infamy alongside A View to a Kill.

Here’s the title reveal video, posted on 007.com on August 20, 2019.


A Classic Bond Connection

Some of the best titles come directly from Ian Fleming’s novels. While that well has been mostly dried up, the title of Bond 25 (No Time to Die) does have a classic 007 connection.

In 1958, long-time Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli made a movie called No Time to Die.

It was directed by none-other than Terence Young (the legendary Bond director of Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Thunderball). The movie also starred Luciana Paluzzi (Fiona Volpe in Thunderball).

Here’s a movie description from Wikipedia:

In North Africa during the Second World War, a squadron of British tanks is destroyed in battle by panzers of their German adversaries. The three survivors are quickly captured and transported to an Italian-run POW camp. One of the men has a secret and tries to escape at every turn.

No Time to Die Movie Poster


No Time to Die — Title Reactions

As is the case with anything 007-related, everyone has an opinion … and many took to Facebook and YouTube to share theirs.

Here are a few reactions from the day No Time to Die was revealed:

  • About bloody time! Seriously, it’s a bloody relief it’s half decent and a tribute to one of Cubby Broccoli’s early films. I love it.
  • Absolutely love it! Very classic Bond. Glad to move away from the one or two word titles
  • I DESPISE the direction EON is taking with this franchise… I’m just not as hyped. 😑
  • It’s definitely better than Genome of Woman and Eclipse [both rumored titles of Bond 25].
  • Title is boring. Too much like Tomorrow never dies 
  • OK with the title, but I would rather they moved away from usually having “Kill” or “Die” in the title. 
  • This is NO TIME TO DIE because tomorrow never dies, unless you die another day. So 007, just live and let die. (Athena Stamos)
  • I’m ok with it. Not amazing, but not out of character.
  • I preferred Shatterhand [a rumored Bond 25 title]. 
  • Reminds me of ‘Another Way To Die‘ which is one of my favorite Bond songs in lyrics and one of my least favorites in execution.
  • It’s like marketing shrugged it’s shoulders and said, “… well, it’s catchy.”
  • LOVE THIS TITLE! Such a great, Bondian title! Very excited!
  • Finally, a return to the good old titles. I feel that this movie will be in the spirit of Connery’s movies. Well done Mr. Fukunaga.
  • This title has given me some quantum of solace.
  • The title is pure 70s 80s Bond style. Expecting same level of awesomeness in the movie.
  • It really reminds me of that title Troy McClure mentioned from The Simpsons — Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die.

No Time to Die - Bond 25 Title and Logo


No Time to Die — Title Font Controversy

When I first saw the font, I thought it was an odd choice. The words “No Time to Die” are tough to read at a glance, and it looks like something more befitting the 1980s.

Apparently, that feeling has been echoed around the Web, as evidenced by these Facebook comments:

  • It took months for experts to come up with the font?
  • Oddly enough, I though the type face would suit a novel more.
  • I do like the logo font! Reminds me of the Anthony Burgess paperbacks from the late-1980s.
  • You know you’re stoked for the movie when you’re impressed by the font of the title
  • The font in the actual title reminds me of the Minnesota Vikings.
  • The font somehow reminded me of Living Daylights – hopefully it will be a bit old school Bond.

In case you’re wondering, the font is called “Futura Bold.” Here’s a brief history.

Futura is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed by Paul Renner and released in 1927. It was designed as a contribution on the New Frankfurt-project. It is based on geometric shapes, especially the circle, similar in spirit to the Bauhaus design style of the period.¹


The Love Boat Connection

Naturally, when the logo for No Time to Die was released, Bond fans quickly found other famous places that used Futura as their font.

The most obvious – and comical – connection was The Love Boat, which used Futura as its title font back in 1977.

The Love Boat


Universal Exports is the world’s oldest James Bond fansite.

Established in 1996, it features thousands of pages about the cinematic and literary adventures of Agent 007.

Since it’s inception, UnivEx has been a site for the fans.

That’s why you’re encouraged to submit articles, artwork, or anything else you want to share about James Bond.

Reach out for more info.


Follow UnivEx on Facebook

 

We have all the time in the world


Latest Intel

Experience the classic UnivEx

a hand-coded 007 art project

Visit the classic Universal Exports

Search the 00-Archives


Tula the Transexual James Bond Girl in For Your Eyes Only

Tula: The Transsexual Bond Girl

Tula the Transexual James Bond Girl in For Your Eyes Only

The Urban Legend of Tula: the transexual Bond girl

For decades, 007 fans debated the existence of a Bond girl that was actually a man. We didn’t have the Internet; so, the urban legend continued to grow and distort.

Now, Universal Exports is proud to tell the true story of Caroline Cossey – the brave Bond Girl who was, indeed, born a man.

. . . . . . .

For His Eyes Only

Tula's scene in For Your Eyes OnlyThe year was 1981 and Roger Moore was donning 007’s white tuxedo in For Your Eyes Only.

While tracking Emile Leopold Locque – the film’s henchman – Bond finds himself near a pool filled with beautiful women. Normally, these extras would have gone unnoticed, uncredited and unmentioned: except that one of them was played by Caroline “Tula” Cossey.

Stunningly beautiful and one of the era’s most prominent supermodels, Tula had a secret that was about to go public in a tabloid article titled, “James Bond Girl Was a Boy.”

The Bond Girls of For Your Eyes Only
The Bond Girls of For Your Eyes Only

From Barry to Caroline

Barry Kenneth Cossey was raised as a boy in the village of Brooke in Norfolk county, England.

From a young age, Barry’s features appeared more feminine than masculine: due to a condition known as Klinefelter’s Syndrome.

Barry Kenneth Cossey

Klinefelter syndrome is a condition related to the X and Y chromosomes (the sex chromosomes). People typically have two sex chromosomes in each cell: females have two X chromosomes (XX), and males have one X and one Y chromosome (XY).

Most often, Klinefelter syndrome results from the presence of one extra copy of the X chromosome in each cell (XXY).

Barry’s case was a bit rarer, as he had two extra X chromosomes in each cell (XXXY).¹ This made his feminine appearance even more pronounced.

Needless to say, Barry never got along with boys growing up. His closest companion was his sister, Pam, with whom he would play dress up in their mother’s clothes.


Becoming a Woman

At the age of 17, Barry Kenneth Cossey started hormone therapy and began living as a woman full time.

A young Caroline "Tula" Cossey

Soon after beginning transition, he began a career as a showgirl; and, after breast augmentation surgery, a topless dancer working in nightclubs in London, Paris and Rome.

Although they were initially shocked, Cossey’s parents were highly supportive.

Finally, after years of hormonal and psychological treatment – as well as legally changing her name to Caroline – Cossey had sex reassignment surgery on December 31, 1974 at Charing Cross Hospital in London.


Introducing Tula

After her operation, Caroline’s career took off. No longer a topless burlesque dancer, she became a highly sought-after glamour model and commercials actress.

Caroline Cossey on the cover of PlayboyIn the 1970s, her lanky and other-worldly looks were the height of fashion. Cossey worked as a model under the name “Tula” – appearing in high-profile magazines such as the Australian Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

Caroline even posed in Playboy Magazine in 1981.

However, all of this attention would pale in comparison to when she was cast as an extra in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only: finally fulfilling her childhood dream of being a Bond girl.

Sadly, Tula’s life would never be the same again…


A Double-0 Scandal

In 1978, Tula won a part on the British game show 3-2-1.

Unfortunately, that’s also when a tabloid journalist contacted her: revealing he had discovered she was transsexual and planned to write about it.

Other journalists also began researching her past: attempting to interview her family members. As such, Cossey dropped out of the show and convinced the producers to release her from her contract.

After this incident, Tula maintained a lower profile, accepting only smaller assignments… until For Your Eyes Only.

The News of the World article that outed TulaIn 1982, shortly after the film’s release, the tabloid News of the World published an article titled “James Bond Girl Was a Boy.” The article was a huge shock for Bond fans – but an even bigger blow for Caroline’s psyche.

In the months that followed, her emotional roller coaster led her to contemplate suicide and to completely withdraw from the public eye. However, she was able to put that all behind her by publishing I Am a Woman – an autobiography that told her story in her own words.

If anything, the press coverage intensified; but, it was now largely sympathetic. Eventually, Tula was able to return to modeling. But a career on a bigger stage was now irretrievably gone.

Cossey admits that she even contemplated suicide — but decided to write the book continue modeling instead. We’re so glad she did!


Tula’s Life, Love and Legal Battles

Eventually, Tula was able to pick up the threads of her life.

She began a romance with Count Glauco Lasinio, an Italian advertising executive, who was the first man to know her whole story before they dated.

They fell in love and he proposed. However, British law regarded gender reassignment as merely a cosmetic procedure. That meant that she was legally still a man and could not marry another man: even though her passport said she was a woman.

She could not use a woman’s lavatory; and, if convicted of a crime, she would go to a men’s jail. Although their engagement ended, the experience encouraged Caroline to petition for changes to the British Law.


Battling for the Rights of British Transsexuals

In 1983, Caroline Cossey began legal proceedings against the British government to get the legal status of transsexuals changed.

Tula the trans underwear modelThe process dragged on for seven years – and through successively higher levels of the judiciary – until it reached the European High Courts in Strasbourg in 1989. During this period, she campaigned tirelessly for transsexuals’ rights: appearing countless times in the media.

In 1985, she met Elias Fattal: a Jewish businessman. Their professional relationship soon became personal; and, on May 21, 1989, Caroline and Elias married at a synagogue in St. John’s Wood, London.

The ceremony took place just weeks after the European Court of Human Rights decided legally to recognize Tula as a woman. Naturally, the government immediately lodged an appeal: scheduled for the subsequent year.


Love Ruined by the Tabloids

On their return from a blissful honeymoon in the Caribbean, Caroline once again found her happiness destroyed by the News of the World.

While Fattal knew all about Caroline’s past, his orthodox Jewish family did not. Upon learning the truth in the tabloid article, they immediately demanded that he end the marriage.

In addition to losing her husband, Caroline now received death threats. Her car was sabotaged and all seemed lost. At the lowest ebb of her life, she again attempted to cope by writing: publishing her second book, My Story, in 1990.

As if that wasn’t enough, Caroline found herself in the public eye again when the British government’s appeal against the Strasbourg ruling came to court. This time, the court found in the government’s favor. In the eyes of the British Government, Caroline was no longer a woman.


Tula’s Life in the Years Since

Caroline has since returned to – and once again left – modeling; all while continuing her fight against the system and society that has treated her and those like her so shabbily.

Tula and David FinchIn 1991, Caroline once again appeared in Playboy – featured in a pictorial titled “The Transformation Of Tula.” This marked the first time the magazine openly featured a transsexual model in its pages.

A year later, Caroline married David Finch: a Canadian. The couple is still married and living in Kennesaw, Georgia, just outside Atlanta, in the USA.

Today, Caroline has once again found herself in the spotlight after Caitlyn Jenner’s brave and public coming out.

She recently told Cosmopolitan Magazine, “Times have changed so much that it’s amazing. I knew over the years when I’d see shows with gay characters that one day there would be more visibility for trans people.”²


A Legal Win For All Transsexual and Transgender People

In 2004, the Gender Recognition Act was passed; giving transgender and transsexual people in the United Kingdom means to change their legal sex.

This means that these brave individuals are now afforded full recognition of their acquired sex in law for all purposes: including marriage. 

Furthermore, a Birth Certificate drawn from the Gender Recognition Register is indistinguishable from any other birth certificate; and will indicate the new legal sex and name.

It can be used wherever a birth certificate is used: such as for issue of a passport.

The birth certificate showing the previous legal gender continues to exist; and will carry no indication that there is an associated Gender Recognition Certificate or alternative birth certificate.

This was a huge victory for Caroline – and everyone else in the UK who had been dreaming of equality.

While there is still a long road towards global acceptance, the future is looking bright for anyone looking to embrace their true self.


Tula at-a-glance

Birth Name: Barry Kenneth Cossey
Name: Caroline “Tula” Cossey
Born: August 31, 1954 in Brooke, Norfolk, England
Height: 6’0″
Eyes: Green
T* Type: Post-op TS


Sources & Tula Links


Purchase Caroline’s books


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Filming GoldenEye at Leavesden Studios

Leavesden Studios and the Ingratitude to James Bond

Leavesden Studios and the Ingratitude to James Bond

Filming GoldenEye at Leavesden Studios

A Brief History of Leavesden Studios

The official web page of the Leavesden Studios, known since 2010 as the Warner Bros. Leavesden Studios, details the story of the complex since the 1940s, when the land belonged to the Ministry of Defence and served as an aerodrome for the Mosquito and Halifax combat aircraft during World War II. Then, the official history continues narrating that after the war Rolls Royce bought the site to continue building aircrafts and engines until its closure in 1992.

Out of thin air, in 1994 “the gates reopened and Leavesden began its new life as a film studio. As its reputation grew, the following years saw it hosting a number of high-profile productions, including James Bond: GoldenEye” and “after the turn of the millennium it became home to the most successful film series of all time, with all eight Harry Potter films being shot at the studio.”

To the man on the street, this is fact. Or history. To the James Bond fan – and, most importantly, to the James Bond crew that worked in GoldenEye – this is a serious send-off to oblivion, so cheeky that it feels like an offense.

Filming GoldenEye at Leavesden Studios

First, there was GoldenEye at Leavesden Studio

Pre-production of GoldenEye in 1994 was exactly what led to the sole existence of Leavesden Studio, and the other “high profile productions” like Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Star Wars – Episode One: The Phantom Menace wouldn’t have been shot there if it wasn’t thanks to a James Bond movie.

Pinewood Studios and its 007 Stage was already booked by First Knight, starring Sean Connery and Richard Gere, which led to production designer Peter Lamont to scout for a different studio with the capacity to hold a production with the magnitude of a James Bond film. Ultimately, he found Leavesden who, as the official history page points out, it was a Rolls Royce until 1992 and abandoned ever since.

If the place was an abandoned factory, it is very unlikely that it was on working conditions. And it wasn’t. Documentaries like Building A Better Bond and GoldenEye: The Secret Files, which can be found on the film’s Ultimate Edition DVD and BluRay releases (and even on YouTube) evidence the remarkable task carried away by Lamont and his collaborators.

Lamont is seen walking on an empty hangar, with no objects around him: “Where we are now will eventually be two big stages,” he explains in the footage, seconds before Tim Piggot Smith’s narration introduces us to the fact that Lamont ” found himself with an unusual problem: how to turn 1.5 million square feet of interior space into one of Europe’s newest film facilities.”

In Building A Better Bond, a worker is also interviewed while showing the interior of the place: the abandoned loos, which would end up serving for the film itself when 007 infiltrates into a nerve gas facility by surprising a Russian guard in the toilet; a long and wide corridor that will eventually become the Art Department offices where the professionals will draw and expose their sketches, and Pierce Brosnan’s dressing room with a lounge area, a treatment surely given to most of the principal actors.

The featurette omits other details to talk about the movie itself, but common sense indicates that administrative offices, phone lines and, probably, internet connection also had to be set up after two years of inactivity in Leavesden.

Also, as it happens in the movie business, each particular interior representing a scene of the movie has to be added to the cost of time and money that turning an old factory into a film studio has taken. In the case of GoldenEye, the Arkhangel Chemical Weapons Facility, the casino interior, the Severnaya Space Weapon Control Centre and the MI6 offices, among others, had to be recreated in one of the newly created stages inside Leavesden.

The evidence is everywhere and Warner Bros. has been contacted by the man addressing you now on June 14, 2019. They were sent the YouTube link of both documentaries and respectfully asked to take this evidence into consideration, but it seems that to Warner Bros. it is a matter of shame or the admittance of weakness to clarify that, had GoldenEye or whatever Bond 17 had been not be made, Leavesden would still be an abandoned factory or anything else outside a film studio – the film studio they are now so proud to introduce as “built for filmmakers by filmmakers”.

Hopefully, the truth will never die and future generations will know those filmmakers were the makers of a James Bond movie.

Photos by Stephen Persch and Moon City Garbage (http://www.moon-city-garbage.agency/goldeneye/index.htm)

… about the author …

Nicolás Suszczyk is a long-time James Bond fan and the author of The World of GoldenEye, which examines the cultural and historical impact of the 17th James Bond movie. 


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Connery vs Moore - the Battle of the Bonds

Who Won the Battle of the Bonds? - (Octopussy vs Never Say Never Again)

Connery vs Moore - the Battle of the Bonds

Who Won the Battle of the Bonds? – (Octopussy vs Never Say Never Again)

For James Bond fans, 1983 is known as the “Battle of the Bonds”. It was the year when veteran Bond actor Sean Connery dared to go up against Bond Producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli with a rival Bond film.

Here’s the matchup …

Octopussy – Staring Roger Moore as 007

Never Say Never Again – Staring Sean Connery as 007

 Who came out on top and won the much-anticipated Battle of the Bonds? Also, how the heck did this happen in the first place? That’s what Nick Constantinou is diving into in our latest 007 Editorial.

Sean Connery Never Say Never Again movie poster

Battle of the Bonds Backstory

After For Your Eyes Only, Roger Moore announced that he was stepping down from role of Bond. The person favored to replace Moore in the upcoming Bond film, Octopussy, was American actor James Brolin. But before Brolin could strap on Bond’s Walther PPK, it was announced in the summer of 1982 that former Bond actor Sean Connery would return to the role in a rival Bond film that was going to be released on the same weekend as Octopussy.

Because Connery was still very popular among Bond fans, Broccoli feared that Connery’s Bond film would upstage his own. Broccoli figured that an established Bond actor would do better against Connery so he approached Roger Moore to convince him to reprise the role one more time. Although initially reluctant, Moore ultimately agreed so Broccoli rescinded his offer to Brolin.

Filming for Octopussy began in August 1982 in the former West Berlin and later moved to Udaipur, India (though Q’s laboratory was located in Pinewood Studios). Afterward, the crew returned to London to film the last few scenes. The film was released on June 10, 1983. While in India, Moore was shocked to see the grinding poverty that many locals, particularly children, lived under which prompted him to get involved with UNICEF years later.

By contrast, the filming of Never Say Never Again was beset by numerous problems. Filming began in September 1982, in the French Riviera and then moved to the Bahamas two months later. But soon the production ran out of money which put the film months behind schedule.

Octopussy (1983)In addition, producer Jack Schwartzman’s relations with Connery were extremely acrimonious with the two barely speaking to each other. Filming was finally completed in the spring of 1983 but a few scenes had to be shot that summer which made it impossible to release the film in time for the summer blockbuster season. It was finally released on October 7, 1983, four months after the release of Octopussy.

The Battle that Wasn’t

By box office numbers, Octopussy clearly won the Battle of the Bonds. It grossed $67 million in the US market and $187.5 million worldwide and its production costs totaled $27.5 million. By comparison, Never Say Never Again grossed $55 million in the US market and $160 million internationally (through its production costs exceeded $36 million).

But this is an unfair comparison because Octopussy was released in the summer when cinemas show matinees every day so it had greater exposure, which put Never Say Never Again at a disadvantage. Thus, in reality, there was no Battle of the Bonds — but Bond fans still benefitted by two Bond films in one year.

About the Author: Nick Constantinou

I was born in Greece in 1965 and was raised in the United States. I have been a huge James Bond fan ever since I saw my first Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.

I have seen all the films and have collected the DVDs from Dr. No. to Quantum of Solace. I currently live in Greece where I work as a translator and English teacher. 


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A Beginner's Guide to SPECTRE

A guide to (better) enjoy SPECTRE . . . and any other 007 movie

An editorial by Paulo Jorge Lopes

Imagine you are trying to explain SPECTRE (the 24th James Bond movie) to someone who has never seen a Bond film. That’s what Paulo does in this new editorial. Take it away ….

SPECTRE Teaser PosterFirst, it would be a lot better if you watched the previous 3 movies (the Reboot era: Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall), but not necessary. James Bond films are typically NOT movies to make you find “the meaning of life” … they’re just for entertainment…

A bad guy wants world domination (through money, media, terrorist, secret services…), and the good guy saves the world… It’s been like this since 1962, until the “Reboot”. However, for someone who never watched a 007 movie, SPECTRE is a pretty good choice to start off.

James Bond is a spy for the British Secret Service: specifically, MI6.

James Bond lost his parents as a kid, he’s “rough,” but educated. He goes rouge every once in a while but always focused on his mission. “00” status means he has a License to Kill.

“SPECTRE” stands for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.

It was the criminal organization behind everything and every villain in the 007 movies in the 60’s and early 70’s. Their leader was BLOFELD, a bald man with a big scar on his face and eye, and had a white furry cat (keep this in your mind).

In most of the movies, you don’t see his face (just the hands and the cat), but he first appears in 1967 You Only Live Twice.

The SPECTRE logo is an octopus, and each tentacle represents a different “business area” (terrorism, extortion, and so on…). When they announced that the next movie was called “SPECTRE”, trust me, it was an “OMG OMG OMG” moment to every fan … it had been 40 years since SPECTRE last appeared in the movies.

The Reboot Era of James Bond Movies

Casino Royale is the first 007 adventure, where he gets his “00” status. He’s young and reckless, stone cold killer… He’s not ok about killing people, but it’s the life he chose, and ultimately, he’s saving the world somehow, so he learns how to deal with it.

Quantum of Solace just gives closure to Casino Royale.

Skyfall shows 007 as a more mature agent … more charming and sensitive … but also broken and somehow “played out.” But you can finally see that James Bond has feelings for some people. He bleeds and gets hurt (physically and emotionally). He’s human after all.

Classic James Bond Characters

In SPECTRE, you’ll get a lot of references to previous movies, as well as some classical elements the fans were missing … “M” is the boss in the “00” division, “Q” is the quartermaster (aka, the gadget man), “C” (new character) is the Central Intelligence chief, and of course Miss Moneypenny …

Bond and Moneypenny have this funny relationship. They care about each other and flirt all the time (in the old movies), but it’s all in a very platonic way.

You’ll see pictures of all the villains from Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall.

You’ll also see photos of two women. The young beautiful one is Vesper: Bond’s 1st love who was killed in Casino Royale. The older lady is the previous “M, killed in Skyfall.

This is a minor spoiler, but you’ll see that each one of these characters is somehow connected to a SPECTRE “tentacle”.

LeChiffre, Mr. White, Dominic Green, Silva - James Bond Villains
Previous villains: (the 2nd, “Mr. White”, reappears in SPECTRE; all the others were killed)

 

Cars, Action, and Feelings

The Aston Martin DB5 is the classic Bond car, from the 60’s. It has been seen in seven Bond movies in total. While it was destroyed in Skyfall, Bond got a new one at the end of SPECTRE. (Something to keep in mind – Bond is famous for destroying every vehicle he drives)

This Reboot era brought many different things to 007 movies… Skyfall and Spectre are actually not just action movies, because they definitely added some intellectual and emotional elements to the stories.

The 007 Gunbarrel Sequence

Another minor spoiler, but not important to the story… The Gunbarrel intro. This was a must in every Bond movie, until the reboot.

Traditionally, it was the first thing you see in the movie… The James Bond theme, the moving circle on James Bond, and Bond shoots right into it.

There was no gunbarrel intro at the beginning of the reboot movies, but SPECTRE brought it back. So when the gunbarrel appeared at the beginning, it was another “OMG OMG OMG” moment

Why would someone be a 007 fan?

He’s a spy, which means he’s not exactly a good guy, since secret services are all about lying, deceiving, playing both sides, kill loved ones, if necessary…”.

The answer is: it’s about saving the world, and finding goodness among all the crap… And, of course, the gadgets, the cars, the suits, the glamour, the women… Everything is very glamorous, so I guess that’s why.

About the Author: Paulo Jorge Lopes

I’m a 43 y.o. Bond fan, who simply loves music and movies. I work at a Media Agency in Portugal, as a Researcher. Music and Movies are a must in my life; I try to watch/ listen/ read about several artists, even if I’m not a fan.

I try to “stay tuned” and keep up with the movie industry news, but I usually don’t go after “spoilers”, or try to know the plots in advance, since I like the trill of being surprised by a movie or a song. However, I watch movies, with “Google” or “IMDB” open, since I’m constantly searching about the actors, directors, songs, and so on.


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The early days of Ian Fleming

The Early Days of Ian Fleming

The Early Days of Ian Fleming » a 007 Editorial

Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond (a fictional MI-6 agent), managed to spawn an entire universe of masterfully crafted spy stories, replacing the bleak reality of the Cold War-era into a world of super-villains, charming spooks and even more charming femme fatales.

However, could the author really breathe life into his most famous character, without his own history in British intelligence?

The answer would be “No”, as some of 007’s exploits were indeed inspired by real-life people and events that, in some form or the other, actually took place during WWII.  

The influence of Ian Fleming’s father: Valentine Fleming

Fleming first got involved in intelligence by using his father’s contacts. Ian’s father, Valentine was an esteemed Parliament member and a close friend of Winston Churchill. He died in France in 1917, serving as a major in the British Army, when Ian was just 9 years old.

Growing up in his father’s image, Ian was destined for Her Majesty’s service. After a troublesome period at Eton, he was sent to Switzerland in 1927, to attend a prestigious private school, known for its developed relations with the British Foreign Office.  During his youth, Fleming was known nurtured an image of a womanizer ― which was a character trait that deeply influenced his alter-ego, codenamed 007.  

Ian Fleming: the journalist

As for his own spy career, Fleming first came under the mentorship of Ernan Forbes Dennis, a retired MI-6 operative and the headmaster of the Tennerhof diplomatic school in Kitzbuhel. Dennis’ closely followed the development of his pupils, selecting them for further training in the service of the Crown.

It was there that Fleming discovered his passion for learning languages, attending lessons on French and German. After his formal education, however, Fleming failed to land a job the Foreign Office due to poor results on his entrance exams.

Following this mishap, he moved to Munich where he started learning Russian. Upon his return to England, the future novelist got a job at the Reuters office, and would soon become the only English journalist present at the Moscow trials of British employees who were accused of espionage by the Soviet Union in 1933.  

While in Moscow on an assignment, he caught the attention of the Soviet secret police, as he was a rare breed at the time ― an Englishman who spoke Russian. In addition to this, he was following a highly controversial case, which was threatening to worsen the already disrupted relations between Great Britain and USSR.

On this occasion, he almost landed an interview with Joseph Stalin himself, but it was canceled in the last minute. Some might find odd that Stalin sent Fleming a note, personally apologizing for not being able to provide him with the interview he promised.

Soon after this adventure in Soviet Russia, Fleming resigned from Reuters and tried his luck on the stock market.

World War II

Ian Lancaster Fleming - creator of James Bond, 007As the threat of yet another world war was closing in, the British Government was interested in refreshing its intelligence cadre, especially with people who mastered different languages. Fleming appeared as the ideal candidate ― he was young, intelligent, well-traveled, and well-versed in Russian, German and French.

In 1939 he joined the Naval Intelligence Service as an assistant to Rear Admiral John Godfrey. Godfrey held the Director of Naval Intelligence (D.N.I.) position throughout WWII, and was a respectable figure in the clandestine world of British secret service. As Godfrey’s protégé, Ian Fleming was in the position to build his own influence in the intelligence circles.

He was codenamed 17F and worked at the Admiralty. His employer, Godfrey ― a well-known lover of intrigue  ―  had a reputation of making enemies with other service branches. He used eloquent young Fleming as a liaison between the government’s wartime administration with sections like the Secret Intelligence Service, the Political Warfare Executive, the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the Joint Intelligence Committee and the Prime Minister’s staff.

He was also suspected by historians to be the true author of the 1939 Trout Memo, which introduced a new doctrine into British intelligence. The doctrine suggested treating the espionage warfare against the Germans as fly fishing ― using baits to lure out the enemy and then attack him on their turns.

The Memorandum is officially attributed to Godfry, however, according to historian Brian Mcintyre, it  “bore all the hallmarks of … Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming”.

Ian Fleming and the 30 Au

In September 1942, Ian Fleming founded the 30 Assault Unit (30 Au, abbreviated), tasked with operating behind enemy lines with in order to collect intel about the German nuclear program. They operated with a great amount of independence from other departments as their mission was seen as a matter of utmost importance.

Besides from its primary mission, the 30 Au was also tasked with retrieving all documents found on the frontline. Fleming was a known admirer of Otto Skorzeny who revolutionized the asymmetric warfare in his use of intelligence and guerilla tactics, combining them with criminal practices, like blackmail, kidnapping, and extortion. The infamous German officer would later serve as inspiration for the character of Hugo Drax, the supervillain from Moonraker. 

On the other hand, this admiration led to some copycat tactics with Fleming’s commando unit under often utilizing false flag operations, disinformation and behind-enemy-lines covert missions.

Although he made a name for himself as a rigid strategic planner in the Admiralty, the unit disliked Fleming, who often referred to the unit as “His Red Indians”, downplaying the risk and stress through which the men had to go through. Regardless, Fleming was very proud of his unit as he knew how their effort affected the turnout of the war.

The Unit served in North Africa, Corsica, Norway, Greece, Normandy and later Germany, collecting information about German scientists who were working on classified secret weapons programs. Many of these scientists defected to the Allied side with the help of Ian Fleming and his “Red Indians”.  The 30 Au was also involved in the Dieppe Raid in 1942 in France, where their role was to seize the infamous Enigma machine, making a turning point for the wartime intelligence effort.

Operation GoldenEye

Ian Lancaster Fleming - creator of James Bond, 007Among other things, Fleming was put in charge of Operation GoldenEye ― a backup plan of organizing a spy network in Spain in case Hitler decided to occupy the then-neutral country.

Later on it became known that he was involved in Operation Mincemeat. Mincemeat was a pivotal false flag operation which consisted of planting a dead body with documents implying a non-existent  Allied plan on the invasion of Crete in 1943. The operation was conducted to the Germans on a false trail, while  the invasion of Sicily was being planned in secrecy.

It is believed that the disinformation campaign greatly contributed to the success of the invasion and the small death toll of Allied soldiers who embarked on Italian soil.  

In  December 1944, following a string of successful operations in Europe, Fleming was sent to the Far East as a Naval Liaison Officer.

His actual role was preparing the grounds for the arrival of the 30 Au group to the Pacific Theatre. They were to take part in operations against the Japanese in South-East Asia, however, the war ended before they were able to perform any missions.

However, while the war was soon over, Fleming’s intelligence career was at its peak.

Tracking Nazi Gold

Immediately after the ceasefire took hold, the British master of espionage was tasked with tracking the Nazi gold back in Europe.

In January 1945, all of Her Majesty’s secret services were very keen on getting hold of Nazi finances.

Little is known about the operation to this day, however, it was revealed that Fleming had a key role in tracing the enormous stashes of gold looted by the Nazis during their reign and conquest that were safely placed in disclosed accounts in Switzerland.

Ian Fleming smokingOperation JB

This operation was also the first time that Fleming has used the name that will become synonymous with his work in the future. It was titled Operation JB, short for James Bond.

Ian Fleming had actually borrowed the name from an existing writer and ornithologist, James Bond, who was an author of the book “A Field Guide to the Birds of the West Indies”.

A bird spotter himself, Fleming read the book and decided to use the author’s name during this operation and afterward for the name of his famous protagonist. 

In his own words, he thought “that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I (Fleming) needed, and so a second James Bond was born.”

Although he was never part of the MI-6 ― the British foreign intelligence service ― Fleming came across these men a lot during his service for Queen and Country. He was also well aware of how the intelligence works and with a bit of imagination was able to create one of the most vivid spy characters in film and literature. He was demobilized in May 1945, and soon after had a house built in Jamaica.

He called the estate The Goldeneye ― as both a reference to the operation he was a part of and the Carson McCullers’ 1941 novel Reflections in a Golden Eye, which described the use of British naval bases in the Caribbean by the American navy.

The house became his final retreat and a small creative oasis in which he was able to write all 17 of his James Bond novels.

Ian Fleming at GoldenEye

… about the author …

Nikola Budanovic is a freelance journalist who has worked for various media outlets such as Vice, War History Online, The Vintage News, Taste of Cinema, etc. He mostly deals with subjects such as military history and history in general, literature and film.


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The World of GoldenEye

The World of GoldenEye

GoldenEye - the 17th James Bond movie

… about this editorial …

For nearly a quarter-century, the old UniversalExports.net invited Bond fans from around the world to share their opinions on 007. The result is a huge archive of articles, which you can browse here.

Today, in celebration of the new UnivEx:007 Editorials section, I’m proud to introduce this article by Nicolás Suszczyk: a long-time Universal Exports reader and huge GoldenEye fan. His new book, The World of GoldenEye, examines the cultural and historical impact of the 17th James Bond movie. 

Enjoy!

~ Greg Goodman (aka, greg007)

. . . . . . .

Half of Everything is Luck…

Following the tradition of authors like Charles Helfenstein and Cary Edwards, who wrote books only focused in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service or the Timothy Dalton era, I decided to write my first book and dedicate it to GoldenEye.

You ask why? “Hilarious question”, as Alec Trevelyan would have put it. It was the first James Bond movie I ever saw, not on the big screen but on TV (and I found it spectacular enough to hook me to Bond) and, I’m also the man behind The GoldenEye Dossier, a website I created in 2011 to homage not only the 1995 film but the many video games based on the story. The site also took the blueprint of other sites by Bond fans that were exclusively dedicated to their favorite films, like Alan Gilbert’s Thunderball Obsessional or Drummond Grieve’s Blofeld’s Cat, focused on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which are now extinct but were very popular in the early 2000s.

The World of GoldenEye - by Nicolas Suszczyk

As I was planning the updates on The GoldenEye Dossier for 2020, where the 25th anniversary of GoldenEye will be honored with eye-popping visuals and a new layout, I started to consider the idea of making a tribute of the 17th James Bond film. Before me, it was Garth Pearce with The Making of GoldenEye, which as you know is a typical old-school official “making-of” book with loads of pictures, interviews and details of the shooting.

Yet, that publication focused only on the filmmaking aspect and ignored many other aspects, like the historical background and a literary analysis of the story, not forgetting the influence of the video games which came between 1997 and 2011, after that book was published.

I was unsure at first, but Jack, a very good friend of mine who is also a proud Pierce Brosnan admirer, thought I should go for it. Also, I’ve been unemployed for a while, so I thought that it would be great if my GoldenEye knowledge could give me some bucks in the meantime. This is how The World of GoldenEye started on the first days of April 2019.

. . . . . . .

A GoldenEye of Inspiration

After a couple of rewatches of the film, and another read of John Gardner’s novelization, I decided to split the book in sections where I would expand many topics taken into account by GoldenEye: the Cold War, the 1990s generation and betrayal, as well as sections dedicated to the women of the film, the official and unofficial video games inspired by it and a retrospective look at the filmmaking process, where I note that a few things of the Daniel Craig movies have its origins in GoldenEye.

I was happy to see the expectation was high when I announced my project and I resorted to a certain Bond experts to give me a hand on their areas, like Matt Spaiser from The Suits of James Bond, Reuben Wakeman from Toys of Bond, and Yannick Zenhäusern and Ben Colclough, who are both working on the upcoming GoldenEye 25 unofficial PC game coming in 2022. Every Bond web site owes something to Kimberly Last’s legendary 007 site from 1994, so of course she has also contributed to the book in a way. And I didn’t forget Derek Lyons, a regular Bond actor, who has appeared as a casino guest in the movie and kindly shared some anecdotes with me.

I know many people were surprised that I have completed the whole book in about a month, wondering if there are just words of praise for more than 100 pages. Of course not, the analysis is in-depth and very rational, plus some of the subjects (like the Cossack betrayal at Lienz) have been investigated by me in 2014 when I started to write my first article for MI6 Confidential magazine, that was published on August 2015. This time, I expanded on that subject and went to look up some other facts, namely the 1991 coup against Mikhail Gorbachov, where General Ourumov took part according to his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it dossier.

Nicolas Suszczyk and his collection of GoldenEye 007 merchandise
Nicolas Suszczyk and his collection of GoldenEye 007 merchandise

The World of GoldenEye will be out on June 8, 2019, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Pierce Brosnan’s announcement as James Bond.

Paperback and digital editions will be available, the latter can be pre-ordered now on Amazon. Please take into account that the book is printed and shipped exclusively by Amazon, it’s an “on demand” publishing service they have. Much to my chagrin, the book will have no film stills to avoid paying royalties or copyright claims, but hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy the evocative cover artwork I myself designed. As Spanish is my main language, I’m already working on a translation which will be out later this year. I know how collectors are because I’m a collector myself, so there is a different cover artwork for the Spanish language version. Hopefully, it can be translated in other languages in the future, as well as making a second edition one day.

Either way, I hope you will enjoy reading my thoughts of this fantastic and timeless James Bond adventure that changed my life for good and, perhaps see the story in a more intellectual way. This is also a tribute to all the Bond fans that grew up in the 1990s like me, so the book goes especially for them. Even though about to fall into the abyss of 30, we’ll never stop being kids whenever we exchange Klobb and Golden Gun shots on a GoldenEye 007 match.

As I write these lines, I’m on the phase where half of everything is luck. We’ll see what fate has to do with it in the following months.

~ Nicolás Suszczyk


Universal Exports is the world’s oldest James Bond fansite.

Established in 1996, it features thousands of pages about the cinematic and literary adventures of Agent 007.

Since it’s inception, UnivEx has been a site for the fans.

That’s why you’re encouraged to submit articles, artwork, or anything else you want to share about James Bond.

Reach out for more info.


Follow UnivEx on Facebook

 

This never happened to the other fella.