Monday, October 1, 2012


To kick off our salute to James Bond this week, here is the very first portrayal of the secret agent - and not just in Toobworld!


"Casino Royale"

Ian Fleming

Barry Nelson

Recastaway (Original)

Earth Prime-Time

From Wikipedia:
"Casino Royale" is a 1954 television adaptation of the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. The show is the first screen adaptation of a James Bond novel and stars Barry Nelson and Peter Lorre. Though this marks the first onscreen appearance of the character of James Bond, Nelson's character is played as an American agent with "Combined Intelligence" and is referred to as "Jimmy" by several characters.

The show was forgotten about after its initial showing until most of it was located in the 1980s by film historian Jim Schoenberger, with the ending (including credits) found afterwards. The rights to the programme were acquired by MGM at the same time as the rights for the 1967 film version of "Casino Royale", clearing the legal pathway and enabling them to make the 2006 film of the same name.

In 1954 CBS paid Ian Fleming $1,000 ($8,654 in 2012 dollars) to adapt his first novel, "Casino Royale", into a one-hour television adventure as part of their dramatic anthology series 'Climax Mystery Theater', which ran between October 1954 and June 1958. Due to the restriction of a one hour play, the adapted version lost many of the details found in the book, although it retained its violence, particularly in Act III.

The hour-long "Casino Royale" episode aired on 21 October 1954 as a live production and starred Barry Nelson as secret agent James Bond, with Peter Lorre in the role of Le Chiffre and was hosted by William Lundigan. The Bond character from "Casino Royale" was re-cast as an American agent, described as working for "Combined Intelligence", supported by the British agent, Clarence Leiter; "thus was the Anglo-American relationship depicted in the book reversed for American consumption".

David Cornelius of described it as an "anthology of suspense and mystery yarns performed live in the tradition of television's golden age." He remarked that "the first act freely gives in to spy pulp cliché" and noted that he believed Nelson was miscast and "trips over his lines and lacks the elegance needed for the role."

Still and all, this was the first James Bond. To fill in the blanks, the Toobworld splainin would be that Clarence Leiter was so impressed by Jimmy Bond's work on this case and by the notoriety it gained, that he suggested to the Home Minister (or whoever was in charge of Intelligence back then) that they should adopt the name of "James Bond" as a cover for their very best operative. That way, should "James Bond" be killed in the line of duty, they could then pass the name on to the next best, and so make it look as though he was virtually immortal and invulnerable. 

 (Leiter may have come up with the idea after reading how the same thing was done in the Wild, Wild West of Wyoming with a Sheriff Lom Trevors, a nom de guerre used by Marshall Dan Troop, Pearly Gates, and the Virginian when they worked undercover for Judge Garth, Governor of Wyoming.)

  • 'Climax!'
  • 'Alias Smith And Jones'
  • 'The Lawman'
  • 'The Virginian'
  • 'Maverick'

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