This week, Inner Toob is also paying tribute to another 50th anniversary - the first James Bond movie, "Dr. No", opened in theaters 50 years ago this coming Friday. So I thought it might be nice to combine the two... and 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' gave me the perfect opportunity with an episode about a spy named Bond....
Here's a summary of the episode "The Man From My Uncle", written by "Huggo" for the IMDb:
It's the beginning of a three day weekend for Rob,and he's in a giddy mood because of it. His mood is heightened when Mr. Phillips, a federal agent, stops by wanting to use their house as a stake-out post to watch the goings-on of their neighbor, Mr. Gerard. It isn't Mr. Gerard they are after, but his criminal nephew. Laura doesn't really like the idea of their house being used for a stake-out, but Rob thrives on the idea of a little excitement. Believing it being for the public good, they agree. The agent they send is Harry Bond. While Laura generally feels nervous not only with Harry in the house but also with a criminal possibly in their neighbor, Rob can't help but get in Harry's way while he tries to act the spy. But when a little trouble may be brewing at Gerard's house, Rob may have to get involved in the surveillance, as Harry is suffering not only from over-exposure to Rob, but a massive toothache.
When I was a kid, I loved this episode, and most of that was due to Godfrey Cambridge as the guest star. As an adult, I can see its flaws - it's one of the more far-fetched episodes from the fifth season, after Carl Reiner walked away from overseeing the entire production and everybody was feeling the strain of being the best for so long. Plus there was the allure of the big screen for two of them.....
James Bond was the overall inspiration for the episode - after all, the spy in question was named Bond... Harry Bond. But the episode title was also a play on NBC's espionage hit 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' And with Godfrey Cambridge in the guest role as Bond, the show may have been tipping its hat to the role played by Bill Cosby in 'I Spy', which was ground-breaking in its day. (Bond, Harry Bond, was a spy more in keeping with the likes of John Drake of NATO and MI6 rather than like Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin of U.N.C.L.E.)
“Hey, Mr. Bond – I took a picture with this infrared camera.”
“Well...of you sleeping.”
“Mr. Petrie, why did you do that?”
The episode aired on April 20, 1966. If it took place in the Toobworld timeline around that same time, and because Rob Petrie was so enthusiastic about the whole spy business and all its trappings, then it's likely he had seen the following James Bond movies at the local theater in New Rochelle:
- "Dr. No" (1962)
- "From Russia With Love" (1963)
- "Goldfinger" (1964)
- "Thunderball" (1965)
And he was probably looking forward to seeing "You Only Live Twice" the following year.
James Bond exists in Toobworld, thanks to the 'Climax!' episode "Casino Royale" which was an adaptation of the first book by Ian Fleming. But the movies were fictions created as part of an elaborate cover story for 007 so that any mention of his exploits in the "real" world of Earth Prime-Time would be discounted as coming from people who confuse reality with what they see on the movie screen.
So, technically, it was pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, as Muskie Muskrat would say, that Rob Petrie might have crossed paths with James Bond at some point in Toobworld. What James Bond would look like however? After all, it was just a cover identity adopted by British Intelligence in tribute to the American "Jimmy Bond", an agent for Combined Intelligence. (I have no evidence that the British James Bond ever looked like Sean Connery in Toobworld. As it stands now, the best of all Bonds in the movies may have only been a role played by the televersion of Sean Connery.....)
But it was more likely that this weekend experience was going to be the closest Rob ever came to a spy named Bond.
“Well, how can he spy with a bad tooth?”
“Honey, those guys are trained to spy
with bamboo shoots under their fingernails.”