Spies, pizza, popcorn & Christmas | Columns
Gary D. and I just watched “No Time to Die”, the latest (and possibly the last) Bond movie. It was full of the usual car chases, close-up escapes, pretty girls, shootouts, heroes and villains, and the infamous British super spy, code number 007: Bond, James Bond. In 1952, British writer Ian Fleming began writing his first book, “Casino Royale”, as a distraction from his upcoming nuptials, by typing a “spy thriller” directly from his own experiences and imagination. He finished work on the manuscript in a little over a month, but thought it was a “dreadful oafish opus.” Not so. Fleming went on to write 12 bestselling novels, two of which were published after his death.
Commander (Royal Navy Reserve) Bond was a composite character based on the commandos that Fleming knew in his naval intelligence division during World War II. In creating Bond, Fleming added his own style and a number of his own tastes to his iconic protagonist. The consistent character traits of Literary Bond are found in the books and movies, including the love of fast cars (preferably Aston Martin), gadgets, expensive food and drink, beautiful women, and average consumption. 60 custom cigarettes per day. This cigarette fetish was not echoed in later Bond films, but Bond’s drink of choice, a vodka martini, “shaken, not shaken,” appears in every movie. Who hasn’t cited this line at least 100 times?
I’ve been a Bond fan since the first of Fleming’s books-to-movies, “Dr. No,” came out in 1962. Everyone has a favorite Bond, but – in my opinion – Scottish actor Sean Connery was the super. superlative spy. No one could send a villain or romanticize a beautiful woman with more panache than Sean Connery. He starred in the first five films, “Dr. Non,” “From Russia with Love,” “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” and “You Only Live Twice.” After a dismal performance by George Lazenby (“On the Secret Service of Her Majesty ”) in 1969, Connery returned in 1971 in“ Diamonds are forever ”before leaving James Bond forever in his rearview mirror.
Pierce Brosnan approaches the unbeatable Connery as a good-natured and captivating Bond. He was sensational during his five year career as 007 and took Bond to, shall we say, a spicy life from 1995 to 2002 in “GoldenEye,” “Tomorrow Never Dies,” “The World Is Not Enough. not ”and“ Die another day. “
Roger Moore’s Bond was popular and he played the sweet spy in seven films from 1973 to 1986. Despite his authentic British accent, I was never able to really focus on him as Bond. Maybe it has something to do with time: I raised two children and worked full time during those years. Then we were in “ET, the alien”. Moore perfected his craft at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he was a classmate of his future Bond co-star, Lois Maxwell, the original Miss Moneypenny. While there, Moore developed the Mid-Atlantic accent and relaxed demeanor that became his on-screen character. Moore was a good actor, but he didn’t act for five years after playing James Bond. I liked him as Beau Maverick in the Western TV series “Maverick”. A remarkable fact: Sir Roger Moore was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2003 for his work with charities.
I was not really happy to learn that Daniel Craig was to play James Bond. That’s until I see it in “Casino Royale”. More than enough, I say! Craig captured the essence of Bond from 2006-2021, starring in “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace,” “Skyfall” (oh, how we cried when Judith Denche’s M died in Bond’s arms! ) “Specter” and “No Time to Die.” “Skyfall” won two Oscars, two BAFTA Awards and two Grammy Awards. It was the 14th and only James Bond film to gross over $ 1 billion worldwide.It became the seventh highest grossing film of all time, the highest grossing UK film, the highest grossing film in the series, the highest grossing film in the world for Sony Pictures and MGM and second highest grossing film of 2012. So there, Daniel Craig reviews! It will be interesting to see how “No Time to Die” ranks in the accolades department. I thought it was superb.
What’s your favorite Bond? Bond’s favorite villain? Favorite line of movies? My favorite villain was the sadistic and psychopathic gold mogul Auric Goldfinger in the movie of the same name. “Goldfinger” came to the Fairmont Theater in 1964, my freshman year in high school. I loved the opening sequence, the musical score and I was horrified when Bond girl Jill Masterson is painted entirely in gold paint and, according to Bond, dies of “skin suffocation”. My favorite line is also from Goldfinger. James Bond: “Do you expect me to speak? Auric Goldfinger: “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die. Classic!
007 wouldn’t be caught eating pizza, but October is National Pizza Month here in the United States! Authentic Italian dishes are made from a few ingredients with just the right amount of seasoning, and that goes for pizza. Some pizzerias create unique pies that are not always offered. For example, mom Mia! Pizza Kitchen in Levelland, Texas has already created a pizza made with rattlesnake meat to celebrate the month. I’ll skip that one. Fortunately, our region has several excellent pizzerias. At the Fairmont, there is the Italian cuisine of Muriale, Mama di Roma and that of Colassessano. In Clarksburg, enjoy a delicious pie at Vito’s, Gino’s, Tubby’s Café or Mia Margharita. I want a piece of Vito’s Sicilian square right now! Of course, several convenient chain pizzerias are also available. You say to-my-to, I say to-mah-to.
October is also National Poppin Popcorn Month, National Pork Month, and National Seafood Month. I’m not going to expose these culinary observances because I’m on a diet and thinking about food makes me want to eat. to eat food. Fortunately, popcorn is a diet-approved snack. Unfortunately for me that means no butter or salt.
It’s only October, but soon Christmas will magically appear in our local retail locations. So mark your calendar now for an online Christmas event. On Sunday, December 12, from 6 pm to 8 pm EST, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will be presented live on stage from the Rosemont Theater in Rosemont, Illinois. This traveling production of Charles M. Schulz’s beloved Christmas story features everyone’s favorite Peanuts gang – Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally and more, all led by the lovable Charlie Brown – as they learn about the true meaning of Christmas. Enjoy the timeless story that showcases the unforgettable music of Vince Guaraldi performed by an ensemble of three live musicians. Here is the link to watch the production online: https://www.facebook.com/santaliveonline4k.