I wrote and contributed to books on film and worked in the modeling and film industries. I like to share insights into both businesses.
James Bond Years
No Time to Die, also known as James Bond 25, will arrive in movie theaters while achieving the record of most movies ever produced by one franchise.
This article will look at some of the historical facts about James Bond.
By the permission of MGM, you will read, view photos, and watch video clips on historical facts of the author, Ian Fleming, producers, directors, writers, and actors behind the creation of the ever suave James Bond.
1. Longest Produced Franchise
James Bond ranks as one of the most productive franchises and the longest-running franchise ever, with 24 films produced and the 25th, No Time to Die, ready to be released.
2. When Was Ian Fleming Born?
Ian Lancaster Fleming was born on May 28, 1908, and passed away on August 12, 1964. He left behind a genuine legacy of what it means to be a confident man who is stylish, charming, suave, and debonair as 007.
3. Fleming Worked in British Intelligence
The story of Fleming’s life holds intrigue and flair, just like his fictional character. In 1942 in Jamaica, Fleming arrived to meet his American opposite from the Office of Naval Intelligence, where he stayed with fellow Eton College and childhood friend, Ivar Bryce.
Bryce’s second wife owned a house in Jamaica, and Fleming was impressed with the location. After visiting the island, Fleming assured Bryce that when the war was over, he would come back, construct a house, and live on the island.
4. Fleming Designed and Built His Home in Jamaica
He returned to the island in 1946 and purchased an abandoned donkeys' racetrack that overlooked the North Atlantic Ocean near Ochoa Rios, Oracabessa Bay.
He constructed his villa near the edge of a cliff with a view of his private beach. He named his villa "Goldeneye" and conceived and drew the plans himself with the intent of being economical with space in general. He commented, "Who wants a big bedroom?" This economy about space encompassed his kitchen area, too.
He went without glass windows and favored the tropical breezes to drift through the house. He designed conventional slatted louvers that folded back into the border of the window frame.
5. How Did Fleming Come up with "Goldeneye"?
"Goldeneye" came from one of the campaigns Fleming worked on during World War II, and he, by coincidence, was reading Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCuller. The first stages of Goldeneye seemed barren and gloomy with lots of promise.
6. Playwright and Actor Noel Coward Was Goldeneye's First Tenant
In 1948, playwright, director, and actor Noel Coward, who was Fleming’s friend, came to visit and subsequently turn out to be his first occupant paying a mere £50 a week.
7. Goldeneye Has a Private Beach
He positioned the main house near where he hiked down to the private beach to fish and swim. He hollowed out a large area at the top of the cliff, designed a sunken garden, added a table, and chairs under a sunshade. He finalized the beach area by building concrete and rock stairs to access the beach.
8. Violet Cummings Was His Housekeeper
Fleming hired Violet Cummings, who was a local from north shore Jamaican. She became his devoted housekeeper at Goldeneye for 17 years.
9. Fleming Married Lady Ann Rothermere
His imminent wife, Lady Ann Rothermere, first visited Goldeneye in 1948. Fleming and Ann married off the coast about 18 miles from the villa in a small town called Port Maria in March 1952. Their only son, Caspar, arrived five months later in London, August 1952.
10. "Casino Royale" Was the First James Bond Book
Fleming’s first James Bond novel Casino Royale was written at Goldeneye in 1952 and published in 1953. Every successive Bond book was penned at Goldeneye.
11. Origin of James Bond Name
The source of Fleming choosing the hero’s name comes from the name of the author of his ‘Jamaican bible,’ A Field Guide to the Birds of the West Indies, by James Bond, who happens to be an American ornithologist.
12. Fleming Wrote 14 Stories About James Bond, 007
Fleming wrote 12 novels and two collections of short stories in Jamaica. All 14 stories were about James Bond.
13. Fleming Wrote on a Gold-Plated Typewriter
He rewarded himself for his completion of Casino Royale by purchasing a custom-made typewriter he shipped from New York via Royal Typewriter Company.
The typewriter was a distinctive gold-plated version of its Quiet de Luxe model, costing $174. Casino Royale is by far his best James Bond book. If you plan to read a James Bond book, read Royale because Bond is vulnerable and genuinely falls in love.
14. Fleming's Writing Routine Described in Playboy Magazine
His writing habits sounded manageable as he described them in the 1964 Playboy article. His routine consisted of writing on an average of 2000 words a day.
The majority of his writing occurred at 10 a.m. after he swam in the ocean, had breakfast, and leisure time in the garden.
He wrote without stopping or looking over what he wrote. If he made a mistake, he would fix it when the book finished.
He spent the afternoon lounging with his wife, have a few drinks, takes a nap, and eat dinner. When the sun went down, it was dark, he pounded out 500 more words, placing his seven pages neatly in a folder.
15. Second Novel Arrived in the Bookstores in 1954
Fleming’s second novel Live and Let Die arrived in bookstores 5 April 1954. The story involves exotic locations in Jamaican similar to the sixth novel he wrote and hit the bookstores in 1957 called Dr. No.
16. Famous People Visited Goldeneye
Goldeneye honored famous visitors, including Noel Coward, Anthony Eden, Cecil Beaton, Truman Capote, Errol Flynn, Evelyn Waugh, and Lucian Freud.
17. Goldeneye Is Owned by Former Film Locations Manager
The villa changed ownership a couple of times and is currently owned and managed by Island Outpost, owned by Chris Blackwell, former movie locations manager and owner of Records. People come, and vacation at Goldeneye promoted as a secluded location with sufficient privacy.
18. Who Produced the First James Bond Movie?
The first movie of the 007 films is Dr. No, produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R Broccoli based on Fleming’s sixth novel, starring Sean Connery.
19. Who Directed "Dr. No?"
Terence Young directed Dr. No and From Russia With Love, the first two James Bond movies. The last Bond movie he directed was Thunderball.
20. Jamaica Movie Location
Because of Fleming's second two novels used locations in Jamaica, when the movies went into production, they shot both at various locations in Jamaica.
21. How Many Jamaicans Worked on "Dr. No?"
The first Bond movie hired roughly 500 local Jamaican actors and crew. The Jamaican government supported the production from beginning to end.
22. "Dr. No" Went into Production
Dr. No went into production, and the first day of filming started on the topic island under a production budget of $1 million. Reggie Carter, one of Jamaica’s leading theatre actors, played the maleficent chauffeur, and Miss Jamaica 1961 Marguerite LeWars played the Freelance Photographer.
23. Blackwell Represented Bob Marley
Fleming’s neighbor and friend Chris Blackwell became the location manager for all the Jamaican locations filmed for the movie. From his earnings, Blackwell founded Island Records. The record production company that presented to the reggae using artists including Bob Marley.
24. Noel Coward Offered the Role of Dr. No
Producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman wanted Noel Coward to play Dr. No, but when Fleming cabled his Jamaican neighbor with the offer, Coward responded, “…No…No…No! Thank you. Love, Noel.”
25. Ursula Andress White Bkini Scene
Costume designer for Dr. No was Tessa Prendergast, who is Jamaican actress Tessa Welborn, the fashion designer. She oversaw the costume designs for Dr. No. She assisted in creating the famous white bikini worn by Ursula Andress when she surfaces from the ocean. She won a Golden Globe for her role.
26. Sean Connery Resided at Courleigh Manor Hotel
Sean Connery, stunt coordinator Bob Simmons, and Terence Young arrived on the island a week before the first day of filming. They booked rooms at the Courtleigh Manor Hotel. The remainder of the cast and crew arrived on 14 January.
27. Monty Norman Used Local Bands as Part of the Movie's Music
The movie's music composer, Monty Norman, blended the Jamaica vibe into the movie's score by working with Chris Blackwell, the locations manager. He presented Norman some local flavor, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires. The band appears in Pussfella's bar scene. They play "Jump Up" to a bar full of island extras as Connery, who plays Bond, John Kitzmiller, who plays Quarrel, and Jack Lord, who plays Leiter, meet to consult the disappearance of Strangways.
28. Norman's Wife Sings "Under the Mango Tree"
The band included Jamaican jazz guitarist Ernest Ranglin, who backed Norman’s wife, Diana Coupland singing ‘Under the Mango Tree’ in Dr. No.
29. Bunny Yeager Photographed Andress
Bunny Yeager, a former pin-up model, and American glamour photographer came on location to shoot promotional photos of Ursula Andress. In 1966, Yeager issued her book Camera in Jamaica, which includes several photos taken when she worked on-site during the filming of Dr. No.
30. The First Time Ian Fleming Came on a Bond Set
During the shooting of famous Andress, as Honey Ryder walking out of the ocean in a white bikini on the island, director Terence Young recalled working on the scene, he saw some folks walking down the beach, ruining the shot. He screamed, "Lie down!" They laid down, and the film crew shot the iconic scene. It turned out to be Ian Fleming with his friends, Stephen Spender, Noel Coward, and Peter Cornell. It went down as the first time Fleming came on a Bond set.
31. "Dr. No" Final Location Shot in Jamaica
February 21, 1962, the final day of filming on location in Jamaica occurred on the property of the Sans Souci Hotel, which the exterior part became Miss Taro’s house.
32. Who directed "Live and Let Die?"
Live and Let Die was Guy Hamilton's third Bond movie. He directed Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever before he took on Live and Let Die. His final Bond movie was The Man with the Golden Gun.
33. Did Sean Connery star in "Live and Let Die"
Roger Moore played James Bond in Live and Let Die. It was his first Bond movie.
34. San Monique Became the Fictional Name Island of Jamaica
November 14, 1972, registered the first day of filming of Live and Let Die on location in Jamaica. The filming occurred on the coast a short distance past Reynolds Aluminium on the road of Ocho Rios towards St. Anne’s Bay. The next location of that day was the interior and exterior shots of Hotel Reception and Tarot Card Shop using the Sans Souci Hotel, Ocho Rios.
35. "Trespassers Will Be Eaten"
Syd Cain scouted locations on the island and came across "Trespassers Will Be Eaten." His interest aroused, he took a tour of Kananga's Swamp Safari with its owner. The location became part of the movie with scenes added to the script, changing the name to "Jakata."
36. Stunt Double in Crocodile Scene
The owner of the swamp, Ross Kananga, joined the movie crew as Bond's body double for the crocodile stepping stone scene. He had to run over the backs of real crocodiles lined up for the shot.
On the third try, a crocodile whipped around and bit off the heel of his shoe. Ross concluded, "They're expecting me."
Guy Hamilton told Ross it was too dangerous to continue, but Ross wanted to get the shot. They tried again and got it.
37. The Double-Decker Bus Chase Scene
The double-decker bus chase scene required a bus converted to make the stunt happen without difficulties. The production built the bus in London, shipping it to a location in Johnson Town, Lucea, on the island.
Bond drove the bus beneath a low-lying bridge, using a sliding mechanism to enable the top deck a clean slice off when the bus hits the bridge.
Not only was the bus customized made, but so was the bridge. Syd Cain devised it, and Leon Davis oversaw the installation of the complete steel framework. All went well in the first take, and the effects looked both humorous and magnificent.
38. The Bus Driver Rehearsed for Six Weeks
Maurice Patchett, who is a bus instructor, drove the double-decker bus in the chase sequence practiced in Jamaica for six weeks before shooting the stunt.
39. "Live and Let Die" Last Day in Jamaica
The last day of filming in Jamaica was December 27, 1972, at the Jamaica Swamp Safari, Falmouth with Ross Kananga.
40. Which Studio Produced the James Bond Movies?
All of the James Bond films were produced with the collaboration of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios or United Artists, its forerunner.
43. San Monique in "Live and Let Die" is Fictional
Jamaica as Live and Let Die filming location for the fictional San Monique island was not a shoo-in. Director Hamilton, Art Director Syd Cain, and Production Manager Claude Hudson used three weeks of scouting various locations in the Caribbean before settling on Fleming's homestead island.
44. Bond's First Interacial Romance
On November 15, 1972, Roger Moore and Rosie Carver, as Gloria Hendry, perform their first romantic kiss at the picnic scene in a clearing located at Ruins, Ocho Rios. The scene marks the first interracial affair in a Bond movie.
45. Dereking Meddings Created Scarecrow Mannequins
Derek Meddings recognized for his miniature work on Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, and Stingray. Live And Let Die recorded as his first attempt on Bond movies. Meddings and Peter Briggs designed the scarecrow mannequins that frighten Rosie in the romantic scene with Bond.
Richard Kiel played Jaws, and only wore his metal teeth for 30 seconds for each scene. The Pyramids scene in The Spy Who Loved Me, where he bites through the chain, was designed out of licorice.
47. How Many Actors Played James Bonds?
Which 007 is your favorite? Seven handsome actors played James Bond, including David Niven, Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton, and Daniel Craig.
48. How Tall is James Bond?
Daniel Craig is the shortest James Bond to date, standing at 5'10". The other Bonds reached 6'1" to 6'2".
49. James Bond Women
Bond has been intimate with over four dozen women on screen with over 75 Bond Girls, and two-thirds of those lovers attempted to kill him. Ursula Andress was the first Bond Girl, creating a high standard for her successors.
50. James Bond is Scottish
When James Bond was 11 years old, his parents were killed in a mountain climbing accident. His father was Scottish and his mother Swiss mother.
51. How Times Has 007 Been Shot At?
After being shot at roughly 5,000 times as an agent for his Majesty's Secret Service, Bond keeps on saving the world.
52. Moore Needed Running Double
Roger Moore required a body double to run for all of his movies because unsure of his awkward run.
53. James Bond Vodka
James Bond’s drink of preference is a martini with vodka shaken not stirred. The favorite drink contains 130 calories, just enough to burn during a romantic tumble.
54. Weapons Training
During the filming of Skyfall, the cast and crew hired 200,000 rounds of ammunition just while performing weapons training.
55. Smoking in the Movies
James Bond smokes a cigarette in almost every scene, recorded to have light up 70 cigarettes a day, painfully 3.5 packs a day. Bond stopped smoking in front of the camera after Die Another Day, though he smoked a cigar. Daniel Craig hasn't lit up yet on camera.
56. James Bond MI16
The actuality of MI6, the agency 007 works for in the movies, was formally recognized by the British government in 1994.
57. James Bond Car
Pierce Brosnan starred as 007 in Tomorrow Never Dies, where he destroyed more than 15 BMWs
58. James Bond Card Game
Ian Fleming wrote in his books that James Bond enjoys a good card game of baccarat. We see him playing the game in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Dr. No, Thunderball, Goldeneye, and Never Say Never Again.
59. How Many Books Mention 007?
The 007 appeared in 25 additional authorized books, delivering a total of being written in 39 books if you include Ian Fleming's 14 novels.
60. What Type of Gun Did Bond Use?
In the first five books, Bond used a Beretta 418. The sixth book, Nr. No, Fleming changed his gun to a Walther PPK. The shift occurred after Fleming corresponded with a fan who was a veteran and gun collecter. He advised Fleming to have Bond use the latter gun speed and accuracy.
61. James Bond Villains
The villains in Fleming's books is what makes the stories so much fun to read and see on the big screen. Each villain is over the top entertainment and uniquely wicked, including Le Chiffre, Mr. Big, Sir Hugo Drax, Dr. Julius No, Auric Goldfinger, and Herr von Hammerstein.
62. Die Another Day
Starting with the first movie, Dr. No to Quantum of Solace, 007 killed 352 people in the films.
63. Discovery of Sean Connery
Producer Cubby Broccoli saw Sean Connery in Darby O’Gill and the Little People and wanted to test his appeal to women and took his wife to the movie. and she became impressed.
64. Aston-Martin and Gadgets
The first Bond film to feature gadgets and having him drive an Aston-Martin was Goldfinger. The movie was the first film ever to use a laser beam.
65. Opening Credits Figure
The figure in the opening credits where the gun barrel opens is Stuntman Bob Simmons. He played the iconic part in the first three movies.
Blake Lively Talks about Barbara Broccoli as a Producer
The video below is Blake Lively talking about The Rhythm Section, a movie produced by the producers of Jame Bond Franchise. She shares her admiration working with Babara Broccoli, who leads the productions. Through Lively's complements and praise, it offers a general idea of why the 007 franchise has lasted so long.
- For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond - Ben Macintyre - Google Books
"I am going to write the spy story to end all spy stories." One morning in February 1952, a journalist called Ian Fleming sat down at his desk and set about creating a fictional secret agent.
- Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films - James Chapman - Google Books
The James Bond epic is the most popular film series in silver screen history: it’s estimated that a quarter of the world's population has seen a Bond feature.
Images, details, and videos are courtesy of MGM.
© 2019 Kenna McHugh
Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on December 02, 2019:
Helen, I glad you found it to be a pleasant read. The article is extensive due to the topic.
Helen on November 30, 2019:
I had a pleasant read and enjoyed all the photos and videos of former 007 movies. The franchise is rich with history as is the article, and I am amazed that the same family continues to produce the Bond movies.
Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on November 04, 2019:
Thank you for the comments. I grew up with the 007 movies as well, and they were never a disappointment.
Jamie on November 04, 2019:
Your article is full of information about the Bond movies, and I thoroughly enjoyed the images, too. I grew up going to Bond movies, they never let me down.
Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on October 28, 2019:
Linda, I found the research interesting, and MGM Studios helped a lot.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 26, 2019:
This is a very interesting article. Thanks for all the work that you did to create it, Kenna.
Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on October 25, 2019:
The timeline between each movie after the 80s is crazy. The earlier ones weren't so bad. They were a year apart.
Liz Westwood from UK on October 25, 2019:
This is a fascinating fact file. When my son was in need of a title for an English presentation, I suggested he discuss the enduring popularity of James Bond. He scored well with it. That was 15 years ago and James Bond is still going strong. I just get a little frustrated with the long wait between films.