MI6 steps back in time to 1965 to witness the
first wave of James Bond toys and merchandise that
took the world by storm...
Time Tunnel: The Bond Market
4th October 2007
Dedicated James Bond fans have been hoarding
007-themed goodies for the last four decades, but when did 007
first infiltrate the boxes under the Christmas tree? MI6 steps
in time to investigate exactly how the Bond phenomenon hit the
1964 sees Goldfinger rush
headlong into theatres across the globe and for many at the time,
the third Bond picture dispels the false cynicism that 007 is
simply a passing fancy. It is this point that Bond merchandise
is beginning to flood the stores and there is simply
no looking back for 007! In February 1965, Time Magazine
reported on the global phenomenon.
Above: "James Bond Secret Agent
007 Game" by Milton Bradley, released in 1964
James Bond has broken up some ambitious
conspiracies in his time, but none quite so devilishly capable
of realization as the one he is involved in right now. As a
man of action and the good life, the dashing secret agent created
by Ian Fleming has grown so popular, through twelve books and
three movies, that entrepreneurs in some 70 countries are moving
in to make a profit on his reputation.
From London to Los Angeles
Everything from suits and trenchcoats to cuff links and toiletries is going
on sale under the James Bond label of 007—the digits that authorize
Bond to kill. In Britain, where the Bond market will reach $14 million
this year, promoters have lined up 20 licensed manufacturers for shoes,
vodka and golf equipment, are now negotiating with one of London's largest
tailors. In Italy, while philosophers ponder the meaning of Bond as the
modern hero, the manufacturers are trying to grab licenses for 007 products.
Berettas & Bedsheets
In one of the greatest promotional drives ever staged, 3,500 stores throughout
France will soon pack counters and racks with Bond-inspired goods. Last week
Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris opened a special Bond Boutique
featuring gold-colored mannequins and 007 clothing and jewelry. After a market
study found Bond France's top "identification phenomenon" with
men 30 to 35 years old, 14 manufacturers obtained licenses to use the 007
label. A Frenchman can put on 007 pajamas and slide in between James Bond
bedsheets; he can also buy the woman in his life gold-colored underwear,
an 007 negligee or a short Secret Agent Baby Doll nightie.
The U.S. is marked as the biggest target of all. Colgate-Palmolive
is test-marketing an 007 line of men's toiletries "that
make any man dangerous."
Above: Milton Bradley's "Thunderball"
jigsaw puzzle released in 1965
Above: Arrow's "From Russia With
Love" jigsaw puzzle released in 1964
In May, Revere Knitting Mills will
bring out knit shirts with the numerals 007 embroidered on them.
Spatz Bros, of New York is making a new 007 trench-coat with
secret pockets, throws a plastic Beretta into the bargain. Weldon
Manufacturing is planning his and hers pajamas with secret pockets,
and Harry Diamond Corp. is making 007 swimsuits and sports shirts.
Angostura Bitters has begun pushing an 007 drink—gin or
vodka with lemon juice, sugar, soda and two dashes of bitters—served,
naturally, in a Baccarat highball glass. . For younger Bondsmen,
Multiple Products plans to market a toy attache case, complete
with a four-piece toy sniper rifle, plastic dagger, decoding
machine and a "searchproof" lock that, if tampered
with, triggers a cap-firing device. Last week Roulette released
a new rock'n'roll recording, Double-O-Seven, the lament of a
young man whose "baby went and fell in love with Double-OSeven."
Above: Airfix 1/24 scale construction
kit of James Bond's gadget-festooned Aston Martin DB5,
first available in 1967
The mastermind of this international conspiracy is
Mervyn Brodie, 42, a Briton who wears Savile Row suits in the
Bond manner but has a sharper eye than Bond for figures—profit
figures. An avid reader of Bond, he got the idea for using him
commercially, persuaded the movie producers and the two companies
that own the rights to the Fleming books to go along in return
for a share of the royalties. Brodie plans to use the Bond image
to attract nearly all age groups. He figures that young fans,
the six-twelve group (whose sizes are labeled 0031), buy the
toys and clothes because of Bond's way with guns and fast cars.
The older fans, called the "kiss-kiss" group, are sold
by the suave man-of-the-world Bond. So far, Brodie has been too
busy to figure out how to exploit Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, Ian
Fleming's Bond-like book for children. Give him time.
Above: Corgi's first 007-licenced
product was the James Bond Aston Martin DB5 first issued
in 1965. It features a rear bulletproof shield this
springs up into position from the rear boot lid, an
ejector seat that fires the passenger through the opening
sunroof and machine guns that emerge from the front
indicators. The model also came with a Secret Instructions
envelope containing a spare ejector seat baddie, secret
instructions leaflets and a 007 lapel badge.
40 years later and nothing has changed. 007
has a worldwide following and fans are prepared to part with
their top dollar
to have a slice of James Bond merchandise. When Casino
Royale hit the theatres in 2006, poker
kits, DVD sets, collecting
cards, sunglasses and
even laptop computers were
in hot demand. It seems that everything Bond touches turns to gold.
James Bond Time Tunnel