Ian Fleming and Playboy

2nd October 2017

For Playboy readers in America, the magazine was often their first introduction to James Bond before the film franchise began

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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James Bond and Playboy magazine have had a long history together. It started in 1960 when the magazine negotiated rights to first publish Ian Fleming's new 007 short story 'The Hildebrand Rarity' in its March 1960 issue. Illustrated by Allan Phillips, for many Americans it was their first introduction to James Bond. The story would be published a month later in the short story collection 'For Your Eyes Only' in April 1960. Coincidentally, the issue also featured a pictorial of Jill St. John, who would go on to become play Tiffany Case in 1971's 'Diamonds Are Forever'.

It was not for another three years in April 1963, when the first James Bond film 'Dr. No' was about to open in America, did Playboy return to Ian Fleming's creation. In the meantime, Bond on the page had become popularized by President John F. Kennedy. When the hardback first edition of 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' went on sale in the UK, Playboy serialized the novel for American audiences over the April, May and June 1963 issues. The novel was later published by New American Library in August that year.

Playboy illustration for The Property of a Lady
Playboy illustration for The Property of a Lady

As Bond fever was ramping up, 1964 saw five issues contain Ian Fleming content. The January issue published the short story 'The Property of a Lady,' which Fleming had written in 1963 as a commission by Sotheby's (it was later released in the collection 'Octopussy and The Living Daylights' in 1966). Fleming's penultimate full-length novel, 'You Only Live Twice', was syndicated over three issues in April, May, and June 1964, and the author was paid $35,000 for the rights. Fleming died in August. Playboy ended the year with an in-depth interview with Fleming published posthumously in their December issue.

Playboy illustration for You Only Live Twice
Playboy illustration for You Only Live Twice

1965 saw the syndication of Fleming's final novel 'The Man With The Golden Gun' over its April, May, June, and July issues. It was published in the US in hardback a month later. With the literary adventures seemingly at an end and the cinematic fan base for 007 reaching epic proportions, Playboy switched their focus to Bond on the silver screen for its November 1965 issue.

Playboy illustration for The Man With The Golden Gun
Playboy illustration for The Man With The Golden Gun

Playboy's publication of Ian Fleming writing came to a close in 1966 with the syndication of his final short story 'Octopussy' in the March and April issues. Fleming had written the short story in 1962 and had been previously serialized by the Daily Express in the UK in October 1965.

All Playboy Issues With Ian Fleming Content

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