Time was when I thought that just about the best thing in the world was my pop taking me to see a James Bond double feature. I related to Sean Connery about the same way that Bill Cosby and Woody Allen and folks of that generation related to Humphrey Bogart. I loved him. I idolized the hell out of him. I wanted to be him if at all possible. He was cool, he was sharp and he had this real charming twinkle in his eye even when he was tied up and about to be killed. Those movies affected me just like The Beatles - only more so. On top of the romance and the fun they had the element of dangerous excitement that no musicians could match, no matter how much sex and drugs they might ladle into the mix - it was just in a different realm of supposedly grown up adventure and that's really it: even with all the sex and drugs in the world, rock and roll is teenage kicks. James Bond and his world was what you could be and have when you had really grown up at last.
My imaginary hero in the third grade was a character I called J. B. He was as much like the famous agent as a third grader could make him. In my junior high school art class I did an illustrated advertisement depicting an imaginary Bond movie which screamed "JAMES IS BACK - AND HE'S BONDER THAN EVER!" I've read a good chunk of Ian Fleming's Bond books,
two of them while on my honeymoon. I used to watch the five Connery Bonds (excluding Diamonds Are Forever, which I never liked) and On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Diana Rigg Rules!) whenever they came on ABC TV. As the years went by, though I saw most of the other Bonds as a matter of course when they came out, I continued to see those six epics whenever they played in second run movie houses. I continued to watch 'em on TV. I rented and eventually bought the videos. You're gonna say I'm bullshitting but I'm not: I reckon that since seeing You Only Live Twice at the tender age of four I have seen each of these motion pictures THIRTY TIMES EACH! So let's see: 6 x 30=180. Each flick is roughly two hours long. 180 x 120 (minutes) = 21,600 minutes. I don't know whether I should be ashamed or proud of this fact but here it is: I have spent an astonishing 360 hours of my life watching James Bond movies. Talk about your "Seven Days of Bond" - try FIFTEEN! And not a paltry double feature every day for a week like on TBS, but the same six Bond adventures running back to back without a single commercial interruption or any kind of intermission, morning noon and night for fifteen straight days, nothing, absolutely nothing but BONDJAMESBONDJAMESBOND!!! Whew! Now THAT'S entertainment!
Add to this the hours spent dreaming and daydreaming about being Bond (not to mention the time it took to write and type this article) and you have to admit that you're dealing with a certified Bond fanatic. I believe I can stand nose to nose and eye to eye with any other Bondmaniac and not blink for any other reason than that my eyes are ruined from watching Bond movies and reading Bond books. Okay, you say, so what? So this, mothereffer: I feel, at this point, that my brain has been washed enough by Bond soapsuds - the romance, the cool, the danger, the thrills - to believe that it's somehow chic, exciting and groovy to be a secret agent. Although he's British, as an American lad I always felt he was just an American with a high-class accent, fighting to save you and me - America and England, in fact the whole of the free world including Japan, what the heck, throw in China and Russia too. A hero's a hero, right? Speaking of inclusiveness, I seem to remember there were always plenty of hippies at every Bond double feature. I have often wondered why they didn't yell something like "Racist Fascist Pig!" at the screen and storm self-righteously out of the theater! I guess his charm was so powerful that it reached across whatever barriers were there.
But just before I start swooning from that charm I wanna ask a question: What is a secret agent?