As we mentioned last week, the 23rd James Bond installment, Skyfall, just opened in the U.S., and what better time to test your knowledge about what we consider to be the reel 007. The earliest one.

Hello, everybody.  Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, hearkening back to the early-1960’s origins of the Ian Fleming spy series thanks to inspiration provided by a most entertaining article in the October issue of Vanity Fair. We like to think that the earlier titles in the series starring you-know-who are the best. Agree?

However you may regard Daniel Craig, the current Bond (and we have mixed feelings), Skyfall — directed by Sam Mendes and filmed in the U.K., Turkey and China — is well on its way to becoming the biggest franchise hit ever at the box office.

Enough about money.  Let’s get the answers to last week’s quiz. (And, we should add, as classic movie lovers, we take our inspiration from the Bond movies that star our man, Sean Connery.)

Question:  What was the verbal response from Terence Young, the director of the very first Bond movie, to the casting of Connery as 007?  1)” Terrific!” 2) “Interesting but he may need work” 3) “Oh, disaster, disaster!” or 4) “He’ll do”?

Answer: No. 3.  But Young calmed down, and proceeded to take Connery under his wing, molding him into the best of the Bonds, in our opinion.

Question: Who did novelist Fleming prefer to play the leading role? 1) Cary Grant, 2) David Niven, 3) Charles Laughton, or 4) Laurence Olivier?

Answer:  Niven or Grant.  The novelist felt Connery just wasn’t classy enough.  He was wrong. (By the way, it would have been a hoot to see Laughton as 007.)

Question: Which movie launched Connery into the Bond role? 1) Operation Snafu, 2) Macbeth, 3) Darby O’Gill and the Little People, or 4) Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure.

Answer:  No. 3, a forgettable 1959 Disney live-action item.  When producer Albert Broccoli’s wife, Dana, spotted Connery in the movie, she is said to have exclaimed, “That’s our Bond.”

Question: Which of the early Bond “girls” was described as even more beautiful in real life except that she had “a voice like a Dutch comic?”  1) Claudine Auger, 2) Shirley Eaton, 3) Daniela Bianchi or 4) Ursula Andress?

Answer:  No. 4.  Andress’s lines in Dr. No were consequently dubbed by another actress.

Question:  It may surprise you to learn that novelist Ian Fleming had trouble selling his books to Hollywood. Which producer told Fleming in the beginning that “these books are not even good enough for television?” 1) Mike Todd, 2) Joseph E. Levine, 3) Otto Preminger or 4) Irving Allen.

Answer: No. 4, who was Broccoli’s business partner.  Boy, was he wrong.

Question:  Which late night tv comic passionately kissed a Bond “girl” on camera to express his enthusiasm for the early pictures in the 007 series? 1) Jack Paar, 2) Ernie Kovacs, 3) Arthur Godfrey or 4) Johnny Carson?

Answer: No. 4.  Carson had a real thing for actress Honor Blackman, who played “Pussy Galore” in 1964’s Goldfinger. To promote the movie on his TV show, Carson insisted that Blackman recreate an athletic seduction move from the picture, after which he “passionately kissed me at the end, which wasn’t planned.”

Question:  Which actor, who later played Bond, was originally considered for the role of 007?

Answer:  Roger Moore.

Question:  Sean Connery and his Dr. No leading lady, Ursula Andress, become engaged while making the picture? True or false?

Answer:  False. The Switzerland-born actress was married at the time to actor John Derek.

Question:  Which principal cast member of the early Bond films described the 007 role as that of a “dull, prosaic English policeman?” 1) Robert Shaw, 2) Harold Sakata, 3) Sean Connery or 4) Gerte Frobe?

Answer: No. 3, our Bond himself.

Question:  In the mid-Fifties, CBS aired a TV adaptation of Casino Royale.  Who played Bond? 1) Ben Gazzara, 2) Dan Duyrea, 3) Paul Newman or 4) Barry Nelson?

Answer:  No. 4, Barry Nelson.

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