Guests began arriving in Chicago, Illinois as early as Wednesday evening to scope out the city as featured in Ian Fleming’s travelogue Thrilling Cities and the big screen version of The Untouchables starring Sean Connery. Bondian coincidences abounded over the course of the Weekend; citing just two, a pair of hosts heard Nobody Does It Better in Due, the original Chicago pizzeria, while attendees Randy and Cathy Patterson were bemused to hear a sermon citing “James Bond” as a model of non-committal love in an early Sunday service!
Friday morning dawned on fans from both coasts and as far away as Canada, France, and Japan enjoying small talk while sharing photo albums and memories in our stately host hotel, The Seneca. This four-star hotel—one short block off both the famous Magnificent Mile and Lake Michigan and adjacent to the 100-story Hancock Building—featured one- and two-room suites discounted for our attendees. Guests roamed the waterfronts and The Loop by foot, rail, and bus, taking-in such sights as the Art Institute, Adler Planetarium, Sears Tower, Morningside Fountain (featured in the Married With Children credits), and the resplendent Chicago Visitors’ Center, a SPECTRE-like series of great rooms clad in gilt and marble.
The event proper began with Friday night’s costume party. Jana and Niels Macllean won in the “most creative” category as a “Q’ute”-styled heroine from the John Gardner Bond novels and “Hans,” Blofeld’s bodyguard in You Only Live Twice. Niels’ costume was covered in handmade piranhas many of which made their way into personal collections over the course of the Weekend. The best “overall” nod went to Paul Scrabo and George Ann Muller. Paul looked ready for Ascot opening day in costume bits and Roger Moore’s actual top hat from A View To A Kill while George Ann appeared as “Stacey Sutton” in a home-sewn jumpsuit bearing villain “Max Zorin’s” logo. (Coincidently, Alan Stephenson—barred from competition as a host—came dressed as Zorin himself, complete with bleached-blonde locks!) “Best tux”—and there were many to choose from—honors went to the always-sartorially splendid Charlie Axworthy. Next year he hopes to top himself with a custom-tailored Brioni ala Brosnan! Most popular by far may have been host Janine Sherman’s black pants suit with gold lame vest. (Think “I’m a damn good pilot. Period.”)
The costume contest soon gave way to our own brand of trivia game with “Double-Double-Oh-Seven”: 21 sets of questions each comprised of both easy and hard categories. Top score was 41 points. See if you can do better! (A copy of the game follows this article.) This was actually preceded by a quick icebreaker wherein attendees gave one another clues to the Bond character named on a label affixed to the back of their costume. “Characters” were then matched-up into teams for the trivia game. The evening concluded with a champagne toast. Many reported their greatest disappointment of the Weekend was landing too late to attend this mixer.
Saturday opened on a collectibles show and swap meet in The Seneca’s Statesmen conference center. Vendor/exhibitors included SpyGuise, who presented a BMW Z3-sized array of Bond memorabilia old and new. SpyGuise generously donated a limited edition Aston Martin DB5 in unique Thunderball packaging to our top costume prizewinners. Jeff Marshall—the artist you’ll surely remember for his stunning limited edition 007 lithographs, regular submissions to www.ianfleming.org, and Bond Collectors’ Weekend 3 exhibition—designed the superb box art. Only 1,000 hand-numbered cars will be released worldwide bearing both the Corgi and SpyGuise logos. While this limited edition is otherwise available exclusively through the SpyGuise website (www.spyguise.com), a good many were snapped-up by delighted BCW4 attendees.
Ron Cinadr (firstname.lastname@example.org) displayed and sold astonishing—and affordable—custom 12” dolls and accessories featuring likenesses of both Connery and Brosnan. Cinadr also produces OddJob figures as well as non-Bond characters. Veteran 007 dealer Larry Charet (email@example.com) brought a variety of rare records, fanzines, and more. Next door, Corgi Toys made a terrific showing of prototype Bond-mobiles worth approximately $4,000 each along with a beautiful selection of the latest cars and Icon figures. Corgi generously made a gift of a limited collectible from the Spring 2001 New York Toy Show, the New York Toy Fair edition rocket-firing BMW Z3 (500 pieces only) to each of our attendees. Corgi also tipped their hand as to products planned for 2002…but our lips are sealed.
Jim Arnold of Reel Art (www.kingego.com) brought not only some of the latest spy gadgets from his collection but a number of reproduction props as well. In all, nearly 20 tables were crowded with items from attendees looking to buy, sell, or trade. Business was reportedly brisk at local ATMs. Among the rare items from Europe, Asia, and the UK changing hands were rare book sets, vintage toys and magazines, original art, hard-to-find posters, stills, and press books…everything the discerning Bond fan could ever hope for. Breakfast—included with registration and available throughout the course of the show—received high marks as well.
With no time to spare, we boarded a Gray Line bus that afternoon for a roundtrip to a nearby secret locale. En route we watched rare videos and are grateful to fans and Bond insiders who shared a treasure trove of funny, insightful, and action-packed footage with our attendees. Highlights included outtakes from Pierce Brosnan’s recent SNL appearance, Ken Adam interviewed at a 1999 exhibition, and Vic Flick performing a new version of the Bond theme for a British tabloid series. At our destination, by exclusive arrangement with Ian Fleming Foundation (IFF), the focal point of the day awaited: Bond’s vehicles.
An audible gasp was heard from many of the BCW crowd as the bus pulled alongside the lush turf dotted with nine screen-used 007 vehicles (see list following this article). IFF Vice President Douglas Redenius expertly described the vehicles for us, detailing their history as attendees snapped off literally thousands of photos. It would take a lengthy article to recount all the stories but whatever their provenance, the vehicles were there, restored to their original glory, polished and gleaming in the midday sun. My favorites included Blofeld’s Bath-o-Sub from Diamonds Are Forever and the recently refurbished Live and Let Die record-setting Glastron jump boat. The only one of the “World is Not Enough” Q-Boats to be modified for street use was there along with the only boat specifically fitted to perform the “barrel-roll” stunt.
Everyone present commented on the incredible courtesy and graciousness of our hosts for this private vehicle exhibition. IFF Board Member Dave Reinhardt drove over eight hours each way from his native Canada to stock and staff a Foundation shop where attendees purchased still more memorabilia. Jeff Kehoe and George Martin each traveled from Texas to join the selfless crew waiting with smiles to meet us at Doug’s “corn belt” home. The whole IFF crew worked for several days putting in dozens of man-hours to prepare our visit. The location of the show was superb, a beautifully manicured acre of lawn adjacent to a Goldfinger-style golf course whose clubhouse had hot food and cold beverages available. By chance, Weekend coverage by local NBC affiliate WMAQ was shown on the clubhouse big-screen TV. Local radio and the Chicago Tribune announced the event as well.
In addition to the vehicles, Doug also hosted a tour of his home, including his personal office—unofficial headquarters for the IFF—and one of the largest—if not the largest—007 collections on earth, comprised of some 5,000-plus pieces, with many of the best items on display for our group. Fan favorites included a bronze relief of Cubby Broccoli, a reproduction Oddjob derby, one-of-a-kind weapons presented to Redenius by former Bond author John Gardner, costumes worn onscreen by Desmond Llewelyn, Louis Jourdan and several others, gaming machines, countless toys, and much, much more. Most were initially dumbstruck upon viewing Redenius’ collection: a room covered floor to eighteen-foot ceiling in Bond memorabilia. Redenius was a patient host, giving eight separate, small groups a private tour and answering as many questions as time permitted.
The total contingent was so large that only the roof of Doug’s home offered a sufficient vantage point for ace photographer George Martin to capture a group shot. Following many heartfelt goodbyes, we boarded the bus back to Chicago accompanied by another 90 minutes of video including The Operative, a quirky independent film by Matthew Buzzell styled after You Only Live Twice. Later, with a compilation of chase scenes blaring from the speakers, we made our way past Soldier Field and back uptown to The Seneca. On arrival, attendees and organizers alike broke for dinner and free time in the city, though many found themselves simply debating various aspects of 007 into the wee hours of the morning.
Come Sunday, our group strolled from The Seneca to the neighboring John Hancock building on Michigan Avenue, where an express elevator carried us in seconds to the “Signature Room and Lounge” on the 95th and 96th floors. Our private luncheon, set 1,000 feet above the shore of Lake Michigan, boasted spectacular views of the Chicago skyline including Sears Tower and the cavernous Board of Trade Building. Raymond Benson and family were seated at a dais only after fans offered a standing ovation for his seven James Bond novels and long-time collaboration with the heirs of Ian Fleming’s estate.
The afternoon opened with prizes—from CDs to an animated 007 watch to signed stills—for our trivia and costume contest winners. Wait staff simultaneously began serving Caesar salad garnished with spiced croutons. Sautéed chicken breast with orzo and vegetables in roasted garlic followed. Chocolate mousse served in chilled martini glasses and topped not simply with a gourmet wafer but a strawberry “dressed” in a tuxedo of white and dark chocolate capped the meal. Benson was then introduced and briefly addressed the crowd before moving into an hour-long question and answer session in which he revealed many particulars from his decades-long association with Bond.
Attendees’ questions were insightful, a refreshing change from the usual “Who is better, Connery or Moore?” that a Bond author inevitably suffers at an event of this sort. With a variety of fan magazine, webzine, and screenwriters in the audience, it was clearly a well-informed audience. Leading Man From U.N.C.L.E. authority, Jon Heitland, was in attendance for example, along with a contingent of fellow U.N.C.L.E./Bond fans in from Iowa. We were even joined for the Weekend by an original “Company” man, a Bond fan who has worked covert assignments from Vietnam to the White House. (No, I cannot reveal all the stories he shared with us following sangria and tapas on Saturday night.)
Mr. Benson stayed-on following the meal to play a twelve-minute concerto of familiar 007 tunes, including the Bond theme, “Live and Let Die,” and “If There Was A Man” from The Living Daylights. Though most attendees listened attentively, some could be heard to remark, “How can one person be that talented?” Benson’s moving interpretations even induced a few tears. Powerful stuff. Signature Room staff opened up the room so that diners in adjoining suites could also hear the concert. Following a second ovation—this time punctuated by cheers of “bravo” —Benson spent yet another hour autographing a variety of materials, including copies of both his latest novel, Never Dream of Dying—supplied for the event by Barbara’s Books—and a specially designed BCW4 poster created by the afore-mentioned Jeff Marshall. Inscribed copies of Never Dream of Dying were also awarded to Paul Scrabo, George Ann Muller, and Danny McCruden for attending all the Bond Weekends to date, and to Kevin Collette, his lovely companion, Nathalie Desnoyer, and Makoto Wakamatsu, for traveling from France and Japan, respectively, for the event.
A perfect Weekend was made “onlie begetter” by drinks and post-mortem at the Signature Lounge. As the sun set, most attendees reluctantly struck-out for home, though a few headed for one of the nightly stage performances of SCTV Live. If you agree with us that this was an incredible weekend, keep 007Forever at Cinescape bookmarked for the next year, plus send an eMail to BCW Productions to get on our Bond Weekend mailing list for regular email updates on Bond events and memorabilia, worldwide.
The vehicle display list and trivia game trail this story.
Special thanks to the following for helping ensure the success of Bond Weekend IV… you made Chicago our kind of town!
Thank you from the hosts to:
Jordan Charter and The Cinescape/007Forever Staff
Bob and Nancy Collins
The Chicago Tribune
The Comic Brief
Corgi Classics (www.corgiclassics.com)
Dave Reinhardt (http://members.aol.com/goldeneye/FlemingMGBBooks/FMGBB-Index.html)
Don McGregor (www.donmcgregor.com)
Doug Redenius and family
The Ian Fleming Foundation (www.ianfleming.org)
Jeff Marshall (www.jeffmarshallstudio.com)
Jim Arnold (www.kingego.com)
Jim Gordon and Gator Country Travel
Kevin Collette and Nathalie Desnoyer
Kimberly Last (www.klast.net/bond)
Larry Charet (www.scifispy.com)
Lee Pfeiffer (www.spyguise.com)
Niels and Jana Maclellan
Panos Sambrakos and James Rumley
Paul Scrabo and George Ann Muller (www.scrabo.com)
Raymond Benson and family (http://raymondbenson.com)
Ron Plesniarski and family
Ross Hadley and Kristian Kuh
WGN Radio 720
Vehicles on view for private Bond Collectors’ Weekend tour:
1964 Thunderball: Underwater Tow-Sled, operated by Largo and henchmen
1971 Diamonds Are Forever: Bath-O-Sub, operated by villain Blofeld
1973 Live and Let Die: Glastron Carlson jump boat, piloted by stunt driver subbing for “Adam” in Guinness-record Crowdad Bridge jump
1977 The Spy Who Loved Me: Wet Bike, world’s first aquatic motorbike “driven” by Bond
1979 Moonraker: Glastron Carlson superboat, piloted by Bond
1981 For Your Eyes Only: Neptune Submarine, operated by Bond and Melina Havelock
1999 The World Is Not Enough: Major Boothroyd’s Q Boat, piloted by Riddle Marine personnel subbing for 007 in Thames barrel roll
1999 The World Is Not Enough: Major Boothroyd’s Q “Road” Boat, “driven” by Bond over the streets of London’s Docklands
1999 The World Is Not Enough: Parahawk 1, operated by stunt personnel subbing for King henchmen in ski chase sequence
Trivia Game: The questions-we gave credit on some questions for “closest answer”. A few are on “the lighter side”. See if you can beat the winning score of 41 points (1 point for an easy one correct, two for a toughie)!
1. Easy: Name the murderous knife-wielding twins from Octopussy: (“Mishka and Grishka”.)
Hard: Now name the twin GoldenEye satellites stolen by Alec Trevlelyan: (“Misha and Petya”.)
2. Easy: Name the guitarist who played the original James Bond theme for Dr. No: (Vic Flick)
Hard: Name the two songs Flick played live at Bond Collectors’ Weekend 3 in New Orleans: (The James Bond Theme and For Your Eyes Only)
3. Easy: Name the five Bond novels Raymond Benson has published not including movie novelizations: (ZMT, TFOD, HTTK, D, NDOD)
Hard: Name the serial mystery novel published by Raymond Benson online on the Internet: (Evil Hours)
4. Easy: Name the first artist to portray James Bond in the Daily Express cartoon strips: (John McClusky)
Hard: Name the second artist to portray James Bond in the Daily Express cartoon strips. (Jaroslav Horak)
5. Easy: What vegetable was brought to the United States by the family of a lead producer of the EON Bond films? (Broccoli)
Hard: What two vegetables were cross-bred to produce this famous vegetable? (Cauliflower and Italian Rabe)
6. Easy: How many novels did Ian Fleming write? (12…trick is two books were short story compilations)
Hard: The publisher of which book company appeared on some of the paperbacks of Ian Fleming’s novels?
Bonus: This book company was called one name until the 70’s and now is known as…(Pan/Coronet)
7. Easy: How many Bond Collectors’ Weekends have taken place, including this weekend’s events? (4)
Hard: How many different US states and countries have Bond Weekend attendees traveled from to the Weekends? (28 states and four countries, Canada, Japan, France, Jamaica.)
8. Easy: In what film is Bond offered a martini, stirred but not shaken? (YOLT)
Hard: Why did this strange thing occur in that particular film? (Lewis Gilbert thought it would be funny and did a last-minute script rewrite on the set. Connery as Bond, therefore, is being polite to Dikko Henderson on screen.)
9. Easy: In what film does Bond flip a car from two wheels inside an alley onto the other two wheels? (DAF)
Hard: Why did that strange thing happen on film? (More specifically, when the exit was originally shot, the crowds and barricades were too obvious (Director Guy Hamilton claims not to have noticed this until the “rushes” and by then it was too late). The scene was re-shot by the second unit director who was unfamiliar with the sequence. The shot of Bond saying “Lean over” was inserted between the two shots. Films have continuity people, storyboards, etc. Plus we can assume the same stunt driver would have been called upon for the re-shoot…and the crowds are still there on screen to be seen! How did this happen?)
10. Easy: Which of the following have not been Bond Weekend locations? Las Vegas; New Orleans; Chicago; (Beaverbrook, Alaska)
Hard: Which of the following was the most popular destination chosen for Bond Weekend 3 by the readers of a 007Forever poll? Los Angeles, Atlanta, (Chicago-77% of the vote), Miami, New York, San Francisco.
11. Easy: Which one of the following wonderful things was not a Bond Weekend occurrence? Movie locations were toured, memorabilia was sold including Pierce Brosnan’s screen worn shoes from TWINE, an Aston Martin served to chauffer celebrities, we looked over Las Vegas from 1,500 feet above the ground following a wonderful meal with Don McGregor, Sean Connery visited the Weekend but no one knew about it until afterward because he was wearing a James Bond costume.
12. Hard: Which one of the following unusual things was not a Bond Weekend occurrence? Attendees told one another about their relatives’ preferred manner of burial, we watched O.H.M.S.S. on the big screen with sound as if George Lazenby was slowly drowning in the ocean, Bruce Glover lectured for two hours longer than scheduled, a hotel did not let anyone up to the Bond Weekend meeting rooms for four hours, a hotel threw our attendees out of a bar, Jordan Charter played dead on a busy street near traffic, Matt Sherman was interrogated by police for running down and striking an airport security guard with a tour van, Weekend attendees were asked to leave a casino for photographing Alan Stephenson as Dr. Evil/Blofeld, Gloria Hendry’s hotel room moved around. (None, all the above happened.)
13. Easy: In how many Bond films, including Never Say Never and Casino Royale, was Bond captured at least one time by an enemy? (21 times)
Hard: In which Bond film is Bond captured the most times? (LALD, 1) From the Fillet of Soul in Harlem at the revolving table. 2) At the airport in New Orleans. Never take the first taxi in line, 007, as John Gardner reminded us in his Bond novels. 3) At the Fillet of Soul in New Orleans. (Oh ho, they weren’t going to fall for THAT ONE again. Were the drinks on the Fillet of Soul tables thus stirred and not shaken? Could this have been the problem?) 4) By Kanaga in his San Monique underground lair. These guys are good! (Bad?) 5) Special bonus—Strutter takes Bond in Harlem with his gun and 6) Double bonus—Felix has to rescue Bond from the clutches of New York’s finest after the car wreck! (Moneypenny rescues Bond from M, too, besides the fact that Adam nearly grabs Bond, too, before Bond kills him on their boat. And don’t forget that even Sheriff Pepper will get this guy in Asia, later.)
14. Easy: Which came first, the EON films or the Ian Fleming books? (The books.)
Hard: Which one of the 19 EON Bond films was made in the same order as the Ian Fleming book with the same name? For example, if Bond 19, The World Is Not Enough, was the 19th Ian Fleming James Bond book. (The Spy Who Loved Me was Ian Fleming’s tenth James Bond book and also EON’s tenth James Bond film.)
15. Easy: What was the final Naval officer’s rank commission for Ian Fleming at WWII’s end? (Commander)
Hard: What room number in the Naval Intelligence wing did Fleming work in? (Room 39)
16. Easy: What four items did the Man With The Golden Gun’s gun break down into? (A lighter, cufflinks, pen, etc.)
Hard: What relation is Christopher Lee to Ian Fleming and what score did Christopher Lee shoot in the last Ian Fleming Foundation golf tournament? (First cousin and who knows?)
17. Easy: How many wives has Roger Moore had? (2)
Hard: Name the young woman traveling with Roger Moore when he was involved in a recent car accident, and the maiden name of his two wives, and what name he is also credited in for film work, and which of his children appear onscreen in Goldeneye starring Charles Dance and which EON Bond movie was Charles Dance in? (Christina Tholstrup is his current partner, Doorn Van Steyn and Luisa Mattioli were Moore’s spouses, “Turk Thrust II” is his alias, daughter Deborah Moore makes a cameo in “Goldeneye” and Charles Dance appears in FYEO as a henchman who shoots at Bond from his dune buggy.)
18. Easy: The most valuable Bond toy in the world is what? (The rarest is most likely the volcano play set from YOLT. JBIFC ran a picture of one in issue #36; the one and only time most anyone else has ever actually seen one. They were made in France but when French Club President Laurent Perriot was asked, no one there had ever seen one let alone owned one! We can’t assign a value because there has never been one on the market!)
Hard: Which Bond toy doll is probably worth the most in its original package and is the hardest to find? (Kissy Suzuki doll from YOLT and the companion “Commander Bond” doll is equally hard to find.)
19. Easy: In which Bond films are Bible verses spoken or paraphrased by characters onscreen? YOLT (Eulogy scriptures from Bond’s burial at sea) OHMSS (Remarks from Draco to “spare the rod” and “Her price is worth more than diamonds…or even your million pounds”. Hard: Which Bond films have the word God spoken in them onscreen? My God, you just killed James Bond-DAF God didn’t give me this face, you did, when you set those timers for three minutes-GEYE In less than 48 hours, we’ll have more money than God…GEYE Janus-the two-faced Roman god come to life… God only had the Sermon on the Mount…TND My, God, we’ll be at the Russians’ mercy…FYEO
20. Easy: Which sold for a greater price at auction in recent years, Honeychile Rider’s bikini or Odd Job’s hat? (The hat. £62K vs. £41K)
Hard: Which one would you rather have thrown at your neck at full speed?
21. Easy: What were the two license plate numbers of the Goldfinger Aston Martin and the GoldenEye Aston Martin? (BMT 216A and BMT 214A)
Hard: What was the combination of Osato’s safe in You Only Live Twice? (85641)