Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy 90th Birthday, James Bond!

Or, maybe not. There seems to be considerable dispute about the date on which fictional British superspy James Bond, Agent 007, was born to Scotsman Andrew Bond and his Swiss wife, Monique Delacroix. In his sadly out-of-print book, James Bond: the Authorized Biography of 007 (1973), author John Pearson said that Bond took his first breath on November 11 (Armistice Day), 1920. However, as Wikipedia explains, Ian Fleming’s Bond novels “are inconsistent on the matter.”
In Casino Royale, he is said to have bought a car in 1933 and to have been an experienced gambler before the Second World War. Two books later, in Moonraker, he is said to be in his middle thirties; the setting of this book can be no earlier than 1954 as it refers to the South Goodwin Lightship, which was lost in that year. There is a further reference to Bond’s age in You Only Live Twice, when Tanaka tells him he was born in the Year of the Rat (1924/25 or 1912/13).The books were written over a twelve-year period during which Bond’s age, when mentioned, thus varies, but is usually around forty.
Other sources say Bond’s date of birth was November 16, 1924. As is also the case with the birthdays of Sherlock Holmes and his longtime biographer, Dr. John H. Watson, different people offer conflicting guesses on when to celebrate. A list of possible beginnings in the life of Britain’s most famous intelligence agent can be found here.

Really, though, whenever you choose to recognize Mr. Bond’s first appearance in the world is just fine with us.


Evan Lewis said...

Bond is 90, eh? That makes Sean Connery 6 years too young to play him. But maybe if they added a few wrinkles and a walker . . .

SadButTrue said...

The author of that Wikipedia article missed a vital point in logic. "the setting of this book can be no later than 1954 as it refers to the South Goodwin Lightship, which was lost in that year."

Surely no EARLIER than 1954 must have been the intent. At least, that's the way I perceive time.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Good catch, SadButTrue. In fact, I have gone in to Wikipedia and corrected this reference, as you've suggested. I have also changed the quotation in The Rap Sheet to reflect the correction.