Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Behold, the Original Bond Babe

Last week Paul Bishop--a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, as well as an author and blogger--posted the photo above on his Facebook page. Its subject is Linda Christian (1923-2011), a Mexican-born actress who’s said to have relocated to Hollywood after enjoying a romantic fling with Errol Flynn, and who went on to appear in a variety of movies and TV shows on both sides of the border.

More interesting for Rap Sheet readers is that Christian starred alongside actor Barry Nelson in a one-hour American TV adaptation of Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale (1953). She played Valerie Mathis, a character who isn’t in the book but who stood in for the more-familiar Vesper Lynd (and, like Lynd, eventually betrayed Bond). This version of Casino Royale, broadcast on October 21, 1954, as part of the CBS-TV series Climax! and re-casting Fleming’s man as a CIA agent, “Jimmy” Bond, predated Sean Connery’s debut as Agent 007, in Dr. No, by eight years. That earns it a solid place in the history books as the earliest filming of a Bond tale and makes Linda Christian Hollywood’s original “Bond girl.” (Sorry, Ursula Andress.)

Better still, yesterday I found the full hour of that 1954 small-screen version of Casino Royale on YouTube. If you’d like a taste of the show, below is a trailer—made much later than the original program—showing Nelson’s Bond mixing it up with both Christian and the tale’s antagonist, Le Chiffre (portrayed by the great Peter Lorre).

READ MORE:Beautiful Portraits of the First Bond Girl, Linda Christian, in 1945” (Vintage Everyday); “Casino Royale (1954), a Reappraisal,” by Bill Koening (The HMSS Weblog).


David Cranmer said...

Thanks for this post. Lots of trivia and history for a 007 fan.

michael said...

And while you are watching the show notice the only character who calls Bond "Jimmy" is the girl and the screen credit reads "James Bond."

Sorry, but the "Jimmy" thing bugs me. It was a serious attempt at the book. What should be remembered is the first screen James Bond was American. Go usa,

Viviana said...

She also married Tyrone Power. :)

Unknown said...

This is great fun. Thanks.