President Biden has now entered the world carved out by President Kennedy and Ian Fleming. Warships and spies are – to the front!
Ian met Kennedy at a Washington party where I suspect Rena met Ian Easton. I am going to contact the French Government and offer to act as their agent and promoter.
” He also gave Bond a bit of his own character in that Bond was basically a womanizer, he drank heavily, he smoked cigarettes, he liked the high life, and he liked gambling particularly. So, basically, Bond ended up with many of the personal characteristics of Ian Fleming.”
Ian Fleming served in British Intelligence MI6 during World War II. From this experience, he learned the workings of the system of spying and the secret service. He started writing his series of James Bond books around 1952 and wrote a book every year or two until completing 14 books.
Fleming and Kennedy Meet
Fleming was somewhat dashing and had many friends within British government. Thus, he was invited to a party in Washington D.C. held by newly elected American President John F. Kennedy.
Fleming was introduced to President Kennedy, and in their conversation, he told Kennedy that he had a way to get rid of Fidel Castro, the Communist leader of Cuba. This piqued Kennedy’s interest, since Castro had been a thorn in the side of Kennedy.
Gave amusing suggestion
Fleming said that Castro’s beard was the key. Without the beard, Castro would look like anyone else. It was his trademark. So, Fleming said that the U.S. should announce that they found that beards attract radioactivity. Any person wearing a beard could become radioactive himself as well as sterile!
Castro would immediately shave off his beard and would soon fall from power, when the people saw him as an ordinary person.
Kennedy had a good laugh about this bizarre suggestion.
Kennedy tells about books
John F. Kennedy was a young and fun-loving president. He had a good sense of humor and certainly enjoyed a joke or two. His style and grace caught the Country by storm.
When he found out that Fleming had written some spy stories, Kennedy promised to read one.
Later, in a press conference, a reporter ask President Kennedy what type of books he liked read. He said his favorite books were the James Bond series, by Ian Fleming. Once the public found out about it, the books rose to the best-selling list.
After President Kennedy was given an amusing suggestion of how to get rid of Fidel Castro by author Ian Fleming, he promised to read some of his books. They became favorites of the President, and when this was broadcast in the press, they became national best sellers.
Some lessons learned here are:
- Being charming with a good sense of humor helps in becoming successful
- A promotional plug from the President can be invaluable
- Movies aren’t as good as the books
Fleming swiftly followed Casino Royale with Live and Let Die and then Moonraker, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia with Love, Dr. No, Goldfinger, and the rest of the Bond library, averaging a book a year through the ’50s and early ’60s. In addition to gifting Bond many of his real-life characteristics, the author routinely named characters after real-life people, borrowing the moniker “Goldfinger, for example,” from the architect Erno Goldfinger. (When the real Goldfinger subsequently threatened to sue Fleming, the author supposedly toyed with changing the villain’s name to “Goldprick.”)
Fleming was enthusiastic about Bond being adapted for the screen. In October 1954, CBS screened an hour-long version of Casino Royale, just seven months after the book was published in America. The show depicted Bond as American and at one point in the live broadcast audiences saw Peter Lorre, who was playing Le Chiffre, get up and walk away to his dressing room after his character had supposedly died. “Ian Fleming was desperate [for his books to be adapted] partially because he’d just had a kid,” says Mark A. Altman, co-author of Nobody Does It Better: The Complete, Uncensored Unauthorized Oral History of James Bond. “The books were successful, but they weren’t huge like they ultimately became. He was desperate to make a movie deal. In that sense, he was kind of ahead of his time. Because if you look at his contemporaries, they were only interested in the books and the literary pursuit. Whereas Fleming always had his eye on the prize, which was selling the lucrative rights and having it be a franchise.”
In America, Bond received a major plug from President Kennedy in March, 1961, when Life magazine revealed that JFK was a fan of the womanizing spy. “Kennedy has confined himself mostly to nonfiction,” wrote the magazine’s correspondent Hugh Sidey in a lengthy article about the new commander-in-chief’s reading habits, “but like many of the world’s leaders he has a weakness for detective stories, especially those of British author Ian Fleming and his fictitious undercover man, James Bond. When CIA director Alan Dulles learned about this, he told Fleming and the next time Fleming came to the U.S., Kennedy had him over for dinner.”
The last film Kennedy ever saw before his assassination was reportedly the second Bond movie, 1963’s From Russia with Love. Of course, it was Bond’s arrival on the big screen, starting with 1962’s Dr. No, which really turned 007 into a publishing phenomenon. Fleming visited the set of Dr. No when the movie shot in Jamaica and later traveled to Istanbul to see some shooting on From Russia With Love. Both films were successful, but Bond-mania really got going with the third 007 adventure, Goldfinger, which doubled the box office gross of its predecessor and caused a dramatic spike in book sales. In 1965, the year the fourth Bond movie, Thunderball, was released, Fleming’s novels sold 27 million copies in 18 languages.
The author would witness only a small pa