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Journal of No. 118


March 3rd, 2012

Wikipedia surfing turns into a James Bond-flavored episode of Connections @ 08:31 am


I just had a simple question and I already suspected the answer. But look where it led.

I was reading Live and Let Die, and was struck by the fact that Roger Moore is meeting Quarrel for the first time, when everyone knows Bond already met Quarrel back when he was Sean Connery in Dr. No. The answer, of course, is that LaLD was written before Dr. No, though Dr. No was the first to be filmed. And since Quarrel dies in Dr. No, it is "Quarrel Jr." who appears in the film version of LaLD.

But looking at the list of minor characters in the Bond-verse, I happened to look at the page for Clifton James, who plays the annoyingly bumbling and provincial Louisiana sheriff JW Pepper in LaLD and Man with the Golden Gun. James seems to have been somewhat typecast as Southern sheriff, having even stood in for Rosco on Dukes of Hazzard in one episode, while James Best was squabbling with the producers. But James was actually born in NYC and "is a decorated World War II veteran, U.S. Army Combat Infantry Platoon Sergeant Co. "A" 163rd Inf., 41st Div. He served forty-two months in the South Pacific, from January 1942 until August 1945. He spent time in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. His decorations include: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Infantry Badge and six battle stars."

On the entry for Clifton James, Wikipedia also helpfully notes "For the impersonator of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, see M.E. Clifton James."

What? That certainly bears investigation. Something of an actor himself, MECJ lost a finger in WWI, and served in the Pay Corps in WWII. Noting the resemblance between MECJ and Montgomery, the British put together Operation Copperhead in the run-up to D-Day. "On 25 May 1944, James [impersonating Montgomery] flew from RAF Northolt to Gibraltar on-board Churchill's private aircraft. During a reception at the Governor-General's house, hints were made about "Plan 303", a plan to invade southern France. German intelligence picked this up and ordered agents to find out what they could about "Plan 303". James then flew to Algiers where over the next few days he made a round of public appearances with General Maitland Wilson, the Allied commander in the Mediterranean theatre. He was then secretly flown to Cairo where he stayed until the invasion in Normandy was well under way."

The person who tapped MECJ for the job, on a pretext of making a film, was Lieutenant Colonel David Niven, who, of course, played James Bond in Casino Royale.

"David Niven had, in fact, been Ian Fleming's preference for the part of James Bond,[5] Eon Productions, however, chose Sean Connery for their series. In a documentary included with the U.S. DVD of the 1967 release of Casino Royale, Val Guest states that Ian Fleming had written the book with David Niven in mind. When the novel was published, Fleming sent a copy to Niven, who for a time considered making Casino Royale into an episode of Four Star Playhouse. David Niven is the only James Bond actor who is mentioned by name in the text of Fleming's James Bond novels: In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond visits an exclusive ski resort in Switzerland where he is told that David Niven is a frequent visitor, and in You Only Live Twice, David Niven is referred to as the only real gentleman in Hollywood."

That whooshing sound? Yeah.
 
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From:britgeekgrrl
Date:March 3rd, 2012 06:21 pm (UTC)
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If I had a nickel for every minute of time I've "wasted" on wiki-hopping... Well, I wouldn't be worried about rent this month, I'm sure!
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From:gotham_bound
Date:March 4th, 2012 01:44 am (UTC)
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Wow... YES wikipedia. It's like a choose your own adventure made of actual information (give or take).
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From:hagdirt
Date:March 5th, 2012 03:24 am (UTC)
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Hah! About two hours ago I finished reading All Clear by Connie Willis, where the Montgomery impersonation gets a couple grafs. The whole D-Day bait-and-switch is fascinating.

Journal of No. 118