Did you know that 1979’s Moonraker was made into a book and record? I certainly did not until I stumbled across an auction the other day. In the interest of full disclosure, it was the Projectionist who discovered it. He was kind enough to call me into the control room, down here in the Vault. The auction was for a complete set of 1985 Kid Stuff book and records featuring James Bond. Dr. No, A View to a Kill, The Spy Who Loved Me as well as Moonraker. Not just the book and record sets but the “deluxe talking storybook” with cassette tapes too.
I, of course, wish I could tell that we won the auction. The sad fact of the matter is that someone in Germany took the prize. Outbid us by a long shot. I suppose whomever got the set was a bigger James Bond fan than ourselves. Maybe it was Blofeld?
Anyway, I am quite willing to bet you are as surprised as I was. I mean, Kid Stuff tackled all manner of popular properties, back in the day. James Bond however is a far cry from the likes of Garfield, Transformers, and Knight Rider, right?
What I would love to know is how they picked which films to adapt into “children’s stories”? Obviously A View to a Kill marked the swan song of Roger Moore as 007. In fact it was the seventh film with Moore portraying James Bond. Moonraker lends itself to an exciting tale, plus it too starred Moore. I think that Dr. No is the odd choice, breaking the trend of Moore films and of course tackling a Sean Connery version. Imagine what they would have done with 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service!
Obviously the folks at Kid Stuff have condensed much of Moonraker. They naturally had to since it had to tell a tale in a little over ten minutes. But I would point out that it’s pretty obvious it was still a little more violent than you might think.
Let us hop back to 1985 and sit back as we listen and read Moonraker on Retro Records!
I’m a massive fan of all things James Bond, and this love of 007 definitely extends to the music and theme tunes of the numerous film offerings. Thanks to my 80’s childhood, when it came to Duran Duran taking on A View to a Kill, I was singing along in 1985 and my purchase of the 7″ single helped propel the song towards the top of the charts.
I learned recently that the band also produced a 12″ extended mix of the titular track, but it went unreleased thanks to bass player John Taylor. According to the MI6 HQ website, Taylor wanted to ‘keep a certain purity’ to the original and that was that, the track vanished for almost 30 years.
The song is obviously good enough to listen to it twice, so treat yourself to the original video too:
And I’ll finish with an interesting fact from Wikipedia; Shirley Bassey covered the song for an album of Bond theme songs, however, she wasn’t satisfied with the quality, so the album was withdrawn from sale. You can hear the track over on Youtube!
Isn’t this just the greatest set of book covers you’ve ever seen? And they’re all real! Honor Blackman really did release a book about self-defence and she did so properly, using the Judo skills she developed at London??s Budokwai dojo, and teaming with wrestler Joe Robinson and his brother Doug, a judo champion and black belt in karate. I love that Penguin released a version of this, complete with terrible cover photo!
The book is basically full of images of Honor dispatching men, often in situations like this one:
Ignoring the dubious spelling of ‘vapor’, this 1965 James Bond set from the American Character company is one of the coolest 007 gadgets I’ve ever seen. You can never go wrong with a spy pen, especially one that fires projectiles and doubles as an alert whistle!
This video also includes the expanded pack which adds to the fun with a spy ring and ID bracelet!
The real gimmick here though isn’t the pen, it’s the paper. As you’ll see in the video, once you’ve written your secret messages, you can place the paper in a cup of water and marvel as it disintegrates. Fantastic stuff until you realise that once it’s gone, you can’t drink the water and you can no longer write a further message. Ah well, you’ve still got that pen!