Dreamy 007 Rides

“No action hero is more closely associated  
with cars than James Bond.” 
Richard Hammond 

 

 

The cars driven by the James Bond character started a Worldwide love affair with the automobile. I was not immune from this love affair. On the contrary, Bond cars were extremely influential in my taste in automobiles throughout my life. Out of the dozens and dozens of sexy cars driven by Bond, there are so many, I decided to list just five of my top favorites.

The white 1966 Toyota 2000 GT from the movie, You Only Live Twice, is my favorite of all the Bond cars. I was fortunate to see this work of art in person at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles Mother’s Day 2019. How apropos that Bond’s first film to take place in Japan should feature the country’s first supercar. Just like Bond, the Toyota 2000 was sexy, fast, powerful, and rare. There were only 351 models produced in total. Sean Connery was too tall to move around comfortably in the Japanese supercar, so Toyota modified the traditionally hard top coupe so Connery could zip around in a special open-top version.

The 1962 Sunbeam Alpine Series II, is the car he drove in the first Bond movie, Dr. No. This little gem of a car was not Mr. Bonds most extravagant car, but the two-seater, droptop with its lake blue coat of paint was a perfect introduction to the James Bond character.

I had never heard of Aston Martin before seeing the 1964 movie, Goldfinger. The silver 1963 DB5 Aston Martin was the first to make its motion picture appearance with James Bond. Aston Martins continued to show up in future films such as the 1965 Thunderball, 1995 Goldeneye, 1997 Tomorrow Never Dies, 2006 Casino Royale and 2012 Skyfall. Since its 007 film debut, the Aston Martin has become one of the most infamous Bond franchise movie cars. It is often referred to as, “James Bond’s car.” Some even argue that James Bond films were what really put Aston Martin on the map.

A yellow 1970 Triumph Stag was driven by Sean Connery in the movie, Diamonds Are Forever. Loved the design of this sports car but due to its unreliable engine, the Triumph Stag was not a big success.

In the 1999 movie, The World is Not Enough, starring in his first 007 role, Pierce Brosnan drove a silver 1999 BMW Z8. The appearance of this roadster screams BondIt was a sleek and classic designed sports car, and of course was equipped with surface-to-air missile launchers.  BMW’s decision to put James Bond in their car was a good choice because every movie they were featured in caused a huge spike in their sales. 

Throughout the James Bond film series, Q Branch has given 007 a variety of vehicles to battle his enemies. They have been equipped with various modifications to include elaborate weapons and anti-pursuit systems, and various other functions to make memorable dreamy James Bond rides.

Shine On

James Bond

 

“There is nothing like a challenge 
to bring out the best in man.”
Sean Connery

 

We lost a movie legend this past weekend. To my generation, Sean Connery was the one and only James Bond. He set the standard for all Bonds to follow.

Over the last 58 years, Connery starred in 7 of the 26 Ian Fleming Bond movies. Not only did these movies introduce the World to James Bond, secret agent with a license to kill, but also introduced us to state-of-the-art technology and some iconic automobiles of its time.

Connery at age 31 had been acting less than 10 years when he was cast for the first James Bond movie, Dr. No. Actors such as Cary Grant, Richard Burton and even Rex Harrison were all considered for the part. Point of fact, Ian Fleming didn’t want Connery for his James Bond character. The author quickly changed his mind when he saw Connery on the screen and realized the magnetism and sexual chemistry Sean exhibited for the part.

His last Bond movie in 1983 was appropriately named by his wife, Never Say Never Again, because he had vowed never to play Bond again. He went on to make numerous successful movies including the 1998 movie, The Untouchables, which won him an Oscar for best supporting actor.

One of my favorite movies of Connery’s was the little known 1964 Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Marnie. This was my introduction to this charismatic actor.

His last movie was the 2003 film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Then after receiving the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award on June 8, 2006, he confirmed his retirement from acting. He turned down the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, declaring himself tired of acting and sick of the “idiots now making films in Hollywood”. However, in 2012 he briefly came out of retirement by voice acting the title character in the Scottish animated movie, Sir Billi the Vet.

Sean Connery embodied Hollywood but always hated the Hollywood lifestyle. He preferred a more private life with his second wife, Micheline Roqubrune. He spent his time playing golf at his homes in Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean. He believed that to get anywhere in life you have to be anti-social, otherwise you’ll end up being devoured.

The latest new Bond movie, No Time To Die starring Daniel Craig is scheduled to be released next year. Connery was undoubtedly responsible for the success of this multi-million-dollar franchise and will be forever recognized by those unforgettable words, “The name’s Bond… James Bond”.

 Shine On

Back to the Future

“Roads?
Where we’re going,
we don’t need roads.”
Dr. Emmett Brown

Back to the Future

On July 3, 1985, the movie Back to the Future opened nationwide. Little did any of us know this movie would become one of the most iconic movies of our generation. It’s one of those movies that you can just sit back, eat your popcorn and forget about everything and literally go for the ride of your life.

As a diehard Back to the Future fan, it’s safe to say I have watched this movie half a dozen times each year for the past 35 years. In my opinion, the story, the characters, the concept of time travel is done with pure perfection. However, this perfect picture almost didn’t get made.

Writer, Bob Gale conceived the idea for the movie in the early 1980s after visiting his elderly parents. While rummaging in his parents basement, he found his father’s high school yearbook. He was surprised to learn his dad was class president of his 1940 senior class. He contemplated if he would have befriended his father if they had attended school together. Deciding it would be a great storyline, Gale shared the idea with his good friend from USC cinematography classes, Robert Zemeckis.

The Two Bobs, as they are now known, collaborated on the idea and presented a script to different studios. After getting rejected more than 40 times by numerous Hollywood studios, the movie was finally green-lit by Universal Studios thanks to the help from their mutual friend, Steven Spielberg.

DeLorean At Pedersen Museum LA

Petersen Automotive Museum, Mother’s Day  2019

In the original script, the DeLorean time machine was a Philco refrigerator, Einstein the dog was Shemp the chimpanzee and the title Back to the Future was originally Space Man from Pluto.

One of the real stars of the Back to the Future franchise is none other than the DeLorean time machine. I for one will never forget the magic moment where the DeLorean rolls off the back of Doc Brown’s sealed truck and is revealed for the first time.

Zemeckis is the genius behind using a DeLorean as the time machine. The car was just introduced to the world in 1981 and sold for around $25,000. The movie played a major role in the continuing popularity of the DeLorean.

Five weeks into filming, actor Eric Stoltz who was portraying Marty McFly, was fired. Zemeckis determined Stoltz had been miscast and realized his original choice of Michael J. Fox was the only actor that could portray Marty. Luckily for Zemeckis, he was able to replace Stultz with Fox. The best career choice of both director and actor in their entire life.

Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown was brilliantly cast, but was not the first choice by the studio. Initially, John Lithgow as well as Jeff Goldblum were tested and thankfully not selected. In my opinion, no one could portray Doc Brown but Lloyd.

The Bully Biff played by actor, Tom Wilson with many of his signature lines, “what are you looking at butthead? “ were adlibs by Wilson. In a recent interview with Bob Gale, he was asked who if anyone was Biff based on and Bob’s response was, “the character Biff was based on Donald Trump.”

I enjoyed the 1950s music and was a big fan of Huey Lewis and the News music that summer of 1985. So, the fact that the movie had a guest appearance by Lewis and his song, The Power of Love was the opening track song, was an added bonus for me.

DeLeroean Interior BTTF

Petersen Automotive Museum, Mother’s Day  2019

When the movie opened in 1985, it became an immediate number one hit in theaters across the country all the way into early 1986.

Immediately after the success of the movie, the two Bobs were reluctant to do a sequel since sequels were rare in the late 1980s. Zemeckis had said that if he had wanted to do a sequel, he would have never ended the first movie with Jennifer, Marty and Doc in the DeLorean driving off into the sunset. But, through encouragement from the studio, Bob Gale alone wrote a 210-page long script, which the studio ended up splitting into two separate movies.

The 1989 Back to The Future II became as successful as the original, but not my favorite. By the time the sequel opens that November, the studio is filming and finishing up the third sequel.

On May 1990, the third and final movie is released. Commercially, Part III was the least successful in the trilogy. Still, this western set sequel is one of my favorite of the franchise. Not only because of the western theme but because of the Doc Brown romantic story line. Mary Steenburgen as Clara Clayton is absolutely enchanting as Doc’s sweetheart. It’s also the first on-screen kiss in Lloyd’s movie career.

Sadly, the third movie sees the end to the DeLorean time travel device and the end to the Back to the Future franchise. Thankfully, owning the DVD Trilogy Box Collection I’m ready and able to travel any time my heart desires, back to the future.

Shine On

Drives Me Crazy

“The life you might save might be mine.”
James Dean

Driving You Crazy

405 Freeway  Los Angeles, California

 

I’ve been driving in Los Angeles for almost 50 years. When I first got my license, I enjoyed driving. That quickly changed, when I had to commute a long distance to work and the freeways became a nightmare any time of day.

With the quarantine in Los Angeles, the roads and freeways are less congested but with less congestion, I’ve noticed more drivers speeding and also running red lights. This week alone, I’ve witnessed a half a dozen drivers running red lights. I’m not talking about when the light is yellow, I’m talking about blatantly after the light had turned red.

On my walk the other day, I was coming up on a 4-stop intersection with a 25-mph zone. I watched in disbelief as a driver speeding at what might have been 40-mph blow through the intersection. Luckily for me, I hadn’t stepped out onto the crosswalk yet.

Most of you fellow Blogaholics, I would guess, have been involved in one or more auto accidents. Some may have been minor but chances are they were major involving someone who was critically injured or died. Several years ago, during torrential rain storms in California, I was  driving on the freeway when my 300Z sports car hydroplaned. It rolled several times before crashing right-side up on a patch of grass next to the freeway. I was able to crawl out through the driver’s side broken window without a scratch. To this day, I could never understand how I didn’t hit any other driver and I wasn’t killed.

One of my favorite movie stars, James Dean who at just 24-years old was driving to a car race competition 85 miles an hour when he hit another car head-on as it crossed the center line. The irony was, a few months earlier, Dean and actor Gig Young filmed a public service announcement for the National Safety Council, warning of the dangers of speeding. Dean, dressed as the Texan character he played in his last film, “Giant,” warned that driving too fast on the highway can be even more dangerous than speeding on a race track, where there are “more rules.” He said he didn’t “have the urge to speed on the highway.” He was supposed to end the PSA by saying, “The life you save may be your own,” but decided to ad-lib, joking, “The life you might save might be mine.” Sadly, Dean didn’t follow his own advice and died way too young.

The 2020 statistics say, 1.35 million people die in road accidents Worldwide every year. That’s  3,700 deaths a day. Which brings car crashes as the 8th leading cause of death for people globally. The number of people killed yearly doesn’t seem to affect people’s bad driving habits. I don’t know about you, but 3,700 deaths a day from automobile accidents is too large a number of deaths and just drives me crazy.

Shine On