It’s been fifty years since Mr. Bond fired his first shot in his 007 superspy franchise. Last Friday, an evening charity auction, which took place in London, invited all the Bond enthusiasts to bid on the rare memorabilia which came straight out of the archive of Bond’s production company EON. From the Aston Martin that Bond steered in Quantum of Solace to swim trunks that were worn in Casino Royale (Judi Dench, who played “M” in the series, would tell you, “It’s unwashed!”), around fifty lots were presented during the auction, which realized a total of more than one million dollars. For the Bond lovers who were unable to come to the show room to raise their paddles, the auction house also opened an online auction to increase the accessibility of the bidding process. All the proceeds of the auction, including the catalogue sales, will go to various charitable institutions including UNICEF.
The 007 series have gone a long way in the past fifty years. Ever since the release of Dr. No in 1962, at least a quarter of the entire population in the world has seen at least one Bond movie. With a clean and blunt catch-phrase name, “Bond, James Bond,” the super agent has stepped out of the screen and became a culture symbol of England (remember the guy who put a parachute on the Queen and pushed her out of the helicopter during the Summer Olympics?). Even though the latest Bond movies have been heavily infused with special visual effects and fancy gadgets, the charity auction took all the Bond fans back in time and reminded them of the beginning of the legend. Among the star lots was the first edition of Dr. No, written by Ian Fleming in 1958. The dust jacket might be crumbled and faded, but the silhouette of a curvy woman on the cover still glistens as the origin of the fabulous Bond girls. Apart from the first edition Bond books, the production company also presented the movie props, including a hotel sign that says “Do Not Disturb” from Goldfinger, and a deck of cards from Live and Let Die that were used by Jane Seymour as Solitaire. By the end of the auction, a surprising extra lot was added, which promoted the new Bond movie Sky Fall; the theme song, performed by Adele, was put up for bidding with a cover, signed by the artist herself.
“I want Bond to be extremely dull,” said the creator of the 007 series, Ian Fleming, “…I thought by God, James Bond is the dullest name I ever heard.” In contrast to Fleming’s intention, James Bond’s life has been anything but dull. The fifty years we have spent with Mr. Bond are fifty years of dreaming; dreaming of the latest technology that brings the coolest gadgets, of the idealist female beauty, of the thrill as a top secret agent, and of the exotic destination that hosts the wildest adventures.
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The Culture Columnist, Asheley Gao:
My name is Asheley Gao and I’m a junior at Cal, majoring in History of Art and minoring in French. I grew up in Asia, the land of dragons and jasmine green tea, as a kid with too much imagination. Indulging myself in exploring different cultures and what they have to offer (art, movies, cuisine, you name it!), I’m on my way to becoming a woman whose country is the whole world. Along with all the excellent writers at Unleashed, I would love to share with you my adventure and take you all around the world.