Thursday, December 31, 2015

Audio Book 8: Death Echoes for Bond

You can probably thank Bill Paley for For Your Eyes Only.
During the summer of 1958, CBS commissioned Ian Fleming to write a TV series based on James Bond (partly inspired by the success of the 1954 one-shot CBS television adaptation of Fleming’s first novel, Casino Royale).
Fleming wrote outlines for several episodes before CBS dropped the idea. CBS Chairman of the Board Bill Paley’s biographer Lewis J. Paper reported that Paley “…rejected any suggestion that the network make use of Ian Fleming’s stories about James Bond, believing that the American public would have no interest in the escapades of a British spy.” Not Paley’s best moment.
In 1959, working at his home Goldeneye in Jamaica, Fleming adapted four of the TV plots into short stories. Fleming biographer Andrew Lycett noted that “…Ian’s mood of weariness and self-doubt was beginning to affect his writing,” as evidenced in Bond’s internal monologue of thoughts.
The short stories became Fleming’s 1960 Bond book, For Your Eyes Only.
The title story, according to Wiki, was originally called Man’s Work and was “…set in Vermont, where Fleming had spent a number of summers at his friend Ivar Bryce’s Black Hollow Farm, which became the model for von Hammerstein's hideaway, Echo Lake. The name of the villain of the story, von Hammerstein, was taken from General Baron Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord (1878–1943), one of Hitler’s opponents. Fleming also considered calling the story Death Leaves an Echo and based the story on Rough Justice, which was to be episode three of the television series.”
The other stories in that collection — Quantum of Solace, Risico and The Hildebrand Rarity — are not included in this BBC adaptation, but two later stories are.
The Property of a Lady was written in 1963 as a commission for Sotheby’s for use in their annual journal. Fleming was disappointed in the tale, a bit of business about a double agent who is to be paid by KGB through the auction of Peter Carl Fabergé’s “Emerald Sphere.” Of more enduring interest was The Living Daylights, published in 1962 as Berlin Escape. Bond gets a surprise, and is inspired to bitter moral musings, when he is assigned sniper duty to help British agent 272 escape from East Berlin by killing a KGB assassin codenamed Trigger. 

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