Friday, 13 January 2017


It was the long, hot Summer of 1977.  (Ever noticed how all
Summers seem long and hot in the hallowed halls of memory?)  40
years ago, but (astonishingly) as fresh and alive in my mind as a lover's
whispered goodbye.  Myself and two friends were making our way to the
local YMCA, where one of them was moving into for a few months before
relocating to Cornwall to begin his training for a (short-lived) career in the
Royal Navy.  The sun beat down upon us, a gentle breeze caressed our
heated brows, and, from the speaker of a small radio one of us carried,
came the 45 rpm version of BOND '77 by MARVIN HAMLISCH,
who had written the soundtrack of the soon-to-be-released
blockbuster biggie, The SPY Who LOVED ME.

I purchased the single (which I still have) that same day, from
the record department of my local BOOTS The CHEMIST (the
shop whose employ I'd left only a few months before), and my next ac-
quisition was the original soundtrack LP the instant it became available.
At the appointed time, I also dutifully trotted along to the local cinema
(called, unsurprisingly and unimaginatively, 'The CINEMA', which
had the largest screen in Scotland) to see the 10th JAMES BOND
movie in the 15 year-old series which had started in 1962.

Bond girl Caroline Munro
Back then, in the days before
home video had become the latest
'must have' possession, the only way to
see a movie more than once (not count-
ing repeats on TV) was to trot back to
the cinema for another screening, which
I usually did - again and again and again
- though only with movies I'd enjoyed,
obviously.  I no longer recall exactly how
many times I went to see The Spy Who
Loved Me, but I know I saw MOON-
RAKER four times two years later, and,
in between, I'd seen SUPERMAN The
MOVIE a staggering seven times (five
in the ABC in Glasgow's Sauchiehall
Street, twice in my local cinema)
before I was fully sated.

Anyway, on my last visit to see The Spy Who Loved Me,
I spied (no pun intended) the manager, Mr. BOB JOHNSTONE,
in the foyer as I made my way out.  On a spur-of-the moment whim
(and what other kind is there?), I approached him and politely asked if
I could have the poster as the movie was at the end of its run.  Much to
my surprise he acquiesced, and duly set about taking it from its display
case before pressing it into my eager  hands.  I still have it to this day,
though, sadly, Mr. Johnstone has 'retired' to that great cinema club
in the sky and 'The Cinema' is now a Bingo hall (and has
been for longer than its 20 years as a cinema).

So, here's to the Summer of '77 - long since vanished into
history, but the spirit of which yet lingers and is only a thought
and sometimes merely a dream (or even just a movie) away.


Phil S said...

I have two thoughts. Ok three. First I remember seeing a tv behind the scenes special about the movie before it came out. Second I wanted Caroline Munro to be major Amasova. Third I don't want to say I was disappointed when I saw the movie but I did think hey- they remade You Only Live Twice. Everyone commented on the similarities even then. Having said all that I do miss this Bond. Over the top in all ways. Craig is a Jason Bourne knock off.

Kid said...

And You Only Live Twice was essentially just a bigger budget remake of Dr. No. And Moonraker was a remake of The Spy Who Loved Me. Just about all the Bond movies steal from each other, but I've never much cared about the plots as long as the action and stunts are good. I think Craig is great in the fight scenes, PS, but he doesn't have the suave, sophisticated charm that Bond's supposed to epitomise.

Oscar Dowson said...

I'll never forget seeing this at the Odeon in Renfield St, my fiest big screen Bond, and the huge cheer that went up when that parachute opened!

Kid said...

Same thing happened when it was shown in my local fleapit, OD. Superman saving a falling Lois Lane ("You've got me? Who's got you?") also got that reaction.

Colin Jones said...

The only reaction I can remember at the cinema was during Star Wars when Luke and Leia kiss - there was a big "Oooooooooo" from the audience. Then in Return Of The Jedi we got the utterly pointless revelation that Luke and Leia are siblings which made that previous scene an embarrassment. As for Summer 1977 - I finished primary school on July 22nd and began secondary school on August 31st. I and my next-door neighbour, Martin, were the same age and Martin's older sister told us that all new kids in our soon-to-be comprehensive school got their heads pushed down the toilet and the toilet was then flushed - thankfully she was lying !

Kid said...

I was told the same thing happened to new first-year pupils at my secondary school, CJ, and even saw some poor kids being led away from the main gates (on our first morning) to presumably have this indignity heaped upon them (whether it was is another matter), but it didn't happen to me. Phew! Maybe it was because I already smelt like a toilet and nobody would come near me (he joked).

Philip Guest said...

Around the time of TSWLM's release, the Open University showed a series of programmes covering every aspect of the film's production; interviews with cast and crew, behind the scenes footage etc.

It's on YouTube - the quality is pretty rough but fascinating nonetheless.

Kid said...

Thanks for that, PG, I'll take a look. I may even have seen it back in the day.

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