Wednesday, 2 January 2019


Photo copyright TERRY O'NEILL

Just a little over five years ago, I managed to acquire a replacement for a paperback book I'd first bought (and read) back in 1973 - ROGER MOORE As JAMES BOND 007.  Over in the United States, I believe it was called ROGER MOORE'S JAMES BOND DIARY, and aside from that US edition, I don't think the book was ever reprinted - until last year that is.  Bearing a title reminiscent of the US printing, it was issued in a limited edition hardback volume (and in paperback) by The HISTORY PRESS, with a touching foreword by actor DAVID HEDISON (the best-ever screen incarnation of FELIX LEITER in my opinion), who talks about his long-standing (50-plus years) friendship with Roger.  (I've been meaning to buy this book for a while, but only got around to doing so today.)

The 1973 PAN paperback featured eight exclusive colour photographs by Roger's then-wife LUISA (with four remaining interior and two cover photos by GEORGE WHITEAR), but all are absent from the 2018 printing and one can only guess as to why.  However, the 2018 book has other photographs, three of which are extremely similar to a trio in the '73 edition.  The first (on the front cover), has Roger holding his gun a little closer to him, the second (featuring a background explosion) is from a slightly different angle and likely taken by another photographer (several captured the event), and the third (a boat chase) appears to have been snapped on a different day.  It's a shame that the originals weren't used, but the 'new' photos fill their place admirably and are every bit as interesting.

The cover photograph always confused me slightly;  was Roger standing on the other side of a glass pane he'd just put a bullet through, or was it a mirror?  If the former, then the '70s paperback had the image the right way around - if the latter, the wrong way.  The new edition regards it as a mirror image, hence Roger's parting is on the right and not the left, but it's a fine, luxuriant head of hair either way.  (So like my own.)  It's great to see this book reissued in such a durable format, and if you've never read it, now's the time to do so.  Even if you have read it, it wouldn't hurt to reacquaint yourself with Roger's own day-to-day account of filming LIVE And LET DIE, as it's a wonderfully witty and eminently entertaining tale.

(I'm lucky enough to have Roger's autograph on three books I own, but it would've been nice to have an autographed copy of this book too.  Sadly, he passed away before it was reissued.)

You can see the cover to the 1973 Pan paperback by clicking here.


(There are a couple of transcription errors in the new edition, where the words 'confidently' and 'similar' are rendered as 'confidentially' and 'familiar', plus another couple of more minor oversights - the word 'were' is missing from one sentence and 'the' from another - but it shouldn't detract from your enjoyment too much.  'Tis a bit careless though.)

Photo copyright NEWS UK

Incidentally, according to the JAMES BOND FACT FILES blog, although Roger was credited as the author, apparently DEREK COYTE, a publicist at EON PRODUCTIONS, ghost-wrote the book.  Does that qualify as fraud or false advertising when publishers do that?  I assume that Roger was 'interviewed' at the end of each day's shooting and Derek recorded it or took notes, then polished them up into their final form.  


TC said...

I can confirm that the US edition was called Roger Moore's James Bond Diary. It had the bullet-hole-in-the-glass-pane (or mirror) photo, with sidebar insets of Gloria Hendry and Jane Seymour. IIRC, the back cover was of him with a martini while an explosion was going off in the background.

David Hedison was the first actor to play Felix Lieter more than once. In an interview, he quipped that it might become a popular trivia question among fans.

Hedison guest starred in "Luella," a 1964 episode of The Saint. In one scene, a woman mistakes Simon Templar for James Bond. He and Sir Roger also worked together in "ffolkes" (aka North Sea Hijack, aka Assault Force).

It may have been Sir Roger who advised Hedison to take the part of Captain Crane on the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea TV series (1964-68). Reportedly, David wanted to focus on feature films, but Moore's experience as Templar had taught him that doing a TV show could be a good career move.

Kid said...

I think Roger was the first actor (British actor anyway) to become a millionaire from a TV series, TC, so he knew what he was talking about if he did advise Hedison. Jack Lord could've been the first actor to play Leiter twice - had he not wanted too much money and co-star billing for his next appearance, thus losing the role.

Nice reminder of Roger's turn as Bond this book - well worth having.

Terranova47 said...

Whenever Roger Moore is mentioned as James Bond it always comes as a surprise as to me he was TV's Ivanhoe, or Maverick's cousin Beau. George Sanders was a more convincing Saint, and Moores rather smug Bond missed the mark for me. The rather dreadful TV series 'The Persuaders' failed to persuade me it was entertainment though the comic strip in Countdown/TV Action by Frank Langford was good.

It would have been nice if Moore played something other than the same smug persona. Did I miss something of his that could pass as dramatic acting?

As an aside, in Ivanhoe his squire was played by Robert Brown who in the Bond movies played his boss, M.

Kid said...

I didn't know about George Sanders Saint until well-after I'd seen Roger's TV show, T47, so to me Roger IS the Saint. I do like George Sanders in General though. I also enjoyed Rog's turn as Bond, because even before Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery was looking tired of the role - and the role was looking tired of him.

Roger was never really given a part which required any great stretch of acting, but he was very convincing in The Man Who Haunted Himself, mainly because it gave him the chance to act someone other than the imperturbable hero.

Robert Brown played M in four of Rog's Bond films, though he appeared in five, and it's still a matter of conjecture whether his M was the promoted Admiral he'd played in his first Bond movie, or was meant to be the same M that Bernard Lee played.

Yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice.

Terranova47 said...

I never saw The Man Who Haunted Himself so will have to look for that. M was the job title so Robert Brown was probably the former admiral now promoted. The TV show, The Avengers, simply created MOTHER as the M charactor, played by a man.

The London region TV used to show old Saint movies long before the TV show was created. If you ever read the short stories of the Saint they were reproduced exactly as the TV shows, it's as if Charteris predicted TV.

Kid said...

I think M became the job title, T47, but Bernard Lee's M (and that of the books) was called Miles (that was his Christian name), hence that's where the M originated I believe.

Regarding the Saint TV show, Charteris loathed most of the TV episodes, and was always firing off letters of complaint to the producers. He was seldom happy about the way his stories were adapted (or new stories by other writers), and was never shy about saying so. As for the Sanders Saint movies, I think they turned up much later in Scotland, either on Channel 4 or BBC 2, so I never saw any before Roger's show. (And of course, if I did, I'd be much too young to remember.)

Back in the early to mid-'70s I read the books regularly and always enjoyed them. Must re-read them at some stage.

Lionel Hancock said...

Say what you like about Roger Moore but I actually liked the guy and his relaxed way he acted...I thought the funniest role he played was in Cannonbal Run where he played the role of contestant as James Bond. Aston Martin and all...I believe he wasnt very popular afterwards with the Broccoli family...Great stuff Sir Roger !!

Lionel Hancock said...

Didnt he get his knighthood for suffering Tony Curtis in The Persuaders

Kid said...

He played Seymour Goldfarb Jr., who seemed to think he was Roger Moore, so he wasn't actually playing James Bond himself, LH. At least we got to see him driving an Aston Martin DB5 - it's a shame he never got to do that in a Bond movie.

A knighthood wouldn't have been enough for putting up with Tony Curtis - they'd have given him The Order Of The Garter as well.

Terranova47 said...

The only interesting thing about The Persuaders was the opening credits which included pictures of Tony Curtis in uniform as a US Sailor and Roger Moore in uniform as a Guards Officer which they actually were at the end of WW2.

Kid said...

I quite enjoyed the show at the time, T47 - typical ITC-type entertainment. And the John Barry theme tune was great, I thought.

TC said...

RIP David Hedison (May 20, 1927-July 18, 2019).

The first actor to play Felix Lieter twice.

He was also in The Fly, The Enemy Below, Son of Robin Hood, and the 1960 version of The Lost World.

To me, though, he will always be Commander Crane, captain of the Seaview.

Kid said...

I always thought he was also the best actor to play Felix Leiter, TC. It's a shame that the character never appeared in any other Moore Bond movies, as it would've been good to see him again alongside big Rog. They did appear together again in North Sea Hijack though.

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