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Casino Royale 1954 the Columbia Broadcasting System or CBS Television purchased Casino Royale for a one time live presentation on their new anthology program Climax Mystery Theater. They paid Fleming $1000.00.
(Episode Credited cast)
publicity shot of Barry Nelson for “My Favorite Husband”
– the TV series he toplined the year before playing Bond.
Nelson’s Bond is not the secret agent we’ve subsequently come to know; he’s an American that works for “Combined Intelligence” and orders Scotch-and-waters (there are no martinis to be found). Naturally, the brutal passages of Fleming’s novel are watered down for 1950s television, and so genital torture becomes toe torture.
The episode became a forgotten piece of the Bond saga until years later, when a man named Jim Schoenberger bought a 16mm kinescope (the process of filming a television monitor to preserve a live show for posterity) of the program – reportedly at a flea market sometime in the 1970s.
According to Bond authority and Cinema Retro magazine publisher Lee Pfeiffer, Schoenberger bought the 1954 “Casino Royale” as an unmarked 16mm canister at the flea market, at first not knowing what he had. Bond book author Steve Rubin understands it slightly differently.
“The canister was labeled as the 1967 ‘Casino Royale,’” says Rubin. “But he looked at the print and saw it was black and white.” In any case, Schoenberger bought the “Royale” kinescope, and the episode was soon to get its first showing in decades.
Around the time Rubin’s book “The James Bond films: A Behind the Scenes History” was published in 1981, the author organized the James Bond Weekend at the Playboy Club in Century City. He decided to screen the 1954 “Casino Royale” and invite Barry Nelson.
“He was a little surprised,” Rubin says about the star’s reaction to the invite. Although Nelson wasn’t actively associated with the Bond legacy at the time, neither had he fallen into total obscurity; the actor had recently completed the hotel-manager role for Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” (Nelson is the fella who hires Nicholson.)
The “Climax” episode became available as a public-domain video dupe, and Pfeiffer says the 16mm kinescope was donated to the Museum of Television and Radio. But in 1998, Pfeiffer finally gave the ‘54 “Royale” the royal treatment, with a handsomely packaged Collector’s Edition, introduced by Pfeiffer himself.
“There were two versions floating around out there,” says Pfeiffer, “And I realized I had the one with the complete ending.” So he released the Collector’s Edition through his company Spy Guise Entertainment. “I was able to do it pretty cheaply. We shot the intro in my basement.”
A short time after the “Climax” episode aired, Fleming sold full “Royale” rights for $6000 (buying a car with the spoils), and it reached the big screen in 1967 as a goofy, spoofy movie with little relation to the novel. The 1954 “Royale” was included as an extra on the 2002 DVD release of the 1967 version. (And Rubin is now working with Fox to create the extras package for another DVD edition of “Royale” ‘67.) The official Bond film series – as produced by Eon Productions – acquired the rights to Fleming’s inaugural Bond novel in the late 1990s. Now it’s been made by Eon as the 21st official Bond film, with Daniel Craig in the tuxedo and a newly created adventure preceding the casino action.
So in some ways, the original “Casino Royale” adaptation is still the most faithful (and it’s the only to include the memorable cane-gun scene). As for “Jimmy” Bond, the still-living Barry Nelson gets the occasional fan letter but considers his Bond connection to be “more of a trivia question,” according to Pfeiffer. The current issue of Cinema Retro features an interview with the actor.
|Linda Christian, Actress: The Devil's Hand. Born
Blanca Rosa Welter, her father was an executive ... Valerie
Mathis. – Casino Royale (1954) … Valerie Mathis ...
Born Blanca Rosa Welter, her father was an executive with an important oil company and the future Linda Christian followed him from country to country: South Africa, Romania, Germany, France, Switzerland, England, Palestine. This was beneficial in that the little girl - a very good pupil at school - was eventually able to speak seven different foreign languages...
Linda Christian, a 1940s Hollywood actress nicknamed "anatomic bomb" by Life magazine for her stunning looks and famous for her marriage to actor Tyrone Power, has died aged 87, her daughter said here Saturday.
Romina Power told journalists in Rome that her mother, who had been suffering from colon cancer, died in Palm Springs on Friday.
Born in 1923 in Mexico, Christian — whose real name was Blanca Rosa Henrietta Stella Welter Vorhauer — was known for playing Mara in the last Tarzan film starring Johnny Weissmuller in 1948.
She was also the first James Bond girl in the 1954 television adaption of "Casino Royale".
But she was perhaps most famous for her seven-year marriage to 20th Century Fox star Tyrone Power, with whom she had two children.
Thousands of people flocked to Rome to celebrate their
wedding in 1949 in the Santa Francesca Romana church, a stone's throw from
the Colosseum. The newlyweds were later received by Pope Pius XII.
|Linda Christian Berry Nelson
James Bond/Jimmy Bond
Barry Nelson died 13th April 2007
Casino Royal 1954 trailer Barry Nelson (1917-2007)
TV Series:"Climax!" (1954)
Original Air Date:21 October 1954 (Season 1, Episode 3)
Plot Outline:American spy James Bond must outsmart card wiz and crime boss LeChiffre while monitoring his actions. more
Plot Synopsis:This plot synopsis is empty. Add a synopsis
User Comments:Jim Bond, old-time American-style more
Parents Guide:Add content advisory for parents
Runtime:48 min / USA:58 min / USA:50 min / USA:60 min
Color:Black and White
Certification:USA:Not Rated (video) / USA:Not Rated (VHS) / USA:Unrated (DVD) / UK:U (VHS) / Australia:PG (video rating)
Filming Locations:CBS Television City - 7800 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax, Los Angeles, California, USA more
Trivia:The only James Bond movie which is scoreless and without a soundtrack. more
Goofs:Revealing mistakes: A prop gun went off accidentally right at the beginning of the show. Four shots are heard but only three gunshot markings are seen on the casino building. more
Quotes:James Bond: [James Bond in bathtub. Zuroff is tying rope on him. Le Chiffre, Valerie, Basil enter bathroom]
Le Chiffre: All right Mr Bond where's that money? Look Mr Bond, as you should know by now I... I'm quite without mercy and if you continue to be that obstinate, I... I'll have to torture - - - you'll be tortured to the edge of madness. Believe me. You have no hope whatsoever. You hear. None
[Turns to face Valerie]
Le Chiffre: Nor has she.
Bond Reaches Climax
In 1954, the Columbia Broadcasting System or CBS Television purchased Casino Royale for a one time live presentation on their new anthology program Climax Mystery Theater. They paid Fleming $1000.00.
Barry Nelson as Jimmy 'Card-Sense' Bond and Peter Lorre as Le Chiffre.
The $25,000 live production aired on Thursday night October 21, 1954 at 8:30 EST. It starred Barry Nelson as American Combined Intelligence Agent ‘Card Sense’ Jimmy Bond. Veteran actor Peter Lorre is honored by being the first Bond villain, Le Chiffre, and Linda Christian played the first Bond girl Valerie Mathis. Although the production was basically a stage play, many of Fleming’s elements from the novel remained. The classic card game against Le Chiffre is obviously there, however it is refreshing to see the scene where Basil, one of Le Chiffre’s henchmen, holding up his walking cane revolver against Bond’s spine only to have Bond foil the henchman’s murderous plans by falling backwards on top of the cane. A definite highlight from the novel.
Bond faces danger with Le
Chiffre's henchman who has a concealed gun inside his walking cane.
Just before airtime, the producers realized the sixty-minute production was over by three minutes.
"So they went through and cut three words here, a line there, a half-a-word here, and their script ended up looking like a bad case of tic-tac-toe." recalled Barry Nelson in a Starlog interview from 1983. I tell you it was so frightening that when I entered (the scene) my only thought was, ‘Oh, God, if I can only get out of this mother!’" "I was very dissatisfied with the part, I thought they wrote it poorly. No charm or character or anything."
Peter Lorre agreed and saw Nelson so nervous with all the changes to the script that he commented, "Straighten up, Barry, so I can kill you!"
For decades afterwards, Bond fans had wondered why Barry Nelson was chosen for the role. However, his main reason for accepting the part was simply to work with Peter Lorre. Nelson was a great admirer of Lorre's work and felt he might never get another opportunity to work with him again.
The live performance was considered lost on the pretense that it was not filmed on a 16mm kinescope telecine. However, in 1981 a Chicago airline executive named Jim Schoenberger discovered, while sifting through old film canisters of presumably the 1967 version of Casino Royale, the black and white film strip. Quickly he ran the film through a projector and found a pristine copy of the 1954 production. The film had its first public performance at the James Bond Weekend in July 1981. Barry Nelson was also in attendance.
VHS and DVD copies are available including one VHS version from Spyguise that has an additional 60 seconds where Le Chiffre is shot not once, but twice before succumbing to an eternal sleep.
As if the future of the TV production of Casino Royale’s fate was foreshadowed in the first few seconds of the live production, when a prop gun misfired, so would the novel for the next fifty years misfire on the theater screen.
From A Russian, With Love?
In 1955, flamboyant Russian actor and director Gregory Ratoff was in Cairo, Egypt. According to the story by screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr. (he would also pen the 1960's Batman TV series and the screenplay to Never Say Never Again) , "Gregory had been acting in a film titled The Royal Bed, which was about King Farouk. It was a big rip-off. Everyone was trying to rob as much money as possible from the Italian backers, who weren’t allowed into the country. Gregory stole 10,000 pounds in cash, and needed a way to get it out of Egypt. He got down on his knees at the Cairo airport and prayed: ‘As God is my witness, if I get through with this cash, I’m going to buy a TIME magazine when we land in Athens, and use the money to purchase film rights to the first book I read a review of’."
The book turned out to be Casino Royale.
Ratoff borrowed money from then- head of 20thCentury Fox, Darryl Zanuck and long time friend and producer Charles K. Feldman and paid Fleming $6000.00 for the film rights. During the next five years, Ratoff tried to bring James Bond to the silver screen - unsuccessfully.
"I was a bright young guy fresh out of college." said Semple, "Gregory hired me to write the screenplay. I worked without pay, but it was a great deal of fun. We traveled around the world while he gambled in casinos, supposedly doing research. He was too old-fashioned to work, so I would sit at the typewriter for four or five hours a day in whatever hotel we were staying in, and just turn out pages and pages of scenes. I probably wrote several scripts during a year of traveling throughout Europe. Gregory thought the story was too silly. He said: ‘Nobody believe this James Bond, so we make him into woman. Then, we make great movie.’ The idea was to write it as a vehicle for actress Susan Hayward."
Flamboyant actor and director Gregory Ratoff envisioned actress Susan Hayward as secret agent Jane Bond.
On December 14, 1960, Gregory Ratoff died from leukemia and his widow was left holding the proverbial empty bank account. She was forced to sell any film properties her late husband owned to get out of debt. Feldman was one of the creditors to the Ratoff estate. The former lawyer turned talent scout and producer was handed the film rights to Casino Royale.
A Cry to Battle
Feldman was one of Hollywood’s most intelligent and cultivated talent agents. Handsome, tanned and sophisticated, He was the full definition of success. His yearly salary in 1933 (at the height of the Great Depression) was approximately $500,000 before taxes. His company, Famous Artists, specialized in bringing new and aspiring talent to the studio system. His 300 client list included John Wayne, Richard Burton, Greta Garbo, Tyrone Power, William Holden, George Raft, Lana Turner and Marilyn Monroe.
Born April 26, 1905 in New York City. One of six children whose family name was Gould. Left as an orphan, he was adopted by the Samuel Feldman family of Bayonne, New Jersey. The family moved to California a few years later. By college, Feldman took up law at the University of California at Los Angeles. His first contact with the movie industry occurred during school vacations when he worked at the studios. One of his earliest jobs was as an assistant cameraman for director John (The Searchers) Ford.
Feldman started his own law practice in Hollywood and specialized in the contractual aspects of the film industry. He came up with the idea of creating jobs for his clients instead of fighting for the few available ones. This was the origin of what became known as the ‘package deal’. For example, after buying a story idea for as little as $2,500, he found an unemployed writer, actor, director and producer. He once said, "I didn’t go into competition with the studios. I just bought what they didn’t want or had passed up. I would wrap a story up, then stick an important name on the label, usually the name of a star or top director. The rest was easy. No producer in his right mind would turn down a deal like that."
During his years as a producer, Feldman would bring to the screen films that Hollywood was afraid to touch. Films such as A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, The Seven Year Itch, and What's New, Pussycat?
After listening to an inspiring speech in 1942 by then U.S. Vice President Henry Wallace, Feldman had a brainstorm of an idea. He conceived an episodic film that would highlight war fronts during WWII. The six hour film was to be titled "Battle Cry" and enlisted an army of writers including Ben Hecht and Pearl Buck. He even tried to convince the studio heads to make this film on a non-commercial charity basis. Many famous actors and actresses agreed to volunteer their time for this epic production and were promised that they would only work 12 days. A list of famous actors included Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Gary Cooper, Bette Davis, Ida Lupino, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Boyer, Claudette Colbert, Leslie Howard, Ingrid Bergman, Irene Dunne, Randolph Scott, Merle Oberon, Jean Arthur, Margaret Sullivan, John Garfield, Ann Sheridan, and George Raft were all at one time committed. Film directors Lewis Milestone, Alexander Korda, and Howard Hawks among others were being touted to direct their own segments. Only one scene was filmed and that was of a burning wheat field in upper state California before Jack Warner sent word to shut down production because of escalating cost.
Feldman’s epic idea may have gone up in smoke but it would eventually find its way into Casino Royale 25 years later.
Feldman had many dalliances, according to sources, with some of Hollywood’s most glamorous ladies. He often gave lavish gifts to his clients and kept close ties to studio moguls such as David O. Selznick, Jack Warner, and Darryl Zanuck. Only one studio head refused to do business with Feldman - MGM’s Louis B. Mayer.
In 1933, Feldman met actress Jean Howard at a party in Beverly Hills. According to Ms. Howard, it was ‘love at first sight.’ Unfortunately, she was also the girlfriend to Mayer and would cause such a stir that Mayer would forbid any business transactions with Feldman and Famous Artists.
Charles K. Feldman, Jean Howard, and Louis B. Mayer. The love triangle that eventually affected Cubby Broccoli's work relationship with MGM Studios.
It was during this time that one of Feldman’s associates, and aspiring producer, was escorting several new talented actors onto the MGM lot. This young associate was 24 year old Albert Romolo (Cubby) Broccoli and he was about to learn one of Hollywood’s biggest lessons.
According to Broccoli’s autobiography When the Snow Melts, he was there to meet with producer Pandro Berman. The receptionist allowed the actors to enter Berman’s office, but not Cubby. He was barred from the studio lot. Feeling dejected and confused, he returned to Famous Artists and explained the situation to Feldman, who remained silent. Eventually Cubby discovered the truth about his boss and Mayer, and would work on and off with Famous Artists thru the 30s, 40s and early 1950s.
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