"007" is one of the most-recognizable numbers in the world, and central to the James Bond mystique.
"Casino Royale," the first of Daniel Craig's James Bond movie, even begins with a scene explaining how an agent achieves the vaunted "double-O" status.
But how did Ian Fleming come up with "007" and that "double-O" status in the first place?
Some Fleming enthusiasts insist the world’s most-famous code number was inspired by 16th-Century English explorer/spy John Dee.
Others point to the 007 British bus line, or a 1897 Rudyard Kipling story about an American locomotive entitled “.007,” a World War I code, or part of the telephone number of Ian Fleming’s first literary agent.
There’s just one trouble with these theories. They’re balderdash.
Now, in advance of Craig's fifth and likely final James Bond movie, my new article for literary007.com spills all the beans.
You can read it here.
Above: The beginning of ".007," a short story by Rudyard Kipling in Collier's magazine; the legendary John Dee, and an editorial cartoon about the Zimmerman code.