Philadelphia Feed

James Bond's Licenses to Kill

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When James Bond visited the West Indies, he needed island governments' permission to collect birds for science. 

The Free Library of Philadelphia's Rare Book Department has a fascinating collection of Bond's permits (including the ones pictured above).

They are part of the library's Mary Wickham Bond archive, and they will be on display when I present my "Real James Bond" talk there. 

My talk, part of the library's "Hands-on History" series, had been scheduled for this Saturday, April 11, but will be rescheduled, likely for later this year. (Fingers crossed.)

The Free Library's Rare Book Department is an incredible place, and I can't wait to give my talk there.

Below, James Bond's license to kill in Jamaica in December 1949. Ian Fleming began writing Casino Royale there in early 1952.

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My First Talk Is Two Weeks Away!

1969 James Bond ANSP Archives Coll. 457

I am very excited about the launch event for my book at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

The event will include my talk, a short question-and-answer session with Academy's Nate Rice, a book signing, and displays of James Bond memorabilia -- including first editions and birds he collected for science (still used for research today).

The photo above (from ANSP Archives Coll. 457) is of Bond in 1969 in his office at the Academy.

You can reserve a seat here.


The Book Launch is March 3 in Philly

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Make your reservation now for my book launch at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia on March 3.RealJamesBond_CVR(1) (3)

It looks to be an awesome event, including my talk, a q-and-a with Academy ornithologist Nate Rice and me, a book signing, and display cases featuring real Jams Bond first editions and birds he collected for science (still used for research today).

You can get your tickets (and more info) here.

Here's the ANSP's press release:

Continue reading "The Book Launch is March 3 in Philly" »


'Real James Bond': 1st Extensive Interview


James Bond Radio -- InterviewBack in August, when Schiffer Books announced a publication date for "The Real James Bond," writer Matthew Chernov contacted me immediately about an interview.

I said, "Sure -- but closer to when the book arrives."

Well, time flies, and here we are.

This online interview is the first in-depth look at the book, and hopefully worth waiting for.

You can read it here.

The book arrives in four weeks -- on Friday, Feb. 28. You can order a copy from Schiffer now by clicking the book's dustjacket in the top right-hand corner.

(The photo of me is by Kevin Watson. Thanks, Kevin!)


Real James Bond and Red Herrings

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As I learned in researching my book, there are more real James Bonds than you can shake a Martini at.

The latest squib is from Mike Ives of The New York Times, who included an item in the Morning Briefing on Wednesday to coincide with the release of the first 007 "No Time to Die" trailer. He wrote:

"As in any good spy story, there’s a twist: Last year, the BBC reported that newly released records showed an intelligence officer named James Bond had served under Fleming in a secret elite unit that led a guerrilla war against Hitler.

"That Bond, a metal worker from Wales, had taken his spy past to the grave, his family said — and they suspected Fleming had used the bird-watching Bond as a 'classic red herring,' to keep his identity a secret."

Nice theory, but it sounds fishy. You can read the definitive story of the real Real James Bond in my new book next February. 

Both Ian Fleming and the real James Bond, by the way, had an interest in fish and knew plenty about red herrings.

Bond collected dozens of fish for the Academy of Natural Sciences, including two false herrings  (Harengula clupeola) in Grenada and St. Lucia.

You can look up the two nocturnal predators Bond collected for the Academy on Vertnet here. You can learn more about false herrings here.  (False herring photo from VertNet.)


James Bond Trading Cards

The real James Bond was a world-renowned 1-4Bond Bubble gum cardornithologist and author whose fame was totally eclipsed by 007.

As I write in The Real James Bond, it must have been particularly galling for the lifelong Philadelphian to learn that the Philadelphia Chewing Gum Corp. was selling packs of James Bond trading cards featuring his namesake.

Last I checked, a five-cent pack from 1965 was listed on eBay for $287.

I have seen the wrapper alone sell for $99 on eBay.

I grew up in Havertown, where the chewing gum company was based. I can still remember what the air smelled like when I was near.'

The company also made Swell bubble gum, El Bubble Gum cigars, Cry Baby extra sour bubble gum, Gold Rocks Nugget Bubble Gum and Joe Blo giant size bubble gum.

I wish I'd bought at a case of James Bond card packs back then.

The site of the chewing-gum factory is now home to a YMCA.

If you have any memories of the old Havertown chewing-gum factory, email me at 1realjamesbond@gmail.com.