Saturday, July 4, 2009

Spy-Fi Flashback: 007 Souvenir Magazines

When you're a James Bond fan of limited means, the really high-priced collectibles are hard to come by. Still, over the years, in my humble way, I've managed to accumulate a nice – if small – collection of 007 memorabilia. I've multiple copies of most of the Ian Fleming novels, several 007 film encyclopedias, a half-dozen one-sheets (which I actually hung on my walls with tacks when I was a teenager, so they're rather ragged these days), a 007 lunchbox from the 60s, a Corgi Aston Martin, and three of the 12" Sideshow Bond action figures.

I also have a bunch of movie magazines with James Bond cover stories – Starlogs, Cinefantastiques, Cinescapes, Empires... and, best of all, many of the "Official Movie Magazines" that were published to tie-in with the various films' releases in the 80s and 90s.

The first of these that I bought as a burgeoning Bond fan were the Moonraker magazine published by Warren Publishing (Famous Monsters, Eerie, Vampirella) and the Moonraker fold-out poster book from the Starlog folks. In the pre-home video 70s, these magazines were a way of revisiting and re-experiencing the film while waiting for it to show up on ABC. In the years that followed, I also bought the "Official" souvenir mags for Octopussy, A View To A Kill, The Living Daylights, Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is Not Enough. (Was there ever a Licence To Kill mag? I don't know.)

Basically, they all followed the same model: first, a detailed synopsis of the film's plot. Then, profiles of the cast and the characters they played. A long, more-or-less in-depth article on the making of the movie. Finally, a pictorial feature on the gadgets, girls or villains of 007 – and maybe all three. Sometimes, there would be poster pull-outs.

Aside from the Moonraker and Goldeneye mags, most of these were published by the Starlog group, which always confused me a bit, since the 007 films – while fantasies, of a sort – weren't really science fiction films. But maybe the gadgets and various killer satellites were enough to slip in on a technicality – or maybe there was just money to be made.

I don't know if tie-in magazines were published to coincide with Die Another Day, Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace. Maybe in today's DVD and Internet digital world, such things as souvenir mags are archaic and passe. If so, it's too bad.

When I was a teenager, I really loved these things. I was always fascinated by how movies were made, and back then we didn't have DVD commentaries and behind-the-scenes documentaries at our fingertips. Interviews with the directors and screenwriters gave me some insight into the creative and technical process of filmmaking, and helped make me the film buff I am today.

Besides, those color photos of the Bond girls were really nice, too.

1 comment:

Lee Goldberg said...

My God, that brings back memories. I wrote those magazines (except for the MOONRAKER and GOLDENEYE issues). I was putting myself through college writing for STARLOG...and continued working for them for a few years afterwards. I was (and still am) a huge Bond fan, so getting a chance to interview all those people was a dream come true for me. The best interview, though, was the first one I did with Richard Maibaum that covered all the Bond films. We spent days together for that story...it was the first time anyone had actually taken the time to talk to him about the films. And had a LOT to get off his chest. It got him into some trouble with the Bond producers, but he didn't care. We stayed in close touch after that.

Lee