Sage Wisdom From Rod Serling’s Planet of The Apes

Astronaut Colonel George Taylor: And that completes my final report until we reach touchdown. We’re now on full automatic in the hands of the computers. I’ve tucked my crew in for the long sleep, and I’ll be joining them…soon. In less than an hour we’ll finish our six months out of Cape Kennedy. Six months in deep space…by our time, that is. According to Dr. Hasslein’s theory of time in a vehicle traveling nearly the speed of light, the Earth has aged nearly 700 years since we left it…while we’ve aged hardly at all. Maybe so. This much is probably true. The men who sent us on this journey are long since dead and gone. You, who are reading me now, are a different breed…I hope a better one. I leave the 20th century with no regrets, but…one more thing, if anybody’s listening, that is. Nothing scientific. It’s…purely personal. But seen from out here, everything seems different. Time bends. Space is…boundless. It squashes a man’s ego. I feel lonely. That’s about it. Tell me, though, does man, that marvel of the universe, that glorious paradox who sent me to the stars, still make war against his brother…keep his neighbor’s children starving?
Planet of The Apes, 1968planet-of-the-apes-1968-01

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1960s meme: The irresistible hero

The Spy Command

Publicity still for Dr. No that established James Bond was irresistible to women.

A recurring meme of 1960s entertainment — greatly aided by the James Bond film series — was the hero so irresistible to women they couldn’t keep away.

By the end of the decade, it was so prevalent, it came up on all sorts in places. What follows are some examples — both obvious and one not so obvious. (And no, it’s not a comprehensive list.)

Sean Connery as James Bond (of course): In his first scene in his first movie (Dr. No), the Connery Bond already has the attention of Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson) while at a casino. She surprises him at his flat wearing nothing but his pajama top.

Over the course of Connery’s 1960s run, even small-part characters show their appreciation. In both Dr. No and Thunderball, women hotel clerks eye Bond as he walks…

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1966: Dick Van Dyke takes on the spy craze

The Spy Command

Title card for The Man From My Uncle

In the 1960s, many television shows did a take on the spy craze. The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-66), one of the most acclaimed U.S. situation comedies, was no exception.

Near the end of its run, CBS aired “The Man From My Uncle.” It has references to both The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (near the peak of its popularity) and James Bond films. Amusingly, the episode doesn’t actually have spies.

Nevertheless, a nameless U.S. agency (resembling the FBI) asks Rob and Laura Petrie (Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore) for the use of their house to conduct a surveillance in their New Rochelle, New York, neighborhood.

The lead agent is Harry Bond (Godfrey Cambridge). Given this is 1966, the significance of agent Bond’s name is obvious when Rob looks at the agent’s identification.

ROB: Bond? Harry Bond? Hey, you’ve got the same…

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007 literary meme: John F. Kennedy, author

The Spy Command

John F. Kennedy statue in Fort Worth, Texas

In Chapter 7 of The Man With The Golden Gun (“Un-real Estate”), James Bond is relaxing in his room at the uncompleted Thunderbird Hotel in Jamaica.

He’s getting ready to have a bourbon. “The best drink in the day is just before the first one (the Red Stripe didn’t count),” Ian Fleming wrote.

Bond “took Profiles in Courage by Jack Kennedy out of his suitcase, happened to open it at Edmund G. Ross (“I…looked down into my open grave”)…”

When Fleming wrote the book in early 1964,” President John F. Kennedy had been dead only for a few months. Kennedy in 1961 had given U.S. sales of Fleming’s 007 novels a huge lift after listing From Russia With Love among his 10 favorite books.

Thus, it was appropriate that Bond is carrying around Kennedy’s book in the middle of a mission to…

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Moonraker and the ‘guilty pleasure’

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A "guilty pleasure" for some 007 fans A “guilty pleasure” for some 007 fans

Over the past 40 years, the term “guilty pleasure” has become chic. In a James Bond context, some fans will cite the extravagant 1979 Moonraker as a guilty pleasure.

What does the term mean exactly? Wikipedia defines it as “something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The “guilt” involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes.”

The term was popularized by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, in which the two Very Serious Film Critics (R) acknowledged they like some schlock on occasion. In 1979 and 1987, they came up with their lists of “guilty pleasures,” including such movies as The Greek Tycoon and The Fury.

Moonraker was the only Bond movie where 007 went into space. Before that happened, a space shuttle was hijacked, Bond fell out of a plane without a…

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