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James Bond and PLAYBOY Part 2

Shortly before Ian Fleming's fatal heart attack in 1964 he wrote a letter to PLAYBOY: “Please be sure that PLAYBOY will, as previously, receive preferential treatment from my pen, and for your ears only, I recently turned down an offer from [here Fleming named another American magazine] for the serialization of my next book on the grounds I felt morally committed to you...”. The next book was THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, the manuscript for which had been revised by his publisher Jonathan Cape prior to its release in the UK on April 1, 1965. The same month PLAYBOY began a four-part serialization of the novel ahead of its US publication in August 1965 by the New American Library.

Five illustrations by Howard Mueller (1900-1990) accompanied the PLAYBOY serialization. The opening instalment featured the aftermath of Bond's attempted assassination of M in his London office. This scene was originally illustrated by Richard Frooman, who had earlier provided stylish artwork for THE PROPERTY OF A LADY in the January 1964 issue of PLAYBOY. The characters of Bond and M in the finished Howard Mueller illustration look as if they were clearly based on actors Sean Connery and Bernard Lee. Perhaps this is why Mueller was chosen above Frooman to illustrate the story.

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN illustrated by Howard Mueller/Unused artwork by Richard Frooman

The second full-page illustration in the April 1965 issue was a superb depiction of Francisco Scaramanga (below right) showing why he was called ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’. May 1965 saw Scaramanga demonstrating his prowess to James Bond (in the guise of Mark Hazard) in a Jamaican bar; whilst the June 1965 instalment saw Bond returning the favour as he shoots a pineapple off a dancer's head with Scaramanga's golden gun. The June 1965 issue of PLAYBOY also contains a pictorial featuring the original Bond girl Ursula Andress in an exclusive photoshoot by her husband John Derek.

PLAYBOY - THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN illustrated by Howard Mueller

The concluding instalment of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN appeared in the July 1965 issue of PLAYBOY accompanied by Howard Mueller's illustration (spread across two pages in the printed issue) depicting a wounded Bond watching Scaramanga bite into the body of a snake during their confrontation in the Jamaican swampland at the climax of the story. The original artwork (along with Mueller's first piece from the April 1965 issue) sold for $7,170 in 2003 at the CHRISTIE'S ‘PLAYBOY at 50’ auction.

PLAYBOY - THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN illustrated by Howard Mueller

PLAYBOY commended Chicago-born artist Howard Mueller for his compelling illustrations which perfectly captured Sean Connery's craggy likeness in all four instalments of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. Although PLAYBOY's review of the first James Bond film Dr. No in the May 1963 issue was less than enthusiastic, the magazine was keen to capitalise on the success of the films now that there was no more new Ian Fleming material left to publish.

The PLAYBOY interview: Sean Connery November 1965

Perhaps the most collectible of all issues of PLAYBOY is the November 1965 edition which appeared at the height of ‘Bondmania’, just before the release of Thunderball, the fourth film in the hugely successful series. Featuring a lengthy and candid interview with Sean Connery, the magazine sported an iconic cover of Playgirl Beth Hyatt by celebrated Italian Photographer Pompeo Posar (1921-2004). A 14-page pictorial essay by screenwriter Richard Maibaum entitled “James Bond's Girls” featuring Ursula Andress, Daniela Bianchi, Nadja Regin, Tania Mallet, Lois Maxwell, Margaret Nolan, Shirley Eaton, Honor Blackman, Maggie Wright, Claudine Auger, Luciana Paluzzi, Martine Beswicke and Molly Peters.

Many of the Bond Girls featured in the pictorial were photographed by Donald Silverstein (1934-1975). The New York based London-born photographer would later go on to immortalise rock star Jimi Hendrix in an iconic 1967 photo-shoot. His Bond Girl photographs would be recycled in later editions of PLAYBOY (often flipped, or cropped, and sometimes full-page) or substituted with alternate versions from the same sessions. Silverstein went uncredited in the November 1965 issue of PLAYBOY. In addition to those actresses listed above, Michel Mok and Yvonne Shima (Sister Rose and Sister Lily in Dr. No) were also photographed in costume for the November 1965 issue, but the image went unpublished.

PLAYBOY November 1965 The Girls of James Bond pictorial

ABOVE:  The celebrated November 1965 issue of PLAYBOY: (1) Beth Hyatt photographed by Pompeo Posar.  Bond girls from the four films were all featured and some were photographed in special sessions. Many of the photos (and alternate shots from the same sessions) were re-used in later issues of PLAYBOY. (2) Molly Peters (3) Nadja Regin  (4) Shirley Eaton (5) Tania Mallet (6) Lois Maxwell and (7) Honor Blackman.

The above images are all alternate versions from the photo-shoot which appeared in the November 1965 issue of PLAYBOY.

Following the success of the posthumous release of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN in 1965, the public were clamouring for more James Bond. In 1962 Ian Fleming had written a short story entitled OCTOPUSSY, which was later serialized in the Daily Express (with illustrations by Andrew Robb) from 4 -8 October 1965. Jonathan Cape published OCTOPUSSY AND THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS in hardback on June 23, 1966 in the UK (the US edition was published at the same time by the New American Library and simply bore the title OCTOPUSSY). THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS was a short story commissioned for The Sunday Times and originally appeared in the newspaper's Sunday supplement on February 4, 1962.

PLAYBOY - OCTOPUSSY illustrated by Barry Geller

Prior to its hardback publication, OCTOPUSSY first appeared in the United States in the March and April 1966 issues of PLAYBOY, accompanied by illustrations by Barry Geller (1932-2010). Once again the artist used Sean Connery's likeness in his illustrations - at the time no other face could depict James Bond in the eyes of the reader! OCTOPUSSY was the last James Bond story serialized in PLAYBOY until 1997. Barry Geller's original art for the April 1966 issue was sold at the ‘PLAYBOY at 50’ auction in 2003 for $4,541.

PL*YB*Y 1966

Toadstool PL*YB*Y 1966
In October 1966 the Harvard Lampoon published their parody version of PLAYBOY magazine which included a new J*mes B*nd story by I*n Fl*m*ng. Toadstool was a 19-page follow-up to the 1962 parody Alligator, which had been co-written by Christopher Cerf and Michael K. Frith and published in paperback in the USA. When a hardcover edition was suggested by Random House co-founder and publisher Bennett Cerf (Christopher's father), Ian Fleming refused permission as he hated Alligator, and even had it written into his will that Cerf and Frith could not develop anything further to do with James Bond.

Toadstool PL*YB*Y 1966

Clearly Ian Fleming's wishes were not respected and the Harvard Lampoon had the last laugh. Their second parody was published two years after Ian Fleming's death. Toadstool is set fifteen months after B*nd's retirement from the Secret Service, and he has now become ‘Brother Hilarius’ living in Grimsay Abbey where he picks radishes and raises bunnies. J*mes B*nd prefers the life of a monk after the death of his fifth wife, who by now have an average life expectancy of eighteen minutes and twenty-six seconds. After the late 0010 had stumbled upon a plot to steal Ecuador, and sell it to a Los Angeles syndicate for a zillion dollars, the Abbot convinces B*nd to come out of retirement to battle the evil Lord Toadstool. B*nd gets captured by Toadstool, befriends the villain's girl friend, gets help from his ex-boss ‘*’, defeats Toadstool in a game of find-the-fungus-seed, and eventually saves all of mankind from certain destruction just in the nick of time...

Toadstool was accompanied by a psychedelic PLAYBOY-style illustration showing B*nd (who looks suspiciously like Sean Connery) surrounded by multi-coloured rabbits. Toadstool and its predecessor Alligator, are spot-on parodies (which is possibly why they angered Ian Fleming so much), with names changed ever-so-slightly so the reader can identify them. Felix Leiter becomes Felix Ronson, Bond's fisherman friend Quarrel becomes Squabble, M is reduced simply to ‘*’, and his secretary is Miss Pennyfarthing etc. The co-writers had thought Ian Fleming's novels were intended to be funny, and were somewhat taken aback when he was so incensed by the publication of Alligator in 1962, given his penchant for already absurd character names. Bennett Cerf's Random House were about to publish Ian Fleming's children's novel Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the USA, so was understandably nervous following the author's angry response to his request for a hardback edition of Alligator. In truth a lot of Alligator is so slavishly copied and then rewritten from passages in the James Bond novels, that it could almost be construed as plagiarism. At the time the hardback was suggested, Ian Fleming was currently embroiled in his own plagiarism court case back in the UK, for the false attribution of the authorship of THUNDERBALL. Consequently the second paperback printing of Alligator was limited to 100,000 copies which sold out almost immediately, and the book has been out-of-print ever since.