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Connery, Lazenby,... Nelson
April 20, 2010 8:46 AM   Subscribe

After the fiasco of their premier episode - a lavish live production of Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye during which a corpse unwittingly got up and walked off stage on camera - CBS's Climax! Mystery Theater was looking to adapt something less high-profile. Say, the debut spy thriller by a struggling British journalist willing to let the rights go for $1000. The result: 1954's "Casino Royale", starring Barry Nelson as Jimmy "Card Sense" Bond of American intelligence, Michael Pate as his British counterpart Clarence Leiter, and Peter Lorre as the first-ever Bond villain. Now on Youtube 2 3 4 5 6
posted by ormondsacker (19 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Kinda fun. I like how they're teaching me about baccarat, which I never knew about.

And, man! that widow's peak on Mr. Nelson goes down to like, the middle of his nose.
posted by Trochanter at 8:59 AM on April 20, 2010


The forgotten Bond, although I can't imagine a better casting for Le Chevre than Peter Lorre.

Another forgotten Bond: Geroge Lazenby. Not because of On Her Majesty's Secret Service -- because he played James Bond in The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E and an episode of The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents, entitled "Diamonds Aren't Forever." Both episodes sort of skirted the fact that he was playing Bond (the U.N.C.L.E. films called him "J.B."), but there yuou are anyway.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:01 AM on April 20, 2010


Well, Peter Lorre's a darned good lead-off for the villain's team.
posted by philip-random at 9:02 AM on April 20, 2010


Please tell me there's video online of the corpse getting up and walking away.
posted by Brainy at 9:07 AM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow this is nice. Thanks for the birthday present.
posted by beelzbubba at 9:07 AM on April 20, 2010


The best forgotten Bond? David Niven, who did an Austin Powers routine in a satirical version of Casino Royale in 1967. The film also starred Orson Welles (WTF?) and Peter Sellers (OMG!).
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:16 AM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I misread that as Lorre playing Bond himself. Now that would be quite a show.
posted by DU at 9:17 AM on April 20, 2010


Happy birthday, beelzbubba!

This is a treat. I love the mirror-universe "Fast Jimmy Bond" playing off the suave, debonair, incredibly stiff Leiter. I also appreciate the Baccarat lessons!
posted by Shepherd at 9:20 AM on April 20, 2010


during which a corpse unwittingly got up and walked off stage on camera

That's hilarious.

Happy birthday, beelzbubba!
posted by zarq at 9:32 AM on April 20, 2010


No way man. The best James Bond is Sean Connery's brother Neil Connery in "Operation Double 007.
posted by the dief at 9:34 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The best forgotten Bond? David Niven, who did an Austin Powers routine in a satirical version of Casino Royale in 1967. The film also starred Orson Welles (WTF?) and Peter Sellers (OMG!).

How can you mention that movie and not point out that the villain was Woody Allen?
posted by lordrunningclam at 10:14 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The best forgotten Bond? David Niven, who did an Austin Powers routine in a satirical version of Casino Royale in 1967. The film also starred Orson Welles (WTF?) and Peter Sellers (OMG!).

And Woody Allen! And Ursula Andress! And John Huston! And Jacqueline Bisset! And Peter O'Toole! And Jean Paul Belmondo! And a fantastic soundtrack with Herb Alpert and Burt Bacharach! This is where the classic "The Look of Love" came from! My God, what a wonder it must be!

And yet it remains a completely unwatchable pile of shit. With a great soundtrack.
posted by Naberius at 10:18 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


And the Woody Allen Casino Royale exists because Fleming originally sold the film rights to Climax! for $1000, so that one novel wasn't part of the package that the mainstream Bond film producers bought, so it became available to do as a spoof, so... Woody Allen.
posted by ormondsacker at 10:29 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I watched the whole thing over my lunch break; I'm forwarding these links to a DJ/techno producer friend. An entire hour filled with obscure rarely heard Peter Lorre monologues and no backing music to speak of = sample gold.

I also couldn't get over how big and meaty Barry Nelson's head is. It was like watching James Bond played by a ham with a toupée; an all-American ham, at that, and then he goes giant-head-to-giant-head with the well-meloned Peter Lorre.

AMERICAN HAM VERSUS SIBILANT GRAPEFRUIT in a battle of nerves over a card game played with a CRICKET BAT. Glorious!
posted by Shepherd at 11:20 AM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


during which a corpse unwittingly got up and walked off stage on camera

Remade as Saw.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:20 AM on April 20, 2010


Well-meloned is my new favorite euphemism for big-headed.
posted by donajo at 1:55 PM on April 20, 2010


I always thought Barry Nelson was underrated as an actor, likely because so much of his work was on the stage and therefore not seen by as wide an audience. He was great as Dean Martin's co-pilot in the original Airport, though.
posted by evilcolonel at 3:02 PM on April 20, 2010


The casino is full of apologies!
posted by Hoenikker at 9:39 PM on April 20, 2010


during which a corpse unwittingly got up and walked off stage on camera

Back in the day, this story got transferred, urban legend style, to Casino Royale. _So_ back in the day that the only way you could see it was on film reels, and it was said that the version out there was missing a reel -- because there was no corpse walking off. So obviously, a missing fourth reel, right? Anyway, when I finally got this on videotape about 15 years ago -- some rights loophole opened up -- it was pretty clearly a complete story.

Funny, back in those days, there was no Wikipedia to sort this sort of thing out. I think the debate is still there in the Google Groups archives of alt.fan.james-bond ....
posted by dhartung at 11:13 PM on April 20, 2010


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