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By Tony Bennett

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Extra info for Bond and Beyond: The Political Career of a Popular Hero

Sample text

By the time Moonraker wa:s released in 1979, the audience consisted mainly of parents with pre-adolescent children. At the time of writing, local cinemas book the Bond films for the school holidays alongside or as an alternative to Disney films, while Bond imagery is now used to advertise peanuts and instant whip. Not only did Bond's popularity become more episodic, an isolated occurrence every two years; it also became more routinised, a more or less institutionalised ritual, especially when, after 197 5, the transmission of a Bond film by lTV on Christmas Day established a regular place for Bond in the 'way of life' of the British people.

For example, in 1973, sales increased only for Live and Let Die; the sales for most of the other Bond novels actually fell significantly from their 1972 level. Apart from themselves directly recruiting an international audience, the films had similar effects on the sales of the Bond novels in other countries. In France, Bond was virtually unknown until the release of Dr No. Two of the novels had been published in translation but sales had proved so sluggish that the publishers, Pion, had decided against issuing any of the remaining titles.

However, the copyright which Glidrose productions holds is not in the works of Fleming or those of the other writers we have named but in the name of Bond. It is thus in the strict legal sense that Pearson's 'fictional biography' of Bond and the novels of Markham/Amis, Gardner and Wood are presented as 'authorised' versions of Bond. In the case of the Bond novels, the legal power of authorisation has thus passed from the writers to their creation. The former have been eclipsed by the figure of Bond legally just as much as culturally in the sense that it is Bond who functions as the primary legal subject - a name with rights to be protected and claims to be advanced - in relation to the 'texts of Bond'.

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