Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

TMT: My First Bond

This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. My good blogging colleague Ruth over at Flixchatter was on a roll three weeks back with posts on spies and a certain British Secret Agent, so I thought it warranted a memory download in response. As well, this one will connect with friend and author/editor/blogger Patricia Abbott. Her e-recollection this month that puzzled “… in our youth, we went to a movie whenever we wanted — regardless of what time it officially began” fits like a glove with this post. Believe me, it’ll make sense to some of you.

“Choose your next witticism carefully Mr. Bond, it may be your last.”


The Golden Gate Theater:



January 1965:  My experiences with film started to expand significantly after turning age 10. I mean, in ’64 my entire music and movie world turned on its head with one particular screening in a theatre, so why not here too? This time I have to credit my uncle, my mother’s younger brother, for enacting this change. It was he who took me to see my first James Bond film. There’s no way to understate this, but Goldfinger (the third film in the series that’ll reach its 50th anniversary next year) made quite the impression on the boy who was me at the time. I’m pretty sure he didn’t exactly tell my mom what flick he was taking me to, either.

No matter, the deed was done to my everlasting (“Hey, is that lady naked?”) gratitude. And that guy in the tux sure looked familiar. My uncle deciding to take me to the Golden Gate Theatre in East Los Angeles (not exactly close to where my grandmother and mother were living at the time) was one of those things that will remain a lasting mystery as he passed away during the 00s. As is the fact I can’t for the life of me recall what the second feature was for the double-bill that night. All I can remember is I couldn’t wait till that B-movie finished.

You see, as Patti made clear in her post, this was during a time when people went to the movies whenever they wanted. Movie times be damned. I remember being brought in to that darkened theater and seated right in the middle of Goldfinger! The movie segment remains seared into memory — the discussion between Auric Goldfinger and OO7 concerning the tartness of the mint julep and radioactive fallout. I spent the rest of the movie trying to figure it out — and waiting till the film restarted once more two hours later! Of course, when we reached that bit in the movie again, the words a few you out there (that are my age) should certainly recall:

“Come on, let’s go. This is where we came in.”

The entire TMT series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.

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20 Responses to “TMT: My First Bond”

  1. Paragraph Film Reviews

    It’s always great reading what James Bond means and signifies to everyone. I did ‘James Bond January’ on my site last year… watched and reviewed them all in 1 month. Was great, loads of blogs joined in and it was fascinating how different films were vewiwed and appreciated by others.

    Also, hearing stories about double features (with cartoons and the news), any time walk-ins etc is amazing… great post.

  2. Dan

    A lovely story. Many of my nostalgic childhood memories concern films, but not necessarily the films themselves – who was there, what theatre/whose house, which school was I at at the time, who were my friends – that sort of thing. For me, being born in the 1980s, I only really new the multiplex and regimented times. There were no double-features – it was all surround sound and blockbusters. But no matter, one of the major reasons I’m a film fanatic is how the cinema played its part in me growing up.

    This story does make me smile – in fact, it makes me think of the kid in Cinema Paradiso smiling at the flickering projection screen.

    • le0pard13

      That’s a great reflection, my friend. One that rings for me, as well. And that scene in ‘Cinema Paradiso’ is a special one that works well for movie-goers of whatever generation that catch it on the screen. Thanks so much, Dan.

  3. Herbster

    I was suppose to be a spy, weren’t we all? I’ve arrived late, but not the middle, that had to be tough. My life is lacking in that I’ve never had a martini, shaken or stirred, my truck dosen’t have an ejector seat, and my government hasn’t licensed me to kill anyone. The list is a long one. At least I’m suave, just ask anybody who knows me. Why is everybody laughing? I always wear a tux when I play the slots here on the reservation.

  4. Kevin (Col Mortimer)

    Cool, thanks for sharing. Goldfinger is still one of the best of the series (From Russia with Love is probably my personal favorite) and I love hearing about the way people used to see movies in double bills at great luxurious theatre.

    My first Bond was in 1983, and I saw Octopussy at the Century 22 in San Jose. So you win in terms of quality!

    • le0pard13

      Very kind of you to say, Kevin. I’m with you on ‘From Russia With Love’. These are my #1 and #2 for the series. Octopussy, huh? That one definitely still has its moments. I, too, enjoy hearing about how fans first came upon James Bond through the years. Many thanks.

  5. rtm

    Oh awesome!! I wish I remember my first Bond film, we watched so many as a kid I can’t keep track. Not sure even which one I saw in the theater.

    I love that retro pic of Golden Gate Theater Michael, and Goldfinger is a darn good film w/ lots of memorable lines and um, scenes of course.

    “hey, is that lady naked?” Ha! No doubt that one would make an impression on any young lad ;)

    • le0pard13

      Thank you, Ruth. The Bond series is one that certainly spans generations and draws many in with its stories. Of course, that sounds a bit like ‘reading Playboy for the articles’ justification ;-).

  6. Sir Phobos

    I grew up watching the Brosnan ones, so Goldeneye holds a special place in my movie-going heart. Still, my favorite Bond is Connery. I echo another comment that said From Russia with Love is a personal favorite as well. Sorry, I don’t have any actual nostalgic stories. I just love the movies.

  7. Novroz

    Interesting. I am one of few that don’t watch much Bond movies. My college professor loved Bond movies so much, she has all Bond movies as her collection.

    • le0pard13

      I can understand that. I have all of them in my library, even the ones I don’t think are that great (cough… View to a Kill). Thanks, Novroz :-).


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