On my way into work this morning as I listened to my freshly updated Bond songs playlist on shuffle to see how Adele's "Skyfall" fit in with the canon (quite well!), I passed two Aston Martins. Not that rare in LA, but it still felt affirmingly appropriate on the morning of Global James Bond Day. I'm shocked at how much I enjoy that notion (and actually saying "Happy Global James Bond Day!" to random people), but it makes me feel good (a nice feeling after several particularly crappy months) that there is such a day and that it's today and that there's a brand new James Bond movie opening very soon! (I saw my first LA billboard for Skyfall last night, adding further to that sense of anticipation.) While I'm very much looking forward to attending the Music of James Bond event at the Academy tonight, I don't feel like you need a big event in your city to enjoy Global James Bond Day. I suppose that I'm taking the role of a cartoon elf and saying that the true meaning of Global James Bond Day isn't found in splashy events or buying Blu-rays; it's found within all of us! (Please picture me rising up on a pedestal like Woody Allen's Jimmy Bond in Casino Royale as you read that, but with Nina's "Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?" playing in the background.)
Anyway, besides the foolishly giddy feeling I get thinking about it, it is a pretty amazing accomplishment that this film series has run continuously for fifty years. When Dr. No opened in Britain fifty years ago today, it was a different world. It was a world divided between East and West, locked in a seemingly eternal Cold War that has come and gone. It was the dawn of a Jet Age, also sadly come and gone, which suddenly made the possibility of world travel open to everyone--even if traveling in the style of James Bond was still beyond the means of most families. A lot has changed in those fifty years, and it's pretty amazing that, thanks to numerous reinventions by the series' producers, 007 remains not only relevant but hugely popular. It's even more amazing to look fifty years on the other side of Dr. No. Going back the same amount of time that's passed between then and now, we find a world that hadn't yet experienced two world wars, let alone a cold one. A world where cars were still rarities. Thinking about it that way makes fifty years seem like a really long time to me. But I know why James Bond has remained popular for such a duration, and why he will remain popular for the next fifty-year increment as well. I know it for the same reason that anyone reading this blog knows it. The things that appeal to fans in James Bond are not rooted in the Cold War, the Jet Age, or any specific time. They're things audiences in any age will always enjoy: exotic locations, beautiful people, impressive technology and, above all, a call to adventure. So on this Global James Bond Day, I'm thankful to everyone who shaped this film franchise I love so much fifty years ago, and the custodians of it who have continued to provide me with so much enjoyment ever since. And I don't feel the least bit corny about typing that.