And now a trip back to the Federal Bureau of Investigations ("FBI's") online archive: "The Vault." This time we examine the just uploaded FBI files involving:
Ian L. Fleming (1908 to 1964) is the author of a number of novels featuring the fictitious British spy James Bond. This old release consists of material regarding the inquiry of a movie production company for assistance in the production of Goldfinger, a movie based on one of Fleming's novels.
The FBI's Ian Fleming file is filled with some wonderfully dated references to the Cold War and the changing mores of our society.
In a January 23, 1964 Teletype from the "Director FBI" to the Los Angeles and Miami offices, we learn that Harry Saltzman, the co-producer of the James Bond films of the 1960s, had contacted the Department of Defense seeking:
USE OF MILITARY AIRCRAFT IN CONNECTION WITH A MOVIE BASED ON THE POCKET-BOOK ENTITLED QUOTE GOLDFINGER UNQUOTE BY IAN FLEMING.
Sex And Bizarre Situations
In describing writer Ian Fleming, the document offers this:
FLEMING IS WRITER OF PAPERBACK NOVELS CONCERNING SPY STORIES IN WHICH HIS FICTIONAL CHARACTER, JAMES BOND, IS THE STAR, AND THEY ARE GENERALLYFILLED [sic] WITH SEX AND BIZARRE SITUATIONS.
Sex and bizarre situations? Well, geez, I thought that was the main reason that young Billy went to the James Bond movies as a teenager. You have any idea how an adolescent boy in 1962 was moved by Ursula Andress and her white bikini in the 1962 film Dr. No?
In any event the FBI of 1964 was clearly not amused by Fleming, Bond, or Goldfinger because the "Director FBI" admonishes that:
MIAMI IS INSTRUCTED TO CONTACT SALTZMAN WHO IS RESIDING AT THE FONTAINEBLEU HOTEL AND VIGOROUSLY PROTEST ANY MENTION OF FBI OR PORTRAYAL OF ITS AGENTS IN HIS PROPOSED MOVIE. YOU SHOULD BRING FORCEFULLY TO HIS ATTENTION THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW SIX SEVENTY WHICH PROHIBITS THE USE OF THE WORDS QUOTE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION UNQUOTE OR ITS INITIALS IN ANY MANNER WITHOUT MY WRITTEN POSITION.
Scant Attire And President Kennedy
In a January 23, 1964 Classified Memorandum about Saltzman and the Goldfinger Movie, we learn this about Ian Fleming:
"[S]everal of his books have come to our attention in the past wherein he has made references to the FBI. All of these references have been favorable in the past. His stories are generally filled with beautiful women presenting themselves to him in scant attire . . ."It was reported in "Life" magazine in August, 1962, that President Kennedy was one of his most avid readers."
I mean, seriously? We were in the midst of the Cold War and the FBI was worrying about references to the organization in Ian Fleming novels? And, more to the point, ya gotta wonder about the guy who actually penned the line about beautiful women presenting themselves in scant attire. Almost sounds like wishful thinking. Then there is that somewhat jarring reference to the recently-assassinated President Kennedy, who gets tagged with the description of an "avid reader" of what comes off as the lurid tales of Ian Fleming. On top of everything, all this stuff -- some might even call it nonsense -- was classified until recently.