Features

Countdown to Skyfall: A Wonderful, Weird and Fancy History of James Bond Merchandise

The James Bond Files

James Bond is no longer merely a name, nor even just a character. James Bond is an international cultural icon. His legend extends from one corner of the planet to the other, and 007’s world-wide popularity has seldom waned in half a century. Over the years, hundreds of companies have vied to get a piece of the lucrative James Bond pie by releasing merchandise and memorabilia designed to capitalize on the spies’ craze.

In some cases this yielded tremendous collectibles on whose value a monetary price cannot really be placed; despite what those greedy jerks at eBay say. I NEED that Oddjob nosehair trimmer dammit! Anywho, that brings us to the other side of the coin, in which some rather shoddy and sometimes incomprehensible wares are pushed on fanatics. Let’s take a look at some of the things you’d better buy us for Christmas or else.

Action Figures

 

Bond is ready for two different days at the beach, suggesting a Dr. No or Thunderball tie-in.

A plastic showdown between Bond and his diminutive, but thoroughly mustachioed nemesis Oddjob who comes replete with hat and…karate gi we never see him wear in the film.

Poor Largo. The model for his not-so-poseable action figure was clearly taken after the Disco Volante exploded and part of his face had melted in the subsequent fire. Could there be more adjectives and exclamations points on that box? Looks like a Peter Travers film review.

In that same Gilbert Line are Auric Goldfinger and Bond’s boss M. Can’t imagine the awkwardness when someone gag-gifts that M figure at the MI-6 Christmas party. Everyone knows Q is the hot-ticket item this year.

Read on for toy guns, collectibles and more oddities from the history of James Bond merchandising.

Brian Salisbury has been a film critic and internet gadfly for six years. He is the co-host of FSR's Junkfood Cinema podcast and the co-founder of OneOfUs.Net. Brian is a cult film and exploitation buff who loves everything from Charlie Chaplin to Charlie Bronson.

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