The name is Scaramanga. Francisco Scaramanga.
Not long after the visit to NEC in Birmingham my thoughts seemed to fade away from the cold in Sweden to England, again.
The reason was a competing sniper from KGB, the name is Scaramanga - Francisco Scaramanga, portrayed by famed English actor Christopher Lee.
I discovered at NEC that the man, the myth, the legend and above all, the cousin of Ian Fleming and one of the most talented actors in cinema history with a far fetched record of over 200 films on his shoulders, was going to do a signing at Cinema Store in London of his newly released autobiography, ‘Lord of misrule’.
The date for this was set to December 13th 2003, just two weeks after NEC, which led to a hard but reasonable decision due to a tight budget as Christmas was just around the corner.
But, happiness struck again once I heard about my working (now former) colleague’s, Kerstin, plans to visit London on a weekend trip with her husband, Mats. As the true collector and Bond fan I am, I saw it as a duty to ask her as politely as I could, in order to convince her that Christopher Lee is a real Bond villain among other things. Kerstin, who is a genuine and positive woman never hesitated a second, she happily agreed to help me which made me a very grateful man. This also led to a very easy day of working.
When she returned to work some days later she gladly forwarded Mr Lee’s wishes to me and also told me some anecdotes about the signing. First, she told me they had to wait an hour outside the shop before going in and, as if that wasn’t enough for non-Bond fans, on the way in they were both body search by a guard (Probably looking for a golden bullet aimed for Mr Scaramanga).
After this, Mr Lee caused a minor estate of chock for Mats (although he’s a doctor) because when Mats asked him in English Mr Lee responded in Swedish! This was knowledge I wasn’t aware of, although I know he’s been in Sweden playing golf previously in his life, and a great as well as a positive surprise for Mats and Kerstin. Mr Lee told them he once knew a Swedish girl for half a year that he used to socialise with and therefore learnt the language from. Then, he signed the book but as the gentleman he is he kindly explained that due to contract rules he couldn’t inscribe it in my name but I’m happy anyhow. The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) was one of the first Bond films I saw and also filmed during 1974, the year of my birthday.
Although he has made several successful films he will always, in my eyes, be remembered for his contribution to the Bond phenomenon.
Anders Frejdh © 2006 From Sweden With Love
(This article was first published in issue 20 of James Bond Collectors Club's publication Collecting 007)