Cadbury milk-chocolate Flakes

At the start of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, James Bond is looking out at the beach, and getting unusually reflective.

It was all there, his own childhood, spread out before him to have another look at. What a long time ago they were, those spade-and-bucket days! How far he had come since the freckles and the Cadbury milk-chocolate Flakes and the fizzy lemonade! Impatiently Bond lit a cigarette, pulled his shoulders out of their slouch and slammed the mawkish memories back into their long-closed file.

Being a Felix Leiter-like American, I didn’t get the reference to the Cadbury Flakes. We know all about Cadbury of course, but I had not come across the Flake. I didn’t know what to think. Flakes of chocolate that came in a bag? What were these Cadbury Flakes that had James Bond recalling his childhood?

Clearly, my loss.

Cadbury Flake is a delicate, crumbly chocolate bar developed first in 1920.

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Kruschen Salts

In Thunderball, James Bond has just been told by M that he is being sent to Shrublands for a two-week course of treatment. As the leaves the office, he vents to Moneypenny, who explains that M himself had recently taken the treatment, and this has been the result.

Anyway, that’s what’s happened and I must say I’ve never seen him in such wonderful form. He’s absolutely rejuvenated.”

“He looked like that blasted man in the old Kruschen Salts advertisements. But why does he pick on me to go to this nuthouse?”

Kruschen Salts are a mixture of six salts and citric acid, used as a digestive cleanser, to eliminate toxins from the body and to keep regular. People with Gout or Rheumatoid Arthritis also use it to alkalinise their bodies.

I can’t be sure that this is the one that Bond is referring to, but it seems to fit.

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He couldn’t have meant this one, could he?

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SUMMER SHELL IS HERE

There is an amusing little incident in Moonraker where James Bond is driving and he sees a sign that makes him stop his car to look closer.

Startled at the great crimson words, Bond pulled in to the curb, got out of the car and crossed to the other side of the street to get a better view of the big skysign.

Ah! That was it. Some of the letters had been hidden by a neighbouring building. It was only one of those Shell advertisements. ‘SUMMER SHELL is HERE’ was what it said.

Bond smiled to himself and walked back to his car and drove on.

When he had first seen the sign, half-hidden by the building, great crimson letters across the evening sky had flashed a different message.

They had said: ‘HELL is HERE… HELL is HERE… HELL is HERE.’

It used to be that you had to use a different oil in your car in the summer and the winter. During the summer you used a thicker oil so that the heat would not cause the oil to break down as quickly. If you used that same oil in the winter, the cold would make it so thick that it would be difficult to start your car.

Thus companies like Shell used to advertise different versions of oil, summer and winter.

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summer-shell

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Oils these days are multiviscosity – which means they flow just fine cold and then thicken and protect as the engine heats it up. So we don’t need to use various weather oils in our automobiles.

I’d love to find a neon sign like what Bond saw above, but haven’t been able to find a photo anywhere. If you see one, let me know.

 

Patek Philippe Watch

While we’re getting the description of Sir Hugo Drax in Moonraker, we get a very simple description of his watch:

a plain gold Patek Philippe watch with a black leather strap.

Pretty straightforward. You might even have just read right over it without giving it a thought. However, it is yet another example of Ian Fleming’s eye for detail and top-notch product placement within the series.

Patek Philippe & Co is a high-end Swiss watch manufacturer which has been in business since 1839. They are known for the fine movements and complicated mechanics of their timepieces. They are considered by many to be the most prestigious luxury watchmaker in the industry.

Nothing “plain” about that!

Drax may have been wearing something similar to this 1950 model:

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Like this watch? You can purchase it for a mere $14,432!

Cole Wallpaper

We get our first glimpse of James Bond’s flat in the novel Moonraker. As he is preparing for an evening at Blades:

He walked through into the smallish bedroom with the white and gold Cole wallpaper and the deep red curtains, undressed and threw his clothes, more or less tidily, on the dark blue counterpane of the double bed.

This is yet another example of Ian Fleming’s fondness for putting “brands” into his writing. While 60 years later, some of these brands and terms may not be familiar to us, many are still going strong. The Cole wallpaper is a reference to Cole & Son (which has a gorgeous, modern website) a company that dates back to 1875. Cole & Son has provided wallpapers for many historic houses including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.

A couple other notes from this scene – the “counterpane” of the bed – if you’re not familiar with that term, it is simply the bedspread, or top blanket of the bed. So the “smallish” room has white and gold wallpaper, deep red curtains and a deep blue bedspread. Not hard to picture, really.

Just prior to coming into the bedroom, Bond walks past “the ornate Empire desk near the broad window. ”

I wonder what Bond’s desk looked like. Given the relatively small proximity of the flat, I wonder if it was something like this 1950’s Empire Desk:

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