Tannoy

The Tannoy switched off with an echoing click.

Again the Tannoy buzzed and echoed. ‘Transamerica regrets to announce a delay on their flight TR 618 to New York due to a mechanical defect.’

Goldfinger Chapter one

Tannoy Ltd is a British manufacturer of loudspeakers and public-address systems.

The company was founded in 1926 by Guy R. Fountain as Tulsemere manufacturing company, and was rebranded two years later as “Tannoy”, – derived from the materials used in the manufacture of its rectifiers (Tantalum / Lead Alloy).

The company quickly became a leading manufacturer of loudspeakers and public address systems, so much so that by 1946 “Tannoy” became synonymous with public address systems, and its name was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

The company remains in business to this day.

National Airlines, “Airline of the Stars”

‘National Airlines, “Airline of the Stars”, announces the departure of their flight NA 106 to La Guardia Field, New York. Will all passengers please proceed to gate number seven. All aboard, please.’

Goldfinger, Chapter one

James Bond is in Miami Airport awaiting his Transamerica flight to New York, when he hears the above announcement of a flight from a competing airline.

National Airlines was a major passenger airline which operated from 1934 until 1980 when it was taken over by Pan Am. The slogan “Airline of the Stars” appeared on the planes and was used throughout the 1950’s in reference to Hollywood movie stars flying on the airline. In 1964 they changed the slogan to “Coast to Coast to Coast.”

In 1958, National became the first Airline to fly jets domestically in the United States, first going from New York to Florida, using a Boeing 707.

We’re not told the time that Bond is in the airport, but a look at a 1958 National Airlines flight table tells us that NA Flight 106 left Miami at 10:00PM and arrived in New York at 2:55AM. But as you see, the flight did not go to La Guardia Field, but rather to Idlewild (now JFK).

(It took me a bit to figure out how to read the table.)

Capungo

And yet there had been something curiously impressive about the death of the Mexican. It wasn’t that he hadn’t deserved to die. He was an evil man, a man they call in Mexico a capungo. A capungo is a bandit who will kill for as little as forty pesos, which is about twenty-five shillings—though probably he had been paid more to attempt the killing of Bond—and, from the look of him, he had been an instrument of pain and misery all his life.

Goldfinger, Chapter One

Easy entry here, as Ian Fleming defines the term for us. In the context here, it simply means a cheap hitman or assassin.

FInding the actual term in use was a bit more difficult. I didn’t think Fleming just made it up, but I couldn’t find any references to it, other than it being the name given to a minor villain in a motion picture.

Then, on about the 10th page of Google results, I came across a page entitled “The dialect of São João da Chapada: Possible remains of a mining language in Minas Gerais, Brazil” listed among the words was:

Searching Kapiangu brought me to the Portuguese term “Capiango” which is defined as “pessoa que rouba com destreza” – literally translated means “bad person who steals with dexterity.” In Spanish, it can be translated to “clever thief”, or simply thief.

“Bad person” fits with Fleming’s description that this was an “evil man.”

Could Ian Fleming have meant Capiango instead of Capungo? Or had he heard Capungo used in the context in which he uses it here in Goldfinger?

If anyone has further information, I’d love to hear from you.

As for the price of 40 pesos or 25 shillings, the current value of that would be 1.43 GBP or $2.03 USD. Adjusting for inflation from 1958 to to 2021, that would about 13.35 GBP or $18.91 USD.

Miami Airport

JAMES BOND, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.

Goldfinger, Chapter One

Goldfinger begins with James Bond at the Miami Airport, drinking bourbon following an unpleasant assignment in Mexico.

There has been an airport on the current site of Miami International Airport since the 1920’s.

It is the largest connection in the United States south to the Caribbean and Latin America, which is how Bond found himself there. Some early airlines which were prominent there included Pan American, Eastern Airlines and National Airlines.

Here is a good look back at the history of Miami International Airport. It has many vintage photos of the era when Bond visited.

Here is some 1960 footage from inside the Miami Airport:

Leica With Flash Attachment

After arriving in Jamaica in Dr No, and settling into his hotel, James Bond goes with his friend Quarrel for dinner at the Joy Boat restaurant.

A glint of light caught the corner of Bond’s eye. He turned quickly. The Chinese girl from the airport was standing in the nearby shadows. Now she was dressed in a tight-fitting sheath of black satin slashed up one side almost to her hip. She had a Leica with a flash attachment in one hand. The other was in a leather case at her side. The hand came out holding a flashbulb. The girl slipped the base into her mouth to wet it and improve the contact and made to screw it into the reflector.

This photographer was previously using the Speed Graphic Press Camera but has switched up to a smaller, more mobile camera for the restaurant. She was likely using either a Leica III or M3, two of the most popular Leica cameras during the 1950’s, along with a flash attachment.

Leica M3 Camera

Leica III Camera

The flash attachment could’ve been one such as this:

Or perhaps another brand such as Minox.

In Goldfinger, Bond uses a Leica M3 when going to Auric Goldfinger’s suite to photograph Jill Masterton assisting her employer in cheating Mr Du Pont.

Bond took the elevator up to his suite. He went to his suitcase and extracted an M3 Leica, an MC exposure meter, a K2 filter and a flash-holder. He put a bulb in the holder and checked the camera. He went to his balcony, glanced at the sun to estimate where it would be at about three-thirty and went back into the sitting-room, leaving the door to the balcony open. He stood at the balcony door and aimed the exposure meter. The exposure was one-hundredth of a second. He set this on the Leica, put the shutter at f 11, and the distance at twelve feet. He clipped on a lens hood and took one picture to see that all was working. Then he wound on the film, slipped in the flash-holder and put the camera aside.

He then startles her with the flash when photographing the scene.

Bourbon

This page will be updated as we go through the novels)

This Kentucky-based barrel-aged whisky seems to be a Bond staple when abroad.

An observation can be made about Bond’s drinking preferences and habits. He’ll drink a martini at a bar or restaurant or when in company, while when drinking alone or in his hotel room, he often has bourbon.

He has a few favorite brands that are specifically mentioned throughout the series. These each have their own page:

I.W. Harper’s
Jack Daniels (coming – though not Bourbon)
Walker’s DeLuxe
Old Grandad
Virginia Gentleman

Here are other references to Bond drinking Bourbon throughout the series.

In Live and Let Die, Bond orders Old Fashions on the Silver Phantom, stipulating Old Grandad Bourbon. Before meeting up with The Robber, he has a quarter of a pint of Old Grandad with his steak dinner, and  later has two double Old Grandads on the rocks while preparing to leave Tampa.

Throughout Diamonds are Forever, Bond consumes Bourbon and Bourbon and Branch water.

The opening chapter of Goldfinger is entitled REFLECTIONS IN A DOUBLE BOURBON and Bond has several before heading out with Mr Dupont.

In Thunderball, after finding the plane, Bond goes back to his room and orders a “club sandwich and double bourbon on the rocks” before phoning Domino.

In The Spy Who Loved Me, Vivienne Michel is consuming the last of her bottle of Virginia Gentleman bourbon as the story gets going.

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, while at Piz Gloria, Bond sits next to Ruby at dinner, who is having a Daiquiri, and Bond orders a double Bourbon on the rocks.

After Tracy gives Bond a detailed description of what she had for dinner, Bond tells her over the phone that “I had two ham sandwiches with stacks of mustard and half a pint of Harper’s Bourbon on the rocks.The bourbon was better than the ham.”

When Bond meets Marc-Ange to discuss the commando job on Piz Gloria, he “poured himself a stiff Jack Daniel’s sourmash bourbon on the rocks and added some water.”

In You Only Live Twice, Bond, while at the Miyako hotel in Kyoto, Bond orders “a pint of Jack Daniels and a double portion of eggs Benedict to be brought up to his room.”

Fleming himself preferred bourbon to scotch. He had the notion that it was somehow better for his heart as he explained to Richard Hughes: ‘The muscles expand under bourbon; Dikko, but they contract under scotch. ‘ He also suggested that bourbon counteracted the ill-effects of the nicotine in the many cigarettes that he smoked each day. (Foreign Devil: Thirty Years Of Reporting In The Far East by Richard Hughes)

Sadly, history proves out that Mr Fleming’s theories were perhaps not accurate in this case, at least.

Bill’s on the Beach

In Goldfinger, James Bond, who had been jonesing for a slice of the easy life, is given his wish, for a night at least, by Mr Junius Du Pont, who is hoping that 007 can help him out with a problem. When Bond accepts, they head out to dinner.

They drew up at a white-painted, mock-Regency frontage in clapboard and stucco. A scrawl of pink neon said: BILL’S ON THE BEACH. While Bond got out, Mr Du Pont gave his instructions to the chauffeur. Bond heard the words. ‘The Aloha Suite,’ and ‘If there’s any trouble, tell Mr Fairlie to call me here. Right?’

They went up the steps. Inside, the big room was decorated in white with pink muslin swags over the windows. There were pink lights on the tables. The restaurant was crowded with sunburned people in expensive tropical get-ups . – brilliant garish shirts, jangling gold bangles, dark glasses with jewelled rims, cute native straw hats. There was a confusion of scents. The wry smell of bodies that had been all day in the sun came through.

Mr Du Pont also takes care of the ordering.

Mr Du Pont slapped his menu shut. He said to Bond, ‘Now, why don’t you just leave this to me? If there’s anything you don’t like, send it back.’ And to the head waiter, ‘Stone crabs. Not frozen. Fresh. Melted butter. Thick toast. Right?’

‘Very good, Mr Du Pont.’ The wine waiter, washing his hands, took the waiter’s place.

‘Two pints of pink champagne. The Pommery ’50. Silver tankards. Right?’

‘Vairry good, Mr Du Pont. A cocktail to start?’

Mr Du Pont turned to Bond. He smiled and raised his eyebrows.

Bond said, ‘Vodka martini, please. With a slice of lemon peel.’  ‘

Make it two,’ said Mr Du Pont. ‘Doubles.’

While they awaiting their meal, Mr Du Pont tells Bond of his problem. When the meal comes, conversation ceases.

A bustle of waiters round their table saved Bond having to think up a reply. With ceremony, a wide silver dish of crabs, big ones, their shells and claws broken, was placed in the middle of the table. A silver sauceboat brimming with melted butter and a long rack of toast was put beside each of their plates. The tankards of champagne frothed pink. Finally, with an oily smirk, the head waiter came behind their chairs and, in turn, tied round their necks long white silken bibs that reached down to the lap.

Bond was reminded of Charles Laughton playing Henry VIII, but neither Mr Du Pont nor the neighbouring diners seemed surprised at the hoggish display. Mr Du Pont, with a gleeful ‘Every man for himself, raked several hunks of crab on to his plate, doused them liberally in melted butter and dug in. Bond followed suit and proceeded to eat, or rather devour, the most delicious meal he had had in his life.

The meat of the stone crabs was the tenderest, sweetest shellfish he had ever tasted. It was perfectly set off by the dry toast and slightly burned taste of the melted butter. The champagne seemed to have the faintest scent of strawberries. It was ice cold. After each helping of crab, the champagne cleaned the palate for the next. They ate steadily and with absorption and hardly exchanged a word until the dish was cleared.

Afterwards, Bond is slightly horrified at the entire display, but then realizes he got exactly what he had been asking for just a couple of hours before.

According to multiple accounts, including the officially sanctioned James Bond: The Man and His World, the inspiration for Bill’s on the Beach was the well-known Joe’s Stone Crab on Miami Beach. Ian Fleming himself ate there, thought enough of the experience to include a version of it in Goldfinger.

Given Fleming’s fondness for name-dropping various locations, I’ve often wondered why for some places he uses the real name, while for others he creates a fictional name based on a real location. Did “Bill’s on the Beach” just sound better to him than “Joe’s Stone Crab?”

This looks pretty good to me:

Joe’s as Ian Fleming/James Bond might’ve seen it.

“white-painted, mock-Regency frontage in clapboard and stucco”

J. Edgar Hoover inside Joe’s.

Spectre Before S.P.E.C.T.R.E.

Even before it became the name of perhaps the most famous criminal organization in fiction in the novel Thunderball, Ian Fleming liked the word “spectre”.

This interesting little word, according to Collins English Dictionary can be defined thusly:

spectre (ˈspɛktəor specter

n

1. (Alternative Belief Systems) a ghost; phantom; apparition
2. a mental image of something unpleasant or menacing: the spectre of redundancy.

The usage of the word had declined and actually reached its lowest point during the time that Fleming started using it:

As you can see, it has increased somewhat in use since that time.

Here are some instances in which Fleming used it prior to Thunderball, when it became the abbreviation for the SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. 

Here are some examples of its use:

Live and Let Die:

The great grey football of a head under the hurricane lamp looked like an elemental, a malignant spectre from the centre of the earth, as it hung in mid air, the golden eyes blazing steadily, the great body in shadow.

Diamonds Are Forever:

Spectreville. The Spectre Range. In total throughout the book there are 11 mentions of the two of these.

From Russia With Love:

Kronsteen…had sweated away a pound of weight in the last two hours and ten minutes, and the spectre of a false move still had one hand at his throat.

The decoding machine which is the MacGuffin of the novel is called a Spektor. (17 mentions)

Goldfinger:

Bond walked slowly up to the putt, knocking Goldfinger’s ball away. Come on, you bloody fool! But the spectre of the big swing – from an almost certain one up to a possible one down – made Bond wish the ball into the hole instead of tapping it in.

Despite the chart above, I don’t actually know how commonly this word was used in every day language. From here, it seems like a rather obscure word, which Fleming liked the sound, sight and meaning of, and enjoyed using it whenever he could, even a variation on the word in Spektor. He also used the variations Spectral and Spectrally on occasion. (also meaning ghostly)

Live and Let Die:

All through the centre of the state, the moss lent a dead, spectral feeling to the landscape.

Most of the tanks were dark, but in some a tiny strip of electric light glimmered spectrally and glinted on little fountains of bubbles…

…in the grey valleys they caught the light of the moon and waved spectrally

From Russia With Love:

The spectral eye of the nightlight cast its deep velvet sheen over the little room.

You Only Live Twice:

The poisons listed fall into six main categories: Deliriant. Symptoms: spectral illusions…

When the novel Thunderball came out, and all the controversy and eventual court case surrounding it, one of the items at issue was the criminal organization of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and who actually came up with it. Kevin McClory claimed that he did and even later named his company Spectre Associates Inc.

From the outside, it would seem that Fleming had an affinity for the word, especially with his creation of the Spektor in From Russia With Love, and it would seem reasonable that it was a creation of Flemings. Eventually, McClory was awarded the film rights to all of Thunderball, including S.P.E.C.T.R.E and Ernst Stavro Blofeld while Fleming retained the literary rights to these.

Caracas Airport

Did you know that Ian Fleming briefly sent James Bond to Venezuela in Goldfinger?

You might’ve missed this one paragraph from the beginning of the novel, as Bond is reflecting on his recent mission and departure from Mexico.

At dawn Bond had got up and shaved and driven to the airport where he took the first plane out of Mexico. It happened to be going to Caracas. Bond flew to Caracas and hung about in the transit lounge until there was a plane to Miami, a Transamerica Constellation that would take him on that same evening to New York.

In Caracas, Bond would’ve most likely flown into Aeropuerto Internacional de Maiquetía (now Simón Bolívar International Airport). Service to New York on Constellation planes were done at the time (one crashed in 1956)

Here is what the airport terminal in Caracas looked like within a few years of Bond’s visit. Here it was preparing to welcome John F Kennedy, thus the crowds.

On a bit of a sidenote – While in Miami Bond is delayed:

Again the Tannoy buzzed and echoed.’ Transamerica regrets to announce a delay on their flight TR 618 to New York due to a mechanical defect. The new departure time will be at eight am. Will all passengers please report to the Transamerica ticket counter where arrangements for their overnight accommodation will be made. Thank you.’

Interesting note – there was no airline called Transamerica at the time that Fleming wrote this. (or was there?) Los Angeles Air Service became Trans International Airlines in 1960, which became Transamerica in 1979. The airline was shut down in 1986. Also, Tannoy is a Scotland-based manufacturer of loudspeakers and public-address systems.

Parry Defence against Underhand Thrust

In Goldfinger, when James Bond is reflecting on his mission to Mexico City and the “big Mexican” who had found him out, he recalls the confrontation with the man.

Almost automatically, Bond went into the ‘Parry Defence against Underhand Thrust’ out of the book. His right arm cut across, his body swivelling with it. The two forearms met mid-way between the two bodies, banging the Mexican’s knife arm off target and opening his guard for a crashing short-arm chin jab with Bond’s left.

What is this “Parry Defence?” It is a real technique for fighting someone with a knife at close quarters:

Straight out of a US Army Field Manual.