my favorite husband
A lot of people don't realize that the first James Bond wasn't Sean Connery on the big screen, it was Barry Nelson on television, on a 1954 episode of the CBS series Climax. Nelson played 007 in an adaptation of Casino Royale.
Nelson died in Buck's County, PA on April 7 while traveling. He was 89.
Besides the classic role of Bond, Nelson was a regular on the 50s series My Favorite Husband, and guest starred on several other shows, including The Twilight Zone, Murder, She Wrote, Fantasy Island, Magnum, P.I., Dallas, The Love Boat, Thriller, Cannon, Longstreet, The F.B.I., The Philco Playhouse, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and many others. On the big screen he was in several films, including The Shining, Airport, and Pete N' Tillie, and starred on stage in several productions.
If you haven't seen the new James Bond film Casino Royale, go now. Seriously, don't even finish reading this story. Shut off your computer, grab your coat, and rush out to your local cineplex. It's that good.
But it's not the first version of Casino Royale. And I'm not talking about the lame comedy version in the 60s starring Peter Sellers, which pretty much everyone agrees is an atrocity and not an official 007 film. I'm talking about the 1954 TV version, starring My Favorite Husband lead Barry Nelson as James Bond. Or, more precisely, "Jimmy" Bond, in an attempt to Americanize the character from the Ian Fleming novel. It was an episode of the CBS anthology series Climax and aired live on October 21, 1954. Peter Lorre played Le Chiffre. The show was pretty much forgotten and not seen that much until the 80s, and in the late 90s a nice collector's edition video was released, with the entire show intact.
Oh, and the urban legend that a dead Lorre got up at the end of the show and walked offstage on live television isn't true. That didn't happen. Though it did happen on another episode of Climax.
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