I was nine in 1977 when my family took me to The Spy Who Loved Me. Then a second run theater ran a James Bond festival of double features where I saw Dr. No through Live and Let Die on the big screen. Not having seen The Man With The Golden Gun yet, that became my first book read (ironic since it had nothing to do with the movie and I wasn’t familiar with the YOLT novel.) Eventually, we all saw TMWTGG on ABC, but discussed our disappointment with it after. I saw every subsequent movie in the theater on opening weekend if not day (CR the exception.) Also lots of VHS rentals and copies. Obsesssive compulsion led to purchasing every officially released version and format (Letterbox, DVD, Bluray, even used Laserdiscs!) A second film festival gave me the opportunity to see CR’67 and TMWTGG on the big screen finally.
In an effort to get me to read, my mother bought me John Gardner’s Licence Renewed when it came out. It worked! I read each of his books upon release. In the summer of '84 I read all the Fleming novels. My English teacher that fall remarked on my improved writing and vocabulary! I’ve read all the Gardners and Bensons and movie novelisations, but haven’t been able to crack the subsequent authors despite buying the books. I did however re-read Casino Royale in 2006, and most of YOLT again (oddly the ending first.) I now have a bookcase dedicated to all Bond related publications.
For some reason, my dad wouldn’t buy me the Moonraker soundtrack, so I grew up with Marvin Hamlisch, Bill Conti, and George Martin as my first Bond soundtracks, and that was still fine with me. The soundtracks were hard to find on LP, and impossible on CD until they started re-releasing them in 1988 (?). I played The Living Daylights endlessly as a courier in summer of '87. FYEO was a particularly hard CD to get, along with Octopussy before their expanded releases. Then the 2002 remasters were a godsend!
In the 90s it became a fun but expensive hobby to collect the movie posters. eBay didn’t exist yet, but there were plenty of movie poster shops in L.A. Thunderball, YOLT’s C-style volcano poster, and TMWTGG’s villains poster remain elusive and expensive, but I think I have everything else. I’ve collected most of the video game releases, including the Atari 5200 cartridge, but only really played GE64, TND, 007 racing, and TWINE. Yet I don’t have the matching consoles anymore.
Bond has been an interesting hobby in that it’s a gateway to learning more about literature, music, film, food, drinks, art, politics, women and friendships in ways that other franchises aren’t as varied (Star Trek/Wars, comic book movies, etc.) Most of my other obsessions I’ve grown out of. I think this one I’ve stuck with because different things about it interest me at different ages of life (gadgets as a kid, girls as a teenager, evolving worldviews as an adult.) Movies I once hated I now love (OHMSS) and vice-versa (Die Another Day.) 007 comes and goes, but there’s always the promise that James Bond will return.