James Bond and the Sixties Spy Craze

Applause. Apr. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9781493079766. $32.95. FILM
Shubilla (Primetime 19661967: The Full Spectrum of Television’s First All-Color Season) chronicles the inception, development, worldwide expansion, and inevitable slide into parody of the spy and secret-agent genre in film and TV throughout the 1960s Bond-Beatles-Batman era. The story begins with novelist Ian Fleming’s creation of James Bond, whom President Kennedy helped popularize when he listed From Russia with Love among his favorite books of 1961. Shubilla takes deep dives into the upper echelon of Bond-like characters (including secret agents Derek Flint, Harry Palmer, and Matt Helm) and the American spin on British cloak-and-dagger tropes. There is also a lengthy and detailed section devoted to secret agents on TV. One of the more intriguing aspects of the book is the author’s pursuit of the genre around the world, particularly in Latin America, where Mexico’s revered luchador, El Santo, fought monsters and became a secret agent in numerous 1960s films. Shubilla clearly loves 1960s popular entertainment, and, as the book’s 30-page bibliography attests, he has done his homework.
VERDICT Detailed, informative, and lots of fun. Film, television, and pop culture collections at all levels will want this.
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