CRESTVIEW — As the world’s most successful continuing film series celebrates a half-century of entertaining audiences around the globe, the Crestview Public Library leaps on the Bond wagon with a two-month exhibition of memorabilia from a local collector’s archives. Included are some of the books that launched the whole Bond craze 60 years ago.

“Bonded! 60 years of James Bond Books. 50 Years of James Bond Films” features materials from the collection of Crestview News Bulletin Arts and Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes, who has been collecting James Bond memorabilia since high school. He bought his first Ian Fleming Bond novel with money earmarked for a class book.

“Mom gave me a couple bucks to buy a German/English dictionary for my high school German class,” Hughes recalled. “There was a display of the movie edition of ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ by the front door of the bookshop. I bought it instead.”

The exhibit at the library includes reprints made from original plates of Fleming’s earliest Bond novels, including his first 007 adventure, “Casino Royale,” written early in 1952. Also included are several examples of cover art by English artist Richard Chopping. His painting for “From Russia With Love” got mixed up in a murder, Hughes said.

“Fleming borrowed the gun featured in the painting from Major Boothroyd, who advised Fleming on Bond’s armament,” Hughes explained. “Fleming loaned it to Richard Chopping, who took it to his country home to paint the cover art. When a murder was committed with a similar gun, Scotland Yard called on Major Boothroyd.

“‘I don’t have it,’ he told the police. ‘I lent it (to) that Fleming fellow who writes the James Bond books.’ The police visited Fleming, who said, ‘I don’t have it. I lent it to my artist. For heaven’s sake, don’t disturb his still life! He’s painting it under deadline!’”

The exhibit features a wide variety of Bond artifacts, including a rare Fossil 007-edition watch and an invitation to the exclusive party that followed the London royal charity premiere of “The Living Daylights.” Bond toys and games include action figures, board games and Bond cars, including a model of the famous “Goldfinger” Aston Martin DB5.

The distinctive James Bond film music is represented by soundtracks in several formats, including reel-to-reel tape, cassettes, 8-track tapes, record albums and CDs. Bond home videos on display include now-defunct formats like RCA “SelectaVision” video discs and a 1980s Beta videocassette.

The display immediately caught the eye of Laurel Hill resident Mickey Givens, who reminisced about seeing the first Bond film, “Dr. No,” as a young man when it was released in the U.S. in 1963. Noticing a press photo of Sir Roger Moore, Givens shook his head.

“That was the prissy one,” he said. “I didn’t care for him too much. He was too dandy.”

Crestview resident Austin Caudill examined the exhibit with his children, Parker, 8, and Elizabeth, 5, Tuesday evening, and explain the significance of the pieces to them.

“Oh yeah, they like James Bond,” Caudill said. “At least, their dad does.”

The exhibit is free and is viewable regular library opening hours, as follows:

Monday and Tuesday
10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesday and Thursday
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It will remain up through October, including World James Bond Day on Oct. 5.

For more information, call the library at 682-4432.