James Bond marathon begins with JA

DR NO, the first James Bond film, kicks off a marathon celebrating the Ian Fleming movie franchise on the Starz cable channel in July.

Released in 1962, Dr No was filmed mainly in Jamaica and starred Sean Connery as the British super sleuth, and Swedish actress Ursula Andress. It also had several well-known local personalities in bit parts.

The Starz marathon is scheduled to run in July and is part of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the popular Bond series which was conceived by British writer Ian Fleming at his Goldeneye retreat in Oracabessa, St Mary.

Fleming died in England in 1964 at age 56. He purchased Goldeneye in 1948 and spent hours there working on books, as well as hosting famous friends like British humorist Noel Coward.

Dr No was shot largely in Oracabessa, but some scenes were filmed on the Palisadoes strip and Port Royal in St Andrew. A nightclub scene featuring Byron Lee and the Dragonaires was shot at Morgan's Harbour in Port Royal.

Singer Keith Lyn led the Dragonaires on two songs in the movie, Three Blind Mice and Jamaica Jump Up. The latter was part of the nightclub scene.

"We were playing Morgan's Harbour regularly those days and we got a call saying we were going to be in this movie. It was pretty exciting," Lyn told the Jamaica Observer.

Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, whose family owned property close to Goldeneye, was appointed second unit director for Dr No. Margaret Lewars, Miss Jamaica 1961, Reggie Carter and Lester Prendergast, owner of the popular Kingston nightclub Glassbucket, also had small roles.

But the lion's share of action was reserved for scenic Oracabessa, the seaside town which was the hub of Jamaica's thriving banana industry. Bobby Pottinger, former Custos of St Mary, was an insurance salesman in nearby Highgate at the time and remembers when the film crew came to town.

"The place came alive because everybody saw there (Oracabessa) as just banana, banana, banana," Pottinger recalled. "It (Dr No) gave a boost to the area."

Goldeneye is now part of Island Outpost, Blackwell's leisure company. It has several villas, one of which was Fleming's home.

In October 1996, the property hosted a Bond reunion which was attended by Andress, former Bond actor George Lazenby and Grace Jones who starred in the 1985 movie, A View To a Kill.


BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

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