Some film franchises have made more money than the James Bond series, but none has had the staying power of the 007 movies, which celebrate their 50th anniversary with the release of the 23rd film this weekend, Skyfall.
You can attribute Bond's endurance to a number of things, including iconic characters, reboots and reinventions. But the biggest factor might be this: Guys want to be Bond.
Sure, we might not want to be chased constantly by the world's most lethal goons, but the Bond franchise has created a style and a mystique with tremendous appeal: the gear, the clothes, the adventures, and of course, the women, mostly culled from the ranks of elite European fashion models. It is so iconic, there is even a Web site dedicated to living like Bond: Jamesbondlifestyle.com.
Kentucky seems a world away from MI6, although 1964's Goldfinger was filmed partly at Fort Knox, Louisville and what is now Blue Grass Airport. But if a new Bond film makes you want to indulge in some or all of the Bond experience, Here are seven ways to do it in or near the Bluegrass.
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Drink a martini
Maybe the easiest thing to do like Bond is drink. The signature spirit of the 007 films has been the vodka martini, "shaken, not stirred," which he has ordered in numerous movies. The Vesper martini was featured in the book and movie Casino Royale, described in the book as "three measures of Gordon's (gin), one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?'"
If you aren't the martini type, there are plenty of other options, including scotch and soda, the drink Bond consumes most in the novels, and champagne, which has made numerous Bond film appearances. Dom Pérignon was the original brand of choice, but Bollinger has been featured recently, particularly its "002 for 007" release to celebrate Bond's 50th. The limited-edition bottle with specialized case will set you back $200; it will be available in late November at Liquor Barn stores.
If you have more of a beer budget, it's been hard to miss 007's brew of choice recently, Heineken, which Daniel Craig can be seen drinking in Skyfall.
RICH COPLEY, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shoot a gun
Even people who don't care a lick about guns recognize the Walther PPK as the handgun Bond has used in almost every film since 1963's From Russia With Love. What better way to celebrate Bond's legacy than to put a few holes in some cardboard villains using an updated version of the gun?
Joe Murphy, CEO of The Gun Warehouse and Range in Lexington, said shooters can rent the PPK/S, Bond's sidearm in Skyfall, for as little as $10. It has an altered grip but the same sexy silhouette as the PPK.
Shooters also may rent the Walther P99, Bond's sidearm from 1999's The World Is Not Enough through 2006's Casino Royale. In fact, almost any weapon in any recent film used by police, henchmen or Bond himself can be fired in the store's state-of-the-art range, including full-auto weapons like the Heckler & Koch UMP, which Bond used at the end of Casino Royale.
For $10, you get 10 rounds of ammunition and 10 minutes on the range, Murphy said. Typical range prices are $12.50 for a half-hour or $20 for an hour, with an extra $10 allowing you to rent as many guns as you want. (Rifle rentals cost more, about $60, and rifle hours are limited.)
JOSH KEGLEY, email@example.com
Drive an Aston Martin
It is unlikely you will ever be able to get behind the wheel of Bond's first Aston Martin, a DB5 model used in Goldfinger —a collector bought it for $4.6 million in 2010 — but you can see and test-drive one of the British luxury cars relatively nearby.
Midwestern Auto Group in Dublin, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, has been an Aston Martin dealership since the 1990s and has several of the cars. Test drives are available.
Remember to bring a big bag of cash if you plan to buy one. A 2012 Aston Martin DBS, a version of which was seen in 2008's Quantum of Solace, will set you back $275,861 to $299,576, according to Motortrend.com.
Bond drove various other vehicles over the years, including Alfa Romeos, Bentleys and, believe or not, an AMC Hornet. But the Aston Martin DB5 remains the car most associated with 007. The DB5 returns in Skyfall.
JIM WARREN, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wear a Tom Ford suit
With their body-hugging fit and polished details, the bespoke Tom Ford suits Daniel Craig wears are stars of Skyfall. Ford dressed Craig as 007 starting with 2008's Quantum of Solace.
A guy doesn't just run down to the local department store to buy these high-end works of fashion art, which sell for thousands of dollars. You're also not likely to snag a new suit online except for the occasional listing at Bluefly.com.
Retailers that carry the suits include Tom Ford stores in Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and New York; and Neiman Marcus stores including one in Chicago, probably the closest spot to Kentucky. For a complete list of stores, go to Tomford.com.
HARRIETT HENDREN, email@example.com
When Bond jumps out of a plane, as he did in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me, it's usually because a nemesis has rigged the plane to blow up. It's a sure bet Bond will encounter more perils before he lands safely on terra firma. Daredevil Kentuckians can experience the thrills of a sky dive — free-falling at 115 to 130 mph — without the perils 007 faced.
Lebanon-based Jumping for Fun, a member of the U.S. Parachute Association, has two drop zones in Kentucky: at Addington Field at the Elizabethtown airport and at Arnold's Airport, a private strip in Springfield.
Licensed instructors work with beginning and experienced skydivers. Bond wannabes might choose the excitement of a solo jump ($150); tandem jumps ($225) are available for those who need a bit more encouragement.
All skydiver must be at least 18 and sign a release waiver. Reservations are required; call (502) 648-3464 or go to Jumpingforfunskydiving.com.
PATTI NICKELL, Contributing Travel Writer
Travel to exotic locales
Exotic places are as much a part of Bond's world as beautiful women, heinous villains and state-of-the-art gadgetry. Here are four destinations worthy of 007:
Istanbul, Turkey. Anyone who saw 1963's From Russia With Love knows that this city, straddling two continents, can be a dangerous — or dangerously seductive — place. Best spot for a secret agent to get lost in: the Grand Bazaar, with its 4,000 covered souks. Best place to enjoy a martini: the Ciragan Palace Hotel overlooking the Bosphorus strait.
The Seychelles. These gorgeous islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa are as close to paradise as one can get. Swaying coconut palms, gleaming white beaches, crystal-clear waters — everything 007 and his Bond girl would need after completing a harrowing assignment.
Marrakesh, Morocco. Cities don't get any more exotic than this colorful metropolis. Bond would no doubt book a suite at La Mamounia Hotel, with a vista of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains looming over the Sahara desert. After checking in, he would make for the Café de France in Djemaa el-Fna Square, order a martini and wait for his contact.
Jamaica. Bond has more than a passing acquaintance with this lush Caribbean island, very accessible to Americans. It was where he was introduced to the movie-going public in 1962 in Dr. No. His creator, Ian Fleming, built an oceanside retreat there and named it Goldeneye. Today, Fleming's former home, in Oracabessa near Ocho Rios, is a luxury hotel. Bond probably would choose one of the secluded lagoon suites.
PATTI NICKELL, Contributing Travel Writer
Bet at a casino
Bond has made plenty of visits to casinos, not just in Fleming's first Bond novel and 21st film, Casino Royale. If you pay even scant attention to the news in the Bluegrass State, you know we do not have casinos here, but they are just a state away.
Right along the Kentucky-Indiana-Ohio junction are three casinos in close proximity: Rising Star Casino Resort in Rising Sun, Ind. (Risingstarcasino.com); Belterra Casino Resort in Switzerland County, Ind. (Belterracasino.com); and Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Ind. (Hollywoodindiana.com).
There's also Horseshoe Southern Indiana, just over the river from Louisville in Elizabeth, Ind. (Horseshoe-indiana.com), and Cincinnati will have a Horseshoe casino soon.
If you try the casino life, note that Bond favored the cards and merciless games of chance, including roulette. You probably wouldn't find him at the slots with a handle in his hand.
RICH COPLEY, firstname.lastname@example.org