James Bond is from Texas. Actually, at least four of them are!
James Bond is from Luling. Or from Wink. Or from New Braunfels. It depends on which member of the Bond family you are talking about.
“My father was James Bond, and he was born in 1925,” James Bond of Luling says. “He would always respond, ‘I was James Bond before there ever was a James Bond.’”
Bond himself was in junior high when the “Dr. No” film came out in 1962 and changed his life.
“So in the seventh grade, my nickname changed to Double-O,” Bond says. “It made me somebody because I was just a junior high dork, to be perfectly honest with you.”
His own son sometimes felt the same way.
“He wanted to go by ‘James Bond,’ his real first name, where the girls would like him,” Bond says.
Altogether, there are four generations of James Bonds in this family. And all across the globe, there are many more. Filmmaker Matthew Bauer tells their stories in the new documentary “The Other Fellow.”
“You couldn’t make this film about a man called ‘Indiana Jones’ or ‘Luke Skywalker’ because they are not kind of also the world’s number one men’s lifestyle brand,” Bauer says. “I mean, James Bond is considered the epitome of kind of 20th century masculinity.”
In the documentary, Bauer explores how that can be difficult for some.
“The first question everyone asks me always is why ‘would anyone call their child James Bond?,’” Bauer said. “Generally what happened was, you know, in the 60s or 70s… the sequel was a very new concept. And so [parents] might have gone ‘oh this will be around for a few years,’ but people just didn’t think that it would be going 60 years later.”
For the Texas James Bonds, keeping the name in the family felt worth the trouble.
“We just felt the tradition was important enough to continue,” Bond says.
But he recognizes it’s also quite a pain at times. He says there’s no Bond joke he hasn’t heard.
“All the extra time as to which movie is your favorite, which actor is your favorite,” Bond says.
That’s why many times, he’s just gone by Jim. But, he says, there is at least one experience in his past that still makes him laugh.
“The only time that it was really kind of interesting is I was working for a state agency and received a phone call,” Bond says. “And this lady started off by saying, I asked for her name and she started off, ‘please don’t hang up on me when I tell you my name’. And I said, ‘okay, I promise I won’t, ma’am’. And she said, ‘my name is Edith Bunker’. And I said, ‘well, I understand where you’re coming from, my name is James Bond’. And she hung up on me. She thought I was pulling her leg!”
The “All in the Family” reference might not really translate for folks from younger generations. But it seems a safe bet that if there’s another James added to the Texas Bond family down the line, he will get the same attention as his predecessors.
“It’s unbelievable that you would get so much attention,” Bond says.
The documentary “The Other Fellow” has its U.S. premiere at the Austin Film Festival. Bauer says there will also soon be news about streaming distribution.
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