"Back When I Was 007 Years Old…"


Following up on my previous post on non-flying juveniles, I never attempted that particular stunt, although I had more opportunity than most.

I grew up in the Hot Summered L.A. suburb known as The Valley in a house that had neither a pool nor Air Conditioning. What we had was an Evaporative Cooler on the roof, pumping air through continuously flowing streams of water to drop the temperature of the air to a central location of the house. It worked OK, mostly because The Valley usually had a very dry heat and the cooler’s side effect is (logically) increasing the humidity. In places that had humid heat, this device would probably make living conditions inside the house even worse.

Well, that roof-top box had to have filters on all areas of air input, and those filters had to be replaced periodically, and my father was always enthusiastic about letting The Kid (me, only child) help him with his home-based chores (okay, forcing). So I got to get up on the roof, holding large sheets of meshy filter stuff while he unscrewed parts off the cooler to fit them on. I got a great view of the neighborhood, including the houses that did have pools, and over the large embankment at the end of the block behind which was Highway 101, known in that part of town as the Ventura Freeway. Oddly, right now, 180 miles away from that location, I’m a little closer to Highway 101 and can see it from my front porch. But I digress. Again.

Every time I got up on the roof, I had fun (more fun than my dad, I’m sure), although I was always afraid of falling, and never considered the possibility of flying. That’s because I never owned a Superman cape. What my parents were OK in me having was the James Bond 007 Attaché Case (Thanks to the non-blog website of Wes Clark, not the former general but a dude about my age who grew up a few miles away from me in Burbank).

Of course this Attaché was fully weaponized, not only holding a toy handgun with extra parts to convert it into a “sniper’s rifle”, but the Case itself fired plastic bullets and concealed an easily accessible plastic knife. But, as if to foreshadow my future as a briefcase-carrying office dork, I was just as interested in the other accessories, including a decoder gadget, a passport printed with all the places Bond had been as of the last movie, and James Bond’s business cards, showing both his “cover job” with, of course, an Import/Export company and the 007-gun logo. Yeah, real great cover job, Q.

Everything a double-ought secret agent on the go could ever need in one package. Although I thought it needed a place to put a Thermos.

For more Penicillin-Resistant Nostalgia, check out these scans of a 1966 J.C. Penney Christmas Catalog. If you were a kid then, the toy section (starting here) will delight you, and if you weren’t, you’ll get some serious insight as to why people my age are so damn weird.

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