Longitude 78 West
In 1958, Ian Fleming was introduced to Kevin McClory, who he would collaborate with to write several outlines, treatments and scripts for Thunderball, which would go on to become the fourth instalment of the James Bond movie franchise in 1965.
In 1961, Fleming published the book, Thunderball.
What happened during those seven years is a matter of debate, conjecture and several legal battles. Most of which surround claims to story ownership. The eventual outcome saw McClory win the film rights (which he re-wrote and released as the non-EoN production, Never Say Never Again, in 1983), and Fleming, win the book.
What we do know, is that by 1959, the collaboration team of McClory and Fleming, along with the author’s friends Ernest Cuneo and Ivar Bryce (who had introduced Fleming to McClory), were having problems raising the finances to get the film made with McClory as director. McClory met with Fleming at Goldeneye, the author’s Jamaican home, and was told that he needed to step down, sell himself to a potential backer, or go to court. Cuneo sold his rights to Fleming for a dollar, and the project folded.
During the period that led to this meeting, Fleming’s involvement had decreased and McClory had introduced experienced screenwriter Jack Whittingham to the team. And it was he that completed the script to: Longitude 78 West. Fleming changed the title to Thunderball, but it’s still a good title.
So, for our purposes, we need to know whether Q was introduced to us by McClory and Whittingham? Well, even these waters are muddied, because Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins re-worked the script for the final movie version.
Although the intention was that Thunderball would be the first James Bond film, the sad episode led to it being the fourth. This will undoubtedly mean that the completed script would have been influenced by the three previous movie instalments.
This means, in our hunt for Q, we have to go backwards to go forwards...