September 28, 2010
“Is it true that the ‘early bird gets the worm’?” David Hedison said as he passed me setting up my products table.
“Sure it is,” I answered. “But who wants worms?”
David laughed as he continued on to his table were, for the next two days, he would sign autographs at the 2002 SpyFest show on the Queen Mary ship. That’s how we met.
Later in the day as I was talking with him he asked where there was water, and I told him I’d get some for him. I returned with a couple of bottles of Avian while he was signing a photo for a fan and said, “Here you go, David. I had them laced with rum.”
“Rum? Why not brandy?”
“Because rum is what you wanted to have your milk laced with rum when you played The Fly,” I replied.
“Oh, yeah. Now I remember.”
However, David wasn’t at SpyFest in the capacity of The Fly. He was there because he played the role of ‘Felix Leiter’ in two Bond movies. Live and Let Die, and Licence to Kill.
Most people know David Hedison from his TV show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea where he commanded the futuristic submarine The Seaview along with Richard Basehart. He got his start in theater, then did his first movie, The Enemy Below with Robert Mitchem, about a World War 2 subchaser battling wits with a German U-boat commanded by Curt Jurgens, who would later show up in the Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me.
Five years later I hired David to play one of the leads in my audio-book McKnight’s Memory along with Frank Sinatra Jr, Robert Culp, and Nancy Kwan. David did a great job and was fun to work with. As I gave all the actors the option of adding any dialogue or changing it to suit them, David came up with some great additional dialogue and phrases.
During breaks I was always asking David about The Fly and his dinosaur adventure movie The Lost World, both of which I loved. But it wasn’t until I was listening to the final trial CDs of my self-help course How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle that it suddenly hit me: David was in two Bond movies.
Why hadn’t I thought about that? Wow, was I so Fly and Lost World crazy that I forget he was also Felix Leiter. Hell, where had I first met him anyway? SpyFest, no less. He would be great to do an introduction on my Bond Lifestyle course. He could give his success ideas and stories before I started speaking.
I approached David about it and told him, that on the CD, after he told the SpyFest story of how we met, including the ‘laced with rum’ story, he could use as much time as he wanted to talk about his phylosophy and his stories of the challenges he faced getting into the movie business.
I gave him the paper book version of my Bond Lifestyle course to see if it was in keeping with his phylosopy, so he would know what he was representing. After reading it David said yes, and wrote up the intro that ending up being twelve minutes long. People that heard it were facinated by his emotional talk. As for me, I never get tired of listening to it.
Then came the big co-incidence about six months later. Edd Byrnes of 77 Sunset Strip fame, as well as Grease, where he played the DJ Vince Fontaine, decided to make an audio-book My Casino Caper. I got the job directing it. Since David Hedison was a close personal friend of Edd’s and was involved in the big hassell Edd got into when he won three million dollars in Vegas. So David came in to record how he helped Edd escape the criminal that was stalking Edd for his money.
When the projects were finished my agent and producer Larry Metzger told David we had copies of all the projects as well as some coffee cups with the front covers of the audio-books printed on them, to give him.
David invited both of us to stop by his house with the goods. He invited us into his beautiful home on top of the Hollywood hills, way on top. David said, “I got this while working on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.” And the good part is that I was able to keep working and keep it.” Yeah, that says it for me, too. Keep working and keep the lifestyle you want.
At his front door saying good-bye, I thanked David again for working on the projects. He replied, “It was my pleasure. I sure like listening to those audio when I drive around. And thanks for the work.”
I still remember him waving good-bye at the front of his home, and hope to be working with him again soon on my next project. I’ll find a role for him in it, for sure.