In the realm of pure escapist film fare on television, nobody does it better than Bond, James Bond. And now he has some assistance from cable agent Ted Turner.
Turner's TBS basic cable service has become a Wednesday night refuge for Bond-o-philes this fall. Turner Broadcasting earlier this year purchased the OO7 film archives, ran 12 of them over seven successive days in March, and began this fall to run them out again weekly, in roughly chronological order of production.
Tonight's entry, at 8:05, is "The Spy Who Loved Me," with Roger Moore, Barbara Bach and Curt Jurgens. It is so typical of the Bond genre, coming in 1977 near the mid-point of the 17-movie series, that it deserves a quickie trivia quiz:
1. The theme song from this film was a hit recording. What was the title and singer? (Note: This column has already contained a hint.)
2. What character made the first of two memorable appearances in this film?
3. The Bond series has always featured a high order of techno-gimmickry. What remarkable vehicle was utilized here?
While waiting for the answers, know that this may be the best of the seven Moore outings as Bond. It was his third film (after "Live and Let Die" in 1973 and "The Man With the Golden Gun" in 1974, the latter a rival for best-Moore film). The actor's early stiffness was gone but not yet replaced with the physical puffiness and absurd posturing of later films.
THE ANSWERS, REVEALED:
1. The song was "Nobody Does It Better," written by Marvin Hamlisch and sung by Carly Simon.
2. Villain Jurgens, bent on destruction of the world while his minions survive in an undersea complex, employs a dentured servant named "Jaws." An enforcer with a nasty steel overbite, he is played by 7-foot-2 Richard Kiel, who also is seen in the next film, "Moonraker."
3. Bond and the beautiful Russian agent he has teamed with (Bach) drive their sports car into the ocean, where it metapmorphoses into a sleek submarine.
A RULES CHANGE -- "Davis Rules," the quirky comedy with Jonathan Winters and Randy Quaid, is coming back to the schedule, but on a different network.
The producers announced yesterday the show is moving from ABC to CBS because ABC had no time slot for it in the mid-season replacement scheme.
The show is scheduled to debut on CBS Jan. 1, at either 8 or 8:30 p.m., and will be paired Wednesdays with "Brooklyn Bridge."
Although it did not make ABC's fall schedule, it was a designated hitter for faltering shows, and 11 new episodes were produced for the purpose.