Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Making of a Super Agent

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Making of a Super Agent

Article excerpt

MY MISSION: Infiltrate the new 40th anniversary James Bond exhibit at London's Science Museum undetected.

It's 9:54, and I arrive early. But I'm not alone. I slip on my dark glasses and survey the jostling crowd of three-foot-tall people crowding the museum door.

Most seem to be dressed in typical English school uniforms, but I'm no fool. Scaramanga's nasty little henchman Nick Nack couldn't have been much more than three feet tall himself!

Suddenly, the doors open and I'm carried along as the little people surge into the museum's cavernous lobby.

So far, so good.

I sense someone watching me. I quickly scan the room for escape routes. But the attractive redhead beckoning seems innocent enough.

Fine, I'll play her little game.

I warily slide in line and step forward to pay my admission to the redhead - a dead ringer for Jill St. John.

Her sultry green eyes lock on me like lasers. Perhaps it's because I'm still wearing the shades, and I'm having trouble deciphering this strange pile of English coins in my hand.

She hands me a ticket. "You can go in at 10:30," she purrs.

It won't be long now. To kill some time, I stroll over to the museum's Deep Blue Cafe for a cup of tea - shaken, not - well, you know.

I check my watch. It's mission time. I negotiate a flight of stairs, a 90-degree turn.

I can smell the danger.

Hiking up the collar of my Burberry trenchcoat, I step through the portal into 007's world: M's headquarters, Q's gadget workshop, a gallery of Bond Babes, cool cars, and a rogue's gallery of villains.

Immediately I'm intercepted by a mysterious man who hands me a piece of black plastic.

It's a secret-agent card, the key to the exhibition's database. A lucky break! Now all I have to do is answer a few questions, and the title of super agent is mine.

I swipe my card at the first MI6 station, which features questions about Bond movies. Storyboards and production photos decorate the walls, chronicling the creation of those memorable 007 designs.

My first question pops up: "What singing star actually appeared in the opening titles?"

I hesitate. An impatient 8-year-old waiting for his turn whispers, "Sheena Easton."

"What could he know?" I think as I select the incomparable Shirley Bassey.

"Incorrect" flashes on the screen - over and over. Just once would be fine, thank you.

Now I'm in M's office - the familiar leather chair, paneled wood walls, the dark cherry desk. And there's M himself on a TV monitor, briefing me on the mission (along with a nanny pushing a stroller. Note to self: Keep an eye on her.)

I receive my orders, and I'm off to Q's workshop, where the amazing fold-up plane from "Octopussy" fills the middle of the room.

Glass cases display Bond's famous Walther PPK, his hairbrush code transmitter, and a gold Rolex with sawblades that saved his neck in "Live and Let Die. …

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