Outer Space Belongs to 007: ‘Moonraker’ Lobby Cards

MOONRAKER has a bad reputation among many die-hard James Bond fans. Literally launching 007 into space, the 1979 Bond film starring Roger Moore (in his fourth outing) turned up the franchise’s humor and gadget quotient to top volume and ratcheted up the action to extremely ridiculous levels, representing the ultimate overkill for the almost 20-year-old series with its 11th entry.

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That being said, I love MOONRAKER. I simply love it. I saw the film when I was 11 years old and it was the second Bond film that I saw on the big screen after my father took me to see THE SPY WHO LOVED ME in the theater two years before. I was all-in with Roger Moore as my 007 and living in a post-STAR WARS world in which I’d hungrily consume any outer-space adventure that would come my way. Starlog-22NASA’s space shuttle was also a brand-new novelty in space exploration, and to see it take center stage in a Bond flick amid globe-hopping, gadgets, spy-tech vehicles and outrageous stunts was the perfect recipe for me.

Since I was on the younger side, I wanted as much over-the-top fantasy as I could get. I was less interested in a more subtle James Bond, the original Ian Fleming double agent whose adventures involving intrigue and intelligence-collecting would only be appreciated by me many years later. I wanted an impervious superhero. I wanted the untouchable Bond. And that’s what I got in MOONRAKER.
I remember buying Topps MOONRAKER trading cards. I remember buying the Corgi Moonraker shuttle — regular sized and Corgi Juniors-sized — as well as a mini Drax Industries helicopter. Corgi-Juniors-2521-007-Moonraker-Twin-Pack-SignedI loved the over-the-top poster art. I remember lapping up all the information I could about MOONRAKER when Moore graced the cover of Starlog magazine, impossibly orbiting the earth without a helmet in a silver space suit, his signature tuxedo tucked in just underneath. That image has remained iconic for me. It also became a point of contention as Bond never wears that silver suit in the film.

What?!? They lied in advertising the film?!?

“Any higher Mr. Bond, my ears will pop.” By the time MOONRAKER arrived in theaters, the Bond franchise had a lot to live up to after setting the bar so high with the opening-credit action sequence of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, in which Bond skis off a cliff and freefalls until he’s unexpectedly saved by his Union Jack parachute. That was amazing. Between that and the Lotus Esprit submarine, I thought I’d seen it all. moonraker8But then MOONRAKER ups the ante with its opening sequence that shoves Bond out of a private jet without a parachute. Without a parachute. I had never seen a stunt like that before. I had no idea that one could manipulate themselves through the air at high velocity by pretty much putting their hands on their butt to direct their trajectory. Then, cue the James Bond music — Bond wrestles the only parachute away from his skydiving adversary and then finds himself being chased by none other than Jaws (Richard Kiel), my favorite killer henchman from the last movie, through the air at terminal velocity. It was too much excitement for this 11-year-old Bond fan. Too. Much. I was hooked like a junkie.

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Packed with stunts, gags, glam locations and even more new gadgets/vehicles (I wanted a Corgi die-cast version of that silver Glastron Carlson boat so badly, but they never made one) before the action even went into outer space provided plenty to chew on. I fell for Bond girl Corinne Cléry even more than Lois Chiles, and the motorized gondola chase in Venice and the battle atop the cable cars in Rio remain standouts that took my breath away. John Barry’s epic score is something I return to often, yet I have to admit that Shirley Bassey’s theme song is not especially stellar amid the pantheon of great 007 title tunes.

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Enjoy these MOONRAKER lobby cards and stills, domestic and international. to put you in a shaken, not stirred, mindset:

A little background info on lobby cards I like to regularly share for context: Back in the days before the Internet, movie lobby cards were a powerful tool used by Hollywood studios to lure audiences into the darkened theater. They were the last line of enticement — and sometimes the first — alongside carpet-bombing consumers with coming attractions, movie posters, marquees, publicity stunts, movie program books, and newspaper advertisements for their newest big-screen sensation. With no entertainment websites or blogs available to tease audiences with stills from their films, lobby cards served that purpose for the studio publicity machine. These days, movie theater lobbies have eschewed the traditional lobby card for posters, standees, trailers on repeat, experiential activations and more.

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More Lobby Cards to ogle:

And a variety of James Bond stories to read, including fond memories of the late, great Roger Moore and an interview with George Lazenby on how he bluffed his way to Bond.

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