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The Owl and the Pussycat

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Reality vs CGI
Ken Adam Artist
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The theory of... of Cubby [Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli] and Harry [Saltzman] and... and the directors too, was that we were… we're going out of our way not to cheat the audience. You know, sometimes obviously we had to use trick, but as a rule we did everything for real. And I'll never forget we had a sort of American colonel who was – ex colonel – who was a friend of Cubby who found out that there was a jet pack being used in the American army. So he got it over and Sean is supposed to – I don't know if you remember the film, it was on Thunderball – and Sean takes off his jet pack and it flies for about two minutes or something, but… and then it runs out of fuel, and you know, and if you are 800ft up you'd better get down, you know, quickly, before it runs out of fuel. And of course Sean could… would not do it, and we would have never allowed him to do it, and we had an American stuntman who knew this thing, but you know, there was no gauge you could look at or something. I think you had to go by your timing, and that, you know, two minutes or two and a half minutes, and then that's it, you know, so that was danger as well.

Sir Kenneth Adam (1921-2016), OBE, born Klaus Hugo Adam, was a production designer famous for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, he trained as an architect in London, but in October 1943, he became one of only two German-born fighter pilots to fly with the RAF in wartime. He joined 609 Squadron where he flew the Hawker Typhoon fighter bomber. After the war, he entered the film industry, initially as a draughtsman on This Was a Woman. His portfolio of work includes Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George; he won an Oscar for both films. Having a close relationship with Stanley Kubrick, he also designed the set for the iconic war room in Dr Strangelove. Sir Ken Adam was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Thunderball, Albert Broccoli, Harry Saltzman, Sean Connery

Duration: 1 minute, 45 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 11 November 2011