SCRANTON — Pop culture provides a lens through which we can view our past, and the James Bond films are each a reflection of their contemporary issues. It made sense, then, for the Lackawanna Historical Society to partner with a local pop culture maven like the Circle Drive-In to reach more people in the community. Their mission: hold a James Bond double feature that makes history (even more) fun.
Their target: Aug. 26. Their martinis: shaken, not stirred.
According to the society’s Executive Director, Mary Ann Savakinus, the idea for the James Bond double feature was born from an internal conversation about recently deceased actress and Scranton native Liz Scott. The historical society set a date for the Liz Scott event (Sept. 30) and liked the idea of organizing classic film events so much that they began to entertain the idea of booking another. That’s when Mary Ann’s husband, Bob, found the perfect use for one of his favorite fictional characters.
“I think because—well, I like history and I think James Bond is one of the historical characters,” Bob Savakinus said. “He’s been around for over 50 years and if you look at the way the trends have changed—whether it’s fashion or politics or anything—(both) James Bond as a character and the James Bond movies have changed to reflect the times.”
Circle Drive-In General Manager David Castelli knows what it means to reflect the times—the facility he manages has made the costly switch to digital projection, installed a second screen and added fiber optics to increase its capabilities. Castelli and the Circle Drive-In have prepared for the future, but they haven’t forgotten about the important things from the past.
“I’ve been doing film exhibitions for around 26 years so when (the historical society) came to me and said, ‘let’s do these two films,’ I thought it was just a great idea. I’ve seen all the Bond films and I’m a big fan of James Bond and the Bond films.”
The two Bond films to be featured are 1965’s “Thunderball” and 1985’s “A View to a Kill.” Each is celebrating an anniversary this year and offers a different leading man, with Sean Connery playing Bond in the former and Roger Moore donning the 007 moniker for the latter. Bob sees the cultural value in each of the actor’s portrayals, but he isn’t afraid to play favorites.
“‘A View to a Kill’ is actually my all-time favorite Bond movie,” he said. “It’s (the film’s) 30th anniversary (and) it’s Roger Moore’s final Bond movie. Christopher Walken (who plays the movie’s antagonist) is kind of underappreciated—not a lot of people even associate with him as being a bond villain. “Thunderball,” (is celebrating its) 50th anniversary and there’s a lot of Sean Connery Bond fans out there so it kind of makes sense to do one Roger Moore and one Sean Connery.”
The Lackawanna Historical Society is selling reservations for a pre-feature reception at nearby restaurant Six East that will feature Bond memorabilia culled from Bob’s private collection. The Lackawanna History Society is taking steps to help the public see history through a different lens—Mary called the night a “fundraiser and a fun-raiser at the same time”—and on Aug. 26, the lens will be focused for fans of history, cinema and martinis of a certain prepratory method.
Gene Axton has never seen a James Bond movie. You can berate him for it by calling 570-704-3943.