James Junior surrounded by villains and motifs from his series.


Original medium: Television animation
Produced by: Murakami Wolf Swenson
First Appeared: 1991
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There is very little evidence, in the original James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, for the existence of a James Bond Jr. — unless one counts a pseudonymously-written attempted juvenile spin-off titled 003½: The Adventures of James Bond Junior, which came out in 1967 and failed to initiate a series. But the Bond property still had commercial clout in the early 1990s, and the name "James Bond Jr." …

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… seemed ideal to convey the idea that this guy was just like Bond but younger, to appeal to a youthful demographic such as the viewers of television cartoons.

Since it would imply entangling family connections to make Junior an acknowledged son of the lucrative hero (as well as contradicting the novels) he was said to be a mere nephew (which only contradicted the novels). But since a title like George Bond, James's Brother's Kid didn't have quite the zing they were looking for, they stuck with James Bond Jr. even tho that implied Bond had a brother, also named James Bond. Was it like Dr. Seuss's Mrs. McCave, who had 23 sons and she named them all Dave? Producers of the cartoon got around this question by not mentioning it.

The production company in question was Murakami Wolf Swenson. It was very small compared with, say, Hanna-Barbera or Filmation, but still quite big enough to have been involved with Chipmunks, Turtles, Strawberry Shortcake and other familiar properties.

The title character was a student at Warfield Academy, as well as a world-ranging adventurer just like his famous uncle. He and a bunch of his friends would get involved in one scrape after another with surviving villains from the Bond movies (through the cooperation of United Artists (Little Iodine, Tank Girl), which controlled film rights to the Bond franchise).

Those fellow adventurers included Horace "I.Q." Boothroyd II (Q's grandson), Gordon "Gordo, no relation" Leiter (Felix's son), Tracy Milbanks (the school headmaster's daughter), and Phoebe Farragut (you could tell she was serious and studious because she wore glasses). Other school associates included the requisite rich bully, Trevor Noseworthy IV; Tracy's dad, Headmaster Bradford Milbanks, who had a background in the R.A.F.; and gym coach Burton "Buddy" Mitchell, formerly an FBI agent and a regular in the mainstream James Bond series.

Junior was voiced by Corey Burton (the 21st century Ludwig von Drake). I.Q. was Jeff Bennett (The Man in the Yellow Hat). Mitchel was Brian Stokes Mitchell (Stretch in California Raisins). Other voices included Susan Blu (a couple of the Fluppy Dogs, Pat Fraley (Dollar the Dog in Richie Rich) and Alan Oppenheimer (The Watcher in Fantastic Four animation).

Murakami Wolf Swenson made 65 episodes, for daily broadcast beginning Monday, September 16, 1991. There was the usual merchandising, including a few media spin-offs. Puffin Books did six novelizations by John Vincent, a pseudonym of John Peel (Doctor Who, Carmen Sandiego). In Britain, Buzz Books published three for younger readers.

And Marvel Comics adapted a dozen epidodes into a 12-issue comic book series, which ran from January to December, 1992. Writers of the various issues included Dan Abnett (Legion of Super Heroes) and artists included Adolfo Buylla (Gold Key's Believe It or Not).

For such a high-profile property, the James Bond Jr. series didn't last very long. Its 65 half-hours constituted only a single season of daily episodes, and tho the toys were in production a little while longer, it was all gone by the mid-1990s.


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Text ©2008 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Murakami Wolf Swenson.