The Spectacle Blog

Which Came First? The Q or the Are What?

By on 4.10.06 | 7:24PM

The rather amusing report on Brit news that the MI-6 folk are creating a research center modeled after the Desmond Llewelyn character in the James Bond movies -- "Q" -- is a bit backward historically.

I've been searching for my copy of "Of Spies and Strategems" by Dr. Stanley Lovell. Lovell -- nicknamed "Dr. Moriarty" by OSS leader Wild Bill Donovan in World War 2 -- was the real "Q" long before Ian Fleming wrote the first Bond adventure novel.

Lovell and his team's record of diabolic invention spanned everything from the OSS spike (a four-pointed sharp tool that landed one point upward no matter how it was thrown on a German runway) to a totally silent and flashless small-caliber assassination pistol that Donovan demonstrated thusly.

According to Lovell's book -- and here I'm quoting from memory because I can't find the goldarn thing -- Donovan entered the Oval Office while FDR was talking to Harry Hopkins. Without a word, Wild Bill placed a small sandbag against the wall, drew the pistol and fired it from concealment, emptying the whole mag into it. Upon which he wrapped his handkerchief around the barrel and handed it, butt-first, to a startled president cautioning him that the weapon was still hot. The Secret Service was not amused.

I can't be sure that Fleming knew of Lovell in creating Q, but MI-6 surely does in creating their new group. And best of luck to the diabolicals of MI-6. You might wanna talk to those guys at DARPA. I think you'll find that you have a few things in common.

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