Adam West almost became James Bond, perhaps thanks to a chocolate milk ad
"Captain Q" might have led West to working alongside Q.
Earlier this week, the world said goobye to Sir Roger Moore. The ultimate British gentleman died at the age of 89. He was the first James Bond from the big screen to pass away. It is an elite club of English, Irish, Scottish and Australian actors. (It is often forgotten that an American, Barry Nelson, was the first actor to portray the famous spy, on television in 1954.)
Both Moore and Pierce Brosnan — James Bonds of the '70s, '80s and '90s — can be seen on MeTV, on Maverick and Remington Steele, respectively. But did you know another famous, dashing face from our network almost picked up the Walther PPK to become 007?
After 1967's You Only Live Twice, the fifth film in the Bond franchise, Sean Connery retired from the role. George Lazenby, an underdog Australian model who was shooting chocolate advertisements in London, then nabbed the role. He had learned about the opening while getting his hair trimmed at the barber. The studio offered Lazenby a contract for seven Bond films. However, on the dubious advice of his agent, he commited to only one movie, 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
A year later, Bond producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli were back on the hunt for a handsome leading man. This time, the film would have more of an American slant. Diamonds Are Forever was to be set in Las Vegas. An American screenwriter, Tom Mankiewicz, was brought in to punch up the script, to give it some authentic dialogue. Perhaps it was due to this new Yankee slant that the studio heavily considered an American James Bond. As we mentioned up top, there was some precedent for it, as Barry Nelson had acted in an adaptation of "Casino Royale" for the CBS anthology series Climax! Burt Reynolds was offered the gig. He turned it down, stating that the character should remain British.
Adam West, best known as TV's Batman, was also offered the job. According to his memoir, West also rejected the offer, believing that it was meant for a British actor. While playing Bruce Wayne certainly demonstrated West's ability to become a suave undercover playboy, the best James Bond demo reel on his resume might have been a commercial for Nestlé Quik.
In these early-'60s chocolate milk ads, West portrayed "Captain Q." Captain Q was of no relation to Q, the quartermaster of the Bond films, but he was a clear spoof of James Bond. Both were naval officers, after all. Captain Q foils the plans of a mysterious, Blofeld-like villain who sits behind a desk, firing torpedos and triggering trap doors.
Captain Q was both campy and debonair. William Dozier, the producer of Batman, took notice. It's what earned Adam West the role of the Caped Crusader. And it just might have made him James Bond, had he not had the grace and gumption to turn it down. Instead, Roger Moore rightfully landed the role.
Take a look at this classic Quik commercial: