Alligator (Harvard Lampoon) - Vanitas Books - 1962 (77 pages)

Before Sean Connery starred as Agent 007 in the first James Bond movie (Dr. No), there was a parody of the Ian Fleming novels by those clever people at Harvard Lampoon.

Alligator is such a great parody of the Fleming style that the casual reader might be completely fooled except for the asterisks, abbreviated length, and a few of the unusual scenes.  Writer Christopher Cerf and artist Michael Frith were very faithful to the original.  The pair collaborated again four years later for "Toadstool" that appeared in the 1966 Harvard Lampoon of Playboy (PL*YB*Y).  Cerf and Frith were regular contributors to National Lampoon when it appeared in 1970.

J*ames B*nd works for "*" (parody of M) in the British Secret Service (disguised as an import/export business) where "... the few innocents who occasionally wandered in trying to import or export something ... were politely, but firmly, shot."  When B*nd arrives for his assignment, he is informed by Miss Pennyfarthing that all of the bridges to the mouth of the Thames have collapsed.

Lacertus Alligator is a Goldfinger-like character who has a habit of spraying people in the face with purple vegetable dye.  He has hatched a Communist-Nazi plot to form The Organization Organized To Hate (T.O.O.T.H.) and to blackmail the English government by stealing landmark buildings (British Parliament, Big Ben, etc.) with the queen and members of both houses, painting them all purple and floating them to Bermuda.  Alligator's lovely assistant is Anagram Le Galion, daughter of an Irish mud-wrestler, who succumbs to the charms of J*mes B*nd.

The Harvard gang is especially adept with their lampoons of B*nd's peculiarities such as his favorite drink: "... the glass must be chilled at 28 degrees Fahrenheit.  No more than two cubes of ice per measure.  Basically it is two ounces of Wolfschmidt's and two ounces of Beefeater's with a half ounce of Cointreau.  On the side the bartender should have mixed an ounce of creme de menthe with one ounce of light Bacardi and a dash of Angostura and Falernum (not too heavy).  The whole is then firmly shaken with a half cup of sugar and poured slowly over the ice in the glass.  A twist of lemon once around the lip and into the glass and it is made."  He also had specific instructions for the preparation of his BLT.

B*nd and Alligator meet for the first time at a game of "Go Fish."  With the help of his Bulgarian henchmen (Kynstondi and Pazardzhik), Alligator has been successfully cheating his opponents.  B*nd outcheats him and wins 424,000 pounds.

With the help of Anagram and American secret agent Felix Ronson (parody of "Leiter"), B*nd finds Alligator's island.  Along the way, he dodges a large alligator that was hidden in his bed; barely avoids bicycling over whale vomit; defeats a homicidal frogman; and is eventually captured by a giant underwater vacuum.  Although captured, B*nd manages to conceal a table knife, candlestick, cigarette lighter and aerosol can which all come in handy when he is tied to a chair and dropped into an alligator pit.  Agent 007 escapes and saves the day as Lacertus Alligator falls into the clockworks of Big Ben. [JAM archive]

"Across the Atlantic at Harvard University, the two editors of the undergraduate monthly, Harvard Lampoon, wrote the first full-length spoof Bond novel, called Alligator.  One of them, Christopher Cerf, had a familiar name, as he was the son of the New York publisher Bennett Cerf who had once shown an interest in publishing Live And Let Die.  So similar to a Bond novel did Alligator look that New American Library, Ian's American publisher, forced the Lampoon to limit its edition to 100,000 copies, still a sizeable number."  [Ian Fleming  by Andrew Lycett]