With Further Ado #119: In the Navy

I really enjoy teaching classes for future entrepreneurs. And one of the specialized classes I teach focuses on conventions and tradeshows. There’s a bit of geek culture thrown into that one too. So I really love it whenever entrepreneurism overlaps with Geek Culture

Another passion is monster movies and a favorite studio was the London based Hammer Film Productions. Even as a kid, I could tell that these guys took the classic monsters of Universal and revved them up with a bit more sex, a bloodier gore and a Swinging Sixties sensibility.

Dracula A.D. 1972 is one of the best Hammer pictures. The premise is simple, a bunch of kids resurrect Count Dracula in modern times. It was contemporary when it was filmed.  British actress Caroline Munro steals the show (wait: here’s an-almost 50 year old spoiler) as a doomed victim of the world’s most famous vampire.

She’d later appear in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (Bat-expert Dan Greenfield has suggested she may have been the inspiration for Talia, Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter) and as a bond girl in The Spy the Who Loved Me.

With her long, straight black hair and bangs, she seemed to eschew the notions of cinematic beauty as established by the previous generation’s filmmakers. She was “now” and she was “wow”, baby.

This actress also seemed on step away from traditional comics, but it could have been different. There are stories that Hammer was looking to develop a Vampirella movie starring Caroline Munro. It never came to fruition. That didn’t stop Executive Replicas from producing a Caroline-as-Vampirella action figure last year.

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Here’s where it gets back to start-ups and entrepreneurs. I just stumbled across a treasure trove of old Rum ads from the 1970s. And they featured none other than… Caroline Munro.

Lamb’s Rum was the brainchild of a 22 year-old entrepreneur named Alfred Lamb. His father was in the spirits business, so it wasn’t a surprise when Alfred developed a unique rum, blending 18 different kinds of rum to create Lamb’s Navy Rum.

He called it Navy Rum as a nod to the tradition that the British Navy had, for years and years, rationed a bit of rum to sailors. When the Navy stopped that tradition in 1970, Lamb’s developed creative the wry invitation to “Join the Lamb’s Navy”.

The Lamb’s Navy Rum was sold and bought a number of times – but you can see what they are up to here.

The fascinating thing is that the young Caroline Munro was the face of Lamb’s Navy Rum for years. She seemed to be essentially auditioning for the part of Bond Girl or Super-Spy. Why else would she wear a sexy wetsuit? She looked ready for some maritime adventures “thunderballing” with 007. As the story goes, the Hammer Films chairman, Sir James Carreras, was smitten after seeing Caroline Munro’s image on a Lamb’s Navy billboard. He promptly signed her for her first (of several) Hammer horror film.

By today’s standards -these are ads are silly. They are a real life Austin Power male wish-fulfilment fantasy. What does Caroline Munro, as a proto-Bond Girl have to do with make a rum purchase? I’m not sure either, but I think it deserves a toast. Diet Coke and Rum, anyone?

Here are some more of the Lamb’s Navy ads: