Although Donald Pleasence shamelessly tried to steal every scene that he shared with Mr Fluffy, and despite the incredible decision of the film company not to dignify such a central character as Blofeld’s white cat with a name nor the feline thespian with a credit, he became a legend. What no one knew was that Mr Fluffy was not acting. He was not, of course, CEO within SPECTRE – SPECTRE is after all a fictional organisation, but he was, even at this early stage, Lotte Lenya’s Controller and an embryonic megalomaniac.
Emerging from Pinewood Studios sadder, wiser, yet with pockets filled with sovereigns, Mr Fluffy (He was still known as Young Fluffy back then, but not for long.) bought into the Cleethorpes Gazette which was on the brink of closure. Specialising in lurid tales of the seedier activities on the Cleethorpes sea-front and searching exposés of corruption amongst local councillors the Gazette was soon outselling every local newspaper in Lincolnshire and, at least in Grimsby, outselling some of the less popular nationals too. The time was ripe for expansion.
Buying newspapers had merely been a matter of flashing enough cash, television companies could be absorbed or broken with ease, but radio proved a tougher nut to crack. To this day there were, he suspected, subversive elements operating within the bowels of Broadcasting House.
With practically the whole of the British news media in his hands Mr Fluffy acquired the defunct Black Cat Factory, which was lying derelict amidst the overgrown and neglected communal gardens of Mornington Crescent and, in one dark and thundery night, the air crackling with static and pavements wet with typesetters’ tears, he abandoned Fleet Street and moved his entire operation under one roof. Reborn, the magnificent Art Deco Egyptian Revivalist edifice, temple in equal parts to the cat goddess Bastet and the capitalist god Profit in his most concrete of forms, dominated surrounding Camden and surreptitiously stretched predatory claws out into the neighbouring landscape. From the camera obscura on the rooftop terrace Mr Fluffy could look out onto the teeming mass of humanity below and know that he owned them all; bought or cowed they would all dance when he plucked upon their strings.