Double Your Spies

DATELINE: Double or Nothing?

 Gere & Topher!

It only took us a decade to come around to The Double, a Russian spy infiltrates the CIA and/or FBI thriller. This one slipped through the cracks ten years ago, and we wondered why.

Perhaps the stars were box-office poison back then. Today, they look like classic performers, doing Hamlet.

You might be held back because of the smarmy leads: there is Richard Gere, in varying shades of white and gray as he plays himself in 25-year flashbacks as the ubiquitous CIA wrecking crew.

Then, there is the ever-irksome millennial Topher Grace as the research librarian turned field agent for the FBI.

They are forced to team up to find the former Soviet agent called Cassius who led one of the most dangerous murder groups out of Russia back in the 1980s.

You need only watch the trailer for this film, and you have a pretty good idea who the double is and how dangerous he may be. You will be on the road of the Red Herring.

Topher Grace’s analytical agent claims Cassius is not dead, not executed by Gere in his last act before retiring. They disagree, and then we begin to suspect that the double is the agent leading the hunt.

All of this is droll and clever until improbable meets impossible in the grand finale. We still aren’t sure who was supposed to kill whom for what government. Oh, Martin Sheen is along as head of the CIA. So, you can trust him.

As for the rest of these double agents, you sympathize at your own risk. Well, it was diverting.

Hynek Sticks Out His Neck

 DATELINE: Men in Black Revealed?

 Mystery man in black.

Not one week ago, or less, we saw Ancient Aliens episode on Men in Black that featured the son of Dr. J. Allen Hyneck telling audiences that his father believed that the men in black existed—but he himself never had any encounters with them.

This week on Project Blue Book, we have our faith in accuracy tested again. Before you can say opening credits, a Man in Black (Ian Tracey) kidnaps Dr. Hynek.

History Channel channels Ancient Aliens and Project Blue Book together on Maury Island. What’s next? Men in black on Oak Island?

They must have erased his memory bank, which grows more bankrupt with each week of season two. One gives Hynek a major concussion, out cold for a prolonged time, and offers him aspirin.

It now falls to pipsqueak partner Captain Quinn (Mike Malarkey)  to locate his missing associate. He must re-team with the black CIA operative Dan Banks (Jerod Haynes). What he reveals is that the Men in Black are, in fact, rogue remote viewers who left the agency after what they saw through precognition.

Dr. Hynek’s wife Mimy (Laura Mennell) ( is also an adept spy and continues to insinuate herself into investigations.

Unfortunately, these clairvoyants cannot see too much, and are easily tracked down. If you can find a needle in a haystack without any paranormal skills, Captain Quinn can find Dr. Hynek in the middle of the woods without a compass.

So, it appears that CIA is the true enemy of Blue Book, not space aliens. We have no answer about the missing time in the lives of Quinn and Hynek some episodes ago.

 

 

Unreal Men in Black

DATELINE: Ancient Aliens Goes Black 

We did not expect a hard-hitting look at the legendary Men in Black,subject of a couple of ridiculous comedy movies with Will Smith among others.

Ancient Alienstackles the topic to give us a history of the encounters—and how they grew from one black-suited man of some unknown government agency—to a plethora of sunglassed, fedora-hatted scary figures who seem to be on the side of space men.

The usual raft of Ancient Alienexperts show up to comment on this topic. From Nick Pope to Mike Bara (who goes on assignment to Maury Island where the first man in black showed up in the 1940s).

You will also meet Paul Hynek, son of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, now listed as a consultant on Project BlueBook tv series. AA also uses clips from that other History Channel show.

What is intriguing is that these imposing and intimidating figures seem to go after the nobodies who see UFOs. They never pay a visit to the journalists, investigators, or leaders of the UFO movement. Not one host/narrator of Ancient Alienshas met a man in black, apparently not even one pretending to be in a fedora. The episode calls these mystery figures “The Real Men in Black.”

What respectable villain would appear in anything other than black, unless he likes to pretend to be a gray.

Are they official government agents? It’s not confirmed in early FBI documents. They did not work for J.Edgar.

A piece of the crashed ship (not another one) was destroyed in a plane crash with investigators who were killed. Twenty years later a piece was located on site in Maury Lake, but has never been tested (inexplicably).

Of course, this leads to conclusions that the Men in Black are either extra-terrestrials or working with top secret human agents. They now use black helicopters and may be using technology to wipe memories from the public consciousness.

Who can recall what happened back then?

 

 

We Like Mike & His Money!

DATELINE: Cost of Doing Business

High Priced Ticket?

Democrats are accusing Mike Bloomberg of buying the election. They seem to have missed the incident where Trump is paying money to black ministers and churches, through their local fund-raisers. Now that’s buying votes with cash.

Bloomberg is accused of spending his unlimited wealth ($61 billion is unlimited, folks) to purchase airtime on TV and opening offices, paying people to work for him.

That’s buying workers through a payroll. What’s wrong with that? Some people need a job. Who does not want to be paid for his time? Those other Democrats prefer you volunteer and receive no money for time.

There is a tinge of jealousy in these Democrat candidates, and it is understandable. These poor candidates cannot spend what they don’t have: and if Bloomberg were not a candidate, maybe he’d give that money to them.

The fact is that Bloomberg is well-positioned to beat Trump. And, that should be the name of the Democrat game. It isn’t. Small and poor candidates like Bernie do not care about anyone other than themselves. Isn’t that the bottom line? And how does Bernie differ in that way from Trump?

More than money, we have a problem with all these candidates pushing 80 years of age wanting to serve as a four-year president. It is arrogant. It is overly optimistic. It is a shade in the old-timer’s disease category.

Don’t call us ageist. We are there too. And we know our time limits.

 

 

Many Years Ago at Marienbad

DATELINE: Classic Movie Requires Another View

 

The amazing classic French “art” film called Last Year at Marienbad was a tremendous influence on TV commercials. It was too esoteric to do much else for dumb audiences.

Well, the film has been re-mastered—and is stunning to see. The rococo corridors we saunter for long ambling walks are fresh with elegant details.

The narrator with ennui seems even more parfait for the job. And, you cannot find a more stylized actress than Delphine Seyrig. She couldn’t follow up this act with any other film performance, which is a career defining acting job.

You soon are staggered by the actors who wander the hallways making the same comments repeatedly. They never blink. It is rather disconcerting, but Resnais never let them blink in a scene, and most of the time they are moving at a snail’s pace.

We loved the cameo of Alfred Hitchcock to set the tone in the first 15 minutes.

Is it Marienbad or Frederiksbad? The grounds outside the hotel are so bizarre as to fit the nature of the tale.

And, the tale is a ghost story. Long before Stephen King took us to a Colorado haunt, the Marienbad location is even more horrific without one shred of blood. However, there are mysterious deaths. Who shot whom? And who fell off the balustrade?

The game with matchsticks is maddening—and fate.

The characters often refer to seeing phantoms or not being alive. Well, yes, they are all dead, reliving that hideous season when the lake frozen over in 1928, or was it 1929? They have lost track of time for good reason. They keep reliving every creepy moment.

This is a hypnotic and truly overwhelming movie that will be beyond the attention-deficit audiences of today. Watch in small doses. You will fall back under its influence almost immediately—and you will re-live every moment at Marienbad forever. Years will not matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crosby in Search of a Crosby

 DATELINE:Haunted by Uncle Bing

The nephew and godson of Bing Crosby has been documenting his uncle Bingle for decades. Now, he has produced, directed, and written up, all his film records as he tries to uncover the truth behind the legendary crooner.

The film is not merely vanity; it serves a genuine purpose in dissecting a legend. Chris Crosby was close to greatness, and he documents it well.

And Bing has had his share of Mommie Dearest moments. His eldest son Gary wrote a scathing book about his father’s cruelty and bad parenting. A few think he added the worst to sell the book to publishers. Yet Bing was at heart a Daddie Dearest, and nasty too.

Chris Crosby is fairly even-handed, trying to learn how bad his uncle truly was. What he finds from his father Bob Crosby, and Bing’s friends like Bob Hope, Anthony Quinn, Mel Torme, Stewart Granger, Donald O’Connor, Terry Moore, Rhonda Fleming, and many others, is that he was exactly what you saw: an easy-going, charming person with a hard veneer. He was always friendly, but you never broke below the surface.

Like many celebs, he was smart with money, shrewd with people, and kept his foibles well-hidden. Oh, you will hear the stories of his womanizing, his drinking, and his sadistic treatment of his sons (two of whom committed suicide after his death).

You will hear he cut you if you did not adhere to his strict Catholic views. If you were divorced, you may have lost him forever. He went to church every Sunday, and he was secretly charitable to a fault.

Many show biz friends knew the image, and never wanted much more. He never gave more because it was generous in a cut-throat business. He meant it when he sang “White Christmas.”

He died on a golf course in Madrid, whistling and singing, one day after visiting a long-time friend after 20 years. It was spooky.

Chris shows the drickle down talent, watering by generation. He seems to be haunted, if not possessed, by Bing. His sister was less fortunate. When she chose to live with a man they disapproved of, she was kidnapped and given electro-shock treatments.

But, if you were a fan, or a friendly associate, that stuff never intruded on what you saw and knew. Bing was complicated, as they say nowadays.

Brady Tells Fans to Eat Cake

DATELINE: Well, shut my mouth!

What kind of guy fakes eating chocolate cake for a photo op with his wife and son?

Chances are it’s not retiring types like Philip Rivers or Eli Manning. No, we are talking about Tom Brady who eschews chewing on cake as a poison to his healthy regimen.

Well, chances what you have here is  a quarterback with a dubious history of truth-telling. Yes, this guy with his mouth shut tight and his fork pristine clean, is lying through his polished teeth.

Give us another shot of Botox.

He is pretending to munch on cake that would violate every precept of his TB 12 diet, whilst his wife Gisele and son have large chunks of chocolate cake heading into the mouth tunnel.

But wait, is that frosting on the cake? Or frosting on Tom’s moist lips? It could be his lip balm. There appears a residue of something chocolate on the fork.

You know if Brady will fake cake eating, he might be the sort of guy who’d let air out of footballs for an advantage.

He’d the kind of guy who’d post photos in cryptic poses of him coming or going out of a stadium, tormenting fans with a cheap stunt to sell cable TV.

You know Tom is capable of any action to further his career—even at the expense of faking fun with his family. We aren’t sure we buy his argument that they have a big say in his football future. Based on this, we think they have NO SAY.

Only in Boston and only with the Patriots would a harmless photo of eating cake be equated with the worst of Marie Antoinette.

We are tempted to say, off with his head.

 

Hot Time in Chile for Ancient Aliens

DATELINE: Move Over, Peru 

 Greetings!

Oh, don’t say you’ve been there, done that. Those Nazca Lines you’ve heard about for years are 500 miles north of the Atacama Desert in Chile. There, Ancient Aliens has found dozens more carvings into the bone-dry earth. This is the mother-lode of UFO messages.

Bigger and better, as they say. Missed by UFOlogists for years.

Rain hasn’t fallen there in centuries, and NASA uses it as a substitute for Mars. It’s just like home to those spacemen from Mars.

It also happens that Chile is the hotspot for UFO sightings in the world. More are seen per square mile there than anywhere else. It seems the ancient astronauts can’t go home. Chile is home.

This week for a change, none of the regulars make a vacation trip to Chile, which says it all. All commentaries are done remotely, and the local experts are brought in from local studios.

Erich van Daniken is around too for this episode, telling us the flat stone plates in the desert made for good landing spots. And nobody knows how they got there.

A few indigenous tribes were later wiped out by European settlers, and they may have had plenty of answers. However, the Chilean government is more than cooperative with Ancient Aliens and the bureau of tourism.

Of course, this is a three thousand north-south country, skinny with lots of desolate hiding places.

They bring in Dr. Travis Taylor for a visit to see some infra-red photos of a strange UFO invisible to the naked eye, but leaving some kind of exhaust trail behind. Could it be some kind of secret project out of Area 51? It’s enough to make Dr. Taylor a believer.

 

 

 

 

Area 51 Overexposed & Underwhelmed

DATELINE: Unrestricted Pabulum

A new documentary by the notorious director O. U. Krill may be snazzy and overproduced. It is beautifully filmed, down to the fake interiors of Area 51 Exposed.

The film does offer a concise history of the base going back to 1955, but intersperses this with open product endorsements for Bud Light and Arbys meat house.

The UFO stuff is secondary to the long history of Soviet aircraft captured and tested.

You will learn that the base started out with a volleyball court and movie theater for the schmucks stuck there all week. Buses and airlines out of Burbank for Lockheed employees brought top secret workers like Bob Lazar into the haven. Heaven forefend if you had a camera.

Restricted is the favorite word at Area 51. Airspace, ground-space, every space is restricted. If the government hasn’t got you covered in cameras and snipers, you may well end up one of those lost souls who enter the desert and are never heard of again.

Bob Lazar, sometime worker, claims that gray aliens have been injecting themselves in human history for at least 10,000 years.

If the secrecy seems a tad overdone, you may be onto something. There is more than a usual secure base here. Only in the past decade has it been acknowledged as existing, despite mountaintop photos of the installation.

Nellis or Groom Lake is described three times as 80 miles from Vegas, then 100 miles, and a third time as 150 miles away. It is farther away every time they mention it. The narrator also speaks of Bob Lazr’s “synonym” (he means pseudonym), and before you know it, you are off Area 51 and talking about Bernie Sanders offering to reveal gray alien info if elected president.

Groom Lake is also called Dreamland because time travel experiments are reportedly done there!  However, this useless documentary also takes us on sidetrips to New Hampshire.to talk of Betty and Barney Hill.

All in all, this is a disappointing waste of time and plain awful–so, save your rental money.

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Book Invasion & MK Ultra

 DATELINE: MK Ultra

  More Malarkey 

Project Blue Bookcontinues to leave loose ends on the cutting room floor. The latest involves the blondie beauty who is some kind of Soviet agent, or was, now she has been dispatched after failing to stick Captain Quinn in the rear end with a hypodermic bigger than a switchblade.

Those nasty Commies don’t fool around—and she has been replaced by a dragon lady who is even more 50s butch with lipstick on thick.

She seems to travel with her own batch of Men in Black, Soviet style.

Blondie was  putting the make on Dr. Hynek’s wife Mimi, but that didn’t fly with the audiences, so they have given her a nerdy UFOlogist for company.

It may be the government is faking an alien invasion to gain more power in the new Einsenhower administration, but the ever-vigilant and heroic CIA (well, it is the 1950s) now has started a group of remote viewers called MK-Ultra.

You know things are changing when house villain Neal McDonough now is having doubts about UFOs.

Our clairvoyants can see the tea leaves and read them too. Only Dr. Hynek and his spit and polish liaison (Mike Malarkey looking spiffy no matter what costume they throw on him) can save the world.

How can Malarkey’s character smoke, drink bourbon and eat junk food and look like that? We think he may be the extra-terrestrial. The episode tries to open him up as a soldier with lots of PTSD, which doesn’t help with UFO, MK-Ultra, CIA, no matter what color you call your book.

When you end your episode with a three-ring circus, metaphor becomes reality.

 

 

 

 

Slow but Steady on Oak Island

DATELINE: What has We Got Here?

Big Billy & Gary

You may wonder how slowly they can go to keep us dangling. Whether it is Rick digging up the alleged 90ft stone that was the original evidence found in the Money Pit with hieroglyphic instructions.

We are becoming unsure whether the shows are in any order that makes sense. We seem to be repeating so many searches that we see stuff brought to the island for reasons unknown. We expect the Men in Black to show up next. We can’t keep our conspiracy theories from overlapping. We are beginning to feel like we are watching Geiko commercials calling themselves “sequels.” We have more smoking guns than you can shoot in 200 years.

Dr. Ian Spooner seems to be taking a second role to Gary Drayton. Not to be outdone, Billy Gearhardt has become another big star of the show—and now he’s working with Drayton.

Gary Drayton cannot be kept down forever. He keeps finding evidence that makes him the man of the moment. He is either a good luck piece or a brilliant investigator. He is only more important than Marty Lagina—but moneybags will always take position number one.

Back at the Money Pit, they find undisturbed soil, meaning they have missed the target.

Laird Niven, Billy Gearhardt and Rick Lagina move on to visit a spot where the famous 90-foot stone may be buried. There was nothing.

Yet, ever vigilant Gary finds an ancient iron pickaxe near the eye of the swamp. He speculates that they have found tunneling tools near the eye.

Now wood is found 100 years older than anything else: 1600s, confirming Dr. Spooner’s view that activity occurred around 1680.

If there is big news, it is that William Shatner will be arriving in two weeks at Oak Island. Beam us down.

Titanic & Night Wire Exposed!

DATELINE: Connections!

 Henry Ferris Arnold.

When I looked at the various reviews of “The Night Wire” on Goodreads, I felt it was my duty to add. what I have learned during research for my book, Titanic’s Forgotten Movie.

Yes, there is a creepier theme in the story that relates H.F. Arnold’s little horror tale to the infamous sinking of the luxury liner in 1912.

Published in the heyday of short story writing when magazines were devoted to the art, now basically lost to writers, were genre-periodicals as well as major magazines that published stories. Of course, in those days, you had H.P. Lovecraft, J.D. Salinger, and B. Traven.

Then in the 1920s, out of nowhere came a young writer graduated from a mid-Western college. He only wrote three stories in his life, all of the supernatural vein. You may well ask why.

Arnold’s background has been called mysterious and murky, some even questioning whether he used a pen-name. No, he was Henry Ferris Arnold. And, he went to Hollywood upon graduation from college to work in the publicity and movie advertising business. He was not necessarily a denizen of tabloid journals where he worked the graveyard shift in the Morgue (old newspaper term for the library).

He actually started out in the Goldwyn Studios and quickly rose to the exalted position as Sam Goldwyn’s Director of Publicity. He was also elected to various positions of importance at WAMPAS (Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers).

His sister Pauline Arnold, aka Polly, moved to New York in 1926 and became a pioneer woman in the advertising business—and the east coast tie-in with her brother. She founded a company called MRCA, and it was a press agency that handled people who wanted their name dropped into columns of Walter Winchell or Ed Sullivan.

Polly soon became partners with a man called Percy White, Jr.

What has this to do with “Night Wire” and Titanic?

It is the backstory.

Percy White’s father and brother died on Titanic in 1912. He was a man haunted by their ends. Polly then married Percy—and she told her brother about his family history.

“Night Wire” emerged when H.F. Arnold started to use details from Percy as the basis for a story that kept the family’s name out of it, but might be a sellable story to movies. He knew many people in movies who wanted to make a Titanic movie.

After all, one of the famous stories of wire operators centered on the two heroic Titanic men who sent out distress calls for two hours. It is the basic plot of the story.

Where are they? In a place called Xebico. If you are a cryptographer, you may have done your homework. Most have not. Xebico is an anagram for Icebox.

The fog washing over the victims might well be the frigid North Atlantic as the ship sank, becoming an icebox containing hundreds of souls.

The narrator observes the wire operator named John Morgan. IN some Titanic circles, one of the controversial figures is John Pierpont Morgan, who had a first-class suite on Titanic—and bailed out of sailing at the last moment. Some said he knew something bad was imminent.

So, that is a little background information.

 

Ancient Aliens Starts 15 Season

DATELINE: Nanny Midol or Nan Midal?

You never know when there will be a new season of Ancient Aliens.It looks like the swallows have returned to Capistrano, and Season 15 begins with a visit to Nanny Midol.

No, this little islet built on corral reefs won’t cramp your style.

Leave it the show to find the eighth wonder of the world that no one ever heard of. The Venice of the Pacific was first spotted by American pilots in World War II. It is a series of enormous basalt walls built on coral in the middle of the ocean, far from anything, like even a primitive civilization. Its name is Nan Madol, and our intrepid explorers are Giorgio and David Childress (looking like a crisp tortilla from the sun).

They dismiss regular scientists again and insist that the area was built with tons of stone before the Great Pyramid. And, they have a point. It hardly looks like people on bamboo rafts could carry 15-ton rocks, but no one knows when it was built, some think 1000 years ago.

Micronesian officials think it was people from outer space. That’s one way to inspire Giorgio to make the trip. It is an amazing place, for sure, and the US government has done recent LiDar surveys.  Gone are the days of digging up vegetation to get to the bottom. However, they learn there is a second city a hundred feet below this, which had to be built 12,000 years ago before the last ice age.

We love it when they claim these electro-magnetic lava rocks are man-made by aliens.

What is most surprising is that Trump didn’t cut the Lidar budget. Maybe next year. One scientist, Dr. Henry Burton, sheepishly listens to extra-terrestrial theories to what he cannot explain.

We don’t know how soon the luxury hotels will go up nearby, but it won’t take long now that Ancient Aliens has put it on the map. It is doubtful because locals will not stay overnight in the area: too many ghostly demons.

There is still no explanation why History Channel has moved this show to the Twilight Zone timeslot on its weekly schedule.

Blue Book Kidnappings & Mutilations

 DATELINE: Date Night at Drive-In

 

Richard Carlson in a cameo.

If you wonder how realistic theProject Blue Book episodes are, you only have to watch Dr. Hynek and his wife out at the drive-in (without their kid who has disappeared in season 2).

They are watching Richard Carlson in one of those 1950s movies. She knows about which crash it is supposedly depicting, and he hardly watches at all. It is not exactly the kind of concentration you expect from the government leading investigator.

The show also features on this episode a trip to Area 51 that is under CIA control, though our heroes do not know what this agency is. When the captain in civilian clothes meets them, they are taken aback that he is a black man. It allows Mike Malarkey’s character now to display some classic 1950s racism, but muted.

As the black agent notes, the CIA picks people for positions that you would least suspect: and he was such an example taking Dr. Hynek and Captain Quinn into the fenced in desert with snipers everywhere.

Ths episode also features something beyond an alien abduction. One young corporal who has gone missing is found in a state usually reserved for cattle mutilation victims. He is eyeless, and has been eviscerated systematically.

We also have our traditional heroes finding a mountain open up and a base within, allegedly under the control of the Air Force. Trying to escape, they are pursued by orbs—and are pulled up into a craft with a beam.

Of this they have no memory, and it likely will be a plot device over subsequent shows. They are also summarily kicked out of Area 51.

In the meantime, the Russian spies are ending the show at the drive-in. This time it is not It Came from Outer Space, but a western with Brandon de Wilde called Shane. The Russians (or whatever they are are beautiful cold women). They are planning some dastardly stuff.

It’s not too often the guest stars on TV are Richard Carlson and Brandon de Wilde.

Tom Brady Offers Sadistic Photo to Fans!

DATELINE: Fake Promises

We’d like to call Tom Brady cryptic black and white photo walking away from football stadium a cheap trick. It probably cost Hulu a pretty penny to pay him. Tom doesn’t come cheap.

He said he’s not going anywhere while the moving truck emptied out his house in Massachusetts.

Having created a clamour and a firestorm, he has become a phenomenon like the coronavirus. We almost want to put him in quarantine until his free agency period passes. He needs Midol, not Hulu.

So, the photo shot over the bow of fans was meant to be a commercial teaser for a TV network. It had only a bit to do with football and his career. In his tones of a funereal march, he tells us that all good things must end.

So, switch to Hulu.

As for him, he’s not going anywhere. Even that is cryptic. You mean he’s not going to live it up like Elvis in Viva Las Vegas?

This commercial looks like a French art film.

They now say the Patriots plan to throw $30 million or more at his feat of clay, even as a young upstart witns the Super Bowl and likely will win six more in the next decade.

As for Tom, surround him is Hulu receivers and he will catch on like a pandemic. He expects to play until 50, and he will rival that Mahomely kid all the way. (By the way, the kid tends to flab; he does not have TB12’s regimen in his skill-set).

Tom’s here to offer sadism to his fans for a few more years.