One Fictional Night

Bill Russell Joins Ali & Brown 3 Years Later

 DATELINE: One Night in Miami

Upon hearing that a storyline made into a one-set play and thence a movie concerned a one-night meeting of Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown, all black men in the early 1960s on the cusp of change in civil rights for oppressed people, it’s hard to believe. It sounds like a fantasy of historical fiction.

Yet, it really happened.

The opening of the movie is not part of the original play and historical theories, though based on fact. The director Regina King had to open it up with white actors.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had his bugs planted to listen in on a hotel room chat among these men in February of 1964.  It’s hard to believe they even knew each other or would have anything to say to the other. Yet, they did.

In fact, Muhammad Ali (not yet Cassius X) was a close friend of Sam Cooke. They truly hit it off:  an intellectual who read avidly like Cooke would seem to be swayed by the egotistic charm of Clay, but they had a kind of fame and cultural tie.

The training camp of Ali, he would attract the attention of Malcolm X and/or football star Jim Brown. Yet, it did, but the movie broadens the tale to include white hangers-on like Johnny Carson

Would a gospel Christian like Cooke even speak to a Muslim? Well, Cooke had been called the devil for singing pop tunes, and it would not be a big reach to be condemned for cavorting with a Muslim.

Would men whose personal ego and self-absorption in their careers be even remotely interested in anything larger? Well, segregation and racism would be a factor.

We suspect that Hoover had a detailed transcript of the discussion these men held: whatever fanciful chat that derives from the play/movie.  Two would be dead within a year, and one would become a political controversy. Was Hoover’s unseen hand involved? This story doesn’t say.

The film blatantly ignores Jim Brown’s assault history on women, which could also be a Hoover set-up, but this is not explored.

Only Brown still lives, having gone into movies (Ali later followed).  We suspect Cooke would have been a bigger star than all of them had he not been murdered (assassinated for black power over-reach?).

The movie is akin to a stereotype acting job, broad as a Marx brothers farce anchored in political doom. It’s ironic and iconic, but we’d rather see J. Edgar Hoover’s actual transcript of the night they all met.

On Jan. 22, Sam Cooke would have celebrated his 90thbirthday.

Classic Celebrity Commercials

Hi-yo, Pizza Roll!

DATELINE: Olde TV Bad Habit 

Back in 2013 there was another compilation of “hucksters,” from advertisements and commercials on TV in the mid to late 1950s. It seems a bit unfair to call these old stars “hucksters,” as appearing at the end of their series or show (often in character) to sell a product was just a means of enhancing their income.

This delightful collection is a bit tiresome. Who wants to sit through one hour of commercials, even in fun?

A couple of points are particularly distressing. Most of the commercials were done in black and white, and most of them actually run for a full sixty seconds, which is maddening in our attention deficit age.

In particular, Steve Allen takes a Polaroid photo of Lou Costello and we actually wait while Steve talks for sixty seconds for him to show us the newly developed photo.

Yet, the compilation also features some fun moments and images we’ve never seen:  John Wayne sells Christmas Seals on set, and his director really is Wild Bill Wellman!

We were thrilled to hear the William Tell Overture selling some Jeno pizza rolls—and at the end of the commercial, in color no less, Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels show up in costume as the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

One funny bit features a color King Kong climbing off the Empire State building and driving off down the avenue in his king-size car. He puts his little blonde companion in the passenger seat.

Almost as stunning is to see Marilyn Monroe in full throttle, selling gasoline.

A montage of TV western stars of the era each smokes a different cigarette. We almost want to cry out to stop, please!

Leo G. Carroll as Topper smokes too, as do his ghosts, Anne Jeffreys and Robert Sterling as Marian and George Kirby.

We also see James Arness smoking away with Today Show host Jack Lescoulie! We had not seen him in fifty years.

Quite a collection.

 

 

 

 

Brady Humiliates Belichick

SuperTom’s botox image

DATELINE:  Botox Notwithstanding

You cannot put any fancy spin on this: Tom Brady has willed himself into another Super Bowl, his tenth, while his nemesis coach will be sitting home watching on TV.

On a bad team, the Buccaneers, where everyone claimed Brady would flounder, he took his TB Tompa Bay mentality to the limits. He raised the dead and cleansed the lepers. Tom is heading to Super Bowl LV at age XLIII. He sounds like the ultimate pope to poop on the Patriots.

There will be no nachos and parity party at the Belichick house where his fake coach sons and he will stew in their own juices. Brady will adorn himself with youthful passing whilst bypassing Belichick.

Belichick had no use for Brady and threw him out with the trash. He refused in the final few years in Foxboro to pay any receivers or keep any that Brady liked or preferred. He had a hit list, and the last name on it was Tom.

This is not to take any humiliation away from Robert Kraft, the baloney-ridden owner of the Patriots and his awesome and legendary (in his mind) franchise. With the lowest payroll, it finally bit the dust.

Maybe we will hear that Kraft has taken solace in some seedy massage parlor and Belichick has hired new videographers for next season.

New England looks like a frozen tundra next to Tompa Bay.

It doesn’t matter when the New England Patriots said Tom Brady was ready for the knackers yard.  It appears the tables have turned, and the Russian roulette bullet chamber is squarely spinning on Belichick’s brain-trust. “In Bill we trust”  now seems to be the mantra of idiots.

Tom Brady at 43 has turned Belichick into a man who might well consider his Social Security as the soft landing spot to blow out his overblown legend. This has not been a good year for Trump supporters, rioters, or Patriot coaches.

 

 

 

Lucy & Desi: Together Again

Home Movie

DATELINE: Being the Ricardos 

  With the recent controversy over the casting of a new biographical movie about Lucy and Desi, it seemed like a good time to reconsider daughter Lucie Arnaz’s 1993 documentary about her parents, Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie.

Lucie Arnaz is defending the casting of Nicole Kidman as Lucy and Javier Bardem as Desi. Indeed, we think it is most interesting to see them play the real people during one dramatic week that the couple played the Ricardos.

They are not remaking I Love Lucy.

Back in 1993, Lucie Arnaz directed and produced, interviewed people, collected film clips, and put together a fairly honest and direct look at her famous parents, warts and all. She never received the full commendation she deserved. As she said, her mother was a “pack-rat” and kept all kinds of home movies that Lucie never saw. They were from the decade before the TV show and before the kids arrived.

What can you say about two people who were always “on.” They were the epitome of show biz, but alas, when home, their love story didn’t have a script they could embrace.

Lucy was the Queen of Comedy and pratfall on screen, and she loved being a performer and working. Off-screen she might have given Mommie Dearest, Joan Crawford,  a run for the roses.

 Desi was a talented man of show biz, and even more talented with business acumen, but never came out of the shadows. He loved Lucy too much. Their cultural differences, cute and remarkable, were also their downfall.

Desi’s Latino view of philandering infuriated Lucille Ball, but he was the love of her life. When two titans fall in love and clash, you have a big production called DesiLu, and you have shambles that make for great theater.

The home movies their daughter puts together are stunning and insightful. We suspect the movie docudrama of their lives by Aaron Sorkin will be even more stunning with brilliant actors playing the first great TV stars. We are, of course, most interested in who will play Fred and Ethel in Being the Ricardos. No word yet.

 

 

 

 

Geopolitical Prejudice of COVID

Not for You, Buddy!

 DATELINE:  Wrong State of Being

When your doctor’s office tries to tell you to register for the coronavirus vaccine and realizes they made a mistake, you may be generous enough to overlook it.

In matters of life and death, however, overlooking an attempt to kill you makes you a candidate for the Congress. Every state in New England has a different way to deal with administering the COVID vaccine to senior citizens.

If you live on the border of a state, like New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and your doctor is in the other state, you are likely about to be victimized by ludicrous geopolitical medicine.

Hospitals have put profit over patients. Several doctors at the nearby clinic have quit in disgust over political football with patient lives.

Yes, in New Hampshire Senior Citizens can now register to receive the vaccine. If you live one mile from the border in Massachusetts, you may not be vaccinated until this summer at earliest.

If you are 65 in Massachusetts, you are a dead man walking, but you can walk to the clinic in New Hampshire for your shot. In some states, you can go for an injection and find out they don’t have any vaccine.

And, in incompetent Mass., you may notice that one hospital unplugged the freezer this week, spoiling almost 2000 doses of the vaccine. If your name was on the vial, you are a dead man walking.

If your doctor’s office thinks you are in New Hampshire, you are given a green light to receive the vaccine—until they realize you live in the wrong neighborhood. Talk about a new version of red-lining.

So, a nation divided along lines of COVID treatment is not a unified country. When your neighbor may be protected and you are not, despite being old and having a pre-existing condition, there may not be enough vaccine for you in any respect. Good luck, pal.

 Well, they say it’s only temporary. You will eventually be a recipient of the vaccine. The race unfortunately is between you and infection.  You are now Seabiscuit.

Alas, you may be a dead horse when the injection arrives.

Book Review:  Edison Versus Tesla

Mr. Not-Nice Guy

DATELINE:  Pro-Edison, Anti-Tesla

The co-author of this work is William Birnes whom you may remember as the older member of the UFO Hunters TV series a few years back.

Now he has put his name on a work that describes itself in subtitle as the “Battle” over their last invention. Whatever this book presents, the real Edison was not a nice person. You will not know that from this book.

How about a little truth in advertising? Or at least in titles?  There is no battle,  and it isn’t really Tesla’s last invention.  So, what have we got here?

The book is a hagiography to Edison, and sells Tesla a bit short, noting he feared having people aware of his paranormal and clairvoyant abilities. Edison privately believed that Tesla had found a radio frequency that transmitted ethereal voices.

Tesla undercut this by claiming he was receiving signals from Mars—or some inter-dimensional location.

Edison did not believe in spiritualism, rapping poltergeists or any of that stuff:  he did believe that electrons lived forever.

If Tesla could do it, Edison wanted to create a receiver for electrons and conscious energy. He wanted to measure unusual messages. He did believe that memory survived death—and that traumatic memory might be quite strong. The inventor wanted a device to increase the volume of sound waves.

Their vocabulary has been updated: Tesla likely knew of EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) and Edison was into quantum entanglements.

The book could have been a pamphlet, but does contain nuggets that are fascinating. Edison awoke on his death bed from a deep coma to tell people he saw an afterlife, and promptly died.

 

 

 

 

Sam Cooke: Legend

Ali Sings with Sam!

 DATELINE:   MLK Day Special  

Putting over a song like Sinatra or Crosby was no mean feat for a young black singer in the 1950s. Graduating from gospel and soul music to mainstream, Sam Cooke wanted to be a crossover between white and black, between teeny-bopper and adult performances.

Had he lived a few more years, he would have left the concert trail for the world of movies. By 1964 he would have been a giant in music and film. Instead, he wound up a victim of violence.

The documentary Legend  will amaze you. Jeffrey Wright narrates the film.

His music was emboldened by personality and charm. He wrote his own tunes, from “You Send Me,” to “Chain Gang,” or “Wonderful World,” he was astounding in his ability to put over a song with nuance and flash. He wanted to own his own record company, publish his own music. It was unheard of in segregated 1950s Nashville music. He was a pioneer in equality for audiences with their stars.  He was an avid reader and intellectual, a well-rounded personable extrovert.

You might think the segregated audiences of the South were over, but the true Civil Rights movement was only starting to become a norm when Cooke was making inroads. He was gone before Martin Luther King, Jr., made Cooke’s dream a reality.

The biographical documentary features a few rare performances of Sam in the 1950s, but glosses over some other great songs with a teasing snippet. We would be thrilled to hear a potpourri of his TV show performances on Dick Clark, Ed Sullivan, and other variety shows.

Though his friendship with Aretha is known here, it is his connection to Muhammad Ali (singing together) that astounds. He said he should have written “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and came up with a Civil Rights song, “A Change is Gonna Come,” but he would not live to see it.

Sam’s death remains to this day an unfathomable act.

Many, including Elvis, believed he was murdered because he was becoming another Civil Right icon, like Malcolm X or Martin Luther King. Other movie stories have also raised this issue.

 

UnXplained Tackles Endangered Monuments

 DATELINE:  America’s Monuments Features Trump

By sheer coincidence, after an attack on the great monument of the Washington, now under National Guard protection and fencing, UnXplained  has an interesting take on the locations. Included in this potpourri is, naturally, the U.S. Capitol Building.

The Capitol was designed to be the Temple of Democracy and has 600 rooms, far more than a mob can circumnavigate without help. It is a special place with a space alien goddess, an Iriquois, on top of the dome. She may not be related to the Qanon Shaman who attacked the Capitol, claiming too to be a space alien ET.

Shatner laconically tells us of the crypt in the basement and the ascendant painting on Washington on the inner dome. It becomes all the more appalling to think Trump rioters crashed and vandalized this magnificent structure.

The show also deals with the Washington Monument, recently renovated against terrorists!  The show is downright sentient.

Another sequence deals with Mt. Rushmore and its white supremacist connections, built on sacred Native land. But the true piece de resistance belong to treasonous Trump himself who shows up in a sequence to discuss the Empire State Building.

You got it: the guy who turned in his New York citizenship to move to Florida and has denigrated American monuments (except Rushmore where he thinks he ought to be) is cited as an expert. Yikes.

The episode ends with the near catastrophic Golden Gate overload of 1987.

If irony and shock is your thing, this episode of UnXplained is both shocking and ironic.

 

Belichick Declines Trump’s Medal

Thanks and No Thanks

DATELINE:  Hard Man Makes Harder Decision

We may never know how much angst and conflict New England Patriot coach Bill Belichick suffered in coming to his decision to turn down the Medal of Freedom. A few have pointed out that he did not actually turn it down, but may have faced forces in the sports world that required him to say, “no.”

The honor came from a political ally whom he supported once upon a time. Today is not a time to be nostalgic for past loyalty when present conditions may be dubious.

It is a prestigious award, and under normal circumstance, it would be the culmination of honor in a life. Yet, after sedition broke out in the Capitol and some died as a result, the 6-time winner of the Super Bowl knew that honor and flattery must never cover up a cynical attempt to be used by a friend for political reasons.

Yes, it’s true that Belichick would look like a man who condoned a set of values that might reverberate in negative ways among players and fans.

Though he always disdains media, the New England fixture cannot lose sight of the prize: his eye is on the sparrow, not the fake glory that comes from accepting a tarnished award.

It may be that another president will give him this honor. We hope so. Representing the concept of American victory in sports may not be what some consider a worthy reason. Perhaps not, but Trump has given this award to plenty of people who never deserved it.

Some have accepted the award under dubious clouds, like Rep. Jim Jordan, a water-boy, not a coach whose career and attitude belie the Medal of Freedom. Others could return the honor, like Boston Celtic legend Bob Cousy, but he hasn’t.

We apologize for thinking Belichick a lesser man.

Bogged Down on Oak Island

Erin Helton

DATELINE: Erin Goes Wild

We haven’t seen quite a powerful reaction to a new member of the cast as has been given to Erin Helton, the new resident cartographer. Curse of Oak Island has a new big star.

Somebody has noticed, as she now makes a weekly appearance, and this time she was right at the top of the show with her theories being encouraged and appreciated by the Laginas—not your usual first reaction from them. Marty flatters her for having one of the “best minds.” Wow.

Some have asked if she is Rick’s new girlfriend, which is fairly amusing. Erin is young enough to be his daughter and smart enough to see what she’d be getting. In fact, ciphers are here specialty. She tells us that Zena’s Templar map has shown exactly where the treasure vault is.

More and more dating on the island discoveries is going deeper into the past. Seven weeks after finding that Chinese coin, they bring is a numismatist who tells them it is over 1000 years old. Speculation centers on that it was a lucky coin until someone lost it. But when were lucky coins popular, and where did you keep them? We doubt that Knights Templar had wallets or pockets.

Gary Drayton is still the best worker on the show—taking Peter Fornetti out and finding a wharf pin that he estimates is older than 1700 era.

Dr. Eric Taylor is now the on-site archaeologist and works on the Serpent Mound, putting it again, at least 1000 years ago. It is now becoming evident that Templar, or even pre-Templar treasure was placed on Oak Island.

For good measure, Erin Helton puts in a second appearance by telephone later in the show. That’s the power of stardom.

 

Autopsy on Andy Warhol

No House Calls Please: Dr. Hunter

DATELINE:  Squeamish Forensic Show

Dr. Michael Hunter, host of the Reelz network series called Autopsy, is said to be a leading forensic pathologist in a major American city. It’s unnamed to protect the innocent.

In his series, you must come to trust his judgment and theories, as he either confirms or adds to the official closing on the lives of famous singers, celebrities, or people in the news. We thought to look at his outlier, Andy Warhol, surely a famous figure, but one highly misunderstood and often dismissed.

Since Warhol died in 1987, at age 58, there are only a few first-person friends who agree to be interviewed for their insights. These include a biographer, a fellow photographer of lesser note, and Warhol’s two nephews. They are all highly devoted and deeply mournful over his loss, even decades later.

The case of Andy Warhol starts in youth, as Hunter points out that he had rheumatic fever as a child and watched his parents succumb to hospital ineffective treatment. It made him cautious of hospitalization, and finally terrified of even driving past one.

Andy never took recreational drugs, which seems a surprise to Hunter, but he leaps on two points. Warhol took one diet pill every day and was hooked on painkillers like Demerol (and for good reason).

Despite his suffering and weird social life, Warhol was a hard-working and productive artist whose playful media image made him seem slightly ridiculous.

Hunter does describe the horrific attack by nutcase Valerie Solanis who shot Warhol multiple times in 1968 and left him a pitiful shell. He had incisive hernias and had to wear a girdle to hold in his intestines for 20 years. Adhesions and scars gave him intestinal pain, and he never wanted to see his naked body, riddled with scars.

What Hunter fails to note is that Warhol’s would-be killer was a free woman after 3 years in a mental hospital. He was terrified she would return and finish the job. He used body doubles (also apparently unknown to Hunter) and photos may be of a double, not Andy. He also used assumed names and avoided public appearances where Solanis might find him.

He refused gall bladder surgery for years, and finally relented. It went well, but the patient still died mysteriously. Warhol’s death is inexplicable even by modern pathology, and you may feel Andy’s pain. He did not deserve the horrid fate he suffered.

Roswell, Part Three, End All

Marcel’s Wreckage from UFO

DATELINE: New Info on Roswell

The results of History’s Greatest Mysteries  may be the least disappointing of a well-produced series. You can’t have a steal of home base on every episode, but the show has taken the safe road nearly every time.

The Roswell investigation has uncovered some disturbing testimony that contradicts government coverups of 70 years, now by grandchildren of the original witnesses. If you add new technology into the mix as a means of corroborating, you have a new case.

If there is anything to be claimed, it is that your U.S. government cannot be trusted.

Researcher Ben Smith starts with a 1981 taped interview with a college journalist who became Dr. Linda Corley who managed to extract more info from Major Jesse Marcel:  the marks were written on a block of wood (or something like wood) in a Tyrolean Note form of ancient writing.

When apprised of this, he backed off: someone came and threatened him from an unknown agency. Men in black?

His notebook was written by a colleague who had a home-made code, nearly impossible to break. Marcel did begin to reveal more and more as the 1980s came, shortly before his death. He may even have kept some artifacts to prove his case, but they are now “lost.”

Another officer not interviewed previously told his relatives that he was in charge of destroying files. He may have written the memo book. His name was Patrick Saunders, and now another name is added to the registry of fame.

If you want that smoking gun, it isn’t here. Nothing is definitive, but everything is suggestive. Key information is being withheld, but we do hear that U.S. military radar used some kind of ray to shoot down UFOs, about six in a year in New Mexico in the late 1940s. So, the flying saucers were not smashed up because of bad drivers.

We could only think of Nikola Tesla and his death ray.

 

Part Two on History’s Roswell

DATELINE: More Roswell Insights

History’s Greatest Mysteries starts off the second of three episodes with a bang:  the journal of Maj. Jesse Marcel was written by someone else, likely one of the fellow officers at the base where he found the UFO (or weather balloon) wreckage.

The researcher for this miniseries seems to be hot on the trail of something, and Laurence Fishburne intones that we are in “uncharted territory.”

The real issue of this episode is the “Memo” held by Gen. Ramey after a press conference with the weather balloon. Whose signature is on the telegram? They hint it could be J. Edgar Hoover and his code name “Temple.”

Whatever, they bring in microscopic and electronic microscopes to read the memo.

Of course, these shows have attention deficit issues and are back at Roswell, visiting the “Impact Site.”  Here is where witnesses saw little men wandering and others dead in a craft about the size of a Volkswagen bus about 40 miles north of Roswell.

Marcel’s journal is brought to a York, PA, professor of math who is a cryptologist. One look at the journal and he sees a cipher with “biliterate code.” That’s using cap letters in mid-printed word.

Ben Smith, main researcher, also consults a body language expert to show Marcel interviews from years ago. She seems to think he believes what he says.

The sheriff’s elderly daughter reports with a broken heart that what the Roswell officer saw and the pressure the government put on him drove him to lose his mind within a few years. He claimed to have seen the alien bodies.

The final five minutes seem a rush to bring together all the expert points—but fear not. There is another episode coming. History Channel is truly investing in this historical issue, making a miniseries within the miniseries. 

 

Roswell & History Channel

Jesse Marcel 1947, 1980.

 DATELINE: New Evidence Forthcoming?

With its Cadillac history investigation series with Laurence Fishburne, we had little hope for more than another cover-up with their new program. All the past shows have ignored and distorted enough evidence to support traditional and conventional theories that we don’t expect much.

The episode, however, has promise—as they have been contacted by the grandchildren of the  first government official to visit the crash site. They have their grandfather’s journal from that era.

Major Jesse Marcel found odd wreckage covering a large desolate area—and for years he stayed quiet when the material he discovered was exchanged for debris from a weather balloon. He was incensed at being so used—and in 1980, shortly before he died, gave an interview to Leonard Nimoy’s In Search of TV series.

The former CIA researcher has to authenticate the journal, which is gibberish (in code?) and in different styles of handwriting (to mask identity?). Or, was there a second writer?

We immediately suspected Marcel’s pre-pubescent son took the journal and was writing in it, innocently and apart from the crash controversy.

However, we first notice that the TV show re-enactor for Major Marcel has the uniform of a corporal. So much for care to accuracy.

The investigation at the site includes drones, radiation measurements, and ground-penetrating radar. Soil samples will date when some heat-related activity occurred in this remote area.

Ben Smith, lead investigator, discovers there is much protection of privacy from children and grandchildren of witnesses. Mac Brazel, the rancher who found the debris, has an elderly grandson who also is reclusive but reveals what he knows.

The journal is genuine, according to the expert, and the second part of this fascinating study is forthcoming. There is only one writer, despite the odd change in handwriting. Everyone suspects it is in code.

 

 

 

 

Black Life, 1950

Legendary Ethel Waters

DATELINE: Guest Writer Today

Back in 1950, the first time I saw a black person I was two-years old. I had never seen any such people of color.

My mother took me one day to Woolworth’s Five and Dime. It was always pleasant because they had a soda fountain, and often we stopped for ice cream.

One day we did not.

As was my habit, I wandered away from mother who was preoccupied at some bin of clothing. As I turned the corner and looked up, there standing at another bin doing her shopping was an elderly black woman, immaculately dressed and even with a hat squarely on her head.

In those days, you dressed up even to go out for a walk.

Of course, she did not notice me, but I screamed in horror and pointed at her with alarm.  I was traumatized and shocked.

Never in my life had I seen such a thing: a human of such color!. My mother ran over and apologized profusely, and the old lady was without reaction. Later I would imagine she had experienced far worse in her long life.

My mother dragged me out of the store, explaining repeatedly that there was nothing wrong with her: the old lady was not ill, nor disfigured. Her skin was a dark color, that’s all. She was born that way. Some people in the world were of different skin color. I am not sure that mollified me.

Later in the week, she sat me before our tiny round-screen TV set (a tiny Zenith model, first on the block) and put on a show called Beulah,which starred the marvelous and legendary singer and actress Ethel Waters .

It was a rarity: TV with black people back then. Beulah was the benevolent and wise housemaid to a family of rich white people. She solved their problems with grace and respect on each episode. It was some kind of fantasy world.

But that was life in 1950. When I thought about today’s human rights movement, Black Lives Matter, the little silly incident came back to my memory.