Water, Water Everywhere on Oak Island

DATELINE:  Still Waters Not Found

We have arrived at the 16thweek of the 7thseason. It’s clear they will find nothing this season.

But the coconut hair indicates that they are near the booby trap of flood tunnel. Out of the muck, Gary Drayton starts to find a couple of spikes from the 1700s. These were original people who were digging to bury something.

Also, seismic explosions from earlier this season and used to produce sound waves have created a map of voids under the surface of 300 feet. However, they find a linear tunnel about sixty feet near the Money Pit from the Cove.

Their excavation with a huge new machine obviously finds a flood tunnel. Of course, the cavalier digging means a cave-in, having unstabilized the area. It’s almost like they sabotage their own hunt to extend the season till next year.

So, they move to the eye of the swamp where they believe the Templars may have hidden something.

But Gary wants to go to the spots where Hurricane Dorian stripped away the ground cover. His hunch proves right yet again. So, once again, Rick and Gary find some piece of lead that may have etchings on it.

But the swamp has large deposits of blue clay, an water sealant that is there to protect and make watertight something underneath.

The highpoint of the show is Dr. Christa Brosseau’s return to analyze the spikes Gary found. Alex brings them to her for an elemental analysis. She delivers the good news that the iron has phosphorus, meaning it is 18thcentury. She thinks they were from Britain or Northern Europe.

We are delighted that Drs. Spooner and Broseeau are now the voice of academic insight on Oak Island.

No Coronavirus Test, What me Worry?

DATELINE: Walking Along the Dead Line 

The President of the United States is the New Alfred E. Neumann.

Donald Trump is prepared to kill himself with coronavirus—and infect you too.

We know that self-destructive behavior is the mark of people who think they are immortal demigods. So, it does not surprise us when Donald Trump deliberately fills his Air Force One and his winter home in Florida with people who have shaken hands with a man who died of coronavirus.

Madness is a relative condition, and flu symptoms are not usually associated with losing your mind. However, opening the barn door to let the microbes enter may be a first for a world leader who thinks he is part Ghengis Khan and part-Superman.

Without a flu shot and without a coronavirus test, Trump is able to leap over CDC doctors in a single bound.

Whether he starts to cough and then re-enacts the role of Von Aschenbach in Death in Venice may be the third act of his election campaign.

Ted Cruz has yet to respond to calls to infect his president, but others have taken off their gas masks and gone into the lion’s den. Next, they will stick their heads into the lion’s mouth, bad breath and all, to defy the medical advice of science.

Self-quarantine is for those who have humanity at heart, not for those who enter King Tut’s tomb before going home to Downton Abbey or Mar-a-Lago, or whatever that black hole of Florida is called.

 

 

Bronson’s Land

DATELINE: Death Wish Out West

By 1971, Charles Bronson began to make the revenge picture his personal genre.

It’s also the year he met Michael Winner who became his John Ford, shaping a series of films, hardly great but full of fury and impact.

The first was a Western done in Spain called Chato’s Land. You might think it’s a spaghetti Western, but it is something far more American: a metaphor for pointless commitment to deathly war and racist attitudes.

It’s not a classic by any means, but it borrows from American classics and thus becomes part of the derivation formula. It seems to take its cue from The Ox Bow Incidnt, made thirty years earlier: a dour Henry Fonda picture about a lynch mob that hangs anyone it can put its hands on. It was led by a fool in a Confederate uniform of past glory.

This time it’s Jack Palance donning the Confederate officer garb—and leading an all-star gang of terrible Western settlers who want to hang a “half-breed” who has killed the town sheriff.

The cast will bowl you over: there’ Ralph Waite as the worst of the worst before he became Daddy Walton.

There’s Simon Oakland and Richard Jordan as his brothers. You will also be treated to James Whitmore and Richard Basehart as older men who should know better.

Charles Bronson turns the tables. And when he goes into full loincloth mode, his body puts body builders to shame. He was pushing sixty, said some, when he did this film. He claimed to be fifty.

There is a death wish pick off, one by one, of rapists and mayhem’s henchmen. Michael Winner wallows in rape and cruelty—and it would become worse over the next decade. Yet, this film is sharply in focus, however cruel, and it started the revenge movie in the urban jungle, starting in the American West.

 

 

 

Shatner’s UnXplained On Oak Island

 DATELINE: Curses, Foiled by UnXplained!

 

Gary & Rick Guests on UnXplained!

Last week we had a special episode of Curse of Oak Island that featured William Shatner visiting and researching. Now, on his own History Channel show, Shatner gives us his conclusions and his perspective on the second season operner of UnXplained.

For openers, Shatner sneers at the thought of a curse preventing hunters from finding the treasure. Shatner is quick to point out that no treasure has ever been found, and that obsession seems to be the operative motivation.

History Channel provides its usual consultants to weigh in on the mystery. And, in fact, they even use the same re-enactments that are endlessly repeated on Oak Island series.

Shatner also spends some time discussing pirates who may have left treasure there—and an equal amount of time on the victims who died in the search, including Robert Restall and his son Bobby. It is reported that the gang of Lagina brothers have spent thousands of work hours—and millions of Lagina dollars on the quest.

This leads to the Knights Templar and evidence of their visits to Oak Island. In fact, Shatner’s show discusses Jacques Demolay and his curse placed on the Templar treasure. It resonates with every treasure hunter.

In fact, UnXplained  brings on a few psychologists who do not speak well of treasure hunters–and Ancient Alien  staples show up to confirm mythology lives on Oak Island.

UnXplained takes the position that the curse of Oak Island is the energy, and dark force, that it imposes on all treasure seekers. Is there paranormal stuff here? For the first time, Marty Lagina admits to having some frightful experiences on the island—which he has steadfastly denied on his own series.

Interesting take by one series on another. Our own relatives who lived near Oak Island a hundred years ago always said it was the treasure of Captain Kidd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close Encounters on Blue Book

DATELINE: Pointless Flash Forward

 Real Hynek On Set of Third Kind

We give the show credit for a sixth episode that is a little different than all the others. Here, Dr. J. Allen Hyneck is all gray-haired, in 1976, 25 years later than the other episodes of the series Project Blue Book.

And, here he is advisor for Steven Spielberg’s classic UFO movie,Close Encounter of the Third Kind—which of course was Hyneck’s rating system. He worked as technical advisor on this film.

So, we have the wizened, older Aiden Gillen talking to a reporter. Of course, this is old school flashforward. Gillen is wearing a white-haired wig, but has not truly aged. And, he will discuss publicly the CIA investigation of the Air Force Blue Book that ended ten years earlier.

What was the point of this? It’s not clear, except that there is a studio set-up and an unsatisfying interview with a journalist, circa 1976.

The CIA and Robertson Panel are clearly operating under some other power—and that is as acceptable to this series and its inconclusive set of “facts.”

The show continues to feature murderous Russian agents who also have fooled Blue Book—and Captain Quinn. Once again, an eccentric with alien connections proves that the koo-koo birds are the ancient alien preferables for abduction and mental telepathy.

 

  Man off the Eiffel Tower

DATELINE: Flawed Movie 

 Laughton in detective hero mode.

Making a motion picture on location in Europe in the late 1940s was done masterfully by Carol Reed and The Third Man. Trying to emulate that came a Paris-based production called Man on the Eiffel Tower.

Filmed entirely in Paris and in color, it was meant to be a travelogue to whet the appetite of arm-chair tourists and fans of Hercule Poirot, with a bad stand-in, Inspector Maigret.

It should have been interesting and one of the post-war gems. Alas, despite car rides through the streets of Paris, lunch on the Eiffel Tower, and a climax in which the supervillain plans to jump off with breathtaking views, the movie is a mess.

It is a Maigret mystery with Laughton as a slightly irascible, overweight, curmudgeon. He is perfect and does his usual schtick in routine fashion, playing opposite a foppish and dissipated looking Franchot Tone. Laughton is not Hercule (who is Belgian, we know), but might have had trouble with the fastidious role.

Taking over directing duties when Laughton threatened to quit the movie (and you can see why he may have considered it), is Burgess Meredith. We see him here a decade before he played a similar role on Twilight Zone in a classic episode about a man wearing thick eyeglasses.

Also aboard is empty-suit leading man Robert Hutton, also looking less boyish than usual.

Perhaps the source material of the famous detective failed them, but the movie leaps and bounds to try to capture the flavor of Paris from rooftop chases to taxi rides around the ambiance of the Left Bank. It is mostly American actors or Brits pretending to be as French as the actual settings.

It just didn’t work, and throw in a music score that is intrusive and overbearing, and you have undercut drama, suspense, performances, and plot.

What a disappointment. This film is a classic of bad movie-making. The producer tried to bury it by hiding all the prints, but failed.

 

 

 

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?

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Tom in a Tunnel, Sees the Light

DATELINE: Where is he?

 Lost in Art?

Whenever we have a chance to opine about metaphor, count us in.

Tom Brady posted a tunnel of himself, in civilian clothes, in a black and silver tunnel in an unknown park runway.

His wife is a model, but Brady is not.

He is house-hunting and taking his son around to check out schools in Nashville, Tennessee, today. That is hardly where he will retire. That is hardly where his wife wants to be, and his son loves hockey. We know that Tom talked to coaches in New England about hockey, of which he was ignorant, but doing a crash course to keep up with his son.

There is not much hockey in Vegas.

Retirement communities in Nashville and Vegas are popular, but Brady wants to play a few more seasons.

Ah, metaphor! No metaphor is perfect. But they are powerful tools to understand the world.

No one has mentioned Kobe and Tom. Has the death of a superstar ball player had an impact on his thinking? Yes, but not to the point of leaving the game apparently. He simply will go to a team where he can spend more time with his family—not training callow youth in how to play.

It is not the tunnel of death, nor the tunnel of love, where you are surrounded by those you know—especially at the end where you are at heaven’s gate. No, there is no welcome committee here, no wagon of goodies for his delectation.

Tom is a man who owes no one and will consult no one. This is his life alone.

Thomas Crown: An Affair Not to Remember?

DATELINE: What Should Have Been?

 Stand-in graveyard?

In 1968, one of the ultra-cool movies that was meant to be an antidote to the growing counter-culture of long-hair and hippies, was Norman Jewison’s stylish caper film. Sexy cool, with dune buggy rides on Crane’s beach in Ipswich and rooftop brunch on a patio in the South End of Boston, this was your ultimate sophistication.

The Thomas Crown Affairwas meant to be a vehicle showing off a Brahmin Bostonian outsmarting a beautiful insurance agent at his hobby of “crime.”

It has all the looks of a film back in the late 1960s when Alfred Hitchcock wanted to drag Grace Kelly out of retirement with the promise of another Cary Grant co-star vehicle. It’sTo Catch a Thief in reverse. However, nothing panned out. The film settles for second-best.

Hitchcock also had Tippi Hedren under contract—and so they could not even bring her on as the beautiful insurance agent. Yet, Faye Dunaway is clearly wearing the designer outfits and living the life of a millionaire investigator meant for Grace or Tippi. She tangles with a guy in a Brooks Brothers suit who pretends to be a millionaire executive, but looks like a motorcyclist in posh dress.

No doubt that Steve McQueen looks dashing, but we never believed for a second that he could play polo or chess. Not only that, the film looks like it was supposed to play out in London, but they had to settle for Boston. McQueen reportedly could not master a Boston accent and gave up half-way through the film.

It’s the ultimate double-cross thriller that Hitch loved to do, but Jewison throws in modern elements like split-screen moments (all pointless) and Noel Harrison (not Rex) sings “Windmills of Your Mind.” It seems even Dusty Springfield turned them down.

The climax of the movie takes place at Cambridge City Cemetery, a stand-in for ritzy and prestigious Mount Auburn Cemetery across the street, no doubt. We were a tad shocked to see filming near my mother’s recent burial site back then, not far from her grandmother.

Some films you may remember for all the wrong reasons.