Cold Warrior Spy: Richard Burton

DATELINE: Don’t Make’em Like This Anymore

 Dazzling Burton!

The extraordinary 1965 film of John le Carré’s classic,The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, has been listed on Prime as an action thriller. Of course, it is neither. It is a bleak, sober, cold and dreary film about moral turpitude among the espionage community.

John le Carré himself was an agent of MI-6 who turned into a novelist.

This was a seminal Richard Burton performance: and no one ever, even today, can convey the dissipation and ennui as he can. To watch him staggering around (as a double agent) in rainstorms and walking around bleak streets, avoiding a tail is in itself remarkable. We even see him in a Volkswagen, as an M-6 agent pretending to defect to the East.

George Smiley, the most famous of all the LeCarre agents, is here in the form of an unimpressive figure (actor Rupert Davies) working for Control. We believe it is the first Smiley appearance in a movie, as he later became known for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spyin several movie incarnations (Alec Guinness and Gary Oldman, notably). Here he is a plot key, but mostly as a spoken name.

Claire Bloom is the female lead. It was one of the few movies that Elizabeth Taylor simply could not play with her then husband. She would not make a convincing demure librarian—and had to pass on the role when director Martin Ritt put his foot down and said, “NO!”  Bloom is perfect. Burton was peeved and Taylor hung around the set causing mischief.

Oskar Werner has the other smallish but central part as the nemesis to the British secret agent. He is the elusive and dangerous East German spy that has hamstrung MI-6—and must be discredited to the Soviets.

That’s Burton’s job: not glamourous or exciting, but could mean his life is up for Cold War grabs.

Climax is at the Berlin Wall where double-crossing takes on a double meaning.

 

Burton’s angry speech near the end is worth the entire film.

 

 

TB 12’s New Abode

DATELINE: Home Sweet Home!

 Cottage On Bay.

Tom Brady has moved to Tampa Bay. TB to TB.

Brady is renting a mansion that belongs to Derek Jeter and has 9 bathrooms. We aren’t sure how many roommates Brady is taking in. Alex Guerrero, his business partner, may be among the freeloaders.

The price is a tad pricey: $70,000 per month. It is about 30,000 square feet, including a billiard parlor. The house had to be renovated with a higher security gate, which required town permission.

Davis Islands is a resort of sorts, that is sprawling.

Some wonder why Brady chose TB. We have learned that Tampa’s neighborhood is actually one hotbed of Trump support. Yes, there is a political angle to the Brady neighborhood.

As an old fan of MAGA (he has a red hat), Trump’s former golf partner may have selected this Jeter house because it is six miles from the Bucs stadium—but even closer to Trump RE-election headquarters.

We aren’t sure how many Trump fund-raisers will be held on Brady’s rental house, but he certainly has plenty of room for all his fellow Republicans to come by for a visit.

We understand the house comes with several Ring security cameras at the front door and facing the oceanfront where canoes may start sailing past with cameras at the ready.

 

 

Oak Island: Time Running Out

DATELINE: Reckless 7th Season?

 Mercury Dunk?

Dr. Ian Spooner shows up to assess another breakthrough in the swamp. Can it be some kind of megalithic creation that is manmade? Bigger is more desperate on Curse of Oak Island as we wrap up another season of empty-handed potential.

Big trouble is coming because the coffer dam must be removed within weeks, with the permit running out after one year. Not only must the dam be removed, but the area must be made to look as it was. Why can there be no extension of the permit? There is no explanation. Did they even try?

Finding a potential tunnel to the Money Pit means that Rick Lagina will go down on a bucket into the hole. If this seems a bit extreme and likely to be dangerous, we must recall that this is a cliff-hanger series with death-defying (or something akin to it).

Another lead artifact now has a strong mercury component, which suggests that Francis Bacon may have done some experiments on the manuscripts of Shakespeare. The lead also can be traced to the Middle East. More inconclusive but tantalizing hints. We are hooked again and reeled in.

Another curious discovery occurs at the home of original finder Daniel McGinnis whose root cellar was a secret tunnel, leading to something hidden. Because permits will not allow them to dig deeper, whatever treasure buried under the house cannot be excavated for a year in all likelihood.

If you want frustrations, they are everywhere this week. They have found more 1760s tunnels and shafts. Rick Lagina plans to go down in the bucket. They have to insist he come out before it caved in on him (which likely is his preference). Of course, Marty Lagina must put on a harness and goes down.

So they put a camera on the long-range excavator. Even that is inconclusive: we feel like we are no closer to knowing anything.

With time running out for this season, it becomes clear that a new sequel series is in the ready with the Lagina boys: it’s called, naturally, Beyond Oak Island.

Thee’s a sucker born on Oak Island every minute.

 

 

 

TB12 Knocks Coronavirus Off the Scorecard

DATELINE: Deflated at Last

Tom Brady is taking his football and heading south.

You can blame the Patriots for not wanting to invest in a man who claims he has found the Fountain of Youth. We recall from history that another gentleman of the old school went to Florida on his quest: Ponce de Leon also thought the elixir of eternal and immortal life awaited him in the bays of Florida.

Bill Belichick now will show he is the genius by winning another Super Bowl without Brady. Heaven help him if his team tanks.

As for Brady, he is trading Paul Revere for Jean LaFitte. He is a trader of the first order, heading for the world of Disney and smart dolphins like Flipper.

If you wonder if he will be motivated, you never followed Deflategate, which sent him reeling into a new stratosphere.

Some never believed Belichick would let it go this far, but that parallel universe: In Bill We Trust, now is on confederate tender.

The all-seeing eye of money is looking back at the Patriot Place and finding that TB12 is a franchise that will sell more jerseys with a new logo.

As for Brady in New England, it was NEVER his home, and if you think he won for Boston, you are deluded. He happened to win while in the Greater Boston area. He would have been just as elated to win in Tampa Bay over the past 20 years.

He never spoke a bad word about Aaron Hernandez, and we figure he will give Belichick the same courtesy.

Now, the curiosity factor will follow him, eyes moving across the gridiron looking for a train wreck.

Time Travel Under the Ancient Alien Dome

DATELINE:  Mojave Haven

 Van Tassel Castle

Not too often Ancient Aliens devotes a show to an important person in the UFO business, like Nikola Tesla, Leonardo, or Werner von Braun. This week they have selected the ever-forgotten George Van Tassel on the 8thepisode of season 15.

Van Tassel invented something out in the Mojave Desert forty years ago called the Integratron, a machine that ancient aliens helped him build for time travel, spirit communication, and portals to other dimensions.

Immortality is not what it used to be: Van Tassel was about to announce his invention’s possibilities when he abruptly died at age 67 of an unexpected heart attack. Almost immediately, your favorite federal government gutted the building where immortality lurked.

Van Tassel’s white dome house out in the desert had its guts removed: all those particle trackers and collider stuff were carted off.

As for Van Tassel, his death seemed to be regarded at biting irony for a man who wanted immortality and his premature death was dismissed as fate, rather than cold-blooded murder.

Van Tassel was considered a genius—and among his benefactors was Howard Hughes. And, if he is to be believed, a series of extra-terrestrials who came to him in the desert.

Not surprisingly, he held major outings each year in the 1950s that attracted bigger and bigger crowds, allowing Ancient Aliensto compare him to Moses– of UFOs.

He built his Integratron on Ley Lines, on a latitude with the Great Pyramid, which he also believed served a similar purpose ten or twenty-thousands of years ago. Most intriguing is the resemblance between this building and a depiction of Solomon’s Temple by Raphael, which housed the Ark of the Covenant.

 

 

 

 

Trump Turns into Typhoid Mary

DATELINE: NBA Comes in Second! 

If you need a little coronavirus history lesson, we are here to oblige.

Typhoid Mary was a 19thcentury Irish woman who was Patient Zero of her day. She went around the world, dispensing typhoid to anyone within her earshot. She herself never contracted the disease.

She was put into quarantine and only went to the supermarket to pick up hand sanitzer.

In that way she was like Johnny Appleseed, going around the countryside, planting infection.

Nowadays, the closest thing we have to Typhoid Mary is Donald Trump. Corona Trump seems to avoid having a test to prove his diseased body, but manages to meet with other world leaders. If you believe he has been tested and is negative, you probably are a U.S. Senator.

We think it’s time he went to North Korea again.

As for the NBA, no one likes to kick a basketball when it is out of bounds, but we will kick the can down the road.

Another NBA player has tested positive. He was guarding Rudy Gobert last week. It takes more than three days to develop coronavirus, and a player on the Detroit Pistons was in Gobert’s shirt last week, as they say of good defense.. Oh, well, do your job.

No one is mentioning that two kids from Rhode Island met Rudy Gobert at TD Garden in Boston, received an autographed ball, and a case of coronavirus. It took almost ten days to develop.

Nothing like spreading goodwill, NBA.

So, we are back to Typhoid Donald: he only had dinner and shook hands with people this week while being an incubator. We expect to see world leaders fall flat on their test kits within the next week. He and his crony, the Brazilian president, love to say “Fake Flu,” before you can say, “corona.”

We think Trump would be a better candidate for swine flu.

As for Trump, he just keeps sailing on, spreading cheer and coronavirus wherever he goes.

 

 

UnXplained Takes on Precog

DATELINE: Shatner on the Future

Seeing the future, having vibrations, dreaming of some event?  Shatner’s cynical UnXplained gives him a chance to look askance at the camera yet again.

We love it. 

Starting with a British psychic or clairvoyant, he cannot tell you why or how he has the ability. It is something he grew up with—and then enhanced with study in India and mystics. Then, there is a short mention of Biblical prophets who had no training. You learned as you went along.

Of course, we end up with tiresome Nostradamus and his incomprehensible quatrains, which border on ridiculous. Shatner suggests he is either a fake or psycho, but the usual expert talks about Hister and the S in the name written like a Swastika.

 The real surprise of the episode was the footage of 9-11 and the discussion of many people having premonitions that they would die or experience something a WTC. It is chilling to hear of these incidents. The usual experts (Nick Pope, Dr. Kaku) claim it is intuition, a natural condition in all people who make sense out of patterns they see.

 The kicker for the show is the Universal memory somewhere out there: it is , you guessed it, the Akashic Record, where all past, present, and future floats in some distant dimension—and a few lucky souls have a library card.

 Not the best in the series, but still better than most!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Invaders from Skinwalker Ranch

DATELINE: Blue on Blue 

Skeptical Star as Dr. Hyneck

 If Project Blue Book knows what it needs to do to be renewed, it is playing a cagey game as we wound down for the season 2.

The latest episode seems to be a throwback to the old chestnut classic movie Invaders from Mars wherein a young boy is terrified by space aliens living under his rustic home. His parents are soon part of the delusional dream. You may recall the old William Cameron Menzies classic movie.

Then, we discover that the Utah setting for the family homestead is related to a new series that will replace Project Blue Bookat the end of the month!

If you watch the History Channel previews, you already know that the timeslot will be taken over, not by zombies, but by a close second:  The Secrets of Skinwalker Ranch, produced by the same folks who give you The Curse of Oak Island.

And a mysterious millionaire has purchased the property and is now opening it up for Dr. Travis Taylor. Gee, how do we figure out Marty Lagina is in the picture? Perhaps when he son Alex is part of the new show’s cast.

Yes, Dr. Hyneck and Captain Quinn are learning that the paranormal ranch is where Navajo saw shapeshifter and spirits. Nice segue, if not too obvious.

Yes, the dream sequence is caused by some neural gas being pumped in as part of an Air Force experiment. Well, at least they were not feeding the kid LSD, like the CIA.

On top of that, our two comic generals have discovered Captain Quinn’s Soviet agent girlfriend and they are immediately suspicious whereas Mike Malarkey’s pipsqueak officer is in the dark.

Mable Stark: Tiger by the Tail

DATELINE: Trainer Not Tamer

 Mabel & coworker.

For nearly 50 years, from the 1920s to the 1960s, one of the most fearless of tiger trainers was a woman out of the vaudeville, circus world. Her name was Mable Stark, and she was not the first woman to take on the task, but she revolutionized animal training.

This hidden gem of biography is called Mabel, Mabel, Tiger Trainer. She was a patient humanist and used gentle techniquest to control the animals. Move over, Clyde Beatty.

Mabel was not shy flower. She took on Sumatran tigers, considered the most ferocious of all. They have an unpredictable temper—and she had enough claw marks in her life to prove it.

She always said she expected, and wanted to die at the claws of her tigers.

Nearly as ruthless and dangerous as her animals, Mabel came out of the dusty world of dirt farmers. Her father was alcoholic, and her mother married a bigamist child-molester. No wonder she felt no compunction to face wild beasts.

She married the best “lion tamer” in the business—and took his place, refusing to be the usual pretty assistant to the Clyde Beatty-style macho man.

She could put her head in a tiger’s mouth and win even more accolades.

This marvelous documentary by Leslie Zemekis, Though it also features interviews with those women who followed Mabel into the cage, she is a pioneer. She’d tell you that these creatures might be smart, but they were temperamental too. One deviation in word, step, or approach, set them off the script.

She had contact tigers that she raised from cubs, but those were even more dangerous because they never knew distance or understood their size.

With tons of footage and photos from the circus world—and early TV where she made guest appearances often, the film is a record of something lost—a world when kids ran off to the circus and learned a lifestyle singular and outside the norms of society.

This one is sheer entertainment and an education too.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oak Island Box Out

DATELINE: Wait till Next Year

 Inexplicable Log Boxes

They now have evidence from science that material buried in the cove dates back to 1620, around the time of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. With the end of the season rapidly approaching, The Curse of Oak Islandhas more mysteries and fewer answers.

The original Money Pit shaft has wood dating back way before the original searching. How many people were on an uninhabited island doing this engineering? And why? We may have to tune into the UnXplained to hear what Shatner states.

At Smith’s Cove they have found a bizarre wooden log box. It was either meant to be part of the flood booby traps or to circumvent them. Their digging nearly destroys the box. It collapses. However, it was not tied to the drain systems.

They are off to the next spot: the swamp. There, Gary Drayton finds another hinge or bracket. It was a match to one found last year that blacksmith expert said was 400 years old.

When Alex and Marty show up at an area between the cove and Money Pit, it looks like a war zone of a no man’s land from the Western Front excavation. That is how much work has been done on this small island. Millions have been poured into this money pit.

They never expected to find another tunnel, well-constructed and with no historical record. They had discovered another massive building project on a small island. It leads to conclusions that define historical mysteries of Arks of the Covenant and Holy Grails.

Carmen Legge joined in to identify various metals that he placed around the mid-1700s.  Who was making those tunnels?  He found it amazing that tunnel tools were in a swamp (or maybe it was not a swamp). He finds the strapping is from a sailing ship. He felt it was a ship from as early as 1710. Gary thought it was from a pirate ship, and Legge said the metal was in a big fire.

We are realizing that another season will be required. They are nowhere close to revealing the truth. But it may be worth the wait.

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.

 

Shatner on Oak Island: Beam Him Down

DATELINE: UnXplained Star Visits 

 Shatner at Oak Island!

Well, if you travel across the universe and end up with the UnXplained,you will surely make a pit stop to visit with the Lagina Brothers on Oak Island. William Shatner, not slowing down at 90, is there to see what all the commotion is about.  One fan called this appearance “epical.”

He is there to interview each of the key people about what is going on: he is intrigued, but the people in the so-called War Room are in awe of Captain Kirk in their midst.

There will be no revelations, but there are insights into the past of key people like Gary Drayton who is not used to turning over the findings to the Nova Scotia government. He has a history of being a modern pirate: keeping the spoils.

Yet, Shatner is cynical enough to tell them that the metal of the lead cross, apparent Templar, that was dropped not 600 years ago, mined back then.

They show him the swages that likely made the massive structures of 1741 that indicate that no Europeans were not supposed there—but really were.

Shatner tries hard to find the logic of the mystery of Oak Island, but he needs the late Leonard Nimoy’s Spock to give him the explanation. Marty Lagina tries to play the role of the man explaining the UnXplained.

It will be interesting to see how the same interviews come out on the other History Channel show.

Shatner drives at the key question, what is the curse! But he believes that the Shakespearean manuscripts sounds most plausible, hidden by Sir Francis Bacon.

Captain Kirk digs hard at the notions of mythology and magic, and for that we give him much credit as a journalist. He is intrigued by their notion that the latest technology always renews interest in solving the mystery.

Tractor and big equipment operator Billy Gearhardt is quite eloquent in answering. His new found fans will be thrilled that he stands up to Captain Kirk in this cross-pollination of History channel hit shows.

 

 

Blue Maximum for the Blue Max

DATELINE: Chess in the Sky  

 Real Stars Fly High!

We missed this little forgotten gem back in 1966, and today it is just a delicious extravaganza from the over-the-top studio system on its last legs. It is another faux epic but it is as big as the sky.

Clocking in at nearly three hours, The Blue Max was an important war movie for the Vietnam era. It told the story of chivalry in Germany during World War I. There, a common infantryman rises to air corps—and is ambitious enough to rival Von Richtofen.

The film has the benefit of George Peppard as his most unpleasant rogue antihero. However, the picture does not take off for forty minutes. That’s when James Mason and Ursula Andress take to the air as a German general of some sort and his countess wife.

Suddenly the movie comes alive. And Mason and Andress steal every scene they’re in. Elegant, aristocratic, and disdainful, you could not have two more delightful actors to change the pace of a war movie.

When Mason calls Peppard as “common as dirt” and a hero for the masses, you have the new era of movies entering on a biplane that could only shoot down King Kong in the movies.

There are long stretches of dog fights between Peppard and British planes, which are spectacular, but we can’t help but think this is nasty combat and is meant to kill the other pilot, not merely shoot him down. It dampens the undercurrent of a fun war.

A large cast also displays ugly hand-to-hand combat with bayonets, interspersed with Jeremy Kemp and Peppard’s rivalry over their extra-marital interest in Kemp’s auntie Ursula.

Scenes of glorious air flight are contrasted with uninspired ground troop massacres. We know that the chess match between Mason and Andress will result in Peppard having his Blue Max match his blue eyes at any cost, but he will end up the patsy of the villains. It’s worth watching two great film stars (Mason and Andress) in full throttle.