Any Cost for the Race to Victory

DATELINE: World War II & Big Three

Leave it to History Channel to bait and switch its viewers yet again.

It seems after weeks of calling Race to Victory  a three-part series, it now appears it is multi-part series. Worse yet, History Channel simply tagged on the nextepisode after the third (now penultimate episode). But, wait, there’s even more!

Events superseded individuals in the first two episodes, but we wanted to see more about the interpersonal and psychological ties between the Big Three. This is a glaring omission in an otherwise excellent series. Now it appears this may be coming in the unknown fourth and fifth episode of the show.

We still have no idea what the “race to victory” of the title means. No explanation seems to have been offered, and self-evident strikes us as ridiculous.

 

This is still fascinating stuff: starting with Germany trying to break up the new alliance of Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt, by revealing mass graves of Stalin’s victims. It didn’t work because the Allies needed the lesser of the two evils.

The first meeting of the Big Three didn’t happen because Roosevelt was too sick to travel to Asia where Churchill and Stalin actually became friendly. Stalin wanted aid to Leningrad, but Churchill was set on fighting in Africa to protect the Suez Canal.

 

The States were also preparing to take on the Pacific campaign to regain Midway. Both Brits and Americans were breaking Axis codes—and that was the real turning point, but it didn’t hurt to have General Patton show up to give the Nazis a headache.

There are likely many tidbits in this series that only diehard buffs of World War II will know. For the rest of us, this is illuminating and intriguing.

 

 

 

Epstein’s Murder Will Out

DATELINE: Prime Suspect.

Alex Acosta & friend.

Maybe we will learn what really happened to Jeffrey Epstein, but not while William Barr is AG and Trump is POTUS. The only prosecutor prepared to go after Epstein and his co-conspirators was fired by Trump recently.

Yes, Geoffrey Berman did what Alex Acosta would not, and Trump has dismissed him. Acosta was paid off with an appointment to Secretary of Labor, but resigned two days after Epstein’s death. Trump praised him, and he ignored victims of child abuse.

Why would a man be taken off suicide watch in the federal prison? Have his Bunkie removed? And be given dozens of sheets and extension cords? Someone certainly made sure he had a message to kill himself.

Who is ultimately in charge of the Federal Bureau of Prisons? None other than the man whose father was a pal of Epstein, William Barr. And who is Barr’s superior? The man who was a close friend of Epstein, Donald Trump.

All the dots are there in this series, but no one dares to connect them. It’s dangerous, and Ghislaine Maxwell has her helicopter pilot license and is off globe-trotting. Epstein put his will into the Virgin Islands legal system, an irony for the owner of the Lolita Express jet. It is also a means to deny anyone access to his estate for at least a decade.

Murder or suicide? Both Michael Baden and Cyril Wecht, America’s two most prominent pathologists, will give you an answer that is disturbing.

Vatican and Third Reich Wholly Unholy

 DATELINE: Vatican Coverup

 Sunday school Nazis!

You can figure that Pope Pius XII will not be a candidate for sainthood anytime soon. If half of what this French documentary contends is the truth, the pontiff of World War II was a fairly reprehensible being.

Even today the Vatican refuses to declassify its Nazi documents that show collusion.

According to this account, the Pope and his minions at Vatican City were not anti-Semitic (which is a racial prejudice), but they were simply irrational religious zealots who blamed Jews for the death of Jesus.

When you have Hitler trying to win over the Vatican and trying to show his Nazi regime actually was based on Christian principles, you have twisted logic and those willing to accept it. Bishops were given the privilege of joining the Nazi party (heretofore Catholics were banned from this) in the early 1930s.

The Nazis quickly put priests in Nazi uniforms and made them chaplains on the Russian front.

Pius XI was not as thrilled with the Nazis as his successor who happened to be the Vatican’s German ambassador for a dozen years. When XI died three months before the war started, Hitler had his man in Pius XII who never met a Nazi he didn’t like.

By 1943 Pius heard reports from his spies that the Nazis were killing hundreds of thousands of Jews. He said nothing—even when everyone thought he might condemn murder. He didn’t.

When the war ended, the Vatican’s work with the Red Cross just started to warm up: they managed to procure passports for Dr. Mengele and Adolph Eichmann as well as Klaus Barbie, to move to South America. It was Pius Xii’s right hand cardinal who orchestrated this.

If you want to be infuriated, disgusted, and horrified, this documentary Unholy Alliance: Vatican and Third Reich  will certainly make you sick to your stomach.

 

 

Lost Gold Claims a Shocking Discovery

DATELINE: Shocking Allegations!

MacArthur & Truman!

 

With all the hyperbole and exaggeration around this season and the unpleasant and arrogant John Casey who did in his first-season team, it is no surprise that there is a “shocking discovery” on the latest episode.

The expert miners involved once again overrule Casey, feeling he has jumped to conclusions about how easy it will be to find the treasure vault.

The father-son miners are concerned that their robotic dig of a parallel tunnel may uncover gases that can overcome the men.

At the second dig, they have found rope that is clearly not old enough to be from World War II. It is blue nylon, indicating that their dig is not the first. They are finding modern digging tools. Another successful treasure hunter would not have publicized his discovery.

They now think one of three boxes of gold or treasure has been found and taken, but two boxes remain—based on the McDougall map.

Bingo Minerva is hot on the trail of rival searchers back in the United States. He has been encountering dire threats about their safety and a conspiracy that supports covert operators. A New York Times reporter suggests that it is General Douglas MacArthur may have been one o those who found treasure. He at least shared the info with President Harry Truman.

Allegedly Truman and MacArthur used the treasure money to fund U.S. operations against the Soviet. They had over 20,000 tons of gold at their disposal.  It is certainly shocking to learn that the POTUS and his Supreme Commander were taking treasure at will for their nation’s covert operations.

They are warned this search is dangerous. Then, there was carbon dioxide and monoxide that can kill fairly quickly. They have to flush out the poisonous air.

There are sensational shocks this week for sure.

Being Natural and Lost in History: Alice Guy

DATELINE: Pioneer Filmmaker

 Alice Thru the Lens Glass! 

How is it possible for someone to be erased from history in movies? Alice went through the camera lens and made the first wonderland of studio narrative movies! The film is called Be Natural: the Story of Alice Guy-Blache.

With Jodie Foster producing and narrating this insight into forgotten history, Pamela B. Greene is a researcher, director, and force to right a wrong done to a creative and mistreated woman. Alice Guy was contemporary in France to the Lumiere Brothers, and she ran the Gaumont Studios.

Yet, she was omitted time and again by critics for her massive contributions. She made about 1000 short movies from 1896 to the start of World War I.

Both Alfred Hitchcock and Sergei Eisenstein called her a tremendous influence on their directing, but she is still today relatively unknown. Director Greene does a whirlwind of research to uncover the story.

In that way, this is a thrilling and fascinating detective work. Alice Guy-Blache was the victim of critics, bad history, misinformation, and a husband who took credit for her work.

She was a driving force for Solax Pictures, one of the big movie companies in Fort Lee, New Jersey. All the others went to Hollywood, and she went out of business.

Returning to France, she was further isolated and ignored. IN her later years she tried to find her films, but most were lost. During the 1950s her glowing, brilliant works were slowly found.

Her mantra was “Be Natural,” to actors. It was heresy in the silent era, but her films feature performances that are amazing by today’s standards.

Family told her in old age to give up: she would never be recognized. Fortunately, that is not true, thanks to pioneer women in movies today uncovering the injustice done to Alice. This turns out to be an extraordinary documentary.

Lost Gold Pivotal Turning Point

DATELINE:  Paranoia Grows

That gold in the Philippines has reached a breaking point. It’s ground-breaking, according to the History Channel. Well, yes, when you drill 900 feet underground to a waterfall, that surely qualifies as groundbreaking. Lost Gold of World War2 is rapidly winding down its second go-round.

Of course, both this show and the Skinwalker are finishing up with mysterious helicopters circling overhead. There is a lack of creativity on these shows as they fake danger. Both History shows are using the same alarmist hint.

Once again we are facing one of those needle in a haystack digs  If they are in the wrong spot, you may have to return next year to find anything.. And, of course, this leaves John Casey undaunted. One of the three digs is a collapsed mine shaft that gives off sounds of continuing collapse.

Another dig has the promise of unusual stone not indigenous to the Luzon area. And, the 900 drill can be knocked off course by inches. Have we learned anything from the Curse of Oak Island?

A remote digger will tunnel through the collapsed area –-and Bingo sends Casey a map that he is skeptical to accept. If you can’t read the clues, what are you doing leading a treasure hunt?

However, the discovery of French royal red marble—obviously brought to the mountain from Europe may indicate a connection between the Germans and Japanese during the war, in cahoots to hide something.

The paranoia grows when unexpected government (or purportedly official) come to overview the work. After several warnings, John Casey decided to bring in armed security guards.

Casey also discusses the map with Chuck McDougall who confirms that his maps are accurate.

 

 

 

 

Cruise of the Gods

DATELINE: Early Coogan & Brydon Effort

 2002

At one point in Trip to Greece  (2019),  Steve Coogan disdainfully tells his son he has known Rob Brydon for eleven years. It’s somewhat of an underestimate. Coogan and Brydon made their first movie together in 2002. It was a BBC-TV comedy called Cruise of the Gods.

The first movie is actually similar to Galaxy Quest,the far more successful tale of a 1980s sci-fi series cast that is thrown together 20 years later. Indeed, Brydon is the dominant star in this film, but Coogan takes it away when he shows up.

They starred in a kiddie show as teenagers. Brydon has fallen on hard times outside the business—and Coogan is a big TV star (Sherlock Holmes in Miami).So, Brydon accepts a fan cruise for a week (and $2000 needed bucks). They don’t even ask Coogan, figuring he is too big to do such a ploy.

Yet, he is thrilled to meet his teen fans (now middle-aged nerds). James Corden is a teen in this, chubby and nearly playing a stalker of stars.

This all reminded this critic about his friend and cowriter, the late Jan Merlin, who starred in a sci-fi show for kids decades ago—and years later reluctantly went to fan shows (for which he was compensated).

The other point of interest is Rob Brydon who has not really aged at all in 20 years. He looks essentially the same as the teenager of 1982 and the 50-year old in the last Trip  movie. He may not be handsome, but he is consistent in looks. Coogan has aged (hairdos being his bane).

Though this is billed as an affectionate tribute to fans, it is bitter and cynical, with the two stars not quite in their hostile mode for subsequent features.

 

 

Hunt for Elusive Unitah Skinwalker

DATELINE: Pre-TV Series

 Knapp Time.

 Two years previous to the History Channel series, the “paranormal investigator” named Jeremy Corbell took on the subject with his viewpoint. He rounded up George Knapp who had done 20 years of research—including work with Robert Bigelow before he sold the ranch and its rights to the new TV series owner.

The film is called Hunt for the Skinwalker.

Skinwalker Ranch is a paranormal Disneyland, according to this movie.

Corbell intones like he is Rod Serling stealing Twilight Zone phrases in his narrative. He found his matchmate in George Knapp, aging and renewed UFO hunter for decades. Knapp has boxes of old videotaped interviews and paper documents. Korbell won fame by bringing Bob Lazar out of hiding a few years ago to give an updated opinion on Area 51.

This is George Knapp’s seminall life work, apparently never digitized nor copied for posterity. Videos were never made into DVD and audio tape look like you couldn’t find the proper equipment to play them. No one has looked at this material in years. Now, the Hunt for the Skinwalker will make an attempt. It’s clearly enough to spark History Channel’s interest in doing a series two years later.

Korbell likens the area to “Area 52” and largely lets dramatic Knapp do narration duty. He knows how to make mystery more bizarre, for sure.

Knapp related the story of how he tried to do everything to provoke the poltergeist, UFOs, ghosts, orbs, or other phenomena, to no avail, even doing some forbidden digging. He was attacked only by mosquitos. He also knew Robert Bigelow and reveals that the strange billionaire did not want the associated horrors beyond UFOs. He indicated that Bigelow was warned off the property—and sold it to Brandon Fuglar.

Fulgar shows up in this film, refusing to identify himself because it would hurt his business “empire,” which is Fuglar to a T. However, something changed his mind between making this Corbell movie and the History series.

Here the cattle mutilations and other worldly voices are given far more attention.

Neither Corbell, nor Knapp, has any participation in the TV series. And, the movie is far better than the Fuglar produced show.

 

 

Spy Went Out Into the Cold

DATELINE: Not Sean Connery, or even Daniel Craig!

  Kim Philby in Moscow grave.

One of the most notorious real spies was a man named Kim Philby. He was a Cambridge, class-oriented Brit upper-crustaceon. Put James Bond out of your mind. This was a slimey limey traitor with charm and sociopathic standards. Spy Who Went Out into the Cold  is a nasty person

Back in the 1930s all his friends were in the spy business. It was a social means of fulfilling one’s communist principles. He was recruited by the Soviets and became an ultimate hypocrite. His friends became the right-wing aristocratic class. He fit in, and they all loved his wit and debonair attitude. He was a spy out of the Noel Coward school of blithe spirits.

Some claimed he was two people; how else could he betray his family, friends, and country? His attitude was that Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and other high rankers were simply idiots.

Kim Philby recruited his gay friends Burgess and McLean to be the bottom line of spy workers.

After World War II, it became bad business when the Soviets became cold war opponents. Burgess and McLean could not take the heat and defected, leaving J. Edgar Hoover to look for a “third man,” their enabler. It was Kim Philby, but his charm and friends helped him skate off in the coverup.

The film does a wonderful job in digging up old compatriots, finding photos and newsreels to depict Philby’s life of indolent drinking and fake journalism in Beirut for few years.

The truth was he was a despicable drunkard who had no scruples. When the authorities offered him a deal to continue to coverup and placate Hoover, he defected on a Soviet trawler. He lived his final years in Moscow, apparently unfazed by his low-life.

In the late 1980s with the Soviet Union crumbling, they dusted him off before burying him. He did not receive the justice he deserved: a firing squad.

 

 

 

Beast of Whitehall: Local Legend

DATELINE: Bigfoot Next to Champ

Brian Gosselin of Whitehall.

You might think it is some dark Viking who attacked Alfred the Great, but no, this beast is another Bigfoot wannabe who seems to reside in upstate New York, not far from Vermont. Whitehall is the “Home of the U.S. Navy,” so damn those torpedoes.

Yes, Whitehall is a sleepy New England town with charm galore, but it borders on paranormal, if not abnormal, creatures: Champ is the Loch Ness Monster of nearby Lake Champlain, and the Beast of Whitehall, (the Abair Road Incident)  has been skulking around the Adirondack Mountains since settlers first arrived. Now the local Chamber of Commerce seems to be cashing in.

We don’t know if Hawkeye and Uncas ran into them during the Last of the Mohicans, but if they looked, Bigfoot was behind one of the trees.

This short, interesting local documentary was put together, based on a key 1976 sighting in which 11 police officers, local and state, responded when three local teens ran into a seven-foot monster with red eyes.

Officer Brian Gosselin’s younger brother is no longer among us, and this film is a testimony to his encounter. Brian remains haunted by the meeting and suffered years of ridicule as a police officer. His logs have mysteriously disappeared, despite his painstaking recollections.

First sightings occurred when people showed up in the area in the mid-1700s. The national protected area is bigger than most other national parks, including Yellowstone. It also has the distinction of being a protected area—that is, they ban any hunting of Bigfoot. He is a permanent resident, but hasn’t cast any ballots we know of.

Most academics disparage the idea of a large primate living secretly in Whitehall, even today. Alas, too, many of the key witnesses from the 1970s have amazingly already passed away: Dan Gordon gave an extraordinary interview to Monsterquest and died in 2016, while Paul Gosselin died in 2015. It is hard to believe how fast time passes. Even Bigfoot’s grandchildren must now be secretly roaming the woods outside of Whitehall.

 

 

To Believe or To Investigate?

DATELINE: I Want to Believe! 

 Nicks Redfern & Pope

The documentary with the worst title so far this year is I Want to Believe! 

What a pity because it actually might attract more viewers with a better title. Of course, the opening credits undermine it further when the production company is misspelled as “Prodruction.”  Sloppy filmmakers.

Once the film starts, you realize that it is giving us some of the better Ancient Aliensexperts in a different light. Yes, there are our personal favorites Nick Pope, Nick Redburn, and Mike Bara. They are the true stars of this picture—and they dominate the interviews, though a few other lesser knowns offer opinions.

These three usually offer sound-bite one-sentence comments on a specific topic on Ancient Aliens.Here they are allowed to open up—and even explain a bit of their personal history and why they went into this crypto-journalism field of UFOs.

Make no mistake, they do think of themselves not as believers, but as investigators with an open mind.

The term UFO is widely disparaged as it is meaningless since anything unknown in the sky is a UFO. They also tend to respect “professional” witnesses over “abductees” because expertise carries some weight in their investigations. Bara disputes this and thinks the Travis Walton case is highly compelling because six witnesses passed multiple lie detector tests.

As theorists, they tend to lump all paranormal into one or two categories: either governmental disinformation for political motives, or the more interesting—interdimensional beings. Here, whatever culture you find, whether ghosts, orbs, little gray men, a Bigfoot. It is from a time-travel source in our past or parallel universe.

They do not dismiss the idea that an ancient civilization, now long gone on Earth, went to the Moon or Mars, and then eons ago came to an end. Their remnants may be our visitors.

We tend to agree that interdimensional explanations work best to include spirits who may have connections to ordinary people today whom they visit in one form or another.

As an adjunct to Ancient Aliens, we thought this was a more comprehensive consideration, with more attention to details than a fly in the ointment.

Danger Man to Prisoner: Patrick McGoohan

DATELINE: In His Mind 

Notorious Village at Portmerion, Wales

 

Portmerion is in Wales and was built in the 1960s to be an anomaly Italian resort by the sea. When actor Patrick McGoohan went there for an episode of his Danger Man series, he was struck by the rococo isolation—and it inspired him to create a seminal 1960s TV series, the cult-favorite The Prisoner.

McGoohan played the notorious #6 who is kidnapped as a secret agent and imprisoned by #2. It turned out to be 17 episodes, though he wanted only 7. And, the show, a marvel of modernity, became his Citizen Kane: a creation from top to bottom.

You may recall McGoohan chased on the beach by a giant white beach ball that returns him to the Village of imprisonment. Every episode he was bedeviled by a new #2. Number One was a mystery. He was #6. In My Mind is his story.

Under pseudonyms, he directed many episodes and wrote them. He was officially listed as executive producer, a man who was not a number. Imagine agent John Drake’s horror today when he would be even less than a number.

McGoohan created the props, the costumes, the settings, to be exactly what he wanted. It was a marvel that not even Orson Welles could critique.

McGoohan always played some kind of secret agent in so many films before he moved to Hollywood and did smaller character roles for the final 20 years of his career.

Director Steve Rodley was a superfan—and dug up a rare 1977 interview aobut The Prisoner, and he begged the reclusive McGoohan to talk with him in the 1990s in Los Angeles. To his surprise, the actor acceded. He also took over the interview, actually directing it. He was irascible and always quick to anger.

They once asked Lew Grade how he managed to get along with McGoohan—and he said he had no problems because he gave him whatever he wanted.

McGoohan’s daughter Catherine agreed to speak on behalf of her father, with reluctance, but knows his great series deserves an honor on its 50thanniversary in 2018.

The interspersing of McGoohan footage, on and off screen, at Portmerion and by amateur photogs, is amazing to behold. The actor manages to annotate his own great film role and project—and it was all in his mind from the start. After giving an interview about the Prisoner, McGoohan offered a blank check to buy back the video footage. it was refused.

Fans of the show cannot miss this documentary, and it may well bring more people to watch the original 1960s masterpiece.

 Showtime with Bob Fosse

DATELINE: Anti-Chorus Line! 

Young Bob Fosse in 1953.

There would be no moonwalking Michael Jackson without Bob Fosse’s choreography pioneering the way back in the 1950s.

Fosse went from dance/ taskmaster to director of movies, producing musicals like All That Jazz, Cabaret, and Sweet Charity, that contained thematic drama and ideas far beyond those of mortal danseurs.

The documentary film of his life seems to feature many British dancers and young ballerinas who likely weren’t born during Fosse’s heyday. One prima ballerina also lists herself as a quantum physicist in the credits. Oi vey.

Fosse danced at a young age, and by 13 was professionally dancing in a strip joint with older women. Today someone would be under arrest. However it affected him, we can see likely in movies like Sweet Charity, about prostitutes and dancers.

There is considerable talk that Fosse wanted to be another Fred Astaire, but his hairline was an issue, as were his looks. That problem also dogged Astaire, but he thrived. Fosse may well have been a poor actor, but his electric dances in Kiss Me Kateand Damn Yankeeswon him accolades—and his third wife, Gwen Verdon.

Time is also devoted to his idiosyncratic use of hands and hips in dances. And, like Mike Nichols, he came to film directing late in life, age 41 and learned on the job. Of course, he was on movie sets since the early 1950s, observing.

By the time he made Cabaret, Fosse was a drug-addled, alcoholic womanizer with a deplorable attitude. Today he’d be in jail with Harvey Weinstein, but in the early 1970s, they gave him an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony, all in the same year.

It did not improve him, or stop him from having three heart attacks.

Fosse tried to show a dancer’s life in All That Jazzwith an ugly counterpoint to the more joyous A Chorus Line,by James Kirkwood, made almost contemporaneously. Showtime dancers might have different opinions to the two parallel worlds. It may be revealing how few people (none) who knew him participate in this documentary.

His final film was a non-musical about an abusive murderer of his wife, based on the true story of Dorothy Stratton. It was called Star 80.  His last act was directing Chicago on stage, but he died in 1987 and never made it his crowning achievement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skin of Their Teeth Ranch, Drilling Down

 Dr. Travis Taylor

DATELINE: Digging Shallow

Despite all the hoopla about no digging on Skinwalker Ranch,there will be drilling down.

We suspect Travis Taylor would have walked off the show in a huff if they didn’t drill. Of course, we put nothing past the drama queens on these reality series.

Of interest was the visit of a Native American high priest or shaman. He says a prayer over the area where they will do some core samples. Dr. Travis Taylor was quite respectful because he believes that the magical approach may calm some fears and worries. The shaman was the guest of Dragonfly, the hostile security chief.

There was only a little comfort given by the guest who said, if there is trouble, they should not dig.

Sure enough, when the experts come to do core samples and check the radiation levels, there is nothing particularly sinister. However, a strange wind seemed to shake the telephone poles along the road. Taylor suspected earthquake. Tom Winterton took a powder rather than face any anomaly.

Previously Taylor received radiation burns from his work on the ranch, but all that was strangely absent when testers arrive at the same location.

The most disturbing element of the show was the cruel decision to bring two alpacas to the ranch. Exotic and adorable, they are largely silent—and were put into a pen that was not secure.

Sure enough, something attacked them in the pen. On security cameras, they are chased and are screaming. The photos are not clear and there is no way to know what was there. We blame the people who brought these defenseless creatures into the show as guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs are experimental victims. Once again, this is a unsympathetic group.

 

Shatner, 4thTime a Charm on Oak Island

DATELINE: Ben Franklin after Treasure?

 Ben Franklin.

This time William Shatner is taking on the take of the American Revolution using the treasure on Oak Island to finance the fight against the British. The irony is that they used Canadian territory—and even tried to draw Nova Scotia to join the States.

Samuel Ball, the former slave, was given his freedom for working with the Brits—and reportedly found some of the treasure within 20 years of moving to Oak Island.

Shatner hosts “The Founding Fathers.”  To fight the richest empire of the time, the United States used Benjamin Franklin to try to locate funding.  Because of his ties as the Grand Master of the Masons, he could use this connection to find money.

What’s interesting the French ties to the Templars had transformed into freemasons. That was the role and connection that Franklin used for the American Revolution. These ties actually went back half a century to Nova Scotia. These French military wanted to take the territory away from the British.

The French placed a “second” treasure on Oak Island in the mid-1700s. The Templars went to Scotland where they were not persecuted—and they soon delivered their secret treasures to New Scotland (Nova Scotia).

The Laginas tell Shatner that there is no proof, but there is circumstantial evidence. It does allow the Lagina Brothers to dig out their visits to Scotland to give Shatner some information, including the discovery of the lead Templar cross on Oak Island.

Shatner provides the authority and brings the gravity of his celebrity to the theories. He relates how Franklin and Thomas Jefferson owned thousands of acres in Nova Scotia—and wanted it to be part of the new nation.

George Washington may also have a connection, however oblique, to Oak Island. Did the Americans finance their freedom fight with Oak Island treasures?