Gold in Them Thar Michigan Cellars?

DATELINE:  Top Pocket

top pocket picker 

If you want to find a gold coin, you call on only one metal detective with a heart of money-making: Gary Drayton.

The Curse of Civil War Gold has tried to live up to its name by bringing aboard again, the star gold piece of Curse of Oak Island. Gary Drayton seems to have a knack and no one else comes close to his luck and pluck. Last year he came on for one appearance in Georgia, and not unexpectedly, he found a Confederate gold coin near the capture spot of President Jefferson Davis.

This year, he visits the home of Lt. Col. Ben Pritchard, the man who led the capture of said Davis. Lo and behold, like a gopher in the front yard of Prichard’s home, he digs multiple holes (apparently with the latest owner’s blessing), and he not surprisingly finds another Confederate coin.

It looks more than suspicious that the same sort of coin would be in Michigan on land by a man who is now being accused of conspiracy to steal gold.

This is the second pillar of the community and Civil War hero who has come up besmirched by the gold diggers. We are hit with less circumspect conclusions about circumstantial evidence.

Yet, the digging does seem to yield one key discovery: people will agree to anything for finding free loot.

More promises by Robert Clotworthy end the show with name-droppings like Abe Lincoln and his assassination. Hmmm. The show continues to make big conspiracy theories—and Marty and Alex Lagina continue to make last minute appearances to affirm the activities.

Next time Alex and Gary team up to steal the gold fillings from Kevin Dykstra’s mouth.

Still waiting to hear what the curse is in the title of this show.

 

 

 

 

Irony Lost on Civil War Gold

DATELINE: Follow the Red Brick Wall!

IMG_4765

“A Void at All Costs”? That’s what the episode is titled.

Yikes, when the show names its own poison, you have to wonder how serious it is when it comes to playing around with truth and history. Of the trio of gold hunt shows on History, this one is the lamest. Irony is lost here, not gold.

In a continuing effort to malign people who are dead, History Channel gives us more of the same. Collapsed tunnels from the late 19th century connects the two houses of banker partners who lived across the road from each other. How nefarious is that?

More troubling is the connection between a man who captured Jefferson Davis, Confederate president, and the treasury of the South—to Charles Hackley, the banker who hired the Union officer’s son.

Modestly poor men suddenly open banks. It does raise an eyebrow.

As far as permits go to salvage Lake Michigan, we again have been misled. The process only leads to a federal appeal—and a more deliberate delay. Clearly the Michigan connection is a dead end for now—and the series must move to other areas, literally.

The suppositions are built on sand, or brick walls that front air pockets. Follow the red brick wall. The tease of Wilkes Booth and Jesse James being involved in the story has dried up. They cannot break through the walls because it could bring down the house, which would put them over-budget.

There’s enough dubious dullness that Alex Lagina is not on Oak Island, but back at his father’s business. He gave them any excuse to flee the Civil War hoax.

But, we are connecting dots not meant to lead anywhere. Maybe next week, Gary Drayton will show up and find a coin. Going nowhere is a theme on this show, and they are off on another tangent next week. We still don’t know what the curse is this show’s title refers to.

Hitch Your Wagon to a Gold Star

DATELINE: Curses Again & Again!

Hackley manse  Suspicious Hackley House!

Curse of Civil War Gold has become an off-shoot of Curse of Oak Island. It’s not even a spin-off, just a continuation like the other show History has developed, Digging Deeper on Oak Island. The formula of two middle-aged brothers on a quest is a gold mine.

If you have a hit show, you might as well milk it to high heaven. Kevin Dykstra may know this more than any of us. Whatever hostility he might have harbored to having his gold hunt show hijacked by Marty Lagina, has given way to obsequious sucking up.

This second episode had Dykstra asking people in his crew to step aside to let Alex Lagina look at the sonar findings under Lake Michigan. Yup, the bread is now buttered up.

We cannot fault Alex who is who he is: the youngest one on the series, and clearly the star with drawing power. So far, Gary Drayton has not made his appearance to bolster the Civil War Gold series.

A couple of thrusts dominated the second episode: there was the return to the lake, looking for a sunken box car that reportedly was witnessed by a nameless death bed lighthouse keeper. Okay.

The other angle was the continued character assassination of Charles Hackley, a banker and noted Victorian citizen of Michigan who is accused of evil and greedy wrong-doing.

This time the gang wants to prove he had a tunnel from his house to the bank to the railroad station. As they conclude, it was for the worst possible motive.

Who knows?  These guys act as though they do.

The show’s high-point for us was when Alex insisted he must return to Oak Island because they are short-handed in Nova Scotia. This is after we witnessed 500 workers and heavy machine operators all season. Daddy Marty’s payroll is bursting at the seams.

The producer decision to abandon the first season approach for a sequel to Oak Island is not to be disparaged. It seems to be working out.

Civil War Gold Returns to Pan Again

DATELINE: Glittery Start

Daddy's Boy
Daddy’s Boy?

Has History Channel no end to the depths to which it will sink? Apparently not, as The Search for Civil War Gold is back on the air for another season.

As if to sweeten the leprechaun’s pot at the end of the rainbow, they have added Alex Lagina as a catnip to fans of Curse of Oak Island. His millionaire old man (Marty Lagina) is bankrolling this series, of course.

They are also trotting out Gary Drayton as a guest star, to bring the full-force of the Oak Island influence to another series. It won’t hurt to throw the two most popular figures from the other series into the pot of gold.

Trying to overcome the bad habits of the first season may be an interesting exercise. A three-ring circus may be a good way to deflect and to misdirect. It works for Trump.

Curse of Civil War Gold has hooked us immediately as the stars of last season, Kevin Dykstra, picks up the newest addition:  Alex Lagina. He will now serve as the lynchpin.

You could not ask for more: handsome, charming, and with 50million bucks in the bank. We are now on board. Be still, all those beating fan hearts.

There has been a bit of hostility and passive-aggression from Kevin Dykstra and his brother over the fact that Marty Lagina has kidnapped their “baby” project.

However, without Lagina’s money, they’d be nowhere and with a theory they could not prove.

Then, with the onerous tones of Robert Clotworthy bringing sequelitis to this Curse of Civil War Gold followup to Oak Island.

Dykstra makes a snide comment about Lagina trusting “one of his children” to look after the investment. We aren’t sure how Alex will react to being labelled a child.

Alex is the new star of the show, so move aside all you middle-aged, paunchy amateurs. Right away, Alex shows he is in charge by bringing in a noted underwater archaeologist, which the others gush over (later they sneer at how college professors always get it wrong).

Alex also shocks them with providing a luxurious boat to do their diving from: they clearly have never had it this good, and suddenly are humbled.

Dykstra struts, “Marty’s really paying off…” Yes, literally. That’s why he can take over the show and make his son the new focus.

Of course, these guys cannot do salvage work without a permit—and it again takes Marty Lagina to work out the legalities. When that’s done, Alex announces he will head the dive team.

The show also opened up by hinting that the Confederate gold was hijacked by Jefferson Davis, Jesse James, and John Wilkes Booth. Hmmm. Okay, we’ll come back to hear more of this.

Not So Grand Finale on Civil War Gold

DATELINE: History Waterlogged

Hackley malignedMuch Maligned Charles Hackley!

As we come to the end of Marty Lagina’s substitute Oak Island gold hunt series, there is no joy in Michigan. We have come to the final episode of Curse of Civil War Gold for season one.

When last we saw Kevin Dykstra, he seemed to have broken a hip during a dive yet is released by the hospital a day later on crutches with a diagnosis of fracture and pain. That won’t stop him.

Wine mogul Lagina was not so sympathetic: he immediately suggested bringing in professional diver John Chatterton who was known as the buzz-killer on Curse of Oak Island.

The genuine disappointment rankles on Dykstra and his crew who sit glumly in their expensive chartered boat while Chatterton takes over. Dykstra even hesitates to accept the money man’s choice but knows better than to complain about millionaire backers.

In his own good fashion, Chatterton does not disappoint. He takes over and selects a different place to search than shown on the previous week. Dykstra’s boys sit on the boat like the proverbial monkeys, seeing and hearing and speaking no evil.

Of course, Chatterton finds nothing and returns to Florida with a shrug. It leaves Dykstra with egg on his face and a shell-case for a crutch.

No sooner had Chatterton left, suddenly Mr. Dykstra can do one more dive. Alas, his 80’ chartered boat shrinks to the size of something belonging to Captain Quint from Jaws.

One more dive before winter and bad ratings close in, the gold hunters take video that shows what they claim is a gold bar in soggy lake bottom. It is enough of an enticement to convince Marty Lagina that the series deserves a second season.

To whet our appetite, they suggest Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was behind the plot to steal the Confederate gold.

Whether viewers agree, only History Channel knows for sure.

 

 

 

To Utah & Back: Episode 4

 DATELINE: Curse of Civil War Gold

If you keep wondering when representatives of philanthropist Charles Hackley will sue the producers of this series for defamation of character, we are with you.  We are up to Episode 4 of The Curse of Civil War Gold and the defaming of Mr. Hackley continues full force.

The only curse from this series we see so far is the one put on viewers.

Gold panner Kevin Dykstra continues his unfounded assault on a 19th century banker who invested in a Utah gold mine, built a railroad, and according to speculation, brought Confederate gold out west to launder it.

There’s no gold like fool’s gold.

Evidence is in short supply, but conspiracy theory abounds. If you are wondering if this series can sink any lower, you should tune in next week when it literally hits bottom of Lake Michigan.

As for this week, what can you say about a group of grown men who drive 1700 miles to Utah and back in one week? Their excursion in the desert lasts about three days, and not one is apparently spent in a motel. Nor is there money for flying.

What’s interesting is how totally unprepared they truly are.

Indeed, they go out to Utah without a plan or previous research. When they get there, they ask passers-by for information. They never heard of the Internet.

Without any discernible information of reliable and valid import, they head out to the desert looking for railroad tracks. There is no local guide, no one with experience or expertise in desert conditions.

They have a gun and three campers and all-terrain vehicles to go looking for a needle in a haystack (their description).

Yes, they traipse through the mountains looking for old mine openings, no matter how dangerous or condemned.

One intrepid younger brother of Kevin Dykstra has the temerity to tell him not to enter a dangerous cave where a mountain lion has made its lair. (There are three brothers on this series, outdoing the Laginas by one).

Can this series deteriorate any faster?

Marty Lagina better give these guys food money, though not one looks like he is starved.

At hour’s end, they have no evidence for their efforts in Utah. They must go to Marty Lagina with only a silver coin found by old friend Gary Drayton.

Lo and behold, as they enter the palace of Marty Lagina, intimidating in itself, they discover he is not impressed with their lack of evidence. However, someone told him about the show’s ratings.  There’s gold in the History Channel audience.

He will finance another few episodes. Whether we have the interest to pursue them may be the bigger question. So many words, so little hard evidence. Ho-hum.

Civil War Gold: In Plain Wrapper

DATELINE:  History Channel’s Lack of Glitter

Those amateur gold diggers are still trying to impress Marty Lagina, no easy mark when it comes to wheedling his money out of his winery, on Curse of the Civil War Gold. The hapless hunters of the new series insist that Jeff Davis’s stash of gold was stolen and dumped in Lake Michigan.

Now, if only someone would believe them!

The latest episode, number 3, is called “In Plain Sight,” but nothing is obvious, except the lack of logic in the entire gold hunt operation.

Leader Dykstra never really tells us where his ideas come from: just old research. So, it’s hard to know why he is so convinced that there is a tunnel under a street connecting two banks, or why he mistrusts a 19th century Michigan philanthropist, accusing him of money-laundering, receiving stolen goods, and deceiving everyone.

When Mr. Dykstra gathers his amateur crew to take down a foundation wall under the old bank where he contends the gold was hidden, it nearly falls on them. Talk about idiocy. Marty Lagina has a moral obligation to either give them money, or have them locked up.

Oh, there was no evidence in the bank vault—and it didn’t belong to Al Capone either. Those who don’t remember Geraldo Rivera are doomed to repeat history.

We enjoyed Marty Lagina saying that the new cast reminds him of his own Oak Island searches. The big difference is that they are broke, and he has a gold business in grapes. Yep, Marty already has his millions and seems unwilling to cough up the moolah for these alleged researchers.

Of course, the old standby comes into play: yes, it’s those pesky Masons who have taken the Confederate gold, and left all kinds of symbols in the town architecture for treasure hunters where they hid the gold. These guys find a giant X right in the center of town.

We are exasperated with blaming the Masons for everything from Oak Island to ancient aliens. If our great Uncle John was still with us, we’d put his 33rd degree Masonic feet to the fire to see what he knew about this stuff.

Civil War Gold De-Railed

 

Drayton

DATELINE:  More Gary Drayton Please!

In the second episode of The Curse of Civil War Gold, we learn what it’s like to conduct a treasure hunt on the cheap in a show called “Right on Track.” Not even the narrative voice of Robert Clotworthy can save this mess.

Because Marty Lagina has not come through with funding, the alleged treasure hunters continue their amateur hour shenanigans. We presume Marty will cough up some bucks or this show will not be on much longer, or would not be on TV at all.

This series is apparently an exercise in what happens when people over-extend their reach. Without trust in real experts, these hunters make bonehead decisions—and seem to be lucky beyond belief. It’s anti-intellectualism in America writ big.

Of course, maybe the unwashed public loves this kind of fraud: High school teachers gone amok, and President Trump gone bonkers.

Kevin Dykstra is the leader with his brother, in a blatant imitation of the Lagina brothers, and he assembles a group of family and friends to excavate a beach along Lake Michigan in a truly ridiculous effort. Without real knowledge or safety, they begin digging in the sand. Most nitwits know this is a recipe for disaster. Dykstra’s minions cannot overcome the leakage into the pits they dig.

Information tells them that the stolen steam engine from 1869 is buried there, derailed after unloading Confederate gold into the lake. It may be feasible, but with plans like those excavation ideas, no one will find much of anything.

In the meantime, kingpin Marty Lagina sits in his palace with a checkbook, demanding more proof. If you love this kind of thing, you may be in your element.

A new style of colorized Civil War photos starts to look like comic book illustrations, also used recently on the Oak Island series. We are in familiar territory here. We doubt that can stretch this into a five-year plan, but History Channel works in mysterious ways.

We still say, give Gary Drayton, metal detective, his own show.

Grapes & Gold of Wrath: Civil War Curses

DATELINE:  Look Away, Look Away, Dixieland!

ClotRobert Clotworthy

If there is a revelation about Civil War gold in this new series, the big goldmine belongs to Marty Lagina. He has put his production company with Ancient Alien and Oak Island narrator Robert Clotworthy’s dulcet tones behind a new show, Curse of the Civil War Gold.

Marty Lagina admits as he exits Oak Island for the season, that he has money to burn. Why does he need a gold treasure when he already owns one? For the first time in five seasons on Curse of Oak Island, we are treated to a visit to his business on the new series, which happens to be a giant winery in Michigan.

There’s gold in them thar grapes.

So, Lagina finds a group of high school teachers with a penchant for getting rich slowly who come to him for funding. It is a surprise that Marty allows them into his inner sanctum boardroom. His office kingdom is right out of the movies, and these obsequious gold diggers beg for money.

The formula is the same:  two brothers, their close friend (also a history teacher in a Michigan high school). Since this is hardly the kind of eclectic, adventurous crew we find on other adventure reality shows, Marty Lagina throws them Gary Drayton, his Australian metal detective, the only real holdover from the Oak Island show.

Lagina will appear as a deus ex machina, or Professor Kingsfield, at the start and finish of each episode, putting down his cynical pronouncements.

When the Michigan high school teachers set off for Dixieland and Georgia where Jeff Davis was captured, we wondered how the locals will take to Yankee hunters wanting to find the Confederate treasure.

This is an enterprise borne out of greed and likely to be as unpleasant as suggesting that J. Wilkes Booth and Jesse James were members of a Masonic-style Knights-Templar wannabe group known as the Knights of the Golden Circle, behind the gold curse.

A bunch of pro-slavery advocates with gold to hide, the KGC and their gold cache should be justifiable confiscation, kind of a government asset forfeiture.

Will a bunch of mundane Michigan high school teachers take the prize? This series is betting you care. Marty Lagina is crushing his grapes before their time.