Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Frightful Paroxysm

Speaking of UFOs, a while back Dr. Theresa and I were watching a 1956 documentary called U.F.O. on TCM. It featured lots of recreations of "actual events." The hero was a man named Al Chop, a reporter, who was played in the film by some other reporter. Why not an actor? That's a great question. For some reason the name Al Chop tickled us and we had a chuckle whenever he strode into a room and said stiffly, "I'm Al Chop." I assumed he was some sort of composite character, but it turns out there was a real Al Chop. "Click" here if you don't believe me! Also, there is AN ENTIRE "BLOG" JUST ABOUT THAT MOVIE. Oh, "internet"! You have everything on you. In one portion of the movie, they talk about a LIFE magazine article that blows the lid off the big government UFO cover-up. So, you know how they have those bound copies of old magazines in the library, right? I went to the library today and thumbed through the actual LIFE magazine (April 7, 1952). There was a picture of Marilyn Monroe on the cover, natch! (See the headline in the upper right corner.) The article had a charmingly formal and polite title: "Have We Visitors From Space?" It was illustrated with "a scrupulously accurate eyewitness painting of a mysterious green fireball rushing through the night sky over New Mexico." Ha ha! I love the idea of an "eyewitness painting." Beautiful! The article had wonderful phrases in it like "whirling doughnuts" and "frightful paroxysm of light." I also looked for the November 30, 1959, issue of LIFE because this Kerouac bio says that some mean jerk wrote a snotty article about Kerouac in it: "The journalist's bitterness was evident," according to the bio. The title of the article - much less polite than "Have We Visitors From Space?" - is "Beats: Sad But Noisy Rebels." That volume was missing.