Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tom Towers Remembers - Part 1 of 2

A brand new year had just rolled into Los Angeles when Tom Towers apparently dictated responses to my initial set of questions for his secretary, and on January 2, 1976 the seven-page result was mailed off. Today, I've posted the first four.

Towers elaborated a bit on 12 years as, initially, a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Examiner, and his relationship with aviation. I had no idea previously of his WW II role as an intelligence officer. His recollections of performing the day-to-day work of a journalist profiling "Mafia-type gangsters" and chronicling a break-up of the Ku Klux Klan in Southern California almost points us into the noir realm of detective fiction and craving to learn more.

When asking about using photos depicting him in my article, Tom replies by offering pictures of his name in lights at the KRIM Theater. He only sent one (shown in this blog's very first entry), though evidently there are others.

It's interesting that Towers was almost chosen to play the part as a sheriff in the motion picture, "The Well," and intriguing how fate decreed that sound-alike actor Tom Powers ultimately had a role in the movie as the mayor. In fact, decades of confusion over Powers' and Towers' names caused a movie star-sized headache for Towers, a dilemma we finally solved and which is discussed in future blog entries. Incidentally, the 1976 TV Guide listing shown here raises an eyebrow for another reason -- the use of the word, Negro. I can't recall the last time I saw that word in a TV listing and, actually, I'm a little surprised to find it used as recently as 1976. In 2008, the word just seems a little archaic, but it isn't up to me to debate semantics.

While highly respectful of aviation experts, Towers is extremely critical of contactees who claimed rides in "saucers," and I agree, yet I wonder what path his journalistic nose for news would have taken him if confronted with a truly puzzling Barney & Betty Hill case or the like. I did inquire how his role in "U.F.O." as Al Chop influenced Towers' relationship with the public (no. 7), but there seemed to be no particularly overwhelming cause-and-effect result. I've no trouble believing Tom's assertion that "the freaks" avoided him!