Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Panic in the Streets

Rumors started to fly late in April or in early May of 1976 indicating that all was not well at Official UFO. In fact, the magazine was about to become the editorial Titanic, rammed, splintered and dismantled board by board under immense pressure as it sank slowly into the dark seas of newsstand and subscriber oblivion. The force behind its ultimate destruction, however, came not from an errant iceberg, but from its own captains, specifically two brothers and an associate who owned and sailed the good ship Publisher, otherwise known under the international flag of Countrywide Publications. They no longer wanted good, solid articles about UFOs. Instead, in efforts to raise circulation dramatically, their call went out for the craziest pieces of print nonsense that one could muster. They got it, and they printed it.

I didn't receive editor Bernard O'Connor's letter until the end of May, informing his writers (see) that he had resigned on May 1. He was far too much of a gentleman to explain what he meant about resigning due to "personal matters," but we who contributed articles realized he wouldn't trade his integrity for the new policies instigated by the publishers. To my horror, though unavoidably, he returned my article on the movie, "U.F.O." and all accompanying visuals. At last, I had placed the completed project in his hands, he liked it, and now there wasn't a darned thing he could do with it.

My first move following this development was to inform movie principals about this predicament and begged patience, especially amongst those such as Tom Towers, who had loaned me visuals whose return would be further delayed.

Obviously, Official UFO shared the world of magazine circulation with several popular UFO-related monthlies, but most were absurd. However, both Saga and its attractive companion publication UFO Report were widely read and I decided to query the editor to see if my article might have a home after all.

Saga editorial director Martin Singer wrote back (see) and agreed to take a look at " 'U.F.O.' Revisited," so I sent it off, and within days also received a card from Towers (see) expressing concern, but still okay with my keeping his material for an extended period.

Nevertheless, further devastation was in store when Marty Singer rejected and returned the package in July, deciding (see) the article wouldn't appeal to UFO Report's readership. My options were becoming fewer as I started to wonder if anybody other than I would ever care to read about Clarence Greene's obscure 1956 film. Can panic in the streets ensue if carried out by only one frustrated, silently screaming person, I wonder?