Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Second Movie Article

Argosy UFO, published by the editors of Argosy, traditionally a "man's magazine" in the same sense that True and Saga catered primarily to adventure-seeking males, turned out some good writing about UFOs. I had contributed an article here and there to Argosy UFO and developed a nice working relationship with editor Audrey Hunter. One of my early articles ended up briefly as a prop in the 1977 movie, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (discussed months ago in my main UFO blog, linked in the margin), to my surprise.

At some point during the movie research conducted for rival magazine Official UFO, I found the British pressbook for "U.F.O." and inside discovered a story synopsis presented in more detail than the U.S. press materials offered. I suggested to Audrey that we reprint the synopsis and I would add comments along the way, in addition to publishing promotional movie photos. The idea was acceptable to her, and it turned out that the same Winter 1977-78 issue would carry two other articles of mine, one on U.S. presidents and their UFO views, and the other on a UFO course I had taught at Onondaga Community College, just outside of Syracuse, NY.

When the issue reached subscribers and newsstands, I was thrilled that Audrey gave all three articles billing on the cover (see). However, by this time I was far less than thrilled with something else: A foreign corporation had purchased Popular Publications, Argosy's parent company, and Argosy UFO and several sister magazines were being axed. The magazine cover displayed here heralded the final issue.

These are the three articles Tom Towers mentions on March 13, 1978, in a letter (see) he unhappily bangs out on an old typewriter (much preferring his own IBM electric) in the press room at the Los Angeles City Hall. Though Tom often seemed rather jaded about various aspects of Clarence Greene's motion picture, his dedication to resolving airport noise problems over the years appeared unwavering. Today's photo from "U.F.O." shows Al Chop (Towers) seated on the right as he discusses a UFO case with an Air Force officer.