Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tom Towers Contributes

The kindness and enthusiastic words lavished upon me by "U.F.O." leading man Tom Towers throughout much of my research and writing time certainly helped tremendously, and his assistance in locating people resulted in a longer article than I might have ended up with otherwise.

In February, 1976, at my request, Tom actually mailed me his personal movie script, some 8"x10" publicity stills (which I already had in my collection) and -- as I just realized from reading his letter after so many years -- the very seven-page fact sheet about the movie offered during the first few days of this blog. How easy it becomes to forget the source of documents as years pass. The fact sheet is a great synopsis of production values and, without Tom's kindness in loaning it, I doubt this rare gem ever would have surfaced again.

He also sent a great close-up black-and-white passport photo, ultimately intended for a piece I wanted to write just on Tom himself (Official UFO had cut much of my information on Tom Towers because of space limitations), but that later became "lost" in the mail when I dealt with Saga Magazine, another story in itself. A shame, because the passport picture showed how gracefully Towers had aged in the 20 years since "U.F.O." hit theaters. He thought he looked a bit too heavy and wasn't crazy about me using it, but I think it looked great.

As a seasoned newspaper reporter, Tom found the amount Official UFO was willing to pay me appalling, and indeed it was appalling, but I had long since realized that my efforts were a labor of love. He didn't see it that way. How much did I get paid ultimately? Very, very little.
Over a week later, I got another reply from Towers, as I had alerted him to my receiving the script (apparently missing a few pages from way back) and other items. Note that he rushed a couple of other color snapshots-- the tennis photos shown in an earlier blog -- and I think that was primarily because he didn't want that passport photo printed. The Official UFO article actually carried no newer photos of Tom, as it turned out.

In the meantime, he had made connections with United Artists' New York office about the misspelled name, so both of us were working on a correction. Would Powers become Towers after so many years?

I think Tom misunderstood something I wrote in a letter, because I did not give a free lecture at Onondaga Community College. I taught a noncredit course on UFO history there and was paid quite well. But -- interesting motto quoted by Tom! Only in California...