Howard Hughes

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On Frank Sinatra: “The poor guy was literally without a job. He said all he could do was play saloons and crappy night clubs. His ego and self-esteem was at its lowest ever. And mine was practically at its peak. So it was hell for him. He was such a proud man — to have a woman pay all his bills was a bitch.” AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Ava Gardner

I wish to live until 150 years old but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whisky in the other

Caution Bad Language

The screen goddess once said: “My vices and scandals are more interesting than anything anyone can make up.”

Ava Gardner knew how to pose for the camera. She’d slit her eyes, throw her head at an angle, and the photographer would somehow catch something about her — not elegance or grace, exactly, but something that was strong, sexual, and almost animal, as if she were zeroing in on you, weighing your merits, and readying to pounce. And for most of the ’40s and ’50s, she was Hollywood’s most alluring femme fatale, an image solidified both on and off the screen.

Once Hollywood’s most irresistible woman—wed to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra—by 1988 Ava Gardner was nearly broke, ravaged by illness, and intent on selling her memoirs. But the man she chose as her ghostwriter, Peter Evans, had his own problems, not least a legal war with Sinatra.

In The first week of January 1988, Ava Gardner asked Peter Evans to ghost her memoirs. Since Evans had never met Ava Gardner, the call, late on a Sunday evening, was clearly a hoax. “Sounds great, Ava,” Evans played along. “Does Frank approve? I don’t want to upset Frank.” There was a small silence, then a brief husky laugh.

“Everybody kisses everybody else in this crummy business all the time. It’s the kissiest business in the world.”

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And the flying saucer accessories…

………… Love the flying saucer accessories…

The 1950s Flying Saucer Conventions at an Underground Rock House

Remembering, George Van Tassel’s Annual Giant Rock Interplanetary Spacecraft Conventions in the Mojave Desert in the early 1950s. For 25 or so years, other worldly inspired Americans and the great names of Contactee Ufology gathered there to commune with Space Beings…

The speaker’s makeshift platform stood high against Giant Rock itself. The interminable preparations came to an end and George Van Tassel climbed up to speak. Shortly, he was heard to say, “Yes, we are here. Who am I talking to?”

For several minutes listeners heard only a one-sided conversation. “NOW who am I talking to? Well, somebody else keeps butting in! CONFOUND IT, YOU KEEP SWITCHING AROUND ON ME! Let’s settle on who is to do the talking tonight!”

Suddenly, Van Tassel began speaking in a loud, harsh voice which identified itself as ‘Knut’.

“I AM KNUT. I BRING YOU LOVE.”

Knut proceeded to tell the assembled party that he was stationed in a “300 foot supply ship, approximately 200 miles to the south, and 5260 feet high.” When the group stepped outside to look for this miraculous craft, they were rewarded with nothing more than the beauty of the desert night and a few shooting stars.

This typical channelling session at the Giant Rock Spacecraft Convention in 1958 was recalled by UFO chronicler Gray Barker in his Gray Barker At Giant Rock (1976). The story of these open-air conventions near Yucca Valley, in California’s Mojave Desert, is really the story of the American flying saucer contactee movement. For over 25 years – from the 1950s through the late ’70s – friends of the alien saucerians met and channelled and sold their wares in the comfortable company of the true believers.

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Photo:Bettmann/Corbis

Photo:Bettmann/Corbis

Who Wants to Impersonate a Billionaire?

Few figures in American life have generated as much wild speculation as the eccentric Howard Hughes. So the announcement in 1971 that McGraw-Hill and Life Magazine were about to publish an autobiography of the billionaire hermit naturally incited a media frenzy. The book promised a gloriously lurid tale of money, movie stars, big business, heroic aviation feats, conspiracy theories, plus plenty of bizarre personal habits. Hughes’s autobiography was to be written with the assistance of the writer Clifford Irving, who somehow had managed to secure the paranoid recluse’s trust. Irving claimed he met secretly with Hughes more than a hundred times in Mexico and the Bahamas to tape-record his life story.

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