Friday, May 06, 2016

Stanley Kubrick and the Reality Stargate: Secret Space

UPDATE: Reader Andrew points us to this must-watch video.

NOTE: I'm reposting this piece from last January since it very much ties into the series we're in the middle of now. I also recommend "Stanley Kubrick and the Reality Stargate, Revisited" for more background on this piece and more tales being told out of school. 

I have a lot of completed (or nearly-completed) posts in the pipeline but I wanted to put all of this in context first- this seemed like a very apt way to do that.

A recent news story covered the recent controversy over NASA feeds from the International Space Station, which some sites have claimed were cut after strange objects entered the camera view. This is not a new phenomenon, NASA has been accused of monkeying with its feed since the mid 90s in order to cover some very strange goings on in earth orbit.

That this story might be more than just a bunch of "UFO nuts" letting off steam was inadvertantly revealed by the graphics that CBS chose for the story. Rather than publish the objects in question so that their readers could decide for themselves, the editors pulled a corny old Unarius snapshot out of the archives so everyone could have a nice chuckle, feel superior for a minute or two and go back to being expendable cogs in the global economical hegemon.

This object showed up on a YouTube video, claiming to to be an ISS UFO, but it could be one of the endless parade of bad CGI creations that the popular UFO channels lure viewers in with. The more interesting-- and compelling-- videos are generally hard to find on the site (they don't tend to come up in searches for some strange reason) and don't get much traffic.

Of course, there's always the chance that what we are seeing on these ISS feeds is not alien craft but products of the secret space program. I admit that's unlikely, since even NASA wouldn't be so sloppy as to let classified hardware sneak into camera range, at least not while they're broadcasting, but mistakes are often made. But that raises the intriguing possibility NASA is out of the loop...

Given the availability of powerful telescopes for consumer use I'd love to see some interesting orbital hardware start to show up online, but aside from the controversial work of John Lenard Walson, I'm not seeing much.
Templar/Solar cross on 2001's lunar module

But the topic of the secret space program got me to thinking of the work of Jay Weidner, which reached the mainstream via the documentary on Stanley Kubrick's adaption of The Shining entitled Room 237

Weidner's argument, as explored here, is not that there were no moon missions at all, but that the Apollo missions were a made-for-TV cover of the secret space missions using classified hardware. Having researched the issue I've come to basically agree with this position.

Overall, the Apollo skeptics present thoughtful, detailed arguments while their opponents merely argue from authority (or just act like dicks). But there are too many moving parts and the inconvenient fact of a very, very hot Cold War to argue against any moon mission at all. And as I've written before, the Cold War in fact is an excellent argument in favor of a Apollo hoax (as a opposed to a Moon hoax), since you don't want your enemies poring over your mission data in order to reverse engineer the hardware.

And if Kubrick was confessing to an Apollo hoax in The Shining, he was also talking a secret moon mission, undertaken right underneath the Soviets' prying noses in 2001: A Space Odyssey. And there may be a very obvious clue as to the technology that got the US up there embedded in the film itself.

The more familiar you are with high weirdness and its tributaries the more you tend to pay attention to what Kubrick is saying in 2001 and the less attention you pay to all the people telling you- at endless lengths- what they think Kubrick is saying, especially since all of that theorizing tends to pay little or no attention to what's actually onscreen.

For instance, Heywood Floyd's short speech to the directors at Clavius paraphrases talking points from a paper published in 1960 by the Brookings Institution about the possibility of the discovery of alien artifacts on the moon. This can't be an accident. The Stargate sequence- itself the subject of endless theorizing- replicates the experience of subjects under powerful doses of hallucinogens* (Krystle Cole recounted a nearly-identical experience to Bowman's while tripping on DMT in 2007). 

The oddly-lit white room Bowman finds himself in has been recounted by several 'alien abductees', most significantly Betty and Barney Hill, whose account was published in Look Magazine during the filming of 2001. A coincidence? Doubtful. The fact that Bowman's experience is preceded by an electronic signal matches then-classified stories of abductions being preceded by subjects being struck with an electronic beam. 

The Stargate scene ends with the creation of the Starchild, a new evolved being. This parallels stories only then emerging of abductees claiming to be used in hybrid programs. Again, coincidence? Whatever your opinion of the provenance of these accounts, we're at the far reaches of what can be rightly called coincidence here. Kubrick was clearly processing material outside the realm of recognized science fiction.

What is even more remarkable about the film is how it showcases technology that would not commercially available for decades, including seatback video, voiceprint ID and optical storage media. The film seems like a showcase for future technology, hardware the rest of the world wouldn't be aware of for some time to come. 

OK, now let's go back to the original topic of this post. What do you do when the public has become aware of something you don't want them aware of?

Well, as we saw with the ludicrous Unarius snap, you muddy the waters. 

Ridicule is a surefire trick. Flooding the market with conflicting and outlandish information is another (in 2001, Heywood Floyd cleverly leads the Russians to believe that the bogus plague story is true) Sending out shills to attack and insult anyone who discusses a forbidden topic is an old reliable as well. 

And of course, all of these have been used over the years over the topic of the alleged flying saucer crash at Roswell, New Mexico.

As I wrote in the previous installment of this series, I don't believe the "Dawn of Man" vignette in 2001 has anything to do with prehistory. I think it's a continuation of Kubrick's parodying of the Cold War that we saw in Dr. Strangelove, the film that Weidner argues led to this film and Kubrick's Apollo work. I see now- in the context of the secret space paradigm, that there are very clear visual cues as to this fact.

Remember first that Kubrick has apes-- jungle creatures by definition-- lounging around in the desert. Establishing shots were filmed in the Monument Valley of the American Southwest, just a few hours drive from Roswell.

Remember next that the source of conflict between the two groups of apes is a watering hole.

Or, uhh, well.
Note the strategically placed lens flares following alien revelation,
subliminally reminding the viewer of UFOs

Remember also that the Moonwatcher tribe wakes up one morning and finds the Monolith-- by definition an alien artifact-- in its midst. In much the same way the ranchers of Corona, NM woke up one morning and allegedly found an alien artifact in their midst as well. Remember that the base at Roswell Army Air Field was no ordinary fort-- it was also the site of the world's only atomic weapons arsenal.

Keeping in mind that we're analyzing what Kubrick is showing us, let's look at this pivotal scene in 'The Dawn of Man'. Moonwatcher is essentially doing weapons research with some debris he found on the desert floor. He's going to take this material and transform it into a tool and then a weapon. Later he will supply the strong-arms of his tribe with these bones. They alone will have these weapons. Their enemy tribe will not.

Exactly the same situation as the US and USSR in 1947 when the US has nukes and the Soviets did not.  (Note: This connection seems inarguable in light of this fact from the Wiki: "Stanley Kubrick originally intended that when the film does its famous match-cut from ancient bone-weapon to orbiting satellite that the latter and the three additional technological satellites seen would be established as orbiting nuclear weapons by a voice-over narrator talking about nuclear stalemate.")

Note those walls- they seem oddly unnatural. They look like embankments, as if the tribe has built a fort. That's a classic OOPart--out of place artifact. An important clue in Kubrick's narrative. 

So what we see onscreen is weapons research taking place inside some kind of fortification. 

We soon see a lot of yelling and screaming over the well by the opposing tribes, punctuated by the death of an enemy warrior.

And following this victory over the "well", Moonwatcher throws the bone into the air and it immediately becomes a spaceship. It's not out of the realm of reason now to assume that this bone symbolizes the remains of a spaceship, since that's what it instantly becomes.

Kubrick shows no suggestion of the march of time, of evolution, of progress, nothing at all. 

There's no reason at all to imagine any such thing, and in the context of his previous film every reason that this sequence is an even blunter and brutal parody of the Cold War, which filled many people with existential dread at the time of the making of this film.

What this bone is in fact is a secret weapon-- that's exactly what the narrative is describing the bone as exoterically. That it becomes a spaceship, that it was found in a pile of debris in the desert (where apes don't live), that this was filmed less than a day's drive from Roswell Army Air Base suggests that whether or not there is any truth to the Roswell stories that Kubrick thought they were compelling enough to tell a story around.**

Well, Rus
As I've said before, the scene with Floyd meeting the Russians is meant as a parallel to the watering hole scene and in my view proves that the latter is a parody of the global politics of the former.

For etymology buffs note that Roswell is a variant of "Rosewell" and by conjoining these two scenes we have a well- the water hole-- and red symbolism in the chairs and the Russians ("Rus", "Reds") themselves. Again, too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence.

We see that this scene isn't much different than the previous one; the players are cordial but are clearly playing on opposite sides of the field. Floyd practices diplomatic deceit rather than physical violence to disguise the fact that his team too has had secret contact with an alien intelligence and is keeping that fact secret from their adversaries. 

Note that Floyd ends up in roughly the same pictorial space in-frame as Moonwatcher during the well battle.

Kubrick drops in a little more water symbolism here in case you didn't pick up on it and has the male Russian very subtly turn the table so the amber colored drink is now in front of him.

Leading the Russians to believe that the phony plague story that's been leaked through intelligence channels is true, Floyd hides the fact that he is on a secret mission to the Moon, and will be later ordering a secret space mission to Jupiter.†


I think space travel is a lot more expensive and dangerous than we're led to believe by the science propaganda. We hear a lot of brave talk about Mars but the fact is that no one I know of thinks it's anything but a suicide mission. Unless of course there is hardware along the lines of what Ben Rich hinted of all those years ago. But I'm sure all of that is so black we'll never know even a hint of it unless it crashes in a place so public that a thousand videos pop up in an instant.

But then, the Internet does have an off switch, you know.

With a new Cold War brewing, it will be interesting to see what revelations about space are kicked loose. So far we haven't heard Putin say America never went to the Moon but we have heard Medvedev talk about aliens in the context of nuclear security. America has been reliant on Russian boosters for ISS missions but that arrangement looks shaky at best. Will Elon Musk and other corporate space raiders take up the slack? I don't think their pockets are that deep.

More importantly, if we did go to the Moon-- and my current opinion is that we did in some kind of secret mission(s) that had nothing to do with playing golf or doing wheelies, using some technology that will never show up at the Smithsonian-- what did we find there? Are there missions that are still going on that we aren't hearing about? How would we know the difference?

Finally, please note that all of the propaganda techniques discussed in this post apply to a lot more than space or UFOs or science fiction.

UPDATE: Reader NDL reminds us that not long after 2001 a TV series premiered in Britain in which a movie studio in Borehamwood was used as cover for a secret space program... 

* Despite Kubrick's anti-drug protestations, the film is riddled with incongruous mushroom design symbolism.

† In 2000, the controversial Cassini spaceprobe performed a Jupiter flyby. The Cassini drew criticism for its plutonium power source.

** Kubrick and Clarke may well have heard the Roswell crash reverse-engineering stories but not had sufficient influence to get to any truth beyond them.


  1. Great post Christopher. I am once again highly impressed with your ability to connect the dots across many mediums. It takes a nimble mind and a great attention to detail which I find is a rare thing in most people. Here's a question though: Do you ever wish to be privy to real information about secret goings-on? To be a part of the group that really acts as the keepers of this knowledge? I think you would be great at it.

  2. Hmm, I don't know. I hear the membership dues are pretty steep. ;-)

    LIke Groucho said, I wouldn't join any group that would have me as a member...

  3. RE: the bone-into-spaceship, the novel version specifies that the spaceship is a Chinese Fractional Orbiting Bombardment System. FOBS can drop nuclear warheads with zero warning or reaction time.

    In the Star Trek TOS episode "Assignment:Earth", Gary Seven's mission is to interfere with the US launch of a FOBS.

    1. That is extremely interesting. I'm listening to an abridged audiobook of 2001 right now- fascinating how explicit the Intervention Theory in it is.

    2. Oh, I know. I gotta dig my paperback out, it's been awhile. If I'm remembering correctly, there's a chapter from 2001 that was repeated in 2010, all about the species that builds the Monoliths.
      Something about nothing being more precious to [them] than Mind, and so they sow, harvest, and sometimes reap.
      Something like that.

    3. Yeah, I have to say that I prefer enigmatic Kubrick to explicit Clarke. I feel and have always felt the two were operating at cross purposes.

    4. I know what you mean. I've enjoyed 2 of Clarke's novels, and 2-3 of his short stories, but I have never loved Clarke's work, not like I love "Dune", or William Gibson, or Walter Jon Williams.

      Clarke was too concrete, I guess. No mystery.

  4. This secret space program thing really makes me dizzy, even years after reading about it the first time. It is probably the most paradigm-breaking possibility for me, for some reason - it this is true, my world goes Arcanum XVI.

    Awesome post as always, thank you.

    1. Well, we all know such a thing exists. The question is how deep it goes. It's interesting, it was actually watching an Edgar Mitchell interview that got back on my original Apollo position. He is as genuine as Buzz Aldrin is disingenuous. And he has made several statements over the years letting researchers know things aren't as they seem, and he has no good reason to do and every good reason not to.

  5. CLK- Are you familiar with the work of Rob Ager? Some of it is behind a pay wall but I think it would be worth my pound sterling if I had any, given what I've seen on You Tube over the last year(s)-

    1. I do indeed, Tyrone. As a matter of fact I was watching one of his videos on Clockwork Orange the other day. How interesting that Kubrick did that film after 2001. I've maintained that MK Ultra told Congress it was after mind control just to keep the money flowing but was after much more exotic goals. I wrote about this on my Wavelength post and lo and behold my theories were recently corroborated in a story about Canadian orphanages, which no doubt has the sulfrous whiff of Ewan Cameron about it. Again getting back to Kubrick and Clarke's cross purposes, Kubrick may well have been inspired by stories of extreme tripping military personnel were forced to experience when conceiving the Stargate sequence since it matches a high dose DMT trip so well. Note also that it follows an appearance by Heywood Floyd, a figure I don't believe Kubrick was sympthetic towards. Note also that that appearance followed the revealing of clear plastic memory storage, an ostensible pipedream in 1968.

    2. With Kubrick, sympathy given or denied was never a real concern for him- Man vs. his systems (schemes) was the real suspense, not whether character X learns anything about himself- There was never anyone to root for- (Spartacus doesn’t count) From the protocols of court in Barry Lyndon to the meat processing of Full Metal Jacket, no one learns anything- You survive the system, usually changed for the worse- The absence of emotional investment is what allows the systems to be examined critically, in my opinion- For some reason I'm thinking of Carl Dryer- I wonder if Kubrick was a fan-

  6. I find it curious that the USAF had their own manned space program (Armstrong was one of its astronauts) and a several advanced projects like the X20 Dyna-Soar spaceplane and the Manned Orbiting Laboratory. Construction of the X20 had just begun in 1963 when the program was cancelled, while the MOL was axed in 1969 when it was shown that unmanned reconnaissance satellites could do the same job as a manned secret station.

    Yet a mockup of the MOL was successfully orbited in 1966. I can't help wondering if some element of the X20 project continued in a military role, or whether the Boeing X37B is somehow related to it (or is the visible part of a much more secret project).

    Anyway, a spaceplane wouldn't get you to the Moon, though a secret space station could be a good waypoint for other craft.

    Is there any consensus on John Lenard Walson's images? Some of the early ones looked very interesting.

  7. What else made its debut in 1966? The SR71 Blackbird, a plane that still looks futuristic. Granted, it's still fixed wing vertical takeoff aircraft, but it's not generally well know how Star Trek that damn plane was. Reading about that really got me to thinking seriously again about the secret space program, and how not matter how well thought out and compelling the Apollo skeptics' arguments are, they merely address Apollo and not spacecraft we don't know about. The defenders of the establishment are so annoying in how they frame the argument but I'm afraid the Apollo skeptics make the same mistake ETH UFOlogists make- lapsing into a binary argument that swims against a very strong tide of propaganda and opinion.

    1. With the SR-71, for example it's navigation systems were bleeding-edge for years. Supposedly too, the only real limit on her speed was the thermal limits of the fuselage, the engines had more power available than even Mach 3+ speed can use.

      I wonder, if we could build the SR-71 in the mid 60s, what can we build now?

  8. BTW I haven't heard anything about Walson in years- he was attacked pretty viciously and seems to have kept quiet. Whether or not he was photographing actual spy satellites or not the imagery was haunting.

  9. Totally agree about the binary argument problem: many peoples' insistence on taking a stand about Apollo yay-or-nay misses the point. There are some compelling cases of airbrushed areas in the official lunar photos - why do that if they were all faked? Yet others look more like studio pics. I can't account for why the Lunar Lander is so clean in the photos, unless it landed in an area totally devoid of dust. Nor the very different reactions to Apollo by the astronauts, especially Ed Mitchell.

    What do you make of Armstrong's 1970 interview with the BBC's Patrick Moore?

    The Blackbird design had its origins in the late 1950s along with the Lockheed Suntan project for a hydrogen-fuelled supersonic recon plane. And the XB70 Valkyrie was another highly advanced supersonic bomber that was later proposed as a "carrier ship" for a hypersonic spaceplane. After the SR71 was retired, there was much talk of Aurora which was sometimes compared to the XB70.

    1. The Apollo 11 crew have always acted extremely strangely to my eyes. Buzz Aldrin is a catalog of dysfunction.

  10. Minor quibble: I think it was (and is) pretty much the dominant scientific consensus that proto-human hominids evolved on the grasslands of east Africa during a prolonged dry period that forced them out of the forest canopy.
    Also I can't agree more that the DMT experience is very reminiscent of the stargate sequence in 2001. Or vice versa.

  11. I hear you, but there's a difference between dry grasslands and Monument Valley. And protohominids and gorillas.

  12. Chris, I found this PR video produced by Look Magazine (and it sounds like their benefactor was NASA) in '68 which is soliciting major corporations to invest their money into the production of 2001, because it's their (read: NASA's) view that it is going to be a seminal entertainment/educational indoctrination piece for the coming future. That, the statements made by the Look editor and from Clarke, and the brief view into the massive undertaking for the production of 2001, certainly explodes several lightbulbs in my head at once. 50 defense/tech contractors (IBM, GE, RCA, Bausch & Lamb, Vickers Armstrong [top Brit aircraft manufacturer]) and technical input from NASA and Von Braun (and who knows how many PAPERCLIP types, but they were certainly involved), space scientists, industrial designers, conceptual artists.

    I found this last year while I was digging through the archives during your hiatus, and could not find any discussion from you (or Weidner) mentioning it and it also looks as if it's only been on Youtube for a little over a year. I wanted to post it so badly when I first found it, since it's so chock full of info to chew on, but you weren't posting and I haven't wanted to just drop it on a random post or a
    years old one. And this new 2001 post from you has been up for a few days and I totally forgot how badly I wanted you to see this (if you haven't already, of course) until today!

    The whole tone of this thing is basically 2001 was going to be used as an entree to teach us plebs about the "Gods", everything was going to be made public, and with the amount of no joke resources, money, manpower and brainpower that went into the production, it's not hard to make the leap that something very serious was taking place at Borehamwood, for a space program that was apparently supposed to be public and instead was kidnapped by the "Black" world and all we have left is speculation on a secret space program/Breakaway Civilization.  Yet Kubrick's film, that many serious people found very important, still remains...

    2001: A Space Odyssey - A Look Behind the Future

    a few quotes:
    [this one is basically the opposite of Brookings report advice]
    "This amazing progress in space finds the American people less than well prepared to comprehend it's social impact. Scientists maintain a dialogue with scientists, quite properly, to be sure. But there remains a much needed job of indoctrinating our public with the consequences of cosmic communication, and the inevitable changes in our life, in our culture, our philosophies, our economy and our markets.  Radical revisions in our total society.  Now our means of preparing ourselves for the future is to educate by entertaining. 
    The following film describes an unusual motion picture, now being produced in London, for release all over the world."

    1. It is also notable that LOOK Magazine was one of Kubrick's early employers.

    2. Kubrick had some association with Leslie Stevens as well...

  13. Cont'd:
    "International interests makes the publicity department a center where report on the progress of 2001 circulated throughout the world."

    "The coming century will reveal a new and startling Universe...things that seem almost lost to our new world, strangeness, wonder, mystery, adventure. This is the promise of 2001."

    To make Americans aware of our space progress, the motion picture medium and the national magazine medium can compliment each others most effective education techniques.  The motion picture, long known
    for it's ability to educate while entertaining, should be used in combination with the magazine and its greater facility for serious discussion and depth.  Look Magazine proposes and special advertising section...devoted to the social impact of celestial exploration...this will afford you as an advertiser, a unique public vehicle for projecting your corporate future plans.  Your message will appear
    against an educational backdrop revealing how all segments of American industry are anticipating the opportunities and the need of tomorrow's world, offering the public the information needed to make an affirmative judgement on the great national investment required to
    continue this progress...We recommend your participation in Look's unusual advertising section on very pragmatic grounds.  Your views on your companies role in the world of the future are of more than casual interest to your stockholders, your employees, suppliers and customers, and all the various publics to whom you direct your
    advertising and with home you seek to maintain good relationships."

    [and Clarke's thoughts:]
    "In 2001...we hope to convey to the public the wonder and beauty and promise of the new age of exploration which is opening up before the human race.  We want to convey the message that our Earth is perhaps not the only abode of life. Our one of a hundred billion surfing in the Milky Way.  How many of those shine on our equals or
    our MASTERS [emphasis mine] out there in the depths of space?  That is the question that 2001 asks and seeks to answer.  The next step in evolution. The next generation will explore the planets, bring back new knowledge, answering old questions, and of course, asking new ones.

  14. Very interesting indeed. I wish you brought this to my attention sooner. Interesting to note that Look also broke the Hill abduction story as well. I'll definitely check this out. Looks like it will be worth a post on its own...

    1. You have made me aware of so many amazing ideas and sources, it's rewarding and humbling to be able to give you something new to gnaw on. Can't wait to hear what you think about the contents.

  15. I'll tell you what I think right know- does anyone think all that money, all those companies, all those craftsmen were brought together just to make a movie? In the 60s? And damn, that LEM certainly caught my attention...

    1. That's all I can think of when I watch the video...all these resources and grand pronouncements for a (supposedly) silly sci-fi movie? and this was an advertisement made for only other corporations to see, not the general public.

      And did you pick up on Clarke's statement while he was talking in the LEM that this future was "too important for two mid-20th century powers to squabble over".?

      Kind of shines some light on your thoughts as to why the hell the other countries don't come out and expose the space race/program if they know it's a hoax and score a huge propaganda coup.

    2. And why does the LEM look nothing like the one in the movie but very much like the Apollo LEMs? There's a puzzle for you.

    3. It occurs to me as we discuss this that many concepts and technologies developed for the Space Race would also have uses underwater, for our then-growing nuclear sub fleet. It was the Cold War, after all. Then again, all those stories of USOs and UFOs diving into the sea come to mind. Underwater launches are not easily detected. I dunno, just throwing that out there.

    4. Good catch...

      And the whole matter-of-fact tone from the Publisher, Clarke etc that this movie will change everything about Human history, and positively at that and total transparency about every new piece of knowledge...I wonder if that's how the controllers/spook types convince someone like Kubrick to work his magic under the auspices of educating and enlightening the human race and then at the end of all of it you've become so entangled in the "black" world that you have no way out.

      I've been out of my head over some bs with a business partner, glad I finally remembered to post this. The back and forth has been a nice distraction.

  16. Or perhaps not- that was a bit of confusing editing. The LEM was at Grumman, not MGM!

  17. Firstly, many thanks Andrew for that amazing video. Not only do we get those wonderful behind the scenes shots of 2001 in production but also the building of the Lunar Module. And yes, I have no idea why the mock-up looks so different from the final version.

    Secondly, the idea of using the film as a cover for a real space program (if I get your drift) has an interesting precedent. You might recall a British TV series that was made (initially) at Borehamwood in 1969/70, with the main premise being a film studio operating as the cover for a hi-tech organisation dedicated to fighting UFOs, which included a lunar base? It even used the buildings of Boreham Studios as part of its main set. Ring any bells?

    PS The first thing I noticed in the YouTube video - 2 seconds in, there's a shot of LOOK magazines on a rack in the editor's office. What is the most prominent magazine cover on that rack?

    1. hah! I love it! another piece of the puzzle to ponder that I was completely unaware of. I particularly liked this excerpt from the wiki

      "Typical of Anderson productions, the studio-as-cover idea was both practical and cost-effective for the production and provided a ready-made vehicle for the viewer's suspension of disbelief. It removed the need to build an expensive exterior set for the SHADO base and combined the all-important "secret" cover (concealment and secrecy are always central themes in Anderson dramas) with the trademark ring of at least nominal plausibility. A studio was a business where unusual events and routines would not be remarkable or even noticed. Comings and goings at odd times, the movement of vehicles, equipment, people and material would not create undue interest and could easily be explained away as "sets", "props", or "extras"."

      yeah, that sounds exactly like what we're seeing in the 2001: A Look Behind the Future ("we're projecting 35 years into the future!" etc). spine tingling.

      and SHADO is an interesting acronym (to me at least) because of:

      "Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) is the central command of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military forces."

      this is the command that TPTB used to fast track Eisenhower's military career, where he ended up outranking Patton and McArthur, though his unaltered career track should have left those two as his superiors, always.

      also, are you/anyone else aware (Chris, this is totally in your wheelhouse) of the film Capricorn One from 1978, directed by Peter Hyams, the director of 2010?  I only just became aware of it doing some digging after I watched 2010 over the holidays.

      here's the snynopsis (starring OJ Simpson!):

      "Mankind's Greatest Achievement...or Mankind's Biggest Hoax?
      It was supposed to be the crowning moment in the history of space travel. But when the first manned flight to Mars is deemed unsafe and scrubbed on the launch pad, anxious authorities must scramble to save face and retain their funding - and so an unthinkable plot to fake the mission is hatched. Only an intrepid journalist stands in the way of the cover-up, but the powers that be will stop at nothing to keep their secret from going public."

      I've never seen it, but my jaw dropped when I first read the plot, considering the director and all this legacy/lore surrounding 2001/Kubrick. It just came out on blu-ray, it's definitely first on the "need to buy now" list.

      piecing all this stuff together is so fucking interesting and fun. There's a reason I've never commented that much before, because I always feel like I'm a student at a lesson. it's cool to finally be able to add something and converse.

  18. speaking of 'Telling Tales out of School' films and Howard Hughes, I watched the first Captain America movie a few months ago after listening to an interview with Gordon where he said he felt it was telling tales...Howard Stark is a dead ringer for Howard Hughes:

    I can't be the only one who sees the similarity.

    1. and to clarify, I didn't mean the last part to sound cocky, just that it feels so obvious that I feel silly pointing it out. but I never really followed anything about it and haven't seen anyone mention it. and not only are the looks a near match, but the character is very similar, too.

  19. >"since you don't want your enemies poring over your mission data in order to reverse engineer the hardware."

    There was ample reason for America to fear this, as the Soviets had done quite a bit of it over the course of time. Back during World War 2, four of our B-29 bombers had to make an emergency landing in Soviet territory. Stalin kept them, had every rivet and button copied, and after the war produced the Tupelov Tu-4, a fleet of exact replicas. The USSR had for several years a long-range bomber fleet identical to ours (if slightly behind the times). Later, in the 1970s, I watched a report on 60 Minutes (CBS) showing how blazen the Soviets were in stealing our integrated circuit designs - some still had the American maker's name, barely scratched out or overwritten by the Soviet copier. And, of course, those of us who once studied film photography remember the Kiev, a cheap and cheaply made Soviet copy of the Hasselblad beloved by poor students. Yeah, they got a history.

  20. I've got so much to say about this piece, but in short- I think all I need to say is 2001 is the most important film ever made.

  21. As a fellow child of the 1970s weirdness and darkness, I recently stumbled across a film I'd never seen, the 1976 remake of King Kong.

    Permit me to share the Wikipedia synopsis and let's see if any 9/11 bells are rung:

    A group of oil industry adventurers bring a prehistoric monster from the land where it is given human sacrifices to the land of the World Trade Center.

    Oil adventurer J. Bridges notices a similarity between the Manhattan skyline (notably the World Trade Center Twin Towers) and the mountainous terrain of Kong's island. He runs downstairs to call the mayor's office and tells them to let Kong climb to the top of the World Trade Center.

    Flammable material is key in the conflict with the military at the Towers, where the monster leaps from one tower to the other. Two military aircraft are destroyed. The military brings the monster crashing down.

    The screenplay was written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr., who also penned the screenplay for Three Days of the Condor, which has even more connection between the CIA and the World Trade Center and a rogue German faction and, let's recall, was a film whose consultant was Richard Helms. But before I digress, Semple was also the screenwriter for The Parallax View, possibly the darkest of the 1970s conspiracy thrillers.

    I looked around the Internet for any commentary or analysis on the strange symbolism surrounding 1976's King Kong. I couldn't find anything, expecting to see an essay about it already written by Christopher Knowles. Still hoping I've just overlooked it.

  22. Did nobody else see the "Honeywell" "Honey-Well" at the 3 minute mark in the above kubrick film?