INTERVIEW — TAPE #56, SIDE #2
Q: Mark Russell Bell
R: various KRTH radio commentators
C: radio contest participants heard in radio spot
W: radio contest faux-Orson Welles voice
M: Michael Akmakjian, acquaintance at security break room
T: Thomas G. Hays, V.P., Studio Protection, Paramount Pictures
R: In which seat is the killer?
C: 47 J.
R: I’m sorry, Misty. That’s not right.
C: 36 F.
R: Oh, I’m sorry, Rosemary. That’s not right.
C: 1 B.
R: I’m sorry, Fred. That’s not right.
R: Murder 101. Now playing on oldies radio.
R: KRTH 101.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE FIRST WORDS OF A SONG BEGINS AS I TURN OFF THE TAPE RECORDER. WHEN I TURN IT ON AGAIN, A SONG CAN BE HEARD THAT I THINK IS “THIS MAGIC MOMENT.”)
Couldn’t sleep at all last night . . .
Q: I just mailed book manuscript parts two and three to Twyla. The line at the Los Feliz station post office was so long that I had to send it two-day air express. I didn’t really have much of a choice. (“BUT”) As I was waiting — you know how upset I am because of last night — a little child, who I don’t think could even speak, said to me, “I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH.”
( . . . )
R: . . . dollars cash. On flight 101, the plane of the insane. Tell us which seat the killer is in and win.
R: Music, mystery and fun. KRTH 101.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: “WOULDN’T BE NICE” CAN BE HEARD IN THE BACKGROUND ON THE TAPE HERE.)
Q: By the way, the disc jockey on this station is Johnny Hays. I wonder if he’s any relation to Tom Hays, who’s the chief of security at Paramount? I have an appointment at five o’clock to come and see him. I reminded him that he knew me — (“THAT WE’D”) that I’d interviewed him once before. He couldn’t remember but I’ve interviewed hundreds of people and I can remember every one I’ve ever interviewed. So it just sort of irks me when people “can’t remember” somebody who interviewed them. I also told Allison that I wanted to drop by to pick up a copy of the press kit for “Vampire in Brooklyn” for my files.
( . . . )
Q: So I just finished my workout at the gym and turned on the radio. I wonder if they’ll have that murder mystery game?
( . . . )
R: Check your tickets, please. It’s time for Murder 101.
R: And now KRTH 101 takes you aboard flight 101. Sandy Gordon, Sherman Oaks — in which seat is the killer?
C: 34 C.
R: Repeat that, please.
C: 34 C.
R: Will the passenger in seat 34 C press your call button, please?
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: CALL BUTTON CONTEST SOUND EFFECT IS HEARD ON THE TAPE HERE FOLLOWED BY SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC AND ‘W.’)
W: Meet Lillian Yvette, a nutrition counselor at the Keith Smith Weight Loss Centers. The Smith Centers feature a highly controversial diet featuring nothing but air and grape juice for weeks at a time, followed by pepperoni pizzas for a month. The Smith Centers are almost bankrupt and Lillian is interviewing at the Hays Mental Clinic for the position of staff nutritionist. Is Lillian Yvette our killer? (pause) Sorry, not in this seat.
R: I heard that! And I’m sorry, Sandy. That’s not right. But just for playing Murder 101, enjoy your sample of DNA from Bijan fragrances. Another chance to win $25,000 cash next hour.
R: Music, mystery and fun. KRTH 101.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE ARETHA FRANKLIN SONG “A LITTLE RESPECT” BEGINS AND CAN BE HEARD ON THE TAPE HERE.)
Q: So I don’t really think that Mighael wanted me to commit suicide. I think he just wanted me to shut up and be sort of — sometimes you forget because a few people seem to support you or tolerate you or go along with you, it’s very dangerous telling this kind of truth. So I guess He wants me to be sort of mild-mannered when I go into Paramount security today. I certainly don’t intend to say anything to incriminate myself as to making any kind of death threat because, of course, that’s not at all what I intended.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE SONG “DREAM LOVER” CAN BE HEARD ON THE TAPE HERE.)
Q: I’m on my way to Paramount. I called James for his advice and he said to play down the phenomena.
( . . . )
Q: Last time they played that murder mystery game, one of the callers’ names was Gordon. So let’s see who the caller’s name is this time.
( . . . )
R: Fasten your seatbelts. We’ll board flight 101 next on . . .
( . . . )
R: Here’s ‘The Real’ Don Steele on KRTH 101.
R: Check your tickets, please. It’s time for Murder 101.
R: And now KRTH 101 takes you aboard flight 101. Kelly Tonner of Riverside, in which seat is the killer?
C: 44 I.
R: Would you repeat that, please, Kel?
C: 44 I.
R: Will the passenger in seat 44 I press your call button, puhhhlease.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: CALL BUTTON CONTEST SOUND EFFECT IS HEARD ON THE TAPE HERE FOLLOWED BY SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC AND ‘W.’)
W: Meet Ron Ricardo, a roofer from Yorba Linda, California. While working on a new home last week, Ron did a little eavesdropping and overheard the general contractor making plans to skip town with all of the project’s money, leaving Ron out on a limb. Now work on the project has stopped because no one seems to know who the general contractor is. Just a coincidence or is Ron Ricardo our killer? (pause) Sorry, not in this seat.
R: I’m sorry, Kelly. That’s not right, baby. But just for playing Murder 101 I want you to enjoy your sample of DNA from Bijan fragrances. You can dab it on your happy places. Can you dig it, baby?
C: I can dig it.
R: Another chance to win $25,000 cash coming up next hour with me, ‘The Real’ Don Steele.
Q: I just arrived at Paramount. There’s a huge traffic jam at the Melrose gate.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE RADIO D.J.’S NAME REMINDED ME OF ONE OF MY FRIENDS AS A TEENAGER — MARK STEELE, WHO ALSO LIVED ON DEL REY AVENUE. THE SONG “HELP” BEGINS AND CAN BE HEARD ON THE TAPE HERE.)
Q: Boy, do I need some help right now.
( . . . )
Q: So I just dropped by Allison and told her I was going to see Tom. And she laughed. She said, “Yeah. I got a call from him this morning.” And she recommended he give my book manuscript to Sherry’s development person so I’ll see what he has to say. Anyway, I just checked in and he’s in a meeting at the fire department. So it’s typical. He also forgot to leave me a drive-on pass — (“WHICH IS”) the story of my life at Paramount. It’s like I’m Rodney Dangerfield or something. And I did write the press kit for the Paramount film that he starred in entitled “Ladybugs.” Rodney, I know how you feel.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I TOLD ALLISON I UNDERSTOOD WHY TOM WANTED TO SPEAK TO ME: “THEY JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE I’M NOT A STALKER OR ANYTHING.” ALLISON SMILED UNCOMFORTABLY. I WAS DETERMINED TO TRANSFORM THE APPOINTMENT INTO AN INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY. WHILE IN THE PUBLICITY DEPARTMENT, I ALSO SAID HELLO TO MY FRIEND RITA AND SHOWED HER MY EGYPTIAN MEDALLION. I ASKED HER IF SHE COULD SEE THE RESEMBLANCE AND SHE REPLIED “NO” EMPHATICALLY WITHOUT LOOKING CLOSELY. RITA SEEMED DISTRESSED AND INCREDULOUS ABOUT IT ALL.)
Q: So I’m waiting here in — what is this place called?
M: Security break room.
Q: Security break room. And I just took out this Nine Gates pamphlet I got on Sunday and I noticed that one of the people at the school is named Michael Eller. This is the description of him: “Michael Eller, an initiate of Navajo and other Native American teachings, longtime practitioner of spiritual disciplines, is an artist photographer and wilderness guide.” So I wonder if he is a relative of Twyla’s husband. Because (“I”) I bet he is. And also of Ethan Eller who also went to the elementary school I attended. So — (“BY THE WAY”) who else is — what’s your name again?
M: Michael Akmakjian.
Q: Oh my God. Your name is Michael? What’s your last name?
M: The whole alphabet. Akmakjian. (“WAIT”)
Q: And what does that mean?
M: It means breadmaker. (“WELL”)
Q: That’s sort of symbolic. The loaves of bread — like in the Bible. And — (“WHAT IF”)
M: Akmak means breadmaker — (“LIKE” “YEAH”) Akmak crackers they sell in the store. And that’s — our last name is Akmakjian — breadgiver.
Q: Wow. (“ME”) Well, that’s a great name. One of the games I play with people for my book is I ask them who are they the reincarnation of — and ask them to say the first name that comes into their mind, if any. (“RIGHT”) Nothing? (“I DON'[T]”)
M: I don’t know. (“OKAY”)
Q: Sometimes that means you’re a young soul and this might be your first incarnation. (“MAYBE”)
M: Possibly. Yes.
Q: Because no name comes to your mind.
M: An adventurer. I don’t know. (“AA”)
Q: We’re all adventurers. (“YEAH AS”)
M: Yeah. A warrior.
Q: Really? (“[Y]EAH”) So maybe this is — maybe you’re — (“LIKE”) this is your second incarnation.
M: Could be. (“SE[VENTH]”)
Q: Maybe you were not famous in your first incarnation.
M: I don’t think so.
Q: But it’s funny — my book is about all these people named Michael in my life. So you’ll have to buy it when it comes out.
M: You want to hear an interesting thing?
M: I was born on my father’s father’s birthday — my grandfather, whom I never met. I was supposed to be born in late February but I was born on his birthday, January 6th, (“WITHIN”) which is the epiphany — (“OF”) considered the epiphany in Middle Eastern culture. (“IT”) They celebrate their Christmas on that day. And, yeah, I never met him. He died in the early ’40s. And I was expected late February but I came six weeks early on his birthday. So that’ something — whatever it means I don’t know but it’s a — call it coincidence or whatever but I think it’s pretty interesting.
Q: Yeah, that’s interesting. Do you watch “The X-Files”?
Q: You (had) mentioned that. (“I”)
M: Yeah. It’s just one of the — I don’t watch that much TV but I watch — that’s one thing I do watch when I have time. I just find it interesting. (“YEAH” “WELL” “WHEN YOU’RE” “I SHOWED” “I SAW THAT”)
Q: I showed him the picture of the aliens and the ghost or spirit or whatever. I don’t know what that is. (“EXACTLY”) I can’t remember the scientific —
M: “Something is out there.”
Q: Exactly. (“SO” “ANYWAY”) So my life is a lot like “The X-Files.” And I can’t watch TV. I just can’t. It’s a long story. So I’m getting ready to meet with Tom. Do you ever work with Tom here?
M: Tom Hays?
M: Yeah. I’ve just met him once. (“VERY NICE” “N” “[Y]EAH” “HE’S A — HE”)
Q: I’ve interviewed him once before. (“OH YEAH” “I” “WHAT I CHANNEL”) Thank you for this interview. (“WHAT”)
( . . . )
Q: Okay, I’m still talking to Michael. He said he was raised a Methodist, (“WHICH IS”) like my family. All my relatives were in (“LIKE”) the Methodist church. In fact, my grandfather was the treasurer of the western Methodist church. His name is Paul Russell. (“BUT”) What other religious faith or (“WHAT”) spiritual — I have to wait until he finishes eating. (“THERE’S”)
M: There’s Taoism. Taoists believe in Taoist ways. (“AND”) It’s pronounced Dowism but it’s spelled with a T. (“THERE’S”) There’s many books on Taoism like The Tao of Physics — the meaning of physics. (“TAO” “OR”) Or ‘the way of.’ I don’t know a whole lot about it. (“JUST”) I’m beginning to study it but I know what it means. (“THAT’S”) That’s my interpretation. (“WHA[T]” “I BEEN” “AND”) And I’m just open to all different (“THAT’S”) religions and beliefs. (“JUST” “YOU KNOW”) I try to keep an open mind.
Q: Great. I encourage that. Thank you.
M: You’re welcome.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE FOLLOWING INTERVIEW IS WITH THOMAS G. HAYS WHO’S IN CHARGE OF SECURITY OPERATIONS FOR PARAMOUNT PICTURES IN HOLLYWOOD. TOM AGREED TO LET ME RECORD OUR CONVERSATION FOR MY NEW BOOK. WHO CARES WHETHER OR NOT SOME EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS WOULD HAVE APPROVED? TOM KEPT HIS DOOR OPEN SO THERE IS BACKGROUND VOICES AND NOISE. AS A RESULT OF THIS, SPIRIT MESSAGES MAY NOT HAVE BEEN TRANSCRIBED.)
Q: So I’m talking to my friend, Thomas Hays, who is vice president of studio protection and has been for many years. I don’t think he’s ever going to retire. I think he retired and then worked here, if I remember correctly.
Q: So I hope you have a personal life.
T: I do.
T: And not much of one — but Paramount’s mostly it. No, I do have a personal life.
Q: You have, like, a wife and kids and —
T: Oh sure. I’ve got a grandson and —
T: — daughter and grand —
Q: Well, that’s good. (“AND”) As long as you enjoy what you’re doing.
T: You betcha.
Q: One of the themes of my book is people who work in Hollywood should take more time to enjoy the finer things in life like nature and museums. I bet you work a lot of overtime.
T: I do but — (“YOU KNOW”) well, I was with LAPD for many years. (“SO”)
Q: You’re used to it.
T: And now I have a cabin up at Big Bear Lake. (“NO”) And I go skiing and do a lot of things. I do roller-blading with my friend and his kids. (“[A]N[D] I”) So I have a pretty good time.
Q: Okay, so go ahead and ask me the questions. Anyway, I’m not even sure why I’m here. (“BUT” “OKAY” “I’LL FIN[D]”) I’m about to find out.
T: Well, let me tell you. Why you’re here is it came to my attention the other night that there were four copies (“NO”) of the script. (“IT”)
Q: No, this is just one script.
T: Yeah. But there are four copies, right? (“NO”)
Q: No, it’s part —
T: Oh, it’s part one, two, three —
Q: — one, two, three and four.
T: — ohhh. My God. Okay, I didn’t even realize that. And that they were left in Sherry’s office. (“WE WERE”)
Q: After I went to the screening, I just dropped them off on her desk.
T: Yeah. And my concern was, number one, that you were able to walk into the building and walk right into her office and leave them. And I was concerned how that went. We like to think that we’re a little more secure than that. Can you tell me what sequence of events allowed that to happen?
Q: Well, after the screening — I was with my friend, Marie, who basically — (“IN”) I was her guest, sort of.
Q: It’s a long story. You’ll read about it in my second book, I think. (“I JUST WA”) Okay, we just walked over there and I just dropped it off on her desk.
T: With the office wide open?
Q: Well, you know, (“WH”) when the cleaning crew is there, all the lights are on and all the doors are open.
T: Was there somebody in her office?
Q: Yes. (“THE”)
Q: The cleaning woman was there.
T: Did she ask you who you were?
Q: Oh, she said, “Hello.” Very sweet lady.
T: That was it? And Marie was with you?
T: Okay. And you walked all the way into Sherry’s office —
T: — and laid it on her desk?
Q: Who’s office was that before it was hers? Wasn’t that Sidney Ganis’s? (“OR — WAIT”)
T: Oh God.
Q: In-between there was someone too.
T: Well, there was Tartikoff and (“AA” “BUDDY”) Frank Mancuso way back.
Q: Oh right. (“AND” “IT WAS ALWAYS”)
T: Generally, it’s our chairman’s office.
Q: Yeah. (“YEAH”)
T: So, anyway, it was vulnerable. You had gone to a screening and then walked over there with ease and just placed them on her desk. Did you leave a note?
T: Because I didn’t see the note.
Q: No, I just — (“OH”) no. Well, here it is. (“NO IS IT”) I think this is it right here.
T: Oh, okay.
Q: It just says, “Sherry Lansing’s copy.” (“EL THE”)
T: Okay. (“WHERE IN THE”) Okay.
Q: Yeah. Now (“AND I KNOW”) Allison mentioned to you that — was there any possibility of giving this to a development person?
T: Yeah. She asked me to do that and I talked to the guy and he — I talked to him today. And I told him you were coming in. And I said my main purpose is not to judge this story at all. That’s not my job. My job is — I want to find out how easy it was. I mean obviously I’m concerned if somebody could go in and plant something on the middle of her desk. And I see — what happened is I determined you were on the lot legally and reasonably for a screening.
Q: Right. (“AN[D]”)
T: What was it? “Eye For An Eye”?
Q: No, it was Wayne Rogers’s telefilm “Money Plays.”
T: Oh. That’s not — is that ours?
T: Oh, Showtime. Okay. And then after —
Q: Terrible film. I gave it three 6s.
T: Is that right?
Q: I mean really bad. Stinker.
T: Then you walked in and you knew where Sherry’s office was? (“JOEY”) Of course.
Q: Oh. No, I didn’t. (“BUT I FI” “I”) I knew it was one of the end ones because I knew that those were the nice ones.
T: Okay. (“SO I”) How’d you know it was there when you walked in? (“IT SAYS”)
Q: Her name (is) on the door. (“WH” “SO”) I — I — or the desk. I don’t know.
Q: I just knew. I just knew it was hers.
T: And then the maid just says, “Hello.”
T: And she never said anything else. (“WELL NO”)
Q: Well, I mean — and I wasn’t even dressed well. I mean I had this grungy Depeche Mode T-shirt on. Don’t ask me — I had to sneak into the screening, first of all, because it’s not allowed. Studio people aren’t supposed to get into screenings but they do it all the time. So — (small laugh) shhhhhh. So I was in disguise.
Q: I admit that.
T: What time was this, Mark?
Q: The screening started at seven. (“SO”) It was an hour and a half. It was around 8:30 I think. (“NI[NE]”)
T: Well, I just want to make the point. And Allison says you’ve done some great things for her (“OH”) and she thinks a lot of you.
Q: (And for) Sherry Lansing!
T: Yeah. But I told Allison —
Q: The press kits for “Fatal Attraction” —
Q: — “The Accused,” “Black Rain,” “School Ties,” “Indecent Proposal” —
T: But I told Allison today — she asked me and I said I was going to ask you to come in and let you know — you know — I — I got to make the point that this is not the way to get things read. You should know that. To leave it on (“NO”) Sherry’s desk.
Q: Well, no, but —
T: Sherry won’t — (“BUT”)
Q: I’m her friend.
T: — read this. You know that.
Q: No, she’ll give it to someone.
T: Yeah but — if she knows who it’s from and does she know you?
Q: She knows me. God, I hope so. I write all her speeches. (“WELL ANY”) Like the Hollywood Walk of Fame (“TOM”) when — I don’t remember who it was. Tom Cruise or somebody. I don’t remember who. But I wrote her speeches. For the cancer association, I wrote her speeches. For premieres. It’s like whenever she needs something, I mean (“I’M”) I’m there. And when I need something I mean she won’t even return my calls. So I thought, “I’ll just drop it off for her.”
T: But you know it — it makes them very nervous because they realize how potentially vulnerable they are.
Q: Well, let’s — let me give her a call (to set her mind at ease). Dear, sweet Sherry.
T: (nervous laughter) Oh no no. No, please don’t do that.
Q: Oh, okay.
T: Well, I will send these over and have —
T: — to the reader or to the development person.
T: And Allison —
Q: What’s his name again? (“SHE”) I forgot his name.
T: Brad Kessell. (“OKAY THAT’S GOOD”)
Q: Well, this will be a good documentary account for my book so people can see what not to do in Hollywood — (“YES”)
T: (small laugh) Right. (“BUT WH”)
Q: — but (also) sometimes through the kindness of strangers —
Q: — how it still will get read —
Q: — and covered.
Q: So I’m very pleased.
T: But the point is not everybody knows somebody, like you. And then you — in your case you said she does know you? But somebody else doing this —
Q: This must happen, though, once in a while.
T: — the first thing they’d do is throw — well —
Q: I know but you know —
T: — the only thing I used to have is occasionally somebody would get in there and leave their resume out. Like an actor — they’d be on the lot having lunch with a friend and they would stop by. They’d know where the office was, whether it was Frank Mancuso or whoever, and they would drop by a resume and walk in. And they’d all call me and they’d say, “Tom, how did so-and-so get on the lot?” (“SAID”) “They’d get on because (“MY”) they’re in — they have a friend in the studio. Or maybe he’s a delivery man. I mean actors usually have to have other jobs and sometimes they’re the Sparkletts Water man or some kind of (“VERY” “SAD”) repairman.
Q: Do you know Steven Spielberg got his break this way?
T: He brags about getting into Universal.
T: And how easy it was. In fact, he talks about setting up an office — (“OR SOME”) a bootleg office or something.
T: And I said, “Everything is cute now but at the time I’m sure they didn’t think it was cute.”
Q: (small laugh) (“YOU KNOW”) Well, hopefully, (“HIS”) lightning will strike twice (“IN MY”) in my account. Even though I’m a little bit older than he was back then. (“BUT”) What was I going to ask you? (“SO ANYWAY”) This is too good of opportunity to waste just on this business in terms of (“MY”) for my book. I think it’s fascinating what you do in this day and age where there are a lot of demented people out there. (“I MEAN YOU HA”) You can’t be too careful. And so I’m glad you are concerned. (“BUT YOU”) You know you don’t have to worry where I’m concerned.
Q: But what’s interesting, though, for example, we were talking a little bit about “Vampire in Brooklyn” (“AND”) and about that stuntwoman that was accidentally killed. Did you have anything to do with that in terms of — no.
T: No, I didn’t. Production safety does that and that’s not under my jurisdiction. They investigate —
Q: I see.
T: — and OSHA.
Q: Wasn’t their somebody working on “The Hunt for Red October” who died too? (“LIKE A” “AIR”) Helicopter crash or something? That’d be good for my book. I don’t know who I should speak to. (“NO”)
T: Not “The Hunt for Red October.” (“WHAT”)
Q: What films can you remember? I know that there was (“WHERE THEY HAD”) “The Saint,” obviously. (“YEAH”) Yeah. Accidental death.
T: Yeah. Hi, Joe. I’m trying to think what the other one was.
Q: Was there another one?
T: Yeah, it does seem like there was one. (“IT WAS A”) The one downtown was the “Vampire . . .” and — oh, it was that — another studio. And the guy —
Q: Oh — “The Crow” too.
Q: That was going to be a Paramount film.
T: “The Crow” wasn’t ours. (“BUT IT WA[S]”)
Q: At the time, it was going to be —
T: Yeah, I guess it was. It was in turnaround, wasn’t it?
Q: Right. And that was very strange.
T: That must have been the other one I’m thinking of. (“YEAH”)
T: Yeah. Fortunately, they are not too frequent but they do happen. (“THAT’S A”) That’s a very dangerous business.
Q: It is.
T: They earn their money, as far as I’m concerned. Well, then they just had the one in Florida where that speedboat came up the ramp. (“TTT” “WAS AN”) Disney film, I think. (“REAL”) And it turned over and killed the woman. (“OF”) The wife of the stuntman. Remember that?
Q: No. What film was that?
T: I think it was (“NO THAT”) a Disney film. And it was supposed to be a speedboat coming through this cypress swamp or something. And it came up and went up a ramp to do its thing and it (“GET THE”) fell over and she was standing as a spectator — it was in the paper maybe three months ago, four months ago. (“SO OKAY”)
Q: So in terms — in my case, (“LIKE”) so was Sherry Lansing nervous or was it just her staff that was nervous about the book? (“WH”) Did she even know that the book was left for her?
T: I’m sure she — oh, yeah.
Q: Oh, okay.
T: Oh yeah. They tell her everything. But the staff was the one that was asking me how did this — they probably don’t know you, either. The question is —
Q: Actually —
T: — even if they do know you — (“HER SIS”) if they did — (“YOU KNOW”)
Q: — her assistant — (“IS LA”) her last name is Russell.
T: Oh yeah. I know it.
Q: We’re cousins.
T: Is that right? Well, I think that the point is (“THAT” “IT”) it wound up in there and it makes them (“RE”) realize how vulnerable they are even though, you know, you are.
Q: Well, you know — I mean even the President. (“I MEAN IT’S LIKE”) If there is a sicko out there he can find a way. I mean look at what happened with Madonna.
T: Um-huh. (“THAT YOU KNOW”)
Q: That guy — he wrote that note. (“WHAT DID”) What did that note say again? I can’t remember what it said.
T: The guy up here that invaded her house?
T: Yeah. (“THAT THEY”) I forget what the note (“SHIT”) said but the security officer shot him.
Q: I think it said something like “Kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss” or something.
T: Yeah. (“EAH” “IT SAID” “SO MANY WEIRD”) There’s so many (“STRE”) strange people that can’t separate fantasy from reality.
Q: I know. (“THEY”)
T: I mean — oh I get — we get them.
Q: You get them too? (“SURE) People who (“E”) hear voices and things like that?
T: On the police department. (“OH HA”)
Q: (small laugh) Shhhhhh.
T: Oh man. I used to have a woman —
Q: Cops probably (hear voices) too.
T: No — well, maybe so. I mean a couple — I mean this one woman had animals that lived in her ashtray. Another woman had people that were under the house trying to get her and she’d call in. And you knew — I mean (“YEAH”) you’d send police out a couple times and (“MONEY”) it just goes so far. (“YOU KNOW” “WE”)
Q: It’s (“SO FUN”) interesting. I just happen to have — (“YOU KNOW”) my book is sort of about (“SUP”) the paranormal so I can show you actually some of the photos from my book. You can see, like, an advance copy. Here’s a picture of invisible, transparent aliens. At least, that’s what they say they are. “They’re aliens.” Can you see them? (“LIKE”) There in the picture? There are, like, five of them. You can make out something barely.
T: Yeah. (“I MEAN”) Yeah. You can.
Q: But they’re transparent.
T: Where’d you get the picture? (“IT’S FROM”)
Q: My book is about this family —
T: Did you take the picture, I mean?
T: Oh, okay. I didn’t think so.
Q: The family gave it to me. (“I”) See, I have the rights to their story.
Q: And so that’s one of the photos they gave me. They also gave me this one of a spirit. I call it ‘neutrino’ because it looks — it reminds me of that. (“DO [YOU RE]MEMBER”) Did you see “Star Trek Generations”?
Q: Remember that big, misty neutrino thing (“THAT”) that William Shatner —
T: I think I know what you mean. Yeah.
Q: Doesn’t it look like that?
T: Yeah. Kind of. (“CUT IT”)
Q: It looks just like that.
T: Special effects.
Q: But it’s much smaller. This isn’t special effects. This is real.
T: No, I know.
Q: No, I know.
T: But I mean on “Star Trek” it was.
Q: So, anyway, these are some of the photos from my book. (“LIKE”) These are like alien messages. Isn’t that interesting?
Q: They look like alien messages —
Q: — done in bird gravel inside the house. (“AND LET’S SEE”) And I thought Sherry would be fascinated with the subject since she’s married to William Friedkin who directed “The Exorcist.” See? And these are all things that — it throws eggs at people.
T: Oh God. (“UM”)
Q: There’s a little — (“THERE’S A”) I don’t know if you can see it but there’s a little spirit behind this little girl in the door. You can just barely make it out.
Q: There’s something there. You can’t quite tell what. (“BUT”) The family is convinced that it is one of the spirits. (“I’LL BE THERE”)
T: Now where was that taken?
Q: The same place. (“IN THE”)
T: The town?
Q: One in back. (“UM”) In Oklahoma. (“RIGHT”)
T: In Oklahoma. (“AA” “YEAH RIGHT”)
Q: In the little shed out back. I don’t think you can see this one in the door. The picture isn’t very good. But here (“LIKE”) you can barely see two eyes in the background in the dark on the left hand side.
T: Two eyes. (“IN THE DAR[K]”) Oh yeah. I see it. (“JUST BARELY”) Right over his shoulder.
Q: You can barely see them. I don’t know if (“TH”) that can be reproduced for my book. If it can, I’ll use it. If it can’t, I won’t.
T: Yeah. (“SO”)
Q: Anyway, so — and this one — there’s also a little girl here that was not there when they took the photo. In the very back. She looks like (a character) from “Little House on the Prairie.” With the pigtails. (“JUST A”)
T: In the very back?
Q: Small outline. Yeah. On the left hand side.
T: Over here.
Q: Yeah. See her? (“YEAH” “JUST A”) Like an outline.
T: You’re talking about way back there.
Q: Right. (“RIGHT”)
T: Okay, I see. (“IT’S A STRANGE” [ANDY] “HOW’S DICKENS”)
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THIS WAS TRANSCRIBED ON NEW YEAR’S EVE AT 8:38. ANDY AND JAMES HAD BEEN INVITED TO THE SAME PARTY. WHEN I SPOKE TO ANDY THE FOLLOWING DAY, HE TOLD ME HE HADN’T GONE TO THE PARTY.)
Q: And it’s in strange proportion too, isn’t it, I think?
T: Yeah. Looks like a dress blowing.
Q: This house is like (“IT’S LIKE”) a vortex of the weird. They also have, like, bigfoot sightings, UFO sightings — (“IT’S LIKE”)
T: Is that still the same one in Oklahoma?
Q: Yes. (“WELL THERE’S LIKE AN”) It’s like a triangular-type area there (“NO”) that puts “The X-Files” to shame. (“O”) And I can tell you because, for example, I wrote like the first — (“LIKE MOST”) like the first 600 pages — wait, no — 300 pages. I think the first 350 pages I did all in one day of interviews.
T: Good night, John.
J: Good night.
T: Yeah. Be careful.
Q: In one day of interviews I did like 350 (“RIGHT”) single-spaced pages of transcripts. (“ME” “SO IT’S LIKE”) I had a missing time episode. (“HOME” “SO”) Anyway. (“I” “THINK” “THE”) And I’m giving Paramount first crack because I’m very, very (“UM”) loyal. (“UM-HUH”) I also called up Barry — oh, what’s his name — who used to be here? Oh God.
T: What did he do? (“BLANKING HIS NAME”)
Q: Barry Diller.
T: Oh yeah. Okay.
Q: So I only called two people. I called Sherry Lansing and Barry Diller. Well, I also wrote to Sherry Lansing because there was a TV special called “Ghosts, Mediums, Psychics: Put To The Test” about the family. So (“HM”) I wanted her to watch that. I don’t know if she did. I doubt she did. Did you see the Golden Globes? (“NO”)
T: Last night? No, I watched — “The Hindenburg” was on.
Q: Oh my gosh.
T: It was a special on Arts and Entertainment —
T: — about the Hindenburg. It’s fascinating. It was a two-hour special. I couldn’t resist it. (“AN[D]”) Did you see the Golden Globes?
Q: No. (“I”) My TV set went off. (“LIKE” “OH”) Right after it started.
Q: I just saw, like, the Golden Globes. It sort of looked like 666. It’s so funny. My brother worked for that organization — you know, Michael Russell at Rogers & Cowan. They were so upset because at the last minute they realized that the set (“OF THE”) for the Golden Globes — there were like three big Gs and they said, “Oh my God, it looks like 666.”
Q: ‘Of course, you would tell this to me after writing about the super — the paranormal.’ (“BILLY FRIEDKIN”)
T: Billy Friedkin could understand that — “The Exorcist”?
Q: I don’t know. Could he understand that?
T: I suppose.
Q: Okay. (“I DON’T KNOW”)
T: Wasn’t that in “The Exorcist”?
Q: No. That was “The Omen.”
T: Oh. “The Omen.” That’s what I’m thinking about. (“YEAH”)
Q: So, anyway, well thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.
T: Not at all. Thank you for coming in. I’ll send this over and then you’re on your own. I mean he’ll do what he has to do.
Q: Of course.
T: He’ll take a look at it. (“I”) You know, I glanced at this and I didn’t start reading it so I —
Q: Well, if you’d like to glance at it before giving it to him, that’s fine too but it’s probably too much for you to read.
T: Oh yeah.
Q: I mean it’s going to take a while for someone to read but well worth it. And tell Sherry not to worry. I love her. She knows me.
T: I don’t think it’s so much you. It was just the idea that it could happen. That’s what I said before. I don’t think it was you, specifically.
Q: Right. No, exactly.
T: It’s the idea that anybody could walk in there, theoretically. I mean the maid didn’t know you and she didn’t challenge you. (“SHE SAYS”) “Excuse me, who are you?” You know, I did that one night. I was rounding around here about ten or eleven o’clock at night and I walked into — I think it was Sid Ganis’s office at the time and the maid was in there. And I hadn’t been here very long. And the maid — she looked at me. And she kept looking at me. And I was walking at about eleven o’clock at night. I had gone — and finally she turned, she came over and she said, “Excuse me. Can I help you or — who are you?” And I told her who I was. And she said, “Oh.” And I showed her my card. (“MOVING”) And I wrote a commendatory letter to her boss. And I said, “I appreciate you challenging me. Too many people around here just accept the fact somebody’s here and they don’t ask (“YOU KNOW”) who you are or anything like that.” And I said, “You know, that’s a big assistance to security when people say, ‘Excuse me. May I help you?’ And ‘Where are you going?’ And ‘Who are you?’ and everything if they don’t recognize you.”
Q: And then (“A LOT”) thank God nothing bad has ever happened here like at Universal. There was an incident where somebody (“YEAH”) started opening fire on the building. Did anyone die in that?
T: No. Not that particular one but they had another one. Remember the guy was after Michael Landon?
T: And he shot and hit the —
Q: Michael Landon? (“IT WAS”)
T: When Michael was still alive.
Q: The Entity that lives with this Oklahoma family was also named Michael.
T: Is that right?
Q: And I was just up in the lunch room —
T: They shot a guard —
Q: — and his name was Michael.
T: Oh, and I had —
Q: And my brother’s named Michael. (“LLL”) So I get all these Michaels constantly. (“SO”) You’ll have to read my book and find out (all about it).
T: Okay, I will. (“OKAY THANK YOU”) I’ll say, “I know that author. I know him. He —”
Q: Exactly. I interviewed you twice now.
Q: So — you know, I never did get a copy of that original Gulf & Western article. I would love to see it sometime. I guess you didn’t keep a copy? (“IT WAS IN THIS”) Stockholder’s thing?
T: A copy where I was mentioned?
Q: Yeah. It was the Gulf & Western (News) — I guess it was for stock investors.
T: Oh. (“I WOULD”) I never saw it either, then.
Q: Deborah Rosen probably had copies.
T: (laughing) She probably did and never shared them.
Q: Exactly. (“YEAH”) Deborah, we want copies! Even though it’s a little late. Get off your back servicing those producers! (“YEAH”)
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: HAVING HEARD SEVERAL CUES, I KNEW THERE WAS ONLY A SMALL PORTION OF TAPE REMAINING ON THIS SIDE BUT COULDN’T RESIST RECORDING THE FOLLOWING SONG LYRICS HEARD UPON TURNING ON MY RADIO.)
Sherry — Sherry, baby . . .
( . . . )
R: KRTH 101 takes you aboard flight 101 . . .
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: SHERRY LANSING WAS INTERVIEWED BY RACHEL ABRAMOWITZ AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDREW MACPHERSON FOR A 1996 PREMIERE SPECIAL MAGAZINE. SHE LIED: “WE [AT PARAMOUNT] TREATED BILLY WORSE THAN ANY OTHER DIRECTOR” AND “EVERYONE WENT SO OUT OF THEIR WAY NOT TO TREAT HIM WITH ANY FAVORITISM.” IN FACT, DURING THE FILMING OF “BLUE CHIPS” THE ENTIRE CREW WAS REPLACED TO ACCOMMODATE FRIEDKIN. LANSING ALSO TELLS ABOUT A DREAM IN THE INTERVIEW, FAILING TO PERCEIVE ITS TRUE MEANING: “I COME FROM AN OVERPRIVILEGED FAMILY, SO I DON’T KNOW WHERE I GET THIS, BUT I HAVE A GREAT FEAR OF BEING A BAG LADY. I USED TO DREAM IT. I WOULD DREAM THAT I WAS DIVORCED AND THAT MY EX-HUSBAND WAS A DOCTOR, AND HE WOULD DRIVE BY IN A ROLLS-ROYCE WITH THIS BEAUTIFUL WOMAN NEXT TO HIM, AND I’D BE SITTING ON THE STREET, AND SHE’S GOING, ‘OH, LOOK AT THAT POOR LADY. DO YOU KNOW HER?’ AND HE WOULD GO, ‘OH, I SORT OF KNOW HER.’ AND I WAS ALWAYS AFRAID THAT I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF. I NEVER WANTED TO SELL OUT. I NEVER WANTED TO MARRY SOMEONE FOR THE WRONG REASONS. I THINK ONE OF THE WORST THINGS WOULD BE TO MARRY SOMEONE YOU DIDN’T LOVE SO THEY WOULD JUST TAKE CARE OF YOU. I THINK THAT WOULD BE LIKE A PRISON. I WANTED TO MARRY PURELY FOR LOVE. IT WAS ‘FATAL ATTRACTION’ THAT MADE ME FEEL SECURE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. IT WAS A VICTORY . . . I’LL NEVER NEED TO WORRY AGAIN. THE BAG LADY DREAMS HAVE GONE AWAY.” THE FOLLOWING IS THE POSITIONING PARAGRAPH FROM THE PRESS KIT PRODUCTION INFORMATION FOR “FATAL ATTRACTION” THAT WAS ONE OF MY FIRST FREELANCE ASSIGNMENTS FOR PARAMOUNT PICTURES BEFORE I BECAME A STUDIO EMPLOYEE. CONSIDERABLE ATTENTION WAS GIVEN TO THIS POSITIONING AND I REVISED IT AS MY BROTHER, WHO WAS DIRECTOR OF PUBLICITY AT THE TIME, PASSED ON COMMENTS FROM DEPARTMENT V.P.S CHERYL BOONE ISAACS AND DIANA WIDOM ALONG WITH RESPONSES OF THE FILMMAKERS. THE POSITIONING THAT EVOLVED REFLECTS OUR OBJECTIVE TO CAPTURE PEOPLE’S IMAGINATION BY CAPITALIZING ON THE PROVOCATIVE QUESTIONS RAISED BY THE FILM WHILE NOT SHYING AWAY FROM CONTROVERSY. THIS TECHNIQUE PROVED VERY EFFECTIVE AND THIS SAME APPROACH WAS LATER USED FOR THE POSITIONING OF “INDECENT PROPOSAL.”)