WABAC to The Hollywood Blacklist

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Fascinating Facts

About the

Hollywood Blacklist

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?”

“We’re going back to some pretty dark days in Hollywood, Sherman My Boy.”

Following the end of World War II, the fear of nuclear war with the Soviet Union caused many organizations to buckle down on what they considered to be American values. In Hollywood, it was no different. In 1944, the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (or “MPA” for short) was created. Any screenwriter, director, or actor who was even suspected of being involved with the Communist party was blacklisted from the industry.

10. Fair Wage Protests

After the Great Depression, many people feared that they could lose their jobs, and many workers were being underpaid. This led many of the workers to form unions. In 1933, a union called the American Federation of Actors was formed, and the Screen Guild extended to technicians who worked in the film industry. Most of these organizations were created by members of the American Communist Party. Over 6,000 workers picketed for their rights in the 1930s, and it forced the Hollywood executives to give in to the demands for a livable wage.

Many of the screenwriters and directors who showed their support for cameramen, set builders, and those in the technical professions of Hollywood were duly noted, and later targeted for their Communist philosophy of giving everyone a wage they can actually survive on. Today, it’s normal for the Screen Actors Guild and the Writer’s Guild to go on strike when they feel as though they are not getting paid enough. Strikes in Hollywood are no longer associated with Communist ideas.

9. The Wrath of Hedda Hopper

Hedda Hopper was a former actress who spent her later years writing a gossip column called “Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood” for the Los Angeles Times. She was extremely conservative, and wrote negatively about anyone she did not like, which of course included anyone who was suspected of being a Communist. Her work spread to radio and TV, and she used her influence in the media to frighten people into conforming, for fear of having their reputation ruined.

Hopper pretended that this crusade against the “Red Menace” was because of her loyalty as an American, but she was singlehandedly responsible for ruining the reputations of hundreds, if not thousands of people, whether it was due to being a ‘Communist’, gay, or generally “immoral.” In multiple cases, the people she humiliated actually committed suicide. A British actress named Merle Oberon once asked Hopper why she enjoyed ruining people’s lives so much, to which she replied, “Bitchery, dear. Sheer bitchery.”

Hedda was such an over-the-top character that has been dramatized in a few films: RKO 291 (1999), Trumbo (2015), and inspired Tilda Swinton’s character in Hail Caesar! (2016). The FX series Feud: Bette and Joan from 2017 also showcases a scene (which you can watch above) where Hopper threatens to ruin her friend’s reputation with old nude photos from her youth, and she revels in the lives she had destroyed.

8. The Hollywood Ten

It was a truly Catch-22 situation, because if one denied being a Communist, they would only be questioned more. If they admitted to being a Communist, they were constantly asked who else they knew in the party. The House Un-American Activities Committee asked all of the suspected Communists to admit that they were part of the party, and the only way they could free themselves was to betray their friends and give the names of other party members.

A group of 10 screenwriters refused to answer the questions, which was their right under the Fifth Amendment. One of the most famous among them was Dalton Trumbo. None of these men actually committed any crimes, since they had every right to express their thoughts under the First Amendment, and yet they were all sent to jail for Contempt of Court and blacklisted from ever working in Hollywood again. Many of these writers, especially Trumbo, continued to work as a writer, only under fake names or by ghostwriting for friends.

7. The Company Man

In a 1936 movie called The President’s Mystery (the whole thing is available on YouTube and embedded above), the wealthy owners of a factory decide to shut it down after the Great Depression, but it wasn’t because the company went bankrupt. They just wanted to save money by cutting jobs that they felt were unnecessary. People lost their livelihood by getting laid off. That movie was written by Lester Cole as an adaptation of a novel originally written by Sinclair Lewis. Cole would later become one of the Hollywood Ten.

Companies do, in fact, lay off their employees in order to save money. However, if a screenwriter ever portrayed corporations as being “the bad guys” or showed men who were unhappy with their job, it was considered to be Un-American and punishable by blacklisting. This is why, in the 1940s and beyond, male characters were always portrayed as happy with their 9-to-5 jobs, and that attitude influenced the general public. It became part of “The American Dream” to find a job, stay loyal, and keep working until retirement. By these standards, the movie Office Space would have been the most “Communist” movie ever.

In the 1980s, laying off employees for budget cuts became far more common. By the early 2000s nearly everyone knew someone who had experienced this. Once the Great Recession hit in 2008, there was no denying that corporations were filled with corruption. Rather than suppressing that truth, Hollywood began coming out with movies like The Big Short that portrayed the real greed of Corporate America.

6. Killing Feminism

One common thread among “red” filmmakers was that they put a lot of feminism in their films. In fact, most of the films that were released inside of the Soviet Union had strong female lead characters, usually played by a beautiful brunette named Tatyana Samoylova, who is best known for her performance in The Cranes are Flying.

The 1940s had wonderful feminist movies in Hollywood, but they began to disappear after the end of World War II. When husbands came back from war, they had a hard time convincing their wives to give up their income in exchange for being a full-time housewife. The MPA was frightened that this could mean the end of the traditional American way of life. In the movies released by the Soviet Union, women worked hard and still somehow managed to raise their children. The MPA considered anything along these lines to be Communist propaganda.

In 1951, a movie called I Can Get It For You Wholesale premiered. It was about a woman named Harriet who turns down a marriage proposal in favor of advancing her career as a fashion designer in New York City. In the end, Harriet realizes that friends, family, and love are far more important than money. While the movie had so many pro-Capitalism messages and celebrates the All-American entrepreneurial spirit, the fact that the character who succeeded the most was a woman, and the final moral of the story was deemed far too “un-American.” The movie was banned from theaters, for fear that it would “brainwash” the masses.

Abraham Polonsky wrote and directed I Can Get It For You Wholesale and was brought in for questioning, and he was also blacklisted from the film industry. After that point, writers were afraid to portray feminism in their scripts, because they did not want to accused of being a Communist. It took decades for Hollywood to rebound from the blacklist on feminism. This is why, during the 1950s, in nearly every single film, we see the perfect image of a stay-at-home mom who has dinner ready by 5:00 p.m.

5. John Wayne Supported The Witch Hunt

John Wayne was an actor who is most remembered for his portrayal in movies about the Old West. One of the movies that John Wayne had a huge issue with was High Noon. There is a scene where the people in the town are disrespectful towards a corrupt sheriff. He believed that this was very un-American, and reported it as potential “Communist Propaganda.”

According to Vanity Fair, the screenwriter Carl Foreman actually wrote High Noon as an allegory for the witch hunts of the McCarthy era. Despite the fact that he won an Oscar for the movie, Foreman was sent a subpoena to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He admitted to being involved in the Communist party when he was young, but he quit. When he refused to give up names of other Communists, he was blacklisted from the industry, and forced to become a ghostwriter and let other people get credit for his Oscar-worthy work.

In 1974, John Wayne was asked during an interview if he regretted his participation in the witch hunt, in retrospect. He responded that he believed it was necessary, and that they wanted to stop “radical liberals” from taking over the film industry.

4. Walt Disney and the MPA

During World War II, Walt Disney released several propaganda films for the US Government. In those films, it was easy to see that he was obviously against the oppression caused by Nazi Fascism. So, it only made sense for him to become the Vice-President of the MPA. In their mission statement, the MPA claimed to remove hidden Fascists and Communists from the movie industry, which would lead Walt Disney to believe that the fight against Nazism wasn’t over just yet.

As a beacon of wholesome, American family entertainment, Disney wanted to help the organization identify potentially dangerous content in Hollywood. However, Disney was not as vocal in the over-zealous identification and persecution of Communists as Sam Wood, the president. There is very little record of Disney’s participation in the MPA, except that he got into many disagreements with Wood about how they were running the organization.

Not long after, Disney was removed from his position as vice president. In the late 1940s, during a labor strike by the artists at one of his studios, Disney blamed the Communists for orchestrating it. However, he never tried to identify or fire any individuals he thought may be Communist. He just believed that some of the Communist ideals were beginning to change the younger generation.

3. Ronald Reagan Took a Stand

Long before he became President of the United States, Ronald Reagan began one of his first leadership roles in the Screen Actor’s Guild. In 1946, he mediated a dispute between two different Hollywood unions. One of the groups was a lot more unruly, and it was led by a member of the Communist party. He saw this as proof that all Communists really were trying to take over Hollywood and destroy the American way of life.

In 1947, Ronald Reagan became an informant for the FBI, and began giving names of known Communists in Hollywood. His first wife, Jane Wyman, asked for a divorce the next year. Despite the fact that Reagan was on a crusade against Communism, he agreed to remove Nancy Davis from the list, and married her. These experiences are what began Reagan’s interest in politics, and he eventually went on to become Governor of California, and then the President of the United States.

2. The Committee for the First Amendment

After the persecution of the Hollywood Ten, a lot of people in Hollywood began to stand up for their rights. A lot of famous actors and actresses like Lucille Ball, Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, and Humphrey Bogart became part of the Committee for the First Amendment. The vast majority of these people were liberal Democrats. Despite the fact that they were not Communists themselves, they could see the corruption and the total disregard for the Hollywood Ten’s Constitutional rights.

However, all of these people who tried to speak up for the rights of Hollywood Communists became targets themselves. In 1948, Humphrey Bogart wrote a piece called “I’m No Communist,” explaining how his involvement in the Committee for the First Amendment caused friends to turn against him, calling him a Communist. He was getting letters in the mail, and harassed out in public. Just like the members of the Hollywood Ten who were asked to only answer in “yes” or “no” statements, Bogart compared this onslaught of accusations to someone asking, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” and the only option for answers being “yes” or “no.” You’re doomed either way. The pressure was enough for many of these actors to buckle under.

1. Breaking the Blacklist

For years, blacklisted screenwriters continued to work as ghost writers. Dalton Trumbo actually wrote the incredibly popular movie Roman Holiday and gave it to his friend Ian McClellan Hunter. The script won an Academy Award. Decades later, his credit was finally restored.

King Brothers Productions was willing to hire Trumbo for low wages to B-movies at a fraction of the pay he was used to earning for his screenplays before being blacklisted. He eventually wrote an Academy Award-winning movie called The Brave One in 1957 under the pseudonym “Robert Rich.” In 1960, Kirk Douglas was the star of the movie Spartacus, and he used his influence to make sure Trumbo’s real name was included in the credits for the screenplay. The events of Trumbo’s life were so inspiring that in 2015, the movie Trumbo was made based on his life, starring Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.

Even though Spartacus was the symbolic gesture that the Hollywood Blacklist was over, the House Un-American Activities Committee continued to exist until 1975.


The Hollywood Blacklist

The NULL Solution = Episode 97

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The NULL Solution = Episode 97

…On November 3rd 2054, before the sun sets on Idaho, Chasin Hedley is declared a landslide winner and eventually becomes a beloved #52…

Lake Pend Oreille (Idaho) sunset by Chip Phillips

“What do we tell the “Bassett Hound”? She and her lapdogs are panicking bigtime. Election Day is next week and even the Republican candidate is screaming for answers.”

“Then it is time we tilt things in our favor. Let’s have Francine go public with that “secret project” we’ve been working on.” The wheels are turning inside Gus’s head. “You guys remember “The Wrath of Khan” don’t you? Life created on a supposed lifeless planet by Kirk’s son – the Genesis Project. Why don’t we claim that we are behind the greening of Mars… nobody but the Chinese has seen the building, so who’s to call us a liar?”

“We need what’s his name – that retired Navy Seal to win the election, that’s for sure. Another four years of Bassett equals exactly no good years for us.”

Link to Wikipedia

“That would be Lt. Chasin Hedley! First it was your eyesight, then math and now your short-term memory; I am detecting a disturbing trend.”

“Trend-schmend. Aren’t you going to turn 40 next year?” Roy remembers adopting two orphaned teenagers nearly a quarter-century ago. “My love of this country and expectations for this planet is the only tendency I am aware of. If we give Chasin the scoop on Mars and stand behind him with the “facts”, old Harper Lea won’t know what hit her. Her campaign won’t have time to adjust!”


— And so went the Presidential Election of 2054. On November 3rd, before the sun sets on Idaho, Chasin Hedley is declared a landslide winner and eventually becomes a beloved #52, as it goes. The NASA version of Mars’ evolution was bought hook, line & sinker by the American public. Who else on Earth could prove differently? A very, very late October surprise that bleeds into November takes down Harper Lea Bassett, when every single poll had her leading, leading into that fateful week; Dewey beats Truman revisited.

For the folks at GLF it is a passing victory. Former Lieutenant Hedley is indeed a friend to NASA, as long as he agrees to keep war away from the “final frontier”. He is made aware of the sordid truths surrounding Mars, but the issue fades into the background. Out of sight, out of mind is the prescribed idiom of the day.

The citizens of the world who own a Ronco 3000 are few and far enough in between.

Only Gus McKinney and a couple Chinese astronauts have seen Mars close up.

Nada peep from the Chinese.

The NULL Solution =

Episode 97

page 98

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 249

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 249

…To discover that we are alive and living, 10 light-years away from Mars is a radical notion…

Radical Notion by Stephanie Holznecht

#Why would they believe that our intentions are to deceive? They surely will know we mean them no harm# Ekcello is relegated to speculation, when telepathy fails.

“You must understand Ekcello that they will have no precedent from which to draw from. Earth is still at odds with the whole UFO issue, without specific knowledge or tangible proof of alien visitation.”

#This is not true. Our ancestors, from the days on the Mother Planet, did indeed make contact with the civilization you call Egyptians. The artifacts you saw on our Explorer confirms direct contact#

“Yes it does, but I can tell you that all those Egyptians viewed you guys as gods, another thing to worship and pray to. And you “gods” never returned in their lifetimes–

–Even as far back as fifty and eighty earth-years, possible alien encounters were explained away as anything but.”

#There are other worlds with universal mobility in faraway galaxies. We know this as truth#

“Thank you for sharing, but until the people of Earth shake the hands of one of you dudes, the only true superior being is the God of our Fathers.”

#We must trust that your sons will be as open-minded as the rest of their family unit#

“We had five years to sort out the possibilities of where we were going and we had your ship to give us some solid clues,” Sampson recalls.  “I can tell you that nothing would please me more, but Deke & Gus are going to freak… this I know as truth

The huge sliding door, which looks like it weighs a million pounds, yet opens like a floating bee, leading to the spaceship “NOT FOR SALE” showroom.

“Obviously your congenial author enjoyed Interstellar the movie… I saw it in the theater… but I wrote this book back in 1986, so you can see why it connected with me.” – Gwenny


Episode 249

page 291

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 214

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 214


  Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

… no matter what schedule Gus McKinney is on, hell-or-high water, he shows up for movie night at the White House…

 “What movie is playing tonight?” Roy Crippen, leader of the free world  is always the last to know.

He is still an important individual. Even on a light duty day like this one, he has had a meeting with both the King and Prime Minister of the South Pacific island nation of Tonga, greets the National Spelling Bee champion, and deals with a World Bank proclamation;

  • Tonga has a fishing dispute with Fiji and Samoa
  • The new best speller cannot speak a lick of English.
  • And in the most disturbing development, he learns the details about China’s latest demand against the world banking system, demanding payment in full from debtor nations. (Can you spell repossess? Not.)

Come Hell Or High Water by lilcoletterpress

In a topsy-turvy entangled selfish world, re-elected Prez Roy deserves some down-time and if it is the third Tuesday of the second month of the first quarter of 2037, then he should have known that his youngest stepson is in charge of selecting the movie.

He may be turning 21, he may be assigned to another part of the world or he may be bringing a date; no matter what schedule Gus McKinney is on, hell-or-high water, he shows up for movie night at the White House.

“It’s going to be a space movie, what else do you need to know?” Francine Bouchette-Crippen, who is both First Lady of the United States and Social Secretary, cares less about the movie, yet always welcomes the opportunity to ask a number of $64K questions, with a young man in need of some sort of oversight.star_trek_online

And Gus is so brutally honest that he says the darn(dest) things, “Well, some rookie was supposed to fly an X-66 back to Langley (AFB), but I did it instead… and here I am… STAR TREK: ORION’S BELT, right, that’s the movie?”

“And how did you come to get here last month?” A good stepparent would detect a pattern of behavior.

“I told a Senator’s daughter that she could swim in the White House pool, if she gave me a ride in her daddy’s limo?”

“And when the Senator needed his car, it was nowhere to be found,” an inconvenient fact. “Don’t you remember what happened before the 2032 election? Your brother was accused of assaulting a Congressman’s daughter. You better be careful about bending the rules to suit your fancy.”

“But Francine, I only do it so I can spend time with the best 1st Chick this country has ever seen!”

She is generally steamrolled by Gus’ charm.

And how could his stepdad, the Top Gun of the nation, protest watching a movie Star Trek movie about an a peaceful planet in the constellation of Orion that kidnaps baby James T. Kirk III, right after he is born. (At a theater near you in 2037)


Episode 214

page 253 + 254

RT Contents 10-6


Pirates of the Seven Seas – Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Truth

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Pirates Facts

Pirates have fascinated the masses for hundreds of years. Romanticized in fiction, the image of a pirate has crystallized into a bearded, peg-legged man, with a funny hat and possibly a parrot on his shoulder. The pirate was almost relegated to a quaint decades-old obsession until Disney revived the swashbucklers by rebooting a Disneyland ride into a multi-billion dollar movie franchise. The films star Johnny Depp, pretending to be Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, or as Roger Ebert once wrote, “channeling a drunken drag queen, with his eyeliner and the way he minces ashore and slurs his dialogue ever so insouciantly.”

 So with that in mind, we will charge and plunder our way through 10 surprising pirate myths, facts, and misconceptions.

10. Pirates Were Part of the Normal Economy

In the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, the pirates were literal immortal ghosts that had no need for the world of mankind. There is a myth that pirates were outcasts and pariahs but like any criminal now or in the past they needed to sell their booty. While pirates did get some gold and diamonds, that was far from their only plunder. Most of what pirates stole and looted was anything that ships had, like water, food, soap, timber, salted fish, and supplies for the New World colonies. The most coveted of all prizes was medicine.

With all these goods pirates needed a place to sell them, and there were plenty of ports, pirate and otherwise that encouraged pirate trade. Often pirates were sanctioned by their home countries, like the English Privateer, and their “letter of marque” gave them the legal right to capture ships from enemy nations. With this they could legally sell their booty to their homeports. Privateering, which was similar to today’s version of military contractors, “spurred the growth of Atlantic cities from Charleston to Dunkirk.” Non-nation criminal pirates had no shortage of middlemen and smugglers who would take their tons of stolen salted fish off their hands and integrate it into the local economy.

9. Wore Jewelry to Improve Their Eyesight

Those brave souls who step off the sturdy earth onto a rickety boat to righteously sail the rough seas have always been a superstitious bunch. Bananas famously are taboo on the open sea and are thought to bring doom upon all those on the boat. Real sailors will quickly throw a banana overboard ASAP. Sailors are just as superstitious with their good luck talismans.

Famously bad luck on land, black cats are a seen as signs of good luck at sea with sailors having a black cat on board. There are even those who have their wives have a black cat at home to get a double dose of good fortune. Pirates were no exception to superstitions of the seas. According to the Journal of the American Optometric Association, pirates heavily pierced their ears in hopes that it would improve their eyesight.

8. Pirate Ships Were Democratic

Pirates in the movies are often portrayed as mafias with a head criminal ruling their ship with an iron fist. In real life, pirate ships had surprisingly democratic micro-societies. During the golden age of piracy, over 100 years before democracy took hold in America, sailors on legitimate sailing ships were little more than slaves. The captain controlled everything and in the British Navy, it was even worse. Sailors lived under terrible conditions; conditions so bad that the only way to get new crew members was to pressgang or kidnap innocent people from whatever harbor the ship entered.

This kind of life paled in comparison to pirate ships, where democracy thrived. Not only did pirates share the wealth of their plunder but they voted on everything. They held elections on where to sail, where to strike, what to do with prisoners, and even whether or not to impeach and replace their captain.

7. Pirate Health Insurance

Sailing hundreds of years ago was tough. Piracy, which involved violent resistance and sparse prey, was even tougher. If they weren’t dealing with malnutrition or scurvy pirates had to deal with the normal hazards of the seven seas like storms and new tropical diseases. As outlaws, they also didn’t have a military organization or state to fall back on. Since the pirates were in it together they also banded together forming collectives with health care. If there was an injury on board a ship or while seizing a vessel pirates could depend on each other for monetary support.

In the Caribbean, a pirate group operated that called themselves The Brethren orBrethren of the Coast (they appeared in the Pirates of the Caribbean series). One of the most famous pirate captains of this group was Henry Morgan. Morgan offered the following compensation for injury: a right arm was worth 600 pieces of eight, a left arm 500, a right leg 500, a left leg 400, and an eye 100 pieces of eight. In 1600 one piece of eight was about a modern £50 note, so the pay out for a right arm was 600 pieces of eight, the equivalent of £30,000. Even crazed scourge of the sea Blackbeard cared enough for his crew to seize three French surgeons to provide medical care.

6. Pirates Raided Only Ships… Or Not

Merriam-Webster says the definition of a pirate is someone who engages in piracy, or an act of robbery on the high seas. Water thefts, according to the dictionary. But the true mavericks they were, pirates didn’t limit themselves to just looting and pillaging on the high seas. No, when they had the means pirates would attack targets on land, too.

There have been a number of invasions by pirates. One pirate warlord, Edward Mansvelt, controlled a 1,000-men strong pirate army that landed and attacked the Spanish in what became known as the Sack of Campeche in 1663 (now a city in Mexico). Pirate Lord Henry Morgan led another Pirate army 50 miles inland to attack Puerto Principe (now Camagüey in central Cuba). If the prize was high enough pirates had no problem leaving their ships to pillage the land lubbers.

5. Pirates Are Not Forever

The pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean were doomed to an immortal purgatory sailing the seven seas forever, but real pirates had a less permanent legacy. Piracy was often seen as a way to increase their standing in mainstream society. Spend a few years in a high-risk occupation and then take your plunder and improve you and your family’s position in life.

That was certainly the case with Woodes Rogers (he’s the dapper gent on the right in the above painting). He sailed around the world, paid for from all the ships he plundered along the way. He even had enough time to rescue Alexander Selkirk, the Scottish sailor that Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is based on. After he came back home he hung up his pirate standard and became the Governor of the Bahamas. His past didn’t stop him from trying to stamp out local pirates. Not all pirates became politicians, but many parlayed their ill-gotten gains into an easy life back in normal society.

4. Pirate Tropes

Our word for pirate didn’t have a standardized spelling until well into the 18th century. In historical archives ocean raiders, or what we call pirates, were spelled as “pirrot,” “pyrate,” or “pyrat,” which is probably where parrots became an associated pirate trope. Other fictional tropes were that pirates buried treasure, a fiction created by Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 novel Treasure Island.

The 1950s Disney movie of the same name also created what we now know as pirate talk. For the film, Robert Newton, the pirate star of Treasure Island used an exaggerated version of his southwestern England hometown West Country dialect. Pirates also didn’t have peg legs, and the skull and crossbones flag was just one of many pirate flags used in pirate history.

3. Cannonballs are Spheres of Death

In the age of sail, the preferred means of attack was the cannon. Modern pirate movies have their share of implausible Michael Bay explosions. They also show how each cannon hit causes thousands of serrated pieces of wood to fly into the fleshy, exposed skin of sailors and pirates alike. Yet compared to their fictional Hollywood movie stars, the pirates of old had one less thing to worry about.

As proven by Mythbusters the wooden shrapnel didn’t have enough velocity to penetrate the exposed skin, or for their test, dead pigs. They did discover, however, the gunpowder explosion of a cannon gave the metal cannonballs enough force to rip through the bodies of at least four people, as demonstrated by the unfortunate pigs that took their place.

2. Pirates Aren’t a Relatively Recent, Caribbean Thing

For as long as there has been wealth there have been people that will take that wealth. Robbery and banditry have to be one of the oldest jobs in history, although not the oldest job. That would be ladies of the night. In the same vein of thought, as long as there have been ships there have been people who are willing to take whatever is on that ship. Starting 1200 BC the Egyptians feared a mysterious group of people only known as the “Sea Peoples” that swept over the known world like black death, destroying everything they touched.

Later, in 75 BC, Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates while traveling to Rhodes. Upon hearing their ransom demand, Caesar got insulted and told them to double the asking price for his life. The pirates got their money but after he was released Caesar returned with a fleet of ships and captured and crucified every one of his pirate captors. In the Mediterranean, during the 15th and 16th centuries, there were two groups of pirates that were mirror images of each. The Barbary corsairs were Muslims who raided Christian commerce while the Knights of Saint John were Christian pirates who raided Islamic ships, “mirror image[s] of maritime predation, two businesslike fleets of plunderers set against each other.” The official hymn of the United States Marine Corps even has a line, “to the shores of Tripoli” that’s about the Battle of Dernain 1805, where US Marines attacked a pirate stronghold during the First Barbary War. While the west is more familiar with the Pirates of the New World, Pirates are found throughout history and all over the world.

1. Pirates Still Exist

Pirate movies inevitably always focus on pirates with swords and sailing ships, but pirates still exist today. We don’t just mean the infamous Somali pirates that plagued the Horn of Africa a decade ago (although there was recently an attack after five years of no incidents). Pirates on the other side of the Atlantic have stepped up their attacks in places like Nigeria. Even outside of Africa there is piracy; or rather, piracy never went away. In the early 19th century famous Pirate Queen Madame Ching, or Ching Shih, ruled the waves with hundreds of ships, crewed by thousands of pirates. Not far from Madame Ching’s haunt is one of the busiest shipping straits in the world, the Strait of Malacca. Through this 550 mile-long sea lane, thousands of ships travel and are easy targets for modern day pirates.

Dozens of attacks and hijacking take place every year, although coordinated patrols by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore are trying to put a stop to it. Hitting a little closer to home is piracy on Falcon Lake, which straddles the American and Mexican border. The lake is a result of Falcon Dam on the Rio Grande which was built in the ’50s. After the Mexican side descended into the anarchy of the drug wars small boats full of pirates would prey on fishermen and pleasure boats, as well use the boats to smuggle drugs into the US. Piracy is not something that was stamped out hundreds of years ago. It still exists, to this day, even in America’s backyard.

Pirates of the Seven Seas

– Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Truth

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 195

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 195

…In the back of her tainted mind, lurk the words of her father telling her to set the scene for a mock sexual assault…

But, as the other girls are swallowing her stories whole, wishing that that young space cadet across the room were with them, Dashing Deker is probably telling his own tales of romance and upcoming conquest to his buddies.

“She’s a little on the immature side,” Deke relates to his friends, “kind of spoiled maybe, I don’t know. But she is fun to hang out with and you have to love those boobs!”

It’s a good thing nobody in the girl-gaggle can read lips.

The rest of the night falls more into the lines of expectation, when nearing the end of the night some serious posturing is taking place on the dance floor. The frenzied techno-muzic is reduced to belly rubbing ballads; where pelvis-grinding is an art form and tonsil-hockey the standard form of communication.

Deke McKinney’s hormones are not completely dormant, though his thoughts are about the approaching ranch where Braden King has set out the hors d’oeuvres and programmed the gaming system.

Susannah Grisbaum is not entirely pleased with the nonfictional version of her evening with Deke, or the pace at which her fantasies are coming true… or not. Her fib-flaunting talk among the girls is not exactly a replacement for the “real thing”; like a Coca Cola without the carbonation.

She is about to add some hot fizz.

“I’m going to get out of this dress.” She helps herself to the bathroom and slips on an oversize, off-the-shoulder t-shirt.

In the back of her tainted mind, lurk the words of her father telling her to set the scene for a mock sexual assault. It won’t be so hard to make it sound like Deke is trying to take advantage of her underage assets. So while he touts the deli tray, she dials her father’s voicemail and the speakerphone is set to “deceptive”.

“Can we sit on the couch and watch a movie, like an on-demand dusty like Les Miserables or Twilight; yeah Twilight and you can be my Edward.” She refers to the teen movie classic.

“I like Bella, sure we can do the vampire thing,” he pounds the remote keys with the skill of a video master. “Here we go. I cannot remember the last time I saw the original.”


Episode 195

page 233

Contents TRT


Spoiling Movies – Not Movie Spoilers

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Behind the Scenes


That Change

Famous Movies

It’s the sign of a well made movie when we can watch it without thinking about the fact it’s just an actor on screen reading lines. Sometimes, though, there’s stuff that happens behind the lens that completely changes how you see a given scene. For example, did you know that…

 5. RoboCop blew away all those drug dealers listening to a soft rock ballad

The film RoboCop follows the journey of an invincible sentinel of justice and righteous robotic backhands on his journey to discover what it means to be a man and solve his own murder. In one of the movie’s most awesome scenes, RoboCop casually walks into a drug lab and proceeds to shoot, like, 100 guys in the dong with his wicked-awesome auto pistol. There hasn’t been a more one-sided fight scene since Ryu got into a fist-fight with that car in Street Fighter 2 and throughout the whole thing, RoboCop never once seems challenged. Which may have something to do with the fact he was grooving to the dulcet tones of Peter Gabriel the entire time.

You see, the actor who played RoboCop, Peter Weller, admitted in an interview that during that scene, to drown out the sound of all the gunfire, he was actually listening to a walkman hidden below the suit’s helmet. That walkman was, according to Weller, playing nothing but Peter Gabriel’s Red Rain on repeat the entire time.

4. Grand Moff Tarkin was wearing a pair of fuzzy pink slippers when he detonated Alderaan

Prior to being resurrected and becoming a permanent resident of the Uncanny Valley inRogue One, Peter Cushing was best known for his role as Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope.Throughout that film, Tarkin establishes himself as a ruthlessly efficient leader and a bit of a dick, what with the whole “committing global genocide” thing he does just to prove a point.

If you watch the scenes Cushing appears in (in the original trilogy), you may notice that he’s only ever really shown from the waist up. This is because for virtually every scene he appeared in, Cushing was wearing a pair of fuzzy pink slippers while portraying Tarkin. Reportedly, because the boots he was given to wear didn’t fit. This means that Grand Moff Tarkin was such a badass that nobody, including Darth Vader, had the balls to call him on not wearing his uniform while he detonated Alderaan.

3. Christopher Reeve’s Superman had a big metal dong

To many people, Christopher Reeve is and always will be Superman, and his portrayal of the Man of Tomorrow is consistently voted one of the greatest interpretations of the character ever. Something that’s made all the more amusing when you realize that for every scene he appeared in as Superman, Reeve’s dong was being cupped by a big metal codpiece.

This is because the costume designer and producers for the various Superman movies couldn’t agree on one rather unusual issue: how big Superman’s penis should be. This argument raged back and forth until it was agreed that Reeve would wear a metal codpiece to give his package an aesthetically pleasing, but not distracting shape. Reeve apparently hated wearing the codpiece, especially because the actress who played Lois Lane would flick it between takes, as she liked the silly metallic twang it made. In other words, when you watch those old Superman movies, the reason Superman’s bulge never moves is because it’s made of metal! Gee, no wonder they call him the Man of Steel.

2. Whenever you see the back of Carl’s head in The Walking Dead, it’s a 29-year-old woman

The character Carl from The Walking Dead has all the personality and charisma of wet flannel wrapped around a stump of wood. He’s annoying, he never really does anything, and his floppy, impeccably coiffed hair breaks all sense of immersion because how does his hair look that well maintained in the apocalypse?

As it turns out, the reason for Carl’s luxurious flowing locks is partly because the actor’s stunt double is of the female persuasion. Yep, pretty much any time you see Carl from the back, he’s being played not by a teenage actor who grew out of his cute phase five seasons ago, but a seasoned female stunt actress who can do cool front flips. Which makes us wonder: why not just cast her as Carl? They already strayed from the comics by adding Daryl to the story, and everyone loved that. Why not double down by making Carl a girl, and have her drop-kick zombies into next week in every other scene? Don’t tell us you wouldn’t find that awesome because we only just thought of it and are already considering starting a petition on Change.org to make it happen.

1. Jason Voorhees ends most scenes by apologizing to the people he just killed

Jason Voorhees is one of cinema’s most omnipresent and terrifying villains, and he’s probably killed more teenagers with a big knife than most Call of Duty players. Over the years, Jason has been played by a lot of actors, most of whom are closing in on being 7 feet tall… and all of whom are absolute sweethearts.

The most famous of these is probably Kane Hodder, who portrayed the hockey mask loving immortal stab-man during the ’80s. Since retiring the mask, the cast and crew he worked with on those movies have waxed poetic about Kane’s tenure as the villain and his sense of humor when in costume. Things Kane would do to alleviate tension include ending scenes by excitedly disco dancing when he heard the word cut, and staring at members of the public, standing stock still between takes, to freak them out before walking over to shake their hand.

Another man famous for wearing the mask, Derek Mears, was similarly light-hearted when playing cinema’s most famous machete wielding murder, going out of his way to comfort actors he worked with and apologize for hurting them during scenes he was pretending to violently murder them in. So yeah, the next time you watch a movie with Jason Voorhees in it, there’s a fairly good chance the actor playing him ended whatever scene you’re watching by breaking it just all the way down and throwing out his best dance moves.

Spoiling Movies

– Not Movie Spoilers