Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fame Was Never More Fleeting

When the motion picture, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" was released in 1977, I didn't rush out to see it the first week. But some of my friends did, and one (that would be the very observant Mark, living happily in Canada, last I knew) phoned me immediately thereafter with some news. It seemed that, at some high-drama point during the movie when the character portrayed by actor Richard Dreyfuss was destroying news clippings and articles about UFOs, a familiar page appeared for mere seconds in the background. Indeed, advised young Mark, this particular visual among visuals was an article I wrote for the May, 1977 issue of Argosy Magazine's Argosy UFO.

As capable as the next guy to have a skeptical moment, I didn't believe it -- until I saw the movie for myself. At around, what was it now, about an hour and 40 minutes into the film, there it was in the background for two or three seconds, a black page with a big white circle and the term, UFO, in the middle. My article. Obviously, the attraction for the movie production crew wasn't my article, it was the captivating graphic illustration produced by the Argosy art department.

The truth is, "How to Conduct Yourself Inside a UFO" was just about the worst thing I ever wrote for
publication. You know how sometimes actors appear in movies so bad that critics say, wow, they must have done that one for beer money? Well, this article, this thought piece, was my "beer money" article, but it wasn't accomplished for beer, just for a few innocent dollars. I had written better in the past, and certainly
better in the future. But there it was, my crummy article showcased, albeit for mere seconds with the bonus of my name being illegible, in a major motion picture.

I guess it wasn't really so terrible, my brief "role" as an unknown paper movie star. What really hurts is all the wasted years, anticipating that Steven Spielberg and Co. would cough up those precious residuals due me. Must be millions of dollars by now. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. . .