Thursday, January 10, 2008

About Hal Starr

Hal Starr, now deceased, was a veteran broadcaster who hosted a syndicated series about UFOs carried by radio stations around the country. I don't recall a great deal about him right now, except he had one of those broadcast voices I would kill for. I always wanted to be a broadcaster and took courses toward that end in college. Alas, the Vietnam Era military and time's wear and tear took their course and the voice isn't up to par, but at least I can write a little (though some may disagree with my self-assessment).

Hal, in charge of public relations for the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization for a time in the late seventies and early eighties, even put out a record album (also known as an LP for you folks who were too young to remember them, and still don't know what I'm talking about, nonetheless) featuring a few of his radio spots -- appropriately melodramatic, but certainly attention-getting, I must say.

In 1979 he hosted a well-attended UFO conference called "UFO '79" in California and, because I was at that point doing book and audio reviews for various publications, I decided to inquire about audio cassettes he was selling to the public. These were destined to be very interesting cassettes because Starr had an "all-star cast" of knowledgeable UFO speakers at the event.

Hal sent along a price list, but I really hoped for complimentary copies to review for publication. When I contacted him again, he very kindly sent me a loaner set intended for a paying customer, and per his advice I quickly dubbed the whole set and returned the tapes so he could make the sale to some unsuspecting second-hand buyer, and indeed I did review them for a couple of publications. In recent years I was happy to turn them over to Wendy Connors for conversion into digital format for her immense Faded Discs historical collection before they went the way of most tapes -- to the land of deterioration and extinction. By this time, I doubt that almost anybody would still possess copies of these important historical recordings, and by Hal Starr's own admission, he hadn't had orders for very many sets.