If Ginger on Gilligan’s Island had discovered Richard M. Nixon beneath a palm tree, the surprise would have been no more shocking than the contents revealed in author Gordon Lore’s treasure chest of memories.
Coincidentally, he knew both Tina Louise and Nixon. For fifty years, he associated with an eclectic mix of fascinating people you would nowadays expect to find in a time capsule, such as President Harry S. Truman, James Cagney, Robert Mitchum, Rita Hayworth, Claire Bloom, John F. and Robert F. Kennedy, then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Duke of Windsor, Anne Revere, Lesley Ann Warren, the Star Trek: The Next Generation main cast (Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner), Joe DiMaggio, and more.
Burl Ives, whose “A Holly, Jolly Christmas” still resonates through shopping mall loud speakers, once sang to him; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Frank Gehry discussed architecture with him; Harry Wu debated human rights with him; exorcist Dr. Antonia Rodriguez sermonized deliverance with him. From the beautiful Chesapeake Bay shores to the halls of Washington power to a mineral water spa in Los Angeles, journey back through Gordon’s enjoyable and spiritually rewarding career.
Illustrated. Bibliography. Index
Gordon Lore’s other works include Mysteries of the Skies: UFOs in Perspective (1968), Strange Effects From UFOs (1969), The Earle Family of Newfoundland and the Birth of a Canadian Atlantic Province, and he is former Editor of The U.F.O. Investigator, The UFOR Newsletter, Public Utilities Fortnightly, The Rockwell News, the Corea Times, and Contemporary Dialysis & Nephrology, For Patients Only.
Gordon Lore was born and raised on Solomons Island, Maryland, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, where he met many of the film stars and celebrities that comprise his new book, Connections: A Lifetime Journey Through the World of Celebrity. The book is his Treasure Chest of Memories and includes his 50 years of encounters with four Presidents, a King, a former King, a world-renown architect, the premier folksinger/balladeer of the 20th Century, best-selling authors, the man who began the UFO craze, and many film and TV stars. The ultimate payoff is a first-hand exposure to prominent celebrities who have left their mark on our times.
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Interview with the author:
A Space Odyssey Closer Up: An Interview with Gordon Lore
By Neil Earle
A SECOND LOOK (SL): Gordon Lore has been a prolific author and journalist since the 1960s whose beat has included a 15-year stint as a UFO author, investigator and researcher and three years as a White House Press Corps member during the Nixon Administration (he was in the Oval Office with Nixon twice) and managing a celebrity-studded mineral water spa in Los Angeles.
A former colleague of respected ufologist and retired Marine Corps Major Donald E. Keyhoe, Gordon was an un-credited scientific advisor on director Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey which celebrated the 50th anniversary of its premier in April 2018. He talks to us about some aspects of his career, including the wider implications of Kubrick’s 1968 film.
SL: Why were you contacted by the Kubrick team about 2001?
GL): It was back in 1967. I was in Washington, D.C., at the time working with NICAP, the world’s most respected and careful UFO organization that had been co-founded by Major Donald E. Keyhoe, a former close associate and friend of world-famous aviator Charles Lindberg and who managed that aerial pioneer’s nationwide tour in 1927 following his historic solo flight from New York across the Atlantic Ocean to Paris. Keyhoe also published his first book entitled Flying With Lindbergh the following year, 1928. So, in the interests of strict scientific accuracy with an added touch of imagination, Kubrick wanted Dr. Frederick Ordway III to investigate ways in which astronauts might survive a lengthy journey into outer space. I mentioned the possibility of cryonic internment, something that was in vogue at the time. Baseball great Ted Williams, for example, had been so interred, in the hope that a cure for his demise might be discovered and he and others could be revived and cured. A truly fanciful notion now, but it was in vogue back then.
As the author of Mysteries of the Skies: UFOs in Perspective (Prentice-Hall, 1968) and Strange Effects From UFOs (NICAP, 1969) and as Donald Keyhoe’s colleague and Vice President at the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, I guess Ordway felt I was scientific enough and yet perceived as imaginative enough to be a valid source.
SL: Ordway was Kubrick’s technical advisor?
GL: Exactly. As it turned out, I told him to contact one of our California Subcommittee members in the Los Angeles area, Dr. Leslie Kaeburn, who had apparently done some work on it so far. So I was considered an “uncredited technical advisor.” The whole 2001 project was big-scale and thorough with an enormous set in England. Ordway had worked with Wehrner Von Braun at the Space Flight Center and was moving with his entire family to England that year, 1967, and Kubrick wanted every detail in the film to be perfect.
SL: What was your reaction when the movie debuted?
GL: Like many people who saw it—great! Ordway had read Major Keyhoe’s books on the scientific aspects of space travel and UFOs and I could see this influence in the movie.
SL: How did you end up wit Keyhoe and NICAP?
GL: I’d read Keyhoe’s books and was more than a little intrigued after three personal sightings of UFOs near my home on the Chesapeake Bay in Southern Maryland in 1955. I started my writing career for a subsidiary of U.S. News and World Report and had served two years in the U.S. Army (1958-1960). In 1965, I was singing folks songs at the Unicorn Coffee House in Washington, D.C., when I was approached by Richard Hall, the Assistant Director at NICAP, and was hired as a staff member that same night. The CIA actually put a stop to our operations in 1969. This was no great surprise to me since the NICAP Board of Governors was loaded with those who had CIA connections. Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter had been Keyhoe’s classmate at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. President Truman appointed him as the first director of the CIA in 1947 and he was later appointed by Keyhoe as the Chairman of NICAP’s Board of Governors. Several other CIA operatives were also on the NICAP Board. After Keyhoe and I were fired at the end of 1969 during the CIA takeover, I then formed my own UFO Research Associates (UFOR) that lasted from 1970 to 1980.
SL: I understand your book Mysteries of the Skies made a bit of an impact in its day?
GL: Yes. It got a number of positive reviews. The angle of my co-author, Harold Deneault, and I was historical, to report on the UFO phenomenon before the modern era of sighting reports which began in 1947. And to be as careful and scientific as possible, weeding out hysteria and fakery.
SL: And you ventured widely into journalism and other pursuits after all this brush with the CIA?
GL: Yes, interacting with famed TV broadcaster Dan Rather and my main White House mentor, Sarah McLendon, as a member of the White House Press Corps during 1971-1974. Sarah was my main sponsor for the National Press Club and Rather was my secondary sponsor. To this day, I am grateful to them both for their generosity to a young White House reporter.
SL: And you’re still writing…
GL: Yes, indeed. My life-story came out in 2017 entitled Connections: A Lifetime Journey Through the World of Celebrity (BearManor Media) where I surveyed my career and the fascinating people I had met growing up just below the Washington, D.C. area—from Harry Truman to the Kennedys and legendary singer Burl Ives along with a number of other celebrities at my father’s marina on the Chesapeake Bay and as the General Manager of Beverly Hot Springs in Los Angeles. These celebrities included John and Robert Kennedy, James Cagney, Robert Mitchum, Rita Hayworth, Tom Hanks, Jodie Foster, Tina Louise, Oliver Stone, the main cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation and many others, including one King (Gustaf Aldolf the Sixth of Sweden) and one former King (the Duke of Windsor, formally King Edward VIII of England).
SL: Life has not been dull.
GL: Not at all. I have a new book coming out this spring with BearManor Media with the working title of Flying Saucers From Beyond Earth: A UFO Researcher’s Odyssey where I return to my starter subject. I hope it does well. So does my publisher, Ben Ohmart at BearManor Media.
SL: Good luck and thanks for sharing this time with us.
GL: You’re most welcome. Thank you!