JFK & UFO--AND TV
THE REAL SCI-FI NIGHTMARE HAS YET TO BE FILMED
By Kenn Thomas
Fred Lee Crisman witnessed the Maury Island UFO in 1947 and was later subpoenaed as part of the 1968 investigation of the JFK assassination. The prosecutor of that case, Jim Garrison, thought that Crisman was the infamous grassy knoll shooter, the actual trigger man. When Hollywood last turned its full attention to JFK, with Oliver Stone's 1991 movie, it was about that case, although Crisman's name never comes up in the film. Perhaps the UFO angle added a credibility burden to a movie already challenged on that score by many critics, although few people remember Maury Island. Garrison's case and the movie centered on the figure of Clay Shaw, the man Garrison felt he had the most on to bring to trial, and many peripheral figures fell by the wayside.
However, the director's cut of JFK includes scenes of Garrison attempting to show a photograph of Crisman to Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. Carson would have none of it, of course, and cut to a commercial. Garrison had a well-known photo of three hobos being arrested in the railyard behind the grassy knoll. One of them Garrison suspected was Crisman--but that was as close as it got to letting a national television audience in on it.
Fred Crisman thought that the man in The Invaders was him. In correspondence with UFO investigator Gary Leslie from August 22, 1967, someone writing as Crisman's fellow Maury Island witness Harold Dahl had this to say: "There is a TV series running now that I swear is based in the main on the life of F. Lee Crisman. I know him better than any living man and I know of some of the incredible adventures he has passed through in the last twenty years. I do not mean that his life has been that of this TV hero on The Invaders show...but, there are parts of it that I swear were told to me years ago by Mr. Crisman...and I know of several that are too wild to be believed...even by the enlightened attitude of 1967." The real Harold Dahl had long stopped discussing Maury Island and UFOs after a visit from a Man In Black brought him to bad fortune, so many suspect that Crisman wrote this letter himself. Another such letter, signed "F. Lee" commented that Crisman had received "a copy of one of the current TV series "The Aliens' [sic]" suggesting the connection but that "it was my understanding that Mr. Crisman was not disturbed or angry." Again, the letter seems likely to have originated from Crisman.
So the show business and saucer business connection is mixed up also with the parapolitics of the JFK assassination. Another mystery wrapped within an enigma. Did it exist anywhere other than in Fred Crisman's imagination? Quinn Martin Productions created The Invaders. Producer Quinn Martin rose through the TV ranks first working for Desi Arnez in The Untouchables, a "procedural" crime show like Dragnet only with violence. The best known Quinn Martin Production was a procedural called The FBI. After the death of a man named Mark Felt, now known as "Deep Throat" in Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate investigation, his job as a consultant to The FBI series became known. So it was true that spooks like him were connected to shows like that. That may seem like a weak argument but it was buttressed later when it was learned that Felt held a job with the real FBI in the late 1940s overseeing background checks for applicants at the Hanford nuclear plant in southeastern Washington state. Fred Crisman's job application at Hanford is among the documents on him recovered through Freedom of Information Act requests. So Mark Felt does have a documented connection to both the production company of The Invaders and to Fred Crisman.
|The Dealey Plaza hobos|
Kenn Thomas wrote JFK & UFO: Military-Industrial Conspiracy and Cover-Up from Maury Island to Dallas, recently published by Feral House. An excerpt can be found here: feralhouse.com/jfk-ufo/ Thomas can be reached via his web site at steamshovelpress.com Steamshovel Press also has a facebook account and page. Thomas has written a number of books on various conspiracy topics, including NASA, NAZIS & JFK and The Octopus: Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro.