So, this Fall – in October- I got a call from an old friend, who is an attorney working with the estate of a dead legendary celebrity (permanent A list celebrity) whom I will refer to as PM. PM died recently and left behind a large estate to be settled, and it was easy to forget how powerful he once was and what an original “influencer” he was on shaping culture in his time. My friend said they’ve been overseeing the catalog inventory of items of the estate. They were going through some old personal photos taken at a party of PM (Annual Shakespeare like party in name only) and said he’d found some hilarious photos of me from back in the 1980s, and would I like them? Scared at first, I was reassured the were only mildly embarrassing. Photos of me, two models, drunk in a pool one night with an inflatable ducky pool float on my head. Egad.
I went to the legendary estate of PM and found it more run down than I recall, and quite vacant. My lawyer pal and one of his investigator/paralegals were there, along with PM’s son. We’d never met, but he was very nice, and asked if I minded going underground to the vault with them. A security guy started with us, but stopped at the elevator and we three went down together. We all descended into the depths of the house to a walk-in bank vault installed actually BENEATH the basement of the house. Like a bunker, with tunnels going to someplace. It was as big as a living room. I thought it peculiar when they both said I needed to leave all cell phones and electronics on the table outside the big vault. They said that no electronics are ever allowed inside, and when you pass through the entrance to the vault there’s a “net” that will erase things and jam signals and it will kill your phone. Wild. I thought we just did that in movies and not sure it really existed. I happily complied, left my goods, and in we went.
After walking through a laser beam that made you feel like you had to whizz really badly, we were inside the “room”. The Son flipped on a switch and air rushed through vents, and he pulled a metal shutter door closed behind us. I saw rows of metal cabinets lined the walls, with ceiling-high pull-out drawers. Inside were usual trappings of protected fame and wealth; including old films, documents, papers, and photos. Lots of artwork including Warhol’s, Dali’s, and others. All climate controlled and mint. I asked about the Warhol’s, and the Monet, and the obvious Picasso.
The Son said: “Oh yeah, most of the valuables he kept in here. Some of his business stuff he kept backups of at a bunker thing in some place in Utah, but most was in here. He liked to enjoy his collections. But the paintings aren’t the most valuable. He owns the most priceless things in history. He has the largest collection of unreleased movies ever – maybe worth billions.” Somehow, I thought he meant like old silent films.
I wasn’t even close to being right.
We moved to a manila folder and pulled out old 35mm prints of party pictures. They handed me the photos of me (OMFG! Cringe!), and I thanked them for giving them up so gently (Was I really that young looking once? Wow). My curiosity was peaked when I saw piles of old photos, folders, and stacks of old home movie reels and videos sitting inside the vault. They had names on them, and dates with some having events listed. My pal caught my stare and said “Yeah, you’re not the only one. And these are NOT ready for prime time!”. PM’s son invited me to the long, wide table (this place looked more like a hospital exam room than a library), and started showing me folders. He played this game that went like this: “Any idea who this is?”. When I looked at the photo, I was speechless. There, in front of me was (permanent A list country singer who has been A list for decades) totally nude in all her glory – obviously from the late 1970s. At a party inside an indoor pool. She’s nude, laughing, with two girls on either side. I had forgotten how short she was. And yes, they were real and they were magnificent (and it wasn’t Mulva either!).
After picking up my jaw, I then perused the piles of videos. My lawyer pal and the Son just glanced at each other with Cheshire grins. One had the name of a legendary TV star (former A list mostly television actress and one year wonder) who was maybe my first screen crush. I turned to the Son and my pal – “NO F—CKING WAY”. They both erupted laughing. Yes, they said. Way. The Son turned around and against the wall was a small combo TV/VCR unit, beside a DVD console, an old movie studio-style film viewer for 8mm and 16mm movies, and a photo box for blowing up pictures and slides. He turned on the VCR, and within seconds, in front of my eyes was that TV Star in all her wondrous glory. Not just nude, but having sex. First by herself, then with a guy. You can tell it is an old 16mm film cheap-loop porno reel transferred to video.
One interesting aspect of the story to me was the tunnels. There was a couple of pieces of what I assume was disinfo released previously about the tunnels, when imagery of supposed construction of them leaked out. The ridiculous story you first got was that they led to the houses of various horn-dog celebrities, like Jack Nicholson, offering them all direct access to the mansion for booty-calls. The second piece claimed the whole story was an April Fool’s joke. I see a third likelihood, which I suspect those two stories were designed to cover up.
Supposedly Hef was up on indecency charges way back, the CIA approached him with their plan to turn his Playboy operation into the world’s biggest honeypot, and suddenly his jury was deadlocked, the prosecutors decided to not re-prosecute, and he was off and running, a new American icon in the making.
Now if you sign up to become the single biggest honeypot in espionage history, in the single most powerful nation on earth, with seemingly limitless resources to do what you want, you don’t just get a decoder ring, and a home video camera, and an atta boy as you walk off into the sunset with an erection and a dream of heroic service spent boning playmates.
First of all, your house is about to become a veritable museum of the latest, state of the art technology to document all the compromising positions your victims will be put in. That means if it is unprotected, the Russians could break in at night, run a TSCM sweep, grab up all the latest tech they can find, and take off with an updated collection of the latest American surveillance toys. Second, the agency running things will want detailed info of who is coming to the house, as they come. If some important foreign potentate is arriving as part of a huge prearranged operation, they want full coverage, and covert access to the site to monitor the operation in real time.
Which brings you to the tunnels. If you set up a honeypot under non-official cover, then the honeypot site needs to appear as a completely civilian facility to avoid igniting suspicion. But it should also have complete surveillance coverage over all approaches to it 24/7, and probably an operational command in a dwelling somewhere very close, ideally with immediate access to the honeypot location. How do you do that? An observation post set up to look like an innocently occupied home right nearby.
And if you really want quick covert access, you tunnel to a secret facility under the mansion where even the bodyguards are not allowed, and where ultra-high tech electronic security measures secure all of your surveillance materials so nothing goes missing. You think Hef was that security conscious and technologically sophisticated, to install what sounds like some ionizing laser net that nukes everything that passes through it?
Tunneling is a technique which even the old Lee Adams experienced in his long-running battles with the FBI – (before he and his website Spy/Counterspy disappeared inexplicably and could never be found again, just as their popularity was taking off).
So on the one hand, if I were blowing smoke out my ass about a secret visit to an underground vault beneath the Playboy mansion, I would leave out the ridiculous tunnel story out of fear it would make the story sound outlandish. But if I actually had visited the secret porn bunker, I suspect you would find a tunnel, maybe a few, leading to houses in the neighborhood. In fact, I suspect the tunnel story would be a key element that would tell real spooks the story was legit, because that would practically be procedure for something this big.
As for the porn, it has dawned on me that it is possible some of the people in it were recruits. What better way to convince that foreign potentate that getting naked and having sex on camera next to the pool is perfectly normal in the mansion, than to show real A-list Hollywood icons getting it on and smiling for the camera.
It is an interesting area to speculate on, but I suspect nobody will ever know the truth.
Still, the valuable lesson for potential alt-right and new right icons is, never trust anyone completely, think what you are seeing is real, or assume what you are doing was not carefully planned and is not being documented in depth.
Increasingly, I realize, blackmail is the precious metal currency of politics. When the shit hits the fan, everything else is just fiat currency, and the pros all know it.