Sunday, November 23, 2014
Middle of the Night
Maybe it was the countdown to the new century. Maybe it was loneliness. Maybe it was just an oldster's inability to stay asleep all night. Whatever the reason, from about 1997 to 2000, in the wee dark hours, I loved to listen to Art Bell's Coast to Coast radio show.
Like Jerry Springer, Art had a knack for taking a calm and reasoned approach to some pretty crazy stuff. He was a great interviewer. Guests included the survivalists who were convinced that Y2K2 was going to bring civilization to an internet - crashing halt. CIA plots and UFO sitings were discussed with the same seriousness as a segment on "60 Minutes."
There was lots of discussion of an alien space ship riding in the wake of the Hale-Bopp comet. This came to a very disturbing conclusion. Thirty nine members of a group calling themselves "Heaven's Gate" committed suicide leaving messages that they were going to join the aliens in outer space.
My favorite guest on Art Bell's program was the charismatic physicist Michio Kaku. He has gone on to author several best selling books and appear on PBS. Looking back, I think he had a lot of guts going on Art's "far out" show. I believe he just wanted to bring factual thinking about physics to as many people as possible. I certainly learned a lot.
Art Bell is retired. Talk radio has been taken over by another set of far less interesting kooks. And the dark hours are darker for that.