Richard Zoglin is a contributing editor and theater critic for Time magazine. In the first half, he discussed Las Vegas in the late 60s, and early 70s and how Elvis transformed the quintessential Vegas experience from intimate Rat Pack shows to large over-the-top extravaganzas and in the process resurrected his flagging recording career. It was Elvis' big comeback show in 1969, a 4-week engagement at the International Hotel, that turned things around for him, and included flashy costumes inspired by Liberace, and stage antics similar to Tom Jones. The audience came from all over the country to see Elvis rather than Vegas high-rollers, he said, and "that was the audience that Vegas would eventually discover when it went through its own reinvention," some years later, with theater shows like Cirque du Soleil, and lavish residencies by performers such as Celine Dion and Lady Gaga.
When Elvis was first getting started in the 1950s, rock 'n' roll was perceived of as just music for teenagers, and that was part of his comeback in the late 1960s, Zoglin noted, as a rock performer in his thirties who could still appeal to a large fan base. As his manager, Colonel Tom Parker helped create the Elvis phenomenon, but also gave him bad advice that hurt his career, Zoglin opined, like telling him not to perform overseas. Toward the end of his career, he added, Elvis had become a kind of a parody of himself, with his weight gain and drug usage, though he never lost his voice which still sounded great.
In the latter half, Mike Bara, an author, lecturer and TV personality, spoke about his latest work examining the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle. The author Charles Berlitz was the one who coined the phrase "Bermuda Triangle," which captured the public's imagination and brought attention to the geographically related anomalies. Among the cases Bara studied was Flight 19 in December 1945-- a mission involving five torpedo bombers taking off from a naval station in Fort Lauderdale. After it was discovered the planes had gone missing, a search and rescue mission was quickly launched and a PBM Mariner (a flying boat) also mysteriously vanished during the operation. There were reports from ham radio operators, he recounted, that Flight 19's pilot leader, Lt. Charles Taylor, warned other pilots: "No, don't come after me-- they look like they're from outer space."
Odd tales of waters in the Atlantic were reported as far back as Columbus and his crew, seeing submerged lights, which in one case paralleled their path. Bruce Gernon is one of the only pilots to survive the "electronic fog" that envelope planes and affect their instrumentation, said Bara, who has concluded that the weird fog is a natural but hyperdimensional phenomenon. He also shared details of the vanishing of the USS Scorpion submarine in 1968, which was outfitted with an EMP weapon. When the vessel was returning from Haiti, it picked up signals of another submerged craft that was circling it at an incredibly high speed. The Scorpion, Bara continued, was ordered to fire its EMP weapon on the object-- it bounced back on the sub, knocking out its electronics and causing it to sink. During recovery, it appeared as though the crew and some of the sub's technology were missing, as though they'd just been "plucked" out of the ship.