The featured photo is of Art and Whitley on the NBC Today Show promoting their book.
Art Bell and Whitley Strieber – A Grand Faux Pas
In the mid-nineties when no one took global warming seriously my clients Art Bell and Whitley Strieber did and were on the case.
Art Bell had a hot radio show, Coast to Coast airing from his home in Parumph, near Las Vegas, 10 PM until 3 AM every night of the week. He had over 7 million nightly listeners. A great interviewer; he asked all the questions you and I would ask about conspiracies, UFOs, aliens, ghosts, remote viewing, crop circles, and any other paranormal subject you could think of.
Whitley had claimed fame when he wrote The Hunger which was made into a movie starring Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. Whitley’s storytelling ability was unparalleled. He wrote vampire novels and horror fiction until he had an experience with a little UFO guy. One of the grays had appeared at the foot of his bed one quiet night while he was staying in his cabin in upstate New York. And that changed everything. Thereafter he wrote Communion, which became a New York Times bestseller and TV movie. He opened the mainstream door to the underground followers of UFO abductions, alien contact and government secrets.
Global warming had long been a subject of the underground media-with dire predictions on the internet, chat rooms abuzz on the latest storm, government researchers saying that no one was listening and stories about the North Pole melting.
Whitley and Art were both a tad touchy because they’d had to deal with so much adversity in their work. A lot going on with both of them; intense personalities, a little cantankerous, their wives were involved in their work and very influential, and, of course, their audiences adored them.
I sold a manuscript they co-wrote, titled The Coming Global Superstorm. In it they explained that it was happening, the power and effects of weather change, who the guilty parties were, and what we could do to slow it down. The essence was that we were in a state of extreme weather changes and it would only get worse and worse. Art thought whoever came up with “global warming” must’ve been in the soft pr business because it sounded so innocuous. What it should be called, he thought, was extreme weather conditions. This was years before Al Gore and his movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Al was talking about it then, too, but no one was listening to him either just as Superstorm took a great deal of flack for presenting a theory that was, as yet, unproven–or so said the government scientists.
The book was a smash hit; a New York Times Bestseller. They were ecstatic-we were too. A book signing was scheduled for the premier bookseller, Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue. It was near the publisher’s office on Sixth Avenue. The publishers were treating Art and Whitley like rock stars and they were enjoying it to the fullest. Big publishers are really good at doing that once you’ve already made yourself a bestseller.
The lines were around the block. Mostly young men but all kinds of people who’d come hundreds of miles to meet Art and Whitley and get their autographed book and a look at them in the flesh. It was amazing to hear fans talk about how they were the only ones telling the truth and if not for Coast to Coast they just didn’t know what they’d do.
The editor and I were standing nearby, close but not too close. The authors were basking in the glow of success and we didn’t want to interfere. A bold poster, created by the publisher’s marketing and publicity department was right behind them with the cover of the book, blurbs about the book and a few facts. It was a very big poster, 60 inches by 40 inches. There were lots of media filming, reporters throwing out questions, and fans declaring with adoration and awe: “I listen to you every night” to Art and “I’ve read every book you’ve ever written” to Whitley.
The editor and I were glowing, too. Reflected glory, you know.
We’re quiet and as it is the nature of editors and agents everywhere, we were reading; reading the poster. Reading and examining every word. And right there in the middle of this gigantic poster was written, “Whitley Strieber, New York Yimes Best Seller” –New York Yimes –New York Yimes! Oh my God. What to do? We conferred. We quietly shuffled over to the table where they were signing their books. We edged in behind Art and Whitley and just stood there, right in front of the sign, in front of the big New York Yimes blocking it from view.
Whitley and Art turned and looked at us as if to say, okay what’s up and when we just smiled, the look turned into, get out of here then, but we stood our ground. We had to protect the integrity of the editorial and publishing world. I had Whitley and Art sign that poster and I took it with me back to my office. I still have it.
So there you have it!