The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on March 28, 1979 · 81
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 81

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, March 28, 1979
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A Reluctant Crusader's Legal Forays lCcs Angeles Slraes Morantz: 4I Wish I Didn't Know About Cults . . ! . PART IV WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 1979 JACK SMITH A Peek Into the Pentagon Like a Muslim who has never seen the sacred Ka"bah at Mecca, I have never been inside the Pentagon, that monolith which is thought to be the mystical fountainhead of America's global power. Though I have seen the awesome five-sided structure from a distance, I have never approached it close enough to fulfill the obligations of a pilgrim, much less penetrated its portals and explored its labrynthine interior. Actually, I have never had any compelling desire to do so. The Pentagon appears too vast to be comprehended and too forbidding to be loved. Oh, I might like to see that big world map with the red pins in it, and the computer that already knows how Armageddon will turn out; but of course a mere reserve enlisted man could hardly expect to be admitted to the inner sanctum. What has always made the Pentagon so mysterious, to me is that it emanated so little humor. Surely this great maze from which our nation's military is provisioned and administered must be the biggest crazy house of all time. When every squad, platoon and company in the army is a living demonstration of Murphy's Law-everything that can go wrong will go wrong what glorious chaos must abide at the top! Those who actually punch a clock in the Pentagon must be sick with laughter half the time; yet nothing escapes its walls but dreadful pronouncements and staggering demands for money. What happens to all the laughter? Do they have to leave it at the gate at 5 o'clock with their security passes? Now I find this concern of mine somewhat relieved by a letter from Christalla Kyriacou, a young friend who once worked here at The Times as a tour guide. She is now in Washington as an intern in the office of Rep. James C. Corman, meanwhile serving unofficially as Washington correspondent for her college newspaper, the Cal State Northridge Sundial; and before she left she promised to write now and then and let me know what was happening back there. Miss Kyriacou recently went along on the one-hour guided tour of the Pentagon, and she encloses for my enlightenment a report she wrote for the Sundial describing that experience with debonair irreverence and what I assume is a tour guide's professional expertise. The tour began with a 14-minute orientation film that reminded Miss Kyriacou of the sort of "government appreciation" films shown to high school civics classes. It was so corny, she says, that as she watched it she kept hearing Mickey Rooney shouting, "Hey gang, I've got an idea- let's make a movie! Though she found the film light on information andi heavy on condescension, it did let out a couple of provoca-. tive secrets: "Such as the fact that the entire building is; heated by the burning of classified documents, and lamp, replacements daily total over 1,000." The film ends in classic style with members of each branch of the armed forces lined up outside the building, smiling as they wave goodby. "The group is then taken down the corridors of the Pentagon, the focal point of our nation's defense system, with a military escort at each end. The guide is perpetually spilling out invaluable facts, such as the fact that there are 23,000 employes (in) the building and 7,000 clock outlets ... "The tour guides also mention that the building has 17V& miles of corridors, which at first is difficult to believe, until you realize that these ROTC graduates plan to take you over every single mile . "During the tour our guides also offered detailed information on the construction of the building. According to them the site was originally an old Department of Agriculture experimental farm, and some private land occupied by dumps, pawnshops and shacks one of the first facts I found believable. "At a cost of $83 million, 680,000 tons of sand and gravel dredged from the Potomac River were processed into concrete and moulded into the Pentagon form. The building was completed only 16 months after construction began, a fact which left a number of people in the group speechless. Either that or they had fallen asleep. "A pamphlet and fact sheet are disseminated by the tour guides at the end of the tour. It lists more amazing statistics, such as the fact that employes consi me 30,000 cups of coffee, drink from 685 water fountains and utilize 280 rest rooms. "I think," Miss Kyriacou concludes, "the Pentagon was better left a mystery." I'm not quite as cynical as Miss Kyriacou, not being that young. For example, I am fascinated and reassured by the fact that every minute and 26 seconds a lightbulb blows out in the Pentagon. It makes the place seem more like home. From now on I'll sleep a little better at night, knowing Miss Kyriacou is on the job in Washington, D.C. THE VIEWS INSIDE BOOKS: Ben Maddow's "A Sunday Between Wars: The Course of American Life From 1065 to 1917" by Robed Kirsch on Page 6. MUSIC: Pianist Virko Baley by Robert Riley on Page 16. YMF Debut Orchestra by Richard Slater on Page 15. Joanie Sommers by Harvey Siders on Page 18. TELEVISION: "Richard II" and "Miss Winslow & Son" by Howard Rosenberg on Page 21. AND OTHER FEATURES BY WILLIAM OVER END I Staff - - X' " "i ' . Jo ,' . " " 'S, " RATTLESNAKE VICTIM-Attorney Paul Morantz, watching TV with his two dogs, was bit- ten by a rattlesnake Oct. 10. He says he is worried whether his life will return to normal. Times photo by George Rose PROGRAM PROPOSED Teaching Women About Energy BY MARLENE CIMONS Tlmit Staff Wrlttr WASHINGTON Women who are experts in the fields of communications, science, technology, energy and community organizing will gather in Harper's Ferry, W. Va May 9-11, to exchange ideas for a national energy education program for women. It will be the first step of a program being proposed by Consumer Action Now (CAN), a New York- and Washington-based information and lobbying group whose primary work in recent years has been in the area of energy conservation. Why women? "We think women have particular needs in the energy field," said Maura O'Neill, assistant director of CAN and manager of this new program. "As they move increasingly into new positions of responsibility athome and in the workplace, they have a more econonuinterest in energy than ever before. Women's Organizational Skills "They have a proven ability to organize and effect meaningful change," she said. "We have to sell conservation and renewable resources. To do that, we have to target a specific audience. We have chosen women. We have spoken to them before. We talk their language." CAN's approach, since it was funded in 1970, has been to take complex information about energy and the environ ment and translate it into data that nonexperts can understand and show them how it can be applied to their lives. For this reason, O'Neill said, women have been singled out because they traditionally have lacked a scientific and technical background. This, she said, not only has affected the consumer habits of average women but also has led to the exclusion of women from energy policy decision-making. Three-Part Program "Women historically have perceived that they do not have the tools to adequately understand the energy implications of their buying habits or behavior," she said. "They often don't know what an EER (Energy Efficiency Rating) is on an appliance they buy. Or they don't think about energy efficiency when buying a home. Or they don't understand overpackaging, or the energy implications of the food or clothing they buy. Women play an instrumental role in managing family budgets and could be very effective in reducing energy use in the residential sector. But first, energy must be demystified for women." To do that, CAN has designed a three-part program with a $40,000 budget and has approached several government agencies-the Environmental Protection Agency; the Department of Energy; the Department of Health, Education Please Turn to Page 11, Col. 1 One night last week, just after Paul Morantz returned to his home in Pacific Palisades from his law offices in West Los Angeles, he noticed someone enter the house next door and later observed that the draperies were drawn. Something about the situation made him nervous. Morantz telephoned his neighbor, but there was no answer. A few minutes later he was on the phone again, this time to the police. The woman next door had seen a car with two occupants pull up to Morantz's house Oct 10, the day he was bitten by a rattlesnake allegedly placed in his mailbox. She was a witness in the case against two members of Synanon subsequently charged with attempted murder. He didn't want to take any chances, Morantz said. It was probably a false alarm. But he'd appreciate it if the police could send a couple of officers to check the house. They discovered the culprit quickly a teen-age babysitter who simply wasn't answering the phone. Afterward Morantz laughed about it although he didn't seem really to feel much relief. He doesn't know if he ever will. For Paul Morantz there are many fears these days. That is one of the strongest. It has been almost two years since Morantz took his first case against Synanon. In many ways he seems an unlikely combatant in the strange war subsequently waged. There has to be a streak of bulldog in him, or he wouldn't have pursued his opponent so tenaciously. As Morantz puts it: "The only thing I can say is that I don't like to quit." On the other hand, there's a boyish quality to Morantz and a previous pattern to his life that appears incongruous with his present role as a leading "cult" lawyer given to long and solemn lectures on the dangers of certain groups. Morantz is 33, but says most people take him for 25 or 26. Many women find him attractive (one wrote after the rattlesnake attack that he was "undoubtedly" the most handsome man she had ever seen), and it's clear they've been a major source of inspiration for him. Born in Los Angeles, Morantz says his only real ambition while attending Hamilton High School was to go to USC and possibly become a writer. He attended USC during the late 60s, serving as sports editor of the Daily Trojan and piclang up the nickname of Wolf. Drifting Info Law School "I really enjoyed myself at USC," recalls Morantz. "Of course, it was a play school, where I spent most of my time watching girls and playing sports, not many worries in your life except who you're taking out Saturday night . . . I'm afraid I was one of those people whose plans were hoping to find plans. That's one of the ironies that I never did. Everything just happened." He had never wanted to be a lawyer although his family was always "pushing it." However, after graduating from USC, he decided against a reporting career, primarily because the pay seemed too low and chances for advancement too slow. Other writing ventures at the time didn't seem practical and a girlfriend wanted him to enter law school at USC, so he did. Part of the trap when you enter law school is that 'It can't hurt you even if you don't want to be a lawyer,' " Morantz says. "In my case there was the additional fact that I'd get to hang around college another three years, play basketball and put off any ultimate decision ... In fact, our law school basketball team won the intramurals at USC. At that time I thought it was the high point of my life." As Morantz tells the story, he wasn't much more enthu-Please Turn to Page 8, Col. 1 Bridge Page 10 Comics Page 23 Family Books ....Page 7 Film Clips Page 14 Filmex Page 17 Jody Jacobs Page 2 Dr. Solomon .... Page 1 1 Television . . . Pages 20-22 Things Page 3 Peter Weaver . . . Page 4 MOVIE REVIEW A Screamer in Thantasm' BY CHARLES CHAMPLIN Tlm Arts Editor The shriek of laughter sounds like a contradiction but it has kept the horror movie profitable for almost as long as there have been movies. Audiences dance to the macabre with great pleasure, glad to be scared only half to death and evidently glad for both the tingling excitement and for the safe release that makes calm reality not half bad to see again. For his third feature, Don Coscarelli, the precocious independent film-maker from Long Beach, has come up with "Phantasm," a thoroughly scary horror film opening city-wide today. It's as real and foreboding as a cemetery after dark (and indeed there is one, which features frequently in "Phantasm"). There is no comforting rational explanation for the story's dark events. The tingles linger on, but you can't help laughing; it helps to steady the nerves. Impressive Technical Achievement Simply as an act of film-making, "Phantasm", is a smooth and terrifically impressive technical achievement, a sort of jeu de spook with all manner of eerie and shocking special effects, most especially a whizzing razor-bladed silver sphere that works as a sort of digital vampire, and very nasty, too. (The movie was temporarily given an X by raters who took the mayhem all too humorlessly. On further consideration it was made an R without need of an appeal, but the R is fair warning that "Phantasm" does not laugh at itself, even though it does draw those shrieking laughs.) Interestingly, in light of Coscarelli's first feature, "JIM the World's Greatest," written when he was 17 and finished when he was just 19, "Phantasm" also centers on two brothers, these lately orphaned. The younger (Michael Baldwin, who also starred in Coscarelli's second feature, "Kenny and Company") has a lively imagination, but what he sees in the cemetery isn't his imagination. He has trouble persuading his older brother (Bill Thornbury) that a mysterious undertaker has the strength of giants and is up to no good whatever. A Dangerous Lady The brothers take fearful turns breaking into the nearby funeral home, with its echoing marble halls and its mad caretaker (Ken Jones), its lethal spheroid, its beckoning secret door and its glaring, indestructible, inescapable Tall Man in black (another Coscarelli veteran and an excellent actor who here calls himself Angus Scrimm). There is also an alluring lady (Kathy Lester) who takes her boyfriends to death and worse in the cemetery. Bill Cone is her first victim. Reggie Bannister is an ice cream vendor who tries to help the brothers, to his sorrow. Susan Harper and Lynn Eastman are girlfriends who also try to help. Mary Ellen Shaw is a fortune-teller who sees too much and Terrie Kalbus is her granddaughter. Please Turn to Page 12, Cil. 1 jr if 2& m HORROR STORY Don Coscarelli, 25, is the director, writer, editor and cinematographer of "Phantasm," a film whose purpose is "to have the spectators screaming in the aisles." Times photo by Eli Keictimin 'PHANTASM'S' COSCARELLI Young Director's Macabre Wit BY LEE GRANT Timet Stitf Wrlttr For Don Coscarelli, life these days is a scream. The scene is a Westwood movie house at midnight, a preview of the film "Phantasm," 90 minutes of: A creepy cemetery. Eerie dwarflike figures disappearing behind tombstones. A severed finger with a life of its own. A grisly flying sphere that attaches to a victim's head, pumping out the blood. Strange aerodynamic rodent-type creatures partial to human hair. A menacing "tall man" with a scowl reminiscent of Frankenstein's brother. And more. The audience screams and Coscarelli beams. "I wanted to scare people," he said. "The idea was to make a movie that had the spectators screaming in the aisles." And through all the bellowing, through all the voices emanating from crypts, and through Coscarelli's conversation and self-image as filmmaker, there surfaces a wit. This is a talented man having fun with the tools of his craft. "It was just so frustrating to me as a kid to sit in a theater watching a horror film and not even be frightened," he said. Those days as a kid when Coscarelli would journey "just up the street" from his home in Long Beach to the nearby Rossmoor Theater were not that long ago. He is-three motion pic-I lease Turn to Page 12, Col. 1

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