MRB: Hello, Ed Crane. This is Mark Russell. I have a great feature for the 1998 Directory about my book Testament, which I transcribed after landing the biggest public relations account imaginable and experiencing a leap in consciousness. This is a true story that could only have happened in Los Angeles.
EC: Did you recently become born again or something?
MRB: When you hear that, you sort of think in fundamentalist terms and I'm probably the opposite of anything fundamentalist. The book does deal with Hollywood, the world's dream factory, and Paramount, where I worked. As you may be aware, I left my publicity writing career in August, 1995. This was after I experienced what people usually describe as 'paranormal phenomena.' In fact, I could contribute a photo to accompany the article showing bushes that mysteriously went up in flames back in the summer of 1994. This happened in the vicinity of the Angelus Temple outside the condo where I used to live.
EC: It sounds sort of far out.
MRB: One of the surprising things that happened was when my friend Marie was crossing Sunset Boulevard. I'd been talking to her about possibly having a pseudonym and she heard a voice say, "MARK RUSSELL BELL." Since completing Testament, I've been adding interviews to a New Testament section of the web site at http://testament.org/ — the books are sort of tell-all books not only on Hollywood but all aspects of society.
EC: I think what would be most interesting is all the trials and tribulations you must have gone through in marketing it.
MRB: Like going on radio talkshows where everyone wants Hollywood gossip?
EC: Or maybe the hardest sell in town because it's viewed as something supernatural.
MRB: I had a Mormon couple do some research on my ancestry and it turns out that I'm related to film directors Alfred Hitchcock and Ken Russell. It's ironic because some days I feel like Joan Fontaine and other days I feel like Roger Daltrey. What happened basically is I went to Oklahoma to investigate a contemporary talking poltergeist haunting. This was right after I completed a non-fiction manuscript looking at similar cases throughout history such as the nineteenth century Bell Witch case. I also researched the Isle of Man case from the 1930s. What especially intrigued me about those two cases was the Entity in each case had called someone by the nickname 'Pots' and claimed to be an inter-dimensional being. I was astonished to discover that this contemporary Oklahoma family also had Bell family ties. Their Spirit was an amassing of different spirits who manifested in a variety of ways. The family nicknamed Him Michael and thought he seemed more like an alien than a ghost; however, an ABC special entitled "Ghosts, Mediums, Psychics: Put To The Test" focused on the poltergeist angle. When I came back home from Oklahoma, the phenomena around me continued and I realized the Entity is Angelic and had always been participating in my life. The timing of that John Travolta movie "Michael" was more than coincidental. It seems I was an Egyptian named Bel-Marduk in a previous incarnation. Apparently, he was also known as Ra the priest or Amun-Ra. I found an Egyptian medallion with my likeness on it at a local antique store.
MRB: Bel-Marduk is the name of the individual credited with the first resurrection story. There are these stories in every culture's history and mythology, including such legendary figures as King Arthur and Frederick II. I'm certain this Spiritual Force in my life is the same "angelical spirit" that Nostradamus mentioned in his March 1555 letter to his son, Caesar. Edgar Cayce was also an Angelic channel and predicted four decades ago that Ra could return in 1998. Madame Blavatsky referred to this same Spiritual Force as "the Mahatmas." God has always selected individuals to manifest around, such as India's Sai Baba, to create metaphors for others. So this time He selected someone who apprenticed as a carpenter in the Hollywood dream factory. I've channeled three new commandments for the world: "Love is the only true religion. Give back to the world as much as you take. Thou shalt not participate in cover-ups."
EC: I know I was asking for off-the-wall stuff but what we have here is something so outlandish that — I don't know. I'm certainly not opposed to it.
MRB: Before I even went to Oklahoma, my attorney was Jonathan Handel.
EC: That's wild.
MRB: So I think this article will provide an interesting thinkpiece for my fellow Hollywood dream factory carpenters. It's almost like God wants publicists to be messengers and help save the world. There's so much unshared wealth in Hollywood and it's all the result of God sharing His divine creativity. The money should be used on environmental concerns and helping others less fortunate than ourselves. Doesn't that sound like a familiar message?
EC: I thought it was really bizarre that John Denver died in a plane crash recently. He was working towards what interests me — for us to quit screwing up the ecology of the world and starving people to death politically.
MRB: Public relations is a very spiritually advanced job. I think the truly enlightened ones work in public relations.
EC: We work in the world of dreams and toward improving relationships. What do you think, Mark — are we in the end times right now?
MRB: I think there will eventually be a new time where the whole regime changes.
EC: That would be a marvelous time to be alive. I don't know whether you and I are going to get a chance to share that age but who knows?
MRB: Maybe we can even help bring it about. We can each give back as
much as we can and hope it motivates others to do the same.
(TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: GUILD PRESIDENT ED CRANE, IN THE OCTOBER PUBLICISTS GUILD NEWSLETTER, ANNOUNCED THAT HE WOULD BE SERVING AS DIRECTORY FEATURES EDITOR, WORKING IN CLOSE ASSOCIATION WITH EXECUTIVE EDITOR MIKE McCLAY. THE FOLLOWING WERE ED'S GUIDELINES.)
The subject of a feature is wide open. Our only criteria is that the story be informative, of interest to fellow publicists — and entertainingly written. One direction we'd definitely like to explore is this year's book concerns the "most frantic," "most embarsassing" or "most absurd" publicity experience you've ever had — a sort of "It could only happen in Hollywood . . ." approach. After all, as Hollywood publicists, we've endured experiences — with talent, with product, with "the biz" — to which no one else in America can lay claim! We want to record these for posterity before they become forever lost. They can either be feature length or anecdotes. (They can also be written without naming names or places if you feel the need to keep the individuals involved anonymous; it's the story we want to capture.)
Any member who feels he or she has a feature idea to share in this year's book, please call me at (gives number) to discuss it. . . .
C'mon, send us some editorial copy . . . this month! — Ed Crane
(TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: WHAT FOLLOWS IS THE ENTIRE TRANSCRIPT
OF INTERVIEW COMPONENTS FOR THE PUBLICISTS GUILD DIRECTORY FEATURE STORY.
SPIRIT MESSAGES/UTTERANCES HEARD ON MICROCASSETTE TAPES ARE IN PARENTHESES.
UNATTRIBUTED SOUNDS HEARD ON TAPES ARE NOT LISTED.)
E: You've reached the offices of Editorial, Inc. At the sound of the tone, please leave your name, number, date and time you called or start a fax. Thank you.
Q: Hello, Ed. This is Mark Russell. Call me when you have a few minutes. Do I have a great feature for the 1998 Directory. In fact, I think I'll tape record the call for my planned article. I want to follow the documentary, Q&A format of my book Testament that was published in January. ("THE") The book is a case study as well as a collection of interviews and journal entries. Subjects include aliens, synchronicity, prophecies, psychic abilities, the Oneness of all spirit, Pop culture, Christ consciousness and what is sometimes referred to as the second coming. The article I'm proposing encompasses a publicist thrust into the position of handling public relations for a book he himself transcribed and edited after landing the biggest Client imaginable; all the while experiencing the various hardships shared by anyone who's undergone a leap in consciousness and tried to share new discoveries with an unbelieving world. How does that sound to you? This is a true story that could only have happened in Los Angeles so call me when you have a few minutes. Bye.
E: You've reached the offices of Editorial, Inc. At the sound of the tone, please leave your name, number, date and time you called or start a fax. Thank you.
Q: Oh Ed I forgot to give you my new number, which is (gives number) in Santa Monica. I'm calling Friday around 1:30. Bye bye.
TAPE #331, SIDE #1 EXCERPT (NOVEMBER 3, 1997)
E: What's your book called?
Q: It's called Testament. It's at the Bodhi Tree, the Psychic Eye Bookshop in Sherman Oaks and the Philosophical Research Society on Los Feliz. There's an Internet version too at http://testament.org/.
E: It sounds interesting from the marketing . . . from all the trials and tribulations you must have gone through in publishing it and stuff like that.
Q: Oh yes. Having a publicity background, I don't think that any publicity is good publicity. I had a call from "Strange Universe" and they wanted to interview me so I turned that down. Well, of course, books about spirituality and consciousness are very popular as we approach the new millennium.
E: Did you recently become born again or something like that?
Q: Well, it's a very long story. ("WHEN") When you hear that, you sort of think in fundamentalist terms and I'm probably the opposite of anything fundamentalist. In fact, I think that love is the only true religion. So that's not very 'Christian fundamentalist.' But the book does deal with Hollywood, the world's dream factory, and Paramount, of course, where I worked, is the only studio located in the actual ("GEO") geographical district of Hollywood.
E: Let me ask you this. Would your piece have any negative stuff concerning Sherry in it?
Q: Why? Have you heard any rumors or anything like that?
E: No no no — just you called me about two years ago or something like that —
Q: Oh — about the awards.
E: — when all of that crap was coming down with the department and stuff like that.
Q: Well, I think it's terrible how these studios can lay off staff members so they don't have to pay their insurance, etc. I think that's evil.
E: Oh I agree.
Q: It's terrible.
E: The guild agrees.
Q: Anyway, as you may or may not be aware, I left my publicity writing career in August of 1995 and this was after I experienced what people usually describe as 'paranormal phenomena.' Small objects were materializing around me and there were technical malfunctions. For example, I recently called Cheryl at New Line and their voice mail system came on. In fact, I could contribute a photo to accompany the article of these two bushes outside my condo across from the Angelus Temple that mysteriously went up in flames back in 1994. Would that be possible do you think?
E: Well, it sounds kind of interesting. It sounds sort of far out in a sense and I know where you're coming from. I think if you can be conscious — so that it didn't make you sound like the weirdest guy in town. That's my only concern — is from a standpoint of protection for you.
Q: This might sound flaky. Probably the most strange — ("ONE OF THE") the strangest things which was really unusual was when I was thinking about whether or not I should use a pseudonym and my friend Marie was crossing Sunset Boulevard. I'd been talking to her about this and she heard a voice say, "MARK RUSSELL BELL." So, of course, I mean this was sort of channeling. ("AND I") I know most people think that's really — ("SOUND") it sounds flaky. She was incredulous at the time and she never experience anything like that before. But, of course, if you really think about it, every work of art ("IS") is channeled to some extent. Anyway, let me tell you about the book. It includes interviews with my twin brother Mike, various Paramount staff members and Don Levy and his wife. Have you heard — ("HAS") Don told you about it?
E: No, I — actually, you know, I haven't seen Don in so long. Occasionally, he'll drop into a guild meeting or something like that but he comes and goes. I mean he's on such a schedule you can't believe it.
Q: Right. I know.
E: So I really haven't had a chance to talk to Don in the longest time. I kind of missed him because we use to be a lot closer and communicate — and rap after guild meetings. And sometimes he can't say all the way through them because he's got some other engagement that he has to run to.
Q: Well, of course, he was the unit publicist on the film "Poltergeist." I've been adding new interviews — ("UNDER A") a New Testament section on the web site so I've been able to include Diana Widom ("WHO") from Paramount, of course, and Thomas G. Hayes, Paramount's head of security. The books are sort of tell-all books not only on Hollywood but all aspects of society in general. Like my web site has a section devoted to cover-ups, for example. But, as usual, when word got out about some of my experiences, friends suddenly stopped returning my phone calls and all this gossiping started. For example, Vivian called my brother and said, "I hear your brother's ill." So I called her to show her I'm the same old me. In fact, it turns out that my paternal grand mother's maiden name was the same as Vivian's surname.
E: Yeah. At Warner —
Q: Right. But we're not cousins because the name had been selected upon immigration. But isn't that unusual? The fact that I would have this ancestral line of Boyer that would be her last name? It just sort of was freaky.
E: Yeah. That is weird. I would say, Mark, that if you could — you know, I think what would be possibly most interesting is, you know, kind of your trials and tribulations on the marketing —
Q: Like going on talkshows because everyone wants the Hollywood gossip.
E: Well, whatever. Or maybe the hardest sell in town because, you know, it's viewed as something supernatural. Or something like that. Or what you may have gone through although I don't know. You know we're only talking about a thousand to 1,200 words.
Q: Right. So I'll have to cut it down to 1,200 words.
E: So in any case I don't know what — it sounds to me like you got book and book and books going there.
Q: It's ridiculous. Like, for example, —
E: I mean I can see it going on forty pages, you know?
Q: Oh I know. No, I'll edit it down but — in fact, I had a Mormon couple do some research on ancestry and it turns out that my brother and I are related to film directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Ken Russell —
E: Is that right?
Q: — which might be interesting to —
Q: — the publicists. It's ironic because some days I feel like Joan Fontaine and other days I feel like Roger Daltrey. ("YEAH") But what happened basically, just to let you know, is I went to Oklahoma to investigate a contemporary talking poltergeist haunting. And this was right after I completed a non-fiction manuscript looking at similar cases throughout the centuries such as the nineteenth century Bell Witch case. There was a question on "Jeopardy" over the weekend I heard — my father and mother called me and said, "The Bell Witch was on 'Jeopardy'!"
Q: And the Isle of Man case from the 1930s. What especially intrigued me about those two cases was the Entity in each case had called someone by the nickname 'Pots' and claimed to be an inter-dimensional being. And, of course, these two cases — the people who wrote about them could not have known about the other case. So I discovered that this Oklahoma family also had Bell family ties, which sort of ("SAID") — well, this is like a dynasty of poltergeists like the "Godfather" movies.
Q: Anyway, their Spirit was an amassing of different spirits who manifested in different ways and they nicknamed Him Michael. There has always been so many people named Michael in my life like at Paramount I can't tell you how many Michaels there were when I was there. But actually they think of Him more as an alien than a ghost. ("HOW") However, ("THEY") they did a half hour segment for an ABC special entitled "Ghosts, Mediums, Psychics: Put To The Test" and . . . focused on the poltergeist angle. And I discovered there's a whole series of Michael-channeled books involving this amassing of spirits discussing subjects like reincarnation and karma. So, anyway, when I came back ("YOU KNOW") home from Oklahoma the phenomena continued and I realized ("THAT") the Entity with me is I guess the Angel Mighael (correct spelling). And, of course, the timing of that John Travolta movie was a little more than coincidental it seemed. ("YEAH") Isn't everything? But it was unusual — ("YOU KNOW LIKE" "I'LL") like pennies would materialize around me so I started looking at ("YOU KNOW") all these different Michaels that were in my life. In fact, I know Mike McClay from when I was working as a talent agent. And I know a lot of people with the words like 'son' and 'man' or 'ra' in their names, which ("IS A LOT") it's a long story so I won't get into that.
Q: So I first thought this might be some kind of family curse and I too had a 'Bell' in my ancestry. ("BUT" "IT") It seemed — I went to a hypnotherapist ("AND ALL") and after all these different experiences I'm convinced that I was an Egyptian by the name of Bel-Marduk, which is very close to my pseudonym of course — which sounds really, really flaky.
Q: And he apparently was also known as Ra the priest or Amun-Ra, which — ("YOU KNOW" "YEAH") bizarre.
Q: So, anyway, I found an Egyptian medallion with my likeness on it at a local antique store. How do you like that?
E: Wow. ("SO")
Q: There was a period when Italy produced a lot of replicas of Egyptian artifacts so I think that's where this one comes from. Apparently, Bel-Marduk was the name of the individual credited with the first resurrection story. Of course, there've been those kinds of stories in (tape recorder malfunction) every culture and world mythology, including King Arthur and Frederick II. What I think — anyway, the Spiritual force I've encountered I think is the ("LIKE") the same Angel that Nostradamus wrote about. And, of course, Edgar Cayce was a Mighael channel too. And, of course, Madame Blavatsky referred to the same thing as "the Mahatmas." I don't know if you've ever heard about ("HEARD ABOUT" "MADA[ME]") Blavatsky. Have you?
E: No, I don't think so. ("YEAH") But I've certainly heard about the Mahatmas.
Q: And Nostradamus described one "Mabus" ("AN AN") and I realized that Mabus is an anagram found in Mark Russell Bell. So, anyway, I guess God has always selected individuals to manifest around, such as India's Sai Baba — ("TO" "YOU KNOW") to create metaphors for others. So this time He selected someone who apprenticed as a carpenter in the Hollywood dream factory. So, anyway, ("EVEN") at my web site I have — ("I") channeled three new commandments for the world: Love is the only true religion. Give back to the world as much as you take. And: Thou shalt not participate in cover-ups. I know that sounds completely — people are going to have a tough time with that one.
E: No — I don't know. I think that probably that may make more sense than anything I've heard —
E: — if that's the end result of everything you've been saying before.
E: Listen, if you want to take a fling at it and send it to me. I just, you know, it's — I know I was asking for off-the-wall stuff. This — what you've given me —
E: — what we have here is something which is so wild and outlandish.
Q: I know. It's so wild.
E: — that — I don't know. ("YEAH") I'm certainly not opposed to it at all. And as a matter of fact —
Q: Well, you know what's especially ironic is before I even went to Oklahoma the name of my attorney — his name is Jonathan Handel and he worked at the Writers Guild. Isn't that hilarious?
E: That's wild.
Q: So I think, like, this brief article for the directory could actually, like, prove the existence of God and ("YOU KNOW") provide an interesting thinkpiece for my fellow Hollywood dream factory carpenters.
Q: It's almost like God wants us all to be messengers and save the world. There's just so much unshared wealth in Hollywood.
E: Yeah. Exactly.
Q: And it's all the result of God sharing His divine creativity. I mean the money should be used on environmental concerns and helping others less fortunate than ourselves.
E: Of course.
Q: But, of course, doesn't that sound like a familiar message?
E: Yeah, it does but — and it happens so rarely that — but occasionally you'll get, you know, somebody out there that has got a great name that you find is really doing a tremendous job in a certain area and has been for quite some time. I mean I — the fact that John Denver died in a plane crash recently I just thought was, you know, a really bizarre thing because he was working towards all the stuff that I was interested in working towards and that is the ecology of the world and to quit screwing things up and starving people to death politically.
Q: Oh my God — and he had my role in the "Oh, God!" movie.
E: Yeah. ("YEAH" "NO")
Q: It's very — okay, so I'm going to take a stab at this and I'll send it — now do I send it — I guess Mike will look at it first? Mike McClay or you?
E: Send it over here.
Q: To you.
E: Just to me here on Van Alden Avenue. I'm in the directory.
Q: Okay. Very good. And, by the way, I wasn't in the directory last year because, of course, I went on a sabbatical —
E: Honorable withdrawal.
Q: Right. But they don't put ("LIST") bios in the book — in the directory, I guess, if you're on withdrawal, do you? Do they?
E: I don't really think so. I think that that's — the membership listing as far as I know is like active membership.
Q: Because Michael, my brother, was there and he's on withdrawal too. But I was upset that I wasn't there. But — okay, well, I'll go ahead and send this off to you.
E: Well, I don't know. It's — ("I") I spoke to Marlene on other guild business this morning and I told her that I'd gotten this call from you and was going to be talking to you and she — I said, "What's with Mike?" and she says, "Mm, well, let me look." So she punches up her computer . . . and so forth. And she said, "Well, he's on honorable withdrawal — he went on honorable withdrawal."
Q: So his name was in the directory and mine wasn't and, of course, I like being in the directory.
E: Was he — well okay, yeah, but of course — well, was he — when did he withdraw?
Q: I'm not even sure.
E: But he did withdraw himself, right?
Q: Yes. `
E: At one point, right?
E: Maybe the timing was just as such — you know that book goes together —
Q: I know.
E: — over a three or four month period and it may have been during that particular time. And then what happens —
Q: But can you imagine all the gossip that' going on around about me. I mean it's just unbelievable.
E: Well — (laughs)
Q: I mean it's just hilarious.
E: I think it's amazing. Especially —
Q: People don't want to give their money back to society.
E: — when Vivian Boyer calls you.
Q: Oh well. She's — I've always liked — I mean I don't know her that well. But, of course, I worked with her on "Who's That Girl." There are some interesting reverse messages on Madonna's songs, let me tell you. But, anyway, it's been really interesting —
Q: — so I'll try to capture it. I want to take a Q&A-style format because that's the format of my book so that's why I left that message about taping this call so I —
E: Fine. ("WOULD")
Q: — I could put it into a Q&A style to make it a little different. So, anyway, I'll send it off to you and you'll have to let me know what you think.
E: Alright, sir.
E: Well, if you're willing to do that kind of on a spec idea, why —
Q: Oh definitely.
E: Because basically I want to, you know, I try and direct the directory towards stuff that working publicists — well, things that are — things that would be interesting to working publicists and relevant to working publicists —
Q: Well, it's like you said about, you know, how in —
E: — because it is, after all, a Publicists Guild Directory.
Q: Right. Well — and the environment. I mean we're all — we all have to get really concerned about the environment and what-have-you. And I mean there has to be a method to this madness. I mean there has to be a reason why He's choosing publicists.
Q: I mean, of course, people in public relations do have a very diplomatic job. It is a very spiritually advanced job. I think —
E: Well, it is.
Q: — the truly enlightened ones are in public relations.
E: We work in the world of dreams and the betterment of relationships.
E: You know.
Q: And we're not overpaid.
E: And we're certainly not overpaid for it. What do you think, Mark — are we in the end times right now?
Q: I think we're at the end of the current times and I think there will eventually be a new time where the whole regime changes and we don't have the idolatry. And we don't have Hollywood garbage movies and television stupidity destroying the quality of our basic lives.
E: I think that would be a marvelous time to live in. I don't know whether you and I are going to get a chance to share that age or not but ("MAYBE WE") who knows?
Q: Well, maybe we can even help bring it about.
E: Depends on when it comes. Nobody seems to think it's going to come in two years.
Q: Well, I — ("I DON'T KNOW")
E: The end of the millennium and all that stuff.
Q: We can only do what we can because everyone has, you know, free choice. So we can all each only give back as much as we can and hope that it helps others — to motivate others.
E: Exactly. Exactly.
Q: Okay, well it's nice speaking —
E: It's all been positive stuff so yeah —
Q: — it's a metaphor story. What can I say?
E: Write it and include your trip to Oklahoma if you can work that in.
Q: What I'll do is I'll go ahead and take the transcript and just try to edit down the transcript just to communicate the key points.
E: Okay, my friend.
E: Just as long as it doesn't sound so bizarre because I — the one thing I don't want to do is be responsible somehow or another of enhancing the fact that Mark has really gone off the deep end out there. In case you —
Q: Well maybe that would be a good way to conclude — maybe having you saying that would be a good way to conclude it even.
E: (laughs) Okay.
E: Let me see what —
Q: I will.
E: — let me see what you got and then I'll have a better fix on it.
E: Thanks, pal.
Q: Okay, bye.
E: Bye bye.