January 7, 2017

20,000 Vinyl LPs 75: Howard Hughes & the Clifford Irving hoax

Howard Hughes Press Conference
January 7, 1972
vinyl LP album cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®


45 years ago today, on January 7, 1972, Howard Hughes, the reclusive billionaire, spoke to reporters and revealed the autobiography about him by Clifford Irving to be a spectacular hoax. Irving had convinced his publisher that he'd been commissioned by Hughes to write his biography. At the time it was an international literary scandal.   

This is the vinyl LP recording, by Wayne Thomis, of that interview. The record contains actual voice recordings from a telephonic news conference on January 7, 1972. Thomis, the Aviation Editor for the Chicago Tribune at the time, conducts the interview and narrates the documentary. The record was released in 1972 by Mark 56 Records.  

 




Howard Hughes Press Conference
January 7, 1972
vinyl LP album cover
photo by Styrous®



Clifford Irving is an American novelist and investigative reporter. Although he has published 20 novels, he is best known for this fictional autobiography of Hughes, which was to be published in 1972. After Hughes denounced him and sued the publisher, McGraw-Hill, Irving and his collaborators confessed to the hoax. Irving was sentenced to 2 12 years in prison, of which he served 17 months.    


Howard Hughes Press Conference
January 7, 1972
vinyl LP album cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®



In 1970, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Irving met with Richard Suskind, a longtime friend who was an author of children's books. They conceived a scheme to write Hughes' purported "autobiography." Irving and Suskind believed that, because Hughes had completely withdrawn from public life, he would never draw attention by denouncing such a book or filing a lawsuit for libel. Suskind took on the work of research in news archives. Irving started by enlisting the aid of artist and writer friends on Ibiza in order to create letters in Hughes' own hand, imitating authentic letters they had seen displayed in Newsweek magazine.         

Irving contacted his publisher, McGraw-Hill, and said that Hughes had corresponded with him, saying he admired Irving's book about de Hory. Further, Hughes had expressed interest in Irving's ghost writing the millionaire's autobiography. The McGraw-Hill editors invited Irving to New York, where the publishers drafted contracts among Hughes, Irving, and the company. Irving and his friends forged Hughes' signatures. McGraw-Hill paid an advance of US$100,000, with an additional US$400,000 to be paid to Hughes. Irving later bargained the sum up to US$765,000. McGraw-Hill paid by checks made out to "H. R. Hughes", which Irving's Swiss wife Edith deposited to a Swiss bank account which she had opened under the name of "Helga R. Hughes".   



Howard Hughes Press Conference
January 7, 1972
vinyl LP album cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®



Irving wrote The Hoax (1981), his account of events surrounding the development and sale of the fake autobiography. The book was adapted as a 2006 biopic of the same name, starring Richard Gere as Clifford Irving and directed by Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallström. The screenplay by William Wheeler is based on the book. It recounts Irving's elaborate hoax of publishing an autobiography of Howard Hughes that he purportedly helped write, without ever having talked with Hughes. The film was ranked as one of the Top 10 of the year by the Los Angeles Times and Newsweek.     



Howard Hughes Press Conference
January 7, 1972
vinyl LP album back cover
photo by Styrous®


Irving has continued to write, and publishes his books as e-books which are available via Kindle and Nook.  



Howard Hughes Press Conference
January 7, 1972
vinyl LP album back cover details
detail photo by Styrous®


Wayne Thomis was a Chicago Tribune reporter who covered wars, gangland murders, labor strife, atomic bomb tests, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy but, most of all the history of aviation, died on Wednesday, September 29, 1988, in Ft. Lauderdale. He was 80.    

For 40 years, from 1932 until his retirement from The Tribune in 1972, Mr. Thomis covered virtually every ``first`` in American aviation.     


Howard Hughes Press Conference
January 7, 1972
vinyl LP label, side 1
detail photo by Styrous®


Howard Hughes Press Conference
January 7, 1972
vinyl LP label, side 2
detail photo by Styrous®



Tracklist:  

Side 1: Howard Hughes Interview With Wayne Thomis    
Side 2: Howard Hughes Interview With Wayne Thomis    

Companies, etc.

    Record Company – Mark56 Records – 580-A

Credits:   

    Producer – George Garabedian

Barcode and Other Identifiers:

    Label Code: 580-A

YouTube: 60 minutes ~ Will the Real Howard Hughes         
YouTube links         
     
    
        
         
Styrous® ~ Saturday, January 7, 2017


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