A Tale of Ghostwriters & Alien Landings
Los Angeles Times 11-16-97
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: When you're promoting your life story, especially when that story turns into a bestseller about flying saucers, it's not a good idea to let your son butt in on the press junket, assault the publicist and threaten the life of the producer who owns the movie rights.
That's allegedly what happened after Col. Philip J. Corso's ghostwritten memoir, "The Day After Roswell," was published this summer, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. Named as defendants are Col. Corso and his son, Philip Jr., accused by producer Neil Russell of failing to promote the book after a dispute over money.
The hardback spent three weeks in August on the New York Times bestseller list, rising to No. 12 before dropping off the radar. A favorite of UFO buffs, it propounds that the laser, the microchip and fiber-optics were developed from technology gleaned from an alien spacecraft that crashed 50 years ago in the desert near Roswell, N.M.
During a 21-year military career, Corso was a key intelligence officer who served on Gen. Douglas MacArthur's staff in Korea and as a National Security Advisor to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Russell says in his suit that he bought the rights to Corso's life story in 1992, then decided it would be lucrative to publish a book and then release a movie version.
The dispute began at a meeting in April or May when, the suit states, Corso's son "demanded extraordinary amounts of money" pending the book's release.
Afterward, the suit contends, Corso Jr. interfered with interviews, assaulted Russell and a Simon & Schuster publicist, and threatened Russell's life--all at the colonel's behest. The colonel, meanwhile, is accused of trying to negotiate a better movie deal with someone else.
Because of the Corsos' behavior, the suit alleges, Simon & Schuster and its Pocket Books division canceled negotiations for future book deals.
Russell and his production company are seeking unspecified damages, as well as punitive damages and a restraining order preventing the Corsos from calling or threatening Russell and his family.
Neither Russell nor his lawyer, Martin J. Singer, had any comment. Corso's publicist at Pocket Books had no comment and said she didn't know how to reach him. Other attempts to reach Corso were unsuccessful.

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