For the past couple of days I have received several rather odd and
unsolicited E-mails from an individual who identifies him or herself as
Missile Toe. Missile Toe has praised my writing and my honesty and then
explained that he or she had a story to tell me. My first reaction to
this, was the realization that every sucker gambit first begins with
faint praise, you're so smart or you're so handsome that it must be you I
share the riches of the Nigerian treasury with.
Anyway, the story was told to me like this; Missile Toe is an individual
who is now dying of cancer somewhere in Southern California. He or she
will not tell me their gender out of fear of what might befall their
families if his or her actual identity were ever to become known to the
public. In the early 1950's, Missile Toe had worked on the Warner
Brother's movie studio lot in an undisclosed position. He or she then
went on to work in a similar position for General Electric's True
Theater starring none other than the future President, Ronald Wilson
Missile Toe's boss was the liaison between the studio executives and
G.E's corporate headquarters. The boss told Missile Toe that his job in
Hollywood was to protect Reagan from any sort of scandal because in his
words, "The boys upstairs have big plans for that man." Missile Toe
explained that he didn't put much credence into what his boss had told
him about Reagan until some strange events began to occur.
During the 1940's when Reagan was making his war films there had been an
actor in Hollywood who worked as Reagan's stunt double. This actor was
named David Michael Breedlove and that Breedlove's physical similarity
to Reagan was uncanny, so much so, that Breedlove would also double for
Reagan off screen at charity events.
One day Missile Toe was reporting to his or her boss about production
difficulties when a man appearing to be Ronald Reagan entered the room.
He looked at Missile Toe and asked, "You remember me, don't you?"
Missile Toe responded, "Sure, you're Ronald Reagan," when he said this
the two men in the room burst into laughter. Missile Toe then asked,
To which Reagan answered, "No, you got it right the first time, I'm
Ronald Reagan." At this point both men broke into laughter once again
and Reagan asked, "Whose David?"
Missile Toe answered, "You know perfectly well who David is, he was your stunt double for years."
Reagan answered, "Never heard of him."
Missile Toe just assumed that Reagan or Breedlove was putting him on,
but several weeks later Missile Toe knew from the shooting schedule that
Reagan was due to be out of town in Pennsylvania making a speech for GE
when he bumped into Reagan outside of his bosses office.
Missile Toe then asked his boss, "What's Reagan doing here? I thought he was out of town making a speech?"
His boss merely put his fingers to his lips and said, "Shhh!"
Missile Toe explained that, he or she took it as an inside joke, because
there were lots of secrets in Hollywood, at the time, which weren't
spoken about in the light of day. These coincidences were soon forgotten
and faded from memory.
As the production ended for the season, Missile Toe was required to
collate and corroborate all of the invoices from the production and as
Missile Toe worked late one night he or she came across an invoice which
could not be explained. It was a health insurance claim in the amount
of $ 9,000. That was the price of five new cars in the 1950's but
Missile Toe explained, that what stunned him or her was not so much the
dollar amount of the invoice, but the name which was listed on the
invoice as, you guessed it, David M. Breedlove. The invoice further
stated that it was an insurance claim for the cost to perform facial
reconstructive surgery and Missile Toe already knew, all too well, that
Breedlove had never been cast in any of the studios recent productions.
Missile Toe presented the invoice to the liaison from GE. The liaison
took a look at the insurance claim then folded it in half and placed it
in his desk drawer. Missile Toe asked, "What's this all about, Breedlove
has never worked here?"
The boss explained, "That's the companies business, not yours, if you
value your job and your future here you'll forget you ever saw it."
Missile Toe also maintains that Reagan had a substance and alcohol
problem that one day during shooting he overheard the director say,
"He's drunk and fucked up on pills again, call you know who." Missile
Toe felt certain that the call was about to be made to Reagan's bosses
at GE, but less than thirty minutes later, there was Reagan in costume
and sober as a judge.
Prior to these revelations Missile Toe had always held Reagan in high
regard because he or she had thought of him as a man with infinite
patience. "With my own eyes I had witnessed the stormy relationship
between Reagan and his wife Nancy. Mrs. Reagan would charge onto the lot
screaming obscenities at Reagan and some of their fights in the studio
trailers were legendary. One day after such an argument Regan emerged
from the trailer, and told the staff, "Don't bother trying to clean it
up, just haul it off and burn it.
Regan's shirt was torn and his face was obviously swollen and there were
red scratches on his neck. Mrs. Reagan left the back lot that day by
private ambulance for a trip; it was later explained, to a sanitarium in
Palm Springs. I thought that apparently, the worst had happened, he
had snapped, because I saw Reagan resting his hand in a bucket of ice,
not ten minutes after this, his face swollen with scratches on his neck.
Yet when the Dailies were run, there was Reagan uninjured. It became
obvious to me that there were two Ronald Reagan's prowling the back lot.
I knew that Reagan had two trailers on the lot and I had assumed that
the second one was his sanctuary, a place for him to just disappear or
perhaps entertain young starlets or whatever. This certainty that there
were two Reagan's compelled me to create a ruse, with my arm filled with
envelopes I knocked on the door of trailer nine, the one which I had
suspected was Reagan's hideaway at a time when I knew Reagan was
supposed to be on the set. A voice similar to Reagan's asked, "Yes what
"I've got your mail, I answered,
"I can't come out right now, I'm not decent."
"Just unlock the door and I'll slip inside," but the voice answered, "I can't do that, go away!"
This was the way things were in Hollywood back in the old days, stars
had public and private lives and they were kept well separated. When
Reagan ran for Governor of California I laughed after the media had
reported on Reagan's grueling campaign schedule. Even after Reagan was
elected Governor it had all just been funny to me, so what, if the
Governor has a body double, how nice that would be if we all could have
one. I moved on with my career and raised my family and I knew better
than to make any waves about these things which I had witnessed and knew
to be true.
It was during the summer of 1977, when there was this party in
Hollywood. It was one of those types of Hollywood parties which the
press doesn't report about, but at this particular party there was a
shooting. Eye witnesses relayed the story to me a week or so afterwards,
but I had already heard something about it in the wind from a blood
relative. This blood relative of mine (now deceased) had worked in the
Los Angeles county coroners office and told me, "You know, it was the
damnedest thing, we had a body come in the other day that looked just
like Ronald Reagan and what made it really weird was this guy had died
of a gun shot wound and there was no police report.
Within two hours a funeral home came and picked up the body, no autopsy, no investigation, no nothing."
I asked, already suspecting the answer, "Was his name Breedlove?"
"Yeah, I think it was, how did you know?"
I played it off as a Hollywood inside secret, but the real secret I kept hidden away.
The rumors circulated all around town with differing variables, Nancy
was drunk and had taken a shot at him but had missed. Or she had taken a
shot at him and had just nicked him or even that he was seriously
wounded but had made a full recovery in a distant sanitarium under an
assumed name. I was content to keep my mouth shut, because to open it
would have been to invite disaster and had that man Ronald Reagan or
David Breedlove never been elected President, I would have never said
another word about it, even now.
My time on this Earth is now measured in weeks, if not days, I must tell
what I know to be true before I leave here. I must, I have been a fan
of your writing for quite some time and you have always seemed to tell
the truth even when it has been unflattering towards yourself. So this
is my departing gift to you, and maybe, it will help you or maybe it
will become a millstone around your neck. I have faith that you will
tell this story either way and either way, I have no one else to whom I
can tell it too." -- Missile Toe
The E-mails I received were mirrored; when I tried to reply to them they
simply bounced back. I have no evidence to the veracity of them. I must
fall back instead on to the motivation for these messages, perhaps they
are all untrue fabrications and perhaps, I am being made a fool of. I
have been made a fool of before, I've been married before, you know. If
these things are untrue then I am being made the butt of a joke, but if
they are true, then we are all being made fools of. Then not only did a
bad actor become the President of these United States, but a bad actor
dead three years became the President, replaced by his stunt double. It
now appears quite possible that the age of Presidential puppetry began
twenty years sooner than we had imagined. It creates a Pandora's Box
which asks and answers a myriad of questions.