John Jopson

Re: Additional Insight on the Alien Autopsy

January 15, 1999


Thanks for forwarding that. Don's story is pretty accurate from my perspective. And I concur with his summary: "Bull shit!" However, as I was primarily filming on location in London, Roswell and elsewhere, I wasn't privy to what went on in the production office. I can certainly fill in a few blanks with regard to my own experience on the film, my time with Santilli, and private investigator Bill Dear.

As I have already detailed on numerous occasions my history with Kiviat as well as how I came on to the Alien Autopsy project, I won't elaborate here. I should add however, since the "World's Greatest Hoaxes" has brought it all up again, that the events and experiences on the Alien Autopsy did have direct and relevant connections to the accusations made against me regarding the Snow Walker film (that I was the hoaxer), but that has also been covered elsewhere. 

Although I conducted all the Roswell interviews for the Alien Autopsy film (Walter Haut, Dr. Jesse Marcell, Kevin Randle, Frankie Rowe) among many others, it's really the London story that needs to be clarified. I went to London to accomplish three things: To film the background story, conduct the interviews with Ray Santilli, Dr C.M. Milroy and Philip Mantle, and to retrieve those supposedly original frames of film to take to Kodak for analysis. As I have said repeatedly and loudly, my immediate response upon meeting Santilli was that he's a fraud. I had gone into the project with an open mind. I thought the footage was suspect - but more because I'm a skeptic than because of anything in the footage. I think the footage left everyone, even the most skeptical, with a "wow, what if?" feeling upon the first viewing. (I had only seen it twice before leaving for London and at that time no other experts had yet screened it.) But Santilli's evasiveness and shady demeanour were just too much. Bear in mind this was early days. He had only done that London "grand unveiling" thus far and at that point he was an unknown entity. 

Santilli was still negotiating his deal with Fox when I pitched up to his office, so he held up the interview until the signed contract arrived, which give me some time to look into his background. Again, this has been detailed ad nauseam elsewhere, but let me make one thing clear: I did warn Kiviat and Fox that they were dealing with a major fraud here and asked for time to investigate - and I made the request at this point to bring in my private eye friend, Bill Dear. (More on Bill later). It was then made clear to me that if the footage was exposed as a hoax before the show aired, the ratings would suffer. (I highlight this because it was the turning point for me and for my producer Andy Schatzberg. We wanted to make, and argued for, a real investigative film - so after this there was a considerable amount of tension and distrust). The rest is ratings history. Whether they (Fox and Kiviat) knew or were actually in on the hoax from the beginning, I still don't know but I have had and continue to have my suspicions. They certainly made a whole lot of money from it. In any case, from then on we were just making entertainment and any thoughts of a journalistic "fact or fiction" approach went out the window. By the time we got to the editing room it was an exercise in frustration since we had to skip over or minimize the many discrepancies and obvious questions Santilli's story presented. Of course there is always manipulation in editing, but it was frustrating to see the words of Bill Dear, Kevin Randle, Stan Winston, and others who had made clear their belief that the footage was a hoax, twisted or cut out altogether to fit the Fox agenda. Nevertheless, I edited what I think is a pretty entertaining opening act.

The film frames were a complete joke. I had been shooting film for more than 20 years already, so to have these few frames in my hand that were so clearly selected for their lack of information, both in terms of Kodak markings and more importantly what was on the exposed film - nothing. 

I had acquired the rights to William C. Dear's magnificent book "The Dungeon Master" based on his investigation into a young genius who had disappeared while playing Dungeons and Dragons on a college campus. Bill and I had become friends and we were working together on an outline for the screenplay. I had tagged along with him on a few stakeouts - he really lived the classic private eye life, had all the 007 gadgets, and I knew he would make a great addition to the Fox special. They did agree to bring him on board, but then only allowed him to investigate the "mystery cameraman", and that was a sham. As they did with Don Ecker, they gave Bill no time to really follow up any true leads, so we ended up with a pretty-much staged hidden camera interview with another mystery cameraman. Again it was just filler and fodder. There was never any attempt on the part of the investigation team, or rather the producers, to find the cameraman, probably because they knew he didn't exist. If they had given Bill the go ahead then and there, he would have busted Santilli in a matter of days. Bill was certainly disappointed, and frustrated at being held back.

In light of "The World's Greatest Hoaxes" none of the above makes much difference now, but good to be on the record. As for the segment on the Snow Walker footage - what a wank!

Johnny J.

From:   <>

Subject:Additional insight on the Alien Autopsy?

Date: January 12, 1999 12:24:52 PM GMT+01:00

To: John Jopson <>

John, wondering if you’d care to comment and/or add your thoughts...


Insight On The Fox Special and Kiviat

From: Don Ecker <>

Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 23:16:32 -0800

Fwd Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 13:59:58 -0500

Subject: Insight On The Fox Special and Kiviat

OK, another viewpoint on Kiviat and the Alien Autopsy


Don Ecker


UFO UpDates - Toronto wrote:

>"Alien Autopsy" a Hoax, Fox Says

>by Bridget Byrne

>December 11, 1998, 5:20 p.m. PT



>In fact, World's Greatest Hoaxes: Secrets Finally Revealed,

>hosted by *Lance Henriksen and airing December 28 at 8 p.m., is

>executive produced by Robert Kiviat, the same guy who made the

>ratings-friendly Alien Autopsy.

>Kiviat says that the idea to do a special on hoaxes came about

>when he was looking at footage for inclusion in his 1997 Fox

>special, UFO's, The Best Evidence Ever Caught on Tape. He

>wondered how some of the stuff was created.

>According to a flamboyant Fox press release, the latest hourlong

>special uses "NASA-type video enhancements" to shed new light on

>how the peep into alien innards--"one of the biggest hoaxes of

>all time"--was accomplished.

Hello all. I find this topic highly amusing. You see, it was I

who originally brought this topic to Bob Kiviat at FOX.

I had worked with Kiviat as a commentator on both the "old"

"Sightings" program and then "Encounters". I had been involved

with a number of different stories.

In November, 1993 my wife and I were both invited to speak a the

"UFO World Congress" in Vienna. Other participants included

Jenny Randles, John Spencer and Phil Mantle, all then with

BUFORA. Phil Mantle first mentioned what would become the "Alien

Autopsy" to me at that time. Because there was no other

supporting evidence I gave it less than my full attention. That

was to change a year later.

The following year, just about Christmas is when I received a

phone call from an associate in the UK. I was told that possibly

none other than Rupert Murdock (Grand Poo-Bah) of FOX had

purchased this excerpt from secret Roswell film footage. Could I

check it out? Part of this corrupted story had the footage also

being held by Steven Speilberg, and rumors were rife. Knowing a

number of producers at FOX I chose to call Kiviat because of my

previous dealings with him. I gave him the story I had them,

telling him what I had heard concerning the possibility that

Ruppert Murdock had acquired the footage. Would he please check

on it. He ran it past a few people, and found out that Murdock

had NOT acquired this film. "But I will check it out Don! If

anything happens I want you on board with this." I settled in to


Several months went by and Kiviat ended up traveling to the UK

for the grand unveiling of the footage. A number of UFO notables

were there, both from the U.S. and the UK and in Europe. Kiviat

was blown away after seeing this. How do I know? He told me at

the time. FOX began to negotiate with Ray Santilli for the right

to air it in the U.S.

A lot more happened of course, we covered this in the pages of

UFO Magazine.

I interviewed Santilli myself, and was lied to as I later found

out. I spoke to several exec's at Kodak about the film. Bob

Shell ended up becoming involved. I must admit, at the time I

did think this could have been real. I wanted to investigate the

alleged cameraman that supposedly sold the film to Santilli. The

combat photographers that ended up becoming involved thru Kent

Jeffrey, came from me.

At that time I was doing my weekly radio show, UFOs Tonite! and

one of my faithful listeners put me in touch with his father who

had been a combat photographer with the U.S. Military. Several

other WW II combat photographer vets were interested in this

footage and looked at it. Jeffrey was then pushing the Roswell

Declaration and appeared on my show. He asked me to put some of

these vets in touch with him which I did. A couple of them were

later interviewed on TV where they spoke about this footage and

why they thought it was not real.

Bob Shell also came on my show to speak about this. By this time

I had been faxed a copy of the "Cameraman's statement" that

Shell later spoke about that came from the UK. I was very

suspicious because being a veteran myself, several passages in

it did not sound like they would come from an American GI, but

did sound like how a Brit would say it. Shell claimed twice on

my show that he had spoken to the cameraman. Later this was

proven not to be true. But back to Kiviat.

Kiviat had promised me that I was the guy who would run a full

investigation on this cameraman. He literally kept me hanging

for a couple of months. He also promised me that as soon as he

had gotten the tape from the UK he would bring me in to see it.

Excitement was running high everywhere about this potential

"smoking gun". Not having heard from Kiviat in weeks, I called

him a number of times.

Finally after my show one Saturday eve, in very early August he

called me at home late. He had the footage and asked me and my

wife to meet him Sunday morning at his office. We got there

about 10:30 or 11:00 AM. Now this was just about two weeks

before the airing of the show. Last minute stuff if you are

going to conduct a real in-depth investigation on somebody.

We viewed the film and Kiviat was ecstatic about it. Jonathan

Frakes was hired to host it after (according to Kiviat) several

"heavy hitters" in the news biz turned him down. (If memory

serves, Connie Chung was one.) Now he wanted me to start. Right

then and there and work at his office for the next two weeks.

Here was my desk, with telephone and everything! (He pointed it

out to me.) Oh yes, there was one problem. They didn't have a

budget to compensate me. (I suppose it was blown on Bob's trip

to England, buying the rights from Santilli and what they had to

pay to Frakes.) Of course my day job at UFO Magazine ( our staff

then was just 3 ) would be augmented by the status of working on

this show.

So to sum up, I could investigate the camera guy to my hearts

content for about a week or so. Not the way I would run this

railroad. I passed on this deal. The rest, as they say is

history. I had real bad feelings about this whole deal from that

point on. Of course Kiviat was and is in the business of selling

programing to TV. As we all should know, TV eats it young,

always has and always will. It is just how that business works.

And lets be honest, sometimes the truth gets in the way of a

good story. Ho-Hum.

>Kiviat, who says he always doubted the truth of the alien

>autopsy, describes his specials as having "a documentary spin."

Ok, and now for my final word on the above;

Bull Shit.


Don Ecker

UFO Magazine