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In the days of darkness Man's only ray of hope was the Lord of Light...
   


The CIA, the Lord of Light Project, and Science Fiction Land


ARGO: a 2012 very cool, very catchy action-based fiction film of Deception
of a 2007 Wired Magazine True story
based upon a 1980 CIA Real-life Rescue. Got That?

 

Regarding the somewhat fictionalized" movie ARGO, the actual and wild Truth of the matter is stranger than any fiction. In Real Life, as admitted by the Real Tony Mendez:

  • No "Script" was ever purchased by the CIA.
  • No "Storyboards" were ever made by the CIA.
  • There were no "halts at the last second" by Washington command.
Had the Science Fiction Land project not run into legal troubles exactly when it did, John Chambers would not have offered the Lord of Light script and production designs to Tony Mendez, in the CIA's hour of desperate need. There was no "pile of scripts" like the film's writer fictionalizes. Mendez's group was already turned down in December. But Lord of Light's script and drawings were perfect for Iran's locations in their desert, with bazzars, temples, etc. Without Geller's Lord of Light Script and Jack Kirby's Lord of Light / Science Fiction Land drawings, there would not have been Argo at all, mission or film.
  • In 2001, I learned that CIA agent Tony Mendez used my screenplay, Lord of Light, along with Jack Kirby's production illustrations which we designed together, as cornerstones of the cover story used to rescue six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis. Mendez changed the screenplay's name from Lord of Light to Argo. The Hollywood film Argo is based on this story. The film focuses on the CIA rescue, but leaves out so much of the true story that made the mission possible. Basically, my designs and script was used as the mission's cover -- while it did not perform any other functions, the mission could not have been done without it.

  • I am deeply dissappointed to hear of the elimination of the true role Barry Ira Geller's Lord of Light film project and its Jack Kirby production designs played in the real-life caper. My promotion of the film in 1979 was to bring attention to our extraorinary mental powers just as Star Wars brought recognition of life in the Galaxy. The Science Fiction ThemePark was an extention of this, to expand the imagination of children by bringing together the greatest scientists and new technologies utilized completely for an entertainment basis. This is where I brought in Futurists like Ray Bradbury, Paolo Soleri (Arcology), and Buckminster Fuller (Geodesic Dome) as consultants. Knowing we were changing the future, the Themepark/Film Project became the grandest dream for all of us, perhaps even the culmination of a life's work for several of my collaborators -- including myself.

  • The plan to use a desert-based SCIFI movie as the very basis to get the six Americans out of Iran was totally John Chambers' idea, based upon his recent employment for my film production, Lord of Light; John Chambers did everything out of patriotism to our country and deserves the credit for imagining this caper -- which he has never publicly received. I am the first to admit however, and always to his own credit, the real Tony Mendez had the greatest chutzpah and pulled off an unbelievable and amazing feat which really saved those lives and he deserves great applause -- which I will always give him.

  • The Oscar-winning John Chambers was actually Mendez' consultant and makeup master for many years, (not Jack Kirby, which Argo alludes) of which John recieved an award from the CIA. John helped Mendez for what he considered his patriotic duty. Mendez and the State Department were desparate. The situation was desparate. John said, "we can do a movie" -- and, thinking that the Lord of Light project was deceased, he gave Mendez his copy of my screenplay and the production designs which were based upon it, the designs Jack Kirby and I had worked so hard on together. I do not blame him. When I first saw the real Mendez' own admission to purloining my production work in the Errol Morris clip below, I was amazed. Unfortunately, this Reality, of my stolen script and production designs, of Jack Kirby's and John Chambers' true involvement is completely fabricated and left out of Affleck's film Argo. To me, this represents a lost legacy of American and Hollywood ingenuity.

    Although I do understand that the film Argo is a fictionalized account -- which Mr. Affleck did not want his character to portray doing actual theft of my and Jack Kirby's work, I am deeply disappointed that the film leaves out our central role in this important American story -- or at least some form of acknowledgement.

  • Argo's tagline is: The movie was fake. The mission was real. But the movie wasn't fake, it was a screenplay that I adapted from Roger Zelazny's best-selling novel which I'd purchased the rights to, and it was part of a greater vision that included creating the world's first science fiction theme park, Science Fiction Land.

  • I didn't do it alone. The legendary Jack Kirby and the great John Chambers, Ray Bradbury, Buckminster Fuller, and Arcology architect Paolo Soleri were central to my team and to the vision of Lord of Light and Science Fiction Land. I had some really good ideas they all believed in -- and together we deeply believed in the goals of the project, we shared ideas, and all helped me bring my plans and dreams to life.

  • The 2007 Wired article (linked here) at least comes the closest to the Truth. The documentary about Geller and his attempts to film Lord of Light and create a huge SciFi theme park called ScienceFictionLand is currently being producted by award-winning documentary director Judd Ehrlich. A Kickstarter campaign has completed financing and it will be in theaters in the coming months. The documentary explores the true story behind Argo, which is more layered and wilder than any fictional account. In that I was building a super Science Fiction theme park and extablishing a Foundation for technological advancements, the Doc is also about that would have happened if the dream of SFL materialized.. You have to see it to believe it!

  • In real-life Intelligence circles, it is known the Iran Caper would not have been approved at all if President Carter and/or the State Department hadn't felt the Lord of Light/Kirby/Chambers' cover story idea and "window dressing" designs were a viable and plausible exfiltration operation.
  • When one looks at the Jack Kirby Lord of Light Drawings, with their Hindu & Middle Eastern themes, it is just impossible to separate the drawings from Real Argo caper, and from the success of its mission. After all, it was meant to be a deception! The film, Argo, depicts a fake Hollywood production company, but the truth is that these were real-life blueprints made by a VERY REAL Hollywood team.

    But I reiterate, regardless of everything, I applaud Tony Mendez's balls and bravery and all those other real-life heroes who, like the Canadian Ambassador, risked it all to save the lives of those six Americans. To me, the connection to the Lord of Light Project and the safe return of the six Americans will always be a reality of the connectivity of Life.


In the winter of 1979, after more than a year's preliminary development and upwards of one Million in pre-production fund-raising, spanning potential sites from Reno, Nevada, to Toronto, Canada, then Mirabel, Quebec -- 1000 acres were finally leased for a Theme Park called ScienceFictionLand, set to be built in Aurora Country just outside of Denver, Colorado. The Park's buildings were to be based upon the production designs and sets of the film, Lord of Light, designed by Jack Kirby and Barry Ira Geller, brilliantly drawn by Jack Kirby.

The Producer's vision (in 1979) was to bring together the greatest scientific minds, artists, and businessmen of his generation. This vision was to include computer-controlled rides, magneticaly levitating cars operated by voice command, billboard-sized Holography, a bullet-train from Japan, and many other venues for children to envision the future. The park was heralded in the press as the first theme park ever to become a center for new technologies invented, developed, and presented to the public solely on an entertainment basis. Commercial applications of new technologies would further act as continuing revenue for scientific, educational, and research foundations set up by the parent company. The creation of the Theme Park ScienceFictionLand was also the Producer's plan for the funding of the film, Lord of Light.

Fortune 500 companies around the world had been contacted to act as sponsors. Internationally acclaimed scientists, architects, and engineers were intrigued and several had begun work on Research and Development. Future Technologists like Buckminster Fuller, Paolo Soleri, and Ray Bradbury were enlisted to come in as consultants. The 3M company had already expressed interest in building a 1/2 mile high Floating Heated Dome (based upon Buckminster Fuller's original designs for air-conditioning NYC during its 1960s World Fair) over the entire park. The film's financing was contingent upon the development of the themepark.

From the Business Development section: "During the period of 1978-1980, (the last time the project was publically promoted and prior to the CIA story covered elswhere on this site), professional associations included: a seasoned financial manager who managed four Studio heads, a Major Studio promise of distribution, an Oscar-winning actor's promise of participation, an Oscar-winning Makeup Special effects director's employment, the employment of the creative artist/designer responsible for 50% of the Comics Industry, two of the world's top science fiction writers consulting, two of the world's leading achitects, and last but not least the personal involvement of one of the world's most famous inventors. It was described as a property whose vast resources both creative and financial talent appreciated."

Production funding began to materialize but was stopped due in no small part to the publicity regarding the actions of the project's supervising producer who was charged with security violations and caught plotting secret real estate purchases with the local mayor and city council. All were later convicted; the Producer's innocence was immediately proven in court and he was completely exonerated.

Strangely, coincidentally, the project's troubles came to public light (after a raid on our production offices in Denver by the FBI-backed DA's office) on almost the exact days the CIA/Agent Mendez admits to coming up with his Film Cover Story (Argo Productions) and shortly afterwards purloining the Lord of Light production drawings and script. It was the Lord of Light larger-than-life science fiction script and production designs, created by Kirby and Geller, which proved to be the foundation for the success of the CIA's mission. (see Mendez story below. Bravo TV's film clip, where Mendez explains the details of how he used the production designs and scripts as his cover, is available upon request). Our existing interim financing (about 1/3 of the film's budget) was frozen at the banks in late December, 1979, just around the time the CIA was organizing it's "Production." The End.

It took almost two years for the Producer to restructure the original investment partnership using two of the top legal firms in the Western United States, completely clearing and protecting the book rights beyond any legal question. Nothing has been done with the Lord of Light Project since that time.

Our Chief of Makeup Special Effects in 1979 was the revered Oscar Winner, John Chambers (Planet of the Apes, etc.). John had briefly mentioned to me he'd been doing some "special" makeup work for the Government, months before. In actual fact, John was the CIA's true Master Disguise creator for quite some time, spanning many covert operations. According to the article below CIA Operative Mendez (who wrote the article) received the Lord of Light development package from "Jerome" -- John Chambers -- about a week after the raid on our Denver offices. The Lord of Light material was stolen ("appropriated" ) by CIA Agent Antonio Mendez to form a phony Hollywood film company called Studio Six Productions.

By using Geller's script and the Jack Kirby / Barry Geller production drawings from the Lord of Light project, the happy ending of the the operation (called an "exfiltration") resulted in the successful rescue of six Americans hiding in the Canadian Embassy during the Iran Crisis. John Chambers died just after the release of Mendez's book admitting the events, and few people in the industry know of all the dedicated work he'd accomplished for his government.

These facts only became known to us in 2000, when we were approached by Bravo Television for permission to use some Lord of Light Production drawings for a filmed interview on Mendez by Errol Morris' First Person, where Mendez openly admitted the theft of the script and production drawings to create the greatest deception ever. The full video is copyrighted by Bravo and is available from us upon request or from Amazon.com; the short clip mentioning the Lord of Light is below.

Regardless of anything that occurred and the means by which the CIA used, I nevertheless applaud the success of Mendez's mission, John's heretofor unknown and unsung patriotism, and the safe return of six American lives.

The Quicktime Bravo TV clip may take a few seconds to load & runs approximately 4 minutes.

The film clip is copyrighted © 2000-2001 by Errol Morris/Bravo TV, "The Little Gray Man". It is displayed for informational pruposes only and in accordance with Fair Use sections of U.S. Copyright laws.

Here is the long sought CIA article by Tony Mendez in his Official Briefing to the CIA of the actual operation (sans true names and facts about me, John, Jack).

And Now, from the May, 2007 issue of Wired Magazine, The story regarding how the Lord of Light screenplay and Kirby drawings were used to help free 6 Americans trapped in Iran.


Copyright (c) 1978-2013 Barry Ira Geller, Lord of Light Company All worldwide Rights Reserved. All the Drawings and Text on this site are the property of and copyright of Barry Ira Geller. Copying, downloading or use of any images found on this site, is expressly prohibited and forbidden. Unless prior consent is negotiated in writing, the purchase of any Lord of Light-Jack Kirby prints is a single one-time private purchase only for your personal use and does not in any way convey any further rights, title, or interest whatsoever -- other than to hang them on your wall :-) Violators will be prosecuted according to the fullest extent of applicable laws.