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    Wasn t Howard Hughes just a tool and die maker once - tool and die makers have the hands, of artists, often doing the finest work known to mankind...... they
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 16, 2003
      Wasn't Howard Hughes "just a tool and die maker" once - tool and die
      makers have the hands, of artists, often doing the finest work known to

      they should be included in the "arts and sciences" - others take their
      craftsmanship and make a lot of money - and this man dares insist a
      "tool and die maker" unworth to be a "sexed up spy" for the CIA or
      Mossad or KGB or whatever.

      This Vreeland looks like a patriot who saw stuff and did not like what
      was happening.....

      Just a Tool and Die Maker? Like this William F. Buckley and "valet"
      aboard the SS United States back that day in 1958 (August 8) when they
      set sail with the USS BIG MISSILE ABOARD with my Thor Chief
      Brother-in-Law - who was a rambling wreck of an engineer......William F.
      Buckley and "valet"........like toad eater to the King or Queen? One
      thing Buckley does well, toad eater to the "kings" and in particular,
      the "queens".

      Spruce Goose - hey THE EVERGREEN again......this is what saved Gordon
      Novel from extinction and off endangered species list?


      Howard Robard Hughes, Jr., was born on December 24, 1905, to Allene and
      Howard Sr, at 1402 Crawford Street, Houston, Texas. Howard Sr.,
      graduated from Harvard with a business degree and graduated from Iowa
      State with a law degree. Howard Jr. (or Sonny as he was called), was a
      quiet, lonely child who was
      interested in machinery of all sorts.

      In 1908, Howard Sr., and Walter B. Sharp started the Sharp-Hughes Tool
      Company after inventing an improved drill bit for oil drilling. In 1917,
      Howard Sr., bought out Sharp's interests in the company for $325,000
      naming it the Hughes Tool Company.
      "We don't have a monopoly. People who want to drill for oil and not use
      the Hughes bit can always use a pick and shovel." - Howard Hughes, Sr.
      Between the ages of 11 and 13, Sonny built and operated a ham radio set,
      spending hours on end in solitude talking with wireless operators aboard
      inbound Gulf freighters.
      At age 13 Sonny asked Dad for a motorcycle. When Dad said no, Sonny
      built a motorcycle using a storage battery and a self-starter motor
      taken from one of his Dad's cars. Sonny went to kindergarten in Christ
      Church Episcopal Cathedral, elementary school at Professor Prosso's
      Academy, then South End Junior High School but he displayed quite early
      that he just wasn't interested in school.
      In 1920, Sonny took flying lessons from a barnstorming pilot which
      started his love and passion for flying. He paid for the lessons out of
      his allowance and kept the lessons a secret from his parents.
      Allene died in 1922 and Howard Sr., died of a heart attack in 1924.
      Howard being only 19 years old at the time convinced his relatives to
      sell the Hughes Tool Company to him for $325,000.
      Howard went to Europe with Mrs. Walter Sharp, widow of his father's
      former partner and mother of Howard's only friend. Howard's only
      attention focused on the casinos in Brussels. He spent hours watching
      the roulette table with a mathematician's eye. On his final night in
      Brussels, Howard placed a $5 chip on red to win. Red won; he let the $10
      ride and won again. He began to switch between red and black,
      consistently winning. As the pile of chips before him mounted, a crowd
      began to gather. There was $1,000 worth of chips, then $2,000, then
      $4,000. At $8,000 he reduced his bet and slowly built it up again until
      his winning totalled $10,000. At this point, he picked up just one chip,
      worth $10, and placed it on red. The wheel spun, the ball came to rest
      on black. Howard scooped up the remaining $9,990 and left.
      During this year he also married Ella Rice of the family who owned the
      Rice Institute. Shortly afterwards Hughes and Ella moved to Hollywood,
      At 6'2 and 150 pounds. Hughes was a thin man but was said to be very
      good looking. He also was a good golf player, having a two handicap at
      the Wilshire Country Club.
      By 1925, Hughes created Caddo Rock Drill Bit Company, bought 51% of the
      stock of Multi-Color, Inc., attempting to develop high-quality color
      film for his movies (being financed by Hughes Tool which made Hughes
      Tools a creditor), a two story house on Muifield Road in Los Angeles,
      and 125 movie theatres so he could show movies that he would create. His
      first movie Swell Hogan, which he spent over $80,000 to make was a flop.
      Where most would quit, Hughes learned from it and then proceeded on,
      mostly because of the rebellion he felt when his relatives said he would
      never make it in Hollywood.
      Hughes then invested $150,000 in the making of the movie Everybody's
      Acting. It was a big hit with Hughes making up everything he spent
      making the movie, plus $100,000. He then created Caddo Corporation, a
      film-making company.
      He then took part and financed the movie Two Arabian Knights which had a
      100% return and won the 1927 Academy Award for comedy. Then on to
      another hit The Racket.
      Hughes' flying got the best of him and in 1928, at the age of 22, he
      would finance, produce, sometimes act in as a pilot, and direct Hell's
      Angels - a story of two pilots competing for a society girl. Shooting
      took forever with Hughes being picky about everything. Not everything
      was serious though as in between filming, Hughes would ride around the
      airfields on a motorcycle with pilots throwing cow chips at him for fun.
      This film also saw the first of Hughes' airplane crashes when he was out
      flying with the other actors and he crashed while landing. He emerged
      from the wreck relatively unhurt.
      Hollywood got to know this movie well, even before it was done filming.
      A pilot-actor parachuted over Hollywood when his engine failed. The
      plane came down to dig itself into film magnate Joe Schenk's lawn, the
      propeller sailing off into adjacent Hollywood Boulevard while the pilot
      landed beside the pool.
      This film also saw death. One of the pilots struck a high tension wire
      and burned to death. Another pilot ran into a storm during filming and
      died, and a young mechanic who either would not or could not get to his
      parachute when the plane was deliberately being crashed during a scene
      died. In addition there were six mid-air collisions, all of which were
      Unfortunately, by the time the $2 million movie was completed, silent
      films were out and talkies were in. Hughes then invested another $2
      million to remake the movie to fit the talkie era with a new actress -
      Jean Harlow. During the second filming Hughes' wife left him. His life
      involved his work and left little time for a wife and friends. His wife
      received a $1,250,000 settlement package.
      When Hell's Angels opened, it set box office records in every theater
      and it was the first picture to open simultaneously at two New York
      theatres. It then was shipped to England where it became a hit. Hughes
      himself went to Europe for six weeks and when he returned, he created
      three failures - Cock of the Air, Sky Devils, and Age for Love. At that
      time Multi-Color, Inc., failed and was liquidated to pay off its
      creditors. (Since Hughes Tools was a creditor, Hughes was actually
      paying himself back).
      Hughes next movie, Scarface, was a hit, even after Hughes had to fight
      the State Board of Censors, file lawsuits, and re-edit the movie. In
      1932, came the success of Front Page making Pat O'Brien a star.
      In Hollywood he was seen with some of the most beautiful women in the
      world including Lana Turner, Ginger Rogers, Ava Gardner, Ida Lupino,
      Olivia de Havillan, and Katharine Hepburn.
      During this time, there was a young man, Charles Howard, who worked for
      American Airways carrying passengers' baggage and making people feel
      comfortable on their flights. This man was interested in everything
      including hearing stories about how pilots got out of various
      difficulties, weights, costs, fuel loads, routes, schedules, assembling
      weather information, and ranges of visibility of beacons. Two months
      later, just as the other pilots were sure this man would win his pilot's
      wings, he walked off the job. Some say that this man was Howard Hughes,
      doing his thing, learning. During this time, Hughes disappeared from
      Hollywood and shortly after Charles Howard walked off the job, Hughes
      reappeared. He then bought himself an amphibian airplane. He also bought
      the 320 foot yacht Southern Cross. While in Miami he bought a Boeing
      P-12 single engine pursuit plane.
      In 1934, Hughes entered his Boeing in the All-American Air Meet and flew
      away with the Sportsman's Cup. He then decided that since he didn't like
      the way planes were designed he would build one himself. With the help
      of pilot Glen Odekirk, aeronautical engineer Dick Palmer and 16 other
      men, Hughes rented a hangar in Glendale, California. During this
      building they decided to call this group The Hughes Aircraft Company (30
      years later, this company would be worth $500 million, one of the
      largest defense contractors in the United States Government and the
      developer of the Early Bird Communications Satellite. It is also rumored
      that not a single plane was ever made under the Aircraft Company name.
      All planes were listed under Hughes Tool Company). This plane was
      affectionately called H-1 (Hughes One). During this time Hughes would
      disappear for a few days and go to the National Advisory Committee for
      Aeronautics in Virginia, where he could be found drinking coffee and
      talking with the government's top engineers and flight designers,
      essentially picking their brains.
      One problem Hughes had during these days was that he didn't have a car.
      Every time he bought a car he would lose it, not having a clue where he
      parked it. He would use the company's low-priced cars to get around.
      Hughes also loved animals. One night he was a passenger in a car driven
      by Palmer when they hit a stray dog. Hughes ran out, picked up the
      bloodied animal, and brought it to a veterinarian. He then attended a
      dinner party with a bloodied dinner jacket. The dog made a full recovery
      and was given to Palmer.
      In August of 1935, Hughes' specially designed plane was ready and he
      decided that he would be the test pilot. Many nerves were frayed
      watching the millionaire test flying this plane but Hughes made a
      successful landing and was greeted with a round of applause.
      In 1935, Hughes was in his car in Los Angeles when he killed a
      pedestrian. The man apparently was standing in the middle of the road
      off of Third Street. Hughes started to slow down when the man waved him
      on to pass him. Hughes sped up and without any reason, the man stepped
      in front of Hughes' car. The car hit the man who flew into the air and
      landed near the curb. Hughes was arrested but was released later when it
      was determined that there was nothing Hughes could've done to avoid the
      accident. This said to weigh heavily on Hughes as he blamed himself for
      not being able to stop in time.
      On September 12, 1935, Hughes brought the H-1 to the Martin Field At
      Santa Ana, California to take off to break the world's speed record of
      land planes which was 314.32mph. He was greeted by Amelia Earhart
      Putnam, stunt flyer Paul Mantz, and National Aeronautic Association
      representative Lawrence Therkelson. Hughes took off and flew by cameras
      three times, at 346mph, 352mph, and 339mph. Hughes only made two
      acceptable passes and all decided to try again the next day. The next
      day he was clocked at 352.39 mph, but the engine died while he was
      trying another pass. He crashed the plane but when everyone ran over to
      him he was sitting on the cowling, writing in a notebook. Hughes was
      fine and the plane only suffered a bent propeller and dents in the
      cowling and in the skin. Cause of the engine dying - a small wad of
      steel wool in the main fuel line.
      Hughes then bought a Northrop Gamma mail plane and gutted it to design
      another plane. On January 13, 1936, at the age of 30, Hughes brought the
      newly designed Northrop to the Burbank Airport and nine hours,
      twenty-seven minutes and ten seconds later he landed at Newark, New
      Jersey, breaking the transcontinental speed record. What people didn't
      know was that the plane's radio antenna broke away on takeoff and Hughes
      couldn't find out the weather conditions. Near Wichita, Kansas he hit
      turbulence so severe his compass dial jumped off its bearing point. He
      broke this record by comparing the towns and cities that appeared on his
      Hughes celebrated by going on vacation in Miami but he couldn't resist
      the temptation. On his way back to New York he broke the speed record
      between these two cities by more than 1/2 hour.
      About this time is when Hughes was getting annoyed with the press
      hounding him. Whenever they interviewed him they would ask him basic
      gossip questions and he wanted to talk planes. Hence arrived the Mexican
      gentleman, Gomez, who wore rumpled suits and tennis shoes into
      Manhattan's classy night clubs. The only problem was Gomez was over 6
      feet tall and had a Texas accent.
      On May 14, 1936, Hughes flew from New York to Chicago, and during lunch
      with a friend a $50 bet was made that he couldn't make it to Los Angeles
      by dinner. Hughes took off, wherein he ran into turbulence east of
      Kansas City and climbed to 20,000 feet compelling him to use oxygen.
      Then the oxygen equipment failed. He stayed at 20,000 feet, fighting
      dizziness and cold, with ice forming on the wings, and then the
      mechanism activating the oil pump failed. He proceed to land at 7:15pm,
      in Los Angeles Grand Central Air Terminal, eight hours and ten minutes
      out of Chicago setting a speed record for an east-to-west passage
      between the cities. When he landed he was asked his thoughts. He stated
      that this was by far the most stupid thing he had ever done.
      The H-1 was repaired and further modifications were made. On January 19,
      1937, Hughes took off and arrived at the Newark New Jersey Airport at
      1:03pm, seven hours, twenty eight minutes and 25 seconds, breaking his
      previous record.
      In 1937, Hughes received a call from Jack Frye, president of
      Transcontinental & West Airline (later called Trans World Airlines
      (TWA)). Frye needed money to buy new equipment and the stockholders
      couldn't provide the money. The amount is not definite but Hughes ended
      up spending either $1 million or $7 million to obtain the majority
      In 1938, Hughes bought a new Lockheed, stripped it to its shell and
      started redesigning and rebuilding the plane. On July 10, 1938, at
      7:19pm and 13 seconds, the New York World's Fair, 1939, took off from
      New York with Hughes and Army Air Corps Lieutenant Thomas Thurlow, NBC
      radio engineer Richard Stoddart, navigator/co-pilot Harry P. McLean
      Connor, and friend/air crew mechanic Ed Lund. In just sixteen hours and
      thirty-five minutes, they touched down in Paris setting a new record for
      the New York-Paris flight; two hours better than the most recent record
      and roughly half Lindbergh's original time.
      During inspection, they found that the left wheel was damaged on take
      off. After a make-shift repair job, the World's Fair took off. With
      stops in Moscow, Omsk, Yakutsk, Alaska, Minneapolis and then New York,
      Hughes broke the record at 91 hours. There was an old fashioned
      ticker-tape parade in New York in Hughes' honor. Hughes would not attend
      the parade unless his whole crew and employees were included. His crew,
      meteorologists, mechanics and office help all took part in the parade.
      Hughes then flew to Houston and made a speech to a group of people
      including 3,000 of his employees. For a man who didn't like crowds, was
      a loner, and very private, he assured the crowd that he wrote the speech
      himself and then a plane landing overhead caused so much noise he had to
      stop. When the plane landed:
      "I think it is very fitting that this plane came in now for it serves to
      carry out something I wanted to say. The men in the cockpits of the
      airliners, the airplane servicemen, the radio operators, the weathermen
      - they are the men who are entitled to any credit you want to pay to any
      phase of flying. It's the everyday service that is more important than
      any spectacular flying. I'll wager that during the long winter months
      the men in the airliners combat weather far worse than I've probably
      ever seen in my life. They do it, not because they probably make a
      little more money than in other business, but because they love the
      industry and want to see it get ahead. When you use your vacuum cleaner
      in the home, you don't talk about how smart you are - you talk about how
      smart the man was who invented it. By that same token, it is you men and
      women who have enabled me to have a ship like that, one that could fly
      around the world. I didn't do anything except fly according to
      instructions." - Howard Hughes, 1938
      By this time he had won the Congressional medal, the Harmon Trophy, and
      Collier Trophy for his achievements.
      Hughes' attention was turned to the airline that he had acquired. He
      wanted this airline to carry people in comfort and make flying a common
      way to travel. Since regulations prohibited the owner of an airline from
      building equipment to be bought by the airline, Hughes, brought his
      plans to Lockheed. Lockheed trying to please Hughes, made frequent
      changes in plans, tentatively scheduled the new plane to be built by
      1942. At the same time he was working on his new D-2 bomber. Odekirk
      pointed out that the Burbank plant was too small to handle everything so
      Hughes bought land in Culver City to build a new plant.
      In 1939, the woman he made a star, Jean Harlow was dead. Hughes decided
      it was time for another movie and another unknown to be famous. His
      plans for Billy the Kid came into being and finding a photograph in a
      batch of many hopefuls discarded by a Hughes' aide, he chose Jane
      Russell paying her $75 a week. Hughes hired Russell Birdwell to direct
      the movie but when Birdwell bowed out half-way through to work on
      Sergeant York, Hughes himself took over production. Hughes then found
      out MGM was releasing a movie called Billy the Kid so Hughes changed the
      name to his movie to The Outlaw.
      In 1941 Hughes opened a plant in Los Angeles. It is estimated that
      during World War II this plant produced 14,766 landing gear struts,
      5,576 aircraft wings, 6,370 fuselages and 18,733 aircraft seats under
      subcontracts. Hughes had also built a munitions plant that ultimately
      produced 939,320 artillery shells, and 16,958 cannon barrels.
      In September of 1942, Hughes received a letter from the defense Plant
      Corporation authorizing construction of flying boats for testing
      purposes, no one would make a profit, spending shouldn't go over $18
      million of the government's money, and the planes would be delivered by
      1944. An 800 foot long hangar was built for $175 million.
      Hughes had finished his development with water takeoffs and landings and
      the plane was complete. Hughes got into the plane to take it to Nevada
      for final testing. Hughes and two Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA)
      pilots, a mechanic and a flight engineer were abroad when Hughes was
      coming in for the last landing and Hughes lost control. The plane's wing
      went into the waters of Lake Mead, tore away and ripped a hole in the
      passenger compartment. The mechanic and one of the CAA pilots were
      killed, and Hughes was unconscious with others pulling him out of the
      water. The guilt was heavy on Hughes knowing that he was at the controls
      of the plane that killed two men.
      Hughes became obsessed with finding that underwater plane. He and
      Odekirk spent hours flying over Lake Mead while Hughes tried to get his
      bearings as to where the plane went under. When he found the general
      location, he flew back to Los Angeles while Odekirk had the task of
      getting the plane up. After Odekirk salvaged the plane, it was shipped
      back to the Culver City plant and stored in a locked hangar. Rumor is
      Hughes studied the plane to see what went wrong and then locked the
      doors. There it remained and to this day, no one seems to know what
      happened to the plane's remains.
      In late 1942, the $2.5 million The Outlaw was ready to be released but
      20th Century-Fox canceled their agreement. Hughes decided to release the
      film himself. He had some trouble with the censors because of Russell's
      ample breasts prominently displayed throughout the film and it entered
      into lawsuits and hassles.
      In 1943, The Outlaw was finally released and the critics stated that it
      was the worst thing they have ever seen. Hughes realized something had
      to be done so ex-director Birdwell and his staff drummed up publicity by
      calling ministers, housewives, and women leagues stating that the film
      shouldn't be released due to its sexuality. Hughes then put up
      billboards stating "The Picture That Couldn't be Stopped" and asking
      "How'd You Like to Tussle With Russell?" People complained and wanted
      the movie banned - exactly what Hughes wanted. The public had to see
      this movie. Publicity was at an all-time high including the arrest of a
      theater manager charged with exhibiting a lewd film. Hughes promptly
      hired an attorney to handle the manager's release. Even ex-director
      Birdwell was arrested but again, Hughes' attorneys stepped in. The
      Outlaw was a box office hit and took in an credible $5 million in
      profits. The Outlaw earned more money in Atlanta than Gone with the
      While the D-2 was being built, lightning struck the hangar and more than
      $1 million dollars of research and development were destroyed. Hughes
      rebuilt the hangar and had his men work on the DX-2.
      In 1944, TWA christened its first Constellation airplane in Los Angeles.
      Hughes and Jack Frye loaded the plane with Hollywood stars and few to
      Washington state in a little over six hours.
      In 1945, Hughes was in hot water. The flying boat was not done, and in
      all $824,500,000 was spent on an aircraft that never saw action and more
      than $6 million worth of other weapons had not been delivered by the
      time the war ended. It seemed everything that went on during the '40s
      thus far had its toll on Hughes. He disappeared for months where he went
      to Acapulco suffering from what some said was nervous exhaustion.
      Upon his return in 1946, Hughes' experimental plane XF-11 was ready for
      testing. In July, Hughes left Culver City for the test flight. The plane
      was going at 400mph when it started pitching violently. Hughes checked
      everything and he couldn't find out what was wrong. By this time, the
      plane was losing speed and falling. Instead of bailing out and let the
      plane crash over a populated area, Hughes tried to land it at the Los
      Angeles Country Club golf course. It was evident from people in their
      Beverly Hills homes that Hughes wasn't going to make it. During the
      attempted landing, the plane took off a roof of one house, sliced
      through the upstairs bedroom of a second, rammed through a garage,
      clipped trees and plowed into the brick home of an Army Colonel. One of
      the engines tore away and dug itself into the lawn of a home 20 yards
      away. Still conscious Hughes managed to get out of the plane and laid
      next to it as it was burning.
      Marine Sergeant William Durkin saw the crash and ran to Hughes' aid
      fighting the flames. He pulled Hughes about 15 feet from the plane. A
      Beverly Hills fireman came and they both carried Hughes away. Hughes
      lifted his head, asked if anyone was hurt and then passed out. At the
      Good Samaritan Hospital doctors said Hughes wouldn't live the night. His
      chest was crushed, nine ribs were broken, his left lung collapsed, his
      left shoulder and nose were broken, and his skull was fractured. In
      addition, third degree burns covered most of his lower body, as well as
      his left hand. Odekirk arrived at the hospital to be told Hughes was
      given morphine and put in a private room to die. Odekirk snuck into
      Hughes' room and cried. Frye was outside Hughes' door and Lana Turner
      was downstairs.
      The following morning Hughes regained consciousness, wanted to sit up
      and have a meeting with his business associates. By the afternoon he was
      still demanding to sit up and wanted pen and papers. By the second day
      Hughes gave a report as to what happened to Odekirk and told him to
      investigate it. He then said his bed was causing him pain due to his
      burns and to have Odekirk immediately build a better bed that could
      change pressure instead of the patient moving causing less pain. Four
      days later a new bed was designed and delivered to Hughes.
      A week later Hughes had a relapse. The doctor had a press conference
      stating that Hughes' condition was grave, he read a statement by Hughes
      stating why the plane crashed. He had rallied long enough to inform
      everyone what went wrong.
      Nine months later Hughes left the hospital. This time with a moustache
      to cover scars. He also stated that his left hand was burned so badly
      and he would never be able to straighten two of his fingers.
      In 1946, TWA suffered financial problems including a pilots' strike, and
      the Constellations being grounded because of a crash in Ireland. Its
      stock went from $71 a share to $2, a loss of $16 million and it owed $40
      million to the Equitable Life Assurance Society. On top of that, Hughes
      next movie Vendetta was a mess. It was being filmed while Hughes was in
      the hospital and after $1 million, it still didn't show any hope. When
      Hughes got out of the hospital he took over the reigns.
      The following year Hughes was in further trouble when there was Senate
      subcommittee investigating his wartime aviation contracts, mainly
      because Senator Owen Brewster was angry because Hughes wouldn't agree to
      a merger between Pan American and TWA. Hughes took the stand and proved
      to be as good, if not better, than any attorney. He won the hearts of
      the American people, Brewster lost renomination to the Republic party
      elections, and people were forming Hughes for President clubs. One
      challenge did come out of the hearings. Whether the Spruce Goose could
      fly. Hughes promised that if the plane couldn't fly, he would leave the
      United States forever.
      The Spruce Goose which was originally called Hercules or KH-1, was a
      sight to see. The flying boat had a wingspread of 340 feet, weighed
      400,000 pounds, the hull was 220 feet long, and a tail 100 feet high,
      nearly ten stories. Eight 3,000 horsepower engines would power it, and
      it was designed to fly nonstop from Honolulu to Tokyo carrying two
      battalions of armed soldiers. Its hull could carry a 60 ton tank. It
      took millions of feet of lumber, and eight tons of nails to keep it
      together until the glue dried and then removed. Moving the plane from
      Culver City to Long Beach cost $55,000. Coincidently, one person who
      help build the plane was Jan Berry's father (of Jan & Dean).
      In November, 1947, Hughes took the Spruce Goose out for non-flight
      testing. The first test pass the plane had reporters on them. The second
      test pass with Hughes alone in the plane went smoothly. Before the third
      pass could be completed a helicopter with a Look magazine reporter
      showed up over the wing. Hughes announced that this was test and to
      leave. The helicopter didn't. Hughes opened the throttle and when the
      plane reached 90mph, Hughes took the plane up. The plane travelled in
      the air about a mile at an altitude of 70 feet before gliding back onto
      the water. After its test, it was put back into its hangar.
      "It just felt so good, buoyant and good, I just pulled it up." - Howard
      In 1948, TWA was saved when Hughes convinced the Civil Aeronautics Board
      to increase TWA's foreign mail subsidy by 110%, and he managed to obtain
      a $10 million loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation with
      which to buy 12 new Constellations for TWA's use. Hughes also purchased
      929,000 shares of a failing movie studio Radio-Keith Orpheum (RKO), for
      $9 million. Even though Hughes owned RKO he used a room at Samuel
      Goldwyn's Studio as a part-time office. Hughes also received two
      research contracts for his Hughes Aircraft Company. One was to devise a
      way a fighter pilot could fire at an enemy bomber without actually
      seeing his target. The other was development of a ground to air
      anti-aircraft missile. The Air Force then gave Hughes $8 million to
      build 200 fire control units for its Lockheed F-94 fighters.
      The developers and men at Hughes Aircraft were demanding more
      facilities. Hughes built a $3.7 million laboratory for them in Culver
      City. It was there the Falcon missile came into being. The air-to-air
      missile chased the target by emitting radar impulses. Hughes Aircraft
      was not only responsible for the making of missiles, it also made
      communication satellites, secret electronic gear, Army helicopters, a
      cannon firing 4,200 rounds a minute and the Surveyor moon vehicle. These
      contracts kept 50,000 individuals gainfully employed.
      During the 1940s, Hughes was a frequent visitor of Vegas, usually
      staying at the Frontier as well as other residences that people guessed
      he owned. He also struck up a friendship with Del E. Webb, where they
      would golf late at night. Hughes would give Webb construction jobs which
      purportedly earned Webb over $1 billion.
      In 1949, Hughes used Las Vegas to shoot action sequences of a movie
      called Jet Pilot. Unfortunately, the film was a disaster.
      In 1951, Hughes Aircraft made $67 million and in 1952, $200 million.
      This also appears to be around the time that Hughes became paranoid
      about germs. Secretaries weren't allowed to wear perfume and had to wear
      plastic gloves while typing. Hughes also became aware of espionage since
      his company was accepting government contracts and took appropriate
      precautions against wire taping which he experienced first-hand during
      his Senate sub-committee hearings. His company was also making
      wire-taping equipment so Hughes was well aware how easy it was to spy on
      Since the time Hughes owned RKO, no successful films were made and the
      studio was losing more and more money every year. In 1954, Hughes sold
      RKO to Thomas Francis O'Neil, president of General Teleradio for $25
      million. Hughes kept RKO Radio Pictures Corporation and merged it with
      Atlas Corporation. A few months later he bought back from O'Neil the
      films Jet Pilot, The Conqueror, and the original print of The Outlaw for
      $12 million. Hughes then separated Hughes Aircraft Company from Hughes
      Tool Company making it a corporation in its own right.
      In 1955, Hughes established the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Miami
      Florida. He then transferred ownership of Hughes Aircraft Company to the
      medical institute avoiding payment of taxes because the medical
      institute was a tax-free foundation. All profits from the aircraft
      company would go to the institute of which none of it Hughes could
      touch. The sale of RKO and the transfer of Hughes Aircraft meant that
      Hughes was leaving the movie business as well as the electronic
      He now turned his attention to TWA committing himself to buy 26 jets
      worth $300 million with cash he didn't have.
      In 1957, at the age of 52, Hughes married 30 year old actress Jean
      Peters who he dated on and off for 10 years causing a stir when they
      disappeared for a month. During that time Hughes also started to grow a
      beard. It seems he was bothered by the scars on his face left by his
      1946 accident.
      Hughes then bought 27,000 acres of cheaply bought desert on the
      outskirts of Las Vegas making him the largest private landowner in Clark
      On May 3, 1966, Hughes was given a check for $546,549,771.00 for the
      sale of 78% of his TWA stock. This transaction made Hughes a billionaire
      and the richest man in the world. (A quick calculation shows that the
      interest just from this transaction alone amounted to $85,000 a day
      using interest rates established in 1966). What to do with all this
      money? The IRS was also asking Hughes this same question.
      Since Hughes expressed his love for Vegas years before, especially the
      Strip, and always planned to one day move there, it was only logical to
      go back to the place he considered home. This fact in itself is amazing
      considering Hughes rarely gambled, didn't drink, and didn't believe in
      When Hughes came back to his "home", he not only saw financial
      opportunities galore but also saw corruption from the mob. Something
      needed to be done.
      What made Vegas more attractive was that it had no personal or corporate
      income tax, nor inheritance, franchise or warehouse taxes. The sales tax
      was only three percent and real estate taxes were limited by the state
      constitution. Gambling taxes paid 30% of the state's bills.
      Hughes had purchased the home from Vera Krupp for $625,000 but preferred
      to live at the ninth floor of the Desert Inn with his aides living on
      the eighth. When threatened with eviction, he bought it. The start of
      the spending spree and Hughes irritating the mob began.
      In 1967, Hughes was concerned over an item he read that the Atomic
      Energy Commission (AEC) was going to set off an atomic device
      underground on the Nevada test site, 70 to 100 from his beloved Vegas
      and the Strip. Hughes told his aides that he wanted to be absolutely
      certain the test would not a cause a disastrous earthquake. The AEC sent
      several of its top scientists to brief Hughes' aides on what could be
      expected and that he should not be alarmed.
      By 1968, Hughes had purchased the entire North Las Vegas airport plus
      1,300 adjoining acres of land, a CBS affiliated television station, KLAS
      for $3.6 million, and a showplace ranch.
      Hughes also purchased 48 acres of land negotiating a lease for a lot
      more and committed $2 million to acquire Alamo Airways and a maintenance
      company. Hughes had said during this time that surveys showed Las Vegas
      had to choose between spending $25 million to enlarge McCarran Field
      which he felt was being choked off by the expanding metropolis, or build
      a new giant airport that would serve as a supersonic jet terminal for
      all southern Nevada,California and Arizona. Hughes wanted to build such
      a field.
      Between 1966 and 1968, Hughes bought the Desert Inn, Sands, Castaways,
      New Frontier, and Silver Slipper on the Strip. He then bought Harold's
      Club in Reno for $10.5 million. He also bought 503 mining claims plus
      options on at least 1,500 others. By mid-1970, it was estimated that
      Hughes' casinos accounted for 17% of Nevada's gambling revenue.
      The rules of his resorts changed the way the Strip was seen. At many Las
      Vegas hotels, casino bosses maintained a preferred list of call girls,
      who could be placed at the disposal of high rollers. Word was quietly
      passed from management to pit bosses, bartenders, bellhops, and cocktail
      waitresses that the girlie trade would no longer be allowed on any of
      Hughes' properties.
      Cocktail waitresses who delivered free drinks to players at the gaming
      tables were also sometimes expected to entertain big gamblers in more
      private surroundings if they were asked to do so by pit bosses. Chorus
      girls had also been required to sit around the lounges for an hour or
      two after they had finished their work on stage. Hughes changed the
      rules to state that ladies were expected to mix socially with casino
      patrons, but they did not have to do anything beyond a few drinks and
      pleasant conversation. Hughes demanded that the ladies serve guests in a
      more sophisticated manner and not toss their torsos on stage or while
      serving cocktails.
      Hughes' other concern was for his employees at the casinos including
      cocktails waitresses, card dealers, busboys, chambermaids, stagehands
      and bartenders who were being paid through his Hughes Tool Co. He wanted
      to make sure they were being well fed and that they had at least one
      good meal while on shift. He told aides that employees should have their
      choice of foods. If they wanted ice cream on top of their apple pie, and
      that counted as two desserts, then let them have their two desserts. He
      also provided free life and health insurance, and a pension plan to make
      sure their morale was up at all times. He couldn't deal with cranky
      employees and he knew happy employees made everyone happy.
      Hughes also utilized computers before they were a way of life. All facts
      on his casinos were fed into computers that would remind his people when
      it was time to replenish liquor stocks, kept track of hotel
      reservations, generally watched over the cash flow and looked out for
      Hughes installed elaborate systems of surveillance equipment which
      included an elaborate system of hidden cameras, flow charts, and daily
      computer print-outs. The computers were able to instantly spot a table
      where there appeared to be some irregularity in receipts. Dealers and
      casino employees were under constant surveillance by concealed
      electronic devices.
      Hughes also stressed out over the community as a whole. In 1968, he came
      up with a plan to give $300,000 a year for 20 years so Nevada can have
      and maintain a medical school.
      In 1967 or 1968, Federal accusations of skimming resulted in Governor
      Paul Laxalt's naming two of Hughes' aides to a committee to see what new
      controls can be applied to gaming.
      "We wouldn't have been able to afford such a systems study if Howard
      Hughes weren't doing it for us." - Robert K. Mulligan, Gaming Control
      "His coming here did things for our state image that a
      multimillion-dollar public relations campaign couldn't have achieved. He
      has given Nevada gaming instant respectability." - Governor Paul Laxalt
      Hughes then decided to buy the Stardust for $30.5 million. He was denied
      this purchase though due to laws on monopolizing. He then bought the
      Landmark which he achieved mainly because he agreed to pay all debtors.
      This meant many small business could avoid filing bankruptcy. The Gaming
      Commission thought this to be a good idea and allowed Hughes to buy it.
      Also in 1968 TWA filed a lawsuit against Hughes for hampering its
      jet-acquisition program in the 1950s. His attorney advised him that TWA
      was going to serve on him a court order for a personal deposition and to
      make himself non-available at all costs.
      Two of the classic jokes that comedians were telling during that time
      was "Hughes just got his wife a set of clubs for Christmas. The Sands,
      the Frontier, The Castaways ....". Another joke was "They're changing
      the name of Las Vegas to Hugheston".
      Hughes' attention turned to Air West which was suffering financial
      problems. Hughes' original bid of $22 per share for the airline met with
      opposition from its current management team. Hughes informed the team
      that his bid would expire at midnight on December 31, 1968. The
      Executive Board requested that Hughes make a second bid which he refused
      to do. Hughes then waited. Sometime between 10pm and midnight, Air West
      Chairman Nick Bez and Hughes' general counsel Chester Davis signed the
      purchased contract in Seattle, transferring all assets of the airline to
      Hughes Tool Company.
      Bez was able to complete the transaction after receiving telegrams from
      six of the dissenting directors who, suddenly and at the last minute,
      had done an about-face. The vote favoring the sale was 17 to 7. Hughes
      would go on to build Hughes Air West into a billion-dollar success.
      In 1969, rumors were flying that Hughes was dead. Vegas' responses were
      "He's got a gambling license don't he? Well, he wouldn't get it without
      my approval. . . . I wouldn't grant a license to anybody in a deepfreeze
      - draw your own conclusion. We checked his signature in the F.B.I.
      files. Yes, yes, I have [talked to Hughes] but I'm not bragging about
      it; just routine business, period." - George Franklin, District Attorney
      of Clark County
      "He works almost entirely by telephone, always has, and there are
      reasons for that, one being his hearing problem. On the phone he can use
      an amplifier. In person he has to strain, for he has a certain amount of
      vanity and refuses to wearing a hearing aid . . . Hughes is a man who
      never leaves anything to chance if he can possibly help it. He tries to
      provide for every possible contingency. Extremely meticulous on details.
      They tried to sell him a newspaper once, and we were all hoping and
      praying he wouldn't buy it because the first edition would never get to
      press - he would have to check every little story to make sure it was up
      to his high standards. And that's the way he works. Nobody who works for
      him does anything really important unless he knows about it. He's a
      vastly complicated person with a great many interests, which accounts
      for the fact that he works night and day, whenever he's up, working for
      18 and 24 hours at a stretch, then when he's sleepy he goes to sleep,
      and when he wakes up he goes back to work. So whenever he's working, he
      feels free to pick up the phone and call anybody at any hour, and this
      is one reason the press calls him eccentric.
      You have to consider the purchase of the hotels and casinos as an
      interim step to something else, but what that is, he hasn't yet said.
      And that's what they all want him to explain: What are you going to
      build here? What are you going to bring here? Why are you here? And he
      really doesn't feel obliged to tell us what he has in mind until he's
      ready to do so. Nor does he feel obliged to come and take a bow on the
      balcony to prove he's alive. People are always asking if he's alive.
      Even the lawyers said this in the TWA case. This is what led to the
      phone conversation with Governor Laxalt. Every now and then he
      recognizes the importance of reestablishing that he is indeed alive.
      They said he gave up TWA because he wouldn't make a court appearance,
      but the fact remains that it was a propitious time to sell. He got $86 a
      share and it's now at $40.
      Hughes gives employment to 50,000 people, but there is nobody in it who
      knows everything he does - he never feeds every bit of information nto
      any single person. Nobody knows the whole picture. Mrs. Hughes also
      stays out of the limelight. He doesn't need the publicity and neither
      does she, so why do it? Everybody in the world is interested in Howard
      Hughes, and if he ever decides to make a public appearance, I can assure
      you it will be a mammoth press conference indeed." - Dick Hannah, public
      relations for Howard Hughes
      All rumors were discounted when Esquire magazine had pictures of Hughes
      on its cover stating "Howard Hughes We see you!

      In 1970, Jean Peters filed for divorce. She asked for just $70,000 a
      year from the billionaire.
      On February 2, 1971, the show Sixty Minutes aired a documentary entitled
      Las Vegas represents the worst in America. Morley Safer thanks Vegas for
      it cooperation and hospitality. Tropicana public relations man Bill Bray
      wrote to CBS Producer Sam Zelman asking for an explanation and received
      this reply:
      "Please accept my apology for any embarrassment the Sixty Minutes report
      on Howard Hughes may have caused you . . . I did not write the piece and
      I did not agree with some of the statements in it. At the time we filmed
      the piece I expected to write it, so I felt confident in promising you
      the report was not intended to reflect unfavorably on Las Vegas.
      Becauase of these reasons I asked that my name not be used on the air.
      (You may have noticed I was credited with the Agnew story but not the
      Hughes story). . . . In the many, many years I have covered stories in
      Las Vegas I feel I have been fair always. This one just got out of my
      hands once it got to New York . . . Of course you would be the best
      judge, but looking back on it now I can't beleive anyone would be
      discouraged from going to Lsa Vegas as a direct result of our story.
      Again, My apology . . . Sincerely, Sam Zelman"
      By 1971, it is estimated that Hughes spent approximately $300,000,000 in
      Vegas and over 15% of Nevada's gambling revenue was passing through the
      hands of this man who didn't smoke, drink or gamble. It was also
      estimated that Hughes employed over 8,000 people, with a $50,000,000 a
      year payroll and a gross handle of $500,0000,000.
      As was stated in the Landmark page, it appears that something happened
      to Hughes when he realized that his ultimate dream was failing. He left
      in the early in 1970 to live in the Bahamas. Hughes was definitely
      seeing the worst.
      Other than residuals he was suffering from his 1946 accident, and very
      hard of hearing, Hughes suffered from chronic hemolytic anemia which
      includes a retention of excessive amounts of iron needing periodic blood
      transfusions, an inability to assimilate red-blood by-products, and skin
      discoloration. Because of this, Hughes acquired a sensitivity to
      sunlight. In October of 1970, Hughes was also fighting viral pneumonia.
      Hughes bought Los Angeles Airways in mid-1970, and by 1971, it had a
      negative net worth of $3.6 million. The Landmark lost $5.944 million in
      just one year.
      When Hughes left Vegas, Governor Laxalt feared that he was dead. On
      December 7, 1970, Hughes personally phoned Laxalt to tell him he was
      indeed alive and well in the Bahamas.
      In 1972, the Nevada State Gaming Commission was frustrated in the
      attempts to get Hughes to meet with members regarding an application to
      reorganize the gaming properties of the Castaways, Desert Inn, Frontier,
      Landmark, Sands, Silver Slipper, and Harold's in Reno.
      Before any changes in the seven resorts could be granted, the commission
      wanted to meet Hughes face-to-face. With 8,000 employees and his gaming
      establishments contributing 17% of the total state revenue from gambling
      taxes, Hughes had no intentions of showing his face.
      Gaming chairman Jack Diehl wanted to go on record that Hughes' recent
      meeting in Nicaragua with President Anastasio and U.S. Ambassador Turner
      B. Sheldon indicated the 24 hour privacy was changing. In effect, if the
      sole stockholder could meet with outsiders in a country that he has no
      holdings, he could meet with Nevada officials.
      In 1973, Hughes filed a $6 million damage suit in the Los Angeles
      Superior Court again former entertainment director Frank Sennes charging
      kickbacks and secret profits. I can't seem to find out what happened to
      this lawsuit.
      In talking with people who were around during the "Hughes years" and had
      worked at the Desert Inn during this time nicknamed Hughes "The Man" and
      "Captain America". They consider him somewhat of a hero in chasing the
      mob out from the Strip and treating his employees so well. They all
      dismissed the rumor that he was crazy. They said that he did some really
      strange things at times but when asked his reasons, they always made
      sense in looking at the big picture. He just never took the conventional
      solution to problems. Since he was also partially deaf, when people
      thought he was ignoring them, or taking what they said out of context,
      they didn't understand that he probably didn't hear what they said.
      According to Hughes spokesman Richard Hanna, the multi-millionaire had
      no intention of closing any of the Nevada properties despite the
      commission's refusal to approve of new corporate officers. No
      implication or threat of closing has been made because of the commission
      They also all said he was a recluse by circumstances of which he did
      cause. He upset the mob which isn't always the healthiest thing to do,
      he was being watched by certain government agencies, and various
      newspapers, magazines and tabloids were offering up to $5,000 to anyone
      who can get a picture of him. He also was exposed to the constant threat
      of kidnapping knowing his people would pay anything for his return. His
      phones were also tapped during his Senate Committee hearings and he knew
      all about wiring taping. He was very strange when it came to telephones
      and the like, but again, it was for good reason. He also was being
      chased by TWA, and his medical conditions made him sensitive to
      sunlight. When looking at the big picture, it does seem logical why
      Hughes was a recluse of his own making. He did all he could do and that
      was become a recluse.
      There are also rumors of his drug abuse due to the injuries he suffered
      in the 1946 accident. Another rumor states that after Hughes left Las
      Vegas, the people who surrounded him were slowly killing him with drugs,
      and he had lost the world he knew and loved.
      It seems after he left Vegas, nothing and everything appears to be true.
      Hughes died on April 5, 1976 and was Buried at Glenwood Cemetery,
      Houston, Texas.
      Hughes' knew the potential Las Vegas and the Strip had, and tried to
      make it a reality. He predicted that Nevada would see over a million
      residents before the end of the century and he planned to be a part of
      the biggest boom of the latter 1900's. Four of his resorts formed a ring
      around one of the three most valuable intersections in Southern Nevada -
      Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier and Castaways. Hughes knew resorts of
      tremendous stature would soon fill the Strip but his departure from Las
      Vegas and his death left the dream for others to accomplish.
      The Desert Inn and Sands were sold to visionary Kirk Kerkorian who went
      on to build his dreams, the old and new MGM Grands. Visionary Steve Wynn
      bought the Castaways and built the Mirage, and visionary Phil Ruffin
      purchased the Frontier. Ruffin wanted to imploded the Frontier but
      legalities has kept him from creating the City by the Bay. Wynn has
      purchased the Desert Inn and he closed it in 2000, to create a new
      megaresort. Any dreams Hughes had for the Landmark and Silver Slipper
      were replaced with parking lots. To date, the only Hughes resort still
      in existence is the Frontier.
      This undated picture shows some of Hughes' stable. Shown are orchestra
      leader Don Vincent, Steve Savodelli, Danny Thomas, Jan Murray, Paul Anka
      and Jay Stream (Wayne Newton's manager). In front are Jerry Vale, Summa
      entertainment director Walter Kane, and Wayne Newton.

      Three stories of Hughes I have heard and read that seems to explain the
      man that was such a mystery.
      One story involves the making of Two Arabian Knights. After completing
      the film, Milestone received a call stating the Hughes was recutting the
      film. Milestone showed up at the studio to see Hughes on the floor with
      the film all over the floor as well as on him. Milestone had said that
      he was so mad that if there was something he could find, he would've hit
      Hughes with it. He was screaming at Hughes when Hughes said they were
      going to take a ride. They got in Hughes' car who proceeded to drive
      over 100mph scaring the heck out of Milestone. When Milestone's anger
      turned to fear, Hughes stopped the car and said "Milly, fortunately or
      unfortunately, I happen to be a very rich man. Because of the wealth I
      control, I permit myself the luxury of doing things that may look stupid
      to others but they make good sense to me. Take what we were just talking
      about. You thought I was recutting your film. I wasn't recutting your
      film. That's your job, and you did it well. Your film, as you cut it, is
      already on its way to New York for distribution. I wanted to learn about
      film cutting, so I had another print made from the original. I have to
      teach myself these things." Even in his 20s, Hughes did strange things
      but when asked, he would always explain and it would always make sense.
      The second story is when he lost $160,000. He then spent the next eight
      hours, gambling non-stop until he won it back. When he got up to leave,
      he was asked why he was leaving when his luck had turned good. Hughes
      looked at the man and stated "I just wanted to prove that I could win it
      back. I won it back and now I'm leaving."
      The third has to do with what happened at the Sands. Apparently he was
      at the Sands shortly after he bought it when he was approached by
      members of a mob. He was told they didn't like him buying the Desert Inn
      and Sands and it maybe in his best interest to find another area other
      than the Strip to buy. Hughes responded "You ruined downtown and you can
      have it. You will not do it to the Strip and I am just the one to make
      sure of it. Make me leave." He quietly walked out and then proceeded
      with his buying spree.
      Hughes saw dreams and loved the challenge of bringing them to fruition.
      His efforts have not been fully recognized by the powers that be,
      however, his charitable contributions and dedication to his employees,
      education, air space, movies, and medicine, have been noted and
      appreciated through the memories of all involved. His naysayers thought
      him foolish but in the end, he was right and history will remind
      everyone as well as the people who loved and respected him as to what he
      achieved in his life. Yes, he had the money, but there are a lot of idle
      rich. He took his wealth, and together with his courage and
      determination, made changes. The world was fortunate to have this
      self-proclaimed eccentric prove dreams can come true.
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