John Wayne's onetime yacht the Wild Goose is being trotted out to drum up interest in the 31st annual Lido Yacht Expo in Newport Beach Sept. 24-27.
Don't blame organizers for pulling out all the stops. Are there really shoppers for yachts these days? Or catamarans? Or electric Duffy boats?
Probably so. Remember, there's always someone making money off everyone else's misery. But even bigger crowds are a lock since tours will be offered on the 136-foot, World War II-era Navy minesweeper haunted by the ghost of The Duke.
That's right, the movie star's spirit roams the vessel. Kenny Kingston told me so.
As I wrote here, I'd received an invitation from the Learning Light Foundation--an Anaheim-based, spirit-channeling, crystal-rubbing, feng-shuiing outpost--to watch "Psychic to the Stars" Kingston "give interviews in the bedroom of the yacht and bring through messages from the Duke."
Who could turn down an invitation like that?
I arranged to bring a photographer--you know, in case that iconic cowboy frame appeared framed in a white sheet--and ever-the-trouper Jeanne Rice got the assignment.
But after being welcomed aboard the Wild Goose that Oct. 3, 2001, evening and immediately pushing off for a cruise of Newport Harbor, we discovered we had not been invited to an intimate little seance but a very crowded floating book fair featuring dozens of authors hawking their spirit-channeling, crystal-rubbing or feng-shuiing books. And the Register's Alan Bock (?).
Eventually, after Kingston told me I resembled 1940s-'50s movie actor Clifton Webb and that his psychic energy was telling him I should lay off the salt, I was led into Wayne surprisingly small bedroom, which was where, the psychic informed, the late actor's spirit registered strongest.
Along with us was Rice, two Kingston assistants and two freelance TV reporters. Kenny demanded silence, and though everyone was packed in like sardines he got it. For the next hour.
Finally, Kingston blurted out some random thoughts and predictions, some of which he'd thought to previously prepare on three-by-five cards. These involved the living and dead: Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Jim Morrison, Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Harry Truman, Julia Roberts, Anthony Newley, Dwight D, Eisenhower, Princess Margaret, Group Captain Peter Townsend, Princess Diana, Prince Harry, Prince William, Dodi Fayed, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Aristotle Onassis, Marilyn Monroe, Robert F. Kennedy and Joe DiMaggio.
But no Duke, who was neither channeled, crystal balled or further mentioned.
Feeling put off, ripped off and a lot pissed off, I sulked the rest of the cruise, but looking back now I should have been more civil. At least there was an open bar.
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If you tour the Wild Goose during the Duncan McIntosh Co.-sponsored Lido Yacht Expo, it's a good bet you'll have to pay for your drinks. But I can guarantee you will catch actual glimpses of John Wayne. That's because organizers will screen his classic films aboard the vessel throughout the duration of the show.
That's only be until 3 p.m. each day. If you catch sight of The Duke after that, immediately call Kenny Kingston.
Actually, shouldn't the psychic already know you'll be calling?
Whatever. The 31st annual Lido Yacht Expo takes place at Lido Marina Village, Via Lido and Newport Boulevard in Newport Beach, noon to 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday, Sept. 24-25; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27. Admission is $12 for adults and free for children 12 and younger. Free parking and continuous free shuttle service will be available. Visit www.lidoyachtexpo.com for more details.