About Tod Swindell And His Amelia Earhart Investigative Research And
Forensic Analysis Journey:
Writer, Filmmaker, Amelia Earhart
Historian & Investigative Journalist
Born in Yonkers, New York, Tod Swindell
was raised in Southern California and Bucks County, Pennsylvania. A Cinema Arts graduate of the University of Arizona, his
curiosity toward Amelia Earhart's 1937 disappearance took form in the early 1990s, while he was researching stories for the
CBS television series, 'Miracles and Other Wonders' hosted by Darren McGavin. The premise of the show was later spun into,
'Encounters of the Unexplained' hosted by Jerry Orbach, that featured Tod's original research in an episode devoted to the
Earhart mystery. His interest in the subject further escalated in 1996, the year he came to know Lost Star author,
Randall Brink, who introduced him to renowned Amelia Earhart world-flight investigator, Joseph A. Gervais, that ultimately
led Tod to embark on his own Earhart truth-seeking journey.
A veteran of the motion picture industry, beyond specializing in the research and development
of film properties, Tod is also a free-lance journalist with published articles on the subjects of sports and pop-culture.
(See more about his career and interests at the end of this section.)
After embarking on a career in the film industry,
in the 1980s and 1990s I found myself on location a lot. While in between shows I researched and developed
motion picture properties for a satellite NBC-Universal company (Desperado Films, Inc.) and my interest in what really
happened to Amelia Earhart took hold after a movie script caught my attention. It was titled, "Amelia Earhart: The Final
Chapter" by accredited WGA screenwriter, David O'Malley. His effort was largely based on the 1980s investigation of T.C.
"Buddy" Brennan and Mike Harris, and it affected me to a point where after reading it, I reached out to David O'Malley. After
that I began to more deeply study the other Earhart disappearance investigations I had earlier perused; Fred Goerner's grounbreaking
work from the 1960s, and the other significant ones that had been led by individuals I personally came to know; Randall Brink,
Joseph A. Gervais, and Rollin C. Reineck.
down are some images from a documentary film journey I also embarked on, one dedicated to correctly
profiling the interrelated life stories of Amelia Earhart and the highly enigmatic woman who was reluctantly dragged into
the limelight in 1970, Mrs. Irene O'Crowley Craigmile-Bolam.
My main work, an MSS titled, Protecting Earhart, went through a number
of revisions before its first 'complete' version was copyrighted, after I inserted a one-hundred page section that featured
key forensic comparison elements generated since the early 2000's. [Of
note, no one had forensically compared Amelia to the 'post-1940 Irene' in question before.] Beyond the samples from the complete
analysis that appear in Irene-Amelia.com, the MMS itself has yet to be formally published with the
exception of private editions of my own pressing.
Prefacing what the overall, Amelia Earhart & Irene O'Crowley Craigmile-Bolam effort
entailed; in the 1930s, when the original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile was a budding pilot, she and Amelia Earhart knew
each other. For sure this was true, except, according to the two most formidable World War Two veteran researchers I came
to know, Gervais and Reineck, it was the original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile who entirely went missing those
decades ago, not Amelia Earhart... entirely... as history had promoted since 1937.
The late Joseph A. Gervais, who was the original 'Amelia became Irene'
discoverer -- and who from 1965 to 2005 (the last forty years of his life) was more knowledgeable than anyone else about it,
explained the catch: The original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile's left-over identity ended up being given to Amelia
Earhart for her later-life use under a Federal Witness Protection Program, so the former world famous pilot
could privately live out the rest of her days. He included how unknown to the public, Amelia's new name and identity
acquisition most likely took place during the late World War Two era with highly instrumental, albeit surreptitious
help from the indomitable, J. Edgar Hoover. He determined that Hoover, in alliance with the U.S. executive branch via U.S.
military intelligence, had learned that Amelia Earhart, had quietly managed to survive her so-called disappearance,
and that while doing so she was subjugated by trying circumstances. [Thus, her later life friend and confidante,
Monsignor James Francis Kelley's comment: "After all she'd been through she did not want to be the famous Amelia Earhart
Gervais first, and then Reineck as well, ascertained that such a truth was discovered in the mid-1960s, and it was revealed in 1970, but it failed to gain a foothold in the annals of official
history after it was strongly rejected by the former Amelia
Earhart herself, and a contingency of individuals that supported her.
The two war veterans were also clear to point out that Amelia's post-war
alias was more a product of a tight inner circle than a vast conspiracy.
Due to the limited amount of people who were clued-in about it, and the 'official
silence' always observed by the U.S. and Japanese governments toward the matter, the story that broke in 1970 about Amelia's
post loss existence as Irene, evolved to be regarded as a 'hoax' by the general public. This
is why the debate over who the post-1940 Irene O'Crowley Craigmile-Bolam really
was, or used to be, never reached a hard conclusion... until recently, when the forensic analysis results
displayed the obvious reality of Amelia's post-1940, name-changed existence.
Above, noted Forensic Anthropologist,
Dr. Walter S. Birkby,
was an advisor on the human comparison analysis and was
intrumental in providing document examination experts.
Joseph A. Gervais accepting his Amelia
Earhart Society of Researchers achievement award.
Before I began orchestrating the forensic analysis, I had noticed
Gervais and Reineck's level of seriousness and combined it with the good nature of their characters. After all, both had served in the Air Force
during World War Two, with Gervais eventually retiring as a Major, and Reineck as a Colonel. I
then conducted an initial assessment of the common conclusion they drew, that was backed by decades of their own investigative
research. So ultimately, I wanted to determine if what they professed to know about Amelia
Earhart was actually true. I recall asking myself, "if they're so certain, then why has this still not been settled?"
Either way I felt that answering the, 'did Amelia
became known as Irene' question once and for all provided an automatic hook for a documentary. May as well add,
though, getting it done proved far more challenging than I originally anticipated. Why? For starters, let's just say Amelia
Earhart's family, the original Irene's family, the Zonta's and the 99's, (prominent organizations Amelia
had belonged to) a couple of college history professors, and people at the Smithsonian Institution either laughed at the idea
or outright signaled me to, 'hit the road, Jack!' when I asked them to weigh-in
on what I was doing.
to say... I kept going anyway, and in the end the truth of Amelia's post-loss existence as Irene did manage
to clearly shine through.
Above: "She was not the original Irene O'Crowley
Craigmile. Anymore it is obvious she used to be known as Amelia Earhart. A post-World War Two pact made between the
governments of the United States and Japan, that still exists today, has long prevented the general public from embracing
the truth about Amelia's ongoing existence as 'Irene' in the United States after the war." Tod Swindell
digitally combined with her future
self; the post-war Irene.
A First Person Review; Twenty Years of Amelia Earhart Investigative Research
Below: Graphic artist, David Harlan designed this
illustration to be included in the promotional material for my Protecting Earhart book and documentary. Note the ocean
waves vectoring toward the 'Carmen Sandiego' looking Amelia on both sides--and her inverted plane
image that is shown flying away from Howland Island. Dave did a good job there. Amelia actually took the veil-faced photo of herself while looking into a mirror before she became
famous. An AE selfie... gotta love it.
Above is a portion of a larger group photo taken at
the Joseph A. Gervais Amelia Earhart Society of Researchers 'Lifetime Achievement Award' ceremony held on February
5, 2000. Top row left to right: Then head of the Oakland Western Aerospace Museum, Ronald Reuther; Amelia Earhart historian-journalist,
Tod Swindell; Mr. & Mrs. John Bolam, the post-war only Irene O'Crowley Craigmile-Bolam's survived in-laws, who both recognized
their later life sister-in-law as the 'former' Amelia Earhart. Bottom row, left to right: 1967 Amelia Earhart World Flight
duplicator, Ann Holtgren Pellegreno; Amelia Earhart Lives author, Joe Klaas; and renowned Amelia Earhart disappearance
investigator being honored that day, Joseph A. Gervais.
Filming Protecting Earhart with cameraman,
Doug Peters. From 1999 on, production took place in California, Kansas, Hawaii, Nevada, and Washington DC. I shelved it to
further develope the forensic analysis so I could ultimately include it. I copyrighted the analysis in 2017, and am now in
the process of completing Protecting Earhart.
A frame from my near two-hour long filmed interview
with my friend and collaborator, Major Joseph A. Gervais, USAF (Ret.) It was the last 'broadcast quality' interview
he gave. From 1965 to his dying day in 2005, he never disavowed the truth he discovered, that stated Amelia Earhart lived
well beyond the World War Two era after assuming the identity of Irene O'Crowley Craigmile, a name that originallly belonged
to a budding pilot Amelia was acquainted with in the 1930s. It turned out he was right. The forensic analysis concluded that
three Twentieth Century women were attributed to the same Irene O'Crowley Craigmile identity, and that sometime after 1940,
Amelia Earhart became the third one. As it turned out, people who had doubted Joseph A. Gervais, were too quick to judge.
A frame from my interview with Joe Klaas. Joe was a WWII POW
in Germany for over two years. He authored the 1970 controversial book, Amelia Earhart Lives, that was chiefly inspired
by the decade long investigation of Amelia Earhart's 1937 disappearance conducted by Joseph A. Gervais. Klaas's book boldy
included Joseph A. Gervais' 1965 discovery and photo of the former Amelia Earhart living as Mrs. Irene O'Crowley
Craigmile-Bolam. The former Amelia sued he and Gervais for libel, not for implicating her for who she used
to be, as was widely assumed. I consider my interviews of both Gervais and Klaas as great achievements... even though a lot
of people have a hard time understanding why.
Ann Holtgren Pellegreno, who in 1967 duplicated the world flight journey of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, (successfully...)
gifted me this great photo she took over the left engine cowling of her Lockheed Electra as she zoomed by Howland Island that
year. Howland was the target Amelia and Fred failed to locate thirty-years prior to 1937,
just before they went missing. Somehow I ended up working on two film projects that featured man and woman flying duos in
peril in their airplanes; 'Six Days and Seven Nights' and 'Spin.' It's interesting how few ever noticed another Earhart-Noonan cinematic homage, where at the end of the classic motion picture, Casablanca, a man and woman climb aboard
a Lockheed Electra that takes off and disappears into a dense fog.
Above, Victor Laszlo and Ilsa Lund are aboard this Lockheed Electra
that takes off into a dense fog at the end of the movie, 'Casablanca.' Once they get through the fog their weather report
is, "ceiling unlimited." This timeless-classic, atop my personal list of all time favorites, was directed by Michael
Curtiz. It premiered five years after Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan went missing in Amelia's Electra.
Two side-note metaphors: In Amelia's day, Lockheed named its
airplanes after stars in the sky. In 1932, the plane Amelia flew solo across the Atlantic in--that made her
the first woman and only the second person to ever do such a thing--was a Lockheed "Vega" named
for the brightest star in the Lyra constellation. Amelia did become her own bright star after accomplishing that
feat. "Electra," on the other hand, the name of the plane she flew when she went missing, is a star in the Pleiades
'seven sisters' constellation. The sister-star named 'Electra' is referred to as the "weeping sister" because her
illumination is not as bright as her other sisters. Electra is also referred to as the "lost
star" since it is hard to see her, but you know she's there. This is how my friend, Randall Brink, came up with
the title for his classic, 1994 best-selling Amelia Earhart investigative book, Lost Star: The Search
For Amelia Earhart. Amelia Earhart truly did become a lost star akin to Electra of the Pleiades. For after July
2, 1937, although she couldn't be seen anymore, many people continued to believe she was still alive and out there...
Pilot 'Grace McGuire' took the above 2017 photo of me
being interviewed for her documentary in front of her rare Lockheed Electra 'Model 10' edition, the best existing replica
of the Lockheed Electra 10E Amelia Earhart owned, flew, and went missing in with Fred Noonan. Grace worked hard for years
restoring this beautiful aircraft. She recently transferred ownership of it to the Atchison, Kansas Chamber of Commerce that
is now raising funds to build a Museum-Hangar for it at its municipal airport. Atchison, of course, was Amelia's
birthplace and original hometown. Grace McGuire was friends with Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey, Amelia's sister, and as a
tribute to their shared namesakes, Grace named her Lockheed, "Muriel." (Muriel Earhart Morrissey, knew her sister,
Amelia, as 'Irene' in her later life years.) Into the 2000's, Grace had been planning a world flight adventure in 'Muriel'
with Larry Heller, the original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile's 1934 born son, slated to serve as her flight navigator.
The flight never materialized but for awhile it appeared to come close to doing so. Grace also once visited and even slept
on Howland Island in a tent! She is a very special person. I'm not the only one sporting that opinion of her.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF ROLLIN C. REINECK
A Theory of
Above is a 1985 photo of Amelia Earhart's sister, Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey,
with Lockheed Electra restorer and pilot, Grace McGuire. Colonel Rollin C. Reineck took this photo while the two were together
in Hawaii commemorating the 50th anniversary of Amelia's solo Hawaii-to-Oakland flight.
People have often remarked about Grace McGuire's strong resemblance to Amelia. It's no coincidence
in my book, just as Irene O'Crowley Craigmile's sudden post-World War Two resemblance to Amelia
Earhart was no coincidence either.
Grace McGuire is a terrific person, except she as well is somewhat
of an enigma. She was raised by adoptive parents in Scotland before she relocated to the U.S. in the 1960s while in her teens.
She has mentioned that she is 'related' to Amelia Earhart, without specifying the way she is related. I suggested to her that
she may be Amelia's secret granddaughter; she negated that, although I had brought it up in reference to a never confirmed
rumor of Amelia having experienced a family-secret pregnancy in 1924. If such a rumor were true, Grace
would fit the bill age-wise as Amelia's granddaughter. There was also some connective tissue: Grace was a
friend of Amelia's sister, Muriel, before Muriel's passing took place in 1998, plus she knew Monsignor James Francis Kelley,
who helped Amelia become 'Irene' after the war; she affirmed she had 'acquainted' Irene O'Crowley Craigmile, (the post-1940
Irene) and she has long been a friend of the original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile's son, Larry Heller. That's quite a woven
web of separate interrelated elements.
While the 'secret granddaughter' notion may seem far-fetched
to some, beyond the, "I'm related to Amelia Earhart" mention of Grace's, there is actually no public record to back
it up. So... one has to start somewhere with that information.
screen story, "Amelia's Blessings" that Rollin C. Reineck expounded on in the last chapter of his book, Amelia
Earhart Survived, is a historical novella that covers Amelia's missing year (biographically) of 1924. It suggests that
Amelia possibly concealed a pregnancy and gave birth to Lloyd Royer's child in Canada, (Lloyd Royer was a plane mechanic friend
and business partner of Amelia's who did propose to her before she left California with her mother in 1924, headed
for the east coast by way of Canada) and how eventually, her still concealed child was taken in to be raised by the
O'Crowley family of Newark, New Jersey, after Amelia suddenly became famous in 1928.
Is it pure insanity to
even suggest such an idea? As mentioned, Grace herself says it isn't true. Yet another part of my Study did solidly determine
that the person in the photograph directly below, who was positively identified to me by the original Irene O'Crowley
Craigmile's 1934 born son as, "my mother, around 1940", was not the original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile, nor
was she the post-1940 Irene O'Crowley Craigmile-Bolam, AKA the former Amelia Earhart.
It is a less-focused-on
part of my study results that says no one knows who the person in the photograph below really was or where she came
from. In 1984, an elder O'Crowley family friend described a young 'live-in helper girl' of the O'Crowley's
who was about "16 or 17" in 1940, as she recalled. Where no evidence of such a 'live-in helper
girl' exists within the O'Crowley family archives, it could make sense where the person below was she. Not to leave out, this
very same photograph, and more of the same girl came from the former Amelia Earhart's own photo
collection bestowed upon her later life friend, Diana Dawes:
|PHOTO COURTESY OF THE DIANA DAWES COLLECTION
At his attorney's office in Manhattan and in writing as well, the
person above was identified to me by the 1934 born son of the original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile as,
"my mother, around 1940". The analysis results left it certain she was not his biological mother, and she certainly
was never known as 'Amelia Earhart' either.
Evidently, after the original Irene's son was imprinted with her at a young age, the person above went on
to serve as his surrogate mother. The above photo was more likely taken in the mid-1940s. Based on her dress
and formal pose, it is possibly a college graduation photo from when she was twenty-one or twenty-two.
(Leaving her birth year estimate to have been, 'around 1924' as conveyed by O'Crowley family friend, Lucy McDannel in 1984,
who recalled their 'live-in helper-girl' as "16 or 17 in 1940.) To this day no one knows who this person really was or
where she came from. My postulatation that she may have been the non-recognized biological daughter of Amelia
Earhart and Lloyd Royer is only that, a 'postulation' or 'educated guess' based on an, 'if this, then that' supposition. Again,
my logic included an awareness of how this photo (and others of the same girl) came from the former Amelia Earhart's
own collection bestowed upon her later life friend, Diana Dawes. Diana died in 1998, just a few months after Amelia's sister,
Muriel, died. Diana Dawes, by the way, (see news article clip below) firmly believed her later life friend, the post-World
War Two only Irene O'Crowley Craigmile-Bolam, did used to be known as, "Amelia Earhart". Tod
The above excerpt was part of a 1987 newspaper article.
"Foudray calls the investigative
research of Gervais and Swindell, ""Just the tip of the Iceberg."" "All
the evidence all put together, I feel like she [Amelia]
did survive. I think she survived and came back to the United States, but that she wanted her privacy."
Lou Foudray, former proprietor of
the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, Kansas, quoted from interviews conducted by Lara
Moritz of KMBC TV, Kansas City, and by The Topeka Kansas Capital-Journal's, Jan Biles.
Above, a 2016 photograph of Lou Foudray, Earhart historian and former
caretaker of the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum on the front porch of the home where Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison,
Kansas. Lou lived there for many years and was one of several 'Earhart-learned' individuals who spoke of
Amelia's rumored 'family secret' pregnancy from her pre-fame years.
USAF Colonel, Rollin C. Reineck in 1944
"Your work relating to Amelia Earhart and Irene O'Crowley Craigmile is absolutely outstanding. There is no other
way to describe it. I'm convinced you have solved the mystery." Author-historian,
Colonel Rollin C. Reineck,
USAF (Ret.) in response to Tod Swindell's Amelia Earhart
investigative forensic research and comparison analysis.
Senator Hiram Bingham
& Amelia Earhart
Distinguished and proud with her
trademark wings and pearls.
Irene-Amelia in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia in 1976.
Note the signature flower-pendant she often wore.
The post-World War Two only
Irene O'Crowley Craigmile
East Hampton of L.I. New York, in 1965. [Gervais photo.]
She was appeared nowhere as 'Irene O'Crowley Craigmile' before
the end of World War Two because she used to be Amelia Earhart.
The world public, however, was never supposed to know about
Above is an old newsprint photo of the original Irene
Craigmile shown in 1930 with her then-husband, Charles Craigmile, who died the following year, and her father, Richard Joseph
O'Crowley. Below they're enhanced.
|CHARLES AND IRENE O'CROWLEY CRAIGMILE
|1930 NEWSPRINT PHOTO
"All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
From the time I was born I've always been the same person.
Toward the end of her defamation lawsuit that ended in 1976, the post-1940 Irene O'Crowley Craigmile-Bolam, told a newspaper reporter the same thing, "I've always been the same person."
That was a true statement she made, although she definitely did change her name during the course of her lifetime.
People sometimes change their names for different reasons. Stefani Germanotta
did it for a professional stage-name
reason. So did Alecia Moore. Cassius Clay and Lew Alcindor did it as homages to their religious beliefs. Amelia Earhart?
She did it for her own deep rooted personal reasons--and out of respect for the three countries she ended up being unwaveringly devoted to during
the course of her lifetime; the United States, England, and Japan.
If you feel I'm stretching things here, I'm not.
Try to visualize, if you can, that the reason the 'name-changed' reality of Amelia Earhart was kept
out of the public eye was more practically based and easier to explain than people realized.
According to the conviction displayed by the former Amelia Earhart
herself when she was known as 'Irene' during the last half of her life, and the post-World War Two viewpoints maintained by the United States,
England, and Japan as well, it is fairly certain their common vantage point came from a post-war agreement the averred how no one from
the world public was ever supposed to know that Amelia Earhart lived-on after she went missing -- and in time changed her name.
It appears clear enough by now that Amelia did such a thing by way of a multi-nations endorsed, and conjointly agreed upon
Federal Witness Protection Program [FWPP] carefully arranged via the U.S. justice department. Such an arrangement was most
likely spurred ahead under the guise of J. Edgar Hoover and
the U.S. federal government.
Still not convinced? Then consider this: No executive government branch from any of the three above mentioned countries has ever come close
to offering an opinion about the 'Amelia became Irene' suggestion, even though it is certain all were aware that it made
national-news headlines in the U.S. in 1970.
It is equally true as well, the executive branch of the
U.S. federal government has never officially investigated the 1937 disappearance and subsequent missing person case
of Amelia Earhart. If it ever offered an opinion about it at all, it was always in an off-hand, non-commiting
way. Tod Swindell
More About Tod Swindell
Tod Swindell's major film production
work began with Universal's 'Desperado' westerns for NBC, executive produced by Walter and Andrew Mirisch. For several
years he made MOW's around the country for Desperado Films, Inc., eventually serving as its president while heading its
story rights acquisition division. His producer credits include The Woman in the Moon, The Legend of the Phantom
Rider, Ghost Rock, Spin, and Secret Agent Dingledorf. Over the years he has been credited on numerous
other film productions with Geronimo, Major League, Six Days and Seven Nights, and Tin Cup
listed among them. His past television series work includes The Young Riders, Legend, The Game,
and The Magnificent Seven. Tod holds the registered copyrights on a variety of Amelia Earhart intellectual properties
including Protecting Earhart, that exclusively features his self-conceived and orchestrated, Amelia-to-Irene
forensic comparison analysis, the first study of its kind ever embarked on.
Of his other endeavors, Tod's company, Grizzly Adams LLC, houses the Grizzly Adams trademarked
brand and is a business partner of the Vital Ground Foundation, an organization devoted to protecting grizzly bear and other
wildlife habitat in the Pacific American Northwest. His new children's book, Grizzly Adams and the Bridge to the Meadow is
available in retail outlets and through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kindle. A portion of all Grizzly Adams Company proceeds
goes to Vital Ground.
likens the life of the real Grizzly Adams to that of Amelia Earhart, calling them "two of the most famously
misunderstood figures from American history."
Tod is the son of California Classic Film Hall of Fame member -- and Texas
Literary Hall of Fame member, the late Larry Swindell. Tod's late mother was Equity Theater actress, Eleanor Eby, who, while
on Broadway, singularly endorsed her UCLA friend, Carol Burnett, to be welcomed into New York's well known Rehearsal Club
for aspiring actors. From there, as the story goes within Carol's homage to Ellie Eby in her book, One More Time, she
launched her famous career.
Tod's maternal grandfather, the late Earl Eby, played a role in boosting the career of his good friend, Danny Thomas,
when in the late 1930s, he offered the then struggling Thomas to come stay with him in Chicago and do radio show work. (Tod
has been a steady contributer to Danny Thomas' St. Jude Medical Research Center over the years.) Earl was also the Director
and Co-Head of Hollywood's 'Lux Video Theater' in the 1950s.
Tod is married to his 'Aether Pictures' and 'Grizzly Adams Company' partner, Julie
Magnuson Swindell. The two split their time between Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest.
With Richard Farnsworth on Desperado: The Outlaw
Wars in Mescal, Arizona, 1989
On Posse in 1993
Trying to direct some buffalo near Flagstaff, AZ for
Legend, 1995 (they didn't listen very well)
Above, in front of our Air Force loaned
C-130 on Vestige of Honor filmed in Thailand and North Carolina, 1991
Calling the roll on the Dehavilland Beaver for Six
Days and Seven Nights filmed in Hawaii.
With Saginaw Grant on The Legend of the Phantom
Rider, Cochise Stronghold, 1999
With the new 'Kitt Car' on Knightrider 2000, San Antonio
Shooting with the Piper Cub for Spin on the
Sopori near the Mexico border, 2004.
Adventuring the Napali Coast.
Above, playing for the Beachwood Canyon Bucs in L.A.,
2014. Baseball is a long-time passion that runs in the family. In Texas, my paternal grandfather, Reece Swindell, was a catcher
who caught Dizzy Dean and Satchel Paige in the early 1930s. His catching for Satchel Paige was a fluke; Paige was barnstorming
through Texas with his team when his catcher broke his hand in a bar fight the night before Reece's team was to play his,
so Reece ended up catching both his own team's pitcher and Satchel Paige the entire game. Reece's brother, Fred,
played center field; his other brother, Ray, played second base for their north Texas semi-pro club. (It was common for American
towns back then, especially in Texas, to have their own semi-pro baseball clubs.) Reece caught Dean when his north Texas team
scrimmaged the Houston Buffs in 1931. Dean pitched for the Swindell brothers' team to even the contest against the Buffs.
days, late 1970s
With friend, Raz, in Willits, California, 2009, once
home to Seabiscuit.