Aliens, brandy and guns were the key components of a comedic adaptation of an L. Ron Hubbard novel performed by Emmy-award winning actors in the Jack Morton Auditorium last week.
Hubbard, whose writings became the founding documents of the Church of Scientology, attended GW for two semesters before leaving without a degree in 1931. The adaptation of his novel “The Crossroads” was followed by a presentation on his life before, during and after his time at the University.
Dion Graham from HBO’s “The Wire,” Emmy Award-winning actor John Mariano from “The Sopranos” and “Desperate Housewives,” Jim Meskimen from “Frost/Nixon,” Tamra Meskimen from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator Josh Robert Thompson played voice roles in the adaptation.
In “The Crossroads,” a farmer in the Great Depression sets out on a journey to sell his vegetables in the city. Before long, however, he comes upon a crossroads and trades his vegetables for brandy, gold and guns with aliens, an elderly man and militiamen. The proliferation of brandy and firearms eventually causes a war zone and when the farmer escapes the mess, he comes to realize while he thought he was only gone for a day, he was really gone for five months.
Before the presentation, GW’s archivist, David Anderson, presented a slideshow of Hubbard’s life – including when he enrolled in the 1930s as a civil engineering major. He was a writer and editor at The Hatchet while it was known as the University Hatchet, and his first story, “Tah,” was published in The Hatchet.
“His writing for The Hatchet began and developed his love of writing fiction,” Anderson said.
Hubbard’s connection with the Church of Scientology was left unmentioned in the presentation. Instead, the focus was Hubbard’s life traveling across the globe – which often showed up in his fiction writing.
“All of his adventures gave him a profound sense of reality in his literature,” Jacobs said.
Hubbard’s passion for adventure began as a child where he was the youngest Eagle Scout in America. Later, while attending GW, he brought a group of students on a trip to the Caribbean. He enjoyed flying gliders in his spare time and became the president of the Glider Club at GW, Anderson said.
John Goodwin, president of Galaxy Press, said that the night was representative of Hubbard’s literary legacy. Hubbard wrote more than 80 books and 150 stories under 15 different pseudonyms.
Gunhild Jacobs, the senior vice president of Author Services, Inc., said that Hubbard “reflects the totality of his unique experiences in his life and his fiction.”
Jacobs said, “His constant quest in knowledge and adventure have caused us to return to the launching point of his career for this presentation.”