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Gold pieces star in Hollywood movie

AlongsideNightWhen the Central States Numismatic Society celebrates its 75th Anniversary April 23-26 at its convention in Schaumburg, Ill., (open to the general public beginning April 24), attendees will have the opportunity to be among the first in the nation to view the movie “Alongside Night.” The film includes multiple elements of interest to numismatists and precious metals followers.

“Alongside Night” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, at the AMC Loews Streets of Woodfield 20 & IMAX Theater located at 601 N. Martingale Road in Schaumburg.

The theater is just over two miles from the CSNS convention center. Because this is a showing in advance of the movie opening in theaters across the country, all tickets (price $11) must be purchased online at www.tugg.com/events/8685 at least four hours before showtime. Tickets cannot be purchased from the theater itself.

So, what would numismatists and precious metals aficionados enjoy about this PG-13-rated movie? Easy – it is a plausible story about where America might be headed in the near future, and how Gold Liberties privately issued by a coin dealer become part of a hopeful future.

You can view the movie trailer at www.tugg.com/titles/alongside-night or view the Alongside Night Theme Song Video, sung by Soleil O’Neal-Schulman, here.  Several people have commented that the theme song reminds them of a James Bond movie.

“Alongside Night” is the story of the final economic collapse of the United States, as seen through the eyes of 16-year old Elliot Vreeland, a high school senior. Elliot’s father, a Nobel prize winning economist, and the rest of his family disappear. As Elliot himself eludes the authorities while searching for his family, he meets the mysterious Lorimer in a black-market underground, a young woman whose father might be the reason Elliot’s family is missing.

As the collapse of the United States government accelerates over the course of the movie – brought on by quantitative easing, the inability to sharply cut expenditures, the curtailment of civil rights and liberties, and outlawing the ownership of gold – Elliot and Lorimer become involved with the Agorist Underground to attempt to rescue Elliot’s family and friends. The movie has a tragic climax and a hopeful conclusion.

The movie encompasses almost non-stop action, adventure, science fiction and a bit of romance. The impressive cast includes Kevin Sorbo as Dr. Martin Vreeland (star of the long running television series “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and also “Andromeda,” most recently starring in the film “God’s Not Dead”), Said Faraj (“Green Zone”), Jake Busey (“Contact,” “Starship Troopers”), Tim Russ and Garrett Wang (both regular cast members of the “Star Trek: Voyager” television series), Gary Graham (“Alien Nation,” “Star Trek: Enterprise”), Valence Thomas (“The Replacements,” “Men In Black 3”), former Congressman and three-time presidential contender Dr. Ron Paul (playing himself), and introducing Christian Kramme at Elliot Vreeland. The awesome (in my humble opinion) soundtrack is performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine.

Why else might coin collectors and dealers have a personal interest in the movie? As I am the financier and an executive producer of the movie (meaning I have a financial interest in how well this movie turns out), my company Liberty Coin Service has significant product placement in the movie.

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When “Alongside Night” was originally released in book form in 1979, the gold pieces that are a significant plot element were Mexico 50 pesos. However, in the context of pieces being issued in the black market, it was obvious that it would be appropriate that the gold pieces should be private issues. Therefore, the Gold Liberties feature the website of my own company as being the issuer of the Gold Liberties. Further, in a scene where Elliot and Lorimer are shopping in a black market underground, they encounter a Liberty Coin Service kiosk. This booth is staffed by real-life LCS Senior Numismatist Tom Coulson. My wife Pamela is a Liberty Coin Service customer in the scene, who also works for the company. I am in a scene as an AnarchoBank exchange officer when Elliot and Lorimer come to exchange one of the Gold Liberty pieces for local spending currencies (I will have this 24-karat gold prop available for viewing at CSNS). My two youngest children, Dan and Amy, appear in the classroom scene sitting in the row in front of Elliot.

In addition, the Gold Liberty was designed by coin dealer Jess Patrick of Patrick Mint in California. The Patrick Mint has also struck limited edition commemorative quarter Gold Liberties and quarter Silver Liberties that are being sold by my company. Even more, some may recall that back over 20 years ago Ron Paul was a coin dealer through his involvement with Ron Paul Rare Coins. Ron Paul has also been commemorated on private issues put out by Liberty Dollar and Provident Metals.

Of the “Alongside Night” novel, Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman said, “An absorbing novel – science fiction, yet also a cautionary tale with a disturbing resemblance to past history and future possibilities.” For the 2009 30th anniversary edition of the book, Ron Paul said, “J. Neil Schulman’s ‘Alongside Night’ may be even more relevant today than it was in 1979.”

Although the novel was published in 1979, the parallels to today’s world economy are uncanny. Author (and movie director) J. Neil Schulman has promised not to sue the politicians in Washington for copyright infringement.

The movie is littered with inside references that would amuse those of a libertarian bent. For instance, the creation of the Nobel-winning economist Dr. Martin Vreeland character was done before Dr. Milton Friedman was awarded the Nobel economics prize.

There are some instances of movie magic throughout the movie. Some use cutting edge technology and some just plain old-fashioned equipment. In an early scene where Elliot has just eluded capture by government agents, he is befriended by a prostitute who is an Agorist Underground agent. On her skin is a moving lighted snake from the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag of the Revolutionary War era. Expect to see the use of the technology to produce this effect more in future television and movie productions.

Here’s an example of the low-tech movie magic. Elliot wears a money belt in much of the movie that conceals Gold Liberties. However, a money belt large enough to hold Gold Liberties (the same diameter as one-ounce gold Maple Leaves) would be too large to fit through belt loops on pants. In the scenes where the belt is opened to pull out Gold Liberties, a belt is used that is large enough to contain them. In the scenes where Elliot is wearing the same belt, it is actually a narrower belt of the same style that has no Gold Liberties inside. In the audiences’ minds, it is assumed that it is the same belt.

Here’s another instance of low-tech movie magic. In a flashback scene, Dr. Martin Vreeland is being awarded his Nobel prize for economics. The actor playing the king of Sweden bestowing this award in the movie is Dr. David Friedman, Milton Friedman’s son. The Nobel prize prop in the scene is Milton Friedman’s actual Nobel medal.

When “Alongside Night” was shown in sneak previews around the country last year, a surprising result of the surveys of viewers was that adult females found the movie quite enjoyable. It is possible that they were attracted to “hotties” such as Elliot and to his best friend Phillip Gross (played by Eric Colton).

The “Alongside Night” movie is currently being distributed online by Tugg.com. For information about other showings of the movie around the country, go to www.tugg.com/titles/alongside-night.

Patrick A. Heller was the American Numismatic Association 2012 Harry Forman Numismatic Dealer of the Year Award winner. He owns Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., and writes “Liberty’s Outlook,” a monthly newsletter on rare coins and precious metals subjects. Other commentaries are available at Coin Week. He also writes a bi-monthly column on collectibles for “The Greater Lansing Business Monthly.” His radio show “Things You ‘Know’ That Just Aren’t So, And Important News You Need To Know” can be heard at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday and Friday mornings on 1320-AM WILS in Lansing.

 

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