Sunday, July 12, 2020

Treasure Quest and Cork Graham

Once again, I’m annoyed. Yes, this happens all the time now and this annoyance has to do with Treasure Quest, that once had “Snake Island” appended to it but that is no longer relevant. As happened before when Keith Plaskett left a comment to one of my posts about Treasure Quest, Cork Graham did the same. Like
Keith Plaskett
Plaskett, he was on the first two seasons when they were searching for the Treasure of the Trinity. While my interest was now on the third season and what happened to the fourth, I thought he might be able to shed some light on that.

I found his Facebook page and sent him a message telling him that I hosted a radio show/podcast version of A Different Perspective. I thought he might be interested in appearing to talk about his experiences on Treasure Quest. His response was, “Would love to be on your show.”

In my response to that, I asked a couple of questions, which revolved around the third season. I knew that he hadn’t been seen on camera but thought he might have some insight into why, after the discovery of the Inca artifacts at the end of season two, and the suggestion that they were now close to finding hundreds of millions of dollars, the emphasis of the show switched to the Sacambaya treasure in Bolivia worth a ridiculously estimated two billion dollars. I also mentioned that I had interview Plaskett about Treasure Quest.

His response was, shall we say, less then complementary about his fellow castmates on Treasure Quest. Yes, I said castmates because that seems to be a better term for who they were. It was clear that Graham didn’t like Plaskett or Plaskett’s friend Jeremy Whalen. I did notice that Graham’s book, found on Amazon (of course) had a one-star rating from Plaskett, which isn’t surprising. Graham mentioned he wished he could hear Plaskett’s interview which was easy for me to arrange. I just sent him the link found on this blog. In fact, you can listen to it here:

In my email to him, I did say that Plaskett had told me that they didn’t know what was going to happen each day until they got the scripts. Graham wrote back, saying, “Let me make this 100 percent clear: this was a fully scripted show, with 100 percent hired actors, created by Discovery in order to complete against History Channel’s Curse of Oak Island.

He also wrote, “I’m definitely willing and able to come on your show, but only after you’re squared away with the knowledge I’ve already put out in an attempt to correct all this major FUBARy [fouled up beyond all recognition… and the “F” really stands for another word, but I used the G-ratedT version] sold to audiences around the world…”

I had wondered if the whole Plaskett “flashback to Vietnam,” had been scripted as well. If true, that offended me greatly. Graham wrote, “Plaskett had gone through two bottles of rum by the time we were on set the morning of the shoot that not only led to Plaskett replaying his memories with the 82nd as a combat engineer in the VN jungles, amplified by the booze…”

Graham suggested that Plaskett was to hold back and suffer from dehydration, but the Vietnam memories that surfaced had nothing to do with what was in the script. You might say that was something of a bonus that provided a better hook
The mission where the silver bar was allegedly
for that episode of the show, which, again is offensive.

For those who remember that, they had allegedly been trekking through the jungle from their boat, heading for this mission where a silver bar had allegedly been found, suggesting it was part of the Treasure of the Trinity. What we all learned was that the mission wasn’t some ruin deep in the jungle, but was a tourist attraction with a paved highway running near it and a town not all that far away that had a Sheridan Resort Hotel. You can read about that here:

Graham then slings a number of other allegations that are serious criminal offenses that I’m not going to repeat here. He told me in the email it was all in his book, so if you are interested in them, you can read the allegations there. He wrote, “Let me know when you’re done with the book and you’ll be more than ready to ask questions that would have been asked of Plaskett, as he was my source on much of this…”

I didn’t like being told what I must do for my show, and his trying to set the rules. I pointed out that the guests normally made copies of their books available to the host. This was the first time that a potential guest had required me to buy the book so that I could be “more than ready to ask questions…” I also pointed out that the appearance on the show provided the author with hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of free advertising for their book and I was surprised that he expected me to buy a book that would, basically, reinforce what I already knew. True, there would be new details and new examples of the staged nature of the show, but then again, Plaskett had told me that and I had reported it.

That was the last I heard from him. He seemed annoyed that I had set the terms for the show, but I made it clear the offer to appear was still viable. After not hearing from him, I sent a short email, again extending the invitation. His response was that work was piling up and thought that the last part of July or first week in August would work.

Well, I understood that our lives sometimes get in the way of doing a radio show or podcast. I try to remain flexible and provide a guest with a number of options. This was a story that I wanted to tell and I was willing to make some accommodations, as long as it was understood that it was my show.

After several weeks, I sent him an email for the last two shows in July or the first one in August. His response? “Thanks for the opportunity to chat with you on your show, Kevin, but at this time I’ve got so much work to do… that I’ll have to pass.”

Here is the take away from all this. I have communicated with two members of the original cast of Treasure Quest and both have been quite clear that the show was scripted. The Discovery Channel held auditions to recruit the cast, that they massaged the situations to build tension (like trashing the boat but not having it stolen and the dehydration of Plaskett for extra  drama), and that they wrote the scripts to provide that tension (sure as the loss of a knapsack with important research papers in it). Their research into the “treasures” was less than complex and when they didn’t have information, they simply made it up. According to Graham and hinted by Plaskett, the producers salted the area so the cast members could keep the narrative going, and when that failed, they changed directions, meaning the new search with a slightly different cast for a different but much more valuable treasure.

I have gone over much of this stuff time and again on this blog. When Plaskett had his melt down in the strip of jungle, we found out that there was more than just the cast traipsing through the jungle. There were cameramen, sound engineers, a doctor, and who knows how many others were with them. In one of the shots of them working on Plaskett, you see several people standing around, not to mention those actually doing something.

You can read about Snake Island and the trouble with the various episodes with the problems here:

I could go on, but just type Treasure Quest or Sacambaya Treasure into the search engine found on the left side of the blog and you can read the various postings about the show over all the seasons.

As I pointed out as they began season three in Bolivia, they weren’t very clever about hiding the truth. We’re told they had to use burros to pack into the area where the Sacambaya treasure was hidden. But their whole research was based on a story told in a travel guide written a hundred years ago. There simply is no evidence that the treasure ever existed. You can read about this here:

But the real point is that later in season three we learn that after a stroll of thirteen hours they arrived at a small town. And then they drive back to their search area in a truck, and they take an excavator with them. Did no one at Discovery think that we’d put it all together to realize they could have, and probably did, drive to the search area in the very beginning and that the trek with burros was for the drama. Bogus from the word “Go”.

While I think Cork Graham would have made an interesting show, and although he agreed, with enthusiasm to appear, he bowed out when he learned that I wasn’t going to cave to his demands. I’d run the show and he, as the guest, would not. I wish we could have done it, but as they say, “These things happen.”

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