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NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams airs story on The Masked Marauders

Suzanne Kai

April 6, 2013

Last night's television show Rock Center with Brian Williams aired a story about the 'super album' The Masked Marauders

BEN DOC - ALMOST FAMOUS WITH BEN ON THE PHONEThe story included a clip from the movie Almost Famous of actor Terry Chen playing Ben Fong-Torres, former senior editor of Rolling Stone magazine, and author, Emmy award-winning broadcaster, and long-time columnist here.

News anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams has had a curiousity since childhood about a 1969 music album he bought called the The Masked Marauders - a record album touting that it was an album of music recorded in secret by a super group with the likes of John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan.

Now, after more than four decades of the album's original release, the television network news anchor with his own show got the chance to look under the mask of the infamous album.

He talked with The Masked Marauder's prankster Greil Marcus, today a noted author, music critic and journalist who was at the time of the hoax the record reviews editor for Rolling Stone magazine. Marcus wrote a review of the album under the pseudonym T.M. Christian in collaboration with another Rolling Stone record reviewer Bruce Miroff. 

Greil Marcus confirmed the truth to Brian Williams, that yes, the 1969 album was indeed a fake. There was no super group formed to record in secrecy. 

Despite disclosures years ago that it was a fake, the album has continued in the anals of rock history with a life of its own. In 2003, Rhino Records remastered the album and released a numbered edition of 2,000 copies of it .

Brian Williams also interviewed another co-conspirator of the album, Langdon Winner, another former writer and contributing editor for Rolling Stone. Winner sat at a piano to play some of the music he and Marcus concocted, and had hired a Berkeley, Callifornia band called the Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band to play for the fake album. Both Bruce Miroff and Langdon Winner earned Phds in political science from UC Berkeley and went on from their early Rolling Stone days to become noted authors and college professors of political science.

Ben said he was not involved in The Masked Marauders album prank, but it was still nice to see the Rock Center with Brian Williams show include the Almost Famous clip of Terry Chen playing him in the TV feature aired last night.

If you missed it, here's a link to the feature online, but Ben's cameo, played by actor Terry Chen in Almost Famous is not included in the online version.

Brian Williams then asked his audience if there were any fellow 'victims' like himself who bought one of the fake albums and bought into the myth, to send him a message on Twitter, Facebook or email so "we won't feel so alone.' Here's the feedback from Brian Williams.

And lastly, I stayed on long enough to see the rest of the April 5, 2013 Rock Center with Brian Williams show, and its good, and funny, too. You have to check out the "Rock Bottom" segment (about 1:35 into the 4:56 piece) with astronaut Chris Hadfield. The charismatic Commander of the International Space Station is one of six people living onboard the space craft currenting orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes at 17,000 miles per hour. He's got some amazing videos of what life is like orbiting the Earth. Also, you can check a website called  www.spaceweather.com/flybys/flybys.php using your zip code to find out when the International Space Station is flying over your area