Skip to main content

tv   Lou Dobbs Tonight  FOX Business  July 4, 2018 4:00am-5:00am EDT

4:00 am
>> the fastest racer on earth... >> my dad was the first american to ever go over 400 miles an hour. >> ...won't let his son take the wheel. >> i wanted to beat him. >> you wanted beat your father. >> at everything. >> but when the legend meets a tragic end... >> everything changed for the thompson family. >> ...he leaves behind one heck of a challenge. >> danny, you didn't dress me up like this for nothing, did you? >> we want you to get the real feel for what it's like to sit in a 400-mile-an-hour car. put your hand here and on your other side so you can let yourself down slowly. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ]
4:01 am
>> i'm jamie colby on a beautiful, snowy day about 40 miles east of telluride, colorado, here to meet a man determined to set the record straight with his strange inheritance, a legendary drag-racing hot rod. >> my name is danny thompson. when my father was killed, he left me a car named "challenger 2" plus a big piece of unfinished business. >> danny, i'm jamie. >> so nice to meet you. welcome to colorado. >> inside danny's garage, i get my first look at his strange inheritance. >> this is challenger 2. this is the beast. >> oh! challenger 2, a 50-year-old supercharged, piston-powered racecar -- all i can say is... god bless america and racing, danny! kind of looks more like a spaceship than a car. >> kind of like a spaceship, trying to make it be
4:02 am
as aerodynamic as possible. >> the story of this racecar starts with this little traffic cop, mickey thompson, danny's dad, born in 1928 in alhambra, california, a boy who loves tools more than toys. >> he took apart the family washing machine because it had a gasoline-powered engine. >> fox sports vp erik arneson. >> he took apart his sister's roller skates to get the wheels. mickey was going to use whatever he could to make something he was playing with go faster. >> as a teen, mickey gets his hands on an old model "a," soups it up and hits 89 miles per hour. he's hooked. in 1945, 17-year-old mickey is idling at a traffic stop when he spots a blonde in the next lane. he decides to impress her with his wheels. the cute blonde is up for the challenge. >> this guy looked like he was really hot stuff. i said, "oh, okay, we'll give it a go."
4:03 am
light changed, and i put my foot on the pedal, and it surprised him so much that he hesitated for a second, so i naturally got ahead of him. >> she makes him eat her dust, and they become high-school sweethearts. you spent an awful lot of time with cars. >> yeah, i loved it. we used to meet at the drive-in with all these guys, and that's all they talked about, cars, not girls but cars. >> the teenagers marry in 1947. they spend their time building fast cars so mickey can set records with them, like the one he sets in his innovative slingshot dragster, 151 mph. meanwhile, in no time flat, their first kid, danny, comes along. >> danny was born right into the heart of the drag-racing part of mickey's career. >> he was my idol, racing this and doing that and inventing that. that's what my dad did. >> to pay the bills and fund his racing dream, mickey takes a part-time job
4:04 am
as a track manager at a drag strip in long beach. it's there that 9-year-old son danny starts entering events in quarter midget-class racing on a kids' track behind the grandstands. >> early on in life, danny looked up to his father in a way that he constantly felt like he had to prove himself to his dad. >> one day at the midget track, danny is sure he's earned dad's approval when he scores a big win. not so fast. what happened that day? >> he come running over, and i thought he was coming over to congratulate me. i won the race. i was standing there with the trophy girl. i was happy. >> but evidently there was an accident on the track, and another child injured his back, and it was announced over the pa system that danny had injured himself, and mickey came running over. >> but your dad thinks that you're the kid that got hurt? >> yep, and that feeling in his heart of me laying there hurt, that did it. he just came and said, "that's it. you're done. you're never racing again ever in your life." my dad took my car away,
4:05 am
sold it that night. >> he was just panic-stricken. he'd been doing racing, and he knew the dangers. >> a lot of people got killed in those days, and he just didn't want that to happen to his own son. >> but mickey is still willing to risk his own life. in fact, he's setting more and more records as a hot rodder. he breaks many of them at the bonneville salt flats, a 40-square-mile dry lake bed at the utah-nevada border. it's here that the world land-speed record is set, a blistering 394 miles an hour, john cobb, a brit. mickey is determined to beat it. >> british had the speed record on american soil, so he says, "going after that record will be my challenge," and that was the birth of challenger. >> in 1958, mickey and his best friend, mechanic fritz boyd, start brainstorming plans for a racecar with four whopping piston engines. >> so no rockets, no jet motors.
4:06 am
this is all piston-powered, the same kind of car that you would drive to work. they were mechanical geniuses, but they had to come up with transmissions and rear ends and fuel tanks and all of these things. this was a dream. this was a pipe dream. >> some 120 miles west of... >> finally, in 1960, mickey and challenger 1 hit the salt flats. ♪ he spits off from the starting line... then rockets through the finish at a speed of 406.6 miles per hour. >> my dad was the first american to ever go over 400 miles an hour, and he did that in 1960 in a car that he built in his garage. bonneville is what made my dad an american hero. >> but mickey's achievement comes with an asterisk. bonneville rules require two trips on the 8-mile course. official results are the average of the two speeds to account for wind resistance.
4:07 am
on the second race, challenger 1's engine craps out, so mickey starts again from scratch, this time spending 8 years to finance his vision of the ultimate streamliner, one with enough juice to smoke through the finish line more than once. >> the frosting on the cake was going to be challenger 2. >> mickey plans to break the land-speed record during the 1968 speed week at the bonneville flats, but a freak rainstorm turns the flats back into a lake. the event is canceled. it rained? >> it rained. >> the speed week cancellation turns into one of life's fateful detours for mickey. at the time a growing number of deadly racing accidents leads major sponsors to exit the racing world, so mickey now in his 40s, switches gears, going from the man behind the wheels to the man behind the deals.
4:08 am
he launches a high-performance tire company and an entertainment group that holds indoor racing shows. he and judy divorce, and in 1971, he marries 24-year-old trudy feller. as for challenger 2... >> so that car went in a trailer, and it sat in a trailer for years. >> until the day danny gets a mind-blowing call from dad offering the challenge of a lifetime. >> it took 25 years for him to say, "danny, this is your shot." the answer after the break.
4:09 am
4:10 am
4:11 am
♪ >> so the bonneville salt flats serve as a backdrop in which hollywood blockbuster? >> danny thompson always wanted to be like his dad, mickey, a drag-racing legend, but mickey, knowing the dangers of the sport, forbade his son from racing. until i left home, and i started racing motorcycles, and i didn't tell him. >> against dad's wishes, danny begins indy car racing, too. >> i had my own career, but not from anything he gave me.
4:12 am
he owned a tire company. when i needed tires, he made me buy the tires. >> in time, danny marries and has his own son, travis, but he still harbors resentment toward his father. >> i wanted to beat him. >> you wanted beat your father. >> at everything. >> then, in 1988, to danny's surprise, mickey calls his son out of the blue and offers him the chance to do just that. >> he says, "i want to run challenger 2." and he says, "i would like to have you drive it." sorry. after all of these years, the number-one thing, he comes back. he wants me to drive it. >> what changed? >> maybe he just finally got to that tipping point where the scales just rolled the other way, and he decided this was the time. >> danny and mickey set about getting the mothballed challenger 2 ready to run the bonneville salt flats. >> bonneville is a whole unique character all to itself,
4:13 am
so when we're talking about of salt, this is it right here. here's a chunk. >> that's the surface? >> that's the surface. now running at bonneville is the same as driving on slushy snow. that's how slippery it is. >> what does it take to run on this kind of salt? >> this was a tire that goodyear designed for my dad. as you can see, there's no tread on it. tread weighs a lot, and as it starts spinning, the centrifugal force, the tire gets bigger and bigger. these tires will grow 2 inches bigger at 400 miles an hour. >> in once race? wow. >> so a lot of really technical things that were developed just for bonneville. >> and as they prepare for the big run, danny, now 38, finds himself rebonding with his 57-year-old father. >> he'd call me at 1:00 in the morning, and he'd say, "i got this idea." he wouldn't let you sleep. >> there's another surprise call from mickey coming soon, but this one will stop danny in his tracks. >> i can't ever remember worrying about my dad. i never worried about him coming home.
4:14 am
the answer when we return. more and more people are finding themselves in a chevy for the first time. now you can too during the chevy 4th of july sales event. now through july 9, get 10 to 20 percent below msrp on your favorite chevy models when you finance with gm financial. that's over ten thousand dollars on this silverado ltz. this 4th of july, discover why chevy is the most awarded and fastest growing brand the last four years overall. find new roads at your local chevy dealer.
4:15 am
shouldn't just be cena: about pride of country. it should be about love. remember that to love america is to love all americans. because love has no labels.
4:16 am
4:17 am
♪ >> it's "a," when in 1954, pontiac introduced the bonneville special. >> danny thompson's childhood dream is coming true, a chance to get behind the wheel of his dad, mickey thompson's, prized racecar. >> my dad and i were going to do this as a father-son project.
4:18 am
here we are, team thompson. >> then danny receives a frightening call from mickey. he warns him to be extra careful and watch over his wife, valerie, and his newborn son, travis. mickey is spooked about a bitter dispute with a former business partner named michael f. goodwin. >> michael goodwin's way of doing business was very different than mickey's way of doing business. lawsuits went back and forth, and the more that mickey won, the more michael got upset. >> what did he say? >> travis had just been born, and he told me i needed to watch valerie and travis very closely. and when my dad said that, i paid attention because my dad was not afraid of anything. >> on march 16, 1988, in l.a. just around dawn, mickey thompson is walking to his car with his wife, trudy, when two men on bicycles approach. >> they had trudy out of the car in the front of the driveway and executed her, and then they went up, and they shot mickey multiple
4:19 am
times. mickey and trudy die on the scene. that morning, danny gets a call telling him to head to his dad's house right away. >> police were already there doing the investigation, so his dad just kind of laid in the driveway. his hero, the man that he saw as unbeatable, undefeatable, that changed everything for him that day. >> how could somebody that's invincible be gone? >> police believe michael goodwin contracted the hit in an act of revenge, but it takes more than a decade to arrest him. >> michael goodwin stood as jurors walked into the pasadena courtroom. >> goodwin is found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. >> it was 18 years till they finally put the guy in jail. >> by this time, danny has retired from racing, thrown everything into storage, and moved here to colorado. as the years click by, you'd think challenger 2 would become just a relic of racing's past. instead, it's a nagging piece of unfinished business
4:20 am
for danny thompson. do you hear your dad in your head? >> yeah, he'd be wanting to kick my buttif i didn't do i, if i didn't get it done. >> what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail, or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. you're headed down the highway when the guy in front slams on his brakes out of nowhere. you do, too, but not in time. hey, no big deal. you've got a good record and liberty mutual won't hold a grudge by raising your rates over one mistake. you hear that, karen? liberty mutual doesn't hold grudges. how mature of them! for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise their rates because of their first accident. liberty mutual insurance. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ my twhe didn't have anyas an autisfriends as a result it broke my heart. ♪brother let me be your shelter♪
4:21 am
that was the inspiration behind my non-profit "score a friend" go! educating people to include the people with differences is so important because when jacob's included he feels like he can succeed in life and he feels like he actually has a purpose.
4:22 am
4:23 am
♪ >> now back to "strange inheritance." >> when danny thompson's father, racing legend mickey thompson, is gunned down in 1988, danny inherits dad's stable of racecars, including one they hoped would set the land-speed record, challenger 2. >> when my dad died, it all went away. so the car went back in the trailer. i didn't want to do it without him. >> but by 2010, danny is nearly as old as his dad was when he was murdered, and he's starting to look at things a little differently. he wants back in. >> i always wanted to go to indianapolis and be an indianapolis car driver, and i didn't make it,
4:24 am
and the bonneville thing has always been in the back of my mind. >> the "bonneville thing," a quest that began at the salt flats in 1960, when mickey drove 406.6 miles per hour, the record at the time for a piston-engine vehicle, if only that vehicle, challenger 1, had not broken down during the required second run. since then, a few, but only a few, racers have beaten his dad's mark. that's why, says danny, on the 50th anniversary of mickey's historic feat, he pulls challenger 2 from storage to see if he can get it in shape to officially enshrine a thompson in the 400-mile-per-hour club. >> there's only been 12 people in history to go over 400 miles an hour with a piston-powered car, so this is a pretty elite group that i'm getting in step with. >> the first crew members danny recruits -- his 31-year-old son, travis,
4:25 am
and his wife, valerie. >> i think finally he just decided, "you know what? i can't not do this." >> there's a lot of similarities between my grandfather and my dad -- the drive, the determination and just a love of going fast. it's almost genetic. >> travis signs on sponsors to help foot the bills, but the lion's share comes from danny and valerie's own savings. >> everything we have -- and, valerie, i love you for this -- is in that car. >> nobody believed that he could really do this. as the time passed, he found individuals to help him complete this car, the best people that anyone could ever ask for. >> finally, after 6 years, in 2016, challenger 2 is ready to race. danny, who's now pushing 70, and his 50-year-old challenger will need to be in top performance mode. >> so what have you done
4:26 am
to your dad's challenger 2, the one that you believe will get you that record? >> so the body shape and all that is almost the same except for 32 inches added to the back. two engines still, but now we're making 5,500 horsepower. >> that's legal? >> it's heaven! i'm a 5,500-horsepower sandwich! >> it's an extra tight squeeze when you have to dress like the michelin tire man. >> we want you to get the real feel for what it's like to sit in a 400-mile-an-hour car. >> okay, the moment of truth -- can i fit in that teeny, tiny space? >> first thing, steering wheel is coming off. >> uh-huh. >> next thing is, put a leg all the way over and into the seat. there you go. put your hand here and on your other side so you can let yourself down slowly. >> so i'm fitting. i'm fitting. >> you got it. >> i did! there were doubters among the crew that thought i couldn't do this. >> you don't have much room between your head right there.
4:27 am
now imagine having a helmet on, a hans device, and gloves on. >> you know what i wish i had on? a blood-pressure cuff because my heart is racing. i can only imagine the thrill that you have at the start of that race. >> august 14th, 2016, the weather at the bonneville salt flats clear and dry, 97 degrees. ♪ as danny rockets across the desert floor, he's hoping to break the current land-speed record in a piston-powered vehicle, 437 miles an hour. but is his 50-year-old strange inheritance up to the bonneville challenge? >> wow, look at it go. >> he clocks in at 411 miles an hour, good enough
4:28 am
to join that 400 club if, per racing rules, he can do it again tomorrow. but remember, it's the second run that foiled his father. danny is back the next day. anything less than 392 miles per hour will be disaster. he'll fall short of a 400 mph average. and to beat his dad's mark, he's got to hit 402 or better. there he goes. his official average time, 406.7 miles per hour. that tops his dad by just a hair. >> after 60 years, we beat him by one-tenth of one mile an hour. that was one of the most fulfilling days of my life, bar none. >> but it still doesn't quench the need for speed
4:29 am
danny inherited from his dad. he tells me he'll keep hauling challenger 2 back to bonneville until the world record is officially his. >> how many more years of racing you have? >> what, is my wife back there? >> in his heart, you know, he's a racer. that desire and that passion to always go faster is always going to be there. >> danny swears the utah salt flats are heaven to him, but not so much during the 2010 bonneville world finals. he's driving this souped-up beauty, at the time the fastest mustang ever, 260 miles an hour. the mustang flies out of control. i mean, really flies. it lifts off the sand, flips end over end in the air for 1,100 feet, and tumbles back to earth. danny emerges unscathed thanks to the racecar's awesome safety features. just a day in the life of a hot rodder.
4:30 am
i'm jamie colby. thanks for watching "strange inheritance." and remember -- you can't take it with you. help! get me out! i'm stuck. ♪ >> in the beginning, god created the heaven and the earth. >> a rocket scientist and minister on a heavenly mission... >> that was my dad's dream -- to get the bibles to the moon. >> ...a parable of loads of fiches... >> a whole bible is on here? >> so the whole 1,245 pages. >> ...lunar bibles, the lost books of apollo. >> well, reverend stout and his wife,en they left nasa, just kind of vanished from the pages of history. >> until a court puts them under a microscope. >> you're saying that her intentions were sinister? >> and the value of each tiny bible -- out of this world. >> items that have gone to the moon can command six or seven figures. >> if you do the math, that's a lot, a lot of money. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ]
4:31 am
[ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] ♪ >> i'm jamie colby in houston, texas, the hub of the american space program, to meet an heir whose strange inheritance is hundreds of bibles that went to the moon. >> my name is jonathan stout. my father made it his life's mission to land the good book on the moon. those lunar bibles are my rightful inheritance, but they're locked up in a judge's chamber because someone else is trying to claim them. >> hi, jonathan.i'm jamie. >> it's great to meet you. >> thanks so much for writing and inviting me here. jonathan brings me inside to show me a small sample of his strange inheritance -- this tiny piece of microfilm. that's it? it's as small as a postage stamp. what's on there? >> that's the entire bible. >> on one little, tiny microfiche? >> on each sheet. >> when it's magnified under a microscope,
4:32 am
sure enough, there's the holy scripture. >> that was my dad's dream to get the bibles to the moon. >> wait. your inheritance, these little teeny, tiny bibles, went to the moon? >> yes, they did. >> jonathan's dad, john stout, born 1922, is a whiz kid who grows up near fort worth then heads off to texas a&m. he earns one degree after another. what were they in? >> religion, mathematics, science, chemistry, biology. >> incredible. stout serves as a rocket-unit commander for the army in world war ii, then goes to japan as part of the occupying forces. >> after he saw all of the suffering over there is when he got motivated to do god's work. >> he's ordained as a minister in 1957 and moves his family, which includes wife mary helen and their adopted son, jonathan, to brazil
4:33 am
to do missionary work. what did he do in brazil? >> he started different schools, and he even started an orphanage down there. >> stout also teaches astronomy at a local university, where he makes the news by capturing these images of the soviet satellite sputnik using manual calculations. he's asked to join the newly created national aeronautics and space administration, nasa, in houston. >> reverend stout was a man of the cloth, but he was also a man of science. >> space historian robert pearlman. >> the reverend's official role at nasa was as senior information scientist, but he was also a chaplain and fulfilling his spiritual role as well. >> was religion a part of the astronaut's life? >> there were some that were very religious. they had their own belief system separate from what they were doing for nasa. >> stout's religious and scientific faith are tested in 1967 after tragedy
4:34 am
strikes the apollo 1 mission. >> the apollo 1 crew of gus grissom, ed white and roger chaffee, they were in the final preparations for their launch when a fire broke out in their capsule. >> all three astronauts are killed. >> that had a profound effect on reverend stout. >> carol mersh has written a book about stout's biblical quest called "the apostles of apollo." >> and stout decided to form what's called the apollo prayer league. >> the league, created under the auspices of a presbyterian church in nearby pasadena, texas, has a simple goal. >> their mission would be to pray for the astronauts and the skill of the mission control employees who built the rockets they would fly. >> in the beginning, god created the heaven and the earth. >> membership swells after the apollo 8 mission when astronauts read from the book of genesis while making the first circle around the moon on christmas eve, 1968.
4:35 am
in its heyday, how many people belonged to the apollo prayer league? >> there was 40,000 members. it was worldwide. >> it's one small step for man... >> apollo 11 -- man walks on the moon. >> ...one giant leap for mankind. >> but reverend stout dreams of another milestone -- land the holy bible on the lunar surface. if that seems like an easy enough next step for mankind, think again. >> there was weight considerations. there was size considerations. every pound, every gram counted. >> that's when reverend stout has an inspiration. >> the national cash register company debuted this microfilm bible -- more than 700,000 words in a 1-by-1-inch piece of plastic. >> stout orders up several
4:36 am
copies of the microscopic bible, but then... >> houston, we've had a problem. >> here's a "strange inheritance" quiz question. the answer after the break. ♪ sometimes, there's no do-over. some things you can't rewind. that's when an extra safety step could mean the difference between a close call, and a call to 911. simple steps save lives. learn more at poolsafely.gov.
4:37 am
4:38 am
4:39 am
>> it's c. aldrin brought wine and bread from his church and became the first christian to partake in the sacrament on a body other than earth. >> in houston, in 1969, reverend john stout has a holy mission -- get the bible to the moon. the nasa scientist who doubles as a chaplain to the astronauts thinks he's found a way with this microfiche version of the text, not much larger than a postage stamp. a whole bible is on here? >> so the whole 1,245 pages... >> i can't believe it. >> ...is on here. >> apollo 12 astronaut alan bean agrees to carry one of these tiny bibles with his personal items. >> unfortunately, a counting error, basically an inventory error, made it such that it was stowed
4:40 am
in a pouch inside the command module, so it never made it to the surface of the moon. >> stout tries again with apollo 13 the following april. >> they approached jim lovell, and they said, "will you take bibles, but this time we're going to give you 512 of them." >> once again, things do not go as planned. >> houston, we've had a problem. >> an explosion damages the spacecraft, but it miraculously returns safely to earth amid the prayers of people around the world. >> apollo 13 was a good example of why the apollo prayer league was formed. people were able to contribute their prayer to assist people in getting back. >> the microfiche bibles also make it home. three hundred are repackaged for astronaut edgar mitchell on apollo 14... ...which touches down on the moon february 5, 1971.
4:41 am
what was your dad's reaction when he saw the astronauts walk out on the moon with his bibles? >> well, he was ecstatic because the fact that he got to have one of his dreams come true -- it just thrilled him to no end. >> mitchell returns all the lunar bibles to stout, who in turn gives some to apollo prayer league members and vips like then congressman george h.w. bush, vice president spiro agnew and bob hope. >> i do know that the family of the apollo 1 astronauts, the ones that perished on the pad, my dad made sure that their families each received a bible. >> at the close of the apollo missions in 1972, reverend stout moves on from nasa and later retires, his holy mission largely a forgotten tale. >> and even today, i don't think the public at large is aware that a bible went to the moon. >> by the early 2000s, stout's son, jonathan, now
4:42 am
living in utah with his wife, senses his parents are showing signs of dementia. was there some point where you became concerned about their condition? >> absolutely. they just couldn't really think for themselves anymore like they used to, and by that time, their health and really, really deteriorated. >> you're an only child. >> yes. >> who else was there to take care of them? >> nobody. >> so jonathan and his wife moved back to texas. >> we bought a house so that we could actually move them in with us. >> would they accept help? >> no. he came over, looked at the house and said, "nope. it won't work for us." that was the end of that conversation. >> so what happened? >> they finally got to the point where their health was so, so bad that the state of texas looked in on them, and when they came in and looked at the apartment, that pretty much said it all. >> in august 2010, the state of texas diagnoses both stouts with dementia
4:43 am
and determines the couple is not competent to care for themselves. why didn't they appoint you the guardian at that point? >> they were considering that, but my dad would not have cooperated with myself and my wife. they just would not have done that we had requested to them. >> the state places them in a nursing home and assumes control of all of stout's assets, including hundreds of lunar bibles, which nasa expert robert pearlman says are potentially worth a fortune. what's the market for those right now? >> the auctions have ranged in value, for the apollo 14 bibles, from $30,000 all the way up to $75,000. >> and that's just for one. stout has hundreds. >> if you do the math, that's a lot, a lot of money. >> mary helen stout passes away in 2014. her husband, john, dies two years later, fittingly on the same day as astronaut john glenn.
4:44 am
at the time, the state of texas still has custody of all of stout's lunar bibles. >> i was led to believe that everything that they had would eventually come to me after they both passed away. >> and it didn't? >> and it didn't. >> and it hasn't? >> and it hasn't yet. >> who is the author of of our heir's predicament? >> you're not a family member. why would you be entitled to any of the stouts' property? >> here's another quiz question. the answer when we return.
4:45 am
4:46 am
4:47 am
4:48 am
>> it's b, yankee stadium. astronaut and yankee fan garrett reisman carried a vial filled with dirt from the pitcher's mound to the international space station. >> reverend john stout made it his mission at nasa to land a bible on the moon. he dies in december 2016. his son, jonathan, is his sole heir. the minister's estate includes hundreds of valuable microfiche bibles, many of which reached the lunar surface aboard nasa's apollo missions. did it ever occur to you it wasn't yours? >> no. no. i was always told at some point those would be reverted over to me, but if carol mersch has her way, i won't get anything. >> carol mersch? that's right, the author we met earlier claims the bibles belong to her,
4:49 am
not jonathan. you're not a family member. why would be entitled to any of the stouts' property? >> that's a subject that is complicated and up for review by the courts now. >> carol's story goes back to 2005, when she was interviewing 14 astronaut edgar mitchell for a book she was writing. she says she noticed this photo in his office showing mitchell shaking hands and handing something to the man on the right. >> and i said, "who is that?" and he said, "well, that's the reverend john stout. i had just landed the first bible on the moon, and i was giving it back to him," and that kind of set me off on a journey to find out more about that man. >> carol also buys a lunar bible for herself from a private dealer for $50,000. >> and i asked the dealer where i could meet john stout, and he said, "well, he's senile, and he doesn't remember any details." >> carol tells me she hires a private detective and locates the 87-year-old
4:50 am
stout in 2009. remember, this is several years after jonathan stout began to see his dad's mind go and just a year before the state of texas diagnosed him with dementia and ruled him incompetent to care for himself. and when you first met him, did he appear senile? >> he was brilliant. >> well, you can be brilliant and senile. >> that's true,but he remembered not only current events but nuances of everything that happened. stout was absolutely thrilled that someone had found them after all these years and was going to write their story. >> carol begins regularly visiting stout, who shows her his priceless space memorabilia. >> he had an entire reel of microfilm bibles that went on apollo 13 and apollo 14 along with a plethora of documentation from nasa. >> jonathan meets carol
4:51 am
at this 2009 lunch and is suspicious. >> you have concerns about carol? >> yeah. i truly don't trust her. i guess 'possessive' would be a good word toward it. >> maybe she cared. >> i don't think so. >> you're saying that her intentions were sinister? >> i'd say more she was selfish, what she could get out of it. i'd put it that way. >> you can imagine how jonathan felt when he finds out that carol is in possession of one of his dad's valuable lunar bibles, which she insists stout gave her as a gift for writing her book. then in november 2010, another shock. carol is set to auction off that lunar bible. >> given the fact that they needed some financial help, i asked if they minded if i auction one of those off and give them the proceeds. and they talked about it and said that would be okay. >> but jonathan isn't buying one bit of it, and the fight begins over his strange inheritance.
4:52 am
>> two hours before the auction, they halted the auction and issued a restraining order. >> what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail, or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. more and more people are finding themselves in a chevy for the first time. now you can too during the chevy 4th of july sales event. now through july 9, get 10 to 20 percent below msrp on your favorite chevy models when you finance with gm financial. that's over ten thousand dollars on this silverado ltz. this 4th of july, discover why chevy is the most awarded and fastest growing brand the last four years overall. find new roads at your local chevy dealer.
4:53 am
♪music time and time again, you know when i'm doing street magic..i'll walk up to someone and i can just see they're against me right? they don't want to be amazed. they don't want this experience to happen. but then the magic happens. ♪can we be there? and all of that falls away. ♪oh, just think of the time ♪i know that some will say come on man! ♪it matters a little babe. stunned. i believe in magic. it's the experience of waking up and seeing things the way you saw them before they became ordinary. ♪i needed to try (amazement & laughter) ♪i needed to fall that's the goal. i'm looking for that experience of wonder. ♪i need never get old
4:54 am
4:55 am
♪ >> now back to "strange inheritance." >> in dallas in november 2010, a microfiche bible that reverend john stout helped get to the moon is about to be auctioned off by author carol mersch, but stout's only child, jonathan, calls texas authorities, claiming carol is trying to sell his father's property and his future inheritance. >> in my opinion, she's not entitled to anything that my mom or dad have. >> two hours before the bible is set to hit the auction block... >> they halted the auction and issued a restraining order to halt the sale of the bible
4:56 am
and have it returned to a texas court vault immediately. i said, "i assure you these are gifts. i'm donating them to benefit the stouts." >> did you have any documentation with the stouts that you would in fact give them the money? >> yes. i'd exchanged some e-mails with him, and the auction house had that information. >> but the state of texas, acting as legal guardian of reverend stout, isn't swayed. it takes control of that lunar bible and finds out that carol has 13 more in her possession. they confiscate those, too. are they ones that went to space? >> yes. >> ones that went to the moon? >> yes. >> the legal dispute remains in limbo for 4 years. then in 2015, carol tries a new legal tack -- filing suit against reverend stout himself, asserting that she is the legal owner not just of the 14 bibles she says the minister gave her but of all the lunar bibles.
4:57 am
her argument now is that the bibles were never reverend stout's in the first place but rather the property of the apollo prayer league -- which has been inactive for decades -- and the small church under whose auspices it was founded. >> he didn't owne apollo prayer. he was acting director of the apollo prayer league. >> the bibles were his personal property. the apollo prayer league was just a group of people praying for the astronauts. >> in another curious twist, the tiny church assigns all rights to the prayer league's assets to carol. including the bibles. >> including all of the bibles, and they did that just not glibly. i think they became aware that cataloging and investigating and documenting the provenance of these and their history was an onerous task. >> but the state of texas, on behalf of its ward, rejects carol's claim,
4:58 am
saying it has no basis, and the court dismisses her suit. but after reverend stout passes away in 2016 and texas is no longer his custodian, the state returns those 14 lunar bibles to mersch. jonathan could try to recover them, but he isn't. he says he must focus on the several hundred additional ones still tied up in court. doesn't it strike you that this should've been a very simple probate, like, not even in probate? it's just...it's yours. >> yes, i do. we never even came down to even collect the bibles because we were told by the state that carol mersch has filed a lawsuit to prevent me from picking up anything out of my dad's estate. >> that's right because in 2017, carol, walk away with 14 lunar bibles, likely worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, files a motion for a new trial. the court again denies her claim but keeps the bibles
4:59 am
until a higher court rules on her appeal. >> are those bibles yours? >> i believe so. yes. >> you think you're going to win, get those bibles back? >> oh, absolutely. >> from his lips, he hopes, to god's ears. reverend stout's lunar bibles aren't the only microscopic texts to make it to the moon. in 1969, apollo 11 astronauts neil armstrong and buzz aldrin left behind on the lunar surface this tiny silicon disk, about the size of a half dollar, designed to remain intact for thousands of years. etched on the disk, goodwill messages from world leaders, including pope paul vi, queen elizabeth and several u.s. presidents, including one from the late john f. kennedy. we go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share. i'm jamie colby. thanks so much for watching
5:00 am
"strange inheritance." and remember, you can't take it with you. ♪ ♪ pictures too. happy 4th a little early. good sunday morning now my exclusive sit-down interview with president trump. the president talks tough on trade, slams the democrats over immigration and their push to abolish i.c.e. and he hints at who he may nominate to be the next supreme court justice. good morning, everyone. thank you very much for joining me this morning. i'm maria bartiromo. welcome to "sunday morning futures". justice kennedy announces his retirement, sparking a fierce political battle on capitol hill and across the country about his replacement. president trump now getting another historic opportunity to reshape the high court and affect key issues including roe versus wade. we will hear what the president has to

71 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on