Inside Scientologists Bizarre Plot to Sell Bogus Meat to the Poor - 2018-08-19
In the summer of 1973, Conrad Romo, a 19-year-old boy from L.A. whose Catholic upbringing had been derailed by books like Hermann Hesse's Siddartha and John G. Neihardt's Black Elk Speaks—anything that "spoke of more than just this world"—turned on the TV and watched an advertisement for a new religion called "Scientology."
The ad was catchy–a tight one-minute clip with a jingle from '70s radiostar Edward Bear and the vague promise of deeper meaning. When a phone number flashed across the screen, Romo took note.
"I'm a sucker for a little ad," Romo, now a grey-haired Buddhist with a goatee, told The Daily Beast. When he phoned the line to hear more, the boy spoke to a woman who called herself "Spanky." Later, he would recognize her as Spanky Taylor, a spokesperson for Scientology's publicity arm, Axioms Productions, and John Travolta's personal "auditor"—jargon for a kind of counselor. But in the moment, he thought she seemed cool. "Spanky had a really sexy voice," Romo said, laughing. "I was intrigued."