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The Lowe Witch Project: New 'Reality' Series Finds Rob Lowe & Sons Tracking Downs Things That Go Bump In The Night
July 29, 2017  | By Alex Strachan
 

Rob Lowe insists he’s not a paranormal investigator. More like a weekend warrior.

“We came out,” he said, in front of a room full of reporters at the semi-annual meeting of the TV Critics Association. “We do what the real people do.  We had fun. We screwed it up. Sometimes we had results. Other times we didn't.  We don’t really know what we're doing. We don’t really care. That’s sort of where it’s at.”

Now, ask yourself: Does that sound like a TV show or what?

If you answered, ‘what,’ well, you’re not alone. Lowe has fancied himself a would-be ghost hunter since he was a young ‘un, and now that his own young ’uns are no longer so young — his sons John Owen Lowe is 21, Matthew Lowe is 23 — he thought to himself, what better idea than to take the family van out on the road and criss-cross the rural USA, looking to confirm or debunk myths and legends along the way?

A&E thought it might make a terrific idea for a new fly-on-the-wall camera show, in the vein of Ghost Hunters and Finding Bigfoot. And so The Lowe Files has come to fruition. The nine-episode series bows Wednesday on A&E, and the rest is, um, his-story.

Every week, Lowe and sons hope to trace an untold mystery to its origins, all the while immersing themselves in “exploration and debate.” There’s a base for space aliens, see, located 2,000 feet underwater off the coast of Malibu, Calif., not to mention a shaman at Preston Castle, an abandoned re-education school for incorrigible boys, who could use the company, and that old backwoods bugaboo, the Moby Dick of paranormal investigators everywhere: Bigfoot. Skunk ape. Yeren. Yowie. Mande Barung. Yeti. Only you probably know him as Sasquatch.

Yes, yes, the family Lowe will tell you: Bigfoot is real. Bigly, so. It’s been proven. Frame 352 of the 1967 Patterson-Grimm film — a grainy piece of film footage that has arguably been pored over more closely than the Zapruder film — proves it.

What was that, you said? That’s just some super-8 film of a guy in a gorilla suit?

Why spoil the beauty of a thing with mere detail?

Yes, yes, you’re saying: The Lowe Files hardly qualifies as TV that matters.

Then again, it’s the summer silly season. Get with the program, as Sam Seaborn, Lowe’s character in The West Wing, might say.

And that alien base at the bottom of the sea off Malibu? Who knows what clear and present danger to the US homeland lurks there? Seriously now, if you were told the presently serving President of the USA believed in such things, would you doubt it?

So, there. Into the Lowe van we go.

Rob Lowe had to work hard at this s— . . . stuff. Could you at please pay him at least some respect?

“One thing I did learn is that most of the good stuff happens after midnight,” Lowe said, “when you’re really tired, and you’re really exhausted, and you would really rather be back in your bed.”

You, on the other hand, can at least watch this thing from your bed. Let the family Lowe do all the poking around in the middle of the night with flashlights. And if they get attacked by a giant yang-yang or the creeping blorch, all the better.

As for Lowe’s wife?

“She thinks it’s ridiculous,” Lowe admitted, his voice dropping. “She thinks this whole thing is ridiculous.”

Buzz kill. These skeptics, they’re everywhere. Why can’t people just believe?

“My favorite thing about Sheryl — my wife, their mother — is she could give a hell whether we were killed by Sasquatch, Bigfoot, shot by rogue hunters, or whatever,” Lowe said. “But she was very concerned we might get ticks. She was obsessed with that.”

Well, of course she was. Ticks can get into the family home and multiply, and be impossible to get rid of. If Lowe and sons get nailed by a Sasquatch, on the other hand, it’s over and done with.

 

The space alien base off Malibu, on the other hand: Now that’s some serious speculation.

 

“In the context of when I was a kid growing up in Malibu with Charlie Sheen, the ‘moon-is-hollow’ guy, there was talk, urban legend ‘alligators-in-the-sewer’-type talk amongst all the guys, kids, that there was a way for the nuclear subs to go under Los Angeles.”

“Of course,” John Owen said.

“It was Cold War paranoia,” Lowe said, ignoring him.  “It was that era. It was just a thing that everybody talked about. I forgot about it for years until about four years ago. Google Earth mapped the ocean floor off of Malibu, and what did they find? Three huge —  Google it right now — three huge tunnels. And so I’m like, ‘This is insane!’ 

“So we were able to take a ship and explore 2,000 feet down, in our second episode. That was really amazing because it’s something that was an urban legend for me since the time I was a kid. I don’t know if it was real or not, but the urban legend had been around since I moved to Malibu in 1976.”

“You can throw a dart at a board, anywhere, and pick anything, and it’s hilarious what he believes in,” John Owen said. “To give him credit, it’s way more fun to be around somebody like that than somebody who’s not. When we were growing up, as kids, you gotta imagine what it was to have somebody say, ‘We’re going looking for Sasquatch. Let’s get the baby monitor on the roof and find something about aliens,’ whatever ridiculous thing it was that day.”

Lowe experienced some some genuine surprises along the way, while making The Lowe Files.

“How cogent and not crazy the people who have witnessed and been a part of these various subject matter are,” he told this scribe for TVWW. “We have an episode where we do an in-depth talk with a man who says he was sucked up into a (space) ship. They made the movie Fire in the Sky about him. His name is Travis Walton, and if you sit with him and talk to him, you can’t help but think, ‘I know one thing. He’s definitely not crazy.’  His story of being abducted is, ‘I wasn’t abducted. I think they thought they hurt me, and they picked me, and they operated on me to save me and put me back on Earth, as we would do if we ran over a dog in the road.’”

What, if anything, did the brothers Lowe learn about their dad, you might be asking yourself. Or not. Hey, roll with it. It’s summer silly season, remember.

Besides, the brothers Lowe aren’t exactly halfwits, even if they play halfwits on TV. Matthew is studying law at Loyola Marymount; John Owen is studying science technology at Stanford.

“We learned that he is prone to getting seasick very quickly,” John Owen said.

“Once,” Lowe said.

“And he may not be the man you want in the foxhole when the s— hits the fan,” Matthew added.

These kids today. So appreciative.

“The big one we find is he has one deaf ear,” John Owen said, “so somebody will come up to him and be like, ‘Hi, Rob.  I'm from so-and-so, and I’m a huge fan,’ and he’s sitting there like a robot, and we know he's not ignoring the person. ‘Dad, to your left.’”

“That’s good,” Lowe said. “And helpful.”

But seriously: what, if any, are the similarities and differences in being a ghost hunter and a father?

“Boy, that’s a tough one,” Lowe said, serious for a moment. “I just think that enthusiasm counts for a lot in life. Being able to keep up with these guys and their interests and their world, which is so much different than the world that I grew up in — I think, as a father, you have to keep your eyes open and be open to things. That's also a hallmark of being a ghost hunter. Enthusiastic, eyes open.

“That’s my version of full hearts, clear eyes. Enthusiastic, eyes open.”

Alrighty then. The Lowe Files debuts Wednesday, Aug. 2 on A&E at 10 p.m ET.

 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for $20. (Paperback will be available September 5th, here.)

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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