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James DiEugenio

11/22/63: Stephen King and JJ Abrams Lay an Egg

34 posts in this topic

Mr. King simply hired the wrong people to assist him, James. He should have put YOU in control of production. Then he would have had a TV blockbuster.

Just sayin'

BM

not a bad idea, Brad. Not a bad idea at all!!!!

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Well, if it had been me the object would have been to prevent the coup attempt.

Which is why they would have never hired me.

I would have never gotten into the room.

Although I will say that Bridget Carpenter, the main screen writer said that by the end of the production she felt that Oswald was really CIA.

Geez, you mean you had one semi conscious person working on this pile of rubbish?

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Evan:

What second season?

Oswald is killed at the end by Jake.

I believe there was to be a second season? Might be wrong but that is what I thought.

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I haven't seen the show nor read the book, and don't plan to. It's hard enough trying to figure this case out without reading fictional accounts. Plus, King's writing quality has declined, in my opinion. After reading "Doctor Sleep" I have no interest in reading a new novel by him anytime soon.

For what it's worth, apparently 11-22-63's executive producer and screenwriter Bridget Carpenter changed her mind and rejected the lone gunman theory after working on the miniseries.

http://www.star-telegram.com/living/article60025591.html

The relevant quote is pasted below. (I'm having terrible trouble copying and pasting for some reason. Is this a common problem on this site? Even pasting web page text into a word document and then re-copying and pasting it here doesn't seem to work consistently.)

-

Bridget Carpenter — the writer/producer who developed the new miniseries version of King’s acclaimed bestseller — used to accept the Lone Gunman Theory as fact, too.

“But after two years of working on Stephen’s story, I don’t believe it anymore,” she says. “There were too many strange things surrounding Oswald for me to believe he did it completely alone.”

Carpenter, the executive producer and showrunner for 11.22.63 (which debuts Monday — Presidents Day — on Hulu), suspects now that Oswald had to have been connected to the CIA, that maybe he went rogue in Dallas on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, that a massive cover-up was organized to hide the embarrassing truth.

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Well, it look alike Carpenter was just getting attuned to what really happened after the end of the production.

And, by the way, her path is pretty common, in other words you see what Oswald was really about and then you see he has to be connected to the CIA.

The next step was dumping all that phony evidence about the rifle, the NAA, the phony print that LaTona could not find, and most of all, the complete fantasy of CE 399.

Then what you are left with is a rogue CIA operation using Oswald.

When I say rogue, I mean in the sense that John McCone was not in on it. But several people under him were.

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Another point about this: I wonder how much King changed his draft from his first attempt at it all those many years ago?

I think back in the 70's?

Which was before his wife pulled Carrie out of the trash and sent it to a publisher, which started King's career.

In other words, just how much work did he do on it once he went back to it and how much did Gary Mack help him?

From what I understand, King has said that the rifle was central to him. But we all know that today, that piece of evidence is dubious for several reasons. Among others, we don't even know if it was at the Paine garage, or if Oswald carried it to work that day. That whole story about Ruth coming down to the garage and turning off the light was discredited by Carol Hewett. And the whole thing about the gun sack has been also rendered dubious.

Anyway, I would really like to see the seventies draft and compare it with the current book. I think it would tell us something about the "research" King did.

Edited by James DiEugenio

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Another point about this: I wonder how much King changed his draft from his first attempt at it all those many years ago?

I think back in the 70's?

Jim,

This is from the Afterword of 11-22-63. It's a start toward answering your questions:

Early in the novel, Jake Eppings friend Al puts the probability that Oswald was the lone gunman at ninety-five percent. After reading a stack of books and articles on the subject almost as tall as I am, Id put the probability at ninety-eight percent, maybe even ninety-nine. Because all of the accounts, including those written by conspiracy theorists, tell the same simple American story: here was a dangerous little fame-junkie who found himself in just the right place to get lucky. Were the odds of it happening just the way it did long? Yes. So are the odds on winning the lottery, but someone wins one every day.

Probably the most useful source-materials I read in preparation for writing this novel were Case Closed, by Gerald Posner; Legend, by Edward Jay Epstein (nutty Robert Ludlum stuff, but fun); Oswalds Tale, by Norman Mailer; and Mrs. Paines Garage, by Thomas Mallon. The latter offers a brilliant analysis of the conspiracy theorists and their need to find order in what was almost a random event. The Mailer is also remarkable. He says that he went into the project (which includes extensive interviews with Russians who knew Lee and Marina in Minsk) believing that Oswald was the victim of a conspiracy, but in the end came to believereluctantlythat the stodgy ole Warren Commission was right: Oswald acted alone.

It is very, very difficult for a reasonable person to believe otherwise. Occams Razorthe simplest explanation is usually the right one.

I was also deeply impressedand moved, and shakenby my rereading of William Manchesters Death of a President. Hes dead wrong about some things, hes given to flights of purple prose (calling Marina Oswald lynx-eyed, for instance), his analysis of Oswalds motives is both superficial and hostile, but this massive work, published only four years after that terrible lunch hour in Dallas, is closest in time to the assassination, written when most of the participants were still alive and their recollections were still vivid. Armed with Jacqueline Kennedys conditional approval of the project, everyone talked to Manchester, and although his account of the aftermath is turgid, his narrative of 11/22s events is chilling and vivid, a Zapruder film in words.

Well . . . almost everyone talked to him. Marina Oswald did not, and Manchesters consequent harsh treatment of her may have something to do with that. Marina (still alive at this writing) had her eye on the main chance in the aftermath of her husbands cowardly act, and who could blame her? Those who want to read her full recollections can find them in Marina and Lee, by Priscilla Johnson McMillan. I trust very little of what she says (unless corroborated by other sources), but I salutewith some reluctance, its trueher survival skills.

I originally tried to write this book way back in 1972. I dropped the project because the research it would involve seemed far too daunting for a man who was teaching full-time. There was another reason: even nine years after the deed, the wound was still too fresh. Im glad I waited. When I finally decided to go ahead, it was natural for me to turn to my old friend Russ Dorr for help with the research. He provided a splendid support system for another long book, Under the Dome, and once more rose to the occasion. I am writing this afterword surrounded by heaps of research materials, the most valuable of which are the videos Russ shot during our exhaustive (and exhausting) travels in Dallas, and the foot-high stack of emails that came in response to my questions about everything from the 1958 World Series to mid-century bugging devices. It was Russ who located the home of Edwin Walker, which just happened to be on the 11/22 motorcade route (the past harmonizes), and it was Russ whoafter much searching of various Dallas recordsfound the probable 1963 address of that most peculiar man, George de Mohrenschildt. And by the way, just where was Mr. de Mohrenschildt on the night of April 10, 1963? Probably not at the Carousel Club, but if he had an alibi for the attempted assassination of the general, I wasnt able to find it.

I hate to bore you with my Academy Awards speechI get very annoyed with writers who do thatbut I need to tip my cap to some other people, all the same. Big Number One is Gary Mack, curator of The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas. He answered billions of questions, sometimes twice or three times before I got the info crammed into my dumb head. The tour of the Texas School Book Depository was a grim necessity that he lightened with his considerable wit and encyclopedic knowledge.

Thanks are also due to Nicola Longford, the Executive Director of The Sixth Floor Museum, and Megan Bryant, Director of Collections and Intellectual Property. Brian Collins and Rachel Howell work in the History Department of the Dallas Public Library and gave me access to old films (some of them pretty hilarious) that show how the city looked in the years 196063. Susan Richards, a researcher at the Dallas Historical Society, also pitched in, as did Amy Brumfield, David Reynolds, and the staff of the Adolphus Hotel. Longtime Dallas resident Martin Nobles drove Russ and me around Dallas. He took us to the now-closed but still standing Texas Theatre, where Oswald was captured, to the former residence of Edwin Walker, to Greenville Avenue (not as gruesome as Fort Worths bar-and-whore district once was), and to Mercedes Street, where 2703 no longer exists. It did indeed blow away in a tornado . . . although not in 1963. And a tip of the cap to Mike Silent Mike McEachern, who donated his name for charitable purposes.

I want to thank Doris Kearns Goodwin and her husband, former Kennedy aide-de-camp Dick Goodwin, for indulging my questions about worst-case scenarios, had Kennedy lived. George Wallace as the thirty-seventh president was their idea . . . but the more I thought about it, the more plausible it seemed. My son, the novelist Joe Hill, pointed out several consequences of time-travel I hadnt considered. He also thought up a new and better ending. Joe, you rock.

And I want to thank my wife, my first reader of choice and hardest, fairest critic. An ardent Kennedy supporter, she saw him in person not long before his death, and has never forgotten it. A contrarian her whole life, Tabitha is (it does not surprise me and should not surprise you) on the side of the conspiracy theorists.

Have I gotten things wrong here? You bet. Have I changed things to suit the course of my story? Sure. As one example, its true that Lee and Marina went to a welcome party thrown by George Bouhe and attended by most of the areas Russian émigrés, and its true that Lee hated and resented those middle-class burghers who had turned their back on Mother Russia, but the party happened three weeks later than it does in my book. And while its true that Lee, Marina, and baby June lived upstairs at 214 West Neely Street, I have no idea whoif anybodylived in the downstairs apartment. But that was the one I toured (paying twenty bucks for the privilege), and it seemed a shame not to use the layout of the place. And what a desperate little place it was.

Mostly, however, I stuck to the truth.

Some people will protest that I have been excessively hard on the city of Dallas. I beg to differ. If anything, Jake Eppings first-person narrative allowed me to be too easy on it, at least as it was in 1963. On the day Kennedy landed at Love Field, Dallas was a hateful place. Confederate flags flew rightside up; American flags flew upside down. Some airport spectators held up signs reading HELP JFK STAMP OUT DEMOCRACY. Not long before that day in November, both Adlai Stevenson and Lady Bird Johnson were subjected to spit-showers by Dallas voters. Those spitting on Mrs. Johnson were middle-class housewives.

Its better today, but one still sees signs on Main Street saying HANDGUNS NOT ALLOWED IN THE BAR. This is an afterword, not an editorial, but I hold strong opinions on this subject, particularly given the current political climate of my country. If you want to know what political extremism can lead to, look at the Zapruder film. Take particular note of frame 313, where Kennedys head explodes.

Before I finish, I want to thank one other person: the late Jack Finney, who was one of Americas great fantasists and storytellers. Besides The Body Snatchers, he wrote Time and Again, which is, in this writers humble opinion, the great time-travel story. Originally I meant to dedicate this book to him, but in June of last year, a lovely little granddaughter arrived in our family, so Zelda gets the nod.

Jack, Im sure youd understand.

Stephen King

Mr. King claims his wife is a conspiracy theorist in the JFK case. It would interesting to hear what he thinks of Bridget Carpenter's conversion from LN to CT after writing the screenplay...

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There was a recent fictional take on the assassination that was probably more deserving of a mini-series than King's, and that's The Third Bullet, by Stephen Hunter. Hunter read through the Warren Report and all the books on Oswald and created a timeline of Oswald's recorded activities. He then created a conspiracy storyline which would fit into all the holes. I glimpsed through the book, and wasn't bowled over. But thought his premise a clever one. I mean, the usual Oswald-did-it arguments against his book could not be raised--because nothing in the book was in opposition to the Oswald'did-it evidence.

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Thanks, Tom, for providing King's complete Afterword. The names he trusted leap out at the reader; Gary Mack, Posner, Bugliosi, Thomas Mallon, Mailer, Doris Kearns Goodwin, even William Manchester. King, like Bugliosi and every other lone-nutter who has researched this case, knows perfectly well that he is peddling disinformation.

It is impossible to study the evidence and believe the Warren Report, to paraphrase Penn Jones. King's audience is huge and impressionable. I am proud not to have read anything by this schlock artist. Judging by the Afterword, he is hardly a master literary craftsman. The sheeple are sound asleep, and when popular figures like King, James Franco and Tom Hanks tout the official state lies, there is little we can do.

Oliver Stone is a part of this business, and he faced it head on. He is a true profile in courage.

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Thanks, Tom, for providing King's complete Afterword. The names he trusted leap out at the reader; Gary Mack, Posner, Bugliosi, Thomas Mallon, Mailer, Doris Kearns Goodwin, even William Manchester. King, like Bugliosi and every other lone-nutter who has researched this case, knows perfectly well that he is peddling disinformation.

It is impossible to study the evidence and believe the Warren Report, to paraphrase Penn Jones. King's audience is huge and impressionable. I am proud not to have read anything by this schlock artist. Judging by the Afterword, he is hardly a master literary craftsman. The sheeple are sound asleep, and when popular figures like King, James Franco and Tom Hanks tout the official state lies, there is little we can do.

Oliver Stone is a part of this business, and he faced it head on. He is a true profile in courage.

You're welcome Don,

He obviously chose to look at only one side of the story from the start of this project. Seems he had an agenda, or was given one.

Tom

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It takes money to pull off what King & Stone did. Serious money.

Seems to me those that hate the U.S. the most & really want to disrupt the status quo badly simply need to finance anti-King, anti-Posner, anti-Bugliosi visual endeavors.

I expect financial backing contact to distinguished JFK authors & researchers to be made in the future via the Education Forum. Everyone should know by now that this is the place the great artists hang out. This is where the fresh coats of paint are.

I'd like to see where the road traveled takes Mr. Oswald from this point on. As I remember, the elders that put me in this world & were instructing me felt LHO was some sort of Soviet, Cuban or US spy (or all 3). LHO's mother felt Uncle Sam was pulling her 24 year old son's strings.

Here we are 53 years later & the collective efforts of LN'ers have failed.

Where do we take it from here?

Brad Milch

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I find King's afterword very depressing. It's very sad to think that Fidel Castro five days after the assassination had more common sense insight into the crime than Stephen King, who had five decades to think about it.

Mr. King says "...all of the accounts, including those written by conspiracy theorists, tell the same simple American story: here was a dangerous little fame-junkie who found himself in just the right place to get lucky. Were the odds of it happening just the way it did long? Yes. So are the odds on winning the lottery, but someone wins one every day."

First of all, what kind of reasonable person looks at books like "Crossfire" or "Reclaiming History" and thinks either one of them is telling a "simple" story? When evidence is officially locked away for 75 years, does Mr. King really believe that there's "nothing to see here."

Second, if Lee Harvey Oswald was a fame-junkie, why did he take every single opportunity to deny his crime?

Third, King characterizes Oswald's circumstance to being in the "right place", and getting "lucky", and even "winning the lottery," when under the BEST circumstances LHO was going to spend the rest of his life behind bars before facing being put to death. In the worst circumstance (which Mr. King compares to "winning the lottery", and which actually did happen) Oswald is killed while in custody.

Jack Ruby stalked Oswald at the police department, trying to go into a door when a cop said "You can't go in there, Jack." Ruby admitted to being armed during the press conference where he actually corrected a statement about Oswald and the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (interesting that so soon after the assassination a nightclub owner knew more about LHO than the police and all the reporters, isn't it?) Ruby wrote a note saying he made up the "so Jackie wouldn't have to testify" excuse. He practically begged the Warren Commission to take him to Washington to testify because he had important information, and made remarks about how the truth wouldn't be known and implied that LBJ might have even been in on it. Even without all that, in my opinion you would have to be pretty gullible to believe that Ruby just up and decided that he was tired of not living behind bars and would gladly risk Death Row in order to spare a widow he had never met some anguish. It's stunning to think that a man of Stephen King's intelligence wouldn't find anything suspicious.

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And Mr. King refers to the JFK assassination as "the same simple American story." A guy got lucky. In my opinion that's a very pat way of looking at it. It's easier to say, "a guy got lucky, happens every day" than confront the fact that many political assassins brag about their crimes instead of steadfastly denying them.

And we wouldn't want to consider the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, which was both a conspiracy and featured an assassin who literally broke his leg rushing to take credit for his crime.

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Denny:

King avoids the whole Ruby angle, which really makes it look like a conspiracy to frame and then shut up Oswald, by

1. In a nine hour mini series showing Ruby for about 65 seconds.

2. Not having Oswald apprehended or stalked. Oswald is killed by Jake.

In other words, Oswald never claimed credit for killing of Kennedy, and then was murdered two days later, after Ruby visited the jail each day, and was there early in the morning on the day Oswald was killed.

Some fame junkie.

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