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Joseph McBride

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  1. I think these came from Emile de Antonio's papers at the Wisconsin Historical Society. That's where I first saw them. There are other files on the film RUSH TO JUDGMENT. De Antonio was a great independent radical documentary filmmaker. I interviewed him once on LA TV. He asked me to do so after I wrote about his Weather Underground film for Variety. He surprised me by saying he thought Variety was more fair to him than other publications, because we had a policy of reporting accurately what a film contained, unlike other reviewers in other publications.
  2. The scene with Helms and Nixon in Oliver Stone's NIXON is great, the best scene in a magnificent film. And it wasn't in the theatrical cut but is on the homevideo releases.
  3. Yes, Jean Kennedy Smith made a difference. It was even more of an achievement considering the hurdles she faced. When I went to the big 1960 JFK rally seen in PRIMARY, the woman I was with, Dora Krueger, was an old friend of the Kennedy family who knew them in Europe during the 1930s. She told me Eunice once told her she wanted to run for president but that girls in the Kennedy family weren’t allowed to consider careers in politics. The girls were sent to Catholic schools while the boys went to private WASPish prep schools in preparation for political careers.
  4. Busby's is a good book, revealing much, sometimes between the lines, sometimes more overtly. It sheds light on Johnson's decision not to run for another term, forced on him by his "Wise Men" because on March 25, 1968, because of the failure of his Vietnam War strategy and the resulting Gold Crisis, in what he called his "assassination." LBJ said, "The only difference between Kennedy's assassination and mine is that mine was a live one, which makes it all a little more torturing." Carl Oglesby in THE YANKEE AND COWBOY WAR interprets what he calls Johnson’s forced “abdication” as a Yankee power play by the Wise Men to “break off [from Johnson and his fellow Cowboys] a war believed to be unwinnable except through an internal police state, both sides fighting for control of the levers of military and state-police power through control of the presidency. Johnson’s Ides of March was a less bloody Dallas, but it was a Dallas just the same: it came of a concerted effort of conspirators to install a new national policy by clandestine means. Its main different from Dallas is that it finally did not succeed.”
  5. Barbara Pierce Bush was related to Franklin Pierce, a fourth cousin.
  6. I wish his family had let the bullet fragments embedded in him be removed before his burial.
  7. As I write in INTO THE NIGHTMARE, "Among the mail-order weapons suppliers Dodd's subcommittee and Treasury had under investigation were Klein's Sporting Goods of Chicago and Seaport Traders of Los Angeles. The Warren Commission alleged that Oswald used the alias of 'A. J. Hidell' or 'A. Hidell' to purchase, by mail order, a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle (from Klein's) and a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver (from Seaport Traders). The documents involved in these purchases are among the primary items of 'so-called evidence' [Oswald's words] used to link Oswald with the assassination. But as Armstrong's HARVEY & LEE exhaustively demonstrates, the document trail introduced by the commission to demonstrate Oswald's supposed purchases of the handgun allegedly used to kill Tippit and the rifle allegedly used to kill Kennedy is so faulty that it tends to show the opposite, i.e., that Oswald could not have purchased or received those weapons." And we know that the rifle in the TSBD was switched. And the ballistics evidence in the Tippit case exonerates Oswald. And yet this article linked above states that Oswald ordered the pistol used to kill Tippit, even if the article hedges by saying Oswald "allegedly" used it to kill Tippit. The article states, "He also ordered a Smith & Wesson .38 gun from Seaport Traders of Los Angeles on January 27th, 1963, under the name A. J. Hidell. This was the same gun that Oswald allegedly used to kill Officer Tippit."
  8. John Milius, who liked to posture (at least) as a rightwinger when he worked on such films as APOCALYPSE NOW, 1941, and DILLINGER, a few years ago wrote a screenplay for rightwing director Bob Zemeckis about LeMay. Although Milius's scripts are more complex and nuanced than his blowhard public persona would indicate, I wonder about whether he and Zemeckis would have made a rabid paean to LeMay (if perhaps somewhat black-comic, as in the portraits of the mad and genocidal Gen. LeMay as both Gen. Ripper and Gen. Turgidson in DR. STRANGELOVE). Zemeckis's writing partner on 1941, Bob Gale, told me that Zemeckis wanted to end that badly misguided "comical" World War II film by having the Bobby Di Cicco character serve as the bombardier on the Enola Gay dropping the A-bomb on Hiroshima in revenge for losing the USO jitterbug contest. Gale and Spielberg talked him out of it.
  9. That's part of the reason Trump is encouraging violence. it knocks the virus off cable TV (which for some reason can only cover one story at a time) and crowds it in newspapers. And it gives him part of the excuse he will probably use to call off the November election and declare martial law -- the virus and civil unrest.
  10. I thought I was past the point of having heroes, but as a professional journalist since 1960, I have a new hero, Omar Jimenez of CNN, a journalist who kept his cool under duress and risked his life to keep broadcasting in a lucid, entirely professional, remarkably calm way while being arrested. I watched this shocking incident live. The media are there to represent us as witnesses. But as Brecht wrote, "Unhappy is the land that needs a hero."
  11. The 1960s DRAGNET shows are unintentionally hilarious today. I preferred Ben Alexander in the original TV version to Harry Morgan, though Harry is funny.
  12. Byrd, as many here know, also helped found the Civil Air Patrol, which included among its members Lee Oswald and David Ferrie.
  13. That last post about MM smacks of enduring McCarthyism. And wanting to star in THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV hardly makes an actor a commie. Have you read that book? It's one of the greatest novels ever written. It's even Laura Bush's favorite book, which I find intriguing (she has cited the Grand Inquisitor section as her favorite). Maybe you think Laura is a closet Red?
  14. Congratulations, Vince! I eagerly look forward to this one. Your groundbreaking work is so important.
  15. I interviewed Senator Ralph Yarborough in 1988. He was riding two cars behind the presidential limousine, along with LBJ and Lady Bird in the back seat of a convertible. He told me he had "a lifetime of handling arms" and described his reaction to the shots fired in Dealey Plaza as well as giving me revealing comments about LBJ's strange actions and demeanor before, during, and after the shots. Yarborough's description of the events surrounding the shooting meshed with those of numerous other eyewitnesses but not with the extant Zapruder film. Yarborough said, "The first shot I heard I thought was a rifle shot. The second shot, the motorcade almost came to a halt. They said later that the president's car slowed to something like five miles an hour. I wondered what the hell they were stopping for when somebody is shooting. People were jumping out of the car in front of me [the Secret Service followup car] and running to the president's car. I thought maybe somebody had thrown a bomb in there. The third shot I heard was a rifle shot." Yarborough scoffed at LBJ's lie that Rufus Youngblood jumped over the seat and threw his body over LBJ. The senator discussed how Youngblood and LBJ huddled together over the agent's walkie-talkie, while leaning into the gap in the front seat. I go into all this and its implications in INTO THE NIGHTMARE.
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