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John Simkin

Mark Shaw and Clint Murchison

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A contact has sent me this. It is possible that some researcher might find this information useful.

Mark Shaw was born on June 25, 1921 in Brooklyn, New York. He attended New York University and signed up with his classmates to serve in the Air Force during WW2 in North Africa and Central Europe. He told me how as pilots leaving Florida they had no maps to guide them to Africa, that the RAF taught the American pilots how to double back when rising off the ground to avoid getting shot down by the Germans, that he flew Tito in a transport plane, and that most of his classmates did not return from the war. He said that he had started seeing Dr. Max Jacobson soon after the war because he had contracted some diseases while in Africa, malaria, dysentery, and the like. Max had come to New York from Berlin before the war. His specialty was geriatrics, and he practiced a cutting-edge wizardry with magnets and lights, hormone creams and stimulating injections.

I seem to remember hearing that Mark met Kennedy through Kenny O’Donnell who was also a patient. At any rate, before the 1960 election, the magazines, Life and Look, would not endorse a candidate, and the campaign decided that Mark Shaw (who had been Life’s photographer for the Paris collections) would do a photo spread of Jacqueline Kennedy as a way to introduce the candidate. The glamorous image of the Kennedys, that the public would come to know as Camelot, was created to a great extent by Mark Shaw. He followed up with his Family Album, the famous photos of JFK walking away in the dunes, sailing and looking athletic with the family in Hyannisport. During the 1950’s, Mark did about 60 covers for Life magazine and was a highly successful advertising photographer as well. Along with a partner, he bought a Lear jet. He told me that he regularly flew Max to DC to get JFK out of bed in the morning. When Kennedy was in NY, Mark sped him around in his souped-up Camara with phone, siren and NYP1 press plates, plus he brought women through the back door at the Carlyle Hotel for the President’s enjoyment.

In 1965, when Career Blazers sent me to Mark Shaw Productions, I was 21, just out of Hunter College. It was a snowy day when I walked through the courtyard of his carriage house and entered the warmth of the studio in back. The manager walked me through the black and white space to a screening room that was polished bright with antique American Federal furniture. Leica, arriflex, moviola, Hermes, Vuitton were in evidence throughout, upstairs and down. No doubt that Mark Shaw knew style. A week or so after I was hired, the departing studio manager warned me that Mark was a notorious xxxx. It didn’t help that I was a committed pothead at the time, and during the 4 years that I worked there I barely knew what was real or illusion. Since my teens I had been reading the philosophers but I have to credit DT Suzuki’s writings on Zen with keeping me centered during those crazy years. Mark was continuously concerned with marked cars and tapped phones. He told me he was with Interpol and he carried a 38mm police-special gun at all times. He contended that he had done photo reconnaissance over Cuba and had sat in on the national security discussions during the crisis. I am inclined to believe most of this because he went into detail about crossed messages with Russia that inadvertently saved the day. He spoke about RFK’s disdain for Adlai Stevenson and that Bobby’s way of putting someone down was to call him a woman. Mark Shaw detested RKF, maybe because he was the one who eventually banished the doctor and Mark from the White House.

By the time I entered the scene, Mark Shaw Productions was in financial trouble. The former manager had mentioned that Mark had gone off the deep end on a photo shoot in Puerto Rico, and that the ad agency people had witnessed him on the beach at night hallucinating about an imminent armed invasion. It didn’t take long for Mark’s reputation to slide and for much of the commercial work to dry up. Still, he periodically directed commercials and kept busy with still work, but mostly he was concerned with Max Jacobson’s well-being. Mark was the doctor’s closest ally and that alone gave him power. Patients – powerful, famous, talented – coveted an audience with Dr. Feelgood. Life magazine did a cover story on one of the doctor’s patients – Antonio Morales, a British ambassador to Panama, who they named as a bagman for the syndicate. I met him once while I waited for Mark in the Doctor’s anteroom. Morales carried the goods to Switzerland, and a fellow named (Anthony?) Bettancourt brought the stuff from the Caribbean. The transfer spot was Max’s office. I spoke once in Max’s apartment (where he sometimes practiced from his bed) to Lowe’s hotel owner. Once I flew with Mark to Lowe’s hotel in Puerto Rico for a few days, most likely to transport Max’s drugs but Mark contended that he was visiting with the Mayor of San Juan and went so far as to give me a tour of the army base there. He talked about the mayor (a woman) at length, but as usual I was not sure what to believe.

One day two Texans entered the studio and were introduced to me as Clint Murchinson and Gordon McClendon. I gathered from Mark that they had come from the doctor’s office. I went to dinner that night with Mark and McClendon, who brought a date. Later, Mark told me that the Texans were going to bail him out of Chapter 11 and put a million dollar life insurance policy on him. Mark was concerned about passing the medical, and I recall that he was quite elated when he did in fact pass muster. His health was not sound, and as time went on he had regular heart trouble…not surprising for someone who for over 20 years had injected stimulants into his body. Sometime during the months after the Texans appeared, a friend of mine who occasionally worked at the studio as a photo assistant went with Mark to a ranch in San Antonio. He reported to me that the place was an immense fortress, with armed guards staked out around the premises. I never heard of the Texans again but their place in the highly charged, cloak-and-dagger atmosphere of Max Jacobson’s office has never left me.

Mark died suddenly in January 1969. I was present to witness the horrific event. It looked like a seizure to me. It was investigated by the NYC medical examiner and the conclusion was acute and chronic amphetamine poisoning. As a result, some years later the New York State took away Max Jacobson’s licence to practice medicine. Living in California by then, I received a call from a journalist friend saying that the New York Times had interviewed Max and quoted him saying that Mark had died from a blow to the head. My friend suggested that I had grounds for a libel case. I had no interest in getting involved. Frankly I was glad to have escaped that situation alive.

Maybe 10 years later- I have lost track of the date- this same journalist covered the 2nd Warren Commission hearings for the New York Post. The name Clint Murchinson came up as having been a close friend of J.Edgar Hoover, and both of them were mentioned in connection with the Mob boss in New Orleans (Ferraro?) who knew Oswald. This was a short moment of vindication for me because my friend was inclined to mocking my obsession with Texan oilmen. Needless to say that investigation went nowhere. The last tidbit of information that I have to offer came from Oliver Stone’s screen writer, Zackary Sklar, whose version of the story, though I wouldn’t vouch for it, is not as far afield from the truth as public opinion would have us believe. I spoke to Sklar in a weak attempt to search out some truth about the Texans, and he surprised me with a fact that he had uncovered about Mark Shaw. He said that he had interviewed a former patient of Jacobson’s - a woman I did not know – who told him that she had traveled to New Orleans in the late 60’s with Mark Shaw to see the D.A. Garrison.

Today I feel that we are in the process of resolving some great issues in history that found voice in the idealism of the 60’s. In the waning first decade of the new millennium, with hope renewed, we are striving to produce a clearer depiction of what is healthy and unhealthy in our world. Many more Americans are realizing that the answer is not as simple as black and white.

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"When Kennedy was in NY, Mark sped him around in his souped-up Camara..."

OK, I call BS.

I searched the internet, and I can find no car manufactured anywhere in the world called a "Camara." So if the writer meant "Camaro," that's all well and good...but the Chevrolet Camaro wasn't marketed until the 1967 model year [september 29, 1966, to be exact]...making it impossible for anyone to have JFK riding with them in one, unless the corpse was exhumed unbeknownst to nearly everyone. And what a macabre sight THAT would've been!

And that business about the "2nd Warren Commission" reeks to high heaven. All in all, this account seems to be an attempt to link a lot of "stoner" memories [an oxymoron if there ever was one], and the net result is a lot of gibberish that, for the most part, can be dismissed upon its face. "I gathered from Mark that they had come from the doctor's office." Now THERE's a solid link...NOT! "...two Texans entered the studio and were introduced to me as Clint Murchinson and Gordon McClendon." Of course, they may have actually been Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob, but they were introduced as...

I just don't see much substance to this.

Edited by Mark Knight

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"When Kennedy was in NY, Mark sped him around in his souped-up Camara..."

OK, I call BS.

I searched the internet, and I can find no car manufactured anywhere in the world called a "Camara." So if the writer meant "Camaro," that's all well and good...but the Chevrolet Camaro wasn't marketed until the 1967 model year [september 29, 1966, to be exact]...making it impossible for anyone to have JFK riding with them in one, unless the corpse was exhumed unbeknownst to nearly everyone. And what a macabre sight THAT would've been!

And that business about the "2nd Warren Commission" reeks to high heaven. All in all, this account seems to be an attempt to link a lot of "stoner" memories [an oxymoron if there ever was one], and the net result is a lot of gibberish that, for the most part, can be dismissed upon its face. "I gathered from Mark that they had come from the doctor's office." Now THERE's a solid link...NOT! "...two Texans entered the studio and were introduced to me as Clint Murchinson and Gordon McClendon." Of course, they may have actually been Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob, but they were introduced as...

I just don't see much substance to this.

I certainly wouldn't disagree with Mark Knight, as he makes a pretty valid point on the particulars, but out of curiosity is this Mark Shaw the same person who wrote........

The John F. Kennedys: a family album by Mark Shaw. Published New York, Greenwich House -1983?

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Yea, Mark, Besides the Camara, I have a problem with the Lear jet detail, especially since the frist Lear Jet test flight took place six weeks before Dallas and the first produciton model wasn't delivered until a year later. - BK

"During the 1950's, Mark did about 60 covers for Life magazine and was a highly successful advertising photographer as well. Along with a partner, he bought a Lear jet. He told me that he regularly flew Max to DC to get JFK out of bed in the morning."

http://www.wingsoverkansas.com/history/article.asp?id=199

Learjet Timeline

A Brief Record of Learjet's Progression Skyward

Late 1950s

U.S. entrepreneur and inventor, William P. Lear, Sr., forms Swiss American Aviation Corporation (SAAC) with intention of designing and manufacturing SAAC-23 corporate jet aircraft.

1962

Lear moves S.A.A.C. from Switzerland to Wichita, Kansas.

On February 7, assembly of Learjet #1 begins.

On March 9, S.A.A.C. occupies new Wichita plant.

1962

Lear Jet Corporation

1963

On April 26, S.A.A.C. renamed Lear Jet Corporation.

On October 7, first flight of first Learjet, Model 23

1964

On October 13, first production Model 23 delivered.

On November 30, Lear Jet Corporation becomes publicly owned.

1966

On February 24, first flight of Model 24.

Edited by William Kelly

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I am the daughter of Dr. Max Jacobson and would appreciate it if you could elaborate about Mark Shaw and his involvement with the Cuban situation. Also I want to offer the fact that Dr.Jacobson made frequent trips. vacations with his family to Puerto Rico where we had friends, one which was Dona Felisa the Mayoress of San Juan. I am interested to know more about the Antonio Betancourt and Antonio Morales connection. Both these men were patients and friends of my father. Please could you elaborate on the Antonio Morales charges "he was a bag man for the syndicate"??? What does that have to do with Dr.

Jacobson??

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Please elaborate on the Mark Shaw Cuban involvement. Also if you know, please elaborate on the connection between Antonio Morales, Antonio Betancourt and Dr Max .Jacobson.

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