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John Simkin

Clint Murchison and the JFK Assassination

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I would have to mention Robert F. Kennedy's remarks regarding the whole Hoover/Murchison relationship:

From pg.292 Robert Kennedy: In His Own Words - The Unpublished Recollections of the Kennedy Years.

KENNEDY: Bill Lambert, with whom I worked on the Rackets Committee, who was a reporter and got the Pulitzer Prize

out in Portland, Oregon, in 1957, works for Life Magazine now. He came across a fellow down in Florida now--

who used to be a clerk in a hotel out near the race track where Hoover goes to stay every month. When he left

in 1958-- he'd been there from '53 to '58 -- he took the records with him. They showed that up to that time --

and of course, Hoover has stayed there every year since then -- he stayed in a hundred-dollar-a-day suite

and that the bill at the end of each month was picked up and paid for by the Murchisons.

MARTIN: Really?

KENNEDY: The total for that five-year period was, I think, something like eighty-five hundred dollars--

which I thought was interesting.

Allan Witwer, the manager of the Murchison's Del Charro Hotel, later recalled: "It came to the end of the summer and Hoover had made no attempt to pay his bill. So I went to Murchison and asked him what he wanted me to do." Murchison told him to put it on his bill. Witwer estimates that over the next 18 summers Murchison's hospitality was worth nearly $300,000.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKmurchison.htm

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Guest Robert Morrow   
Guest Robert Morrow

I am 100% sure Madeleine Brown was a mistress of Lyndon Johnson; Ed Tatro's reunion of Madeleine with Allan Witwer the manager of the Hotel Del Charro is just but one data point that proves it. JFK researcher Ken Holmes told me you would not need a DNA test to know that 6'4" Steven was LBJ's son.

I also think that based on Madeleine's own comments & her behavior the odds are very high she was a whore, even if her friends can not handle that embarrassing truth.

Madeleine also sued the estate of Jerome Ragsdale, who of course she was having sex with, probably on a "Pay as you go" basis. When you sue someone for paternity, you are *obviously* swearing to the court you had sex with this person.

http://dperry1943.com/ragsdale.html

Madeleine in 1979 had not told her son Steven that he was LBJ's son. So she told him that he was Jerome Ragsdale's son. Madeleine probably thought that Jerome Ragsdale and Jesse Kellam had run off with her "LBJ support money." The reality, my guess, is probably that Lady Bird stopped the payments to Madeleine after LBJ's death. So Madeleine sued the estate of Jerome Ragsdale as a proxy for suing LBJ's estate at that particular time.

Edited by Robert Morrow

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I am 100% sure Madeleine Brown was a mistress of Lyndon Johnson; Ed Tatro's reunion of Madeleine with Allan Witwer the manager of the Hotel Del Charro is just but one data point that proves it. JFK researcher Ken Holmes told me you would not need a DNA test to know that 6'4" Steven was LBJ's son.

I also think that based on Madeleine's own comments & her behavior the odds are very high she was a whore, even if her friends can not handle that embarrassing truth.

Madeleine also sued the estate of Jerome Ragsdale, who of course she was having sex with, probably on a "Pay as you go" basis. When you sue someone for paternity, you are *obviously* swearing to the court you had sex with this person.

http://dperry1943.com/ragsdale.html

Madeleine in 1979 had not told her son Steven that he was LBJ's son. So she told him that he was Jerome Ragsdale's son. Madeleine probably thought that Jerome Ragsdale and Jesse Kellam had run off with her "LBJ support money." The reality, my guess, is probably that Lady Bird stopped the payments to Madeleine after LBJ's death. So Madeleine sued the estate of Jerome Ragsdale as a proxy for suing LBJ's estate at that particular time.

Robert,

Please remind me of what you said in a post a couple of years ago.

During what year (or years) did LBJ and MB stay at the La Valencia Hotel in my hometown of La Jolla, California?

Thanks,

--Tommy :sun

Edited by Thomas Graves

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Guest Robert Morrow   
Guest Robert Morrow

I am 100% sure Madeleine Brown was a mistress of Lyndon Johnson; Ed Tatro's reunion of Madeleine with Allan Witwer the manager of the Hotel Del Charro is just but one data point that proves it. JFK researcher Ken Holmes told me you would not need a DNA test to know that 6'4" Steven was LBJ's son.

I also think that based on Madeleine's own comments & her behavior the odds are very high she was a whore, even if her friends can not handle that embarrassing truth.

Madeleine also sued the estate of Jerome Ragsdale, who of course she was having sex with, probably on a "Pay as you go" basis. When you sue someone for paternity, you are *obviously* swearing to the court you had sex with this person.

http://dperry1943.com/ragsdale.html

Madeleine in 1979 had not told her son Steven that he was LBJ's son. So she told him that he was Jerome Ragsdale's son. Madeleine probably thought that Jerome Ragsdale and Jesse Kellam had run off with her "LBJ support money." The reality, my guess, is probably that Lady Bird stopped the payments to Madeleine after LBJ's death. So Madeleine sued the estate of Jerome Ragsdale as a proxy for suing LBJ's estate at that particular time.

Robert,

Please remind me of what you said in a post a couple of years ago.

During what year (or years) did LBJ and MB stay at the La Valencia Hotel in my hometown of La Jolla, California?

Thanks,

--Tommy :sun

Tommy, LBJ and Madeleine stayed at the Hotel Del Charro sometime in the 1950's. And we know this for a fact because JFK researcher Ed Tatro re-united Madeleine with Allan Witwer, the former manager of the Hotel Del Charro.

According to Tatro, when Madeleine and Witwer saw each other after all those decades they broke into big smiles, ran to each other, hugged and carried on like old friends. I will take that as definite proof of the Madeleine/LBJ relationship. That anecdote goes a long, long way into establishing the credibility of Madeleine Brown, and I am getting a little tired defending Madeleine while 3 of her closest friends hide in their gopher holes off the internet.

For God's sake, of course Madeleine was a very close and important mistress for LBJ. Of course, she had a son Steven Mark with LBJ in December, 1950.

That is one big reason Tatro needs to finally publish his 1,200 page book on the JFK assassination, titled Urgency to Kill.

I suggest you get in contact with Ed Tatro first hand and hear his account of the story. Tatro helped Madeleine write Texas in the Morning: The Love Story of Madeleine Brown and President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Web link: http://www.amazon.com/Texas-Morning-Madeleine-President-Johnson/dp/0941401065/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375070026&sr=1-1&keywords=texas+in+the+morning

Tommy, I am surprised you have not heard that story before; you seem to be such a self proclaimed expert on the history of your area.

Edited by Robert Morrow

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I am 100% sure Madeleine Brown was a mistress of Lyndon Johnson; Ed Tatro's reunion of Madeleine with Allan Witwer the manager of the Hotel Del Charro is just but one data point that proves it. JFK researcher Ken Holmes told me you would not need a DNA test to know that 6'4" Steven was LBJ's son.

I also think that based on Madeleine's own comments & her behavior the odds are very high she was a whore, even if her friends can not handle that embarrassing truth.

Madeleine also sued the estate of Jerome Ragsdale, who of course she was having sex with, probably on a "Pay as you go" basis. When you sue someone for paternity, you are *obviously* swearing to the court you had sex with this person.

http://dperry1943.com/ragsdale.html

Madeleine in 1979 had not told her son Steven that he was LBJ's son. So she told him that he was Jerome Ragsdale's son. Madeleine probably thought that Jerome Ragsdale and Jesse Kellam had run off with her "LBJ support money." The reality, my guess, is probably that Lady Bird stopped the payments to Madeleine after LBJ's death. So Madeleine sued the estate of Jerome Ragsdale as a proxy for suing LBJ's estate at that particular time.

Robert,

Please remind me of what you said in a post a couple of years ago.

During what year (or years) did LBJ and MB stay at the La Valencia Hotel in my hometown of La Jolla, California?

Thanks,

--Tommy :sun

Tommy, LBJ and Madeleine stayed at the Hotel Del Charro sometime in the 1950's. And we know this for a fact because JFK researcher Ed Tatro re-united Madeleine with Allan Witwer, the former manager of the Hotel Del Charro.

According to Tatro, when Madeleine and Witwer saw each other after all those decades they broke into big smiles, ran to each other, hugged and carried on like old friends. I will take that as definite proof of the Madeleine/LBJ relationship. That anecdote goes a long, long way into establishing the credibility of Madeleine Brown, and I am getting a little tired defending Madeleine while 3 of her closest friends hide in their gopher holes off the internet.

For God's sake, of course Madeleine was a very close and important mistress for LBJ. Of course, she had a son Steven Mark with LBJ in December, 1950.

That is one big reason Tatro needs to finally publish his 1,200 page book on the JFK assassination, titled Urgency to Kill.

I suggest you get in contact with Ed Tatro first hand and hear his account of the story. Tatro helped Madeleine write Texas in the Morning: The Love Story of Madeleine Brown and President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Web link: http://www.amazon.com/Texas-Morning-Madeleine-President-Johnson/dp/0941401065/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375070026&sr=1-1&keywords=texas+in+the+morning

Tommy, I am surprised you have not heard that story before; you seem to be such a self proclaimed expert on the history of your area.

Dear Robert,

Nope. Sorry. I've never heard that Lyndon Johnson stayed at the Hotel Del Charro. And I've lived here off and on since early 1950 when I was half a year old.

BTW, It's interesting that this long article in the San Diego Reader doesn't say anything about LBJ ever shacking up at the Del Charro::

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2011/jan/05/cover-oil-politics-la-jolla/ (Part 1)

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2011/jan/12/feature-big-rich-part-two/ (Part 2)

--Tommy :sun

Edited by Thomas Graves

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Guest Robert Morrow   
Guest Robert Morrow

I am 100% sure Madeleine Brown was a mistress of Lyndon Johnson; Ed Tatro's reunion of Madeleine with Allan Witwer the manager of the Hotel Del Charro is just but one data point that proves it. JFK researcher Ken Holmes told me you would not need a DNA test to know that 6'4" Steven was LBJ's son.

I also think that based on Madeleine's own comments & her behavior the odds are very high she was a whore, even if her friends can not handle that embarrassing truth.

Madeleine also sued the estate of Jerome Ragsdale, who of course she was having sex with, probably on a "Pay as you go" basis. When you sue someone for paternity, you are *obviously* swearing to the court you had sex with this person.

http://dperry1943.com/ragsdale.html

Madeleine in 1979 had not told her son Steven that he was LBJ's son. So she told him that he was Jerome Ragsdale's son. Madeleine probably thought that Jerome Ragsdale and Jesse Kellam had run off with her "LBJ support money." The reality, my guess, is probably that Lady Bird stopped the payments to Madeleine after LBJ's death. So Madeleine sued the estate of Jerome Ragsdale as a proxy for suing LBJ's estate at that particular time.

Robert,

Please remind me of what you said in a post a couple of years ago.

During what year (or years) did LBJ and MB stay at the La Valencia Hotel in my hometown of La Jolla, California?

Thanks,

--Tommy :sun

Tommy, LBJ and Madeleine stayed at the Hotel Del Charro sometime in the 1950's. And we know this for a fact because JFK researcher Ed Tatro re-united Madeleine with Allan Witwer, the former manager of the Hotel Del Charro.

According to Tatro, when Madeleine and Witwer saw each other after all those decades they broke into big smiles, ran to each other, hugged and carried on like old friends. I will take that as definite proof of the Madeleine/LBJ relationship. That anecdote goes a long, long way into establishing the credibility of Madeleine Brown, and I am getting a little tired defending Madeleine while 3 of her closest friends hide in their gopher holes off the internet.

For God's sake, of course Madeleine was a very close and important mistress for LBJ. Of course, she had a son Steven Mark with LBJ in December, 1950.

That is one big reason Tatro needs to finally publish his 1,200 page book on the JFK assassination, titled Urgency to Kill.

I suggest you get in contact with Ed Tatro first hand and hear his account of the story. Tatro helped Madeleine write Texas in the Morning: The Love Story of Madeleine Brown and President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Web link: http://www.amazon.com/Texas-Morning-Madeleine-President-Johnson/dp/0941401065/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375070026&sr=1-1&keywords=texas+in+the+morning

Tommy, I am surprised you have not heard that story before; you seem to be such a self proclaimed expert on the history of your area.

Dear Robert,

Nope. Sorry. I've never heard that Lyndon Johnson stayed at the Hotel Del Charro. And I've lived here off and on since early 1950 when I was half a year old.

BTW, It's interesting that this long article in the San Diego Reader doesn't say anything about LBJ ever shacking up at the Del Charro::

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2011/jan/05/cover-oil-politics-la-jolla/ (Part 1)

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2011/jan/12/feature-big-rich-part-two/ (Part 2)

--Tommy :sun

Well, Tommy, maybe there are just a lot of things that you don't know. My attitude is I don't know something, tell me something new.

When Lyndon Johnson was at the Hotel Del Charro, it was when he was a US Senator - exactly what year in the 1950's I don't know. Let's say it was 1955 when LBJ became Majority Leader of the US Senate and was on his way to becoming the second most powerful man in Washington. His national profile was nowhere near as prominent as the actual power the man was wielding for the next several years.

Or maybe it was the early 1950's when Senator LBJ was at the Hotel Del Charro. Very few people in California publicly knew who LBJ was at this time period; it would not be like Kim Khardashian and Kanye West going somewhere for a visit the age of cell phone cameras and Twitter.

I am sure there were lots of high profile people, business, mobsters, politicians, friends of Clint Murchison, who popped into Hotel Del Charro with their girlfriends and mistresses and nobody was the wiser for it.

Again, Allan Witwer, the manager of Hotel Del Charro sure did remember Madeleine Brown fabulously well. Maybe he knew a lot more about what was going on there than you or the local newspaper ... especially when you were a 4 year old kid.

Edited by Robert Morrow

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I am 100% sure Madeleine Brown was a mistress of Lyndon Johnson; Ed Tatro's reunion of Madeleine with Allan Witwer the manager of the Hotel Del Charro is just but one data point that proves it. JFK researcher Ken Holmes told me you would not need a DNA test to know that 6'4" Steven was LBJ's son.

I also think that based on Madeleine's own comments & her behavior the odds are very high she was a whore, even if her friends can not handle that embarrassing truth.

Madeleine also sued the estate of Jerome Ragsdale, who of course she was having sex with, probably on a "Pay as you go" basis. When you sue someone for paternity, you are *obviously* swearing to the court you had sex with this person.

http://dperry1943.com/ragsdale.html

Madeleine in 1979 had not told her son Steven that he was LBJ's son. So she told him that he was Jerome Ragsdale's son. Madeleine probably thought that Jerome Ragsdale and Jesse Kellam had run off with her "LBJ support money." The reality, my guess, is probably that Lady Bird stopped the payments to Madeleine after LBJ's death. So Madeleine sued the estate of Jerome Ragsdale as a proxy for suing LBJ's estate at that particular time.

Robert,

Please remind me of what you said in a post a couple of years ago.

During what year (or years) did LBJ and MB stay at the La Valencia Hotel in my hometown of La Jolla, California?

Thanks,

--Tommy :sun

Tommy, LBJ and Madeleine stayed at the Hotel Del Charro sometime in the 1950's. And we know this for a fact because JFK researcher Ed Tatro re-united Madeleine with Allan Witwer, the former manager of the Hotel Del Charro.

According to Tatro, when Madeleine and Witwer saw each other after all those decades they broke into big smiles, ran to each other, hugged and carried on like old friends. I will take that as definite proof of the Madeleine/LBJ relationship. That anecdote goes a long, long way into establishing the credibility of Madeleine Brown, and I am getting a little tired defending Madeleine while 3 of her closest friends hide in their gopher holes off the internet.

For God's sake, of course Madeleine was a very close and important mistress for LBJ. Of course, she had a son Steven Mark with LBJ in December, 1950.

That is one big reason Tatro needs to finally publish his 1,200 page book on the JFK assassination, titled Urgency to Kill.

I suggest you get in contact with Ed Tatro first hand and hear his account of the story. Tatro helped Madeleine write Texas in the Morning: The Love Story of Madeleine Brown and President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Web link: http://www.amazon.com/Texas-Morning-Madeleine-President-Johnson/dp/0941401065/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375070026&sr=1-1&keywords=texas+in+the+morning

Tommy, I am surprised you have not heard that story before; you seem to be such a self proclaimed expert on the history of your area.

Dear Robert,

Nope. Sorry. I've never heard that Lyndon Johnson stayed at the Hotel Del Charro. And I've lived here off and on since early 1950 when I was half a year old.

BTW, It's interesting that this long article in the San Diego Reader doesn't say anything about LBJ ever shacking up at the Del Charro::

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2011/jan/05/cover-oil-politics-la-jolla/ (Part 1)

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2011/jan/12/feature-big-rich-part-two/ (Part 2)

--Tommy :sun

Well, Tommy, maybe there are just a lot of things that you don't know. My attitude is I don't know something, tell me something new.

When Lyndon Johnson was at the Hotel Del Charro, it was when he was a US Senator - exactly what year in the 1950's I don't know. Let's say it was 1955 when LBJ became Majority Leader of the US Senate and was on his way to becoming the second most powerful man in Washington. His national profile was nowhere near as prominent as the actual power the man was wielding for the next several years.

Or maybe it was the early 1950's when Senator LBJ was at the Hotel Del Charro. Very few people in California publicly knew who LBJ was at this time period; it would not be like Kim Khardashian and Kanye West going somewhere for a visit the age of cell phone cameras and Twitter.

I am sure there were lots of high profile people, business, mobsters, politicians, friends of Clint Murchison, who popped into Hotel Del Charro with their girlfriends and mistresses and nobody was the wiser for it.

Again, Allan Witwer, the manager of Hotel Del Charro sure did remember Madeleine Brown fabulously well. Maybe he knew a lot more about what was going on there than you or the local newspaper ... especially when you were a 4 year old kid.

Dear Robert,

In 1995, your Allan Witwer (with his fabulous memory) also said that Clint Murchison owned the Texas School Book Depository and that Oswald visited Hoover and Murchison at the Del Charro about a month before the assassination.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CC0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fjfk.hood.edu%2FCollection%2FWeisberg%2520Subject%2520Index%2520Files%2FW%2520Disk%2FW%2520Letter%2FWitwer%2520Allan.pdf&ei=ehv2UbnRL8mriALWqYCgBQ&usg=AFQjCNGATDPiOhCjYvMpuFgfdTJi0EAL2Q&sig2=PuEXng7d6OJBRZhfu66F7Q&bvm=bv.49784469,d.cGE

Sincerely,

--Tommy :sun,

Edited by Thomas Graves

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Guest Robert Morrow   
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Thomas Graves, that is a fabulous find of an interview with Allan Witwer. (As a side note: I don't think you had a clue who was coming and going from the Hotel Del Charro when you were 4, 5 and 6 years old.)

The trick with these historical witnesses is to separate their firsthand experiences from their statements of historical research. My attitude toward them is skip the analysis, tell me what you directly experienced or knew.

Some very interesting observations from Allan Witwer:

1) Carlos Marcello, Hoover & Clint Murchison were socializing together. LBJ had close ties to all 3 men and all 4 of them had a fantastic hatred of John Kennedy. All are legitimate perps in the JFK assassination. LBJ and Murchison were both "mobbed up" in a very big way. Murchison and Marcello were good friends.

2) The story of Murchison exploding at the thought of Kennedy coming to Hotel Del Charro is one I can easily believe. Nice anecdote.

3) D.H. Byrd, who was a very good friend of LBJ, H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison, did in fact own the TSBD. So Witwer was not too off on that misstatement. Note: Malcolm Wallace, LBJ's personal hitman, was employed by D.H. Byrd at LTV.

4) Oswald coming to see Hoover and Murchison at the Hotel Del Charro. Well, Oswald's best friend George DeMohrenschildt contacted LBJ's office and asked to personally meet with VP LBJ in April, 1963. Oswald in New Orleans was "part of the office" of Guy Bannister, an ultrarightist who had been Hoover's favorite Special Agent in Charge of Chicago. Oswald, indeed, was very likely an FBI informer.

Now, do I believe Oswald went out to Hotel Del Charro in October, 1963? No, but it is not the craziest thing I ever heard.

5) The FBI was harassing publishers who were going to print Allan Witwer's material and historical knowledge. Very likely happened. LBJ and Hoover used the FBI as a Gestapo to shut down all sorts of publications, authors & articles. The FBI would not let Farewell America into the USA in 1968. The FBI used to intimidate papers reporting on the Billie Sol Estes scandal. LBJ and Hoover were both notorious for their abuse of the FBI as a political tool.

6) IRS putting the Luce's in jail for tax evasion over Witwer. Never happened, but almost certainly Hoover used the FBI to squash any story using Witwer that LIFE was working on.

7) 30 years of FBI harassment for Allan Witwer. I can easily believe that. After all he was up close and personal watching Hoover socialize with Texas oil men and the mafia who Hoover was on the record saying never existed. Not to mention all of Witwer's records and recollections of a corrupt Hoover never paying any of his hotel bills.

Overall, a super find!

Edited by Robert Morrow

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Guest Robert Morrow   
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Some people would say that the father of the owner of the Dallas Cowboys murdered John Kennedy and was delighted about his death. (Clint Murchison, Jr. owned the Dallas Cowboys.)

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/jfk50/reflect/20130914-cowboys-had-to-repair-dallas-image-after-jfk-assassination.ece

Cowboys had to repair Dallas’ image after JFK assassination

By MICHAEL GRANBERRY MICHAEL GRANBERRY The Dallas Morning News

Staff Writer

mgranberry@dallasnews.com

Published: 14 September 2013 10:43 PM

Updated: 15 September 2013 01:48 AM

On Saturday, Nov. 23, 1963, hours after President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dealey Plaza, the Dallas Cowboys reported to Love Field for a trip to Cleveland.

The players were shocked at having to go. During the flight, they stared out the window at the whirring propellers of their Douglas DC-7, courting a sense of dread over what might await them on the shores of Lake Erie.

It was bothersome to many that Don Meredith, the team’s happy-go-lucky quarterback, was anything but “Dandy” Don. He sat stoically, staring out the window. Meredith’s world had gone into upheaval the day before, when, right after lunch, Friday’s pregame practice was interrupted by a trainer gone bonkers.

“He came running up, yelling, ‘Kennedy’s been shot! Kennedy’s been shot!’ And everything just kind of went crazy from there,” Meredith said in a 1982 interview with this reporter. “And,” he said, “it stayed crazy.”

Meredith was 25, enduring the ups and downs of his own difficult life, which included a 1963 divorce from his college sweetheart, with whom he shared a daughter. The Cowboys were nothing to brag about, trapped in the midst of a 4-10 season.

Since being founded in 1960, Dallas’ expansion franchise had put the “m” in mediocrity.

And now a new problem: They were from Dallas, which, minutes after Kennedy’s death, had wormed its way into infamy.

Commissioner Pete Rozelle, citing JFK’s “avid love of sport,” ignored the pleas of his fellow National Football League executives, including Cowboys owner Clint Murchison Jr., to cancel the weekend’s games.

Pierre Salinger, JFK’s press secretary and Rozelle’s college classmate, had told him the president would have wanted the games to be played, which Rozelle said later — regrettably — drove his decision. “It has been traditional in sports for athletes to perform in times of great personal tragedy. Football was Mr. Kennedy’s game. He thrived on competition,” Rozelle said in a statement, sending the Cowboys to Cleveland.

A cold shoulder

Defensive tackle Bob Lilly grew up as a West Texas kid loving football, but this was one game he didn’t want to play. Lilly soon discovered that the people of Cleveland didn’t want to see him, either.

As the Cowboys’ bus pulled up in front of the aging Cleveland Hotel, Lilly and his teammates were stunned to see that bellhops, normally in a frenzy to help football players, were turning a cold shoulder, wanting no part of the team from Dallas.

The Cowboys unloaded their own bags and took them to their rooms. The icy reception prompted Don Perkins, the team’s star running back and an African-American who had felt discrimination more than once in the years preceding the 1964 Civil Rights Act, to say he felt “tainted.”

“I just wanted to go hide somewhere,” Perkins said.

The reception in Cleveland made the players especially nervous about eating out as a group, which they did before every road game. Lilly and roommate George Andrie found a diner near the hotel and retreated to a corner where no one could see them. “I didn’t blame people for being mad at us,” Lilly told The Dallas Morning News in 2003. “I think I probably would’ve felt the same way.”

Rodger Jones, an editorial writer with The News, was a boy living in Cleveland on the Sunday of the ill-fated game. Jones’ father was the baseball writer for the Plain Dealer. His family never missed a Browns home game. But they wouldn’t be going to this one, he told his son. The elder Jones felt it was inappropriate to go to a game that day, especially to see a team from Dallas.

Browns owner Art Modell picked up on the hostile vibe and began a series of pre-emptive measures. As soon as he heard Friday’s news, he placed a frantic call to Rozelle, begging him to cancel the seven games scheduled that weekend.

“Trust me,” Modell told the commissioner. “Don’t play those damn games.”

Rozelle refused to budge, even arguing the point that playing the games was a good thing. It made no sense to Modell, who reminded him that network television would carry Kennedy news 24/7 and pre-empt every game, which is precisely what happened.

Rozelle’s intransigence prompted Modell go into “battlefield” mode, stationing police sharpshooters throughout 83,000-seat Cleveland Municipal Stadium. As players took the field, men toting weapons stood guard on the roof of the aging building.

“I felt like George Patton,” Modell told The News in 2003. “It looked like an armed camp when I got through with it.” Psychologically, Modell took yet another precaution: He ordered the public address announcer to refer to the visiting team only as “Cowboys,” never “Dallas.”

‘Scary quiet’

Tight end Lee Folkins, one of Meredith’s favorite targets, loved the pregame ritual of being a visiting player, hearing the “buzz” that came from the hometown crowd when the white-shirted Cowboys walked on the visitors’ field for the first time.

“But when we ran out, it was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop,” Folkins said recently from his home in Florida. “It really struck me how quiet it was. One person yelled out, ‘Dallas, go home.’ But that was it. The rest of the time, it was scary quiet.”

With pregame preparations over, the Cowboys huddled in the small, cold locker room and waited. They sat quietly, nervously, staring at the floor.

Shortly before kickoff, rumors began to circulate that Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner, had fatally shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected presidential assassin, in the basement of the Dallas police station.

Months earlier, during the Cowboys’ final days of preseason training in Dallas, Folkins and Meredith were cooling off from a hot August workout by swimming in the pool of the team hotel on North Central Expressway. There, they met two women who told them they worked as strippers at the Carousel Club. They invited Meredith and Folkins to join them later that night, which they did.

They stayed only a few minutes, Folkins said. They were so turned off by the “obnoxious” owner of the club, Ruby, they got up and left. Folkins was stunned to hear that the same odd man who owned the Carousel was the guy who had turned yet another page in the assassination narrative.

He concedes, a half-century later, that it’s one of the bizarre footnotes of that era in Dallas history that the great Don Meredith would have been sitting, if only for a few minutes, at the same table as Ruby.

Meredith, Folkins and the other Cowboys trundled up the steps of the baseball dugout and onto the soggy turf of Municipal Stadium to brace for kickoff. What no one told them was that, at that moment, a tribute to the slain president was occurring on the field. Four uniformed officers, marching in regimented formation, carried the flag at half-staff. The only sound one heard was the officer’s feet — until the Cowboys interrupted.

Suddenly, the crowd of more than 55,000 turned surly, emitting what sounded like the growl of a massive, menacing bear. “There we were,” Meredith said, “with the little stars on our helmets.” The team responded with what the quarterback called a truly “awful effort. It was a listless game, pathetic, the eeriest I’ve ever been involved in.”

The Cowboys lost, 27-17. Meredith completed 13 of 30 passes for 93 yards. Jim Brown, the great Cleveland running back, rushed for 51 yards. The flight home was quiet, the propellers of the DC-7 humming in the distance. At one point, Folkins said, the pilot came over the PA system to tell them a bit more about Ruby killing Oswald, which only added to the sense of numbness.

Strange new world

None of them knew it at the time, but for the Cowboys and Dallas, the Kennedy assassination had opened the door to a strange new world. Three years later, when the team emerged as one of the league’s best with its first winning season, success carried an odd side effect. It felt, Meredith said, as though the Cowboys had unwittingly become angels of redemption, gridiron missionaries charged with the task of erasing the stigma of Dallas’ ugly new brand as the “City of Hate.”

Linebacker Lee Roy Jordan, a rookie in 1963, said the pressure was real. Initially, he said, it came in the form of “animosity we felt from other fans in other cities, who booed us, who talked to us as though we had killed the president.”

But soon, the pressure came from Dallas itself. It was a psychological burden too big to bear, Meredith said. It robbed the game of its spontaneity, which is what drew him to football in the first place, during his boyhood in Mount Vernon, and later at SMU. He retired prematurely in 1969 to become a national TV icon as one of the hosts of Monday Night Football.

Instead of bringing home a championship to a city starved for self-esteem, the Cowboys fell agonizingly short five straight years. Branded “Next Year’s Champions,” they lost title games or were eliminated in earlier playoff rounds in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970, when Baltimore defeated Dallas in the Cowboys’ first Super Bowl. The team finally won it all on Jan. 16, 1972, when Lilly, quarterback Roger Staubach and running back Duane Thomas led them to victory in Super Bowl VI.

More than eight long years after the assassination, they were champions.

“The assassination,” Meredith said in 1982, sipping coffee at his home in Beverly Hills. “I was going through some fairly severe growing pains. So was the city, so was the nation. Everybody was really, really frustrated. A terrific amount of anxiety was everywhere, just ripping it all apart. Dallas began to change almost overnight. Attitudinal changes. It seemed like the cork finally blew, and all the craziness came gushing out.”

The assassination saddled the Cowboys, Meredith said, “with a big fear of success. We could all see what was happening. We were trying hard to win but figured, ‘Hey, if we do, things really are gonna be tough.’”

Dallas’ image post-assassination, was, he said, so badly in need of repair that the first hint of success from the local football team made winning an all-consuming priority, one that continues even today.

“The Cowboys have really shaped the rest of the country’s opinion about an area and a city, and TV is the reason,” he said on that morning in 1982, 28 years before his death in December 2010. “Ask people now what they think of when they think about Dallas, and it’s most likely the Cowboys or J.R. Ewing, for whom the Cowboys are mainly responsible.

“There’s a deep-down hidden little voice inside each of us that likes to beat the big guy — see the anti-hero win. Part of the Dallas mystique is that they beat the system. Even J.R., in his own inimitable style, is a lovable [expletive]. When J.R. got shot, people didn’t want him to die, they just wanted him to hurt a little. And now,” he said, “it’s the same with my old team, the Cowboys.”

Edited by Robert Morrow

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Friday’s pregame practice was interrupted by a trainer gone bonkers. “He came running up, yelling, ‘Kennedy’s been shot! Kennedy’s been shot!’"

Typical Dallas sensitivity from this reporter - no reason for the trainer to panic, of course.

Poor, victimized Dallas Cowboys, that unsung set of million-dollar Freedom Riders.

Edited by David Andrews

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On 7/28/2013 at 9:45 PM, Thomas Graves said:

Dear Robert,

Nope. Sorry. I've never heard that Lyndon Johnson stayed at the Hotel Del Charro. And I've lived here off and on since early 1950 when I was half a year old.

BTW, It's interesting that this long article in the San Diego Reader doesn't say anything about LBJ ever shacking up at the Del Charro::

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2011/jan/05/cover-oil-politics-la-jolla/ (Part 1)

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2011/jan/12/feature-big-rich-part-two/ (Part 2)

--Tommy :sun

Bumped

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