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Oswald, Sinatra and "Suddenly"


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I stumbled across some talk that LHO watched the 1954 film, "Suddenly" a few nights before the assassination. Does anyone know this to be true, or is it just an urban legend? It's been years since I've seen this movie, but from what I remember, it has some similarities to what happened in Dallas 9 years later. Sinatra even had the film pulled from circulation after the assassination, during which time the copyrights expired and the film entered public domain and was again available.

I'm guessing that the TV listings for the week or two prior to 11/23/63 should be available somewhere, or has this already been discussed and busted (or verified)?

JWK

Edited by J. William King
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I stumbled across some talk that LHO watched the 1954 film, "Suddenly" a few nights before the assassination. Does anyone know this to be true, or is it just an urban legend? It's been years since I've seen this movie, but from what I remember, it has some similarities to what happened in Dallas 9 years later. Sinatra even had the film pulled from circulation after the assassination, during which time the copyrights expired and the film entered public domain and was again available.

I'm guessing that the TV listings for the week or two prior to 11/23/63 should be available somewhere, or has this already been discussed and busted (or verified)?

JWK

Slightly off the beat, but relevant: Do you know anything about the company that made "Suddenly" - who financed it, that sort of thing?

Paul

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Other than what's on the IMDB, I don't know anything about the film and who financed it. I haven't even seen it for quite awhile.

According to the IMDB, Libra Productions Inc. was the production company. They only did one other film, a western, in 1957.

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I stumbled across some talk that LHO watched the 1954 film, "Suddenly" a few nights before the assassination. Does anyone know this to be true, or is it just an urban legend? It's been years since I've seen this movie, but from what I remember, it has some similarities to what happened in Dallas 9 years later. Sinatra even had the film pulled from circulation after the assassination, during which time the copyrights expired and the film entered public domain and was again available.

I'm guessing that the TV listings for the week or two prior to 11/23/63 should be available somewhere, or has this already been discussed and busted (or verified)?

JWK

Slightly off the beat, but relevant: Do you know anything about the company that made "Suddenly" - who financed it, that sort of thing?

Paul

I believe we've discussed this before. I think I brought it up. Priscilla McMillan wrote of Oswald staying up late and watching Suddenly back to back with some film on Cuba. *Gary Mack, however, looked through all the Dallas TV Guides and found that these films had not been shown on Dallas TV anytime around the assassination. *(Gary Mack has reminded me that she got her info from an obscure SS report.)

As far as Suddenly, it's one of my pet pieces of evidence. Sinatra yanked it. Why? Out of respect? Or because it implicated his friends? The character played by Sinatra, a swarthy WWII vet/assassin, is named Johnny Baron. Although they lack the Italian surnames, Mr. Baron and his friends are obviously Itallian Goombahs. Well, what Italian vet/assassin would Sinatra know? Precisely. Johnny Rosselli. But what about the screenwriter, Richard Sale? Did he know Rosselli? Almost certainly, at least by reputation. I found that Sale's wife/partner was the niece of the legendary screenwriter Anita Loos, and that Anita Loos was, in turn, close friends with Joe Schenck, the movie mogul whose testimony sent Rosselli to prison in the 40's. When I looked at Rosselli's bio, All-American Mafioso, moreover, I found that John Barron was the name of Rossell's nemesis, an FBI agent who'd hounded him for years. That seemed way too much a coincidence.

*Gary Mack e-mailed me to fill in the story. He said

"The person who looked it up and told you about it was me, and I already sent a note about it to JWK saying that there's no historical record of Suddenly being broadcast at any time after Oswald returned from Mexico City.

McMillan didn't make up the story, however; she got it from an obscure SS report that is listed in her footnotes."

Gary Mack

Edited by Pat Speer
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I stumbled across some talk that LHO watched the 1954 film, "Suddenly" a few nights before the assassination. Does anyone know this to be true, or is it just an urban legend? It's been years since I've seen this movie, but from what I remember, it has some similarities to what happened in Dallas 9 years later. Sinatra even had the film pulled from circulation after the assassination, during which time the copyrights expired and the film entered public domain and was again available.

I'm guessing that the TV listings for the week or two prior to 11/23/63 should be available somewhere, or has this already been discussed and busted (or verified)?

JWK

Slightly off the beat, but relevant: Do you know anything about the company that made "Suddenly" - who financed it, that sort of thing?

Paul

I believe we've discussed this before. I think I brought it up. Priscilla McMillan wrote of Oswald staying up late and watching Suddenly back to back with some film on Cuba. *Gary Mack, however, looked through all the Dallas TV Guides and found that these films had not been shown on Dallas TV anytime around the assassination. *(Gary Mack has reminded me that she got her info from an obscure SS report.)

As far as Suddenly, it's one of my pet pieces of evidence. Sinatra yanked it. Why? Out of respect? Or because it implicated his friends? The character played by Sinatra, a swarthy WWII vet/assassin, is named Johnny Baron. Although they lack the Italian surnames, Mr. Baron and his friends are obviously Itallian Goombahs. Well, what Italian vet/assassin would Sinatra know? Precisely. Johnny Rosselli. But what about the screenwriter, Richard Sale? Did he know Rosselli? Almost certainly, at least by reputation. I found that Sale's wife/partner was the niece of the legendary screenwriter Anita Loos, and that Anita Loos was, in turn, close friends with Joe Schenck, the movie mogul whose testimony sent Rosselli to prison in the 40's. When I looked at Rosselli's bio, All-American Mafioso, moreover, I found that John Barron was the name of Rossell's nemesis, an FBI agent who'd hounded him for years. That seemed way too much a coincidence.

*Gary Mack e-mailed me to fill in the story. He said

"The person who looked it up and told you about it was me, and I already sent a note about it to JWK saying that there's no historical record of Suddenly being broadcast at any time after Oswald returned from Mexico City.

McMillan didn't make up the story, however; she got it from an obscure SS report that is listed in her footnotes."

Gary Mack

Speaking os Sinatra. I remember when the son was "kidnapped" shortly after the assassination. Tho I was only 14 at the time I did not believe this and thought it was a ploy to get the assassination less press coverage by diverting people's attention to a missing Sinatra kid. Many years l ater I saw that the kidnapper had confessed, or something that made this "event" seem more real.

Indeed, why would Sinatra pull this film? Didn't he do somethig similar with either MC or Seven Days in May? ( Sorry my movie history leaves much to be desired. )

Dawn

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Speaking os Sinatra. I remember when the son was "kidnapped" shortly after the assassination. Tho I was only 14 at the time I did not believe this and thought it was a ploy to get the assassination less press coverage by diverting people's attention to a missing Sinatra kid. Many years l ater I saw that the kidnapper had confessed, or something that made this "event" seem more real.

Indeed, why would Sinatra pull this film? Didn't he do somethig similar with either MC or Seven Days in May? ( Sorry my movie history leaves much to be desired. )

Dawn

If I remember right, Kennedy was tight with the "Rat Pack" in general, and with Lawford in particular. The assassination problably shook them all up. When Sinatra got wind that LHO may have watched "Suddenly" right before the assassination (whether it was true or not), he pulled the film. I might have done the same thing if I was in his place.

The film was done 9 years before the assassination, and I really don't see what there would be to hide. Besides, the entertainment value of the film would have gone down since the event had actually happened. "The Lone Gunmen" pilot about flyng a remote control plane into the WTC was entertaining when it was first broadcast in March 2001. After 9/11, it became interesting, but not entertaining. Also, look at Vaughn Meader's career after 11/22/63. I've always considered him the "4th victim" of that day in Dallas.

JWK

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The film "Suddenly" can be watched online here:

Dialup Connection:

http://www.archive.org/stream/suddenly/suddenly_64kb.mp4

Broadband connection:

http://www.archive.org/stream/suddenly/suddenly_256kb.mp4

For more information and possibility to download different quality

versions of the film, go here:

http://www.archive.org/details/suddenly

To download the film:

Click on FTP, choose version file by moving mouse pointer over it, click right mouse button,choose "save target as",click left mouse button and choose location on your harddrive.

Edited by Dave Weaver
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Speaking os Sinatra. I remember when the son was "kidnapped" shortly after the assassination. Tho I was only 14 at the time I did not believe this and thought it was a ploy to get the assassination less press coverage by diverting people's attention to a missing Sinatra kid. Many years l ater I saw that the kidnapper had confessed, or something that made this "event" seem more real.

Indeed, why would Sinatra pull this film? Didn't he do somethig similar with either MC or Seven Days in May? ( Sorry my movie history leaves much to be desired. )

Dawn

If I remember right, Kennedy was tight with the "Rat Pack" in general, and with Lawford in particular. The assassination problably shook them all up. When Sinatra got wind that LHO may have watched "Suddenly" right before the assassination (whether it was true or not), he pulled the film. I might have done the same thing if I was in his place.

The film was done 9 years before the assassination, and I really don't see what there would be to hide. Besides, the entertainment value of the film would have gone down since the event had actually happened. "The Lone Gunmen" pilot about flyng a remote control plane into the WTC was entertaining when it was first broadcast in March 2001. After 9/11, it became interesting, but not entertaining. Also, look at Vaughn Meader's career after 11/22/63. I've always considered him the "4th victim" of that day in Dallas.

JWK

Gary sent me another e-mail explaining that the film on Cuba "We Were Strangers" was indeed shown on TV shortly before the assassination, but not as a double feature with "Suddenly." Suddenly hadn't been shown in Dallas for years.

Besides Suddenly, the other fim yanked by Sinatra was The Manchurian Candidate. Both movies featured political assassins using high-powered rifles and could have been considered discomforting. No one thought much about Sinatra's yanking the films. When I finally watched Suddenly, however, I realized the assassin played by Sinatra shared a number of characteristics with Johnny Rosselli. When I looked into the background of the screenwriter, I became convinced the character was indeed based on Rosselli.

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  • 7 months later...

Speaking os Sinatra. I remember when the son was "kidnapped" shortly after the assassination. Tho I was only 14 at the time I did not believe this and thought it was a ploy to get the assassination less press coverage by diverting people's attention to a missing Sinatra kid. Many years l ater I saw that the kidnapper had confessed, or something that made this "event" seem more real.

Indeed, why would Sinatra pull this film? Didn't he do somethig similar with either MC or Seven Days in May? ( Sorry my movie history leaves much to be desired. )

Dawn

If I remember right, Kennedy was tight with the "Rat Pack" in general, and with Lawford in particular. The assassination problably shook them all up. When Sinatra got wind that LHO may have watched "Suddenly" right before the assassination (whether it was true or not), he pulled the film. I might have done the same thing if I was in his place.

The film was done 9 years before the assassination, and I really don't see what there would be to hide. Besides, the entertainment value of the film would have gone down since the event had actually happened. "The Lone Gunmen" pilot about flyng a remote control plane into the WTC was entertaining when it was first broadcast in March 2001. After 9/11, it became interesting, but not entertaining. Also, look at Vaughn Meader's career after 11/22/63. I've always considered him the "4th victim" of that day in Dallas.

JWK

Gary sent me another e-mail explaining that the film on Cuba "We Were Strangers" was indeed shown on TV shortly before the assassination, but not as a double feature with "Suddenly." Suddenly hadn't been shown in Dallas for years.

Besides Suddenly, the other fim yanked by Sinatra was The Manchurian Candidate. Both movies featured political assassins using high-powered rifles and could have been considered discomforting. No one thought much about Sinatra's yanking the films. When I finally watched Suddenly, however, I realized the assassin played by Sinatra shared a number of characteristics with Johnny Rosselli. When I looked into the background of the screenwriter, I became convinced the character was indeed based on Rosselli.

_____________________________

The fictional Johnny Baron -- real-life FBI agent John Barron "coincidental connection" reminded me of E. Howard Hunt's 1949 action-thriller Bimini Run, the hero-protagonist of which is one swashbuckling character by the name of Hank Sturgis. Remember one of our favorite people, Frank (Fiorini) Sturgis? Hmm.... Interesting to speculate that Hunt might have known Frank way back in '49.... Of course, Frank might have read the book and been so captivated by the hero that he decided to change his name (Fiorini) to (Sturgis)...

FWIW,

--Thomas

_____________________________

Edited by Thomas Graves
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The fictional Johnny Baron -- real-life FBI agent John Barron "coincidental connection" reminded me of E. Howard Hunt's 1949 action-thriller Bimini Run, the hero-protagonist of which is one swashbuckling character by the name of Hank Sturgis. Remember one of our favorite people, Frank (Fiorini) Sturgis? Hmm.... Interesting to speculate that Hunt might have known Frank way back in '49.... Of course, Frank might have read the book and been so captivated by the hero that he decided to change his name (Fiorini) to (Sturgis)...

FWIW,

--Thomas

_____________________________

Thomas, some LNs like to point out that Fiorini didn't change his name to Sturgis until 55 or so, years after Bimini Run was published. What they overlook is that Fioriini didn't just pick a name out of a hat. He took his step-dad's name, a name he'd been using off and on for years.

When I looked at Hunt's and Fiorini's war records, I noticed that they both served in the South Pacific at the same time. Hunt as a journalist and Fiorini as a Marine Corps killer specializing in hand to hand combat (or so the story goes). I wonder if anyone's ever read through Hunt's old articles, to see if he ever wrote one about his ole buddy Frank.

Edited by Pat Speer
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The fictional Johnny Baron -- real-life FBI agent John Barron "coincidental connection" reminded me of E. Howard Hunt's 1949 action-thriller Bimini Run, the hero-protagonist of which is one swashbuckling character by the name of Hank Sturgis. Remember one of our favorite people, Frank (Fiorini) Sturgis? Hmm.... Interesting to speculate that Hunt might have known Frank way back in '49.... Of course, Frank might have read the book and been so captivated by the hero that he decided to change his name from Fiorini to Sturgis...

FWIW,

--Thomas

_____________________________

Thomas, some LNs like to point out that Fiorini didn't change his name to Sturgis until 55 or so, years after Bimini Run was published. What they overlook is that Fioriini didn't just pick a name out of a hat. He took his step-dad's name, a name he been using off and on for years.

When I looked at Hunt's and Fiorini's war records, I noticed that they both served in the South Pacific at the same time. Hunt as a journalist and Fiorini as a Marine Corps killer specializing in hand to hand combat (or so the story goes). I wonder if anyone's ever read through Hunt's old articles, to see if he ever wrote one about his ole buddy Frank.

__________________________

Hi Pat,

I didn't know that Fiorini had been using his step-father's name (Sturgis) off and on for years before he legally changed it (to Sturgis) around 1955. Hmm... So, let's see... if he'd been using it off and on before 1949 (when Hunt wrote Bimini Run), then it's a near certainty that Hunt had already met him by '49, isn't it, simply due to the fact that Hunt created a fictional swashbuckling stud tough guy character by the name of Frank, I mean Hank (lol) Sturgis...

Thanks,

--Thomas

P.S. How would one go about finding Hunt's old articles? Excellent idea, that...

__________________________

Edited by Thomas Graves
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