Jump to content
The Education Forum

Gore Vidal anecdote


John Dolva
 Share

Recommended Posts

In the Friday October 14, 1966 edition of the 'Berkley Barb', Hal Verb reports:

Summary

Mark Lane on wednesday night;: KNEW's "Joe Dolan Show"

Listeners rang the BARB to tell they heard Mark tell a story of when he was interviewed with Gore Vidal in London on "the David Frost Show"

Gore Vidal said that he had read in a draft text of Manchesters book commissioned by Jackie that when she went back to be with Kennedy, she saw Johnson leaning over the casket chuckling, and that she from that moment vowed not to have anything further to do with him. The 300 odd studio audience in London heard it and gasped, but apparently it went no further at that time. And apparently this portion of the book had been edited out of the final.

A comprehensive search on this gives no hits at this end. Is it true? If so it is gruesome behaviour. That it is not common knowledge is also strange, is that because it was never picked up on by any major media, or is it because later revelations shows it to be false?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A comprehensive search on this gives no hits at this end. Is it true? If so it is gruesome behaviour. That it is not common knowledge is also strange, is that because it was never picked up on by any major media, or is it because later revelations shows it to be false?

I've read Manchester's book Controversy, plus a few other accounts of the controversy surrounding his book, including one by Vidal. LBJ thought the book was a RFK-inspired plot to make him look bad. It turned out that the areas of the book censored by the Kennedys and their helpers--Richard Goodwin, for one--were censored to make the book LESS hostile to Johnson.

Eventually, there were a number of deletions and alterations. Manchester has said that the deletions were of no major consequence. Vidal's story could very well be true, as there were obviously bits of info in the original manuscript too shocking or petty for publication. Before Manchester died, he made sure that the notes (or was it tapes?) of his drunken chats with Jackie were sealed. If I remember correctly, they will only be made available to the public after Caroline's death.

As to why the media didn't pick up on it...THEY DID. True to form, the media's take on the controversy was that those darned hypocrite Kennedys were out to slander Johnson, then got scared and decided to mess with the first amendment and censor poor William Manchester. I don't remember reading one article written from the perspective of "what is in the book that has JOHNSON so unnerved and the Kennedys so concerned?" Johnson had so successfully played the victim to his friends in the media that they took his cue and made Bobby out to be the heavy.

Edited by Pat Speer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't remember reading one article written from the perspective of "what is in the book that has JOHNSON so unnerved and the Kennedys so concerned?" Johnson had so successfully played the victim to his friends in the media that they took his cue and made Bobby out to be the heavy.

Spot on observation. Could be something about Stanley Milgram' Obedience to Authority.

Gore Vidal now lives in LA, I believe. Since Vidal is a political animal it might not be hard to reach him. Any chance Pat would try to confirm the story with him?

Anyone in London able to confirm the story with David Frost?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't believe any of it. First off, it Jackie said she wouldn't have any more to do with LBJ then what's with the dozen or so recorded and transcribed conversations we have of them talking really chummy, palsey walsey.

In addition, if it was a recorded David Frost show, then there's a tape of it, which we don't have, and instead, somebody who heard something on the radio?j

Also, the whole chuckeling over the casket stuff just doesn't hold water, since LBJ already had his chuckle, photographed during the swearing in by the official photog on AF1 and surpressed and subsequently published.

And finally, the whole thing sounds too much like a watered down version of Paul Krasner's really crass assertion in a spoof in his Realist magazine that reported Jackie aboard AF1 discovered LBJ screwing JFK in the throat wound, which any normal person would assume to be an outrageous accusation, while a chuckle is a little more beliveable.

While both the screw and the chuckle are patently untrue, figureatively and poetically the images somehow portray reality more than what we know to be true.

BK

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://www.volokh.com/posts/1139878045.shtml

it reports on a panel discussion at Princeton in 1965, in which the participants included Paul Krassner, editor of The Realist magazine, Günter Grass, and Wolfe:

The next thing I knew, the discussion was onto the subject of fascism in America. Everybody was talking about police repression and the anxiety and paranoia as good folsk waited for the knock on the door and the descent of the knout on the nape of the neck. I couldn't make any sense out of it. . . . This was the mid-1960's. . . . [T]he folks were running wilder and freer than any people in history. For that matter, Krassner himself, in one of the strokes of exuberance for which he was well known, was soon to publish a slight hoax: an account of how Lyndon Johnson was so overjoyed about becoming President that he had buggered a wound in the neck of John F. Kennedy on Air Force One as Kennedy's body was being flown back from Dallas. Krassner presented this as a suppressed chapter from William Manchester's book Death of a President. Johnson, of course, was still President when it came out. Yet the merciless gestapo dragnet missed Krassner, who cleverly hid out onstage at Princeton on Saturday nights. . . .

So it would seem to be a milder variant on Krassners hoax. Thank you, William.

It bothers me as Hal Verb has written quite a lot on the assassination. Possibly he was duped on this one, and not on other stories of interest. (damned frustrating) Perhaps that is one reason for hoaxing, to mask otherwise real stories by causing people to dump the lot.

I do know its a tactic of the COINTELPROgrams.

Anyone know this Hal Verb fellow? He has written a lot in tha Barb at that time, quoting from assassination researchers.

I think it would be interesting to hear what Gore Vidal has to say.

________________

another problem here is Mark Lanes name being used. On the same page is an advertisement for a Mark Lane lecture in Berkley.

Edited by John Dolva
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[url=http://www.volokh.com/posts/1139878045.shtml]http://www.volokh.com/posts/1139878045.shtml[/url

So it would seem to be a milder variant on Krassners hoax. Thank you, William.

It bothers me as Hal Verb has written quite a lot on the assassination. Possibly he was duped on this one, and not on other stories of interest. (damned frustrating) Perhaps that is one reason for hoaxing, to mask otherwise real stories by causing people to dump the lot.

I do know its a tactic of the COINTELPROgrams.

Anyone know this Hal Verb fellow? He has written a lot in tha Barb at that time, quoting from assassination researchers.

I think it would be interesting to hear what Gore Vidal has to say.

Hi John,

And yes, it does seem to be a variant on the Krasner hoax.

Krasner's realist was an advant guarde political satire publication that ran articles like "I was Charlie Manson's boyscout bunkmate," and of course, satire is a weapon that's hard to fight against.

When Ian Fleming was asked how he would deal with Castro, he replied, "Satire."

Krasner became a player in the JFK game when Larry Flint was shot. While Flint was recouperating he hired Krasner as editor of Hustler and the Realist, and Krasner began publishing articles like Mae Brussell's Nazi Connections to the JFK Assassination.

As for Hal Verb, he's not just a JFK assassination researcher and writer, he too is a player, having been one of the FPCC double-agents like Harry Dean, helped Robert Kaffke write about Oswald in Mexico City (With Mark Lane), and has been a frequent speaker at COPA conferences. I just called an old California phone number I had for him to see if he had a copy of the Kaffke-Oswald article but it didn't work.

BK

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Berkley Barn fri oct 14 1966

On the same page is an advertisement for a Mark Lane lecture in Berkley.

I really need to get a scanner with a good OCR, however here's the way the story was printed.

LBJ Laughed

An anecdote by Mark Lane on

KNEW's Joe Dolan Show Wednes-

day night caused BARB's phones

to buzz.

Lane said that he had been on

a TV show (The David Frost Show)

in London with Gore Vidal, who is

closely related to Jackie Kennedy,

During the show Vidal had said

that the reason Mrs Kennedy won't

have anything to do with the

Johnsons is that on the plane, when

she went in to be with the body,

she surprised Johnson in the act

of chuckling over her husbands

corpse.

Dolan asked Lane again, and

Lane repeated it, saying that the

London audience of 300 gasped

collectively, but to his knowledge,

none of the news services picked

it up.

I first heard this story in great-

est detail two days ago from an

investigator of the assassination

who lives in Los Angeles who

heard it from Lane. Lane felt

it could properly be told because

it had been made public on TV.

Lane told him Gore Vidal said

he had seen the text of the forth-

coming Manchester book on the

assassination (The book was com-

missioned by Jackie Kennedy.) In-

cluded in the text was a story

that Jackie Kennedy, during the

flight of her husband's body, had

moved to the rear of the plane

and saw Johnson leaning over the

casket chuckling. She vowed that

form that moment on she would

never have anything to do with

him.

This story will not appear in the

Manchester book, however, said

the investigator, because it has

been deleated from the text.

Hal Verb

Is the Krassner hoax a mask for a true story about 'chuckling'?

EDIT:: thank you William, we posted at almost the same time, so I didn't see your post till after. OK interesting on Hal, thanks again.

Edited by John Dolva
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...