The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Cinema in the Shadow of History #3


Dallas, Texas (1963)

16 comments :

Mike H. said...

Wow... for such a famous picture, I can honestly say I've never seen anything like it before.

estiv said...

Holy cow. Where Oswald was caught.

swac said...

Not just where he was caught, this appears to be Oswald being caught. I don't think I've seen this photo before either, and I've looked at my fair share of JFK-related ephemera.

swac said...

Here's a link to a similar photo, which now hangs in the lobby of the restored theatre.

Chris said...

could this be a CIA photo op to further the Oswald story?

I don't buy the single gunman theory for a minute -
but we'll probably never know the truth.

Mike S. said...

Waiting for the Biograph in Chicago. What with the upcoming Johnny Depp flick and Max Allan Collins in commenter's row, seems like a natural for this series.

Christopher said...

So!ya thought ya'd cool your heels by taking in a Van HEFLIN PICTURE did ya??..com'on get in there!"
a famous tragedy in my fair city

Fred said...

I'm a patsy!

swac said...

So was Jerry Lewis.

Tommy O'C said...

But Jerry Lewis wasn't accused of killing the president and then subsequently murdered on live television by a nightclub owner will longstanding ties to the Chicago mob.

Tom Sutpen said...

I dunno. Jerry's ex said an awful lot of bad crap about him when he traded her in for a younger model. I'm pretty sure that accusation was trotted out at some point.

Timmy said...

I still subscribe to Jerry Seinfeld's theory.

Tommy O'C said...

I'm pretty sure that accusation was trotted out at some point.It wasn't. Neither was he shot on live TV by a half-assed wiseguy. But maybe he was the second gunman on the grassy knoll?

This is a photo of Jerry with JFK at the White House, though. The occasion coincided with Lewis's performance at JFK's 1961 birthday party. http://www.jerrylewiscomedy.com/60s2.htm

Tom Sutpen said...

It wasn't. Neither was he shot on live TV by a half-assed wiseguy. But maybe he was the second gunman on the grassy knoll?Ruby wasn't even quarter-assed. In Chicago he was an errand boy (another Jerry Lewis reference; keep score, somebody) who occasionally got to chauffeur leg-breakers to strikes, and once or twice carried Momo's luggage when he got back from Tahoe or wherever. Guy couldn't even make a dent as a loan-shark in a pissant open town like Big D, f'cryin' out loud (even wit' a semi-legit business as a front); and people make off like he's some kinda made guy?

Naw, Ruby was a half-mad hump who loved his dogs a lot more than the law oughta allow; a Fool of the rackets was he, and too big of a dope to see that the madman he sent to his grave that terrible Sunday was the Lear he'd been looking for all of his life.

For the record (and I'm sure I've stated it on this blog in the past), I am, and have always been, a firm believer that Lee Oswald killed John F. Kennedy and J.D. Tippit all on his lonesome.

Thus do I make my offering before the guardians of latter-day heresy; the better to insulate myself from the madness of our times.

How's that for purple prose on a lonesome Saturday night, friends and neighbors.

swac said...

Not bad at all Tom.

And having watched my share of Labour Day telethons, I can honestly say that I've seen Jerry Lewis die on live television lots of times.

Tommy O'C said...

"Not bad at all Tom, replied the Amen corner.

First off, a "half-assed wiseguy" is mob slang for a guy who’s "connected" and works for the mob, fronts for them, even kills for them, but is not yet (and may never be) a "made" member. By calling Ruby a “half-assed wiseguy,” I was hardly giving him “made member” status. Besides, Ruby was Jewish and ineligible for formal induction into the Mob because he was not of Sicilian or Southern Italian ancestry.

That Ruby was a bumbler with the Capone mob is an old story, reported many, many years ago. But he was, if nothing else, a man who did know how to make himself useful..

In 1963-1964, State Department and Army Intelligence files (which have since mysteriously vanished) implicated Ruby in running guns to Castro in Cuba. Ruby was part of a mob gunrunning “syndicate” headed by Norman “Roughhouse” Rothman (an associate of Miami mob boss Santos Trafficante), who ran a casino for Trafficante in Havana. The gangsters (and the CIA) were playing both sides of the field, backing Batista and Castro, hoping to come out winners.

Despite his many failures, Ruby was not quite the marginal loser/loner that he’s been portrayed to be. In fact, the more reads bona fide source material, Ruby looks about as crazy as a fox. Per statements corroborated by the FBI, by 1958, Ruby had an interest in a “notorious” nightclub and gambling house in Hallandale, Florida run by Meyer and Jake Lansky and other prominent mobsters. In 1959, a very busy year for Ruby, he was instrumental in arranging flights of weapons to Castro’s forces. Due to Cuba, he was becoming more closely associated with both the mob and the Feds.

Ruby was also no stranger at the homes of prominent Dallas residents, including then D.A. Henry Wade. In 1962, a gambler who wanted to set up a gambling operation in Dallas was told he would have to get Ruby’s approval, since any “fix” with local authorities had to come through him. Ruby had big-time gambling contacts, not just locally but nationally, as well. He was also the middleman who helped broker the release of mob boss Santos Trafficante from a Cuban jail (although Trafficante disavowed any knowledge of Ruby). And in 1959, Ruby was recruited as an FBI informant, a fact the Feds asked the Warren Commission to suppress, in 1964.

Even Johnny Roselli, who was killed before he could again speak before the House Assassination Committee (and this time, perhaps, cave in to increasing federal pressure to either tell what he knew or be imprisoned indefinitely for contempt until he did), assured columnist Jack Anderson that Jack Ruby was “one of our guys.”

For the record (and I'm sure I've stated it on this blog in the past), I am, and have always been, a firm believer that Lee Oswald killed John F. Kennedy and J.D. Tippit all on his lonesome.The evidence connecting Oswald with Tippit’s killing is open to question. Oswald was apprehended with a .38 caliber revolver in his possession, said to be the gun that killed Tippit. However, officers at the scene of Tippit’s shooting put out a radio call that the assailant was believed armed with a .38 automatic, not a .38 revolver. Four spent .38 automatic shells with ejector scratches were at the crime scene. Automatics and revolvers, even of the same caliber, require different ammunition. Also, automatics eject their shells upon firing, whereas a revolver must have its shells manually ejected, typically all at once, when all rounds (six, in the case of a .38) have been fired. The evidence at the crime scene was not consistent with a revolver being the murder weapon. All of which indicates that the murder weapon was a .38 automatic, not a .38 revolver. This is not a minor detail.

Even the Warren Commission discovered that the spent shell casings did not match up with the slugs taken from Tippit’s body (as, ballistically, they should). But this was glossed over by presenting a number of scenarios that, while possible, were farfetched, especially for someone considered as unstable as Oswald.

There were also major discrepancies with witness identifications of the shooter. Initially, credible reports at the scene described a short, heavyset, dark-skinned man (Cuban, perhaps?) as the shooter. Even the Warren’s Commission’s chief witness to the Tippit shooting, Helen Markham, whose “credibility was strained to the breaking point,” initially identified Tippit’s killer as “short, stocky, and dark” but later recanted that she’d ever said any such thing.

These are some of the facts. And they can be most inconvient.