As we are arriving at the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, I'm starting to feel a little foolish devoting this day to the story of my parents appearing on "Who Do You Trust?" with Johnny Carson.
I think that can probably wait until next week.
The only thing that stood in my way was that I didn't think I had anything to add to the discussion of these momentous events.
I'm half right.
As far as the Gettysburg Address is concerned, I got nuthin'.
I mean, who am I, Doris Kearns Goodwin?
And I didn't think I had much to add about the JFK assassination, until very recently.
Where was I when I heard the news?
I was home from my senior year in High School.
I has early session, which meant that I was home by about 1:30pm, and already planted in front of my TV.
I was watching the Least Objectionable Programming: a rerun of the sitcom "Bachelor Father", which was being shown by the NBC affiliate.
No "As the World Turns" for me.
They broke into the show at about 1:40pm with the bulletin.
But it wasn't Walter Cronkite.
I didn't see what he did until years later.
I got the news from NBC stalwarts Frank McGee and Chet Huntley.
Nothing out of the ordinary here.
In my college days, after the assassination, I was a pretty rabid conspiracy nut.
The rabble rousing author of "Rush To Judgment", Mark Lane, appeared to give a lecture at my Alma Mammy, Queens College.
And he certainly roused some rabble.
Between Jim Garrison, Mort Sahl, and Oliver Stone, I developed a major rooting interest that Oswald was framed, and there were conspiracies right and left, literally.
I was not exactly open-minded.
I bought in.
But after a long while, trying to re-open my mind, I realized that these folks had at least as much of an axe to grind as those, like Vincent Bugliosi, and the Warren Commission, also had to prove that Oswald was the only shooter.
As a result, I can't really put much stock in the ""Oswald was the lone gunman" theory, just as I can't put much stock in the "Oswald may not have been involved at all" theory.
I recently watched a documentary called "JFK: The Smoking Gun", which put forth the theory that Oswald was on the sixth floor of the School Depository Building, fired at Kennedy, but probably didn't deliver the fatal shot.
The crux of this case is that from all audio recordings of the event, and from overwhelming eyewitness testimony, the time between the second and third shots was almost instantaneous.
This precludes Oswald having the time to take the third shot.
So somebody else had to do it.
This one point has, to my knowledge, not been refuted.
This is the cake upon which icing can perhaps be applied.
The icing has taken the form of many eyewitnesses smelling powder burns on ground level, a Secret Service Agent in the car behind JFK, wielding a more explosive rifle in the direction of JFK, with pictures to back it up.
It was put forth that this was most-likely an accident, but still threatening to be a major embarrassment to the Secret Service.
The autopsy in Dallas was botched because the Secret Service made every effort to prevent the doctors from performing it.
Witnesses claimed that it was all very suspicious.
So while it seems that the jury is still out as to whether there was a conspiracy to kill JFK, there seems to be very little doubt that there was a conspiracy by the Secret Service to cover up what actually happened, which was certainly less than flattering.
When confronted with this theory, Vincent Bugliosi wielded his axe by saying that the Secret Service
agent sued the author of the book that the documentary was based on, and it was settled out of court.
As if that was an admission of guilt by the author.
The other side of that coin is if the Secret Service agent had such a good case, why did he settle?
Settlements cut both ways and prove nothing.
That was all that Bugliosi had.
He had nothing to refute that the second and third shots coming into too rapid a succession.
This theory is certainly less glamorous than anything involving intrigue.
So my mind is open enough to accept the "Smoking Gun" theory purely because I haven't heard anything that makes more sense on that one issue.
And I haven't heard any kind of a strong case to indicate that Oswald wasn't involved
If I do, I'm more than happy to reconsider everything.
It makes all sorts of sense that Oswald was directly involved, at least in the attempted murder of JFK.
After that, it seems to be all conjecture.
But to stamp it "Case Closed" truly seems to be premature.
If anything should welcome comments, it should be this article.
Next time, back to "Who Do You Trust?", for which I'll do a bit of a recap to remind you folks of where I left off.
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays", and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.
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- mark rothman
- Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at email@example.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."