There is so much conspiracy around the assassination of our 35th U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, that normally I wouldn't touch this topic with a ten-foot pole! But today, being the anniversary of the historic event, I thought I would take a unique approach... just the facts.
Here's what we know...
The former president and the Mrs began their day of November 22 in Fort Worth, TX. Even though President Kennedy had not made an official announcement to run in the next presidential election in 1964, he was making the rounds in preparation for it. His goal was to reach Florida and Texas. He made an appearance, solo just outside the hotel where a light drisel of rain was falling. "There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth," Kennedy would say, "and I appreciate your being here this morning."
The party would move on to Dallas and be greeted by a gathering of well-wishers and the Kennedy's spent some time shaking hands. This would be the first extended appearance of the first lady since the death of their son, Patrick. She was given a bouquet of red roses and they were escorted to their limousine.
The rain had stopped, so the plastic bubble topper for the convertible was left off. Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie were seated in front while the Kennedy's took the back seat.
Vice President Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Ladybird rode in a vehicle directly behind.
They left the airport and headed toward downtown. Crowds lined the streets, waving, during the entire procession.
Just after 12:30, the motor cade turned off Main Street passing the tall Texas Schoolbook Depository, when the report of gunfire was heard.
Governor Connally was struck in the back. President Kennedy was struck in the neck and the head. The president slumped forward, while Mrs. Kennedy jumped for her seat and reached out behind the car. (I know I said facts only today, but that would leave no answer here at all, so I offer the two most common opinions. The first, she was trying to get the attention of the security team walking directly behind. They were instinctively looking for the direction of the reports and may not have been aware that the president had been shot. The other is, that she grabbed the brain matter and pieces of skull that blew back onto the trunk... possibly believing it could be put back together. By this time, John Kennedy's body and slumped down from the seat to the floor.
The driver of the car immediately turned out of the procession and headed toward Parkland Memorial Hospital. It was too late. President J.F. Kennedy would be pronounced dead at 1:00 pm. He was 46 years old.
Immediately following, the president's body was taken to Air Force One and there, Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn is as the 36th president of the United States with Jackie Kennedy at his side. It was 2:38 pm.
The swearing in was witnessed by over 30 people and quickly following, the plane left Dallas Love Airfield and went directly to Washington
Sidenote: She refused to remove her bloodstained pink dress and was later credited with saying she wanted them to, "she what they've done to Jack."
Also, Sidenote: Sarah Hughes was the Federal Judge who administered the oath for the new president making her the first and only female to ever do so.
In the meantime, Lee Harvy Oswald was arrested for fatally shooting a police officer, J.D. Tippitt, 45 minutes after the shooting that took Kennedy's life. He was not arrested for the assassination. The gun that was used, did belong to him... and he was a current employee of the Texas Schoolbook Depository and yes, he was arrested for another killing recently as well... but he would never stand trial for either since two days later during a jail transfer, He was shot and killed in the basement of the Dallas Police Station at close range by Jack Ruby.
Many believe that Jack Ruby's actions would play into a bigger cover-up conspiracy but when on trial for the murder, he denied the allegations and claimed that he was so grief stricken at the murder of the president, he temproarily suffered from "psychomotor epilepsy" and committed the shooting unconsciously.
He was found guilty of "murder with malice" and sentenced to death, but wouldn't make it to the new trial as he suffered from a pulmonary embolism after being diagnosed with cancer.
The shooting of the president as well as the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald and the the funeral processional were all caught on film and seen by an audience of millions due to the television coverage.
Sidenote: Just 10 minutes after the shooting, CBS was the first to broadcast a live news bulletin about the incident. Shortly thereafter, NBC and ABC would interrupt their regular programming to cover the assassination for four straight days. This would be the longest "uninterrupted news event" in television history which held until the news coverage of 9/11 in 2001.
S3E6: The Bob Crane Story
The New York Times Magazine writes, quote “Had Bob Crane not been a sex addict, had he not been bludgeoned to death with his own tripod in an Arizona condo surrounded by an elaborate array of video equipment, had he not photographed hundreds of women naked in twosomes and threesomes and orgies and had his murder not gone unsolved…He would be remembered, if he was remembered at all, as the star of ''Hogan's Heroes,’
As the star of ''Hogan's Heroes,'' Crane enjoyed the same kind of fame as Gilligan or Greg Brady -- his character became part of America's collective pop-culture nostalgia. Embalmed by syndication, Crane would have been the wisecracking Hogan forever. But in the years since his death in 1978, when the porno pictures started surfacing in the tabloids and his secrets began to unravel, Crane became infamous."
And technically, it still might have quieted down if his family hadn't wanted to cash in on the drama surrounding his death. Personally, it was hard for me to get through the research on this one because, it was such a senseless crime- I mean, most of them are, but isn't it enough that his life was taken away at such a young age and in such a brutal way? But then his antics are drug through the mud.
I'm not condoning his actions and maybe this is his "paying the piper", but it just turned my stomach how the family pounced on his fleeting fame.
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not listened to the episode, this following may ruin the twists and turns!
I'm curious to hear what you might have taken away from the crime - as a crime. Do you believe John Carpenter was guilty? If not, who do you put as a suspect?
In these types of cases, we are prompted to "follow the money" and in this case, the only ones who would have benefited from Crane's death was Patti Crane. It was proven that there was NO WAY she could have actually, physically committed the murder as she was apparently on an island that night. Police said they actually made the drive to and from Arizona to see if it was possible. I'd be curious of who took out the life insurance policies and when. If she was a suspect, this tidbit would be important too: Apparently on father's day weekend, she took their son to visit him in Arizona. It's caught on video, because... he documents everything. (It's out on YouTube if you want to find it.) It was very touching. He was obviously affected by their visit.
IF she was planning his murder, maybe she planned this visit to divert attention? IF they were planning on a divorce, maybe this prolonged the proceedings... just enough?
When did his first family get removed from the will? Was there a will? He was such a family man, I don't believe he would alienate his children that way. The Scottsdale police department did admit that they never considered Patti Crane a serious suspect.
IF Carpenter killed him... he could have taken the tripod (possible murder weapon with him) cleaned it off, taken it on the plane and it said he went straight to work. He could have easily hidden it among the other millions of tripods that were probably all over his work. And why go to Richard Dawson's house? And stay there?
He does certainly act suspicious, but he really did everything they asked of him. If I remember correctly, he submitted to more than one lie-detector test and passed them all. The police really did have nothing. Did they check out his hotel room? His clothing?
There's no way, that big of a mess did not get on some clothing!
AND that murder was extremely passionate. There was some ANGER involved with those blows.
I usually try to find court transcripts and police records, but I just couldn't get my hands on those. I just had to wade through the sludge of gossip. I still have SO many questions!
Tune in to the Bag of Bones Podcast to hear the whole sorted story.
Books for further reading:
Who Killed Bob Crane- John Hook
Who Killed Bob Crane? is Hook’s first-hand account of a two-year investigation and search for the truth. It’s seen though the eyes of the people who were there—witnesses, detectives, prosecutors, jurors, and family members. John Hook takes readers on an incredible reporter’s journey for an inside look at the sensational physical evidence in a final attempt to learn the truth.
Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography- Carol Ford, Linda Groundwater & Dee Young
Carol Ford writes, quote “We talked with about 200 people—family members; friends as far back as grade school; and colleagues in radio, television, theatre, and film. From them, we learned that Bob was kind. He cared about people. He was generous, considerate, charitable, and compassionate. He was funny and could brighten a room just by walking into it. We have been given heaping helpings of “the dark side” with only little snippets of the good — good that included his devotion as a father to his four children from both of his marriages, his generosity to his friends and his countless hours of volunteer work for numerous charitable organizations.
Crane: Sex, Celebrity and My Father's Murder- by Robert Crane
This is the son't addition. From the description: Through disappointment, loss, and heartbreak, Crane's humor and perseverance shine. Beyond the big stars and behind-the-scenes revelations, this riveting account of death, survival, and renewal in the shadow of the Hollywood sign makes a profound statement about the desire for love and permanence in a life where those things continually slip away
From what I could see, Scott Crane never did get his book published and he also had a movie script in the works that went by the wayside. Probably for the best, I'm sure.
The Murder of Bob Crane: Who Killed the Star of Hogan's Heroes?- Robert Greysmith
This was the book that was used as a base for the controversial movie Auto Focus which starred Greg Kinnear as Crane and William DeFoe as Carpenter
Grab all 6 seasons of Hogan's Heroes on DVD to binge watch at home!
I am so excited to start up this additional blog for my website!
Yes, I still have my other one, Ginger Life and I post more personal things over there and share my experiences and thoughts about my various adventures. But THIS blog is all about American history!
It's like an extension of the Bag of Bones Podcast in where I can expound of some of the topics I've covered in an episode. I can use this platform to bring you updates on new developments and this is a great place to connect with you! I love your comments and feedback and here we can communicate.
I will also be adding smaller stories that I find that I think you'd like, but just aren't big enough to create an episode.
This will also be a great place to share with you when I get to visit a historical site, LIVE! (It might cross over with the content of Ginger Life, since I talk about travel over there, but it crossovers shouldn't happen too often.)
We are three seasons in on the Bag of Bones Podcast which means, I need to start upping my game. This blog will be just the beginning!
I'm hoping to eventually expand to a membership of sorts who want even more history in their lives. More episodes, more community and more merch! I've had so many requests for unique merchandise that if I keep putting it off, that would just come of as rude.
The website has also been approved to promote products found on Amazon so- if you see a highlighted passage, feel free to click on it to purchase. We will get a bit of a kickback every time you do. It will take a ton of clicks to cover the costs of hosting a podcast and website, but... every little bit helps and allow me to thank you in advance.
I thought it would be a great way to share with you some of the books I use in my research if you want to dive even deeper. One click, and it takes you right to it. (I know I appreciate those shortcuts when I'm searching for something!)
And I promise not to junk up the blog with annoying adds and blinking banners. I really hate that...
So, just to test it out... here's a link to the Bag of Bones Podcast Journal! Didn't know you needed one until now, did ya? This is all a learning curve for me as well, so please let me know if something isn't working right or I'm getting a little heavy handed with my linking.
In other changes, the Bag of Bones Podcast will no longer be produced by the Ragtag Network. For the time being, the past episodes and photos can still be seen over there (www.ragtagnetwork.com) but we are going to try and get things moved so they will all be conveniently located all in one space on one platform. We'll have the actual episodes, the topics page and now the blog... next the merchandise. It may take a minute, so please be patient with me!
I hope you'll join me and take advantage of these blog posts. Let me know if there's something you'd think would make a great post!
And we're off... Season 3 is going to be great!
A History Blog
This is a great way to connect over all things American history! Comment on podcast episodes, read quick pieces and extra segments that couldn't make a full episode!