The DEATH of DOROTHY KILGALLEN
A Key Chapter from "Justice For JFK"
by Robert D. Morningstar
One of the early victims of the JFK conspiracy of silence, better yet "silencing" in the aftermath of JFK'S murder, was the noted reporter, columnist and television celebrity, Dorothy Kilgallen. I had watched her for years on "What's My Line?", not realizing that she had any involvement with the JFK story. Years later, I learned that she had broken the convention of silence in the press and written openly in her column about discrepancies in the official story. Suddenly she was dead.
On November 8, 1965, Dorothy Kilgallen, was found dead in her apartment shortly after returning from Dallas where she had interviewed Jack Ruby and had conducted her own investigation of the JFK murder during several trips to cover the Ruby trial.
She had revealed secret transcripts of Ruby's testimony in her column. Kilgallen had met with Ruby. She had learned of a meeting three weeks before the assassination at Ruby's "Carousel", the Dallas underworld's merry-go-round where the "Big D" mobsters wheeled around.
Present at the meeting were Ruby, Officer J.D. Tippit, Bernard Weismann and, she would later learn, a fourth party.
Lee Israel, author of "Kilgallen", reports that that Ruby, himself a TV fan of Dorothy Kilgallen, had taken a liking to her during the trial. According to Israel, he respected her more than any other reporter. She had gained his confidence and had several conversations with him in the courtroom. She was given a five minute session alone with Ruby. Some writers have stretched this to a half-hour, others deny it.
Regardless, it is a fact that when Dorothy returned to New York, she told friends that she had discovered that Ruby and the slain Officer J.D. Tippit had been friends. They had been seen together in Ruby's Carousel Club at a meeting 2 weeks before the assassination in the company of Bernard Weissman, who had placed the "JFK-Wanted for Treason" newspaper ad in Dallas newspapers on November 22nd, 1963. Studying the Warren Commission Report, Killgallen deduced that the meeting had also been reported to Chief Justice Warren AND that the identity of "the fourth man",which she had been unable to ascertain, had been reported to Warren as "a rich Texas oil man", as Earl Warren described him in the official transcript.
She told Israel that she had discovered something that was going to break the whole JFK assassination mystery wide open. She told the same story to her next door neighbor, her hairdresser, her agent, her publisher, and the producer and host of "Nightlife".
Kilgallen had told Israel about a very mysterious and sinister player in the JFK assassination to whom she gave the code name "ferret man". From the description of the individual, it is clear that "ferret man" was none other than David Ferrie, another known associate of Jack Ruby involved in gun running, the Marcello mob and other anti-Castro operations from Florida to Texas. At one time, Ruby and Ferrie were co-owners of an airplane.
Nightlife's producer, Nick Vanoff, pleaded with her not to broach the subject on the air. She had arrived at the studio with a folder full of pertinent and explosive notes documents. She kept the folder closed throughout the interview. Vanoff, asked her agent, Bob Bach, to send her "a dozen long-stemmed roses."
On Sunday November 8, Dorothy Kilgallen was found dead, sitting fully dressed, upright in bed, early in the morning. The New York City Police investigated and the coroner found that Dorothy Kilgallen had died from ingestion of a lethal combination of alchohol and barbituates. All her notes and the article on which she had been working to "blow the JFK assassination wide open" also disappeared.
What did Kilgallen know? The convention of silence continued. The New York Times noted the coroner's report. The Daily News noted it as well. Of course, the Journal American took note but nowhere did you read any reference to her Dallas trips nor her investigation into the murder of JFK at the high point of her own career. Every nostalgic memory of her in the Press was a fond one of "What's My Line?".
They all abandoned her, no one asked a question publicly. Not John Daly, not Bennett Cerf. No one in the press could be bothered about someone, even someone famous, who had died nearly by her own hand. Indeterminate causes can mean many things and "causes" is plural.
It was only the year before the murder of JFK that no one had questioned the death of Marilyn Monroe on the other side of the continent, who had also died of a barbiturate overdose, by her own hand. Neither her diary, nor her notes for her press conference, nor her "suicide note" were ever found. Only Joe D. cared, courageous enough to say, "Those bastards, they killed her."
Recent reports indicate that whoever sent "those bastards" apparently killed Marilyn by mistake. Many believe she was going to reveal the government's Castro assassination attempts (divulged to her by RFK) or the Kennedy mob connections or her love affair with JFK, when, according to recent reports (Cosmopolitan Magazine, 1996), she was actually going to announce her remarriage to Joe DiMaggio.
The press continued its pseudo-patriotic posture, in today's parlance, "politically correct" posture, benign neglect by design. Things were getting eerie for the Fourth Estate. The Fourth Estate had been transported to "The Twilight Zone". Both reporters and witnesses were dying. The Press hardly noticed.
Things were getting bad. Penn Jones wrote "Forgive My Grief" to chronicle the continuing string of strange deaths which followed the freight train of the Warren Commission Report, which railroaded Oswald, with its strong box of secrets sealed till the year 2039.
We could still watch "What's My Line?" but there was something strange about the show. John Daly was stiff, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis and others were just as wooden and flat. Forced mirth is not worth watching.
It's painful living in fear, says Leon to Deckker in "Blade Runner."
A dark cloud, a shadow, if you will, hung over the show.There was a Void: hollow, empty, voiceless. TV fans missed her. Things got yet worse! Penn Jones had to write "Forgive My Grief II". Witnesses were still dropping like flies as Jones recorded No. 5, No. 56...No.67, No. 68. Some of us didn't believe The Official Story, even without knowing of her trips to Dallas for another 20 years. It was too incongruous to believe that the person I had seen just the night before and again that very afternoon, so alive, so intelligent, so bright with life, could have died so pitifully, so quickly.
I beg to differ with the disinformed current opinion of those today who never saw her, but to my TV eyes, Dorothy Kilgallen was not some stupefied, alcoholic lush addicted to barbiturates. In all those years on television, I never saw her manifest any signs of slurred speech, sluggishness, lethargy, or uncoordinated speech or movement, though others may differ on this. She always spoke with the utmost courtesy, composure and graciousness. She had a way of asking one question which could extract three pieces of information.
The Media's Convention of Silence
"On a need to know basis" came into our vocabulary and an apparently craven press was caving in to "higher powers". The press now written with a little "p", neutered and rechristined "The Media", really didn't "need" to know, it was learning how not to ask the right questions.
Broad and broader flowed a whole brook of Warren Commission "white lies" and unanswered questions, which soon wound its way to another bend, then a twist of the facts, finally, widening into a whole river allowed to flow unimpeded and unquestioned.
Things got still worse! Penn Jones had to write "Forgive My Grief - Part III."...No.77, No. 78... As more and more people died or disappeared, a bridge of silence was erected over the river of questions which proceeded from the brook of the Warren Commission's "white lies". The press, politically correct as always, developed a polite disinclination to know. The press preferred to take the long way around.
The press, under duress after Dorothy's death, had learned ("been taught" may be more apt) to avoid even approaching The Bridge of Silence for, as Dorothy Kilgallen had shown, the toll for crossing it was very high.
And so, ...my fellow Americans...Ask not......For whom the bell tolls...it tolls for us.
Not a murmur was heard much less a dissenting word from the myrmidons of political correctness. They had all abandoned Dorothy. In 1964, CBS had televised "The Wizard of Oz."
"Ignore the man behind the curtain! The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken" screamed the Wizard of Oz, and the press obeyed.
The Great and Powerful Oz and his henchmen had hoodwinked the whole country. Viet Nam was hard core reality. The Viet Cong had a tete-a-tete with the Johnson Administration. If things were bad before, consider the consternation of the nation when Penn Jones published "Forgive My Grief IV." People finally started to notice but the press continued to ignore "the man behind the curtain".
However, a few hundred scarecrows with hay for brains that said the "magic bullet" was "magic BS", tinmen with no hearts to give up JFK or the Truth so easily, and scores of cowardly lions who would give their lives, like Dorothy Kilgallen, in order to bring the truth about the heinous murders to the American people continued the arduous work of "reverse engineering" the Warren Commission Report in order to find the Truth about "Who struck John?". They were the progenitors of Posner's "buffs", who, even then, would have preferred to be called "JFK Buffs" than Warren Commission buffoons.
The people, God bless 'em, God forgive 'em, led along like sheep, just poor dumb mouths and extremely naive, were kept frightened, quickly forgetting Robert Kennedy's warnings of "The Enemy Within", like children in the dark, confused, unsure, malaised.
The "higher authorities", intelligence agencies decided the people "needed not to know" that there were real "spooks", real phantoms of a national opera lurking under their hoods and sheets. C.D. Jackson, upon seeing the uncut Zapruder film stated: "The American people must never see this film." They still haven't.
A benign-appearing but socially malignant step-father had taken over the reigns of government by the Longhorns. He sent the sons he never had to VietNam without a moment's hesitation. He only had daughters. "Everything's going to be alright, isn't it?" the "Volunteer" president-unelect asked Nellie Connally from Air Force One, shortly after the take-off on the day of the murder.
The silenced press of the Johnson-Nixon Era, promulgating the propaganda of the falsified statistics of Viet Nam War and the real statistics of the Moon Program, itself eventually evolved a "need not to know", a persistent "Company Policy" throughout the networks and the popular pulp news. The press asserted itself briefly during the Watergate Era. But one must admit that throughout the history of the JFK deception, with very few exceptions, Kilgallen being one of them, Penn Jones another, the remaining American press has remained patriotically chic and politically "apparatchik".
Through their collusion with the whitewash in the Kennedy murder and cover-up, "the Media" had been promoted and unwittingly became "an instrument of state". It became an information funnel and filter to the point today where it flaunts itself as "almost part of the government", words spoken by a White House reporter on CNN recently. The problem is that it was not made clear to this viewer which government he meant, the political government or the religious government now persecuting President Clinton, pursuing him and nibbling like voracious piranhas.
Presently, the net of nepotism in media and the press, screens out any insinuations of a myopic, monoscopic, or mendacious point of view in their predecessors. Television, in particular, keeps its present tunnel vision intact behind a large array of chromaque-blue contact lensed "poupees", focus locked on the Teleprompter.
The Teleprompter knows all. The intelligence of a teletype machine, required of every politically correct-apparatchik anchor, weighs heavily in our value system, as they daily sink "reality" in a quagmire of "miniviews" and "sound bites."
THE COURAGE AND CUNNING OF DOROTHY KILGALLEN
Dorothy Kilgallen, as you will see, did not die for nothing. She was just too bold, she dared to go where no one had dared to go: she crossed the Bridge of Silence. Her mind had cut through all the disinformation gone to the horse's mouth, Jack Ruby. She had discovered the crux of the matter, a cross within a circle. Ruby and Tippit were pals. Both of them, members of an underworldly police athletic league and a right-wing organization which on November 22nd, 1963 had really flexed its muscles and exercised to kill a President of a particular persuasion.
Why was Dorothy Kilgallen killed? Or was she driven to her death by the Horror she had discovered. As in de Maupassant's "Le Horla", it was as if, an invisible being from an invisible empire had clutched the nation by the throat and people were dying,
strangely, mysteriously. The Press was scared. Always in the past, anytime a reporter was killed, all branches of Justice had coalesced in a unified effort to capture the criminal because it was taken for granted that if anyone could coerce the Press, then Democracy was threatened and all of us were in danger. The death of a reporter also testified to the discovery of something very significant, something "critical", important to us all.
Why was Dorothy Kilgallen killed? Why did "the little 'p'" take the long way around, refusing to cross the Bridge of Silence over the Potomac of unanswered questions, which proceeded from the babbling brook of the lily "white lies" of the Warren Commission Report?
Was Dorothy Kilgallen Killed?
Years later, the unrelenting efforts of Lee Israel brought to light the fact that Dr. Charles Umber of the New York Medical Examiner's Office had discovered the dregs three types of barbiturates in Dorothy's glass but had kept his findings secret due to the politics and internecine rivalry in the NYMEO. No vial was ever found or recorded by the NYPD. Seconal had been the only barbiturate prescribed for her according to the NYPD report.
Why was Dorothy Kilgallen killed?
Twenty-nine years later, I would learn why, just in time for the end of the Third Decade of deception and the "Case Closed" sham, the last gasp of the dying lie of the WCR. Hopefully, I look forward in the Fourth Decade for Justice for JFK, Oswald, Kilgallen, Monroe, King, RFK, and the countless others who came home in bags from VietNam.
My Fellow Americans, Ask not for whom the bells toll...they toll for thee and me and JFK and what might have been.
However, there still remains some hope for Justice but first we must destroy the current state of Media, my motto: "Not back to the future but back to reality".
(©1994, R. D. Morningstar)
Webmaster: R.J. DellaRosa --richdell @ tampabay.rr.com
- - hat tip to Remy Chevalier at EndSecrecy.