This week pays tribute to a somber moment in the history of the 20th century. This Friday the 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of the tragic death of America’s 35th leader of the nation: John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Of course, this event shocked the nation, if not the entire world. Many people first heard about the event through the available media; Radio and television. At first, the news flashes appeared as something unusual had occurred to those that first heard the reports while going through their daily lives. It could have been a close call, or perhaps a hoax! (A few thought that somebody by the likes of Orson Wells may have been behind it as his War Of The Worlds radio broadcast only took place some twenty five years before!) However, as soon as the details came to light, it appeared that what developed was indeed real.
The tragic details caused a domino effect to the public at large. Schools that were in session had their students dismissed that very midday. Newspapers stopped their presses to print “flash” or “extra” editions. Evening papers would report the news first as part of their final releases. A number of the afternoon dailies such as The Chicago Daily News brought out their editions within hours. The morning papers would print the details delivered the following A.M.
All television programming carried locally as well as through the three TV networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) was devoted upon what would be going on for the next four days, staying on the air continuous throughout the day and well into the night (a rarity in those times), right to the moment of the funeral on that Monday the 25th as telecasted around the world. Telstar, the communication satellite launched the year before would bring on the TV coverage to all parts of the globe where television service was made available.
And it indeed effected the lives of all that heard about the events through personal discussions about what occurred with family, friends, total strangers, and over individual thoughts. A diary that is housed within the archives of Linear Cycle Productions (our parent company) that was written by a middle aged woman who lived in Santa Monica, California, wrote about every little detail on she did every day within that year. (“Called Edna to wish her happy birthday”; “Had a hamburger for lunch”, etc.) For the entry to Friday the 22nd, she wrote about that day, starting off noting that the weather was nice. She began that day’s entry remarking that she would send off a Thanksgiving card to friends. In her diary, she wrote “…I was listening to The Real McCoys on TV when about 10:45 AM, a newsflash interrupted and said Pres. Kennedy shot while on motorcade into Dallas, Texas, also governor John B. Connally was shot in the chest..” (The woman also noted that her eleven year old son Roy came home early from school around noon and had the TV on all of that afternoon and well into the evening.)
As soon after the services concluded, the investigations began. One week later on the 29th, the President in charge, Lyndon Johnson, made an Executive Order (No. 11130) to create a committee investigating on what occurred and who was behind it all, chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren. This entire investigation, entitled The Warren Report, was released less than a year later that spoke in detail upon every element that took place between the 22nd and the 25th. (This report was published by The Associated Press in hardcover, and other publications, both in hardcover and in paperback)
From there, the conspiracy theories arrived, stating on of what “really” happened and why. From that moment on and through the next fifty years, hundred of book titles were released giving yet another viewpoint on who was behind it all, from the CIA to Sinatra’s “Rat Pack”! TV talk shows ranging from David Susskind to Joe Pine discussed it as well, having on board “experts” who knew who and what were the masterminds. The media, both print and electronic, would continue to play upon the events for the next few decades, presenting truths, half truths, and theories–some from nut cases and from those that were for real.
Even though these many years have passed, the notion that time heals all wounds didn’t necessarily apply in this case. The city of Dallas,Texas held the biggest blow, becoming associated with such a tragic episode that never really shoot off in any entirety. (A recent survey made by Dallas Magazine once looked at pictures of the city area as posted through many of the web based photo hosting places (Pinterest, Photobucket, Flickr, etc.) as taken and placed by residents and tourists. The largest amount of pictures of places found within the city as taken by locals were the Dallas Zoo and the Dallas Arboretum. For tourists, it was Dealey Plaza!) And found with this plaza area where three streets meet is the former Texas Schoolbook Depository building (now a Dallas County facility) where The Sixth Floor Museum exists, where one can see the place right where it all began. (Visit the official web site at http://www.JFK.org for details)
As time marches on (for which it did) the events that took place nearly fifty years ago still remain to those that still remember, as that number slowly diminishes. Others see it as a time (and page, or web site) of history, an event that those that don’t recall only hear about through those that can remember, as well as through various forms of media. And among the thousands of books that wrote about the subject, there are a few that tell it all as remembrance and fact. (Two titles this writer recommends are President Kennedy Has Been Shot, that tells a detailed minute-by-minute document of what occurred as compiled by the staff of The Newseum of Washington, DC, with Cathy Trost & Susan Bennett, that also features an audio CD narrated by Dan Rather, and We’ll Never Be Young Again, compiled by Chuck Fries and Irv Wilson with Spencer Green, featuring personal remembrance to those that had a connection to it all, from notable ranging from Jack Valenti-one time Houston based ad executive and later president of the Motion Picture Association of America, to astronaut Scott Carpenter, to comedian Vaughn Meader, who played Jack in the comedy record The First Family-the biggest selling comedy disk of all time. (Both titles were published to commemorate the 40th anniversary in 2003, and may be out of print today. Check you local book dealer in store or online for availability.)
We’re sure that ten years from now, a 60th anniversary tribute will once again take its mark, while the number of those that still remember that day will become much smaller. However, in times of sorrow, there is indeed a note that events such as this will still be recalled through its sober moments and by way of happier times. As George Santayana, a Spanish philosopher and essayist once stated, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Perhaps this mark is worth a recall.
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Performing at the Sidewalk Studio Theatre in Burbank is the world premier of Fionnuala Kenny’s ELVIS’S TOENAIL, a drama about a young girl in Ireland attempting to get her life in order thanks to her follow coworkers with a little help from “The King”.
It’s 1961 Ireland. The country is divided upon the Protestant movement and the Catholic church, dictating how their followers should live their lives based upon church doctrine. America has a president whose ancestors come from the Emerald Isle, and Elvis is still the king. Carmel (Arielle Davidson) a young lass of seventeen years, has been thrown out of her home by her father became she became “in trouble”. Attempting to find a job as well as a place to stay (otherwise live at a home for unmarried girls who are with child), she stumbles upon Miss McEvoy (Francesca Ferrara) who runs a dress shop. She is hired, but Carmel, ashamed of her status, takes on another identity. Within the shop are two other girls, Christine (Mckerrin Kelly) and Imelda (Christine Quigless). They all get along, sharing their dress making skills as well as their love of Elvis. But the local priest Father Ambrose (Gary Bell) becomes wise to Carmel’s situation where he would dictate to have this lass give up her child for adoption.
This play takes on the circumstances of what was occurring in a country where the dominate religion takes upon its followers, in spite of what would be the “proper” thing to do. The play doesn’t necessary speak about Irish culture in the tradition sense, but it is honest and dose while holding to a bit of cultured allure for what it is. The dialogue is peppered with Irish terms and references of the era. Although a number of the cast members do not necessarily sport Irish accents–a good notion since such dialects can be hard to understand, much of the local flavor still remains. The same goes for the period it speaks for. Elana Kathleen Farley’s production design of the dress shop shows a busy place, full of fabric bolts, a large sewing table, as well as a shrine affixed to the wall for the King of Rock ‘n Roll. (It was the girl’s notion no doubt!) The cast of players respect the tang to its Irish base, while most keeping of with the times. (Bridget Brookman’s costume design also speaks for the era as well!)
Appearing within the cast of players are Saxon Jones as Christy, a local boy, Lenne Klingaman as Rita, another girl working at the shop, Marnie Grossen as Mother Francis, a nun from the local parish, and Laurie Wendorf as Mrs. Kelly.
Directed by Joe Banno with Sal Romeo, ELVIS’S TOENAIL is a biting drama that is bittersweet, with more “sweet’ than “bitter”. It’s also a tight stage piece, diverting drama-wise from the opening to its final moments. And what’s the deal with Elvis’s toenail? It’s part of a souvenir that the girls have that’s connect (or was connected) to the King–or perhaps not! Toenail or otherwise, this play is worth a good look!
ELVIS’S TOENAIL, presented by SST Productions, and performs at The Sidewalk Studio Theatre, 4150 Riverside Drive, Burbank (Tolucia Lake adjacent) until December 8th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. (No performances from November 29th through December 1st.)
For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or via online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com.
TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
All those people who told me I would become a morning person when I had kids lied! I am still grumpy, but now I have little witnesses ! Need coffee……
Well I enjoyed my date night with my hubby! Unfortunately we had a fender bender, so tomorrow both vehicles go to the shop. Our luck right! Oh we’ll thankful we didn’t get hurt and thankful for time alone with my love.
Ok..my turn…I accidentally ran over my neighbors dog. To avoid conflict, I put him in my car & threw him out down the road. They will think he ran away & I won’t get dirty looks every time I walk outside! Don’t judge me! I couldn’t find a shovel…
I’m going to Indiana to see Diann WOOOHOOO!!!
After crab @, it’s time for cheesecake — at Denny’s
As of November 18th, Tiffi has 1,883 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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