07 December 2016

I Can't Wait to Read This One

"Justice is a big rug. When you pull it out from under one man, a lot of others fall too."

--Dorothy Kilgallen

One of the benefits of being married to the best woman in Christendom is being deprived of cable and satellite television. What's that, you say? Yes, my beloved wife Sharon does not believe in spending money on television. I can spend money on whiskey, bubble gum, books, trips, jewels, binoculars, and the head of a mule, but not on television.

This sacrifice I make to marital harmony (and no doubt to the betterment of my soul and the souls of my children) has one great material benefit: my lazy, TV-watching self has to take what comes over the old antenna. In this way I see stuff I would never take the time to see. 

This reality is a mixed bag, to be sure. For instance, a few years ago I became a regular viewer of the '80s dreck Knight Rider. I snapped out of it soon enough. But, on the other hand, I was fascinated by a local PBS show about St. Louis brick-making companies in the early 20th Century. Sad to say, I couldn't look away.

All this leads me to the inimitable Dorothy Kilgallen. Not having cable, I don't get the Game Show Network. I get the cheap, antenna-TV knock-off Buzzr, which sometimes comes in if the antenna is positioned justright. On this network, late at night, one may see the classic, horribly-preserved-on-film game show, What's My Line?.

One thing that some annoying and ignorant critics say of we rigid, traditional Catholics is that we hanker to a mythical, halcyon day of goodness and decency that never actually existed. I defy you to watch What's My Line? and tell me that class, decency, good manners and intelligence have not practically disappeared in the last fifty years. The panelists, host and guests of this show are witty, urbane, and cultured. It is a joy to watch. For one moment, compare this show to the current, Steve Harvey iteration of Family Feud. Do it. You now have an encapsulation of the fall of Western Civilization.

So, having had the joy to watch What's My Line?, I have developed an after-the-fact fascination and fandom for the late, great Dorothy Kilgallen. She is a personification of wit, wisdom, charm and social grace. She was a television star at the beginning of the so-called golden age of television.  Yet Dorothy Kilgallen was not an actress of stage or screen-- she was a newspaper reporter, and a good one at that. 

Kilgallen's success as a woman in a field where women were rarely seen (and please, I am no lefty-feminist, so I'm not going too far with this) was proof of the quality of her work. Tough as nails. Chicago-born, New York educated. Irish. Catholic. 

Her life was tragically and suspiciously cut short. She died in 1965 due to ethanol and barbituate poisoning. Yet, this cause of death might have been a Hillary-style deal, because there is nothing in her background that suggested addiction. She was not considered depressed, let along suicidal. Yet suicide or accidental overdose was the cursory conclusion, and likely you have never heard about her in any context apart from the game show.

So, was she murdered? And why in the world would anyone want to murder her?  

Let's see. What story was she investigating before her death?

The JFK assassination. And when Kilgallen was on a story, she followed it to the end. To the truth. Just saying.

I am very much looking forward to reading The Reporter Who Knew Too Much, by Mark Shaw.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hillary was alive when she died.
I am sure that Hillary had something to do with her death.
Hillary has off'ed more people than Luca Brasi.

Anonymous said...

See Mary Pinchot Meyer.