History of the World According to the Movies: Part 82 – American Film and Music of the 1960s

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Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce Knowles, and Anika Noni Rose star in the 2006 musical Dreamgirls which tells the story of the Supremes though they’re known by different names in this. Still, it gets the story mostly right and shows the Motown intrigue behind the scenes. Though Diana Ross didn’t think this film was an accurate representation, fellow Supreme Mary Wilson said it was “closer to the truth than they’ll ever know.”

Music and film would change a lot in 1960s America. Sure many of the old stars would still be around yet, you would have plenty of new voices. In Greenwich Village, you have Bob Dylan who brought a new standard of songwriting as well as influence practically every genre of music as well as poetry and prose. In Detroit, you have the Motown sound that included artists like Aretha Franklin, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and plenty of other African American artists. In New Jersey, you have Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons whose story would later get made into a Broadway musical Jersey Boys. On the West Coast, you have the Beach Boys and surf music and Creedence Clearwater Revivial which would help define the Southern Rock genre. Yet, the 1960s would soon give way to psychedelic rock music and folk protest songs. Let’s just say, rock music by the end of the decade won’t just consist of a bunch of dance songs anymore. As with Hollywood, while many of the old movie stars are still alive, the studio system won’t be (since all the old moguls would be either retired or dead by this point) and nor would the Hays Code. Thus, the old Hollywood days would end as we know it and would give rise to what we know as New Hollywood with a new generation of stars as well as movies that have more, violence, gore, sex, and controversy. Some of these new movies would be inspired by foreign films. By the end of the decade, you will have the MPAA ratings system though it won’t yet include a PG-13 rating and the NC-17 equivalent would be X. Still, while there are plenty of movies on the 1960s culture in the US, they do get plenty of things wrong, which I shall point out.

Music:

Leonard Chess died in 1967. (He died two years later.)

“American Pie” was a popular song in 1969. (It was recorded in 1971.)

Santana’s Abraxas was a popular album in 1967. (It was released in 1970.)

Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” was a popular song in 1964. (It was released in 1967.)

CCR’s Cosmo’s Factory was on sale in 1967. (It was released in 1970.)

Blues artist Little Walter died in the arms of Muddy Waters’ wife in 1967. (He died at his girlfriend’s house in 1968 contrary to Cadillac Records.)

Waylon Jennings sported his trademark long hair and beard in the mid-1960s. (In the 1960s, he was clean shaven with short black hair. He didn’t get his trademark look until the mid-1970s “outlaw” era.)

Berry Gordy was a villainous character dealing in payola and other activities. (Contrary to his Eddie Murphy expy in Dreamgirls, Smokey Robinson had Paramount and Dreamworks apologize to Gordy and other Motown alumni. However, to be fair, it’s alleged that Gordy was involved in illegal activities.)

“Leaving on a Jet Plane” was a hit in 1967. (It was released in 1969.)

Janis Joplin died in 1969. (She died in 1970.)

Johnny Cash:

Johnny Cash was willing to kick his habit out of his love for June. (His love for June Carter certainly helped as well as her insistence that she wouldn’t marry him until he was clean and sober. However, by 1968, Cash was at the lowest point in his life in which his only choices were to either kick drugs or die.)

Johnny Cash collapsed on stage in Las Vegas during a 1965 performance. (Contrary to Walk the Line, he did not.)

Johnny Cash’s marriage with his first wife ended after his arrest in El Paso. (Contrary to Walk the Line, it ended after a bizarre cave incident in Nickajack Cave in Tennessee. As he told MTV, “In 1967 … I was on amphetamines really, really bad, and I was totally insane. I got in my Jeep and I drove down to Chattanooga, and there was a cave there … a monstrous cave, it went for miles back up onto Lookout Mountain. I went into that cave with my pills, just exploring, you know. I had all these wild ideas about finding gold, Civil War [memorabilia] or something in this cave. I’d keep going and I kept taking the pills, kept taking the amphetamines, and after a certain point, after I’d been in there about three hours … I tried to close my eyes, but you can’t close your eyes for long on amphetamines. I laid down and I said, ‘God, I can’t take it anymore; I can’t make it any further, you’ll have to take me now, I want to go, I want to die.’ ” Vivian would say that if Johnny wouldn’t have gotten involved with drugs, they would’ve remained together. However, I tend to disagree with that since he already knew June Carter by then.)

Johnny Cash had to fight to do his Folsom prison concert. (Contrary to Walk the Line, he did not since he had been performing in prisons since the 1950s.)

Johnny Cash found his new house after passing out in the nearby woods. (There’s no evidence of this unlike what you see in Walk the Line.)

Patsy Cline:

Patsy Cline recorded “Crazy” before her famous auto accident. (Contrary to Coal Miner’s Daughter, she recorded the song a few weeks after the accident.)

Patsy Cline and her brother were on their way to pick up beer when she nearly lost her life in a 1961 winter car crash. (Contrary to Sweet Dreams, the crash happened in June and she and her brother were en route to pick up material for her seamstress mother to use for Patsy’s stage clothes. Oh, and the crash was a head on collision with another car which caused Patsy to be thrown through the windshield, not a broadside from a truck and pulled from the wreck by her brother.)

Charlie Dick was an abusive husband to Patsy Cline who beat her up in front of their kids. (Contrary to Sweet Dreams, both Charlie and daughter Julie deny this. Relatives and friends dispute how whether their marriage was abusive and to what extent, yet values dissonance may come into play. Still, they did have a son named Randy Dick, which is pretty bad if you ask me. I mean that’s more of a name for a male porn star.)

Patsy Cline’s airplane crashed into a mountain cliff due to difficulties restarting the engine after switching from an empty fuel tank to a full one en route from Nashville to Kansas City. (Contrary to the 1985 Sweet Dreams, Cline’s plane crashed in a forest in Camden, Tennessee {there are no mountains in the western part of the state} while en route from Kansas City to Nashville. Also, the crash was caused by bad weather and the fact that Cline’s manager was piloting the plane who became disoriented and lost control.)

Ike and Tina Turner:

Ike Turner was the front man for the Kings of Rhythm when he met Tina. (Contrary to What’s Love Got to Do with It, Ike was front man in the way he was a band leader and organizer. However, he had other singers and performers fronting the band because he had stage fright. Also, the original vocalist behind “Rocket 88” was Jackie Brentson, not Ike.)

Ike Turner pushed a cake in Tina’s face which led to a food fight in the club. (Contrary to the film, though Tina was given a cake she didn’t order while waiting for food, Ike just told her to eat it.)

Tina Turner’s first performance with Ike and the Kings of Rhythm with Ike playing guitar. (Both said that Tina started singing when she was given a microphone by the band’s drummer while Ike was playing piano during an intermission. Yet, she did front the band the night she began singing with him. Also, her first recording was singing background vocals to Ike’s “Box Top” as Little Anne, contrary to What’s Love Got to Do with It.)

Ike and Tina Turner opened for the Rolling Stones in 1968 with “Proud Mary.” (Contrary to What’s Love Got to Do with It, Ike and Tina would open for the Stones twice in 1966 and 1969. However, they didn’t perform “Proud Mary” at either tour because the song was released in 1969 performed by its original artists Creedence Clearwater Revival {lead singer John Fogerty wrote the song}. The Turner version wasn’t recorded until 1970.)

Ike and Tina Turner had no hits between “A Fool in Love” and “River Deep – Mountain High.” (Contrary to the movie about them, they had several. However, it was during “River Deep – Mountain High” they worked for Phil Spector {yes, that guy who wore dreadful wigs and killed someone}.)

Ike Turner raped and beat up Tina in the recording studio. (Both Turners denied this contrary to What’s Love Got to Do with It. However, it’s fairly well known that Ike would physically abuse her {which even he has admitted}. Yet, Tina would say that Ike would ask for sex after he beat her up. At that point, she would be too afraid to refuse so the sex probably wasn’t 100% consensual. Nevertheless, Ike Turner complained that Laurence Fishburne’s portrayal of him was inaccurate, but I find that many of the things he said about the film are unreliable. I mean Ike said that he and Tina weren’t legally married though Tina was able to divorce him in 1978.)

Tina Turner once headed to her mother’s house in St. Louis to hide from Ike Turner. (Contrary to What’s Love Got to Do with It, Tina said that Ike knew where to seek her out. Also, Tina didn’t have a good relationship with her mother.)

Ike was Craig Turner’s father. (Sorry, but Craig was actually Tina’s son with another man named Raymond Hill {who was one of the reasons why Ike pressured Tina to change her name from Anna Mae Bullock}. Their only child together would be Ronnie Turner who was born in 1960. Yet, they did raise Ike’s two sons from a previous marriage together. Still, they didn’t become a couple until 1959 when Ike separated from his then wife, Lorraine Taylor.)

Ike and Tina Turner performed a concert at the Apollo Theater with Otis Redding and Martha and the Vandellas in 1960. (Contrary to the biopic about them, Martha and the Vandellas hadn’t formed yet by this point and several of them were performing in a different group called the Del-Phis. Redding was fronting several bands and had yet to record his first single by this time.)

Ray Charles:

Ray Charles was banned from playing in Georgia in 1962. (He never was but he did refuse to play for a segregated audience in Augusta, Georgia, after a plea by young civil rights activists by telegram {not protest as in Ray}. Yet, he did pay the promoter for compensation.)

Ray Charles’ wife Bea stayed with him regardless of her husband’s faults. (Though this is implied in Ray, she actually got fed up with his long absences, his drugs, and most especially his affairs that she divorced him in 1977.)

Jim Morrison:

Jim Morrison’s film school project had him reading his terrible poetry over Neo-Nazi rallies and disembodied women’s legs in black stockings. (Contrary to The Doors, this didn’t happen, though his film did include a German actress.)

Jim Morrison was arrested in New Haven in 1968. (He was arrested in 1967.)

Jim Morrison’s “Young Lion” photo was taken by a female photographer who asked him to take off his shirt in a sexy voice. (The photographer’s name was Joel Brodsky who was a man, so a historically accurate rendition of the shoot probably wouldn’t go too well.)

Jim Morrison was a talentless, spoiled egomaniac who was unable to stagger through a scene without whiskey, pills, or powder. (Jim Morrison’s former bandmates said that Oliver Stone exaggerated his problems with drugs in The Doors. Still, as bad as Jim Morrison was at poetry, you have to agree that most of his songs with The Doors are far better than any kind of crap Justin Bieber produced. Not to mention, Morrison’s word salad verses went perfect with the band’s trippy style. Still, aside from lead vocals, he’s said to have played harmonica, percussion, synthesizer, maracas, tambourine, and piano.)

Jim Morrison put an emphasis on “higher” during the Doors’ performance of “Light My Fire” on The Ed Sullivan Show. (Contrary to the 1991 film, he performed the song more or less as he originally recorded it, yet he did ignore Ed Sullivan’s request to change the lyric {which had practically nothing to do with drugs}. However, there was no way that the Doors were going to comply with Ed Sullivan’s request. I mean Ed Sullivan was tempting fate on this one.)

Jim Morrison locked Pam Courson in the closet before setting it on fire. (Contrary to the Oliver Stone film, this never happened.)

Jim Morrison was an out of control sociopath. (His former bandmates contested to the Val Kilmer’s portrayal of him in Oliver Stone’s The Doors. Morrison was a self-centered hedonist which can’t be disputed but he probably wasn’t a sociopath.)

Jim Morrison attended the University of Florida. (He attended Florida State.)

Jim Morrison was 21 in 1966. (He was 23.)

Jim Morrison’s long-suffering girlfriend Pam Courson was a two dimensional bitch. (Meg Ryan’s portrayal in the Jim Morrison biopic offended the surviving Doors who said she had personality and everything.)

Jim Morrison committed indecent exposure during the Doors 1969 Miami concert. (Contrary to The Doors, though Morrison would be arrested and convicted of indecent exposure whether he flashed his audience has been disputed by witnesses, even former bandmates. As John Densmore said, “If Jim had revealed the golden shaft, I would have known.”)

Bob Dylan:

Bob Dylan was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. (Contrary to I’m Not There, the accident wasn’t as serious as reported at the time.)

Bob Dylan’s performance was booed at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival because he used electric guitar on his songs. (Witnesses actually complained more about the amplification quality than and length of the performance than whether Dylan used his electric guitar on “Maggie’s Farm.” According to Al Kooper, Dylan’s organist, “Some had travelled thousands of miles and paid a lot of money for tickets and what did they get? Three songs, and one of those was a mess. They didn’t give a shit about us being electric. They just wanted more.” In short, Dylan was booed simply because he was performing with lousy speakers not for upsetting folk purists by going electric.)

Bob Dylan was responsible for Edie Sedgewick’s drug abuse and death. (Dylan wanted to sue Factory Girl over such insinuation. Yet, they were close friends but probably not lovers. Still, Dylan was probably not responsible for her death for Edie was anorexic as a kid and had experimented with drugs before she met the singer-songwriter.)

Bobby Darin:

Bobby Darin acknowledged Nina Cassotto Maffia as his mother in public. (Actually contrary to Beyond the Sea, he never acknowledged Nina as his mother in public and didn’t know that she was his mom until he was 33 years old {and before then, he thought that she was his much older sister since his mother had him at 16}. Unsurprisingly, he barely tolerated that knowledge in private.)

Bobby Darin believed that Charlie Maffia was his father. (Contrary to Beyond the Sea, he didn’t, nor did he ever appreciate anything his stepfather did for him. Also, Darin was much better looking than Kevin Spacey.)

Bobby Darin was in his trailer at Big Sur when he heard of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. (Contrary to Beyond the Sea, he was with RFK on the campaign trail when the presidential candidate got shot. He actually witnessed it in that very hotel.)

Bobby Darin’s popularity was in decline near the end of his life. (Contrary to Beyond the Sea, he had a successful weekly variety show for the last two years so it wasn’t just those who attended clubs or went to Vegas who saw him. He was also even loved as a comic and impressionist alongside his music. He was also said to be a good actor, too, and even was nominated for an Oscar.)

Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee were married to the end of his life. (They divorced in 1967 and Bobby remarried someone else though him an Dee did remain friends.)

The Supremes:

Florence Ballard was able to survive on a solo career. (Though her expy Effie White does in Dreamgirls, Florence Ballard died of a coronary thrombosis as she was poised to launch a solo career.)

Florence Ballard and Diana Ross eventually reconciled after Ross took over as Supremes lead singer while Ballard was passed over. (Contrary to Dreamgirls, Ballard and Ross would remain estranged until Ballard’s death. Yet, Ross would establish a trust fund for Ballard’s children after Ballard died so she probably felt some guilt. Still, Ballard being pushed to the background wasn’t really Ross’s fault as implied in the film.)

The Doors:

The Doors’ New Haven concert was a beautiful sell-out show in a beautiful theater with a balcony. (Contrary to The Doors, it took place in a broken down hockey rink with no balcony. It was also half empty.)

“Roadhouse Blues” was popular in 1968. (The Doors released this song in 1970.)

Woodstock:

“Comin’ into Los Angeles” and “Beautiful People” were both played during the daytime. (Contrary to Taking Woodstock, they were played at night. Arlo Guthrie’s performance of the former is seen in the 4-hour documentary which I saw.)

“Maggie M’Gill” was played at Woodstock. (Woodstock took place in 1969 while The Doors recorded this song in 1970. Seriously, the filmmakers of Taking Woodstock could’ve seen the documentary to check themselves.)

Woodstock was wonderful. (Yeah, a three day music festival that had drug addled hippies waiting in line to use a port a potty. Not only that, but it rained at some time. Not my idea of fun. The documentary doesn’t seem to make it much of a great party either. Of course, best get the best performances on iTunes. Oh, I forgot they didn’t have iTunes then. I bet the Woodstock cleaning crew didn’t have much fun.)

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons:

Tommy DeVito was an uncleanly roommate who peed in the sink. (Contrary to Jersey Boys, according to the real Tommy DeVito, “Some of it is bullsh*t — where I pee in the sink, and the dirty underwear. I was probably the cleanest guy there. I don’t even know how they come up with this kinda stuff.” Yet, he and his fellow band members were friends with a young Joe Pesci.)

Tommy DeVito was in debt to the mob for $150,000. (Actually unlike you see in Jersey Boys, the real Tommy DeVito claims he was never in the mob, yet he did perform for them. Yet, it was more likely the mob owed him money than vice versa.)

Tommy DeVito was kicked out of The Four Seasons and was forced to perform live in Las Vegas. (Contary to Jersey Boys, DeVito moved to Las Vegas in 1970 on his own free will since he had several siblings living there and actually quit the group because “I had had it up to here with the traveling and changing clothes three times a day, and taking two planes and then driving 100 miles to do a date. Getting on stage and doing the same stuff — I just had it.”)

Hollywood:

Anthony Perkins did the shower scene in Psycho. (Contrary to Hitchcock, Perkins wasn’t on the set that day and had a smaller female stand-in to take his place as well as others. This was intentional because Hitchcock didn’t want audiences to be tipped off of the murderer’s true identity at this point in the film. To have Perkins do the shower scene himself wouldn’t have added to the suspense for he was a tall man. The only scene where Perkins dressed up as Mrs. Bates was during the big-reveal climax in the cellar.)

Psycho was filmed on the Paramount studio lot. (It was filmed at Universal but it was released by Paramount.)

Vera Miles had a full head of hair during the filming of Psycho. (Before filming Psycho, she shaved her head for a role in 5 Branded Women. Then again, maybe her character’s wearing a wig in Psycho.)

Melvyn Douglas was dying when he won the Oscar in 1963. (He’d die in 1981.)

Bernard Hermann’s nickname was Bernie. (Contrary to Hitchcock, no one called him that. He was called “Benny.”)

Disney Winnie the Pooh toys appeared on shelves in 1961. (Though Disney did have the film rights to the A. A. Milne characters, they didn’t acquire the merchandising rights until a year later.)

Robert Sherman walked with a limp because he was shot. (This is alluded to in Saving Mr. Banks but he was actually wounded in World War II while during the liberation of Dachau.)

Joseph Stefano played an insignificant role in the making of Psycho. (For God’s sake, he wrote the screenplay.)

Alfred Hitchcock:

Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Reville had no children. (They had a daughter named Pat and she was involved in the making of Psycho playing one of Marion’s co-workers. Pat Hitchcock also played a significant role in Strangers on a Train as Farley Granger’s girlfriend’s sister who wore glasses and would have small roles in several of his productions {mostly because she wasn’t a gorgeous blonde}. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from Hitchcock where her existence doesn’t seem to be mentioned. Still, she would’ve definitely had been to the premiere of Psycho.)

Alfred Hitchcock took a mortgage on his house to finance Psycho. (Contrary to Hitchcock, no director under studio contract did this. Also, the film greatly portrays the Hitchcocks as much poorer than they really were. Hitchcock actually had two houses and a vast savings so he could definitely afford to produce the film without him and Alma having to cut back on personal expenses. Financing Psycho wasn’t a big financial risk for him and he was already a legend in Hollywood by then anyway.)

Alfred Hitchcock’s marriage to Alma Reville was a creative partnership that was strained by jealously. (While their marriage was a creative partnership, it was one of the few happy marriages in Hollywood to last more than 50 years. But Reville’s contributions to Hitchcock’s films hadn’t gained much public recognition until recently. Still, she didn’t have to bail him out of every crisis he supposedly got himself in and wasn’t frustrated of her talents being overlooked or felt any need to be recognized on her own terms because she had been credited for her work on many of his films and others. Also, the alleged affair Alma may have had with Whitfield Cook might’ve taken place in 1949 during the writing of Stage Fright when Hitch was in England, not during the making of Psycho. Still, her friendship with Cook wasn’t close enough to make Hitch feel threatened or jealous and the affair was probably platonic. In fact, Cook was a long-time friend of the Hitchcocks,  wrote Strangers on a Train with Alma, and would distance himself from Alma when he thought things between the two were going too far {though Hitchcock does depict him as a villainous womanizer which is far from the truth. Not only that, but Cook’s journals suggest he may have been gay}. Still, much of the strife between Hitch and Alma in Hitchcock is mostly pure dramatic license.)

Alma Hitchcock took over directing a part of Psycho for her husband when he was ill. (Contrary to Hitchcock, she didn’t. When Hitch fell ill, it was the his assistant director who assumed the role. And no, his illness wasn’t self-induced over the unhappiness of his private life because his was one of the least unhappy in Hollywood.)

Film censors were up in arms over the thought that Alfred Hitchcock would include a flushing toilet scene in Psycho. (They were more concerned about him including the word, “transvestite.” The part about the toilet is just urban legend.)

Alfred Hitchcock terrified Janet Leigh into giving a more believable performance during the filming of the shower scene in Psycho. (Contrary to Hitchcock, this may not have happened. Retaining an image of dignity and control. And no, he didn’t have violent impulses either. He was more of a perfectionist than anything and was completely professional with his female leads on the set and his flirtations with actresses never led to notable marital tension.)

Walt Disney:

Walt Disney didn’t smoke. (Contrary to Saving Mr. Banks, he was a notorious chain smoker all his adult life which contributed to his death of lung cancer but Disney has an anti-smoking ban. Also, contrary to legend, Walt Disney wasn’t cryogenically frozen after his death. He was actually cremated. In short, he was fried, not frozen.)

Walt Disney had to convince P. L. Travers to hand over the film rights to Mary Poppins. (Though this is the premise of Saving Mr. Banks, Disney already secured the film rights {subject to Travers’ approval of the script} when Travers arrived to consult the Disney staff in Burbank. In fact, Walt Disney left Burbank for a vacation in Palm Springs a few days into Travers’ US visit hoping that the Sherman brothers would work something out with Travers. Yet, much of what is adapted into Saving Mr. Banks comes from their correspondence through letters, telegrams, and telephone calls. Oh, and the guy who first contacted Travers wasn’t Walt Disney but his brother Roy.)

Walt Disney took P. L. Travers on a tour of Disneyland where she rode a carousel. (Contrary to Saving Mr. Banks, she probably didn’t ride a carousel in Disneyland. In fact, she hated Disneyland.)

Walt Disney had a loveable avuncular personality. (He was also a racist, anti-Semite, and misogynist {I mean how many mothers die in Disney movies, good God}. Also, he was one of those guys who named names during McCarthyism.)

P. L. Travers:

P. L. Travers was a lonely old spinster. (She adopted a boy named Camilus though he didn’t know about his twin brother until he met the guy in a bar. Sure he was pissed at Travers but they did reconcile. She also tried to adopt her 17-year-old maid, too. Not only that, but she had a long term relationship with a married man as well as a possible live-in girlfriend for over a decade. Oh, and she didn’t save her mother from drowning and she dedicated Mary Poppins to her mother, not her dad.)

P. L. Travers approved Disney’s changes to the script and story to the movie adaptation of Mary Poppins. (Contrary to Saving Mr. Banks, she never approved of the dilution of the harsher aspects of Mary Poppins’ character, felt ambivalent about the music, and hated the use of animation. Walt Disney would overrule her objections to portions of the final film citing contract stipulations and final cut privileges. After the premiere, Travers is said to approach Disney and told him to remove the animated sequences. Disney dismissed her request saying, “Pamela, the ship has sailed.” Still, Ms. Travers should’ve known what to expect from a Disney adaptation of her work.)

P. L. Travers was emotionally moved during the premiere of Mary Poppins. (Yes, Travers did cry at the premiere of Mary Poppins but it wasn’t out of how good of job Walt Disney did in adapting her book. Rather she cried out of anger and frustration over the film which she felt betrayed the artistic integrity of her characters and work. In fact, she was so resentful of what she considered poor treatment on Disney’s hands that she vowed never to permit the Walt Disney Company to adapt any of her novels in any form of media. In fact, in her last will, Travers banned any Americans from adapting her works in any form of media.)

Bruce Lee:

Bruce Lee opened his own kung-fu school at his wife Linda’s suggestion. (Contrary to Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, he had opened his kung-fu school before he even met her.)

Bruce Lee got into a fight at the set of Big Boss. (Contrary to his biopic, he didn’t but he was challenged while doing Enter the Dragon. And no, he didn’t injure his back during a fight, but rather in 1970 when he was lifting weights.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 81 – The Kennedy Assassination

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Kevin Costner stars as New Orleans DA and crackpot Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorist Jim Garrison whose investigation into the case led to a catastrophic miscarriage of justice in Oliver Stone’s 1991 epic craptatrophic disasterpiece JFK. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from watching the Oliver Stone film because he treats practically everything Garrison says in this movie as true (it’s not for I wouldn’t have devoted a whole post to this. In fact, even Bobby Kennedy thought Garrison was a crackpot). Look, as much as I criticize Mel Gibson’s treatment in history, at least most of his subjects don’t have any living immediate family members. Still, if you want to know more about the Kennedy assassination, you can easily look it up. I mean there are academic websites that debunk much of what is seen in the film.

The Kennedy assassination was an American tragedy that sent a nation in mourning when a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy from a textbook depository window during a motorcade procession in Dallas. As far as this goes, there could be no dispute. Yet, while most historians agree that the “Single Bullet” theory is the official and most complete version of events as far as current evidence is concerned, there are plenty of people who just can’t accept it and the motives and events behind Kennedy’s death are hotly disputed by non-experts. Many tend to believe that there was a conspiracy behind John F. Kennedy’s death that involved, well, take your pick. As Dave Barry would say, “First of all, Kennedy was assassinated, which was traumatic enough in itself but was made even worse by the fact that we never did find out for sure what happened, which means that for the rest of our lives we’re going to be opening People magazine and reading articles about yet another conspiracy buff claiming to have conclusive proof that Lee Harvey Oswald was actually working for Roy Orbison or the Nabisco Corporation or whatever.” Of course, we’re sure Roy Orbison and Nabisco weren’t involved with the Kennedy assassination but it pretty much sums up the accuracy in Oliver Stone’s JFK. The movie itself is about a New Orleans DA named Jim Garrison who finds himself unsatisfied with the Warren Report and reopens the Kennedy assassination case to formulate his own theory, which leads to an innocent man being put on trial for the ultimate crime. Almost every expert on the Kennedy assassination (even those who believe in a conspiracy) believes Garrison to be unreliable at best and insane at worst. Yet, everything that Garrison formulates is treated as fact in the film, when his investigation on the Kennedy assassination was really a flimsy case conducted on dubious methods. Yet, despite the historical bullshit in JFK, many people tend to believe Oliver Stone’s retelling of such events compelling them to dismiss actual facts as fiction. In some ways, JFK kind of shows the Hollywood version of history possibly at its worse and because of it actual history on the Kennedy assassination is erased from the public consciousness and the assumption that all the historical bullshit in JFK is entirely factual. I will list such inaccuracies here, which may make you understand why most Kennedy experts believe in the “single bullet theory” after all.

Lyndon B. Johnson:

After the Kennedy assassination, Lyndon B. Johnson ordered Kennedy’s limo refurbished since it was filled with bullet holes. (Johnson didn’t have to do this since the only bullet strikes were to the windshield and chrome topping which would’ve been replaced anyway. These are in the National Archives. Nice try, Oliver Stone.)

Rose Cherami:

Rose Cherami predicted the Kennedy assassination and was killed for it. (Her only link to the Kennedy assassination had to do with her absurd story about Oswald and Ruby being bed partners who’ve been shacking up for years. She was a middle aged prostitute with a drug addiction and a lengthy rap sheet who was ruled to be “criminally insane” years prior to the assassination and had been rejected as an informant for the FBI because her information rarely checked out. Still, her 1965 death was an accident.)

Lee Bowers:

Witness Lee Bowers died of a “strange shock.” (He died of natural causes two years after his Warren Commission testimony and there was no evidence of foul play.)

During the Warren Commission, Lee Bowers said he saw a “flash of light” and “smoke.” (Contrary to JFK, he mentioned neither.)

Jean Hill:

Witness Jean Hill claimed, “I saw a man shooting from over there behind that fence [on the Grassy Knoll].” (Though she’d make such claims later, she didn’t say this in the 1960s.)

Jean Hill was sequestered and intimidated shortly after the JFK assassination. (Along with Mary Moorman and Don Featherston of the Dallas Times Herald, she went to the Sheriff’s office press room. Doesn’t seem she was intimidated to me.)

Dean Andrews:

Dean Andrews was a shady sinister individual who concealed knowledge of the plot to assassinate John F. Kennedy. (Contrary to JFK, he was just a harmless lawyer who liked to tell tall tales. Also, he didn’t think that Clay Shaw and Clay Bertrand were the same person. When asked whether he knew who killed Kennedy he said, “The answer is negative. If I knew, I would have put down like a thousand pound canary. . . . I don’t know who killed Number One. If I did, I would have went and sang like a canary a long time ago. I like this country too, you know.”)

Guy Bannister:

Around the time of the Kennedy assassination, Guy Bannister pistol-whipped Jack Martin due to “strange things” Martin had been seeing around his office. (Contrary to JFK, the pistol-whip episode was the result of an argument over phone bills gone ugly.)

Guy Bannister was linked to anti-Castro CIA activities. (Contrary to JFK, there’s no evidence whatsoever he was. Still, he wasn’t a loveable guy for he was a racist segregationist and had a Cold-War fueled wacky imagination.)

Guy Bannister died under suspicious circumstances. (He died of natural causes.)

Jack Martin:

Jack Martin was aware of Operation Mongoose. (Sorry, Oliver Stone, but even if Martin knew that the US government was anti-Castro, he wouldn’t know the CIA mission’s code-name.)

Jack Martin was a reliable witness. (Contrary to JFK, this guy had a mental history as well as wackier accusations against David Ferrie and others. Oh, and did I say that Jack S. Martin was an alias for Edward Stuart Suggs who had a criminal history of impersonating people from certain professions? Even people on Garrison’s team thought him unreliable. Also, Guy Bannister knew this man was untrustworthy.)

Jack Ruby:

Jack Ruby shouted “Oswald!” when he shot John F. Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. (Contrary to JFK, he didn’t say anything. Also, he always claimed shooting Oswald was an impulsive act. Yet, people who knew him claimed he planned to kill Oswald for the sake of publicity since he was bound to get off on it. He was wrong. Also, his rabbi said he was a Kennedy fan.)

Jack Ruby died injected with cancer. (Seriously, Oliver Stone, Ruby didn’t die of cancer yet he was suffering lung cancer at the time. He actually died of a pulmonary embolism that had formed in his leg. As with his cancer, can’t you just blame cigarettes? I mean that’s how a lot people got it.)

Clay Shaw:

Clay Shaw’s alias was “Clay Bertrand.” (Contrary to JFK, the officer claiming this was contradicted by other witnesses and declared as non-credible by a judge. Also, Garrison and his teamed combed the French Quarter of New Orleans and failed to find any evidence of “Bertrand” ever existing as Shaw.)

Clay Shaw was a Texas businessman. (He was a man of Louisiana all his life.)

Clay Shaw was the Grassy Knoll shooter who was only acquitted on a technicality. (The jury at Clay Shaw’s trial thought Jim Garrison’s case against him was so full of shit that they acquitted him in record time. There’s no evidence that he and David Ferrie knew each other, belonged to black ops, planned a presidential assassination, or even pranced around with Kevin Bacon dressed as Mozart. Clay Shaw was just this respected New Orleans businessman, decorated war hero, philanthropist, and friend of Tennessee Williams who was guilty of nothing more than looking very creepy. David Ferrie was probably guilty of the same but he had a rare skin disease that he wore a homemade red wig and black eyebrows. Not to mention, Shaw and Ferrie were probably gay {well, Shaw was while Ferrie had a less than desirable personal life} but they were both enthusiastic Kennedy supporters. As for the Grassy Knoll shooter, there probably wasn’t one according to reliable evidence.)

Clay Shaw got off on a technicality that he didn’t have adequate legal representation while being booked. (Shaw was a wealthy businessman so he could afford the best legal representation around. Still, his trial should never have happened since he was a completely innocent man.)

Lee Harvey Oswald:

Lee Harvey Oswald was completely innocent of killing John F. Kennedy and was arrested as only a victim of circumstance. (This is part of Oliver Stone’s premise in JFK. However, most people familiar with the Kennedy assassination knew he was guilty whether he acted alone or not.)

Lafayette square was a strange place for someone like Lee Harvey Oswald to spend in his spare time. (Contrary to JFK, Lafayette Square was only a block from Oswald’s workplace. So it’s understandable why he’d hang out there in his spare time Communist or not.)

Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t order a rifle through the mail which was made by others to frame him. (Sorry, Jim Garrison in JFK, but the rifle in the Kennedy assassination was mailed to a guy named A. Hidell. It was Oswald’s alias and he was carrying an A. Hidell ID in his wallet during his arrest. So yes, Oswald did order a rifle through the mail.)

Lee Harvey Oswald’s Fair Play for Cuba office was in the same building as Jim Banister’s and 544 Camp Street and 531 Lafayette Street were in the same location. (Actually contrary to JFK, they had totally separate entrances and were about 60 steps apart according to a private detective’s testimony on Frontline in 1993.)

Lee Harvey Oswald distributed Fair Pay for Cuba leaflets in Dallas. (He did this in New Orleans, not Dallas unlike what Executive Action says.)

Lee Harvey Oswald was being impersonated in the months preceding to the JFK assassination. (Oh, for fuck’s sake, Oliver Stone, that’s a load of bullshit. John Wilkes Booth maybe {since he was an actor from a well-known acting family}, but Oswald, no way in hell. Yet, there were plenty of people who did claim to see Oswald in places where he’s never been to.)

Lee Harvey Oswald spoke Russian that his wife Marina thought he was a native speaker. (He spoke Russian with a heavy accent that she thought he was part of the Baltic Republics where Russian wasn’t a native language.)

Lee Harvey Oswald gave secrets to the Russians. (He was a defector from the US and nothing more but was treated well in the Soviet Union since they had considerable propaganda value and the government wanted them to be happy. It’s kind of similar to what Tom Cruise gets from the Scientology establishment for being a big celebrity. Thus, Oswald probably didn’t have any Soviet intelligence ties.)

Lee Harvey Oswald ran past Victoria Adams and Sandra Styles after shooting President Kennedy. (The women descended the stairs several minutes after Oswald contrary to JFK.)

Lee Harvey Oswald passed a note of that described the assassination plot to FBI agent Hosty. (Sorry, Oliver Stone, but such note contradicts all witness testimony and would’ve been vastly implausible that Oswald would pass such important information so easily.)

There’s no motive of why Lee Harvey Oswald wanted to kill JFK. (Contrary to JFK, Oswald wasn’t the naïve innocent as seen in the film. He was a Marxist with a history of violent behavior as well as a confirmed criminal. An acquaintance he had a discussion with in 1963 named Volkmar Schmidt said he “was extremely critical of President Kennedy, and he was just obsessed with what America did to support this invasion at the Bay of Pigs, obsessed with his anger towards Kennedy.” Schmidt considered Oswald “a deeply troubled man” who was “totally obsessed with his own political agenda,” and who “would have have found anybody of importance to assassinate . . . to leave a mark in the history books, no matter what.” Hell, he tried to target a high profile general and possibly Richard M. Nixon. Let’s just say it’s very plausible that he could’ve acted alone, which may have been the truth after all.)

Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife Marina had no trouble getting out of the Soviet Union. (Actually they endured an extensive bureaucratic hassle to get Marina out of the country.)

If Lee Harvey Oswald was guilty, then he would’ve had to make a headshot at the range of 88 yards through heavy foliage. (Contrary to JFK, the path between the Sniper’s Nest and JFK’s limo was clear so Oswald would’ve had no trouble shooting Kennedy from 88 yards.)

Lee Harvey Oswald tried to sock Officer MacDonald during the Texas Theater melee. (Contrary to JFK, he drew his gun and tried to shoot him.)

Lee Harvey Oswald had a local televised debate with anti-Castro militant Carlos Bringuier. (It was on a public affairs show for a local radio station.)

Dozens of cops descended on Texas Theater to arrest Lee Harvey Oswald for entering without paying admission. (For God’s sake, Oliver Stone, if Oswald’s only crime was entering a theater without paying for tickets, he would’ve just been kicked out of the establishment by the theater staff with no intervention of police whatsoever. The reason why Oswald had a dozen cops descending on him because he was already suspected of murdering a police officer. Not as serious as killing a president, but much more damning than not paying for admission.)

There were stories about Lee Harvey Oswald before he was ever charged with killing Kennedy. (Contrary to JFK, Oswald was chief suspect for hours before being officially charged, which was at 11:00pm. Yet, Oliver Stone is right about there being stories of Oswald before he was charged with killing the president. After all, his being suspect for hours gave plenty of time for police investigators to check his background in newspaper files {though I’m sure those stories wouldn’t be coming from New Zealand out of all places}. Criminal suspects have such background checks all the time.)

Lee Harvey Oswald was interrogated for 12 hours and nobody made a record of it. (Contrary to JFK, you can actually find reports from each of Oswald’s interrogators in The Warren Commission Report. And yes, they would’ve been admissible in court. Not only that but in 1963, most police departments didn’t record suspect interrogations and Texas only started doing so in 1992. Hell, even in the 2000s, there were still police departments in the country not recording suspect interrogations.)

Paraffin tests showed that Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t fire from his rifle. (Apparently Oliver Stone doesn’t know that paraffin tests have no value whatsoever and were mainly used to intimidate suspects.)

David Ferrie:

David Ferrie confessed to participating in the JFK assassination at the Fountainbleu Hotel. (He strongly refuted such claims and even offered to take a lie-detector test to prove his innocence as well as continued denying any knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald or any conspiracy to assassinate JFK. Yet, he and Oswald did serve together in the Civil Air Patrol during the 1950s but that’s as far as their relationship goes. Besides, he was known to be very Anti-Castro {though his time helping anti-Castro exiles was brief and insignificant due to concerns over his personal life} and worked for a known John Bircher. Not to mention, this man was working nearly every day as a private investigator on a case for a New Orleans attorney who only went to Texas with his friends on the fateful day on a weekend trip planned two weeks in advance, six hours after the assassination happened. Still, it’s said that Ferrie was a staunch Kennedy supporter thrilled to see a fellow Catholic like him become president. Still, the reason why he was seen as a suspect was due to the drunken ravings of a guy who hated him named Jack S. Martin, which even the man himself would later recant. The real Jim Garrison would call Martin “a liar who hates Ferrie.” Martin would also file a lawsuit against Jim Garrison for “conspiracy to harass, molest, intimidate, and persecute” him.)

David Ferrie was murdered or committed suicide shortly after his confession to Jim Garrison. (Actually contrary to JFK, it’s more likely he died of natural causes with an intracranial berry aneurysm {the culmination of years of poor health} as an official cause of death with no evidence of foul play. New Orleans DA Jim Garrison didn’t challenge this.)

David Ferrie was former priest who was defrocked for being gay. (Yes, he wanted to be a priest at some time in his early life but contrary to JFK, he was never defrocked because he was never ordained in the first place. Yet, he did study in a seminary for three years before leaving due to “emotional instability” {meaning it was less about sexual orientation and more about not being the closet about his sexuality, since priests are supposed to be celibate regardless of sexual orientation}. Whether this meant he was gay is anyone’s guess but he was arrested on moral charges at various times in his life and it’s said he may have used his position as a cadet squadron leader to develop improper relations between 14 to 18 year old boys.)

Jim Garrison:

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was a heroic man who tried to reveal the truth about the Kennedy assassination which the Federal government failed to do with the Warren Commission. (The Warren Commission’s report may not be 100% accurate but it’s a far more trustworthy source of information than Oliver Stone’s 1991 disasterpiece JFK or whatever Jim Garrison found in his investigation. Garrison didn’t solve the Kennedy assassination and had a reputation for bringing sensationalistic charges and winning front-page headlines, which rarely produced convictions. He was said to be a deeply eccentric, volatile individual who was popular to some degree but was mistrusted by a great deal of New Orleans. According to TTI, “He had a raft of incredibly bizarre theories about people he tied to the assassination case (his actual logic for the “Clay Bertrand” alias was that “[homosexuals] change their last names, but not their first names”), and was willing to subject witnesses to hypnosis and “truth serum” in order to get the story he wanted. The Clay Shaw trial was a sham, in which Garrison did everything short of set fire to the Fifth Amendment, and the judge was vocal in his disgust at Garrison’s behavior; the jurors only took a half-hour to find Shaw innocent and reported in their statements that they were appalled at the sheer lack of evidence. Even when he saw Claw Shaw acquitted of all charges, Garrison then charged him with perjury for claiming his innocence during sworn testimony. A federal judge finally quashed the charge as a violation of Shaw’s civil rights, for hounding him without just cause. The film postscript also claims CIA Director Richard Helms admitted Shaw was an agent. False-Shaw was admitted to have provided intelligence to the CIA as part of the Domestic Contact Service from things he observed while doing business in Europe. Thousands of businesspeople, diplomats and students did the same. There is no evidence Shaw was ever a paid CIA agent. In the film, the “source” for this was a French communist newspaper well-known to be a propaganda organ for Moscow. The KGB actually spread many of the early conspiracy rumors in an effort to weaken US morale, going so far as to fund authors who propagated them by using agents or front groups (without these authors’ knowledge to be sure). The “Clay Shaw CIA Agent” story was just one in a series of false stories they planted.” Yet, in JFK, Garrison is seen as a guy who could do no wrong and whatever he says is gospel truth. Apparently, Oliver Stone didn’t take the time to investigate Garrison’s propensity for bullshit. Thus, congratulations, Oliver Stone, for you just graduated from the Mel Gibson School of Movie History.)

Jim Garrison’s theory on the Kennedy assassination was backed by evidence. (Contrary to JFK, according to investigator Pershing Gervais, “Garrison inverted the criminal investigatory process. You should begin by assembling the facts and from the facts you may deduce a theory of the crime. . . . Garrison did the opposite. He started with a theory and then assembled some facts to support it. Those facts that fit the theory, he accepted. Those that did not, he either ignored or rejected as CIA misinformation.”A lone wolf model of integrity, he was not.)

Jim Garrison’s office was bugged during his own inquiry of the Kennedy assassination. (Garrison would claim this but there’s no evidence to support it. Probably should’ve though.)

Jim Garrison was a decent family man. (Contrary to JFK, Garrison was a homophobe who many said he spent his time as New Orleans DA to wage a vendetta against the city’s gay community and is alleged to have been a closet case himself while Shaw’s gayness was well-known among his close friends who couldn’t care less. He’s also alleged to have molested a thirteen-year-old boy as well as others, according to one book about him. None of that has ever been proven but it’s worth noting that he wasn’t anything like the squeaky clean Kevin Costner portrayal. Also, it’s said that he used to slap his wife in public all the time and was once federally indicted for accepting bribes as DA in New Orleans. Oh, and in 1952, he was relieved from the National Guard after being diagnosed with “severe and disabling psychoneurosis.”)

Jim Garrison was present at Clay Shaw’s trial during Shaw’s testimony and during the reading of his verdict. (Contrary to JFK, Garrison wasn’t present at either. Also, he heard about Shaw’s acquittal in his office from aides and flew into a rage upon hearing it.)

NBC and Newsweek fabricated reports on Jim Garrison as part of a smear campaign. (No, neither of them did. NBC’s broadcast included many witnesses making credible, damaging allegations about the methods employed by Garrison and his staff. However, NBC didn’t allege whether he used truth serum on Perry Russo for they’d have no way of knowing. Also, Newsweek‘s story of him was factually accurate.)

Most of Jim Garrison’s witnesses died of mysterious causes. (None of them did with Perry Russo living another 25 years after implicating Clay Shaw and was a consultant for JFK. Nice try, Oliver Stone.)

Jim Garrison’s main witness for the Kennedy assassination investigation was a gay prostitute, Willie O’Keefe. (Contrary to JFK, it was a heterosexual insurance salesman named Perry Russo whose testimony wasn’t very lively at first until Garrison gave him truth serum and subjected him to question under hypnosis. At this point, Russo “remembered” all sorts of wacky things. He was Garrison’s entire case against Clay Shaw. O’Keefe is a composite of Russo, David Logan, Raymond Broshears and William Morris who had severe credibility problems as witnesses.)

Jim Garrison never used any dubious methods to get information from witnesses and potential suspects as well as never tried to manipulate the press. (Uh, contrary to JFK, he was known to jack witnesses with barbiturates as well as hypnotizing them. Such methods made his case seem like a messy pile of incoherent fantasies wrung out of vulnerable people by unethical means. NBC News interviewed people who accused him of trying to bribe witnesses and investigating through unethical means. Also, between Clay Shaw’s arrest and trial, Garrison would embark on his own publicity campaign. On The Tonight Show and Playboy, he implicated Lyndon Johnson, the CIA, the FBI, as well as unnamed Neo-Nazis. He told Jim Phelan of the Saturday Evening Post that the Kennedy assassination was “a homosexual thrill killing” concocted by David Ferrie, Clay Shaw, Jack Ruby {who’s gay name was “Pinkie” according to Garrison}, and Lee Harvey Oswald {referred by Garrison as “a switch-hitter who couldn’t satisfy his wife.”})

Before Robert F. Kennedy’s shooting Jim Garrison claimed, “If he wins, they’ll kill him. He wants to avenge his brother. He wants to stop that war.” (Sorry, Oliver Stone, but Garrison actually didn’t have nice words to say about him. Rather, Garrison claimed that Bobby was “without any question of a doubt . . . interfering with the investigation of the murder of his brother” and was making “a real effort to stop it.” So Garrison didn’t really mourn for RFK. It’s most likely he said this because Bobby thought that Garrison’s claims of a conspiracy were full of shit and wouldn’t hesitate to say so. Not to mention, Garrison didn’t take that kind of criticism, even from Bobby.)

Jim Garrison and his family viewed the Lee Harvey Oswald press conference in early to mid-evening. (Contrary to JFK, Garrison and his family wouldn’t have watched the Oswald press conference at dinner time because it took place after 11:00 pm.)

Jim Garrison first questioned Clay Shaw on Easter Sunday. (He first questioned Shaw in December, 1966.)

Jim Garrison became interested in the Kennedy assassination by watching TV. (Contrary to JFK, he only became involved when Jack Martin came forward with a story linking Lee Harvey Oswald to David Ferrie.)

Miscellaneous:

Eladio De Valle was murdered for his involvement with the Kennedy assassination. (Contrary to JFK, he was murdered because of his underworld activities and was never linked to the JFK assassination in any way, shape, or form.)

A Congressional Investigation from 1976-1979 found a “probable conspiracy” in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and recommended the Justice Department investigate further. As of 1991, the Justice Department has done nothing. (This is the Epilogue on JFK, yet the Justice Department did take action by asking the Ramsey Panel to investigate one teensy bit of evidence used by the HSCA to declare a conspiracy in a dictabelt recording. They ruled that the evidence was invalid in 1982. Yet, its primary conclusion that, “Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at President John F. Kennedy. The second and third shots he fired struck the President. The third shot he fired killed the President.” has been backed by scientific evidence which withstood the test of time. Oliver Stone could’ve educated us about that, but as of 2014, he has done nothing.)

There was a man who had a seizure in front of Parkland Hospital around 12:15 PM on the day that JFK was shot which made it easier for the shooters to move into their places. He later vanished and never checked into the hospital. (This is according to Jim Garrison in the historical disasterpiece JFK. However, the man’s name was Jerry Belknap who suffered from fainting spells after being hit by a car several years earlier and his presence at Parkland had absolutely nothing to do with any conspiracy to assassinate JFK. He actually arrived there by ambulance that day {he showed his $12.50 receipt to the FBI when they tracked him down the following May} and claimed to have left without registering because he felt better after receiving a glass of water and an aspirin. He was just leaving the hospital when the President’s motorcade pulled into the parking lot in which Belknap realized he wouldn’t be able to see a doctor anytime soon anyway.)

Witness Domingo Benevides refused to identify Lee Harvey Oswald as the shooter in the JFK assassination. (Contrary to JFK, Benevides didn’t refuse to identify Oswald. It was more along the lines that he said he didn’t see the shooter well enough for an identification, but he later identified Oswald.)

Three cartridges were lying neatly side by side at the Sniper’s nest. (They were found scattered like you would expect.)

Dr. James Humes was an old man when he did John F. Kennedy’s autopsy. (He was 39 years old.)

The JFK assassination was a conspiracy engineered by high-level government hawks who wanted to prevent him from pulling out of Southeast Asia after his 1964 reelection. Possible culprits consisted of the military, the Dallas police, the intelligence community, multinational corporations, and with Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover as accomplices after the fact. (For God’s sake, Oliver Stone, your hypothesis for JFK was ridiculous. For one, there’s no evidence that Kennedy even remotely envisioned withdrawing US involvement from Vietnam. Actually quite the opposite and might’ve done the same thing Johnson did for Kennedy was a consummate Cold Warrior elected on a hawkish platform, not a peacenik of any sort. Not to mention, he was a political centrist who was reluctant to press too far for Civil Rights. Let’s just say that Lyndon B. Johnson had a much more liberal domestic agenda than Kennedy did. So killing Kennedy might not have suited the anti-progressives’ best interests at all. Thus, such an elaborate conspiracy to kill him over it might’ve been a tad unnecessary and it’s pretty clear that Kennedy wasn’t a victim of the establishment as Oliver Stone implies. Kennedy was the establishment and that is why a lot of people like him to this day. Second, Oswald was said to be a Communist and a Castro supporter who spent a stint in the Soviet Union between 1959 and 1962. I’m sure such a conspiracy including US government officials wouldn’t have hired a possible pro-Castro hitman to kill JFK.)

Robert F. Kennedy was at his office when J. Edgar Hoover informed him of his brother’s assassination. (He was actually having a lunchtime meeting at his Hickory Hill Home and took the call by his pool.)

The three hobos arrested were in connection with the Kennedy assassination and they were impeccably dressed. (According to Jim Garrison in JFK that is, but in reality they had no connection to the JFK assassination whatsoever. Also, their names were Harry Doyle, John Gebney, and Gus Abrams and dressed like you’d expect of hoboes.)

The laying of new flooring of the Depository’s sixth floor was done by “unknown workmen in the building.” (Sorry, Oliver Stone, but the Dallas Depository knew the people who did the new flooring for they were Depository employees like Lee Harvey Oswald.)

Texas Governor John Connally was seated directly in front of John F. Kennedy in the presidential limousine during that fateful afternoon in Dallas. (He was sitting on a left diagonal from Kennedy. Yet, many pictures have him sitting directly in front of him for some reason, especially conspiracy theorists.)

Witness Bill Newman said the shots came from the “fence up on the Knoll.” (Actually unlike in JFK, Newman and his wife Gail said that they believed the shots came directly from behind them- the “mall” {Pergola}- not the Stockade Fence.)

The 112th Military Intelligence Group was told to stand down before the Kennedy Assassination. (They had some agents in Dallas to help protect the president contrary to JFK.)

Mr. X was a reliable witness. (His character in JFK is loosely based on L. Fletcher Prouty who has expressed a wide variety of crackpot opinions regarding the Kennedy assassination.)

The Zapruder film established that there were three shots fired in 5.6 seconds. (The real Zapruder film establishes that the shots were fired within 8 to 9 seconds.)

51 witnesses heard shots from the Grassy Knoll. (Contrary to JFK, the Knoll witnesses only amounted to 20 as far as a House Select Committee was concerned.)

Jackie Kennedy pulled her husband down in the limo allowing the Sniper’s Nest shooter to hit Texas Governor John Connally. (She did no such thing according to video evidence.)

John F. Kennedy was shot in 1968. (He was shot in 1963. His brother was shot that year though.)

Beverly Oliver was a reliable witness in the JFK assassination. (Contrary to JFK, she wasn’t known to Jim Garrison until years later and her story contains elements that are extremely implausible.)

Witness Julia Ann Mercer saw Jack Ruby in a pickup truck near Dealey Plaza on the morning of the JFK assassination. (Contrary to JFK, the police who were with truck failed to confirm Mercer’s story. Yet, Oliver Stone treats this as historical fact.)

Dallas Mayor Cabell (whose brother was CIA director at the time) changed the Dallas motorcade route on the day John F. Kennedy was scheduled to arrive. (Contrary to JFK, this never happened. Route was announced a few days in advance. Besides, it was all drawn up between the Secret Service and Governor Connally’s staff with the intention of direct access to the Trade Mart.)

Parkland doctors testified at Clay Shaw’s trial. (They didn’t.)

On the day of the Kennedy assassination, there was a telex warning of a possible attempt to all the FBI officers. (Contrary to JFK, this was claimed by one less-than-credible witness. No copies exist and there were no corroborating witnesses.)

The entire Washington DC phone system was out for an hour following the Kennedy assassination. (Contrary to JFK, the system was overloaded but most calls went through.)

Dallas cops didn’t bother to determine whether Lee Harvey Oswald’s rifle had been fired the day of the Kennedy assassination. (For God’s sake, Oliver Stone, Dallas cops failed to determine this because 1963 CSI forensics didn’t have tests to conclude whether a gun had been recently fired. So it wasn’t reluctance on the Dallas police’s fault, it’s the fact they didn’t have access to that kind of technology.)

Janet Conforto disappeared a week after she linked Lee Harvey Oswald to Jack Ruby. (Unlike what JFK implies, she never linked Ruby to Oswald. Also, she died in a motorcycle accident in 1980, 11 years after Clay Shaw was acquitted.)

There was a cloud of smoke from a gun coming from the Grassy Knoll. (Oliver Stone couldn’t find a gun that emitted so much smoke so he had the special effects people blow the smoke from the bellows.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 80 – 1960s America

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Hair is a 1979 musical film pertaining to the hippie movement of the 1960s. Here is a picture which approximate of how the free-loving, drug-experimenting, peace-loving, anti-establishment, and psychedelic rock listening hippies is seen in Hollywood. Sure they’re seen as colorful renegades but actual photos of them may leave you disappointed in some respect. Yet, where would 1960s America be without them?

The 1960s is an interesting time period in the world in which everything seem to go through a rapid change. Of course, the storminess of the sixties was bound to happen sooner or later since the tensions during the Post-WWII era were about to come out in the open. In the US you have civil rights movements and protests galore with hippies and psychedelic rock music. You also have some big hairdos that were heavily reinforced by styling products as well as Mad Men style workplace ethic. Yet, American music would face competition from the British invasion that was led by the Beatles. Let’s just say a lot of stuff happens in this decade that is unforgettable. Yet, in movies set in this decade, you either have the beehives and pillboxes, mop tops and miniskirts with go-go boots, or hippies. Yeah, it’s crazy all right. Yet, you also have memorable figures like John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and others. But with the groovy exterior you had things like the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and social civil unrest which came with social reform movements like the fight for civil rights. Still, since the 1960s have such a profound effect on the pop culture landscape, we’re going to remember them for a long time.

1960s America often serves as a background in many films set in this time. A lot of defining moments in this time would include the height of Cold War hysteria, the Space Race, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War. There was also an explosion of discontent among the masses since  protest movements erupted across the country. Apparently people had something to be angry about whether it was war, sexism, racism, working conditions, limited rights, or what not. Then there were assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. On the cultural side, rock and roll was rising while the Hollywood studio system fell into decline to its final nail in the coffin. In fact, much of the old long held facets of the American establishment would fall into decline such as racial segregation and disenfranchisement that had been going on since the 1890s thanks to the Civil Rights Movement. Yet, while the 1960s has a profound effect on the American cultural ethos, plenty of movies set at the time do have their share of inaccuracies which I shall list accordingly.

John F. Kennedy:

John F. Kennedy’s presidency was known as Camelot during his administration. (It wasn’t referred to as Camelot until a week after his assassination with the publication of Theodore H. White’s interview with Jacqueline Kennedy in Life magazine.)

John F. Kennedy was alive in December 1964. (He’d been dead a year by this point yet Simon Birch features a report of him giving a speech. The journalist was probably using a Ouija board. I mean Lyndon B. Johnson was elected to his own term that year.)

John F. Kennedy was a physically fit and healthy man. (He was in frail health all his life and was in constant pain that he had to spend half of the day in bed as well as tried to relieve it through painkillers like novocaine and amphetamines. He suffered from Addison’s disease, back problems, APS-2, STDs {obviously}, fevers, and abdominal pain. Heck, he couldn’t obtain life insurance. Yet, for a man in his condition, he had lived far longer than even the most optimistic doctors at the time would’ve anticipated. Kennedy lied about his health to get into navy during WWII {though he served heroically} and received last rites four times by the Catholic Church. Kennedy would lie about his health his whole life but he was determined to live every minute he had {yet most people in public life did at the time}.)

John F. Kennedy and the CIA didn’t get along. (Unlike what JFK suggests, he may have tried to blame the CIA for the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion but he knew it was his fault. Yet, most of what Kennedy said about the CIA is pretty glowing. When asked about whether the CIA was conducting any unauthorized activity in South Vietnam, Kennedy said, “I think that while the CIA may have made mistakes, as we all do, on different occasions, and has had many successes which may go unheralded, in my opinion in this case it is unfair to charge them as they have been charged. I think they have done a good job.” There were also people with CIA connections in the Warren Commission, too.)

John F. Kennedy was still alive in December 1963. (Contrary to Forrest Gump, he was already assassinated by this point. Thus, Forrest should’ve never met JFK because the All-American team members were announced in December.)

Robert F. Kennedy:

Robert F. Kennedy’s speech “On the Mindless Menace of Violence” was delivered in Indianapolis on April 5, 1968. (It was delivered twice. First, it was given in Indianapolis on the previous day but it was later presented as a recorded at the City Club in Cleveland. Though you wouldn’t know it from Bobby.)

The FBI was involved with Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. (They most likely were not unlike what Nixon suggests.)

Robert F. Kennedy announced his intention to run for president in 1967. (He didn’t announce his intention to run until March 1968.)

Robert F. Kennedy was an upper class twit. (He was upper class but he wasn’t a twit as portrayed in Hoffa. Also, his personal class war with Jimmy Hoffa during the late 1950s was seen as dynamite material. When Kennedy published his book The Enemy Within, he sent Hoffa a signed copy with an inscription: “To Jimmy, I’m sending you this book so you won’t have to use union funds to buy one. Bobby.”)

Robert F. Kennedy was guarded by the Secret Service during his run for president in 1968. (If he had Secret Service protection at the time, chances are he may not have been assassinated and American history might’ve gone on very differently. It was only after Kennedy’s assassination that presidential hopefuls were entitled to Secret Service detail.)

Eugene Allen:

Eugene Allen had two sons. One became a Black Panther while the other died in Vietnam. (Contrary to The Butler, he actually had one son who went to Vietnam but he survived, worked for the State Department, and is still alive today. Oh, and his wife wasn’t a drunk who had an affair.)

Lyndon B. Johnson:

President Lyndon B. Johnson was a pawn of the establishment. (Most LBJ portrayals would show him as this except that he signed a lot of civil rights legislation, started his Great Society that included things like Medicare, declared War on Poverty, signed some environmental legislation and others. Yet, he gets a bad rap for escalating the Vietnam War, which is something he may not have done if it weren’t for the political pressure to do something after the Gulf of Tonkin incident. And trying to get much of this legislation passed wasn’t always in his best political interests either. So he was more than just a mere pawn. Also, he was a pretty astute politician who knew how to get things done.)

Lyndon B. Johnson was a colorful figure. (Movies tend to skim over somethings about him. Incidences include holding a dog by the ears, showing his appendicitis scar, eating his food quickly and taking the food of those who haven’t even finished yet, conducting meetings on the toilet, and waving his penis {which he affectionately called “Jumbo”} at the White House Press Corps to intimidate them. He also peed on one of his Secret Servicemen, had a phone installed in the White House bathroom and frequently told the person on the other end where he was, had an amphibious car he liked to drive into a lake and scream about the breaks failing in the the company of guests, and sent Pope Paul VI a bust of himself, not the pontiff. He also did something known as “the Johnson treatment” when he leaned really close to a politician through an effective combination of cajolery, browbeating, and outright intimidation that august body has ever seen. And then, LBJ would escalate to kicking the guy with his steel-toed boots that left many people’s shins bleeding. He’s also said to have even more lovers than John F. Kennedy but it perhaps helped that “Jumbo” lived up to its name. Not to mention, he’d swear a lot. Yet, he did have a heart though, since he was the one to comfort Rose Kennedy when JFK was shot as well as marched in Kennedy’s funeral procession when he was told not to by the Secret Service. And he didn’t care for the Kennedys either nor did they like him. Let’s just say doing a miniseries on his presidency would be pretty entertaining, indeed.)

Richard Nixon:

Richard Nixon was a bad public speaker. (Contrary to the Oliver Stone film, Nixon was a decisive and confident speaker which explains why he was able to convince so many people to vote for him in 1968.)

Edie Sedgwick:

Edie Sedgwick and the Velvet Underground’s Nico didn’t get along. (Contrary to Factory Girl, they were friends. Edie warned Nico about Andy Warhol’s behavior and Nico was upset when Edie died.)

Jimmy Hoffa:

Mob boss Carol d’Allesandro ordered the hit of Jimmy Hoffa. (The mob boss in Hoffa is fictional. Yet, FBI did suspect Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano and Anthony “Tony Jack” Giacalone for ordering the hit. They were the ones who arranged to meet him at a suburban restaurant in Detroit’s Bloomfield section called the Machus Red Fox. Yet, unlike in the movie, Hoffa went alone.)
Jimmy Hoffa was murdered in a parking lot in front of the Machus Red Fox. (If he was, then we probably would’ve known what happened to him since the Red Fox was busy the night Hoffa disappeared. The toughest mob hitmen wouldn’t have risked shooting him in plain view of shoppers, diners, and restaurant staff. Not only that, but one witness claimed seeing a car drive away with Hoffa and three men in it. It was very likely he was killed in another location. Still, Hoffa’s body has ever been found.)

Sports:

3 point lines existed in 1964. (They weren’t introduced until 1971.)

College football teams traveled to away games by bus in the 1960s. (By the 1960s they were traveling by plane. Also, no college team in a Division I. school could fit in a single bus. Hell, when my high school football team traveled, I don’t think they could fit in a whole school bus either.)

Ring card girls were used in boxing fights during the 1960s. (Not until the late 1970s at Caesar’s Palace.)

Sportscaster Howard Cosell wore a toupee in the 1960s. (Contrary to Ali, he wore a come over, not a toupee. He’d start wearing hairpieces in the early 1970s.)

Rubin Carter:

Boxer Rubin Carter beat his white opponent Joey Giardello to a pulp but lost the middle weight title fight of 1964 because of blatantly racist judges. (Contrary to The Hurricane, Carter lost the fight so badly that the real Giardello sued the filmmakers over that scene and got a nice settlement from it. Even Carter admitted that Giardello’s win was well deserved though he performed well until the last round.)

Rubin Carter left the military with full honors and was a model citizen. (Unlike what The Hurricane implies, Carter was actually court-martialed four times for various behavioral and disciplinary offenses and was eventually discharged as “unfit for military service.” Also, the film conveniently leaves out that he was convicted for assault and armed robbery at 14 {his fourth juvenile offense} and was already a savage street fighter an gang leader then. By 22, he was convicted of three brutal street muggings and the detective who arrested him on that case was black. His murder accusation wasn’t just based on racial profiling {which can’t really be proven}, wrongfully convicted or not since he was no model citizen whatsoever. Also, unlike his Denzel Washington portrayal, he was only 5’8.”)

Rubin Carter was at the height of his boxing career when he was arrested for murder. (Unlike what The Hurricane suggests, Carter’s boxing career was on a downhill slide. Out of his last 14 fights, he lost 6 and tied 1. A middleweight contender for champion of the world, not in the least.)

Rubin Carter and John Artis were convicted by an all-white jury. (Contrary to The Hurricane, the second jury had two blacks and it still convicted them. The first jury included one black guy but his name wasn’t drawn in the final deliberations.)

Rubin Carter and John Artis were arrested right after the robbery and murders at the Lafayette Grill. (Contrary to The Hurricane, they were arrested a few months later as a case was built against them.)

Rubin Carter and John Artis were wrongfully convicted for the Lafayette Grill Murders. (There was enough evidence to convict Carter twice {both times set aside due to procedural errors by the prosecution that had failed to turn in some evidence and thus didn’t give him a fair trial}. He actually miserably failed a lie detector test and refused to take it a second time. At his second trial, it was revealed that several witnesses who provided Carter’s alibi admitted they had been asked to lie for him. He was almost convicted a third time, but the judge figured it wasn’t worth it since 22 years had passed and all the people were either dead or ridiculously old. Sure Carter was released in 1988 but he was never exonerated. Oh, and contrary to the movie, Carter knew Artis reasonably well by that night of the murders. Let’s just say when we’re talking about racial injustice in the criminal justice system, Rubin Carter doesn’t make a good mascot. And Bob Dylan wrote a song for this guy?)

Rubin Carter and John Artis were convicted on the word of Bello and Bradley who were thieves and liars and the surviving shooting victim said that Carter didn’t do it. (Contrary to The Hurricane or the Bob Dylan song, it’s more complicated. Sure Bello and Bradley were thieves, but Bello’s testimony helped police tracked down Carter’s car minutes after the crime. Other evidence linked Carter to the crime as well. As for the shooting survivor, well, Willie Marins said at Carter’s trial that he didn’t know him and Artis were the killers.)

Rubin Carter and John Artis had rock solid alibis for the time of the Lafayette Grill murders. (Unlike in The Hurricane, they had at least several, depending on the source material. Let’s just say having several different alibis doesn’t help your case.)

Rubin Carter was stopped by police because he was driving while black. (Unlike in The Hurricane, the cops were specifically looking for Carter and his car because it matched the description given by the two eyewitnesses. Oh, and did I mention, he was in the back seat when they found him?)

Rubin Carter was a civil rights activist prior to his arrest. (There’s no evidence he was an activist.)

Muhammad Ali:

Muhammad Ali’s association with the Nation of Islam didn’t have much to do with his life. (If he didn’t join the Nation of Islam, his draft refusal wouldn’t have been so much a big deal {then again, maybe it would}. I mean the guy changed his name from Cassius Clay when he joined that organization which was known for its violence {though he’d later become a Sunni Muslim like his friend Malcolm X. But Ali’s beliefs on violence were in line with the Nation of Islam’s teachings}. Still, what treatment Muhammad Ali received in refusing was pretty disproportionate, yet his stance against the Vietnam War made it easier for other black people to speak out against it, including Martin Luther King.)

Muhammad Ali played little role in Malcolm X’s life. (These guys were good friends and it was Malcolm X who helped introduce Ali to the Nation of Islam but Ali is nowhere to be seen in Malcolm X while Malcolm X is only seen for a few minutes in Ali.)

Ernie Davis:

Ernie Davis was introduced to the Cleveland Browns in the full Browns uniform. (Contrary to The Express, he was introduced wearing what many men would wear to a board meeting. Also, he wasn’t part of the Browns’ roster then so the coach wouldn’t allow it.)

Ernie Davis had a stuttering problem which he overcame by saying grace at the table and reading the Bible aloud at night. (Yes, he had a serious stuttering problem but he overcame as he got older by reading aloud school books and sports books, never the Bible. Also, he was raised by his grandparents and did move in with his mom at 12. However, unlike in The Express, his uncle’s name wasn’t Will Jr. but Chuck.)

Ernie Davis was a football star in Syracuse University. (Yes, but The Express leaves out that he also excelled in baseball in basketball in high school. And while he played in football during his time in college, he also played varsity basketball as well. Also, in 1961, he was name by Sports Illustrated as one of college sports’ all-around athletes. Still, sports biopics are notorious for omitting stuff about their subjects’ accomplishments in other sports. I mean you’ll never see movies that talk about Lou Gehrig being a fullback at Columbia University and had gone there on a football scholarship. Nor would you see that Jackie Robinson excelled in football, track, and basketball alongside baseball in high school and college as well as served in the military as an officer during WWII {where he refused to move to the back of the bus} and the fact that his brother was an Olympic silver medalist in the 1936 games.)

Ernie Davis was a relative unknown until his college years. (Contrary to The Express, in his senior year in high school, Davis received more than 50 scholarship offers. High school athletes with those kind of offers aren’t mere unknowns, even in the 1960s.)

Ernie Davis was a saint. (Though he’s depicted like this in The Express, that’s probably not a realistic portrayal. However, at least he refused to play with the Redskins.)

Crime and Law Enforcement:

John Artis was about to attend college on an athletic scholarship when he was arrested for the Lafayette Grill murders. (Contrary to what The Hurricane suggests, he was arrested in October 1966 and had been out of high school for two years before then and wasn’t attending college then. There’s no evidence he enrolled at a college or had any college scholarship. In fact, he had been drafted into the Army.)

Gangster Bumpy Johnson died during the winter of 1968 at an appliance store. (Contrary to American Gangster, he died in New York during the summer. Also, he died while eating at a restaurant of a heart attack. Yet, while the real Frank Lucas said he was there, his widow said he died in the arms of a childhood friend.)

Frank Lucas was Bumpy Johnson’s driver for 15 years. (Though it’s seen in American Gangster, Mayme Johnson may admit that Lucas drove her husband a few times but Bumpy didn’t really see him anything more than someone he may have allowed to carry his coat. Also, Bumpy had been out of prison for five years prior to his 1968 death that leaves a possible window of 5 years in which Lucas could be his driver.)

Miranda rights were being read in the spring 1966. (They wouldn’t start being read to criminals until months later.)

Frank Abagnale:

Frank Abagnale’s dad was shady as hell. (Contrary to Catch Me if You Can, Frank Sr. wasn’t a hustler but he was among his son’s first victims. Frank Abagnale began his criminal life with petty scams involving his dad’s credit card, racking up thousands on a spending spree before his old man got the bill. This is probably why he ran away from home.)

Frank Abagnale pretended to be a French substitute teacher at his new high school. (The real Abagnale said he never pulled this scam.)

Frank Abagnale was driven into a life of crime because of his parents’ divorce. (Contrary to Catch Me if You Can, the real Abagnale said this in his 1981 memoirs, “If I wanted to lay down a baby con, I could say I was the product of a broken home. But I’d only be bum-rapping my parents.” According to him, his real motive for pulling scams was for sex and money. Yes, he was just a horny teenage boy who wanted to get laid and only continued because he was good at it.)

For years Frank Abagnale was chased by FBI agent Carl Hanratty who caught him in France. (While Abagnale was friends with an agent named Joe Shea, they didn’t bond until after his capture. In fact, Shea had no idea he was a teenager until Abagnale was caught. Not to mention, there were several FBI agents chasing him but he didn’t have a Batman/Joker relationship with any of them and certainly didn’t call them at Christmas since he didn’t want them to know where he was. Interestingly, Abagnale is currently a CEO at his own security consulting company.)

Frank Abagnale was able to be convincing in his roles without having to do much work. (Of course, he did a lot more effort into researching his roles than what was shown in Catch Me if You Can. He also read medical texts and periodicals.)

Frank Abagnale escaped from a VC10 jetliner by removing the toilet and climbing down beneath it, eventually fleeing through the hatch from the tarmac. (Abagnale claims this in his 1981 memoirs but airline experts say that such an escape would’ve been impossible.)

Frank Abagnale was an only child. (He was one of four children in his family but none of his siblings became con artists.)

Frank Abagnale was caught in a French warehouse during a terse standoff between him and the FBI. (Contrary to Catch Me if You Can, Abagnale wasn’t captured by cunning FBI work. In France, he was recognized by his ex-girlfriend of an Air France stewardess who notified the police. After spending time in a French jail, he spent a year in a Swedish jail until a judge helped him get repatriated in the US. His final arrest was in New York when he was recognized by two detectives after walking past their car.)

The Boston Strangler:

There were 13 Boston Strangler victims. (He killed 11 as far as we know. One victim died of a heart attack while the other was beaten to death which doesn’t really match the Strangler’s pattern.)

Albert De Salvo suffered from a multiple personality disorder and committed the murders in a psychotic state. (Contrary to the Tony Curtis movie, there’s no evidence he was never suspected of having such disorder. Yet, if he had any kind of mental disorder, he may have been a sociopath for he did have a criminal record at a young age and torture animals as a kid.)

Albert De Salvo was the Boston Strangler. (Well, contrary to the Tony Curtis film. it’s been disputed for a long time. However, he may have killed at least one. Yet, he was never tried or convicted on any of the murders {he was actually sentenced for a series of rapes and unrelated robbery charges}. Also, until recently though De Salvo confessed, there was initially no evidence to substantiate his claims.)

The Boston Strangler murdered pretty young women. (All but 4 of the murders involved women over 50.)

Miscellaneous:

Chicago’s NBC Tower was around during the 1960s. (It first opened in 1989.)

FedEx was around in 1964. (It didn’t start operations until 1973.)

1960s hippies wore tie-dyed clothing and colorful costumes. (Many of the 1960s photographs had them in fairly drab clothing such as sweaters and jeans. Also, tie dye didn’t become stylish until the 1970s.)

Most protests that took place in the 1960s revolved around Vietnam and Civil Rights. (There were also protests pertaining to free speech and other things. Take your pick.)

Most protestors of the 1960s were mentally ill, academically weak, rebelling against their parents’ values and/or demonstrating out of concern for themselves. (A lot of college student protestors were from upper to middle class families and did rather well in school and not all of them were rebelling against their parents. As for young protestors in the Civil Rights movement, many black students probably protested with their parents.)

Laura Bush voted for LBJ in 1964. (Unlike what W. suggests, she didn’t because she was 18 and the voting age at the time was 21 and would remain so until 1972.)

The National Weather Service was around during 1967. (It was the Weather Bureau then but it didn’t become the National Weather Service until late 1970.)

Minnesota school buses in the 1960s were painted yellow and black. (Along with Nebraska, they were the only states that had orange and black school buses.)

Helen Gahagan Douglas was still a Congresswoman in 1963. (She left Congress in 1951 and didn’t run in 1950 because she ran for Senator. She lost to Richard M. Nixon who he referred to as “pink down to her underwear.”)

Bra burning stories were around in 1967. (The first story was released in 1968. Also, though the Women’s Movement was active in the 1960s and 1970s, most feminists didn’t burn their bras.)

The Mount Sutro Tower was around in 1962. (It was built in the 1970s.)

Truman Capote’s Black & White Ball took place in 1967. (It took place in 1966.)

Had John F. Kennedy lived, he would’ve pulled out of Vietnam before the affair went out of control while Lyndon Baines Johnson was a warmonger. (This is what Oliver Stone believes. Yet, RFK has admitted that his brother probably would never have pulled out of Vietnam. Also, Johnson escalated the war as part of a political deal with conservative factions to get his social agenda passed. Not to mention, the Gulf of Tonkin incident sent a nationwide outcry for American action that put political pressure on Johnson. Still, Johnson’s reasons for escalating the war were political. His personal opinion would be summed up here, “I don’t think it’s worth fighting for, and I don’t think that we can get out. It just the biggest damn mess I ever saw.”)

John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon were enemies. (Actually despite running for president against each other, they were buddies for 14 years and they saw themselves as political centrists as well as served in the Navy. However, it ended when they ran against each other though, unsurprisingly. Still, politics does make strange bedfellows. Jack and Bobby were friends with Joe McCarthy, too, though more so for Bobby. Yet, they weren’t so keen on Adlai Stevenson.)

Chauncey Eskridge was at the hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot during the man’s assassination. (I think Eskridge is a fictional character from Ali but I’m not sure.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 79 – The Vietnam War

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Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 epic Apocalypse Now is a Vietnam War rendition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Though it may not be a film you may want to show your kids, it’s one of the more definitive films about Vietnam that has shaped the popular Hollywood perspective. Of course, it depicts the Vietnam War as kind of the hell it was with American soldiers of questionable sanity as well as the smell of napalm in the morning. Also, it has a psychedelic rock soundtrack, too.

Of course, I couldn’t begin the Post-War era and plunge into the 1960s without talking about a little thing called the Vietnam War which began as a war of colonialism between the Vietnamese and the French only to turn into a civil war with Cold War implications when Ho Chi Minh’s forces wanted to unite Vietnam under a Communist government. Whenever we think about this war, we usually picture jungle guerrilla warfare, draftees being sent against their will, American troops committing human rights violations, hippies protesting, napalm, Agent Orange, Asian hookers, and helicopters. Whenever you see a movie on Vietnam, you will tend to hear songs like “For What It’s Worth” b Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower,” the Rolling Stones, and other psychedelic rock music. Most Vietnam movies will feature US troops who may start the war either as idealistic young men or unwilling draftees then slowly become broken and disillusioned wrecks at best or crazy homicidal maniacs at worst. Either way, your American movie GIs will need serious psychological help when they come back home. And unless it’s the terrible John Wayne Green Berets or the unreliable narrative of Forrest Gump, don’t expect any movie adaptation on the Vietnam War speak favorably because it’s one of the most controversial conflicts as far as the US is concerned. And while the US may win some battles in Vietnam, let’s just say their fighting would be like trying to fix a watch with a sledgehammer. Nevertheless, there are plenty of movies about the Vietnam War that do contain their share of inaccuracies which I shall list.

Lyndon B. Johnson:

Lyndon B. Johnson’s escalation of the Vietnam War was an unpopular policy decision from the beginning. (Actually it was rather popular back in the day especially after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which happened when Johnson was running for his own term as President {he was serving out Kennedy’s term at this time}. It only started becoming unpopular in 1968 at least in the media {despite not having a single major newspaper thinking the US should leave Vietnam}, though a lot of civilians supported it then even if they didn’t like it. Yet, it had definitely become unpopular by Richard Nixon’s presidency though.)

Lyndon Baines Johnson got America into the Vietnam War. (He only brought that war closer to home. Actually, it was years in the making and had been supported by previous administrations of both parties. Other presidents would’ve done the same thing as Johnson at the time for escalation was bound to happen.)

Ron Kovic:
Ron Kovic apologized for his role in the accidental death of a Marine Corporal to his family, yet the man’s wife couldn’t forgive him. (Although this is depicted in Born on the Fourth of July, it never happened.)

Ron Kovic was inspired into becoming an anti-war activist when he saw his high school sweetheart in a protest after the Kent State shootings. (Contrary to Born on the Fourth of July, Donna never existed and Kovic didn’t see the protests in person, yet he was inspired into becoming an anti-war activist after seeing that protest on TV and was certainly outraged of how the protesters were treated.)

Major Fred Peck threatened to take Ron Kovic’s head if anything was said about the Marine Corporal’s day. (Peck wasn’t interviewed for Born on the Fourth of July, but Kovic did voice such concerns to him. However, the major just investigated and concluded that Kovic probably didn’t kill the Marine. He even promoted Kovic as a leader of a new scout group.)

Ron Kovic was a recipient of the Army Commendation Medal. (Kovic was a Marine, Oliver Stone.)

During Ron Kovic’s protest with his fellow Vietnam vets at the Republican National Convention of 1972, they made a scene that attracted a few cameras, blocked an aisle, and riled the delegates. When one Republican delegate spat at Kovic, security guards moved in, roughly pushing and pulling veterans from the hall and physically prevented reporters from following. Outside, Kovic was beaten and thrown out of his wheelchair by an undercover cop. (The scene with the Republican National Convention of 1972 actually happened but it was less dramatic than how Oliver Stone put it. Robert Dornan is said to have persuaded the guards into the convention but told Kovic and his pals not to make a scene. Unsurprisingly, Kovic and his friends ignore him. Yet, Dornan said, “It was not as big a disturbance as the movie showed, but it was a disturbance. They were screaming. The guards came down and politely pulled their chairs backward. [They] put them out peaceably.” According to UPI, the scene went like this: “After about five minutes, security agents wheeled them in protesting out a side door. I went out and watched him and the other two congratulating one another, bragging about what they’d accomplished.”)

Le Ly:

Le Ly was married to a US soldier named Steve Butler who later committed suicide. (Contrary to Heaven & Earth, she actually married two American men named Ed Munro and Dennis Hayslip. Her first husband was more than twice her age and died from emphysema. Her second marriage wasn’t a happy one. However, contrary to the Oliver Stone film, she hadn’t been in Vietnam since 1973 because she’s viewed as a traitor there.)

Adrian Cronauer:

Air Force DJ Adrian Cronauer was staunchly liberal, anti-military, and antiwar. (Sorry, but Good Morning Vietnam gets this wrong. Cronauer described himself as “a lifelong card carrying Republican” and served as vice-chair in the 2004 Bush/Cheney re-election campaign {as far from an anti-war liberal as anyone could possibly be but much more controversial}. Not to mention, he was a Sergeant, not Airman First Class. Cronauer also states that much of what Robin Williams did in that movie would’ve gotten him court-martialed in a heartbeat. And, no, he wasn’t kicked out of Vietnam but left when his tour of duty ended.)

Air Force DJ Adrian Cronauer played rock music with commentary during his tour in Vietnam. (Actually he just played rock music with no commentary.)

Adrian Cronauer lied his way to teach an English class so he could get close to a local. (Yes, he did teach English but not for that reason and he didn’t lie his way in either.)

Khmer Rouge:

Dith Pran and his family escaped Cambodia by going straight to Thailand and the Red Cross. (Actually contrary to The Killing Fields, he was found by the Vietnamese before that and made a village chief before his American ties were discovered. Also, the movie doesn’t show him being tortured and the fact that he lost over 50 family members including three brothers and a sister during Khmer Rouge. Interestingly, the man who played Pran, Dr. Haing Ngor also survived Khmer Rouge as well but lost his wife. After winning his Oscar, he was gunned down in an LA parking garage by muggers who wanted the locket he swore never to part with.)

New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg was a loyal friend to Dith Pran. (Contrary to The Killing Fields, the real Al Rockoff said that Schanberg was a lying coward and that many of the scenes in the French Embassay at Phnom Penh are inaccurate. Let’s just say that Schanberg and Rockoff probably didn’t get along.)

Laos:

The Pathet Lao POW camp had 6 prisoners. (Contrary to Rescue Dawn, it had seven besides Christian Bale’s character.)

US Navy pilot Dieter Dengler spoke English with an American accent. (While his Christian Bale portrayal does in Rescue Dawn, he actually spoke English with a heavy German accent since he was born in Germany.)

Dieter Dengler was a Flight Lieutenant in the US Navy. (There’s no such rank in the US military. It’s an RAF rank. Dengler’s real rank was Junior Grade Lieutenant.)

US Air Force pilot Eugene DeBruin was a selfish and unstable prisoner who threatened to betray his fellow captives at any time and didn’t know what to do when it came time to escape. (DeBruin’s brother Jerry and fellow captive Pisidhi Indradat were very unhappy with how Eugene DeBruin was depicted in Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn. Both say that DeBruin taught his fellow cellmates English, shared his food and blanket, and even returned after escaping to help an injured cellmate. When it came time to escape, DeBruin simply refused to leave while some sick prisoners remained and he is still considered missing to this day {though there were reports of him being alive as late as January 1968}. Pisidhi Indradat called him,“The finest man I have ever met.” Not only that, he also helped plan and implement the escape as well. Of course, the film was already completed by the time Werner Herzog found this out.)

During the escape from the Pathet Lao POW camp, Dieter Dengler shot the two prison guards. (Contrary to Rescue Dawn, this was DeBruin’s idea and it was Pisidhi Indradat. Also, the Thai Indradat would later be captured and put in another prison camp but he and his fellow Lao prisoners would  be rescued by Lao troops and the CIA. He’s the only survivor from Rescue Dawn who’s still alive to this day.)

Dieter Dengler formulated the idea of storing rice in bamboo tubes during the escape from the Pathet Lao camp. (This was Eugene DeBruin’s idea.)

While in the Pathet Lao POW camp, Dieter Dengler  formulated an entire escape plane that included uncuffing the hand cuffs with a nail. (Contrary to Rescue Dawn, this was the other prisoners’ idea before Dengler ever stepped foot at the camp and didn’t tell him about it until two weeks after he arrived.)

American Home Front:

The military was outraged by the idea of a US sergeant and his men kidnapping, gang raping, and killing a Vietnamese girl. (Though the men were convicted and sentenced, there’s very little evidence that anyone was. Also, though not mentioned in Casualties of War, the convicted men’s sentences were greatly reduced on appeal. Unsurprisingly, the military still has a problem with handling cases of sexual assault.)

Vietnam veterans were spit on by anti-war protestors. (Not a single incidence of this has been reported.)

Vietnam produced more American casualties than almost any other. (Of course, movies set in Vietnam do put emphasis on the US casualty rate which was 58,000 troops, which is less than what America lost in the American Civil War and both World Wars. Yet, the Vietnamese suffered much more.)

Older people supported the Vietnam War while younger people opposed it. (Actually younger people were more likely to support the war than their parents; younger people who opposed it were just more vocal. The parents were more likely to oppose the war due to WWII and Korea and especially if they had a son who was eligible for the draft.)

Married men couldn’t get drafted to Vietnam. (US legislation sewed up that loophole in 1965. Yet, if you were the son of a famous politician in Texas, on the other hand….)

Pittsburgh during the Vietnam era was filled with people of Eastern European descent and Orthodox living in trailer parks whose women wore babushkas and combat boots and men worked in the steel mills as well as hunted in forests with Ponderosa pines. (Contrary to The Deer Hunter, there are no Ponderosa Pines in Pennsylvania and though most guys did work in steel mills, most millworkers didn’t live in trailer parks, have wives that wore babushkas or combat boots. And not everyone in Pittsburgh is Eastern European descent or Orthodox in that matter. Oh, and why did they have to hunt Asian Red deer instead of white tail deer?)

Most American soldiers during the Vietnam War were draftees. (Contrary to most Vietnam War movies, 2/3 of American forces serving there were volunteers and so were three US presidential candidates like John Kerry, John McCain, and Al Gore. Of course, these are volunteers in the loosest sense such as people who voluntarily enlisted.)

Most US draftees were usually sent to Vietnam. (Actually many were sent someplace else to fill in for other soldiers but you wouldn’t want to go to Vietnam though.)

The first US draft lottery took place in 1968 before the MLK assassination. (It took place in 1969.)

Miscellaneous:

In Vietnam, the sun set over the ocean. (Vietnam has no west coast.)

The Vietnam War was just North Vietnamese vs. the US. (It was at first the French vs. the Vietnamese then it was the North Vietnamese vs. South Vietnamese with South Korea, the United States, Australians, and New Zelanders aiding the South and the North Koreans and Soviets aiding the North. Then it was the Vietnam vs. China.)

The Vietnam War was a guerilla jungle conflict. (Well, most of the time it was. Yet, about 75% US troops there lived on bases that were decked like little isles off Americana with all the amenities of American living. Those 75% had to worry more about getting injured in sports or catching STDs than getting killed.)

The North Vietnamese were a poorly armed guerilla force. (They had a badass air force as well as were supplied by the Soviets with tanks, anti-aircraft guns, and heavy artillery. Yet, the equipment was so good that the Soviets had to stop shipping it through China because the Chinese kept swiping it. Not only those, but the guerrillas in the South were well-integrated into the regular North Vietnamese forces and had some training before seeing combat. Oh, and they had AK-47s which were far superior than what the Americans had, especially M-16s which sucked. But, yeah, they did use guerilla tactics to an advantage.)

US Sergeant Tony Meserve saved Private Sven Erickson. (Contrary to Casualties of War, he didn’t but Meserve did have a heroic reputation and was nominated for a Bronze Star for coming to a GI’s aid when his ammo pouch had exploded.)

NVA/VC Sappers were used as suicide bombers. (Though it’s said so in Platoon, Sappers were actually too valuable to be seen as such for they were specially trained combat engineers/reconnaissance commandos who used stealth to infiltrate a camp’s defenses and take out strategic targets, such as barbed wire obstacles or bunkers, with explosives before the main attack. Yet, the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong did use suicide bombers but they didn’t consist of their demolitions experts.)

NVA/VC troops wore steel helmets. (Contrary to Platoon, only North Vietnamese anti-aircraft troops protecting bases in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. Those in South Vietnam wore floppy “boonie hats” or the standard North Vietnamese sun helmet.)

The 3rd Training Ranger Battalion served in the Vietnam War. (There has never been such unit in the US military yet We Were Soldiers does give special thanks to them in the credits.)

Parris Island trained Texas Marines for Vietnam. (Contrary to Full Metal Jacket, Cowboy would’ve trained in San Diego since it was for Marines recruits who lived west of the Mississippi River. Parris Island was for recruits who lived east.)

Vietnam Marine era drill instructors were nasty and sadistic pieces of work. (Contrary to Full Metal Jacket, Lee Ermey {who was a sergeant in real life} said in an interview that a drill instructor would never slap, choke, or punch a recruit {at least openly}, even back when he was a young Marine. Also, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman is far more verbally abusive in the movie than what would be permitted in real life. The drill sergeant in Forrest Gump is a more accurate example.)

The French Mobile Group 100 was ambushed and killed to the last man. (Contrary to We Were Soldiers, it was ambushed several times and they were able to escape in all of them, though they did suffer severe casualties. Also, they didn’t consist of members of the French Foreign Legion but rather the 1st and 2nd Korea Battalions, Battalion de Marche of the 43rd Colonial Infantry and the 2nd Group of the 10th Colonial Artillery.)

Huey helicopters could lift about 19,000 pounds. (Contrary to Apocalypse Now, they couldn’t life more than 10,500 pounds.)

M16s had 30 round magazines. (They had 20 round magazines.)

The Vietcong used red tracer ammunition. (The US did. The Vietcong used green.)

US soldiers wore camouflage uniforms during the Vietnam War. (They wore green. )

Vietnamese civilians were passive victims, prostitutes, or conniving with the enemy.

The Vietcong were ludicrously sadistic and evil. (As you see in The Deer Hunter. In real life, they were just very determined to win.)

Every American helicopter used in the Vietnam War was a Huey. (H-34 Choctaws, SH-3 Sea Kings, CH-47 Chinooks, CH-46 Sea Knights and OH-6 Cayuses were also in use but you wouldn’t see them in Vietnam Era films.)

The Communist Vietnamese won almost every major engagement in the Vietnam War. (Actually the US won every single major battle in the Tet Offensive, while the Viet Cong took so many losses they played no major role in the war at that point. Not only that, the North Vietnamese never really won a major battle. The reason why the North Vietnamese won the Vietnam War had more to do with the fact that they just kept coming no matter what the Americans threw at them. In short, they wanted to win more than Americans wanted them to lose.)

American troop levels in Vietnam were 500,000 in 1968. (Levels reached 500,000 a year later.)

American jeeps in Vietnam had ignition switches. (They didn’t.)

National Security Action Memorandum 263 was the first step in total US withdrawal in the Vietnam War. (Contrary to JFK, it only foresaw the withdrawal of 1,000 advisers, and not even those if South Vietnam failed to “take up slack.”)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 78 – The Civil Rights Movement

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Denzel Washington portrayed Malcolm X in Spike Lee’s 1992 biopic. Sure this may not be the most accurate rendition about his interesting life, but it helps explain why he had the ideas he did. You may love him or hate him but he was much more than an angry black man whose attitude toward whites wasn’t without probable cause because he lived with racism and was greatly harmed by it at a young age. Still, at least this movie averts the idea of a white savior as well as the impression that blacks are incapable of saving themselves which is why I have a picture from the film on this post.

Another event going on in the United States during the Post-War era is the Civil Rights Movement which is seen as one of the most important events in modern American history in which African Americans across the nation stood up and pressured the government to bring progress towards racial equality under the law after nearly a century of being treated as second-class citizens with little or no rights in much of the country, especially in the South. These were laws that pertained to segregation, disenfranchisement, a ban on interracial marriage, or a black guy having a good chance of going to jail for checking out a white woman. We’re not sure when the Civil Rights Movement actually began since there have been blacks who’ve challenged the system as well as made gains in society. Yet, the first big event of the Civil Rights Movement was the 1954 Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka in which a group of black parents sued the a Topeka school district so their kids didn’t have to travel miles to attend a crappier school. Thanks to their efforts as well as the NAACP with Thurgood Marshall representing, the Supreme Court struck down the earlier Plessy vs. Ferguson and declared that school segregation was inherently unconstitutional. The NAACP would go on challenge other discrimination laws as well. In 1955, a Montgomery woman named Rosa Parks was arrested refusing to give up her seat to a white person and move to the back of the bus. This led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and local NAACP head E. D. Dixon. It was a long struggle but they prevailed. Soon there were demonstrations across the nation such as the Freedom Riders, Little Rock, the March on Washington, and others. Sure there was a lot of racist resistance, but by the 1970s segregation was mostly over, the Voting Rights Act was passed, and while racism still exists in a lot of forms, it is no longer acceptable as far as the law and society goes. However, Hollywood isn’t always the right reference when it comes to the Civil Rights Movement though they could make a kind of inspirational story, yet they do have the tendency to introduce a white savior, which leads to the notion that blacks were incapable of saving themselves. Still, there are plenty of other inaccuracies seen in films set in this era which I shall list.

Malcom X:

Malcom X had dark hair. (He was a natural redhead and had lighter skin. Seriously, he was nicknamed “Red” by his friends because of his hair color. Sure people may not believe that a black person can have red hair but it does happen.)

The break between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad was emotionally jarring for the both of them. (Actually, Muhammad was already envious of Malcolm X for all the attention he was getting and Nation of Islam leaders saw him as a threat to Muhammad’s leadership, even before Malcolm left. When Louis Lomax wrote a book about the Nation of Islam When the Word Is Given, he used a photo of Malcolm X on the cover and reproduced five of his speeches and only one of Muhammad’s, greatly upsetting the guy. Not much love was lost between the two when Malcolm left. In some ways, the relationship between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad resembled less of parent-child surrogacy. Rather, it was more along the lines of Malcolm X playing Katniss Everdeen to Elijah Muhammad’s President Coin {though with the opposite outcome if you remember what happened in Mockingjay}.)

It was only after his pilgrimage to Mecca Malcolm X realized that the Nation of Islam’s bastardization of Islam was horseshit. (Actually contrary to Malcolm X, Malcolm actually made his Mecca pilgrimage after he left the Nation of Islam and became a Sunni Muslim. He already knew that the Nation of Islam’s flavor of Islam was horsehit by that time and didn’t need to go to Mecca to realize this. Yet, Spike Lee was right that it was in Saudi Arabia where he saw racial equality in action and the effect on him was very profound. Rather it made him realize that American racism wasn’t a function of whiteness per se as well as consider possible reconciliation between the races in the US. But this didn’t mean he was ready to forgive white America though.)

The attack at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama and the New Jersey Riots took place in Malcolm X’s lifetime. (Both of these incidences happened after Malcolm X was assassinated in February of 1965. One happened a month after he died and the other occurred two years later.)

Malcolm X’s family was of no particular importance on him. (Despite that his dad died under suspicious circumstances when he was six and his mother was institutionalized when he was thirteen and that he spent his teenage years in a series of foster homes, his siblings were of major importance to him. Quite a few of his siblings were members of the Nation of Islam and Malcolm’s break with it did cause some degree of drama since his brother Wilfred remained active in that organization. They also secured their mother’s release from that institution 24 years after she was confined {though Malcolm almost never talk about her for fear he’d snap if someone made the wrong remark but he did visit her}. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from Malcolm X, which leaves them out.)

Malcolm X spent weeks in solitary confinement. (He never spent any more than 24 hours in solitary contrary to the Spike Lee film. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been moved to a lower security facility, which he was in real life.)

Malcolm X was a first-class criminal in his younger days prior to his imprisonment. (Contrary to Malcolm X, Malcolm and his gang weren’t the experts they were made out to be. They rarely made plans and none of them could pick a lock. They usually committed larceny in the early evenings at places where owners couldn’t be roused by the doorbell and had trouble selling their stolen goods which were stashed in Malcolm’s apartment. Also, Malcolm was arrested by police when he had a stolen watch repaired at a local jeweler’s who promptly reported him to the police. Oh, and he turned in all of his accomplices while in custody.)

Malcolm X grew disillusioned with the Nation of Islam when he found that it was corrupt with its leaders enjoying lavish houses, new cars, and the sexual favors of young secretaries. (While Malcolm X treats Malcolm’s break from Elijah Muhammad as a son’s disillusionment with a morally flawed surrogate father, Malcolm left the Nation of Islam for political as well as personal reasons. Even before he learned of Elijah Muhammad’s infidelities, Malcolm was already fed up with his leader’s policy of nonengagement that not only prevented members of a group from participating in civil rights protests but even forbade voting. By 1963, he knew that the policy of nonengagement was hurting his recruitment efforts in black communities, as the Civil Rights movement grew in the South. Despite attacking Martin Luther King Jr.’s approach to non-violent resistance, he eventually saw that the Nation of Islam offered no real opportunity to black activists facing vicious white racists in the South. He also knew very well that the Nation of Islam wasn’t above making deals with white people when it suited the leaders’ interests. Malcolm would even admit that while criticizing the civil rights activists working with white liberals, he negotiated a mutual noninterference agreement with the Atlanta chapter of the Klu Klux Klan on Elijah Muhammad’s orders that made him realize that his leader’s insistence that all whites were devils made it possible to justify dealing with the worst of them {such as the hate group most likely responsible for killing Malcolm’s dad}. Thus, Malcolm X’s disillusionment with the Nation of Islam had less to do with the sins of its leaders and more to do with their policies on politics and race relations, particularly the group’s refusal to campaign for civil rights.)

Malcolm X was introduced to the ideas of the Nation of Islam through his cellmate in prison. (Contrary to Malcolm X, his cellmate introduced him to literature, not religion though the two would remain friends. Malcolm actually joined the Nation of Islam at the insistence of family members notably brothers Reginald and Philbert and his half-sister Ella who wrote to him in prison. Yet, once he was a member of the Nation of Islam, he didn’t have to enlighten his friend Shorty who wasn’t transferred upstate and actually became a member himself but not for long when he disagreed with some of Elijah Muhammad’s teachings. Also, the preacher he challenged wasn’t an older man as played by Christopher Plummer but a young Harvard Seminary student who was much more wise and willing to accept that Jesus was brown.)

Malcom X was working as a train porter for the New Haven Line at the time of a boxing match between Billy Cohn and Joe Louis. (Louis and Cohn would have two boxing matches together in the 1940s. Malcolm wasn’t working for the New Haven Line at either time.)

Malcolm X was followed by CIA agents while he was in Mecca. (Contrary to Malcolm X, he was followed by Mecca’s secret service during his trip.)

Malcolm X spent his last year in foreboding the inevitable as well as receiving death threats from the Nation of Islam through telephone calls. (Actually he was quite busy during his final months. Moments include his brief meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. at the U. S. Capitol {that included a photo-op} and his “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech at the symposium sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality. He attended a meeting of the Organization of African Unity and had talks with the leaders of Egypt, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, and Uganda. In October 1964, he had a day-long meeting with leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Nairobi which resulted in cooperation between the SNCC and Malcolm’s newly formed Organization of Afro-American Unity. In December of 1964, he made an appearance with Fannie Lou Hamer and other Mississippi civil rights activists as Malcolm’s honored guests at an OAAU meeting in Harlem. In February of 1965, he met with Coretta Scott King in Selma where he affirmed his desire to assist King’s voting rights and explained that if whites knew he was an alternative “it might be easier for them to accept Martin’s proposals.” He even sent a telegram to the American Nazi Party saying: “I am no longer held in check from fighting white supremacists by Elijah Muhammad’s separationist Black Muslim Movement and if your present racist agitation of our people there in Alabama causes physical harm to Reverend King or any other Black Americans. . . you and your KKK friends will be met with maximum physical retaliation.” Yet, almost none of that is depicted in Malcolm X.)

White operatives might’ve been involved in Malcolm X’s assassination. (Contrary to Malcolm X, Malcolm’s independent political discourse attracted deadly enemies. Yet, Malcolm was probably more or less killed by those in The Nation of Islam than anyone else. In fact, the Nation of Islam directed nearly all its violence toward other blacks, particularly defectors. Malcolm certainly would’ve been on the top of their list.)

Betty Shabazz:

Betty Shabazz was a simpleton who was always complaining about Malcolm X’s eating habits. (Contrary to Malcolm X, she was a highly intelligent woman and one of the few Muslims with a college degree. Also, despite that Malcolm definitely wore the pants in the relationship; she wasn’t easily intimidated, not even by her husband.)

Betty Shabazz took all four of her kids to the Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965. (She only took three of them contrary to Malcolm X. The youngest was left with a friend.)

Freedom Summer:

The trial involving the murder of the three civil rights activists was a swift movement of justice. (Contrary to Mississippi Burning, it wasn’t for it actually took four years and numerous trials to get them sentenced to anything at all. Not to mention, though the seven convicted were sentenced more to 10 years, none of them served more than six.)

During the case of three missing civil rights activists in Mississippi, FBI agents resorted to vigilante tactics. (Sorry, Mississippi Burning, but it’s said that they paid informants with cash. Seriously, there’s no way in hell FBI agents would get away with what Gene Hackman and William Defoe did in that movie.)

The informant pertaining to the case of the civil rights activists was the sheriff’s wife. (Though depicted this way in Mississippi Burning, it was a person named Mr. X, who decided to remain anonymous but he decided to give information not out of the goodness of his heart but for the $30,000 reward.)

The disappearance and murder of the three missing Civil Rights activists in Mississippi was a police conspiracy. (Contrary to Mississippi Burning, we’re not sure what it was but the local police were certainly no help.)

The FBI was happy to oblige the investigation into the disappearance and murder of three civil rights activists. (Contrary to Mississippi Burning, J. Edgar Hoover wanted absolutely nothing to do with the Civil Rights Movement because he thought it as a load of Communist bullshit and was a racist. He only caved to send FBI agents due to the case’s national attention as well as the fact he was under heavy pressure from Lyndon B. Johnson.)

J. Edgar Hoover sent hundreds of agents to Mississippi to investigate the case of the missing civil rights activists. (Initially, he only sent 11 contrary to what Mississippi Burning depicts. It was a pretty lame effort.)

The FBI agents in Mississippi were hell bent on finding the killers of three civil rights activists and preventing further violence. (Contrary to Mississippi Burning, most of the FBI agents there couldn’t care less. It’s said that the FBI and the Justice Department would only intervene when absolutely necessary in their own point of view. In some cases, it’s said they stood by while beatings took place right in front of them.)

Miscellaneous:

The Civil Rights Movement wouldn’t have been made possible without benevolent white people who helped African Americans out with their own sense of moral responsibility. (Yes, there were whites who supported the Civil Rights Movement such as the white Freedom Riders but the Civil Rights Movement was decades in the making and mostly led by African American organizations like the NAACP as well as other organizations of color. And it was the NAACP’s Thurgood Marshall who argued for the black families involved in Brown v. Board of Education as well as thirty-one others. And out of the 32 case he argued in front of the Supreme Court, Marshall only lost 3 and would soon be seated on the Supreme Court himself as the first African American justice.)

The FBI was the honorable vanguard of civil rights protectors. (They were reluctant presence throughout the proceedings and would only investigate only under heavy pressure by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Also, J. Edgar Hoover had been spying on Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders.)

Black Civil Rights activists trembled in the fear of whites, disbanded their conversations whenever whites approached, and retreated in mute submission. (Contrary to Mississippi Burning {which was harshly criticized by Coretta Scott King for ignoring the role of black and white activists}, most blacks in Mississippi during Freedom Summer weren’t like this. In 1963, 85,000 black Mississippians cast “freedom ballots” to show their determination and prove, contrary to white declarations that they were quite serious about voting. Despite church bombings, arrests, and murders a year later, Mississippi blacks met at local Freedom Schools all summer long. They voted for Freedom Democratic Party delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City that year and created an autonomous social movement. These people were badasses who showed that they wouldn’t be terrorized into silence even if it costs them their lives. Eventually they prevailed. Mississippi Burning fails to show this which is a complete shame. They knew that the white establishment would retaliate with violence but they weren’t quaking illiterates unable and unwilling to stand up for themselves for they certainly did.)

The Civil Rights abuses in Birmingham took place in 1961. (They took place in 1964.)

The Nation of Islam was willing to challenge white authority but didn’t engage in militant action unless its members were threatened. (Actually, their reluctance to challenge white authority was one of the reasons why Malcolm X became disillusioned with the Nation of Islam in the first place. However, Malcolm X would never drop his militant streak and became increasingly close to militant civil rights activist late in life. Still, that Nation of Islam confrontation against white authorities in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X really did happen.)

The Black Panthers were a bunch of leather clad radical leftists. (Actually, they were more or less a community action organization during the late 1960s and 1970s who only wore guns for self-defense. Though they did acquire a shady reputation and were monitored by the FBI.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 77 – The Space Race

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The Right Stuff is a 1983 film about the breaking of the sound barrier as well as the original astronauts of the Mercury 7. The film isn’t entirely historically accurate and does get a lot of stuff wrong but it’s among the great movies featured on Roger Ebert’s list. Still, while it has an almost all-star cast, the guys they portrayed were much shorter in real life since NASA height limit was 5’11.”

One of the key events in the Cold War was the Space Race in which the United States and Russia competed to put the first artificial satellite (Russia), the first manned spaceflight (Russia), and the first man on the moon (US). Of course, if there was a more constructive way to channel Cold War aggression and competitiveness, then the race to Space Exploration was it. After all, the race for nuclear weapons kind of scared the hell out of people while the Space Race gave everyone a way to boast about one’s national technological marvels while not having to worry about being blown to oblivion. Thus, when US President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced the national desire to launch an artificial satellite in 1955, the Space Race was on. Then the Soviets beat the US in the first round in 1957 with Sputnik 1 which basically sent the US freaking. Then the Russians launched Sputnik 2 which carried a dog named Laika into space who died five to seven hours after launch due to stress and overheating (well, the satellite was never intended to bring her back alive, though Moscow said she was euthanized but her death was kept secret for over 40 years). In 1958, the US launched Explorer 1 that discovered the Van Allen belt. Then you have the race for manned spaceflight in 1961 with Soviet Yuri Gagarin being the first man in space on Vostok 1 and the Russians would launch the first woman Valentina Tereshkova two years later (though the US would launch the first LGBT person in space in the 1980s if you know what I mean). Later in 1961, the US would launch Alan Shepard as their first man in space followed by John Glenn in 1962 as the first man to orbit the earth. Yet, even later that year, US President John F. Kennedy announced the US’ intent to land on the moon by the end of the decade. However, the US would beat the Soviets on this one and put a man on the moon by the end of the decade mostly because the Soviet manned moon program was beset with problems from the start, though they did send a probe there before Neil Armstrong made his one small step for man. Nevertheless, movies made pertaining to the Space Race do have their share of inaccuracies which I shall list.

Yuri Gagarin:

Yuri Gagarin lifted off into space at night. (He lifted off at 9:07AM Moscow time.)

Werner Von Braun:

Werner Von Braun was involved in the failed attempt to launch the Vanguard rocket. (Sorry, Homer Hickam, but you had no need to send your condolences to him since he wasn’t involved in the project and wouldn’t have been upset at all. You should’ve sent them to the Navy, much to Von Braun’s disliking.)

NASA:

NASA astronauts were over 6 feet tall. (Let’s just say the maximum height limit NASA is 5’11” thus, anyone over that would be considered ineligible. But astronauts in movies are always played by taller people.)

NASA scientists were bumbling idiots who needed design tips from the astronauts to even make the spaceships. (Contrary to The Right Stuff, it was the NASA scientists who designed the spaceships that put the astronauts into space and brought them right back. Also, NASA scientists were among the best and the brightest minds in the nation. Heck, at the time there were German scientists from WWII like Werner von Braun who were able to duck war crimes indictments because the US needed to compete with the Russians. These guys deserve their own movie, too.)

President John F. Kennedy inspired the US space program. (NASA was established during Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidency in 1958 contrary to Apollo 13.)

The Mercury 7:

Virgil “Gus” Grissom was 5’10.” (Contrary to Fred Ward’s portrayal of him in The Right Stuff, he was 5’5.” Also, his full name was Virgil Ivan Grissom, with the first he found personally embarrassing and the middle a propaganda embarrassment in itself. It’s no wonder why they called him, “Gus.” Also, the first guy to be launched into space twice as well as the first one of the Mercury 7 to die when he met his end during a launch pad test for the Apollo 1 mission.)

All the Mercury 7 astronauts all raised their hands when asked “Which one of you will be the first into space?” (Contrary to The Right Stuff, the question was actually about whether they were confident they would return from space.)

Gordon Cooper was a Korean War veteran. (Contrary to The Right Stuff, he was the only astronaut of the Mercury 7 who wasn’t a combat veteran. He was also the only nonsmoker and managed to hold his breath longer than John Glenn or Scott Carpenter unlike in the movie.)

Though John Glenn was planned to go on seven orbits on Friendship 7, he only landed after three. (He was always planned to land after 3 orbits and did so though the ground did tell him that he was to go for 7 it was to inform him that he was in a stable orbit. Also, he was the oldest man in space then since he was the oldest astronaut of the Mercury 7 and he’s the only one of that group still living at the age of 93 as of 2014.)

NASA chose Alan Shepard to be the first American man in space. (Actually while this is implied in The Right Stuff, Shepard was actually chosen by his peers.)

Gordon Cooper was the last American to go into space alone. (As of 1982 when The Right Stuff came out and as an astronaut of NASA. However in 2004 two guys on Scale Composite’s SpaceShipOne named Mike Mevill and Brian Binnie have the latter on the day when Gordon Cooper died.)

John Glenn traveled 17,500 miles per hour on Friendship 7. (No Mercury spacecraft had a guidance system that permitted to measure its velocity.)

Gordon Cooper was the only person of the Mercury 7 not to fly a Mercury mission. (Deke Slayton was due to a heart condition but he’ll go into space in 1975 during the Apollo-Soyuz test project as a docking module pilot. As for Gordon Cooper, he went into space in 1963 on Faith 7 and was the first American to spend more than a day in space. He would also be the commander on Gemini 5 two years later.)

Deke Slayton could swim. (Despite the pool scene in The Right Stuff, he could not and never told anyone. Also, during underwater training, Slayton sank to the bottom and had to be rescued. He subsequently practiced holding his breath in the kitchen sink according to his wife Marge.)

Gus Grissom panicked when his Liberty 7 sank in a splashdown landing that he caused the premature detonation of the hatch’s explosive bolts. (Actually contrary to The Right Stuff, the premature detonation was due to mechanical failure, not human error. Yet, it took a long time to find that out.)

Gus Grissom was an incompetent pilot as well as a womanizer. (He was neither contrary to his portrayal in The Right Stuff. Besides, NASA didn’t see him as an idiot since he flew on a Gemini mission and was selected to command the Apollo 1 mission before a fire during practice killed everyone on the launch pad. Not to mention, neither did his fellow astronauts on the Mercury 7 either. By contrast, Scott Carpenter had a little controversy with his mission in the realm of fuel management and never flew again.)
John Glenn hummed “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” during his potentially fatal re-entry. (Contrary to The Right Stuff, he didn’t do this.)

John Glenn was threatened of being replaced by another astronaut when he got into a shouting match with a NASA official who ordered him to get on the phone with his wife Annie and tell her to let Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson in. (Contrary to The Right Stuff, Glenn did confirm the incident but didn’t mention other astronauts, “I saw red. I said that if they wanted to do that, they’d have a press conference to announce their decision and I’d have one to announce mine, and if they wanted to talk about it anymore, they’d have to wait until I took a shower. When I came back, they were gone and I never heard any more about it.”)

All John Glenn did during his flight on Friendship 7 was gaze at the star and talked about the so-called “fireflies” outside his spacecraft (“They were droplets of frozen water vapor from the capsule’s heat exchanger system, but their fireflylike glow remains a mystery” as John Glenn wrote). (Contrary to The Right Stuff, Glenn said he did more than that including taking his blood pressure, taking pictures of the Canary Islands and the Sahara, testing his vision, and doing exercises with bungee cords to compare his readings to previous ones taken on the ground.)

Apollo 13:

The glitch on Apollo 13 sent the crew into total chaos. (Actually contrary to Apollo 13, NASA had already simulated many of the faults that would occur on the actual Apollo 13. Not to mention, the astronauts remained with cool heads at all times than what the film implies with the emotional tensions being played up for drama.)

Jim Lovell and Fred Haise were a bit mistrustful of Jack Swigert who replaced Ken Mattingly when the latter had to pull out due to rubella. They were also worried about his competence with docking the Command Module. (Contrary to Apollo 13, Swigert was an expert on the Apollo command module who literally wrote the book on emergency procedures, many of which were actually used on the mission. Yes, there was a little apprehension when he replaced Mattingly but it was short-lived and had more to do with the fact he was a last-minute inclusion they had to bunk with for the duration than with his abilities, especially after what happened. Also, if he couldn’t dock the Command Modules, his cremates could’ve done it.)

Ken Mattingly was bumped off from the Apollo 13 mission for rubella. (Yes, he was yet though the film gets this correct as well as the fact he never contracted it. Yet, viewers may have a hard time wondering why Mattingly was grounded despite never contracting the disease. The answer is that a week prior to the launch, one of the backup crew members named Charles Duke contracted rubella from his kids and everyone else on both the prime and backup crew was exposed since they trained together. Aside from the obvious exception of Duke, Mattingly was the only one of both crews who didn’t have rubella as a child, and thus, wasn’t immune. So three days before the launch, Mattingly was out and Swigert was in.)

Ken Mattingly was rewarded for not nobly going into space and saving his stricken crewmembers from the control center. (Contrary to Apollo 13, the tasks Mattingly performed were down to a whole team operating more closely on the lines of existing procedures.)
Commander James Lovell said, “Houston we have a problem.” (Actually he said, “Houston, we’ve had a problem” though he probably should’ve said that. Also, the real Jim Lovell looked more like an older Edward Norton than Tom Hanks.)

Ken Mattingly was at home drinking when the Apollo 13 accident occurred and only knew from watching the TV. (Contrary to the film, he was at Mission Control at the time. Also, Gary Sinise was much more attractive than he was in real life.)

A team of engineers devised a solution to the Command Module on Apollo 13 by making its air filters fit the incompatible slots of the Lunar Module’s filters. (Contrary to Apollo 13, this was devised by a single NASA engineer while driving to work.)

Marilyn Lovell’s wedding ring went down the drain while she was taking a shower before her husband’s Apollo 13 mission. (Unlike in Apollo 13, her ring was too big to fall through the drain cover and Marilyn was able to retrieve it.)

Alan Shepard was bumped to Apollo 14 because of inner ear problems. (Contrary to Apollo 13, it was his lack of training and the relatively short time until launch. Bumping his crew up to Apollo 14 would give his crew more time to train. Still, Alan Shepard would get to be on the moon and use his own golf clubs, too.)

Miscellaneous:

The launches of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin took place in Star City, Russia. (They took place in Baikonur Cosmodrome which is in present-day Kazakhstan. Still, it’s worth noting that Yuri Gagarin was mistaken for an alien when he landed in a Russian village and asked them for a phone. I’m sure being 5’2” in an orange jumpsuit didn’t help.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 76 – The Cold War

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Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 Dr. Strangelove: or How I Stopped Worrying and Love the Bomb is one of the great Cold War satires that perfectly captures the historical mood of the time. Peter Sellers’ titular character shown here is based off of guys like Henry Kissinger, Edward Teller, and Werner Von Braun. Sellers also plays the President of the United States and a British Lieutenant stuck with General Ripper. Yet, one of the most surprising things in this movie is the presence of James Earl Jones as an Air Force pilot (yes, that James Earl Jones).

The problem with doing a movie history of the Cold War is that for many years there are so many movies that use it as a contemporary setting, particularly spy films. Thus, it makes the idea particularly hard to separate the history from the fantasy, well, maybe not that hard but close enough. Still, Hollywood had plenty of material to go by with the Cold War and it shows, even today with every James Bond movie or Tom Clancy or John LeCarre film adaptation. Nevertheless, from 1945 to 1991, the Western societies and Communist countries were locked in a war of influence with The United States and the Soviet Union being the two major superpowers involved. It was a time of arms races with building doomsday weapons and scrambling to get to outer space (which I’ll get to later). It was time in which indirect conflicts would be backed by one or the other. And it was a time of paranoia and scares in which people were afraid of nuclear annihilation and suspicious of opposing spies. You also had the Berlin Wall. Yet, it would all come down in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, which made many bummed out of their minds. Nevertheless, there were plenty of movies made pertaining to this era which have their share of inaccuracies I shall list.

Red Scare:

Senator Joseph R. McCarthy was an upstart member of the US Senate who just went a little too crazy over the Red Scare of the 1950s as well as well-liked figure in the Republican Party. (Actually, by 1948, McCarthy was in a career crisis mode by that time after allegations of bribery arose in 1948 which might have brought him impeachment or at the very least censure. Either way, his political career was on the way out and by this point, even the Republicans felt that he was an embarrassment so they sent him to do a speech in Wheeling where McCarthy made his famous anti-Communist stump speech that led to seven years of witch-hunts as well as made him politically bulletproof until 1954. Though Hollywood may make it seem otherwise, the Republican Party at the time didn’t intend to make Senator McCarthy a major political sensation. Rather, they were just trying to make him quietly go away.)

Senator Joseph McCarthy’s influence was at its height by 1953. (It was already on the wane by the time Edward R. Murrow’s show about him aired due to years of investigative reporting by other journalists by Drew Pearson. As Murrow said in Newsweek, “It’s a sad state of affairs when people think I was courageous” in presenting his show. Still, having Joseph McCarthy on See It Now certainly helped Americans everywhere to see how batshit insane this guy really was. Oh, and the Joe McCarthy footage in Good Night and Good Luck, well, it’s actually him despite some people complaining that the actor playing him hammed too much.)

The McCarthy era was one of the worst Red Scare eras in American history. (The notorious Palmer Raids of 1919-1920 would make the McCarthy hearings look like a picnic.)

McCarthyism made the job of finding Soviet spies easier. (It made the job harder. Not only that but accusing people of being Communist Party members actually allowed many bonafide Soviet spies to escape prosecution like Mary Jane Keeney who worked for the GRU and she was the only one of McCarthy’s accusations who was anything close to guilty. You could say that McCarthy was kind of a godsend to Soviet spies operating in the US.)

J. Edgar Hoover had little involvement in McCarthyism. (If it wasn’t for J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, then the McCarthy witch-hunt would’ve been written off akin to the bullshit you’d typically hear on Fox News that nobody should take seriously. J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI were the muscle behind the McCarthy witch-hunts and the reason why the Red Scare of the 1950s ruined so many lives.)

American Communists were cynical opportunists as well as racists only interested in seizing power in the US on behalf of the Soviets and not improving social and labor conditions in the country. (The movie I Was a Communist for the FBI portrays American Communists as this. However, the reality was {mostly} the opposite in regards to people like Pete Seeger, Paul Robeson, or a lot of other folk singers as well as others. One critic was especially critical of the 1951 film writing, “In many respects, this heated item bears comparison to the hearings before the House Un-American Activities Committee—which, incidentally, it extols. … For instance, in glibly detailing how the Communists foment racial hate and labor unrest in this country … [it] hint[s] that most Negroes and most laborers are ‘pinks’. It raises suspicion of school teachers … [and] that people who embrace liberal causes, such as the Scottsboro trial defense, are Communist dupes … and the film itself glows with patriotism. But it plays a bit recklessly with fire.”)

The K-19 Submarine Accident:

K-19 was the Soviet Union’s first nuclear submarine. (It was actually the Russians’ first nuclear missile submarine. The first nuclear Russian submarine was K-3 {an attack sub} which wasn’t as prone to serious nuclear accidents as K-19 was though similarly “reliable.” Also, contrary to the titular film K-19: The Widowmaker, the sub was actually much roomier than it’s depicted since it’s being played by a diesel sub. Of course, Kathryn Bigelow and the other filmmakers did try to secure the boat as a production set but the Russian Navy declined {for obvious reasons since it had a service life marred by a large number of accidents. The Russian Navy probably was worried about the film crew’s safety or thought filming there would be nuts}. As of 2014, the submarine is said to be preserved in a submarine graveyard after it was bought by one of the members of the original crew. Still, it’s worth mentioning that its first submarine commander did look a lot like Harrison Ford though {though his character’s name was changed out respect for the real life counterpart’s family}, which partly explains why his performance was praised by the remaining survivors.)

Seven men died as a result of radiation exposure during the K-19 nuclear accident. (Contrary to the 2002 film, 8 did that included all 7 members of the engineering team along with their divisional officer, within the next month from July 4, 1961. However, 15 would die from the after-effects of radiation exposure within the next two years.)

The K-19 was nicknamed: “The Widowmaker.” (It was never nicknamed “The Widowmaker” though it would’ve been an appropriate one since it did create a lot of widows and quite a few widowers during its construction and service. Rather its nickname was “Hiroshima” but after the accident. It would have a lot more accidents in its subsequent years of service with some resulting in fatalities {yes, it was put back into service after the meltdown}. Incidents include a 1972 fire that would kill 30 people and an electrical short circuit in 1982 that would kill one. Still, “The Widowmaker” is a lot more badass name than “Hiroshima.”)

There was an actual mutiny on the K-19 during the 1961 accident. (Contrary to the movie, the Captain was savvy enough to throw almost all the submarine’s small arms overboard out of concern of the possibility of mutiny.)

The Bay of Pigs Invasion:

The New York Times didn’t publish a story on the Bay of Pigs Invasion and regretted it. (This is a widely believed myth that’s depicted in Thirteen Days. The paper published a front-page story on the Bay of Pigs Invasion preparations two weeks before the event occurred, but it didn’t address any CIA involvement and that invasion was imminent.)

The failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion and the political fallout that followed may have been the first strike that eventually became a conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy. (Contrary to JFK, there’s no proof of this.)

Cuban Missile Crisis:

Kenneth O’ Donnell was the chief agent in preventing the Cuban Missile Crisis from escalating. (It was really, Ted Sorensen. As former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara said, “For God’s sakes, Kenny O’Donnell didn’t have any role whatsoever in the missile crisis; he was a political appointment secretary to the President; that’s absurd.” I wonder why they put Kenny O’Donnell in Thirteen Days because he’s played by Kevin Costner {who looks nothing like the real guy at all} and Ted Sorensen’s not. Yet, almost everyone in the Kennedy Executive Committee of National Security was more important than Kenneth O’Donnell. Shame Thirteen Days didn’t have the guts or funding to keep Kevin Costner out of the film.)

John F. Kennedy was worried about the prospect of millions of people dying in a nuclear holocaust around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Yes, he certainly was and so was almost everyone in the Kennedy White House during that time. Yet, contrary to Thirteen Days, it wasn’t the only thing on his mind since his first comment to the real Kenneth O’Donnell when the crisis broke out was about how two militant Anti-Castro Republicans would do in the polls: “We’ve just elected [Homer] Capehart in Indiana, and Ken Keating will probably be the next president of the United States.” Yet, let’s just say that a president worrying about his electoral prospects in such a crisis may be understandable. Still, while Thirteen Days was criticized for not devoting much time to Cuba and Russia, this is understandable since it’s based on memoirs from various Kennedy officials. Khrushchev had to get to Kennedy through Radio Moscow to talk to him during this time. Then again, perhaps Khrushchev should’ve been more worried about his job because he’d lose it after the Cuban Missile Crisis {which he kind of started}, though he got off pretty easy compared to other Soviet leaders.)

Kenneth O’Donnell made phone calls to Commander Ecker and Adlai Stevenson during the Cuban Missile Crisis. (O’Donnell played almost no part at all in the Cuban Missile Crisis despite his Kevin Costner portrayal in Thirteen Days. Thus, these phone calls never occurred.)

The secret deal with the Soviets over the Turkish missiles was shared with the members of the Executive Committee of National Security in the Kennedy Administration. (Contrary to Thirteen Days, it was only known to very few people such as JFK, RFK, Dean Rusk, Ted Sorensen, and perhaps McNamara. Robert F. Kennedy vaguely hinted at this deal in his 1968 memoir Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The secret deal wasn’t known to the public until 1989 when it was officially confirmed by Ted Sorensen.)

President John F. Kennedy didn’t wear a hat when he left Chicago during the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Contrary to Thirteen Days, he did, supposedly with a cold, since the White House Press Corps certainly would’ve noticed it for JFK almost never wore one.)

Nikita Khrushchev’s acceptance of peace contained the lines, “you and I should not now pull on the ends of the rope in which you have tied the knot of war, because the harder you and I pull, the tighter the knot will become…”(Contrary to Thirteen Days, this quote appeared in Khrushchev’s first letter from October 26, 1962, not October 27.)

The Cuban Missile Crisis took place in November 1962. (It took place in October.)

Soviet-Afghan War:

Representative Charlie Wilson greeted Pakistani president General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in Islamabad in a smart suit. (Unlike in Charlie Wilson’s War, he was in a Stetson hat and heeled cowboy boots almost making him look 7ft tall. Also, the conversation was about India, not fighting the Soviets. Not to mention, Pakistan was developing a nuclear bomb at this time, but you wouldn’t know it from the film. Then again, Wilson denied in front of congressional subcommittees. At the same time it’s said he told Zia at a state dinner, “Mr. President, as far as I’m concerned you can make all the bombs you want because you are our friends and they, the Indians, are our enemies.” {Actually the bit about the Indians isn’t exactly true for they weren’t US enemies}.)

Representative Charlie Wilson was a womanizing booze hound. (His exploits weren’t just limited to women and booze. He was also said to be a drug user.)

Charlie Wilson and General Zia were willing to help the Afghans so they could improve the lives of refugees. (Sure the refugee bit as a main motivation was more to make Wilson and Zia sympathetic characters in the Aaron Sorkin film though the refugee bit wasn’t even the half of it as far as motivations were concerned. It had more to do with Cold War politics and an enemy infidel invasion next door as far as the US and Pakistan were concerned. Yet, the story is far too complex for 1 ½ hour film.)

Charlie Wilson was willing to build a few schools in Afghanistan after the Soviets were defeated. (I’m not sure about this. Still, Charlie Wilson’s War leaves out actions by the ISI, MI6, CIA, and Saudi Arabia as well as the various factions in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Also, he had no remorse or regret over arming the Afghan rebels despite the consequences.)

Charlie Wilson was the only American politician involved with the Soviet War in Afghanistan. (Contrary to Charlie Wilson’s War, Ronald Reagan actually gave the order to provide the Mujahadeen with Stinger missiles that denied the Soviets air supremacy and turn the momentum of battle after 1986. And remember that many of the Mujahadeen would later become Islamic warriors and form the Taliban so, yeah, he did negotiate with terrorists. Still, Charlie Wilson didn’t carry out his operation without the government’s knowledge but with the government’s approval.)

All of Charlie Wilson’s aides were gorgeous women. (His chief aide was a man named Charlie Schnabel.)

Robert Hanssen:

Robert Hanssen’s wife Bonnie didn’t know that he was a spy for the Russians. (Contrary to Breach, she knew since 1969 when she found $10,000 in cash at their home. Yet, by Hanssen’s capture in 2001, she was living in denial. Still, despite all the shit he had her put up with, Bonnie still wouldn’t want to divorce him. Yet, judging by the fact that Hanssen was a member of Opus Dei who videotaped himself having sex with his wife he’d watch with a high school buddy, he probably did it for the money.)

Miscellaneous:

Everything in the USSR was terrible, or technically backward, and that life was worse for them in every way, compared to the “democratic West.” (While the citizens of the Soviet Union certainly lacked civil rights compared to us, there were many aspects of their country that was advanced. For example, they were landing their cosmonauts on land, while ours had to fall into the sea. Their literacy rate was higher than the US, and their public education system superior. There was very little crime and doctors were making house calls right up to the bitter end – of communism, that is.)

The Soviets had the ability to nuke the US to oblivion. (Contrary to most movies that gives us the impression that the Soviets had thousands of nukes ready to unleash a fiery death on American cities, they only had 200 strategic bombers in all, tops. Their missiles weren’t much better. Yet, let’s just say, in the nuclear capabilities department, the Soviet Union was behind at least in the 1950s. If the Soviet Union had a chance to nuke the US into oblivion, it would’ve been in the 1980s.)

All Russians were Caucasian. (Russians came from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities as well as cultures.)

All Communist countries were Soviet puppets. (Maybe Poland and East Germany though their relations with the USSR weren’t entirely smooth. As for the rest of the Iron Curtain, they tried to gain more autonomy from the Soviet Union even though they were Communist. As for the Asian Communist states, China was at odds with Russian and tried to invade Vietnam, the Korean War was Kim Il-Sung’s idea, and Vietnam actually thwarted the Chinese invasion. Oh, and Vietnam wouldn’t put up with China invading them either.)

Communist banned religion in their countries. (Officially atheist, sure, but many religious traditions in those countries did survive to this day. Not to mention, many Chinese religions actually don’t require belief in a god and tend to have characteristics that resemble philosophy. Also, explain to me how John Paul II was able to become Pope? I mean John Paul II spent most of his life before pope as a Catholic priest/bishop in a Communist country. Not to mention, though the Soviet Union did persecute clergymen and tried to dismantle religious institutions, the laity was mostly tolerated {same goes for other Eastern Bloc nations} since persecuting a group that made up the majority of Russia’s population was a bad idea. Not to mention, Josef Stalin would actually revive the Russian Orthodox Church to drum up support for Russia’s entry into WWII and never bothered to persecute the Georgian Orthodox Church because he was afraid of angering his mother. There would be a time when the anti-religious policies would be revived under Khrushchev , they’d be considerably relaxed under Brezhnev onward.)

Some East German Stasi agents would betray their agency and help those they had under surveillance. (The plot to The Lives of Others revolves around this but unfortunately, no Stasi agent has publically regretted their actions, let alone help their victims. Also, the Stasi agents watching were also under surveillance so they wouldn’t get away with what Wiesler did. Ironically, they guy who played Wiesler was also under surveillance and later found out that his then wife was a registered informant on him.)

Russia was a US ally in 1947. (A more accurate term would be frenemy since they still kept ambassadors {enemy nations don’t send ambassadors to each other} but Russia and the US weren’t exactly friends.)

At least one woman was awarded the “Hero of the Soviet Union” twice. (This is the Soviet equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor. 92 Soviet women were awarded this once {50 posthumously} yet there’s no record of any woman being awarded it twice.)

The Soviets had the power to launch nuclear missiles with a push of a button. (Contrary to Dr. Strangelove {which is a great satire by the way}, unless the Russians were planning an offensive on the US in which use of nukes was imminent, the Soviet premier couldn’t just press a button to start off a nuke. The Soviets used a particularly toxic and rather corrosive blend of rocket fuel for their missiles and since they didn’t have the kind of metallurgy the US did; Russian missiles could only be fueled for a limited time before they’d have to be unfueled, maintained, and refueled. As a result unless an offensive posture was needed in the event of a nuclear war, the Soviet missiles were kept empty of rocket fuel until they were set to be launched. And the fueling process of Soviet nuke missiles usually took up to four hours, which would’ve made launching preparations very problematic. Oh, and the Soviets had a mostly train-based missile launch system under an impression that it would be more difficult to destroy a mobile target than one at a stationary reinforced location. Yet, such train-based missile launch system made US intelligence agencies very good at finding things with the increasingly ubiquitous spy satellites that were more or less developed to spy on the Soviet Union. Let’s just say if Nikita Khrushchev was able to cause a nuclear holocaust with a push of a red button, there probably would’ve been no Cuban Missile Crisis since he was only willing to deploy Soviet missiles at Cuba after the US has had deployed their missiles in Turkey which could hit Moscow within 16 minutes to launch. Yet, problems arose when it became uncertain of whether Cuba had any authority to launch them or whether Cuba would launch them anyway as well as the United States finding out. Maybe the Russians should’ve stuck to making assault weapons since the AK-47 is the most widely used and popular assault rifle on earth and has killed far more people than nukes.)

Soviet officers wore beards. (Facial hair was prohibited in the Soviet Union’s armed forces.)

Russian soldiers were equipped with Swedish Gustav M45 submachine gun. (Look, unless this is a WWII movie of the Eastern Front or any time before 1946, it would be best if Russian soldiers during the Cold War would be equipped with AK-47s since it’s the most recognized Soviet Union weapon on earth and is made all over the world. Not to mention, everyone practically knows what they look like and can be found anywhere.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 75 – The Post-War World

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Nowhere Boy is a 2009 film that tells the story of John Lennon’s early life in Liverpool from his broken childhood, his relationships with his mother and aunt, and his friendships with Paul McCartney and George Harrison who’d later help form the Beatles in the 1960s. Sure it does have its share of artistic license but it does ring true.

While Post-WWII America is covered a lot in movies, there are a lot of other things that happened in the world as well. Of course, you have the Cold War with Josef Stalin setting up his Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe (but I’ll get to it later) as well as the spread of Communism to China and parts of Asia like Vietnam. Since World War II basically cost a lot for countries like Britain and France and other colonial nations, they started granting their colonies independence such as India, Iceland, Indonesia, Burma, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Syria, and The Philippines. Let’s just say the Post-War Era would see surge in geographical media since the political boundaries were changing. Some countries would part on more peaceful terms than others with British willing to grant independence to India and Pakistan with barely any fuss while Algeria and Vietnam basically had to fight France. You have the rebuilding of war zones under the Marshall Plan but Hollywood doesn’t pay attention to that since many Europeans don’t remember the late 1940s fondly since it involved being occupied, having to return to rubble or other hardships. In the early 1950s, you have the Korean War in which North Korea under Kim Il Sung launched an invasion on South Korea. With the help of UN forces, South Korea managed to retain independence while other countries were able to get out with an armistice in 1953, neither side really won. Nevertheless, while there are some movies made in this time, they do have their share of errors which I shall list.

Great Britain:

The Quarrymen:

John Lennon was taller than Paul McCartney when they were teenagers. (Actually they were about the same height. Yet, the real Paul McCartney didn’t like his portrayal in Nowhere Boy since the actor playing him was substantially shorter than the one playing John Lennon telling the Telegraph “Put John in a trench! Or put me in platforms!” However, the kid did look a bit younger, which is okay since Paul was about two years younger than John and it would’ve been very difficult to find a taller actor to pass for 14 {which was how old Paul was when he met John}. George Harrison was a year younger than Paul.)

John Lennon’s Uncle George died in front of him. (Contrary to Nowhere Boy, John’s uncle died when he was away.)

John Lennon and his Aunt Mimi didn’t get along. (While Nowhere Boy depicts John Lennon’s aunt as a total bitch, Mimi was a kind woman and obviously loved John. Heck, she raised him and gave him a stable home but Mimi never cut John’s contact with his mom. He’d also try to call her every day for the rest of their lives. Then again, John was said by many people who knew him as a rude and difficult person.)

Paul McCartney was right handed. (He was left-handed for he played guitars upside down during his teenage years {especially if they weren’t his}. Nowhere Boy doesn’t contain such scene.)

“In Spite of All The Danger” was recorded after John Lennon’s mother died. (Contrary to Nowhere Boy, it was recorded three days before.)

John Lennon received his first guitar from his Aunt Mimi. (He received it from his mother for his birthday I think.)

John Lennon punched Paul McCartney in the face at his mother’s funeral. (Paul McCartney claims this didn’t happen, though it’s depicted in Nowhere Boy. Yet, John was devastated of his mother’s death like that.)

John Lennon had blue eyes. (He had brown but the actor playing him in Nowhere Boy does. The only Beatles member not to have brown eyes was Ringo.)

Paul McCartney first saw John Lennon, when the latter played “Maggie Mae.” (The song was “Come and Go with Me.”)

Colin Clark:

Colin Clark was starstruck when he saw Marilyn Monroe for the first time during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl. (Actually, Clark wrote upon first seeing her as “Nasty complexion, a lot of facial hair, shapeless figure and, when the glasses came off, a very vague look in her eye.” As for The Prince and the Showgirl, it’s actually a pretty good movie. Still, Clark probably wasn’t the kind of gentleman as seen in My Week with Marilyn.)

Colin Clark enjoyed a week long fling with Marilyn Monroe. (Well, according to his diary he did as depicted in My Week with Marilyn. Yet, his account could’ve just been a self-serving fantasy, since a lot of it can’t be verified. Either way, his story about Marilyn Monroe is kind of creepy, not romantic.)

Sylvia Plath:

Sylvia Plath’s sister Aurelia didn’t meet Ted Hughes until after Plath married him. (Contrary to Sylvia, she attended their wedding.)

C. S. Lewis:

C. S. Lewis had one stepson. (He had two but you wouldn’t know it from Shadowlands.)

C.S. Lewis knew how to drive. (He never learned how despite numerous attempts.)

C.S. Lewis and Joy Gresham didn’t leave England after their wedding and went to the “Golden Valley” for their honeymoon. (They actually spent their honeymoon in Greece contrary to Shadowlands. However, aside from his WWI Army stint, Lewis had never left England before and was afraid Greece wouldn’t live up to what he had imagined and read Homer and Aristotle {in Greek} to build up a mental image. He wasn’t disappointed.)

During the 1950s, C. S. Lewis taught at Magdalen College at Oxford University. (Contrary to Shadowlands, in 1954, Lewis would accept a professorship of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University but he did so on the condition he’d be able to return to his home in Oxford for vacations and long weekends during the university term. Guess Cambridge was desperate.)

Joy Gresham:

Joy Gresham broke her leg while answering a call from C. S. Lewis in her London home. (Contrary to Shadowlands, she broke her leg while answering a call from a friend while she was in Oxford. Also, she was treated in an Oxford hospital for cancer.)

France:

The buildings in late 1940s Paris buildings were all in lovely and in tan sandstone. (Actually until the cleaning project of by Culture minister Andre Malreaux in the late 1960s, the buildings of Paris were black after centuries from pollution. Though this would’ve been what Julie Powell would’ve imagined 1949 Paris in Julie & Julia.)

Kon-Tiki Expedition:

During the Kon-Tiki expedition of 1947, the rafts’s parrot was eaten by a shark. (Contrary to the 2012 Norwegian film, it simply washed overboard by a large wave though it might’ve been eaten by a shark later.)

The Kon-Tiki’s crew got access to valuable US military equipment once they landed in Peru. (Thor Heyerdahl actually arranged for the equipment during a visit to the Pentagon before traveling to Peru.)

The Kon-Tiki’s crew was worried about the Galapagos Maelstrom. (The maelstrom was taken from an Edgar Allan Poe story which is in the 2012 film. However, Heyerdahl was actually more worried about strong ocean currents that could sweep the raft back towards Central America.)

Herman Watzinger was a pudgy, unathletic, and difficult man. (In Norway the portrayal of Thor Heyerdahl’s first mate was the source of controversy. The guy who played him admitted, “Watzinger was tall, dark, and Norwegian Youth Champion in the 100 meter. He was everything I’m not.”)

Herman Watzinger disobeyed Thor Heyerdahl’s direct order and threw a harpoon at a whale shark under the Kon-Tiki raft. (Actually Erik Hesselburg harpooned the whale shark with the rest of the crew cheering him on.)

Herman Watzinger and Thor Heyerdahl argued about the hemp ropes to hold the balsa logs together for the entire voyaged in which Watzinger begged Heyerdahl at sea to add steel cables he smuggled abroad. (According to Heyerdahl’s account and many of the crew’s relatives, this didn’t happen. The balsa wood was soft enough that the rope ate through the wood and it was eventually protected by the space that had been created around it. Also, there are a lot of made up scenarios in the 2012 Kon-Tiki film as critic Andrew Barker says, “It’s frustratingly ironic that Kon-Tiki’s most outrageously fantastical sequences are completely verifiable, and its most predictable, workaday conflicts are completely made up.”)

The crew of the Kon-Tiki waited for a 13th wave to carry them over the reef. (According to the documentary, they just waited for a wave big enough to do so.)

Thor Heyerdahl believed that Polynesia was populated by people from Peru. (Maybe but he also believed that the original Kon-Tiki voyage was undertaken by tall white redheaded men with beards. He also though that the Pre-Columbian American civilization like the Aztecs, Incas, or Mayas only arose with the help of advanced technical knowledge brought by early European voyagers and these white people were driven out of Peru and fled westward on rafts.)

The Korean War:

South Korea was ruled under the better government than North Korea. (Actually the South Korean government was almost just as authoritarian as the North Korean one minus the obsessive personality cult and the Communist political system. It was only after the Korean War that South Korea would gradually become more democratic {sort of} while North Korea would be ruled by three generations of dictators.)

Male US military personnel in the Korean War all had regular haircuts. (Actually you were bald or have been away for a long time from civilization, most guys in the armed forces could only get crewcuts for it was the only men’s hairstyle available for them {as well as for male military brats like my dad while my Grandpa C was stationed in New Mexico}. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from any adaptation of M*A*S*H.)

Only the US, North Korea, and South Korea were involved in the Korean War. (Actually, the Korean War could very well be considered a last world war. On the North Korean side, you had North Korea, China, and the Soviet Union. On the South Korean side, you had South Korea and the UN forces, mostly comprised of Americans but there were people from 16 other countries participating. Yet, it’s because of the TV M*A*S*H that anyone knows anything about it at all.)

General Douglas MacArthur:

General Douglas MacArthur’s tactics in the Korean War were working and was quite capable of winning the war if only President Harry S. Truman would only allow him to utilize the full military might of the United States. (While MacArthur implies this, it’s said that MacArthur wanted to nuke China and was willing to ignore Truman’s orders not to. Then again, he may have said this just to get Truman to fire his ass so he could leave the war with dignity intact, for they both knew that he wouldn’t be returning to head the UN Forces when they two met that fateful day. Besides, by that time, MacArthur was in his 70s and had been in the military longer than Eisenhower at this point. Actually, Eisenhower once worked for him for seven years as a young officer or “studied dramatics” as he called it.)

General Douglas MacArthur was upset that President Truman fired him. (Actually according to many historians, MacArthur might’ve been asking for Truman to do so for he accepted the president’s action without resistance and parted on amicable terms {though it did lead to Truman’s approval ratings taking a record nosedive, which led him to have one of the lowest of any sitting president before or since. Yet, this had much to do with MacArthur being a darling of the media and the American people at the time}. Because of the Korean War, Mac Arthur felt that he couldn’t resign and refused to be removed from command. Because MacArthur was a WWII hero, Truman felt he couldn’t ask MacArthur for his resignation but couldn’t allow him to resume his command. Firing MacArthur was his only option. Thus, Truman would conduct the war in a sane way as well as have MacArthur leave the war with his dignity intact.)

Miscellaneous:

The hotline telephone between Moscow and Washington DC was in use in 1953. (It wasn’t installed until 1963.)

No homes had television antennae in 1959. (Most of them did in developed countries because most people owned a TV.)

The UN existed in at the end of WWII. (It wasn’t formed until three months later in October of 1945.)

Stargazer lilies were around in 1953. (They weren’t created until 1974.)

Plastic bags existed in 1953. (They didn’t.)

Razor ribbon was used in prisons in the 1950s. (It wasn’t invented until the late 1960s.)

Ketchup and mustard were in plastic containers in the 1950s. (They were stored in glass bottles.)

Scented candles were around in 1958. (Unless they were DIY. Factory made ones, no.)

Movie theaters had one projector with reels being unchanged. (At this time, movie theaters always had two projectors that alternated and changed reels every 20 minutes.)

Dry cleaning was a new technology and business idea in 1949. (Dry cleaning had been around since the early 20th century and the process was discovered in the mid-19th century by a French inventor. Contrary to The Man Who Wasn’t There, a town like Santa Rosa, CA would’ve had at least 10 dry cleaners by 1949. So it wasn’t a new idea. Maybe John Polito’s character should’ve been a TV salesman instead of a dry cleaner.)

Bubble wrap envelopes existed at this time. (Bubble wrap didn’t exist until 1964 and bubble wrap envelopes wouldn’t appear until the late 1970s.)

3D movies were popular in 1957. (It was a passing fad of 1953-1954. No 3D movies were made after 1954 until the 2000s, well, at least when it came to showing movies in 3D.)

Teflon pans were available in 1949. (While Teflon was accidentally invented in 1938, Teflon pans weren’t sold until 1956. Before then, only Teflon pots were available.)

1949 beer bottles had screw tops. (They didn’t.)

Cubicles were around in 1955. (They were introduced in the mid-1960s.)

CPR was mouth to mouth in the 1950s. (It wasn’t mouth to mouth until the 1970s after a promotion by the Red Cross. CPR at the time involved the raising and lowering of the victim’s arms like you see in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.)

Etch-a-Sketch was available during this time period. (It wasn’t sold in the US until 1960.)

Women were allowed to apply for Rhodes scholarships in the 1950s. (Not until the 1970s.)

TVs came on immediately. (Actually TVs at the time used vacuum tubes that it took a couple of minutes for them to warm up once switched on. “Instant on” TVs didn’t come out until the late 1960s.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 74 – Music of Post-War America

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The 2004 biopic Ray tells the early life story of Ray Charles whose music would influence music for decades starring Jamie Foxx in his Academy Award winning performance. His music ranged from genres like jazz, R&B (fusing R&B and Gospel into Soul music), pop, rock n’ roll, and country. He was called “the only true genius” by none other than Frank Sinatra. Billy Joel said, “This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley.” Not to mention, the Beatles all expressed admiration for his achievements with Paul McCartney crediting him as the as the reason for getting into music. This film was released a few months after the man’s death but regardless of accuracy, it’s a fitting tribute that will let people know who this man really was. Not only that, but Jamie Foxx isn’t just playing Ray Charles in this movie, he is Ray Charles.

Whether they believed that the Post-WWII Era in America was a very good time or a very bad time, everyone has to concede the fact that the music was awesome. In this time, you have a great treasure trove of music that has become not only influential but also is still listened to today whether it be folk, big band, jazz, pop, R&B, country, blues, or the new genre of rock n’ roll. But of course, some people in my area may remember that time for doo wop since they play those specials on my PBS affiliate station during pledge drives. Still, this is the time of the popular singers like Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, Mitch Miller, and others. You have folk artists like Pete Seeger and the Kingston Trio. You have jazz musicians like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie “Bird” Parker, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk as well as singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Sarah Vaughn. You have R&B artists like Little Richard, Ray Charles, Etta James, and others. You have country stars like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Tex Ritter, Frankie Laine, Patsy Cline, and others. Finally, you have rock n’ roll with artists like Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Carl Perkins, and others. Oh, and you have Harry Belafonte, Les Paul, and plenty of crossovers and I mean, plenty. And this is just a sampling of those who had record hits. A lot of musicals and biopics are set in this era because of how the music and those who made them became legendary. Yet, many of these movies have their share of errors which I shall list accordingly.

Etta James:
Etta James never recorded before signing at Chess Records. (She recorded “Wallflower” for Modern Records before signing with Chess.)

Chuck Berry:

When arrested for violating the Mann Act, Chuck Berry angrily pointed out the resemblance between the Beach Boys “Surfin’ USA” and his “Sweet Little Sixteen.” (He was arrested in 1959 when nobody heard about the Beach Boys. The Beach Boys released “Surfin’ USA” in 1963 when he was still in prison and after Elvis entered the Army in 1958. Alan Freed didn’t introduce the song either since he was out of the radio business by then. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from Cadillac Records.)

Chuck Berry didn’t write “Johnny B. Goode.” (You may think this after seeing the first Back to the Future with Michael J. Fox playing the song while one the members called his cousin Chuck Berry up. However, Chuck Berry actually wrote the song himself and did the duck walk, too. The song is also partly autobiographical as well. Still, despite that Chuck Berry was in Cadillac Records, I can’t find “Johnny B. Goode” on the movie’s soundtrack album.)

Chuck Berry recorded “No Particular Place”, “Nadine”, and “Promised Land” in the mid-1950s. (Contrary to Cadillac Records, Berry recorded these songs in 1964. Yet, he did record “Johnny B. Goode” in 1955 which was his breakout hit but it’s not included in Cadillac Records. In many ways, to exclude “Johnny B. Goode” in a movie about Chess Records that Chuck Berry was a part of is a capital crime of the filmmakers and not just because I played that song in high school marching band.)

Frank Sinatra:

Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly with Me” was a hit in 1956. (It was released in 1957.)

Frank Sinatra enlisted the help of the Mafia to get the part of Private Maggio in From Here to Eternity. (Sorry, Godfather fans, but no horses were harmed in Sinatra’s pursuit to get the part of Maggio in From Here to Eternity, though it’s alleged he did have ties to the mob. Then again, most historians say that it was considered a package deal in those days to work in Vegas and rub elbows with guys named “Bugsy.” The horse’s head bit was probably something Mario Puzo just made up. It’s more likely his then-wife Ava Gardner persuaded the wife of Columbia’s studio head Harry Cohn to use her influence on him. Still, his performance in that movie not only won him an Oscar but also revived his career after years of decline. And, yes, he really could act.)

Buddy Holly:

Buddy Holly recorded “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” with his band in a recording studio. (Actually contrary to the 1987 La Bamba, he never performed this song with his band. He actually recorded it playing his own guitar on a home tape recorder. Only after his death, it was made into studio release after musical overdubs.)

The Crickets disbanded after Buddy Holly died. (Actually though you may think this they’re still around today.)

Buddy Holly toured with a full orchestra during his final concert. (Contrary to The Buddy Holly Story, he actually toured with a small unnamed band that consisted of Waylon Jennings on bass {yes, that Waylon Jennings}, Carl Bunch on drums, and Tommy Allsup on lead guitar.)

Buddy Holly was musically literate. (While there’s a scene of him writing a score in The Buddy Holly Story, the real Buddy Holly couldn’t read or write music.)

Buddy Holly was born with the last name of Holly. (His family’s name was Holley and he got his stage name from a misprint on a record label. He adopted the revised spelling.)

Buddy Holly toured with Same Cooke. (He never did.)

Buddy Holly’s fellow Crickets members were Jesse and Ray Bob. (Their names were Jerry Allison and Joe B. Mauldin.)

Buddy Holly’s parents were against him being a rock musician. (Actually contrary to The Buddy Holly Story, they were more supportive than a lot of parents were. His mother even helped him write the lyrics to “Maybe Baby.”)

Buddy Holly’s pastor was opposed to his musical projects. (You’d think that Holly’s pastor and family would’ve been opposed to his music projects since they were Baptists, but not so. In fact, it’s said that Holly regularly tithed his to church.)

Buddy Holly’s final concert was at the Clear Lake Auditorium and he traveled on his Winter Party 59’ tour on Greyhound buses. (It was at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa and his Winter Party 59’ tour traveled on unheated school buses. They probably were dreaming of touring on a Greyhound.)

Buddy Holly’s front teeth were knocked out before a performance on US television. (They were knocked out before his performance in the UK.)

Cindy Lou was the name of Buddy Holly’s girlfriend when he wrote “Peggy Sue.” (Cindy Lou was Buddy’s niece but it was renamed after the name of a girlfriend of one of his bandmates from the Crickets.)

Buddy Holly and the Crickets performed “Maybe Baby” on the Ed Sullivan Show. (The songs the performed were “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be the Day,” and “Oh, Boy.”)

Buddy Holly produced his own songs. (His producer Norman Petty did.)

Ritchie Valens:

Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales were in love with the same girl. (Contrary to the 1987 La Bamba, there was no such love triangle between Ritchie, Bob, or Rosie. I’m not sure if there ever was a Rosie. However, this poetic license was based on the director’s personal experience in which he and his brother were vying over the same girl.)

Ritchie Valens was right handed. (He was left-handed.)

Ritchie Valens played “Donna” on American Bandstand in October 1958. (Actually he sang, “Come on, Let’s Go” contrary to La Bamba.)

Jerry Lee Lewis:

Jerry Lee Lewis was in his thirties when he married his 13-year old cousin Myra. (Actually he was only 22 but he’s played by a 35 year old Dennis Quaid in Great Balls of Fire!, which makes it seem very creepy. Yet, even a guy in his twenties marrying his 13 year old cousin is disgusting enough.)

Jerry Lee Lewis snuck into a dance hall to hear Big Maybelle sing “Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” which he would later cover. (Contrary to Great Balls of Fire!, this didn’t happen, but that scene does reveal that a lot of early rock n’roll songs were originally performed by black singers and a lot of white performers would appropriate black music, usually without their credit. A more famous example would be “Hound Dog” which was originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton before Elvis came along. Yes, early rock n’roll did consist of white people stealing black people’s songs.)

Jerry Lee Lewis proposed to Myra Gale Brown minutes before they got married while on the road to Mississippi. (Actually according to Brown, he proposed to her two days before they were on the road. However, it’s understandable that they got married in Mississippi since the minimal age there in 1957 was 14 for men and 12 for women but it would be changed later that year. However, Lewis’ marriage to Brown was illegal but not because Myra was 13 years old {though Lewis said she was 15}. In fact, despite being in his early 20s, Lewis’ marriage to Myra was his third and it began before his second divorce was made final. Thus, it was illegal on grounds of bigamy, not age of consent laws. Actually, this was a second time he married someone while divorcing another.)

Jerry Lee Lewis performed “I’m on Fire” in 1958. (He recorded it in 1964.)

Jerry Lee Lewis was a household name around Johnny Cash’s first show. (He wasn’t famous at the time and only had one hit. Also, he wasn’t used to the stage contrary to Walk the Line.)

“Great Balls of Fire” was No. 1 on the Billboard charts. (It only made No. 2 at the highest.)

Jerry Lee Lewis and Myra Gale Brown lived happily ever after they were exposed by the British press that made him cut his tour short and the scandal that erupted effectively killed the superstar phase of his career.(Though Jerry and Myra were married for 13 years and had 2 kids before their 1970 divorce, Myra wrote, “The good ol’ days, of which there were exactly 569, were over.” Not to mention, for those not familiar with Jerry Lee Lewis, he led a dark and driven life shadowed with drugs, booze, scandal, and the ends of two of his seven wives as well as one of his six kids. Also, he was said to be violently abusive to his wives as well.)

Johnny Cash:

Johnny Cash’s first wife Vivian was a total bitch who was disapproved of his early attempts to break into the music scene as well as urged him to give it up and focus on getting a better job from her father. (According to Johnny Cash’s autobiography, his first wife was extremely supportive and their marital problems didn’t start until after career took off. Their marriage also lasted for about a decade {though he pretty much abandoned his staunch Catholic first wife to force her into seeking a divorce}. Yet, in Walk the Line, you want Johnny to end up with June and not make him look like such a total drug addled jerk. Then again, his daughter Roseanne did have a good relationship with her stepmother. His dad is also shown as a dick as well in Walk the Line, but he was really a distant and silent type according to Cash yet this had more to do with him not speaking publicly against his old man. But Ray Cash wasn’t a nice man who constantly belittled Johnny and his siblings as well as openly blamed Johnny for his brother’s death on circular saw accident. Yet, it is true that his parents named him J.R {and his family always referred to him by this} but he had to change it to John when he enlisted in the Air Force.)

Johnny Cash had no facial scars. (He actually had a scar on the side of his chin. Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t.)

Johnny Cash only had one brother. (He had three brothers and three sisters. Yet, his brother Jack did die that way as in Walk the Line, which wracked John with guilt.)

“I Still Miss Someone” was about his brother Jack while “Walk the Line” was about June. (Actually, “I Still Miss Someone” was about June while “Walk the Line” was about Vivian and his relationship with her didn’t last.)

Johnny Cash smashed the footlights in Las Vegas during a concert. (He actually smashed the footlights at the Grand Ole Oprey.)

During an audition, Johnny Cash’s first choice to play gospel music was challenged by the studio owner as insincere. (Contrary to Walk the Line, this didn’t happen. Cash just played “Folsom Prison Blues” at his audition and Sam Philips signed him up on a Sun Records contract right away.)

Bobby Darin:

Bobby Darin was an aged and decrepit man in the late 1950s. (Actually despite having life long health problems that would claim his life at 37 {and he knew he wasn’t going to live long either}, Darin actually looked pretty much what you’d expect a guy in his twenties and aged much more gracefully, even if it was premature. Let’s just say casting 45 year old Kevin Spacey as Bobby Darin probably makes the guy look more aged and decrepit even than he really was.)

Bobby Darin was wholly self-absorbed and selfish performer. (He was also a producer who worked to further careers of other talented performers though you wouldn’t know it in Beyond the Sea. One of the performers he helped was Richard Pryor.)

Elvis Presley:

Elvis Presley’s career was basically over by 1958 when he was drafted into the military. (Actually, his career as a teen sensation probably was or at least on a temporary sabbatical but remember, he ended his career wearing white rhinestone costumes over his overweight frame while performing in Las Vegas followed by his 1977 death on the floor of his bathroom. Still, there’s probably no one watching Great Balls of Fire! Who doesn’t know anything about Elvis. Not to mention, Johnny Cash also was a recording artist at Sun Records at this time, too, and there’s a photo of him with Elvis in the studio.)

Elvis Presley had black hair. (He was a natural blond and dyed it black starting in 1957. Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball were both natural brunettes by contrast, yet that’s not how we remember them hair color wise.)

Elvis Presley was left handed. (He was right handed.)

Elvis Presley had a drummer in his band during his years at Sun Records. (He had a bass guitarist and a lead guitarist while he played rhythm. Yet, he didn’t have a drummer join his band until he worked for RCA.)

Elvis Presley’s controversial appearance on The Milton Berle Show was during December 1956. (The episode aired in June and wouldn’t rerun in December because it was live.)

“Can’t Help Falling in Love” was a hit in 1957. (It was released in 1961.)

Ray Charles:

Ray Charles was from Florida. (He was born in Georgia but he did spend most of his childhood there.)

Ray Charles wasn’t sexually active until his musical career. (He said he had his first sexual experience at 13 with a 19 year old girl while still in blind school. But you wouldn’t know it from Ray.)

Ray Charles was only married once. (He was married twice. He was first married to a woman named Eileen Williams from 1951 to 1952. She’s not shown in Ray nor the fact that his first child was born in 1950. His marriage to Della Beatrice Howard {known as “Bea”} was his second which took place in 1955 and their first son Ray Charles Robinson Jr. would be born the same year. They would later have two other children.)

Ray Charles only had one illegitimate child to Margie Hendricks named Charles Ray in 1959. (Contrary to Ray, the boy’s name was Charles Wayne. Actually during the course of his life, Ray Charles would have 12 kids to 10 different women putting many sports figures and rappers to shame. Aside from the three sons he had with Bea and Charles Wayne to Margie Hendricks, he had a kid name Evelyn to girlfriend Louise Mitchell in 1950, a daughter Raenee to Mae Mosely Lyles in 1961, a daughter named Shelia Raye Charles Robinson to Sandra Jean Betts in 1963, a daughter Alicia in 1966 to a woman who remains unidentified to this day, a daughter named Alexandra to Chantal Bertrand, a son named Vincent to Arlette Kotchounian in 1977, a daughter named Robyn to Gloria Moffett in 1978, and a son named Ryan Corey to Mary Anne den Bok in 1987. And this is all coming from his Wikipedia page.)

Ray Charles met Quincy Jones at while auditioning for a club the night he arrived in Seattle. (Contrary to Ray, they met a few days later.)

The death of his brother led Ray Charles to use drugs. (Yes, he was traumatized about his brother’s drowning despite being five but the biggest heartbreak in his early life was the loss of his mother when he was 15. Yet, he never claimed that he started using drugs other than that he wanted to, though drug use was part of the jazz and R&B culture at the time. Still, he was never that apologetic as he’s depicted in Ray for his heroin addiction. And though he’d kick his heroin habit in 1964 which was mostly more out of avoiding to avoid going to prison after his arrest for possession, he continued to smoke pot for the rest of his life. He also drank gin almost every day. Still, he was hardly a spokesman for sobriety.)

Ray Charles pushed Margie Hendricks to have an abortion when he found out she was pregnant with his child. (He never did contrary to Ray. On the contrary, he was willing to acknowledge and welcome all his children and there were many. Also, his womanizing is far more downplayed in the movie and he said he had no capacity or any desire to stay faithful to one woman.)

Miscellaneous:

Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and Jim “the Big Bopper” Richardson died in a 1958 plane crash. (They died in 1959. American Hot Wax has it take place before the 1958 riot that ended Alan Freed’s career.)

“Mannish Boy” was a popular song in 1948. (It was released in 1955.)

“Mack the Knife” was a popular song in 1958. (It was released in 1959, but it’s a great theme song for Quiz Show which is about people doing very bad things for money and fame.)

The riot at the live Rock n’Roll show in 1958 was started by DJ Alan Freed which was held at the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn, NY. (Actually contrary to American Hot Wax, the riot happened at the Boston Arena and Freed was eventually cleared of all charges. Yet, he was fired from his job at the WINS Radio in New York and forced into bankruptcy.)

Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, June Carter, and Elvis Presley toured together for Sun Records. (Unfortunately, contrary to Walk the Line, this couldn’t have happened. By the time Jerry Lee Lewis was signed to Sun Records, Elvis had moved to RCA and toured on his own.)

Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood” was popular in 1958. (It was released in 1962.)

“Tutti Frutti” was a song on the radio in the early 1950s. (It was released in November 1955.)

Saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman was a little more than a loudmouth junkie. (Yes, he was into drugs but he and Ray Charles were friends for over a decade. Contrary to Ray, he was a soft-spoken, gentle man of few words. Both were brought up on bebop though Ray ignores this. To Ray Charles, jazz was the center of his soul.)

Mary Ann Fisher was a manipulative tart. (Contrary to Ray, she’s said to be sometimes infuriating and sometimes endearing as well as engaging.)

Record executive Ahmet Ertegun spoke with a thick Turkish accent. (He spoke with hardly any accent as in Ray, not with a thick one as in Beyond the Sea.)

Surf music was popular in the 1950s. (Actually there were few surf music hits at this time and they sounded like doo wop more than anything.)

Leonard Chess opened Chess Studios in the mid-1950s. (Contrary to Cadillac Records, Chess Studios opened in 1957. At the time, he would’ve recorded exclusively at Universal Recording. Also, I find it hard believe that he’d look like Adrien Brody.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 73 – The Post-War American West

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Warren Beatty and Annette Bening star in the 1991 film of Bugsy where they portray the famed gangster Bugsy Siegel and “queen of the gangster molls” Virginia Hill. While their relationship was very accurately depicted in the film, their personalities weren’t. Bugsy Siegel was a notorious hitman who enjoyed killing and torturing people but did cultivate himself as an extravagant playboy. Virginia Hill was also an experience foul-mouthed criminal who had been involved with a string of gangsters and earned her way to the top through that and blackmailing thousands of dollars. Still, while this film says that Bugsy helped found Las Vegas, he was better known for making it the city it is today as a city of tacky glamor if you know what I mean. Still, we don’t know who killed him.

The American West seems to be a popular destination of post-WWII films set in the United States but it’s mostly different from the place we were accustomed to in the 19th century. Instead of the cowboys and Indian wilderness fare you see in the Old West movies, you have a much more cosmopolitan atmosphere with skyscrapers, fancy cars, glamor, luxury, gangsters, femme fatales, private eyes, fedoras, and Hollywood celebrities. Settings in Post-War films of the American West are usually set in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas or other swanky place. And many a time they usually revolve around crime and violence which would send people to flee to the suburbs if they could afford to do so. Yet, instead of the American idealism you see in westerns, these movies more or less portray the dark side of the American Dream in many respects with very few people you could trust if any since backstabbing is a common occurrence. Oh, and almost anyone could kill or be killed. Thus, many post-war era gangster and film noir movies are set in this location. Yes, Hollywood is still up and running yet the Old Hollywood Era as we know is about to decline due to TV as well as the end of the Studio System and Hays Code that will just be around the corner in the 1960s but RKO will get bought be a tire company before the 1940s are over. You also have many East Coast mobsters on a mass exodus to LA and Vegas where they will invest in new gambling enterprises as well as ritzy buildings but there will be killing. Then you have the Los Angeles Police Department, which is infamous for its corruption and violence against minorities. Nevertheless, there are movies set in this era that contain their share of inaccuracies which I shall list accordingly.

Gangsters and Criminals:

Mickey Cohen:

Gangster Mickey Cohen was taken down by the LAPD’s Gangster Squad trying to avenge the murder of one of their beloved wire tapper, Conwell Keeler during a shootout at the crime boss’s hotel with dozens of gangsters getting mowed down. (Contrary to Gangster Squad, the real Gangster Squad had no need to avenge the death of their beloved wire tapper since he was very much alive at the time and would actually outlive Cohen as well as most of the members on the original squad. Oh, and he did not have a porn stache either. As for Mickey Cohen, his capture didn’t happen in the way and he was arrested on tax evasion. The scene of his capture actually played out with cops simply confronting Cohen on some evidence that they found while digging into his incinerator. They also asked him how he could afford $50,000 to decorate his house all while shooting bullets. Also, unlike the movie, Jack O’Mara didn’t beat up Mickey or play any part of his capture since it happened in 1961, when he was retired {though he did watch Cohen’s trial as a civilian}.)

Mickey Cohen lived in a mansion. (Contrary to Gangster Squad, he didn’t. Rather he and his wife lived in a Brentwood house despite being wiretapped by police who listened to their conversations. The Cohens didn’t notice the wires until their gardener discovered them in 1948. The Vice Squad did this to blackmail him and the scheme ended in a public messy scandal.)

Mickey Cohen organized the murder of opponent Jack Dragna. (Contrary to Gangster Squad, Dragna died of a heart attack in 1956 so there’s no evidence Mickey ever organized the guy’s murder unless it was with through a regular diet of fried chicken or something else that’s bad for the arteries.)

Mickey Cohen murdered Jack Walen at his house. (While it’s possible he killed the guy, Whalen wasn’t killed at his home. He was shot in 1959 during a dinner with Cohen and his associates. Cohen wasn’t accused or convicted of the murder himself.)

Mickey Cohen was sent to Alcatraz for murder in 1949. (He was imprisoned in 1951 in which he was sentenced for four years and 1961 both times for tax evasion. He was sent to Alcatraz on his second arrest but he was later transferred to a federal facility in Atlanta, where he’d be released in 1972.)

Mickey Cohen often fired at cops. (Most organized syndicate mobsters would never try use violence on cops or other law enforcement because they knew shooting one would mean serious trouble. Also, the Gangster Squad often harassed Cohen’s organization to make it more difficult for him to conduct business.)

Mickey Cohen was killed with a lead pipe in prison. (He was hit with one, but he died in 1976 of stomach cancer and he was out of prison by then.)

Mickey Cohen was a violent sociopath. (Contrary to Gangster Squad, Sean Penn’s portrayal makes him a cardboard cutout. The real Mickey Cohen was a far more interesting man who hung out with celebrities like Errol Flynn and Robert Mitchum. He even had Billy Graham try to convert him. He was also seen as a suave gentleman beyond reproach as well as viewed by many as a real-life celebrity with his violent tendencies seen by few {with his shooting rampage after Bugsy Siegel’s death being one of them}. Those who made Gangster Squad seemed to use video games as source material.)

Mickey Cohen was slim and wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. (Cohen had a great fondness for ice cream that he considered as one of the four essential food groups which he ate every meal and a pathological fear of germs. He was also rather short. A more accurate Cohen would be a short, chubby, and frowning man who was endlessly washing his hands. Definitely not Sean Penn. Perhaps Jonah Hill.)

Mickey Cohen was recruited by Bugsy Siegel after the latter saw him rip off one of his operations. (Actually contrary to Bugsy, Cohen was sent from Cleveland to help Siegel and become his #2. Yet, they did admire and respect each other. When Bugsy was murdered, Cohen was so angry he stormed to the Hotel Roosevelt where he believed the killers were staying and shot up his gun to the ceiling demanding they show themselves.)

Mickey Cohen never married and had a mistress named Grace Faraday who he was very possessive of. (Contrary to Gangster Squad, though he was a philanderer, he had been married since 1940. His wife was LaVonne Weaver who was a petite model and dance instructor who put up with his affairs. They split in 1951.)

After Mickey Cohen’s arrest, leaders of the LAPD tried to take over his operations. (While the LAPD had a notorious reputation for corruption, I highly doubt that police officers would be involved with taking over Mickey Cohen’s organization like in L. A. Confidential since they just wanted to dissolve the organization. But there was some sort of power struggle among his lieutenants that did result in a lot of violence.)

Bugsy Siegel:

Despite being a murderer and a philanderer, deep down Bugsy Siegel was a charmer, romantic, and doting dad who baked cakes for his little girl’s birthday. (Sorry, Warren Beatty, but I understand you played him this way. Yet, the philandering and murdering bit are pretty much true. Still, the real Bugsy Siegel was arrested various times for rape, drug possession, carrying concealed weapons, and a string of murders, though he usually got off. Witnesses were beaten up, and in some cases, mysteriously died. When his old pal Bo Weinberg got on Bugsy’s bad side, Bugsy pistol whipped him, stabbed him in the neck, and repeatedly stabbed him in the stomach while Weinberg was gasping his way to an agonizing death. After his death, Bugsy repeatedly punctured Weinberg’s gut before throwing him into the East River just to get rid of the intestinal gases that make human bodies float after death. Yeah, he was that kind of guy.)

Bugsy Siegel was reluctant to kill Hank Greenberg. (Contrary to Bugsy, Bugsy and Greenberg were more like colleagues of the Jewish mob hit squad Murder Inc. than friends. Also, Greenberg was a much smarter man than his Elliot Gould portrayal. Sure he would threaten to turn in fellow mobsters for cash, but he never visited Bugsy and lived in LA because he was almost killed while hiding out with his former gang in Detroit. As for his murder, the New York mob establishment had already viewed Greenberg as a stool pigeon when he sent a letter he’d narc them out unless they gave him money to survive since he had been on the lam for several months thus making him a marked man. Furthermore Bugsy killed Greenberg with 3 other mobsters including Siegel’s brother-in-law and Virginia Hill wasn’t waiting in the car. Not only that, but Bugsy was too happy to kill Greenberg that he was advised by his other posse members to stay away from the slaying. His gang was too scared of him to get him to change his mind or suggest a smarter way to kill Greenberg that the murder was sloppily handled. The ensuing trial would reveal Bugsy’s true image to the West Coast for the first time.)

When Bugsy Siegel arrived in Las Vegas, the place was just a barren strip of Nevada desert and the first guy to envision it as a resort city it is today. (Except that contrary to Bugsy, Bugsy Siegel didn’t really personally hew Las Vegas out of untouched sand. Las Vegas had been inhabited since the 1930s during the Hoover Dam construction and by the time Bugsy is set in 1946, it already had a casino as well as become a kind of tourist destination {except that it was a nuclear testing site}. As a matter of fact, Bugsy Siegel actually bought into an existing casino development headed by Bill Wilkerson, who’s not in the film. With that he brought the idea of a pampered and exclusive hotel on the Vegas strip at a time when most of the city’s lodgings had a cowboy theme. It’s through the Flamingo’s construction that Siegel laid the groundwork of some of the ritzy hotels that are seen everywhere in the Vegas strip today.)

The Mafia was reluctant to grasp Bugsy Siegel’s ideas about Las Vegas. (Contrary to Bugsy, they were happy about looking for ways to extend their gambling operations in havens like Vegas and Havanna. In fact, Bugsy had run several offshore gambling operations in California and Nevada was just an extension of that. What the Mafia wasn’t sold on was the cost. Still, even after Bugsy was killed, organized crime syndicates would move in to build several high end hotels in the 1950s. If it weren’t for the mob, Las Vegas would just consist of a bunch of cowboy joints.)

Bugsy Siegel launched a surprise attack against Chicago mob boss Joey Epstein for the latter’s comments on Virginia Hill. (Contrary to Bugsy, this didn’t happen.)

Bugsy Siegel went to California to try to claim the state’s rackets for the East Coast bosses. (Yes, but Bugsy didn’t tell you that he also went there to flee from the New York authorities who were cracking down on organized crime hard.)

Bugsy Siegel was duped by Virginia Hill for millions in the construction and running of the Flamingo. (Contrary to Bugsy, both might’ve been involved in the skimmings with Siegel controlling most of the money while Hill was his henchman. Yet, Hill might’ve informed on him to the Chicago bosses which might’ve led to Bugsy’s murder. Not to mention, construction materials weren’t cheap at the end of World War II and the hotel had opened too soon. Yet, it would make a profit but Bugsy wouldn’t be around to enjoy it.)

Bugsy Siegel was killed right after the Flamingo’s failure. (He lived on for another year but most historians say that he knew his time was coming. Yet, his death had more to do with cutting too many powerful interests {particularly those who sent him in the first place} out of his West Coast revenues. In other words, he had taken his famous cavalier attitude too far and failed to check himself. By the time of his death the mob families out east had grown tired of his losses and rebellion and sent someone to take him out.)

Bugsy Siegel met his end being shot in the chest while he was watching a showreel by himself seeing himself doing a Hollywood screen test. (Actually though Bugsy was watching showreels at the time of this death, he was in a conversation with another gangster during that time. And he wasn’t shot in the chest but in the head with such force that his eye was blown out and later found by some unfortunate person 15ft away from his body. Still, I can see why Barry Levinson would clean Bugsy’s death scene up.)

Bugsy Siegel wanted to kill Axis leaders. (Actually he wanted to sell explosives to Mussolini in order to prevent Jewish persecution. However, he didn’t meet any Nazis during his European trip. Wish he would though for he would’ve made a great Inglourious Basterd.)

Esta Siegel:

Esta Siegel was forced to stay back East while her husband set out to build his empire out West. (Actually contrary to Bugsy, she went with him and resided in their Los Angeles mansion which they rented at way more than $40,000. Also, Esta’s brother was involved in some of Bugsy’s criminal activities who was a well-known Mafia hitman in his own right, too. She probably knew more than the movie implies. She divorced Bugsy in 1946.)

Jack Dragna:

Jack Dragna was a pathetic mobster who let Bugsy intimidate him. (Actually contrary to Bugsy, he was just as scary mobster as they come and smart enough to know when he was outgunned.)

Jack Dragna was Mickey Cohen’s boss. (Contrary to Gangster Squad, they were equals in Bugsy Siegel’s organization. When Cohen succeeded Bugsy, Dragna resented it so much that he tried to have him killed several times. However, Cohen just refused to believe that Dragna wanted him dead.)

Johnny Stompanato:

Johnny Stompanato was shot in the head in 1949. (Contrary to Gangster Squad, he was stabbed with scissors in 1958 by Cheryl Crane, the daughter of his girlfriend Lana Turner. It’s said she did it due to how Stompanato was treating her mother bit the official motive was self-defense {and despite suspicion, it’s certainly not true that Cheryl had a crush on Stompanato because she’s a lesbian}. Still, Stompanato and Turner had a relationship filled with violent arguments, physical abuse, and repeated reconciliations. Stompanato also pulled a gun at Sean Connery on suspicion that the Scotsman was having an affair with Turner while they were filming a movie together in England. Connery grabbed the gun out of Stompanato’s hand and twisted the gangster’s wrist, causing the crook to run sheepishly off the set.)

Johnny Stompanato and Lana Turner dated in 1953. (They didn’t meet until 1957. But having Guy Pearce mistake Lana Turner for a Lana Turner lookalike hooker was just too funny to resist on L. A. Confidential.)

Meyer Lansky:

Meyer Lansky admired Virginia Hill. (Maybe in Bugsy, but in real life, he would’ve saw her for what she was but he may have had some respect and admired her for her ability to earn money. Still, Ben Kingsley’s portray in Bugsy is mostly accurate to the real guy.)

Virginia Hill:

Virginia Hill was a regular gangster’s moll. (Contrary to Bugsy, she was not. Rather she was an experienced criminal as well as a foul mouthed viper and it was this nature that actually drew Bugsy to her in the first place. Though she started out as a prostitute, she did move up as a co-conspirator in several Mafia operations as well as represented Chicago mob interests in Vegas. In 1951, she was known as “queen of the gangster molls.”)

Virginia Hill was linked to Chicago mob boss Joey Epstein. (Yes, but he wasn’t the only one for she was involved with several high ranked mobsters like Frank Costello, Joe Adonis and others before meeting Bugsy. In Hollywood, she took her lessons in her mobster affairs and was known to blackmail several actors for thousands of dollars under threat that she’d reveal vices that could ruin their careers. She also had enough money to rent two mansions which Bugsy frequented since his family lived in Los Angeles. Bugsy didn’t need to be her sugar daddy.)

Virginia Hill was in Las Vegas when Bugsy Siegel was murdered. (She was out of the country taking a flight to Paris four days before. Yet, Bugsy was killed at one of her mansions.)

Virginia Hill was so devastated by Bugsy Siegel’s death that she committed suicide. (Actually, while she kills herself in Bugsy, the real Virginia Hill wouldn’t do the deed until 20 years later when she was living in Austria, though it may have been under suspicious circumstances since it’s said Joe Adonis was in the same village she was. By that time, she already married and had a child. Also, she might’ve been involved in Bugsy’s murder in the first place.)

Barbara Graham:

Barbara Graham had one infant son by the time of her murder conviction. (She had 2 sons from her first marriage who aren’t seen in I Want to Live! who were at least school age. But their father had custody and she probably never saw them again. Also, her youngest son was named Tommy, not Bobby, yet his name was probably changed for legal reasons. Still, she was married 4 times.)

Barbara Graham was faithful to her husband Henry. (She had an affair with Emmet Perkins who was a bit player for Mickey Cohen. Not to mention, she was frequently associated with men with records of violent crime.)

Barbara Graham wasn’t addicted to drugs. (She was a heroin addict.)

Barbara Graham didn’t kill Mabel Monahan. (Contrary to I Want to Live!, we can never be sure because her credibility was destroyed since she offered $25,000 to a fellow inmate to pose as a friend to provide an alibi. However, she was an undercover informer who wanted to reduce her own manslaughter sentence. Not to mention, she had already served time for perjury. Jack Santo and Emmet Perkins were certainly guilty though. However, Barbara was at the Monahan house during Mabel’s murder, which we can’t dispute. Still, she may not have been completely innocent but there’s reasonable doubt on the murder charge. Nevertheless, she probably should’ve received life in prison instead because the prosecutor’s case was flimsy. The papers also failed to cover the Monahan case objectively because she was a pretty woman, opting for sensationalism and speculation over substance and significant developments. She got way more coverage than he co-defendants Jack Santo and Emmet Perkins and the media tended to assume her guilt even before the trial. You can say she was more or less convicted because her checkered past and good looks basically made her tabloid fodder and proven guilty by public opinion. Thus, this got her legally screwed over. Nevertheless, even if Graham did pistol whip Monahan, this doesn’t necessarily make her guilty of murder since Monahan’s cause of death was asphyxiation {a.k.a. strangled}. Also, she had no record of violent crime prior to the Monahan incident and there was no physical evidence linking her to Monahan’s murder.)

Barbara Graham was the last person to approach the Monahan House. (According to John True and Baxter Shorter, she was the first. But when it comes to their accounts, Shorter and True’s stories about the Mabel Monahan murder tend to diverge aside from the pistol whipping and search for valuables. For instance, in Shorter’s account Emmet Perkins and John True struck Monahan {with Perkins pistol whipping her} while Jack Santo and Perkins tied her up and dragged her into the hall closet. True’s account has Graham pistol whipping Monahan  and slipping a pillow case on her but has Santo and Perkins tying her up and fastening a strap around Monahan’s neck. Nevertheless, if you take the coroner’s report which states that Monahan was strangled and both these guys’ accounts, the filmmakers of I Want to Live! could’ve made a very convincing case of Barbara Graham’s innocence.)

John True implicated Barbara Graham for murdering Mabel Monahan. (Contrary to I Want to Live!, while it seems True would’ve done this {though legalities have his name changed to Bruce King}, he only implicated her for beating Monahan up, possibly so he won’t have to spend a day in prison. He might’ve thought Graham’s pistol whipping killed her, but Monahan didn’t die that way. So at worst, True’s account only implicates Graham of robbery and assault {or possibly attempted murder}, but not actual murder. Baxter Shorter didn’t implicate her for murder either. In fact, the last two guys Monahan’s even seen with in both their stories are Emmet Perkins and Jack Santo with both of them tying and dragging her away. Not to mention, it’s possible Shorter and True may not have seen or heard the actual murder take place {since Monahan was probably knocked out by then}. Still, it’s probably fair to say that the prosecutor screwed up somewhere.)

Barbara Graham, Emmet Perkins, and Jack Santo were caught with their clothes on. (They were all caught naked. Santo even sported an erection. Also, the guy accompanying them was John True not Bruce King. But True would later be released after he agreed to testify against Santo, Perkins, and Graham, especially after informant Baxter Shorter’s kidnapping. In short, John True was in fear of his life and quite possibly incriminated Graham to save his own ass. He also had no criminal record, prior to the Monahan episode so he made a more reliable witness. Not to mention, it took a couple of months for them to get caught for there was a reward of $5,000 for information on Mabel Monahan’s death. And they were all on the run as soon as True identified them as his crime partners.)

Barbara Graham was clothed in a scarlet outfit on her execution and a medal of Saint Jude. (According to Row Diva she wore, “a champagne wool suit with matching covered buttons, brown high-heel shoes, small, gold, drop earrings, and a crucifix around her neck, but no underwear and a stethoscope in her cleavage. It was a tight fitting suit for her slender 120 pounds body.“)

All Barbara Graham wanted was a normal life as a wife and mother. (While she might’ve wanted this, being married 4 times as well as a mother of 3 didn’t stop her from committing petty crimes and engaging in drug addiction and prostitution.Still, her husbands were probably as bad as you’d expect.)

Barbara Graham was straight. (She went both ways and might’ve been more than friends with in Donna Prow, an inmate she tried to bribe for a false alibi that she spent the night of the Monahan murder with undercover cop Sam Sirianni whom Prow was working for. Nevertheless, Sirianni played these tapes of their conversations in court but he was a cop just doing his job. Still, his was one of the most damning testimonies at Graham’s trial.)

Barbara Graham was telling the truth during her murder trial. (Actually, while she did admit to bribing Donna Prow due to desperation, she testified that she was home with her husband and son on the night of the murder, which definitely wasn’t the case. Thus, she committed perjury again. But I suspect she was probably desperate. Nevertheless, while Graham was certainly guilty of robbery, perjury, as well as breaking and entering {and possibly attempted murder or assault}, she shouldn’t have been convicted of murder.)

Edward Montgomery worked on Barbara Graham’s case before she was arrested. (He didn’t meet her until the latter part of her trial.)

Law Enforcement:

The Los Angeles Police Department Bloody Christmas incident was a short brawl. (This is seen in L. A. Confidential though the officers in the real 1951 incident had different names pertaining to the suspects and the victims {changed for legal reasons, no doubt}, but it was actually a 95 minute no holds barred beat down on seven guys {5 Hispanic, 2 white} by drunken cops during the LAPD Christmas party on Christmas Eve. And this incident wasn’t properly investigated until the LAPD was pressured to by the Mexican American community. This incident would eventually result in 8 indictments, 54 transfers, and 39 suspensions without pay. As with the indictments, only 5 were convicted and only one served more than a year in prison. Still, as many as 50 LAPD offers were said to participate in the ordeal as well were known and/or witnessed by at least 100 people. So the LAPD’s reputation for police brutality {particularly to minorities} even existed in the 1950s as well.)

The Gangster Squad:

The formation of the Gangster Squad was due to the fact that Los Angeles was a defenseless against a crime lord like Mickey Cohen. (Contrary to Gangster Squad, the main reason why the Gangster Squad was formed was because gang violence threatened LA’s image, not the city itself.)

Police officer William H. Parker was a no-nonsense Christian in his 70s. (Despite his Nick Nolte portrayal in Gangster Squad, Parker was far more controversial and was only 45 in 1949. During his tenure as chief, he faced accusations of police brutality and racial animosity toward Los Angeles’ black and Latino residents which led to the Watts riots of 1965. Yet, he did desegregate the police force during the Civil Rights movement.)

There were black and Latino members in the Gangster Squad. (Contrary to Gangster Squad, there weren’t. In fact, the LAPD isn’t known to be one of the most minority friendly organizations, to put it mildly. L. A. Confidential‘s LAPD is much closer to the norm, at least when it comes to minorities.)

Police officer William H. Parker created the Gangster Squad. (It was created by Chief Clemence B. Horrall in 1946.)

There were only 6 members of the Gangster Squad. (There were 18 but it would later expand to include 37.)

Conwell Keeler was the first to die on the Gangster Squad. (Contrary to Gangster Squad, he was the last of the original to die which was of a stroke in 2012, not shot in the line of duty. Max Kennard was the first of the squad to die.)

Max Kennard was shot in the line of duty. (Contrary to Gangster Squad, he died in a car crash in 1952 after he had retired.)

The Gangster Squad was responsible for Mickey Cohen’s arrest. (The IRS and the LAPD were since Cohen got nailed for tax evasion.)

Police officer John O’Mara had a son during his time in the Gangster Squad. (He had a daughter. Also, he died in 2003.)

Daryl Gates was Chief William Parker’s driver in 1949. (He didn’t enter the LAPD until September of that year and didn’t become Parker’s driver until many years later.)

The Black Dahlia Murder:

Everyone knew Elizabeth Short as “Betty.” (Contrary to The Black Dahlia, she was usually called “Betty” during her childhood but preferred to be called “Beth.” Nobody in LA knew her as “Betty.”)

Elizabeth Short’s organs were removed during her murder. (Contrary to The Black Dahlia, her autopsy didn’t say this.)

Elizabeth Short was a prostitute and made at least one porno movie. (Contrary to The Black Dahlia, she was an aspiring actress who was involved with quite a few men.)

Elizabeth Short dabbled in lesbianism. (I’m sure this is something Brian DePalma just made up as fetish fuel or something. Sure Short was no saint but I don’t think having her dabble in lesbianism is going a bit too far.)

Elizabeth Short was a young woman looking for trouble. (Contrary to The Black Dahlia, this probably isn’t true. She just wanted to make it into movies. Her childhood friend Mary Pacios said, “Elizabeth Short is one of the most maligned victims in the history of this country.”)

Hollywood:

Rock Hudson starred in North by Northwest. (Cary Grant did, not Rock Hudson.)

George Reeves:

All of George Reeves’ scenes were cut from the film From Here to Eternity. (Actually the finished film includes all of his scenes, contrary to Hollywoodland. You probably wouldn’t notice him though since he wasn’t part of the main cast. The test screening scene in the film was inspired by urban legend.)

George Reeves burned his costume to celebrate the cancellation of his Superman series. (He’s said to burn his costume at the end of each season contrary to Hollywoodland.)

George Reeves’ fiancée Leonore Lemmon attended the reading of his last will and testament and was shocked to get nothing. (She knew she wasn’t getting anything from him after he died and wasn’t invited to the reading contrary to Hollywoodland. Still, it’s no surprise that he left his estate to Toni who gave him his house, car, and paid many of his bills during their relationship. As to Reeves’ death, we’re not sure what happened since Leonore Lemmon proved to be an unreliable witness while most of the people there were drunk.)

George Reeves’ murder investigation was conducted by detective Louis Simo. (Adrien Brody’s character in Hollywoodland is fictional but he’s based on actual detectives Reeves’ mother hired. Yet, contrary to the film, George Reeves mother never accepted the police verdict of suicide and continued to agitate for a fuller investigation after her son’s death.)

George Reeves got the role of Superman as Eddie Mannix’s way to please his wife Toni. (Contrary to Hollywoodland, they didn’t know each other before Mole Men since they met on the set when Reeves was already playing Superman. Also, while Toni did a lot for him as a sugar mama such as buy him a house, he got the Superman job on his own.)

George Reeves dumped Toni Mannix for Leonore Lemmon. (Actually he and Toni broke up before he even met Leonore. Rather Reeves wanted Toni to leave Eddie and marry him but she refused.)

George Reeves was dissatisfied with being typecast as Superman. (Contrary to Hollywoodland, Reeves might’ve hated the job but not enough that he would take his own life over it. Also, he was said to be scheduled to do two more seasons of Superman and was given a pay raise. Also, he was scheduled to go on tour as Superman and box the former light-heavyweight champion Archie Moore which he had been excited about. Still, he may have hated the job but he loved some of the perks.)

George Reeves did all his own stunts in the Superman series. (Except he didn’t do most of them as implied by Hollywoodland. Yet, he did do a few cable aided takeoffs and did fall once.)

George Reeves was murdered before Toni and Eddie Mannix’s wedding anniversary. (Eddie and Toni were married on May 31 and George was killed on June 16.)

Toni Mannix:

Toni Mannix was pissed when George Reeves dumped her for Leonore Lemmon. (Actually contrary to Hollywoodland, she was furious that she’s said to have made constant harassing calls to his house, threatened to tell the press he was gay, and talked to friends about killing him. Even worse, she even possibly stole his beloved schnauzer and had him put to sleep. As for her husband Eddie Mannix, he was more disturbed that George deserted his wife than the whole affair and for good reason.)

Alfred Hitchcock:

Alfred Hitchcock was offered to direct The Diary of Anne Frank during the premiere of North by Northwest. (Contrary to Hitchcock, Hitch would’ve been the worst choice to direct that movie. Besides, the movie version came out four months before North by Northwest.)

Alfred Hitcock’s sign off on his show was “Good Evening.” (It was his greeting at the beginning of every episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He’d always sign off with “Good Night.” Why did Hitchcock get this wrong?)

Charlie Chaplin:

While still in New York Harbor on a steamer liner, Charlie Chaplin was barred from reentering the United States during the 1950s on account of his suspect politics. (He was actually barred from reentry when he was half way across the Atlantic. Of course, Richard Attenborough wanted to show the Statue of Liberty.)

Charlie Chaplin didn’t make any movies during his exile in Switzerland. (He continued to make films though his career wasn’t the same.)

Rita Hayworth:

Rita Hayworth was pregnant in 1951. (Contrary to Hollywoodland, she wasn’t. In fact, she had her last child in 1949.)

Joan Crawford:

Joan Crawford was an abusive mother who beat her children with wire hangers. (Even Christina Crawford admitted that Joan never beaten her kids with a wire hanger ever. In fact, she hated them that she didn’t want to use them on her clothes or her kids.’ Yet, the wire hanger scene is famous in Mommie Dearest and Joan Crawford has been associated with them ever since. As for the abusive part, when Christina Crawford’s Mommie Dearest came out, it met objections from a number of people who knew her including ex-husband Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Bette Davis, Myrna Loy, Van Johnson, colleagues, friends, and even her twin daughters Cathy and Cynthia who had fond memories of their adoptive mother. Sure Joan Crawford may not have been a perfect parent but just because she didn’t have a good relationship with two of her children, doesn’t mean she was a terrible parent. It’s been suggested that Christina Crawford wrote Mommie Dearest because she either had been left out of her mom’s will or that her mother replaced Christina on a soap opera she was a regular on while undertaking major surgery.)

Joan Crawford was fired from MGM. (She wasn’t contrary to Mommie Dearest. She actually paid MGM to be released so she could work for Warner Brothers.)

Marilyn Monroe:

Marilyn Monroe was a famous actress in 1951. (She was still a small-time player then.)

Bela Lugosi:

By the time he worked for Ed Wood, Bela Lugosi hadn’t made a film in four years. (Actually the year before Wood and Lugosi had done Glen or Glenda in 1953, Bela Lugosi did the 1952 “classic” Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla. Never heard of it? Neither did I. He also did The Black Sheep in 1956. Probably never heard of that one either.)

During the time he was working for Ed Wood, Bela Lugosi had been living an isolated existence at his suburban bungalow Hollywood with his ex-wife’s two Chihuahuas. (Actually by this time, he was living with his fifth wife Hope Lininger, saw his teenage son Bela George Lugosi, and enjoyed visits by his biggest fan Frank Sinatra {yes, that Frank Sinatra}. When Lugosi entered rehab for his morphine addiction, Sinatra would send him either a $1,000 check or a lavish gift hamper {depending on the biography} with a note: “Thank you so much for many, many wonderful hours of entertainment.” Not only that, but Lugosi would die at 72.)

Bela Lugosi was prone to fits of swearing. (He wasn’t, especially in front of women.)

Bela Lugosi did his own water stunts in Bride of the Monster. (He didn’t.)

The Bela Lugosi’s scenes in Plan 9 from Outer Space were filmed outside his own house. (No, but they were filmed outside Tor Johnson’s house though.)

Ed Wood:

In order to appease his backers the Southern Baptist Church, the entire cast for Plan 9 from Outer Space was baptized at a Beverly Hills swimming pool. (Contrary to the movie Ed Wood, only Ed Wood and Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson were baptized by the Southern Baptists. 412lb Johnson crashed through the preacher’s hands and lay there at the bottom of the pool like a rock while the minister struggled vainly to heave him out. Wood would remember Johnson affectionately as “Always the showman, Tor allowed the suspense long enough for the drama to build, then swam away.” Still, at least Ed Wood looked more or less like Johnny Depp. Yet, he did get the Southern Baptist Church to fund his movie by lying them into thinking he was going to make a religious film.)

Chained Girls was made before Glen or Glenda. (It was made after Glen or Glenda, which was Wood’s first film and based on the life of one of the first transsexuals. And yes, Wood played the title role since crossdressing was one of his hobbies.)

Ed Wood was a closet alcoholic. (Everyone who worked with Wood knew he was a womanizing drunk.)

Ed Wood’s transvestite tendencies and strange friendships led to his break up with his longtime girlfriend Dolores Fuller. (Contrary to Ed Wood, his drinking did. Apparently, Dolores was perfectly fine with him putting on women’s clothing, wearing high heels, suspenders, and a bra, just not hanging around in bars.)

Ed Wood hooked up with Kathy O’Hara shortly after his break up with Dolores Fuller. (Contrary to Ed Wood, Wood had a short and impulsive first marriage to Norma McCarty in between his relationships with Fuller and O’Hara. “It only lasted for days and minutes,” remarked Kathy O’Hara, “ending as soon as he put on a nightgown.”)

Ed Wood met his idol Orson Welles. (He never met Welles, contrary to Ed Wood.)

Dolores Fuller:

Dolores Fuller was a moron who was a judgmental and wholly unpleasant person. (Burton biographer Ken Hanke criticized Sarah Jessica Parker’s portrayal of Dolores Fuller saying that she was a savvy and humorous woman. During her relationship with Ed Wood, she had regular TV jobs on programs like Queen for a Day and The Dinah Shore Show. She was also a successful songwriter for Elvis Presley. Yes, that Elvis Presley. Still, she didn’t like her depiction in Ed Wood either. Still, she was better off dumping Ed Wood since he drank himself to death at 54 and ended his career writing for porn. Not only that, but prior to his death, Wood and his wife were so poor that they were evicted from their flophouse apartment. His wife Kathy would be left destitute.)

Dolores Fuller was an unsupportive girlfriend to Ed Wood. (Contrary to Ed Wood, she did try to be supportive to Ed. For instance, in Glen or Glenda, she not only acted in the film, but also helped raise money, scout locations, and pick the wardrobe for Wood’s character {that included some of her own clothes.} And no, he didn’t make a woman hotter than her. She also adored Bela Lugosi for she was also of Hungarian descent herself and even cooked him goulash the way he liked it.)

Dolores Fuller smoked. (The real Dolores Fuller said she never did.)