Many who have investigated some of the more titillating aspects of the murder of John Kennedy have come across the Madeleine Brown story made even more popular by an episode in the History Channel’s The Men Who Killed Kennedy. It certainly is more colorful than many of the tales told and has all of the eeriness of a good ghost story told around the camp fire. Unfortunately, it is too good to be true and a complete crock of you know what. We think it would be a great vignette for a fictional movie.
The general synopsis of the story is that the great movers and shakers of American politics and commerce converged on the home of Clint Murchison, Sr in a final pow-wow of proleptic celebration and check-list completion regarding the impending assassination of President Kennedy. The purported purpose of the occasion was to honor Murchison’s long time friend J Edgar Hoover. Other luminaries said to be present included Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, John McCloy, George Brown, R. L. Thornton, H. L. Hunt and a host of other glitterati swarming at the Murchison residence.
Each guest is assigned a motive to make the story more credible. Nixon’s loss to Kennedy in 1960, Johnson’s impending removal from the ticket in 1964, Hoover’s fear and loathing of pink presidents, the oil men’s anger over the oil depletion allowance, and a smorgasbord of other incentives for Kennedy’s forcible removal are added to the mix.
The marquee of the story is Johnson’s alleged comment to Brown, “After tomorrow those goddamn Kennedys will never embarrass me again— that’s no threat—that’s a promise!”
As we said it is great entertainment but it is reality built of fog, so we thought we would bring a little sunshine to the party to see how long the fog lingered. The first order of business is to figure out who was this personage alleged to be Johnson’s mistress. Madeleine Brown, nee Madeline F. Brown, (July 5, 1925 – June 22, 2002) was at best a raconteur and celebrity seeking hound who was allegedly a mistress of Lyndon Johnson and the father of her illegitimate son. It is thus her assumed proximity to Johnson which is supposed to lend credibility to her story.
After an excavation of her life and story it seems to be the case that the poor woman was pathological and given to fantasy to fill her empty life. She was found guilty of forgery but that verdict was over turned on a technicality.
Dave Perry does an extensive review of her ghost written autobiography which recounts this story and so much more, but finds error after error after error. It gets to the point that there is no evidence of any relationship with Johnson, let alone as father of her son. And the Murchison party has no foundation, being riddled with too many improbabilities.
For starters, Murchison was too ill to host such a party as he suffered a strong stroke in 1958 - in fact he was living near Palestine, TX at the time. The guest of honor, Hoover, was in Washington and could not have made the party given his known schedule, except perhaps by flying, but Hoover’s well known fear of flying makes that mode of locomotion highly suspect. Johnson did not arrive in Dallas until 11:07p with his motorcade at the hotel at 11:50p making it unlikely that he ventured to such a party. William Manchester reports him in his hotel staying up quite late. Nixon was seen at a night club with Joan Crawford at least until around 11p – again making it unlikely he would have disengaged and made it to the Murchison address in time for the alleged checkpoint among these well known men.
Brown refers to a story about the party in the social section of the Dallas Times Herald newspaper, but the section editor Val Imm said she never wrote such a story nor did such a story appear in the paper. In the whole, Brown has never been able to substantiate a relationship with Johnson. If such a liaison existed, Johnson’s premier biographer Robert Caro certainly did not find it.
Dave Perry asked Peter O’Donnell about the party as Brown alleges he was there. O’Donnell responded that he was not at the party because there was no such party. Perry also spoke with Clint’s chauffeur’s wife Eula Tilley about the party. She recalls no such party, stating that Murchison was too sick to have a party even if he wanted to.
We can however substantiate that Brown was charged and convicted of forgery leading to the generalization that she was a highly unreliable source.
It breaks our heart to dismiss this party as a lunatic invention because we definitely believe that conspiracy abounded in the planning and cover-up of the Kennedy murder. We even believe that some of the men so named as present at the party were either directly or indirectly involved in the conspiracy. Unfortunately the party never happened – plain and simple.Reference
Dave Perry, writings
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