David Ferrie's "Strange" Ice-Skating Trip, Part Two!
Updated: Oct 9, 2021
Breck Wall was an entertainer in Dallas who developed, with his partner and lover Joe Peterson, a musical revue called Bottoms Up. For a while, they performed this revue at Jack Ruby's Sovereign Club, which later became the Carousel Club. Wall was one of Jack Ruby's friends, and Wall visited him in jail after he killed Oswald.
Breck Wall during his oral history interview at the Sixth Floor Museum on December 28, 1993.
Breck Wall testified before the Warren Commission and you can read his testimony here.
On November 23rd, Wall drove to Galveston, which is fifty-one miles southeast of Houston. He wanted to get away from Dallas for a few days and visit friends. He stayed with Thomas and Nonie McKenna, a couple who had lived next to his family when he was growing up. He was always very close with them. Wall left their phone number with the Adolphus Hotel operator [he was living there] so that he could be reached, and that night at 11:44 PM, Jack Ruby called him from Dallas. He wanted some help from Wall who was then the President of the Dallas office of the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA).
There was nothing unusual in any of this. Except that on that very evening, David Ferrie and his two buddies, Al Beauboeuf and Mel Coffey, drove to Galveston, from Houston, looking for some fun. This was part of their ice-skating trip, and they would leave Galveston on Sunday to go to Vinton, Louisiana to conduct some business for G. Wray Gill.
For Jim Garrison, this was extremely suspicious. Particularly if you believe in the theory of propinquity. Here is what Garrison told reporter James Phelan (from his book Scandals, Scamps and Scoundrels, page 148).
Yesterday, we posted Andrew Sciambra's memo to Garrison on his interview of Chuck Rolland, the manager of the Winterland Skating Rink. At the bottom of the memo, there was a paragraph on the homosexual conection:
The homosexual angle really interested Garrison. Here is an excerpt from the February 11th diary entry of Richard Billings, an editor at Life Magazine, who was working with Garrison:
You can see that Garrison described Wall as a "queer ex-roommate of Jack Ruby."
Here is the diary entry for February 23rd, 1967:
Does any of this make any sense?
Breck Wall moved his play to Las Vegas. And so Jim Garrison decided to send William Gurvich to check it out. Here is an excerpt from Gurvich's testimony at the Christenberry Hearings:
And, I found a reference to the Life Magazine photographs in the Richard Billings papers:
In an interview with Patricia Lambert, James Phelan said the photographer "had a camera disguised as a cigarette package." Phelan add that "And Gurvich said, you know, I kept thinking, I'm sitting here and my photographer is standing up there holding his cigarette package up to his eyes, what are we gonna do if the bouncers come?"
Breck Wall, in his oral history for the Sixth Floor Museum, said that he was followed for a week in Las Vegas by Garrison and Gurvich. He said the possibility of being named as a suspect was a "fear that I lived with."
All of this was irresistible to William Turner who wrote another one of his crazy memos.
Turner names Thomas McKenna as a suspect, for no apparent reason. Needless to say, this 'lead' went nowhere.
And Garrison had yet another reason to be suspicious of Wall. Here is an excerpt of an undated Garrison memo on Open Dallas Leads:
Yes, Breck Wall had the temerity to list Earl Cabell as a personal reference. Garrison elaborated on this at a conference in New Orleans with his investigators in September 1968.
Garrison is referring to Lewis McWillie who ran casinos for the mob in Las Vegas (including The Thunderbird) and in Cuba.
One could almost hear Garrison leading the cheers - "Lock him Up, Lock Him Up."
Years later Breck Wall was asked about Garrison:
"Garrison was a real jerk. Everyone hated him. Every day, his staff would make up absolute lies - about me, about Jack. We were never roommates. I lived at The Adolphus. And Jack Ruby never visited me there. And I never went over to Jack's apartment. I don't think Jack ever allowed anyone to to visit him at home."
Breck Wall is not mentioned in Jim Garrison's book, On The Trail of the Assassins. I wonder why?
Here is a good profile of Breck Wall.
Breck Wall died in November 2010 at the age of 75. He was beloved in Las Vegas.
Here is a Bill O'Reilly clip on Bottoms Up.