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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

"I Know Who Killed JFK," Part One

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

San Francisco Chronicle, May 14, 1967

San Francisco Chronicle, November 9, 1967

But nothing that happened to him in that period could have prepared Sahl for the storm he walked into after President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Far from convinced by the findings of the Warren Commission, Sahl joined forces with New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison, the most prominent backer of the theory that President Kennedy was not killed by a lone gunman but was, instead, the victim of a nefarious, CIA-backed plot.
This is not the place to argue the merits of Garrison`s case, but there can be no doubt that Sahl`s turbulent, three-year involvement in it had a devastating effect on his career.
With most of his nightclub outlets unwilling to play host to a comic who brought all 26 volumes of the Warren Report onstage every night, Sahl began to travel the college circuit, a largely forgotten figure whose income bottomed out at a mere $13,000 a year.
Typed within the industry as an obsessive maniac, Sahl only confirmed that view in 1976, when he published his autobiography, ''Heartland''--a book that was marked by his old brilliance but that also restated and amplified his disturbingly unconventional beliefs about Kennedy`s death.

Heartland contains several references to Jim Garrison, including this: (page 120)

"In time Garrison and Executive Assistant D .A. Andy Sciambra and I fell into black humor as we pursed this case. For instance, I was eventually fired by Channel 11 ostensibly because, while they would not censor me, they insisted I have new evidence if I persisted with the assassination story. I went on the air one week and said that Oswald, Ruby and Shaw had met at the Capital Hotel in Baton Rouge. I was fired. The program had an even rating with the Carson show in the Los Angeles area. It became evident to me what kind of power we were playing with."

Sahl is referring to the story that Clyde Johnson told about Shaw and Ruby. For a while, Garrison believed the story and even included it as an overt act when the jury was being selected in the Shaw trial. It was then dropped.


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2 comentarios

10 jun 2021

In his heyday, Sahl was known for his astringent remarks on the political scene and had a transatlantic reputation. British comic scriptwriters Muir and Norden persuaded. the BBC to bring him over for a solo performance, bu they then absolutely forbade him to comment on the UK political scene. Even so, he managed to be very funny: "It's the way he tells 'em!"

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13 jun 2021
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Sahl was FIRST rate. I remember him from the Steve Allen show in the mid-sixties, and I'm saddened by his financial troubles (and, effectively, having been black-listed).

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