Once again, “Where were you in ’62?”
Specifically, where you wuz Sunday, Aug. 5, 1962, when news of Marilyn Monroe’s tragic/mysterious death the previous night spread worldwide, during primitive times hereabouts, before cable TV, 24-hour news channels, cell phones, Internet and other electronic marvels of good/evil?
We’d gotten dial telephones in Enterprise in 1958, when many recreational long-distance calls were made on Sundays when rates were their lowest.
Likely, countless Americans learned of Marilyn’s alleged “suicide” from friends/family during “Sunday Special” phone calls.
Several books about Marilyn’s life/death have been written during the 60 years since her demise; a recent one (2021) by detective Mike Rothmiller and Douglas Thompson, is almost completely detailed and straightforward.
People are also reading…
The well-written book is saddening, maddening, scarifying, disappointing and disgusting in subject matter, but not surprising to everyone enthralled with Marilyn since our childhoods.
According to the book, as always suspected, Marilyn, 36, didn’t do herself in, and the Rashomon Effect long ago contributed to that mysterious California Saturday night when she breathed her last.
Now then, since August remains the only month without a federal holiday, it’s the perfect time to celebrate stars, like Marilyn, who’ve entertained us live/transcribed, who died in any August.
Let’s honor ’em with a special day.
A partial list of entertainers celebrated in the House of Adams this month includes others in the HoA’s Big Four August deaths, Mickey Mantle (Aug. 13, 1995) and on August 16, Babe Ruth (1948) and Elvis (1977).
American lives are better than they would’ve been without music industry luminaries Cannonball Adderley, Pearl Bailey, Dorsey and Johnny Burnette Glen Campbell, King Curtis, Betty Everett, Barbara George, Eydie Gorme, Billy Grammer and Ellie Greenwich.
Also, Lionel Hampton, Isaac Hayes, Bobby Hebb, Robert Johnson, Jimmy Jones, Les Paul, Luther Perkins, Little Esther Phillips, Louie Prima, Jerry and Jimmy Reed, Joe Tex, Thomas Wayne, Ronald White and Tony Williams.
Those folks mentioned continue transcribed performances by request in the HoA and online, mostly everywhere, as do notables too tricky to pigeonhole, Alexander Graham Bell, Lenny Bruce, Phyllis Diller, Merv Griffin, Phil Harris, Oscar Levant, Groucho Marx, Don Pardo, Will Rogers, Lowell Thomas and Robin Williams.
August is broke out in moviedom stars’ deaths, Lauren Bacall, Amanda Blake, Willis Bouchey, Richard Burton, Lon Chaney Sr., Charles Coburn, John Doucette, Henry Fonda, Dick Foran, Glenn and John Ford, Kathleen Freeman, Alec Guinness, Ty Hardin and John Huston.
Also, Douglas Kennedy, Ida Lupino, Strother Martin, Lee Marvin, Patricia Neal, Ed Reimers, William Talman, Sharon Tate, Vivian Vance and Loretta Young.
Sports stars who departed in August, Buddy Baker, Zelmo Beaty, Tommy Bolt, Lou Boudreau, Bobby Bowden, Ray Chapman, Art Donovan, Bill Freehan, Frank Gifford, Waite Hoyt, Thurman Munson, Pee Wee Reese, J.R. Richard, Phil Rizzuto, Bubba Smith, Tom Seaver, Earnest Thayer, Harry “The Hat” Walker, Paul Waner and Hoyt Wilhelm contributed to “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” for generations.
Neil Armstrong’s in a category alone.
Ditto Wild Bill Hickok.
If any of the above are unfamiliar, spend some quality time Googling them.
So back to Marilyn’s death and its impact.
Confession: Your scribe didn’t earlier forget to mention the book’s title, which suggests what the authors researched, concluded and wrote in glittering detail:
“Bombshell, The Night Bobby Kennedy Killed Marilyn Monroe.”
Questions anyone …