Ehh, I’m going to hang this up.

KIDDING! Really. I have so much stuff for this year, and I’m beavering away at all kinds of things. There’s a big new feature coming up tomorrow. Why? WHY? Because it keeps me interested in everything, and engaged.

Then again, I am not under the illusion that everything is interesting to everyone. Today might be a prime example, but it fits with the general mission here: revival, remembrance, retrieval, regret, recollection, renewal. This has all that - except the last.

I stopped listening to news / talk radio on my way to work, because . . . because I don’t care. For now. Listened to an old radio show on the satellite channel: the Big Story! It’s the gripping true-life tales of real newspaper reporters, telling how they broke the Large Tale! This one concerned a murder in Kansas City, solved by Sam Melnick of UPI. (Just UP then.) It's here, if you want to listen to it. A strange, unsettling tale about a father who shot his daughter.

I went to to see if I could find the original story.

I could not.


But this site researches the Real Stories behind the Big Stories, and it had enough info to locate the original story and find the killer's photo.

He was described as lacking four teeth on his lower jaw, so he was less charming than he appears here.


From the site:

This was a very tragic story from Kansas City in 1945. Ray Davis killed himself rather than be arrested. He was an obsessively protective and jealous father who forced his three daughters to break off relationships they had. He killed his daughter Lula Mae after she refused to break off her relationship with a veteran who just returned from service in WW2. Lula Mae was shot attempting to shield the veteran from her father's fire.

He did not believe that he had killed her, behaving even more irrationally, running away while stopping to make phone calls to family to find out if Lulu Mae was okay. He eventually started to believe what he had done, and asked family members when Lulu Mae's funeral would be held. Police acted to protect his wife and daughters, and caught up with him. When police had surrounded his apartment and demanded he come out, he turned his gun to his chest, and made the suicidal shot. His father-in-law related his final call: "I'm not going to put any more disgrace on my family. I won't give myself up, I'm going to commit suicide. I want to be buried at the same time and at the same place as Lula Mae." He got his wish.

No information could be located about Sam Melnick's career.

I found the story from the real name of the killer. There’s no byline for Sam.

And let me just note that the part in the radio play about Sam figuring out where the killer was holed up was . . . fanciful. The newspaper account says the police made the brilliant deduction that the killer had gone back to his house.

But then there’s this.

No information could be located about Sam Melnick's career

Perhaps at the time of the writing the newspapers weren’t digitized. Now it’s a different story.

His newspaper career seems to have ended in 1951. He pops up again in a 1960 column.

That would be here. His office was third from the right.

Let's continue.

Can you infer the sequence of events? He gets a swelled head from his one radio moment - which wasn’t true, and he wasn’t even in the show - but thinks maybe he can parlay it into something big, so he moves to Hollywood. Years later, all he has is a collection of shots from publicity events, grip-and-grinners that mean nothing.

Starr was quite a name, but I don't know if the TV programs ever happened. 

So there the trail ends? Sam sitting in an office, behind on rent, working the phones, trying to put together the one deal that'll put him over the top, make it all good.

Alas, there’s more story in the archives.


He got three years. A few legal mentions about his appeals, then nothing.

But his story was on the radio today. It wasn't entirely true, but it was his.




I guess this is an all-clippings day.

It’s 1955, in the college town of Iowa City. Big wood seems a bit much for this story, but that’s from our perspective. Is this a demand?

"U. S. Security Risk Firings." Lots of people canned for Red sympathies. Two thousand had “subversive” materials in “their files,” which I assume were their personality dossiers. Five grand resigned before the hammer came down.

Is that another demand? This paper’s awfully pushy.

Here's your history lesson for the day.

Arnulfo Arias Madrid (15 August 1901 – 10 August 1988) was a Panamanian politician, doctor, and writer who served as the President of Panama from 1940 to 1941, again from 1949 to 1951, and finally for 11 days in October 1968.

In 1984, the 83-year-old Arias ran again for president. When exit polls showed Arias with a substantial lead, the government, now controlled by Manuel Noriega, halted the count and brazenly manipulated the results to declare that its candidate, Nicolás Ardito Barletta, had won by only 1,713 votes. Independent observers estimated that Arias would have won in a landslide had the election been conducted in a fair manner. As a result, Barletta was nicknamed fraudito (little fraud), which rhymes with his second name, Ardito. Arias fled once again to Florida.

His death occasioned national mourning. As you might imagine from all of this, he was not implicated in the plot.

The circumstances concerning Remón's death were mysterious. During the initial investigation, an American, Martin Irving Lipstein, was arrested,[3] but later released when Rubén O. Miró, an attorney, confessed to the crime on 12 January 1955. Lipstein also had an alibi, with several witnesses having seen him in places far away from the racetrack at which Remón was killed (the Hipódromo Juan Franco), at about the same time.

In his confession, Miró claimed that he had been acting on orders from José Ramón Guizado, who had succeeded Remón as president. Guizado was removed from his post and arrested on 15 January,[4] and convicted of complicity on 29 March.

He was sentenced to six years and eight months in jail, but was released in December 1957, after Miró and six other suspected perpetrators were acquitted. Miro was abducted in broad daylight as he exited a bank in downtown Panama City.

He was never seen again.

  “The saucers did not appear.”

Dorothy Martin was a member of the Seekers.

The Seekers, also called The Brotherhood of the Seven Rays, were a group of rapturists or a UFO religion in mid-twentieth century Midwestern United States. The Seekers met in a nondenominational church, the group originally organized in 1953 by Charles Laughead, a staff member at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. They were led by Dorothy Martin from the Chicago area (also called Sister Thedra), who believed a UFO would take them on December 21, 1954. They are believed to be the first such group to exist.

She died in 1992 in Sedona - of course. Previously she’d founded the Association of Sananda and Samat Kumara in Mount Shasta, California. It still exists, according to Google.

  This was serious and bad and made every parent shiver. We’ve no idea.

The New Year Baby seems indifferent to human society and its conventions. I make no promises! Let the chips fall where they may! I’m just an embodiment of the space through which you fools move!

Reg Manning had 170 papers at his peak. “Manning often used a small anthropomorphic cactus with a big nose as a visual signature.”

Yep. Lived in Phoenix.

  Commies gotta commie:

I’ve been to the Englert. Saw “The Exorcist” there. Scared me blind. Restored and open.

Roger Moore’s first movie, by the way. Bosley didn’t like it.

According to Bosley Crowther, "The story is trite. The motivations are thin. The writing is glossy and pedestrian. The acting is pretty much forced. Mr. Johnson as the husband is too bumptious when happy and too dreary when drunk; Miss Taylor as the wife is delectable, but she is also occasionally quite dull. Mr. Pidgeon is elaborately devilish, Sandra Descher as the child is over-cute, Donna Reed as the bitter sister is vapid and several others are in the same vein.”

Delectable but dull just about nails it. Hard to think of Donna Reed as bitter, but . . . actually, no, it’s not.

Drink Iowa Wines! They’re from loess soil!

By the time of this ad:

The grapes started getting smaller; the sugar content was low, and they tasted bitter. The value of Council Bluffs grapes plummeted on the fresh produce market, and they were sold at low profit to be mixed with other grapes for use in jelly.

This time the culprit was man-made. It was discovered a new herbicide gaining wide use by corn farmers was also destroying the grape crops. Bans on the chemical were started in the late 1960s, but the damage was already done. The few remaining vineyards passed into history, and the Grape Growers Association closed its doors.

Everything comes and everything goes.

Well, we've achieved our objective: we have learned something new. Let's do that here every day this year, shall we?

Not like we haven't been doing it all along, but I'll make a point of it.



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