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The Big Story

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Post by greybelt on 2/13/2019, 7:16 pm

The research was exhausting, too! Smile

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Post by eliyahusimlevin on 2/13/2019, 7:31 pm

Thank you so much for all your work!
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Post by Rearle1 on 2/14/2019, 7:18 am

Thank you very much greybelt, bojim1 and all! Really appreciate the dramas and the fascinating background.
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Post by otrhead on 2/14/2019, 12:07 pm

Thank you. You two really made the posting of this series something special.

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Post by greybelt on 2/18/2019, 10:40 am

I'm starting to put brief summaries of the real-life stories up online at this address [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Some of the cases are getting additional documentation.
This particular one is about the "Speedway Murder" of the episode broadcast on May 28, 1948.
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Post by greybelt on 2/20/2019, 8:23 am

A non-Cobaltian friend and supporter found this on eBay
Click here for the listing

UPDATED

I was not aware of this -- was this a one-shot wonder on the newsstand?

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Here's a mention of another issue...

1951-09-26 Pensacola FL News Journal
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Post by scooper on 2/20/2019, 12:14 pm

Not a bad book. I bought a copy about six years ago.

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Post by greybelt on 2/21/2019, 11:31 pm

A collector on the west coast whom I traded with in the late 1970s sent me this link
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There were three issues... we already posted the cover for #1

cover for #2
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cover for #3
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... but look at the information from that link...
Big Story Magazine [1951]
Total Issues: 3
True crime. A non-fiction digest magazine based on radio and TV shows.
Issues & Index Sources:  Oct-1951 – Dec-1951
Publishers:   Markrite Enterprises Inc., 19 Biltmore Ave., Tuckahoe, NY
Editors:   Walter B. Gibson
Formats:   digests
Frequency:   monthly

What's that name as the editor?? Could it really be?? This demands a bit more investigation!

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Post by greybelt on 2/22/2019, 4:18 am

Pulp (and The Shadow) expert John Olsen wrote me and said
Yup, that's our boy Walter!  If you have a copy of the J. Randolph Cox book, "Man of Magic and Mystery: A Guide to the Work of Walter B. Gibson" (Scarecrow Press, 1988) then by all means check out pages 166 and 167.  It lists the stories written by Walter Gibson (under pen names) for Big Story Magazine.

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Post by greybelt on 9/30/2019, 6:08 am

Big Story 50-08-16 (177) Cornered Rats Always Squeal [ChesterPotter, PittsburghPress] AFRS#117.mp3
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Our hero reporter is Chester Potter, who bounced around many newspapers early in his career, but eventually found a home in Pittsburgh. This is the announcement of his Big Story selection. Many of these announcements mention the story that led to the award, which made finding this episode's background much easier.

1950-08-16 Pittsburgh PA Press
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Here's the cast...
The Big Story - Page 7 Script12


Chester's career was going well, and he was promoted to the Washington DC bureau.

1951-02-04 Pittsburgh PA Press
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Unfortunately, Potter passed away in his mid-50s.

1956-10-17 Pittsburgh PA Sun-Telegraph
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1956-10-18 Pittsburgh PA Post-Gazette
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

NOTE: click on any of the images to see a larger version by zooming in on the image hosting site.

The story begins in 1924, as Frank Steggert gets an early start in his criminal behavior. In 1932, he was sentenced to 40 years behind bars. He failed in his attempts for clemency, but he was finally released in 1947.

1924-09-19 Pittsburgh PA Daily Post
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1932-11-17 Uniontown PA Evening Standard
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1941-06-12 Pittsburgh PA Press
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1944-09-06 Pittsburgh PA Press
Steggart applies for a pardon... but doesn't get it.
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1947-06-13 Pittsburgh PA Sun-Telegraph
He applies again...
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1947-07-08 Pittsburgh PA Post-Gazette
... and gets it this time.
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Police are called to a jewelry store where the owner was found with multiple gunshot wounds, dead. Nothing seems to be missing... and they're confused if it's a holdup or a suicide. Seems like way too many shots for a suicide! The case is unsolved for days... weeks... months...

1948-07-10 Pittsburgh PA Press
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1948-07-12 Oil City PA Derrick
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1948-07-15 Pittsburgh PA Press
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1948-09-24 Warren PA Times Mirror
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Finally! A break in the case. Pittsburgh gangsters are apprehended!

1949-10-19 Pittsburgh PA Press
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1949-10-19 Pittsburgh PA Press
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Steggert confesses to killing a fellow criminal... and goes to prison...

1949-10-19 Pittsburgh PA Sun-Telegraph
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1949-10-21 Pittsburgh PA Press
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A break in the jewelry store murder case... Steggert rats out one of his fellow perpetrators... and finally, the killer of Joshua Lipman, jeweler, is known.

This article is bylined by our hero reporter. Most of his reports, as was the practice at that time, usually had no byline.

1950-03-26 Pittsburgh PA Press-Gazette
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1950-03-27 Pittsburgh PA Post-Gazette
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Stettgart re-enacts the events of that night...

1950-03-28 Pittsburgh PA Press
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What's this? Reporter Ray Sprigle, also a Big Story honoree, explains how the numbers rackets were keeping money in Lipman's safe! And Steggert isn't just volunteering this information and wants you to believe it... he's taking truth serum so you'll know for sure that what he's saying is true!

1950-04-13 Pittsburgh PA Post Gazette
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Steggert is held for trial, and enters a guilty plea. He receives a life sentence, as does Hess.

1950-04-21 Pittsburgh PA Press
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1950-06-04 Pittsburgh PA Press
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1950-06-05 Pittsburgh PA Sun-Telegraph
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1950-06-06 Pittsburgh PA Press
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While in jail, Stettgert becomes ill, and is diagnosed with leukemia. A request is made for his release so he can die at home, away from prison. By the time his request is approved, he has already died.

1958-04-10 Pittsburgh PA Press-Telegraph
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1958-04-11 Latrobe PA Bulletin
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Hess, Lipman's killer, is still in jail through the 1960s. Lipman's son is a prominent nationally-respected rabbi in the Reform Judaism movement. In 1971, he and his siblings ask for a pardon for Hess, which is granted.

1971-02-12 Hanover PA Evening Sun
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1971-04-03 Pittsburgh PA Press
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Post by greybelt on 10/1/2019, 4:48 am

Big Story 51-03-14 (207) COT Cautious Killer [Edward Neumeier Humboldt CA Times] AFRS.mp3
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1951-03-12 Van Nuys CA News
They actually list his parents address!
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1951-03-14 St Louis MO Post-Dispatch
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The cover page from the script...
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The story was also presented on the TV series.
1952-05-16 Dayton OH Daily News
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Neumeier's obituary
2010-08-28 Marin Independent Journal
The text is from the paper via Legacy.com
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A gruesome double murder and rape is reported in a quiet, peaceful area of northern California.

1949-07-05 Gastonia NC Gazette
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The suspect is identified and the police are on alert.
1949-07-05 Hanford CA Sentinel
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1949-07-05 Opelika AL Daily News
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1949-07-05 San Rafael CA Daily Independent Journal
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East coast newspapers pick up the story, too!
1949-07-06 NY Daily News
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Gulbrandsen surrenders... and sits with our hero reporter!
1949-07-06 Oakland CA Tribune
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1949-07-12 Beatrice NB Times
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Newspaper editorial wonder how Gulbrandsen was ever released
1949-07-13 Ukiah CA Republican Press
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Gulbrandsen gets a continuance
1949-07-24 Santa Rosa CA Press Democrat -
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He's officially charged, and a trial date is set. The court begins the process of gathering a jury.
1949-07-31 Santa Cruz CA Sentinel
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1949-09-03 Santa Rosa CA Press Democrat
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1949-09-13 San Rafael CA Daily Independent Journal
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1949-09-14 San Francisco CA Examiner
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The crime is so brutal that the district attorney will ask for the death penalty.
1949-09-15 San Bernardino CA County Sun
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The jury will get to see death photos in the trial and their deliberations.
1949-09-16 Long Beach CA Independent
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1949-09-21 Petaluma CA Argus-Courier
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1949-09-23 San Bernardino CA County Sun - Guldbrandsen convicted.png
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1949-09-29 San Mateo CA Times - Guldbransen on death row.PNG
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1950-06-04 Oakland CA Tribune - death penalty upheld.PNG
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1950-10-06 Bakersfield Californian - Guldbransen execution.png
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Here's the statement the writers created as Neumeier's closing remarks
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Post by artatoldotr on 10/1/2019, 8:29 am

Wow, what an impressive amount of research on these two stories.
Greybelt, I take my hat off to you.
Thanks again
Best regards
Art
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Post by greybelt on 10/2/2019, 7:32 am

Big Story 51-04-25 (213) More Tragic Than Murder AFRS#90 (dead mother in trunk) [Virgil Hill, Hiawatha KS].mp3
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Our intrepid reporter is Virgil Hill. Not much is known about him, but he did have the glory of being honored by The Big Story.
1951-04-25 LaCrosse WI Tribune
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Here is the cover page of the script with the cast...
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This first item is about a local funeral from years before, included here because it listed Myrtle Lattimer, the key person of the crime, and her mother.

1916-04-20 Seneca KS Tribune - Lattimer mentioned in a family obituary
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Myrtle is innocent in this whole event. Mom just died, and she couldn't let her go. So she kept Mom in the shed where no one would notice, told neighbors that Mom was too sick to have visitors or away visiting relatives. Oh... and Myrtle wanted her mother's civil war pension checks to keep coming. Too bad folks found out and ruined this very happy family.

The story received national attention.


1934-07-07 Billings MT Gazette
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1934-07-07 Chippewa Falls WI Herald-Telegram
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1934-07-07 St Louis MO Post-Dispatch
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1934-07-08 Madison WI Capital Times
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1934-07-09 NY Daily News
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1934-07-09 St Louis MO Post Dispatch
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1934-07-10 Des Moines IA Tribune
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1934-07-17 Jefferson City MO Daily Capital News
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1934-11-15 Frankfort KS Index
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1934-12-13 Summerfield KS Sun
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Myrtle didn't kill Mom, she just held the body, and the financial fraud was not all that great. Myrtle is out of prison... and violates her parole. She was good at taking orders as a door-to-door sales person, but forgot to deliver the merchandise. Is that so wrong? Off to jail she goes!

1937-07-20 Lincoln NB Journal Star
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1937-07-21 Lincoln NB Star
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1937-07-21 Manhattan KS Morning Chronicle
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1937-07-22 Lincoln NB Star
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1937-07-22 Marshall County (Marysville, KS) News
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A few years pass, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recaps this strange Midwestern case.

1941-01-14 Pittsburgh PA Post-Gazette
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It's still a fascinating case decades later!

1959-07-30 Marysville KS Advocate
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Post by artatoldotr on 10/2/2019, 8:18 am

Thanks again greybelt

Best regards

Art
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Post by greybelt on 10/19/2019, 7:06 pm

UPDATE! The real-life story for...
Episode #339 1954-02-10 "A Search that Saved a Life," Virginia Marmaduke and Joseph Kordick, Chicago Sun-Times has been properly identified.

Page 65 of Virginia Marmaduke: A Journey in Print from Carbondale to Chicago has details of the story that match the plotline of the episode of The Big Story episode. I was finally able to get the book via interlibrary loan at my library.

The Big Story editors changed so much of the original story to fit its plotline and format that it did not give any insight into the particular operation that the child needed. Marmaduke was constantly working for causes for medical advances for children. Among them were the correction of heart defects. It seemed that was a likely candidate for the original story, but that was not the case.

The key to identifying the correct news story is the parents' marital tension over the riskiness of the surgery. None of her other columns about medical care for children had this detail. Her column of August 15, 1948 in the Chicago Sun-Times, replicated in the book, was different. It explains the birth defect involved, and it is one that the Big Story editors probably did not want to include: the child's bladder partially formed outside her body. The condition is called "bladder exstrophy." Today it is considered a 1/40,000 chance of this defect occurring (0.0025%). It is easy to understand why the scriptwriters did not want to go into details about the condition because it is complicated.

Marmaduke's role was to get parents of a child who had successful surgery in touch with Pamela Lamphere's parents. Pam was two years old, with only a few years to live unless she had the surgery. The surgery had three phases, and was dangerous. Though the newspapers make it seem like the surgery "cures" the patient, it does not. It saves their lives but they have to manage aspects of personal health and care for the rest of their lives... but outsiders are not aware, and most importantly, the patient survives and can have a very normal life. The other good news is that the marriage of Pam's parents survived, too.

The story did receive national attention, but Marmaduke's name was not mentioned anywhere other than in her own newspaper, The Chicago Sun-Times. Her column, and the wire reports based on it, mentioned the actual names of the people involved, and that made the specific story very easy to find. Here are some clips that finally explain the situation and its events. And... Marmaduke eventually worked for the Chicago Tribune before she retired, and offered an overview of the circumstance and the aftermath in an extended 1955 article (it is the last clipping below).

Some of the clips are very large and may not display here in full. Double click on those and the photo hosting site should provide the full image. In some cases you may want to download the image to make it easier to read. The last one by Marmaduke is a chance to read her own words about the story and get her full perspective about it. It also turns out that Marmaduke only wrote five articles for Chicago Tribune before she retired, and this was the final one.

1948-08-16 Atlanta GA Constitution
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1948-08-16 Hackensack NJ Record
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1948-08-25 Nashua NH Telegraph
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1948-09-13 Dixon IL Evening Telegraph
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1948-09-22 South Bend IN Tribune
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1948-09-29 Knoxville TN Journal
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1948-10-15 Salt Lake UT Tribune
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Pamela was mentioned on the November 25, 1948 Peggy Lee Show. Peggy dedicated the song Manana to her. As best as I can determine, no copy of the program exists. There are more details at this page [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] This is the summary on that site:
Before tackling her then-current million-selling hit, Peggy Lee makes the following comment: "I know, friends, you've heard Mañana a lot of times. And to tell you the truth, we hadn't planned on doing it tonight, but we have a request. It's from a little girl in Chicago. Two-year-old Pamela Lamphere. Maybe you recall her picture on the front page of your newspaper some time ago. She had a very serious operation -- and, I'm happy to say, a successful operation. Someone asked her, not long ago, what she wanted. She could have anything her heart desired. Little Pam asked to hear Mañana. Well, here's your Mañana, Pam, and Andy Russell is going to sing with me -- with some special Thanksgiving lyrics." The special lyrics end with a chorus in which lyricist Lee addresses the two-year-old directly, sending her get-well wishes.

The owner of the website has verified that he has not found a recording of the program but got the text of Lee's remarks from the script archive at University of California in San Francisco.

1949-01-23 Pittsburgh PA Sun-Telegraph
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1949-06-25 Rochester NY Democrat & Chronicle
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1949-07-21 Decatur IL Herald
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1950-12-16 Wilmington CA Daily Press Journal
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1955-11-13 Chicago IL Tribune

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Last edited by greybelt on 10/20/2019, 2:26 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Post by artatoldotr on 10/20/2019, 9:13 am

Thanks greybelt
What a great batch of research
Best regards
Art
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Post by lasombra on 10/20/2019, 9:32 am

Thanks greybelt for sharing this with us. Do you know if Pamela is still living?

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Post by greybelt on 10/20/2019, 12:02 pm

I did my best to figure out if Pamela and/or her parents and siblings are living, and if not, when they passed away. The last name is very common in terms of online searches, so it is really hard to tell. I have not gone into any of the genealogical data bases, so there might be something there. But there are no obituaries or other news items that I can find related to this story. Marmaduke's 1955 article is where the public story seems to end.

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Post by greybelt on 10/21/2019, 4:52 pm

A little more Pamela... here she is at age 16 in high school at the Summit, IL Argo Community High (1962 yearbook)!
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Our town library has the "big" subscription to ancestry.com -- so that helped! No sign of her or her parents in any other resource. I have not been able to check the Social Security Death Index yet. Next time I get to the library I will...

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Post by JazzMan on 10/21/2019, 5:20 pm

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Post by greybelt on 10/21/2019, 10:35 pm

Thanks JazzMan!! Found it in a few newspapers once you made us aware of it!

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Post by greybelt on 10/22/2019, 9:47 am

I have found some private information that Pamela still lives, but recently widowed, and had a family!

Was good to learn that!

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Post by lasombra on 10/22/2019, 10:17 am

Thanks greybelt!

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Post by greybelt on 7/6/2020, 1:55 pm

FOUND THE ORIGINAL NEWS STORY for Pillars of Society!
which eluded us earlier...

Here is the episode (same recording as before, here for convenience)
Big Story 48-05-05 (058) Pillars Of Society [William Miller, Cleveland Press] UPGRADE-2
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When your reporting career is starting out, you get to cover lots of events... whether you want to or not!... and some of them may have dangers you were not expecting...
1932-09-05 Akron OH Beacon Journal
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NBC had a magazine sent to its affiliate stations. Here is Miller in a picture in a group that was helping in the war effort from the January 1945 edition of NBC Transmitter , p29
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This is the newspaper item that finally made the story identification possible. Miller takes "a corporate job" to wind down his very successful career. The story identifies the years that Miller was at Cleveland Press, which is critical for searching out the key news story. Since this story was also done on television in 1953, other clips related to that broadcast helped narrow down the timeline and elements of the story.
1964-12-22 Honolulu HI Advertiser
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I cannot find a scanned copy of his book online, but there are used copies for sale at various places. It was a very popular book with positive reviews.

And now the story through newspaper clippings....
along with some surprises!

Note throughout that Miller's name is not mentioned. As we figured out from prior research, it was uncommon for reporters to get bylines for news stories at that time. It was also common practice to never mention reporters from competitive papers. The Cleveland Press is not in any digital archive, so we cannot see any of Miller's work on this story.

Frank Basey is arrested and convicted of robbing $1500 from a dry goods store. He was home with his mother, but witnesses and police are convinced he did it with an accomplice who escaped arrest. He insists on his innocence. He volunteers to take a "lie detector" test and says he will stay in jail if it indicates he is guilty.

1935-03-28 Tampa Bay FL Times
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1935-03-30 E Liverpool OH Evening Review
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1935-03-30 Sandusky OH Register
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Leonarde Keeler (his first name really does end with an "e") was at the "Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory" at Northwestern University. He was one of the developers of "lie detector" technology and patented it. It's an interesting story.
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More information about him and the device...
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Keeler played himself in the great Jimmy Stewart movie Call Northside 777. This image is near the beginning of the scene that occurs at about 48:30. The movie can be found on YouTube [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Despite Keeler's findings, the judge refuses a new trial. Frank and brother Max are heartbroken... but Max does not give up.

1935-04-05 Lincoln NB Journal Star
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1936-01-07 Chillicothe OH Gazette
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1936-01-09 Mansfield OH News-Journal
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Governor Davey was petitioned by Frank's brother, Max. He found all the jurors, likely with the help of Miller, yet the governor showed no urgency.
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No one really knows why he held up the pardon.

Max is finally successful!

1936-01-09 Massillon OH Evening Independent
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1936-01-17 Logan OH Daily News
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1936-01-18 Lincoln NB State Journal
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1936-01-18 Los Angeles CA Times
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1936-02-02 Butte MT Standard
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

More Big Story posts soon!

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Post by artatoldotr on 7/7/2020, 12:28 pm

Thanks for all the info greybelt
Best regards
Art
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