In case you just tuned in, I am using the Wikipedia entry on Wallace Beery – alleging that he was involved in the death of Ted Healy – as a way to explore Wikipedia’s fundamental problems with accuracy and delve into Hollywood myths.
We are in the middle of looking at Sammy Wolfe’s account of the “Wallace Beery beat Ted Healy to death” story after examining whether Wolfe was a reliable source and determining that he wasn’t.
Here’s what he says in Jeff and Tom Forrester’s “The Three Stooges”:
Let’s break this down:
–Sammy Wolfe is at the Trocadero.
–Wallace Beery is at the bar with Pat DiCicco.
–Ted Healy is at the other end of the bar.
–Beery is making a lot of noise.
–Healy tells him to be quiet.
–“Then Beery gets up and punches Healy in the right side of the head, right there at the bar.”
–Healy says “Let’s go outside.”
–Wolfe “guesses” that Beery and DiCicco went out into the parking lot.
–Wolfe further “guesses” that “there was already another guy out there.”
–Wolfe further “guesses” that “other guy” “jumped Ted” and “then the other two guys jumped in and beat him up.
So even if we are to believe Sammy Wolfe, everything beyond Beery allegedly hitting Healy in the bar is a “guess.”
And where did Wolfe supposedly see Wallace Beery punch Ted Healy?
“in the right side of the head.”
Which would explain the marks over his left eye.
Dec. 23, 1937: Photograph of Ted Healy in the Los Angeles County morgue. The Forresters (Page 68) misattribute this photo to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. It was taken by the Daily News.
I wish the Forresters had asked him about this small discrepancy instead of taking his statement at face value.
Notice the small metal clip that was used to close a cut.
(No, I don’t like posting morgue pictures, but there’s no other way to disprove this allegation.)
To be continued.