Wikipedia: Murder and Myth — Part 14

Wikipedia -- Wallace Beery

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”:

Wikipedia: Murder and Myth: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13

"Three Stooges," Page 63

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.
–They argue.
–“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.

Ted Healy

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.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1937, Film, Hollywood and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Wikipedia: Murder and Myth — Part 14

  1. Benito says:

    We don’t see morgue photos in U.S. newspapers now, but elsewhere it’s different. In the 1990s, El Siglo, a paper published in Panama, routinely put numerous close up color head shots of bloody accident and murder victims on its front page, ostensibly for indentification purposes. Not recommended for hangover breakfast reading.


  2. Not arguing against your overall conclusions (you’ve provided a preponderance of supporting evidence which I find convincing, but (a) the quote is “right in the side of the head”, not “in the right side of the head,” and (b) without any other visual cues (like, say, visible text or the way someone’s belt or jacket fasten), it’s impossible to determine if the negative had been inadvertently flipped.


  3. LC says:

    Whew! They mystery continues…
    By the way, nice article on the Herald Examiner panel, I just heard of the passing of Anne Knudsen, she lost her battle with cancer on Sunday.


  4. Pingback: Song of the Week: Dark Eyes | Fretboard Journal

  5. Pingback: Song of the Week: Dark Eyes

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