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.
What started me on this adventure in research was the Wikipedia entry on Wallace Beery, alleging that he and two other men beat Ted Healy to death in the parking lot of the Trocadero in 1937.
Now, at long last, it’s time to examine what actually happened that night.
I previously wrote about using online sources to show how anyone can fact-check a dubious account. And in general, the online sources were acceptable. But frankly, there is no substitute for looking at the major papers in Los Angeles in those days, the Los Angeles Examiner, and to a lesser extent its afternoon counterpart the Herald-Express, and the Daily News.
The news accounts answer many questions, but add a layer of complexity that isn’t found in the other news accounts and certainly not in the books we have looked at: E.J. Fleming’s “The Fixers,” Jeff and Tom Forrester’s “The Three Stooges” and Michael Fleming’s “The Three Stooges: An Illustrated History.”
I’ll do it in several parts, starting Tuesday.
To be continued.