Black Dahlia: Jay Singletary (Chris Pine) Star Reporter of ‘I Am the Night’

Jay Singletary -- Reporter?

I already posted this on Twitter, but here it is for the Daily Mirror readers.

Sam Sheridan’s portrayal of hotshot/disgraced reporter Jay Singletary (a tousled Chris Pine, who loses his shirt a lot) is utter b.s. Here’s why:

Jay’s backstory is that he was supposedly hired by the Los Angeles Times at the age of 18. Evidently Sheridan has never read a news story by an 18-year-old reporter. Shakespeare, it ain’t.

In this sequence of “I Am the Night,” Jay puts on a white coat (which he keeps in the trunk of his car, like all good reporters would do) to sneak into the morgue. In real life, any reporter who did this would be fired because its unethical and anything you obtained would be unusable. Plus in the 1960s, reporters had much more access than they do today. They wouldn’t need to sneak into the morgue.

Jay Singletary --Reporter?

Once Jay gets into the morgue, he begins frantically snapping pictures of a murder victim.

OK, so now we ask:

Why is Jay frantically taking pictures of a murder victim when there isn’t any paper in L.A. (or maybe in the country) that would use them? Does Sheridan think that newspapers routinely ran morgue shots of a murder victims? Recall that morgue shots of Elizabeth Short were heavily retouched and were only published to help identify her. Once she was identified they weren’t published again.


Jay Singletary -- Not a photographer
Why is Jay, a reporter, taking pictures? That’s what photographers do, right?

Jay Singletary -- Reporter
You know what kind of a job an 18-year-old could get at a newspaper? Copy boy, like David Nelson in “Thirty.” Not star reporter.

Jay Singletary -- Reporter?
And finally, Jay is beaten up by a cop.

During the day.

In the Civic Center.

And decides he isn’t going to report it.

There are so many things wrong with this that it’s hard to know where to begin. Cops beating up a reporter would be viewed as an attack on all newsmen and would get a HUGE response in all of the papers. When the LAPD roughed up a photographer covering the famous wreck of the San Diegan in the 1950s, there was so much protest that Chief William Parker appointed the first public information officer, Inspector Ed Walker.

And now I have to stop before my head explodes.

“Inspired by a True Story?” What?

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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4 Responses to Black Dahlia: Jay Singletary (Chris Pine) Star Reporter of ‘I Am the Night’

  1. Eve says:

    Thank you for watching this so I don’t have to.


  2. William Desmond Taylor says:

    This witless, fake story drivel completely misses the mark. Which you can expect from the American entertainment industry today about 100% of the time. Just like the US tech and computer industry relentlessly discriminates against all older people (unless you are still making big money like Ridley Scott or Clint Eastwood) and successfully drove everyone over 45 out of the industry – who might know anything. Knowledge or understanding in expensive period dramas? Forget about it. This is a generation that never reads and were not educated so they have no idea and are incapable of understanding what happened even 50-60 years ago.

    William Link talks about the problem with today’s TV writers writing mysteries like Columbo. They have no idea how a mystery or detective story works as they have never read *anything*, let alone mystery novels and short stories! So hire the young hack who can do it quick and cheap. Once upon a time, King Vidor told us that “a tree is just a tree.” Studio producers knew the audience will not know it’s not the real place. So in the Golden Age they shot it all on the backlot. Treasure of The Sierra Madre and John Huston brought actual location shooting. Now studos find it cheaper to go to the real location than to make it in LA. Fine for trees, not helping LA. However replacing a real story and time period with totally inaccurate ignorant trash that completely perverts the period, characters and story, well that is Hollywood today in a nutshell. Now our detective mystery stories are just another Marvel comic lite millennial crapola fest.


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