Wednesday, December 12, 2012



This article about Dallas newsman Don Harris and Suzie Humphries mentions that Humphries got her start in show business in the comic farce sex play called “Bottoms Up,”  a production by Breck Wall that began at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club, then moved across the street to the Adolphis Hotel before moving on to very long run in Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos.

Breck Hall, while in Houston Texas on the weekend of the assassination, received a phone call from Jack Ruby, which put him on the map and made him a person of interest in the subsequent investigation. Included below are the articles that mention him, Wall’s Warren Commission testimony, as questioned by Arlen Specter, and his obit.

About newsman Don Harris, News 8 Etc.

Steve Blow: Memories of WFAA's old 'News 8 Etc.' morning show are bittersweet

Gene Thomas, Suzie Humphreys and Don Harris were the dynamic trio behind "News 8 Etc.," a morning show that debuted on WFAA-TV in 1970.

Published: 09 December 2012 12:03 AM

Let's step into the wayback machine today for the saga of a local TV show that was both a big hit and marked by tragedy.

News 8 Etc., it was called - a fun and freewheeling morning show that debuted in 1970. Two of its three hosts would die tragically. The third just missed a similar fate.

I heard fond, bittersweet memories of the show when I visited recently with some of the old-time TV news anchors now appearing each morning on The Texas Daily on KTXD-TV (Channel 47). Back in the day, NBC's Today Show was so dominant in the ratings that ABC didn't even bother to compete with a morning show. So local ABC affiliate WFAA-TV (Channel 8) decided to produce its own. “Nothing quite like this had ever been done," said John Sparks, a veteran local TV news executive. He began as a floor director on the show.

 Oh, there had certainly been local interview shows, but they were  stiff affairs with very proper hosts like Julie Benell and Bobbie Wygant.

WFAA wanted something to fit the hang-loose vibe of the era. It began by hiring an affable but serious newsman, Don Harris. A boyish young local reporter, Gene Thomas, was added. And then came the real wild card - a zany, song-and-dance gal named Suzie Humphreys.

 She had zero journalism experience. She was a bank secretary who had
 worked by night in the long-running local comedy revue Bottoms Up.

"You cannot make chemistry happen. You either have it or you don't. We had it," Humphreys recalled the other day. "Everybody watched the show because they never knew what they were going to get when they tuned in."

Thomas might be wrestling a tiger. Humphreys might be shooting guns with John Wayne or suddenly whipping off her skirt to model something new called hot pants. Harris presided over the show with relaxed bonhomie.

It probably helped that Harris' favorite bar, just blocks from the station, sometimes sent over Bloody Marys in gallon jugs. "It was a different time," Sparks observed.

But the fun didn't last long. In October of 1971, working on a story for the show, Thomas rode in a jet-powered dragster at Dallas International Motor Speedway. It went out of control at 286 miles an hour and crashed, killing Thomas and two track workers.

"It was horrible," Humphreys said. "He was the most precious guy."

Don Harris moved on from News 8 Etc. to become the evening news anchor for WFAA. Then he went to California as a correspondent for NBC News. He was killed in 1978 while reporting on the Jonestown cult in Guyana. "Everyone adored Don. He was a great journalist and just so fun to be around," Humphreys said.

Mike Shannon is a local TV and radio historian. He tells the News 8 Etc. story on his website, "After Don Harris left and Gene Thomas died, the show went on, but the magic just wasn't there," he said.

 Humphreys stayed as new hosts came and went, but her heart wasn't in it. "I was there almost five years and they fired me," she said. "And I deserved to be fired."

That's when she landed a temporary gig as an airborne radio traffic reporter. That temp spot turned into a legendary 20 years with Ron Chapman on KVIL-FM.

But even she would have her close call with death. Not long into her time at KVIL, Humphreys was pregnant and having a terrible time dealing with morning sickness while trying to work from a bumpy helicopter.

 "I would have to stop periodically and throw up on the tops of buildings," she said with a laugh.

One morning, she couldn't take it a moment longer. She asked the helicopter pilot to take her back to the heliport at the old North Park Inn.

 "He put me down, and I really felt bad about leaving," she said. "He  took off and went down within about three minutes."

 Pilot Elliott Cohn was killed in the crash into the backyard of a home in University Park. "For a good while that morning, everyone assumed I had died in the helicopter, too," Humphreys said.

So there's the tale of News 8 Etc., a show remembered in local TV lore for both success and sadness.

John Judge of COPA adds more interesting material to the Don Harris article by Steve Blow.

-----Original Message-----
From: John Judge []

JUDGE: Don Harris was the only major news reporter to interview Grace Walden
Stevens in Memphis, crediting her story that the man in the rooming house
who ran out with a rifle was not James Earl Ray. He was one of the victims
of the Port Kaituma airport attack by programmed assassins who were part of
the Jonestown intelligence operation. They shot particular people and made
sure to finish the job, walking up to wounded, examining their faces and
putting rounds into their heads.

Others, they left alive. Jackie Speiers was one, who was an aide to
Congressman Leo Ryan, also killed at the scene. Greg Robinson, an NBC
reporter who came with the delegation was also killed. He had filmed the
riots following Dr. King's assassination in Washington, DC and refused to
hand over footage to the FBI and DC police, tossing it into the Potomac
instead. These newsmen join the ranks of others killed for telling the truth
about assassinations and political wrongdoing in America - JJ

By way of this technological simulacrum and wireless wonders you are hearing
from John Judge. Sent from my iPad


Openly gay actor Alan Sues, 85, best known for his work on Laugh-In, died on Dec. 1.
Laugh-In was a pre-Stonewall, quick-paced comedy-sketch TV show that also featured another gay performer — Lily Tomlin. But Sues’ characters were all outrageously, unapologetically, screamingly gay. Among them was Big Al, a gay sportscaster (see clip below).

His campy characters even carried over into commercials. In the early 70s, Sues was featured in Peter Pan Peanut Butter ads as a very flamboyant Peter Pan.

According to the LA Times, Sues was openly gay but not publicly, because he was afraid it would ruin his career. At that time it was OK to be gay as long as you didn’t say you were gay out loud.

However, during a radio interview I did with Sues in the early 90s, he was open and talked freely about being gay.

Sues was in Dallas at the time to perform in Breck Wall’s Bottoms Up revue — a live sketch show that began at Jack Ruby’s Dallas night club and moved to Las Vegas in 1964 where it ran for years. Wall, who died last year, and Sues appeared on Lambda Weekly to promote the tour of Bottoms Up.
In person, Sues was as joyously flaming as his Laugh In characters. On the LGBT radio show, he talked freely about being gay and walking the fine line between his characters being gay and actually saying his characters were gay on a ’60s TV show.

Since a character couldn’t say he was gay on TV then, the only way to know the character was gay was through his flamboyant persona. Stereotype? Sure. Funny? Very. And without a few people like Alan Sues on TV then, we might not have Mitchell and Cam on Modern Family today.

For gay kids growing up in the 60s, Sues was the TV star who let us know there were others like us out there.


The testimony of Breck Wall was taken at 2:13 p.m., on August 5, 1964, at the U.S. Post Office Building, 301 Stewart Street, Las Vegas, Nev., by Mr. Arlen Specter, assistant counsel of the President's Commission. 

Mr. SPECTER. May the record show that this deposition proceeding of the president's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy is being taken at the U.S. Post Office Building, 301 Stewart Street, Las Vegas, Nev. May the record further show it is now 2:13 Pacific daylight time on Wednesday, August 5, 1964. Present is Mr. Breck Wall who has appeared in response to letter notification and also telephone notification.

Mr. Wall, the President's Commission has asked you to appear here today to testify concerning any knowledge which you may have of Mr. Jack Ruby, his background,, and his activities relating to the events of November 22 through November 24, 1963. With that preliminary statement of purpose, I will ask you to rise and raise your right hand, if you would, please. 

Do you solemnly swear that the testimony that you shall give in this deposition proceeding before the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? 

Mr. WALL. I do.
Mr. SPECTER. Will you state your full name for the record, please?
Mr. WALL. My legal name is Billy Ray Wilson but I have used professionally Breck Wall for the last 7 or 8 years.
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. Wall, did you receive a letter of notification asking you to appear here today for your deposition?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Did that letter contain within it the Executive order creating the President's Commission and a copy of the rules and regulations for taking of depositions by the President's Commission?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. And you understand that if you wish, you may be represented by counsel here today?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you want to have an attorney with you today?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. When did you receive that letter?
Mr. WALL. Monday night at home. I was performing at the Castaways and a friend of mine signed the receipt on it.
Mr. SPECTER. Under the regulations you are entitled to 3 days' notice. Are you willing to proceed with this deposition today without having that notice?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. What is your occupation or profession, Mr. Wall?
Mr. WALL. Producer; performer.
Mr. SPECTER. Where are you employed at the present time?
Mr. WALL. At the Castaways in Las Vegas.
Mr. SPECTER. What is the nature of your duties in connection with your employment at the Castaways?
Mr. WALL. Well, I perform each night. I don't understand what you mean really.
Mr. SPECTER. What sort of performing do you do?
Mr. WALL. Comedy; musical comedy.
Mr. SPECTER. How long have you been engaged in that type of activity?
Mr. WALL. About 6 years.
Mr. SPECTER. And what was your occupation before you became an entertainer?
Mr. WALL. College student.
Mr. SPECTER. How old are you at the present time?
Mr. WALL. Twenty-seven.
Mr. SPECTER. What is your educational background?
Mr. WALL. Well, I only had 1 year of college, University of Texas.
Mr. SPECTER. Where were you born? 
Mr. WALL. Jacksonville, Fla.
Mr. SPECTER. And where did you live, in a general way, up to the Present time?
Mr. WALL. Well, I have lived in Freeport, Tex., that is where I was raised, and Dallas, New York City, Jacksonville, Fla., Orlando, Fla., and here.
Mr. SPECTER. When did you live in New York City?
Mr. WALL. In 1954 through 1957.
Mr. SPECTER. What was your occupation at that time?
Mr. WALL. I worked as a doorman at Luchow's on 14th Street.
Mr. SPECTER. When did you live at those various cities in Florida?
Mr. WALL. In between--in the year of 1957 and 1958. I came to Dallas in November of 1958, I believe.
Mr. SPECTER. When was it specifically that you lived in Florida then?
Mr. WALL. It was in the first part of 1958 and the latter part of 1957, I say.
Mr. SPECTER. And when did you live in Freeman, Tex.?
Mr. WALL. Freeport.
Mr. SPECTER. Freeport, Tex.?
Mr. WALL. Through school until I graduated in 1953.
Mr. SPECTER. From high school?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Then you attended the University of Texas in Austin for a year?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. And where did you live from 1954 until the time you went to New York City?
Mr. WALL. Then New York City from Austin.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you go directly from Austin to New York City?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Where did you go directly from New York City?
Mr. WALL. To Jacksonville, Fla.
Mr. SPECTER. Where you lived for the balance of the time up until of 1958?
Mr. WALL. Right; sir.
Mr. SPECTER. When you went to Dallas, Tex.?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you do when you first went to Dallas in November of 1958?
Mr. WALL. I was ill at the time and I had to stay with the McKennas. I was sick at the time.
Mr. SPECTER. And where do the McKennas live?
Mr. WALL. Currently they live in Galveston, Tex. They moved from Dallas.
Mr. SPECTER. What are the first names of the McKennas?
Mr. WALL. Thomas J. McKenna.
Mr. SPECTER. And is there another McKenna?
Mr. WALL. There are you mean as far as children?
Mr. SPECTER. You say you lived with the McKennas. I take it there was more than one McKenna or was there only one?
Mr. WALL. Mrs. McKenna and three children.
Mr. SPECTER. And how long did you stay with them following the time you joined them in November of 1958?
Mr. WALL. I would say about 2 months.
Mr. SPECTER. Where did you next live?
Mr. WALL. I can't think of the name of the street. In Dallas. I lived in Dallas.
Mr. SPECTER. With others, or by yourself?
Mr. WALL. By myself.
Mr. SPECTER. How did you happen to know the McKennas?
Mr. WALL. When I was going to high school, I would spend the summer my family and they lived next door to my family.
Mr. SPECTER. And when you spent the summer with your family who lived next door to the McKennas, was that in Dallas?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; in Fort Worth.
Mr. SPECTER. Whom did you live with when you went to school in Freeport
Mr. WALL. With my grandmother who has since deceased.
Mr. SPECTER. How long did you live in Dallas, Tex., after November of 1958?
Mr. WALL. When I moved in November of 1958 there, I stayed until I just moved.
Mr. SPECTER. When was it that you left?
Mr. WALL. We left in January of 1964 to go to Houston.
Mr. SPECTER. When you say "we," whom do you mean by that?
Mr. WALL. The company; the show I am in.
Mr. SPECTER. Which show is that?
Mr. WALL. Bottoms Up.
Mr. SPECTER. How long were you in Houston then?
Mr. WALL. We were in Houston for 12 weeks and then from Houston we came out to Las Vegas.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know Jack Ruby?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. When, to the best of your recollection, did you first meet Mr. Ruby?
Mr. WALL. I would say about 3 1/2 years ago.
Mr. SPECTER. What were the circumstances of your becoming acquainted with him?
Mr. WALL. We were having financial trouble at a club we owned called the Playbill.
Mr. SPECTER. When you say "we," whom do you mean?
Mr. WALL. Joe Peterson, my partner. We needed a place to go to do a show. Jack Ruby offered a very lucrative offer to play his new club. It was then called the Sovereign Club which later became the Carousel.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, what was the nature of the lucrative offer which Mr. Ruby made to you?
Mr. WALL. Well, I think he was going to pay us, I think, I'm not sure, $125 a week plus we were on a small percentage of the club.
Mr. SPECTER. How long did you play for Mr. Ruby at the Sovereign Club?
Mr. WALL I would say about 8 weeks. Maybe less.
Mr. SPECTER. What happened, if anything, to terminate that arrangement?
Mr. WALL. We got into an argument over a contract that I had signed stating that I would perform the show for one night for around $2,200.
Mr. SPECTER. What show were you supposed to perform for one night?
Mr. WALL. Bottoms Up.
Mr. SPECTER. For whom?
Mr. WALL. I don't recall the name of the organization. It was a nurses' organization.
Mr. SPECTER. Where was that show supposed to be performed?
Mr. WALL. In the ballroom of the Hotel Adolphus.
Mr. SPECTER. What was the nature of your disagreement with Mr. Ruby?
Mr. WALL. He was in a financial bind because the show wasn't working out like he thought and we were in a financial bind and needed the money and he would let us do it only if we would give him half. We couldn't because we couldn't.
Mr. SPECTER. What do you mean "we"? You still mean Joe Peterson and you?
Mr. WALL. Yes. And we called in the union man of our performing arts called AGVA.
Mr. SPECTER. What is that an abbreviation of?
Mr. WALL. American Guild of Variety Artists. And the AGVA man sided with Jack and we got into an argument wherein Jack punched Joe in the mouth and broke off a tooth.
Mr. SPECTER. Joe Peterson, that is?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir. And we left that night. I might also add in the record that the man, the name of the man representing our union, was named James Dolen who was arrested later, some months later, by the FBI.
Mr. SPECTER. On what charge, if you know?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir; as far as I know he was running some sort of bingo game or something illegal in Louisiana.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you perform that show Bottoms Up? 
Mr. WALL. No, sir. Jack Ruby and Jim Dolen took the show over and made our kids perform the show.
Mr. SPECTER. Was the same troupe then performing the show except for you and Mr. Peterson?
Mr. WALL. The only one we have now with us that did the show with us over at the Adolphus that particular night is Bill Fanning who is in our show.
Mr. SPECTER. After that 8-week connection with Mr. Ruby what later association, if any, did you have with him?
Mr. WALL. Well, I didn't speak to Jack for about, I would say, around 6 months but he and Mr. Peterson became good friends again because they have the type personalities that flare up and forget; and I don't--I have a mind like an elephant--and they started speaking so, therefore, I started speaking and going back to the club which he changed into a stripper club called the Carousel.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you ever work for Mr. Ruby again?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Then from that time on you knew him as a friend and acquaintance in the Dallas area?
Mr. WALL. Right.
Mr. SPECTER. What was your occupation from the time you left Mr. Ruby's until you left Dallas in January of 1964?
Mr. WALL. We reopened the Playbill Club for about 4 months and then we went back to the--I'm sorry--then we went to the Maple Theater, did a show for about 6 weeks called Mr. Wonderful, then back to the Adolphus Hotel where we stayed.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you do at the Adolphus Hotel?
Mr. WALL. Bottoms Up. Performed it in the Century Room.
Mr. SPECTER. How frequently did you see Mr. Ruby during the years of 1961, 1962, 1963?
Mr. WALL. Well, after we lost the Playbill again for a second time and we closed the show at the Maple Theater, then we were right across the street from where Jack had his club and Jack got a haircut at the barbershop in the hotel, ate in the hotel restaurant, consequently I think that is when he started--he and Joe started being friends and I started seeing him a lot and became good friends; then when we started at the Adolphus in 1962, maybe the latter part of 1961, we started speaking and being good friends. We would go over there sometimes three or four times a week just to see the show and the girls over there which we were good friends with.
Mr. SPECTER. To your knowledge, did Jack Ruby ever associate with any of the criminal element?
Mr. WALL. He always reminded me of a gangster but I have never seen him with anyone.
Mr. SPECTER. Why did he always remind you of a gangster?
Mr. WALL. Just the way he talks, you know, he just reminds me of a real hood. Still I have never seen him with anyone that you would call a criminal in Dallas.
Mr. SPECTER. Aside from his appearance and the way he talks do you have any factual reason for saying that he appears to be a hood or gangster?
Mr. WALL. No, Sir.
Mr. SPECTER. To your knowledge was Jack Ruby ever a member of any subversive organization or any group which advocates the forceful overthrow of the United States Government?
Mr. WALL. No.
Mr. SPECTER. Were any members of his family or friends ever members of any subversive organization?
Mr. WALL. I only met one relative of his which was his sister, Eva, or Ava, however you would say it. I just met her casually.
Mr. SPECTER. What is her last name?
Mr. WALL. I really don't know.
Mr. SPECTER. Grant?
Mr. WALL. Grant. That is right. She ran his club on--what street is it? I have to think of the club for a minute. It is right next door to the B&B.
Mr. SPECTER. The Vegas Club? 
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir. Thank you. That was the only time. I have only been out to the Vegas Club maybe twice in the whole time I have been in Dallas but I would see her at the B&B restaurant eating after she had closed her club.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you ever know Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you ever see Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mr. WALL. Only after he had shot the President.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know whether Jack Ruby ever knew Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; I don't.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you ever see Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald together at any time?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; not at all.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know whether Jack Ruby knew Officer J. D. Tippit?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; I don't. He knew most of the policemen on the police force.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you ever see Jack Ruby with Officer Tippit?
Mr. WALL. I don't know what he looks like.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know who Officer Tippit is?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir; I do.
Mr. SPECTER. He was the officer who was shot and killed the day of the assassination.
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you recall Friday, November 22, 1963?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. What were your activities on that day to the best of your ability to recollect?
Mr. WALL. That was very easy to remember. We went down to the Adolphus marquee.
Mr. SPECTER. "We" meaning?
Mr. WALL. Joe Peterson and also with us was Nancy Austin, who is in our show, and Kenny Jerome, who is in our show. We watched President Kennedy drive by and I was listening to it on the radio as he was driving and when he passed us he was going 30 miles an hour whereas he had been going 10 miles an hour so we missed him. With all the excitement and everything we didn't get a good look at him so we went upstairs.
Mr. SPECTER. Your view of the motorcade from the Adolphus was from the marquee of the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you do after the Presidential limousine passed the Adolphus Hotel?
Mr. WALL. We wanted to get a better look at the President so Joe Peterson and myself decided to go out to the airport because when he was out there, when he first arrived in Dallas, he stayed out there I think 30 minutes longer than he was supposed to, shaking hands with the people. We thought he might do it again. We ran upstairs to change clothes. It was a very cold day. We needed to put on some warm clothes. We went upstairs to change clothes and go out to the airport. We always left our television on because we have a dog and it sort of keeps him calm. When we opened the door into the bedroom they announced over the television that the President had been assassinated. Joe went down to the--as far as I know he went down to the Book Depository to see what it looked like and I stayed in the bedroom and watched the television to find out what was, you know, going on. We stayed there all that night and we departed for Galveston to get away from Dallas the next day, which was Saturday, at around 3 or 4 in the afternoon.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you do the balance of Friday night?
Mr. WALL. We stayed and watched television. I didn't move from the television set.
Mr. SPECTER. Where did you have dinner that night?
Mr. WALL. In the room.
Mr. SPECTER. What time did you go to bed on the evening of November 22, if you recall?
Mr. WALL. As far as I know I didn't go to bed until 5 in the morning.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you do all that night? 
Mr. WALL. Watched television.
Mr. SPECTER. Were the television stations running around the clock?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. What time did you awaken on Saturday, November 23, if you remember?
Mr. WALL. I would say around 8 o'clock, 9 o'clock. I woke up and watched television again.
Mr. SPECTER. Where did you eat breakfast?
Mr. WALL. I went down to breakfast on Saturday.
Mr. SPECTER. Down to where?
Mr. WALL. The coffee shop.
Mr. SPECTER. Of the Adolphus Hotel?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir. Then I came right back up and watched television until that afternoon.
Mr. SPECTER. When did you leave the hotel?
Mr. WALL. About 3 or 4 that afternoon we left for Galveston.
Mr. SPECTER. When you say "we," whom do you mean?
Mr. WALL. Joe Peterson and myself.
Mr. SPECTER. By what means did you go?
Mr. WALL. In our car.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you make any telephone calls on Saturday?
Mr. WALL. Yes sir. I called the McKennas to tell them we were coming down.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you make any telephone calls on Friday, the day before?
Mr. WALL I'm sure I made telephone calls to each cast member telling them we would not perform until Monday or Tuesday, that Mr. Anderson didn't know yet--he is the manager of the hotel--I'm sure I made quite a few calls that day.
Mr. SPECTER. Had you had a conversation with Mr. Anderson concerning the closing of the show?
Mr. WALL. No, sir. He called us saying there wouldn't be a show until Monday or Tuesday depending on when the funeral was. He didn't know.
Mr. SPECTER. What is his full name?
Mr. WALL. All I know is Andy Anderson. He has initials. I don't know, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. What members of the cast did you call following your conversation with Mr. Anderson?
Mr. WALL. Everyone in the cast, and I may forget a few names. I can list them if you'd like.
Mr. SPECTER. Please do.
Mr. WALL. Carl Tressler in Fort Worth. There would also be Eddie Parker, Bill Fanning, Suzanne Malone.
Mr. SPECTER. Where does she live?
Mr. WALL. In Dallas.
Mr. SPECTER. Where does Carl Tressler live?
Mr. WALL. Fort Worth. All the cast members in our show live in Dallas with the exception of Carl Tressler and Eddie Parker who live in Fort Worth. All of my calls would have been in Fort Worth except for the long distance calls in Galveston. We have had so many castings I really can't remember the rest of the people we had in our show. Possibly I made a call to Hazel Rippe, if she was still in the show.
Mr. SPECTER. That would have been in Dallas also?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir. All these telephone numbers would be in Dallas. Hazel wasn't in our show. There is another phone number in Fort Worth, it was a girl dancer in our show by the name of Ryna Hradecky, who was a friend of Carl Tressler's, so, therefore, I might have given a message to Carl to call Ryna because I couldn't get her at home at that particular time but if I had any calls to Fort Worth it would be to Ryna also. There would be one or two other calls to Dallas which would be cast members but I really can't think who was in the show.
Mr. SPECTER. At about what time did you call Tom McKenna?
Mr. WALL It would probably be, I would say, around 2 in the afternoon because we decided very quickly we were going. We just got tired of laying around the room watching television. I was beginning to get "buggy." 
Mr. SPECTER. Could you have called him as late as 5:30 that afternoon?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir; it could have been.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you do then the balance of that afternoon?
Mr. WALL. Watched television.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you watch television all the time up until the point when you left to go to Galveston?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. What time did you arrive in Galveston?
Mr. WALL. It would be 11 o'clock; somewhere around 11 o'clock.
Mr. SPECTER. How far is it from Dallas to Galveston?
Mr. WALL I didn't make the call from Dallas to Galveston at 2--it must have been 5:30--because it only takes 4 1/2 hours.
Mr. SPECTER. What is the distance?
Mr. WALL. Around 200 miles.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you make any stops en route?
Mr. WALL. Only for gas.
Mr. SPECTER. Where did you have dinner?
Mr. WALL. We didn't have dinner. We don't ever eat when we drive to Galveston; just go straight on down.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you eat when you arrived at Galveston?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir; we ate at the house.
Mr. SPECTER. At Mr. McKenna's house?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you do after arriving in Galveston that night?
Mr. WALL. Well, just as nearly, as quickly as we arrived is when we got a telephone call from Jack Ruby. After I talked to him we sat and visited and then went to bed.
Mr. SPECTER. How long did the telephone call from Mr. Ruby last?
Mr. WALL. I would say it couldn't have been more than only 5 minutes. Maybe 3 1/2 minutes.
Mr. SPECTER. State, as precisely as you can recollect, exactly what Jack Ruby said to you and what you said to him during that telephone call.
Mr. WALL. Well, he was having trouble with the union, or AGVA, and I had been elected the president of the council, newly elected president, and we had not even had a meeting yet but--I can't remember--he was having some sort of problems with his girls and the union was going to make him do something, which I didn't think was right. I told him I would help him out and make sure his case was presented correctly.
Mr. SPECTER. What was the union trying to make him do?
Mr. WALL. I don't recall. I really don't know but--I wasn't going to be on his side, but I was going to be sure it was presented correctly, that we would get his angle as much as the union's, the girl that was reporting him or whatever the circumstances were.
Mr. SPECTER. Were you friends with Mr. Ruby at this time?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir. He was very upset the President was assassinated and he called Abe Weinstein or Bernie Weinstein, he called them some names for staying open Friday night.
Mr. SPECTER. What club did they run?
Mr. WALL. They--I don't know which one owns which. One owns the Theater Lounge and the other owns the Colony Club, and he was very upset that he had closed and they stayed open. He thought it wasn't right and he wanted to know when I would return to Dallas and I told him probably Monday or Tuesday and he said, well, when I got in to town would I call him, which I said I would. He asked how everything was. I told him fine and that was it.
Mr. SPECTER. Can you recollect anything else he said during that telephone conversation?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Can you recollect anything else that you said to him during that call?
Mr. WALL Only if I told him why I left Dallas. He asked what I was doing in Galveston. I told him I just wanted to get away for a couple of days.
Mr. SPECTER. Did he mention Lee Harvey Oswald in that telephone call? 
Mr. WALL. No, sir; not at all.
Mr. SPECTER. Did he mention anything about any assassin or the assassin whoever he might be?
Mr. WALL. No sir. The only thing that he said which would be important to the Commission was that he was very upset that the other clubs had to stay open and that they did not have the decency to close on such a day and that he thought out of respect they should close. That is the only thing I recall that he said that would be of any importance. The other things were about his business with the union, how we were and why we went down to Galveston.
Mr. SPECTER. Did he say anything about any intention he might have to do anything to Oswald?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; not at all.
Mr. SPECTER. Prior to that telephone call on the night of November 23, when was the last time you had talked to Ruby before that?
Mr. WALL. It could have been 2 or 3 days before. I don't know, as I said, I saw him that often, you know. I do recall the last time I was in his club was the week before he shot Oswald.
Mr. SPECTER. When were you in his club during that week?
Mr. WALL. We had signed a contract to go into the Continental Hotel in Houston and we had the----
Mr. SPECTER. By "we" you mean you and Joe Peterson?
Mr. WALL. Right. Whenever I use "we" that is always Joe Peterson. And we had--the man who signed us felt pretty good about it and wanted to stay up beyond 12 o'clock, which is our curfew in Texas, and the only place that was open is the three exotic clubs and we decided to take Larry Grayson, booker of the Continental, to Jack Ruby's club and let him see a stripper called Jada.
Mr. SPECTER. Weren't the exotic clubs governed by the curfew?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; I'm sorry. The Theater Lounge and the Colony Club did close--I'm sorry. They didn't close. No; they didn't. You could serve a beer called near beer which did not contain any alcohol, or they would serve coffee. They did not have to close at the same time the others closed; so we took Larry and went over there and stayed up until around 2 or 3. I recall the incident, by the way, that Jack was having trouble with the union about.
Mr. SPECTER. What incident was it?
Mr. WALL. It was something about the comic had to perform in between each stripper to lengthen the time of the show and where he had lined up strippers at one time and then a comic and then three strippers again. He was having trouble with time. He wanted to make the show continuous and this was the problem he was having, so the night that I went to the Carousel Club with Larry Grayson and Joe Peterson he, himself, got on stage and entertained for 30 minutes with a raffle and I recall that Larry turned to me and said--every time that Jack would do something he would try and be very funny--every time he would do something he would turn to me and say, "Is that all right, Breck?" and Larry turned to me and said, "He thinks a great deal of you. Every time he does anything he turns to you," and I said, "Yes." I definitely remember that. That was the problem of trying to make----
Mr. SPECTER. What night was that?
Mr. WALL. It was at least a week before, maybe not--maybe not quite a week.
Mr. SPECTER. Can you recall the specific night that was?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; I can't.
Mr. SPECTER. Prior to that time when had you last seen Ruby?
Mr. WALL. I really don't know, sir. I don't think probably I saw him at all until after the President had been shot.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, I'm going back, before the time you said you had this conversation with him on that Saturday night when you were in Galveston. You saw Jack Ruby at the Carousel Club some time about a week before the assassination?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. When, prior to the time you were in the Carousel Club a week before the assassination, had you last seen Jack Ruby?
Mr. WALL. Possibly on the street or something. I had gone up to the club a week or two before that. 
Mr. SPECTER. Had you discussed this problem concerning the American Guild of Variety Artists with Jack Ruby prior to that telephone conversation on November 23?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir; I had.
Mr. SPECTER. When had you discussed it with him before?
Mr. WALL. He had called me----
Mr. SPECTER. When was that?
Mr. WALL. Possibly 2 weeks before the assassination--telling me his problem and wanting to know when it would be brought up at the meeting, and I told him that we usually met the 15th of each month and that at the next meeting I would--I'm sorry. I made an error. We meet every Thursday. Every Thursday there was a union metting and the 15th is when we meet privately, I think.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you have an official capacity with the union, that is, were you an officer?
Mr. WALL. Well, I was an officer as being elected the president of the interunion. In other words, all the performers, if there was a complaint that some performer had done something wrong and the management said that he was right and the performer said that they were right, then the performers themselves elected a committee of about six that would determine who was right, and this was the committee and I really don't even know the correct name of the committee. They would judge who was right and wrong and what would be done about it.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you have any official standing on the committee which was to take up Jack Ruby's problem?
Mr. WALL. I don't understand what you mean.
Mr. SPECTER. Were you responsible in any official way for the committee which was to consider the problem Jack Ruby had with the guild?
Mr. WALL. My capacity was to make sure that everything was presented correctly and this was the only thing that Jack was after me to do is to make sure his side of the story was heard.
Mr. SPECTER. Was it up to you to make the decision on who was right and who was wrong?
Mr. WALL. It was up to the committee, six members.
Mr. SPECTER. You were one of the members of the committee?
Mr. WALL. Right.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, when did Jack Ruby first discuss his problem with you?
Mr. WALL. I would say around 2 weeks before the assassination.
Mr. SPECTER. When did he next discuss the problem with you?
Mr. WALL. He called me a couple of times to see if we had had a meeting or not. He would call and I would tell him; no.
Mr. SPECTER. Was that by telephone?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir; he would call me at the hotel.
Mr. SPECTER. And how many times did he call you after he first discussed it with you approximately 2 weeks before the assassination?
Mr. WALL. I would say about two times.
Mr. SPECTER. When did he make those telephone calls to you?
Mr. WALL. In the afternoon.
Mr. SPECTER. Approximately how long before the assassination were those calls made?
Mr. WALL. Well, the last one was the Saturday night, midnight the last call came, that was the main reason he was calling me was to find out if we had had a meeting.
Mr. SPECTER. Did he call you once or twice between the first time he talked to you about the guild problem and the time he called you in Galveston?
Mr. WALL. About twice.
Mr. SPECTER. When did those two telephone calls occur, to the best of your recollection?
Mr. WALL. In the afternoon. That was the only time to get me.
Mr. SPECTER. What dates?
Mr. WALL. I can't recall any dates.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you discuss anything else in any of those two telephone calls other than the specific problem with the guild? 
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Had Mr. Ruby called you at Galveston prior to the time he completed the call shortly after your arrival at Galveston on that Saturday night?
Mr. WALL. I'm sorry. Had he----?
Mr. SPECTER. Did he just call you the first time and make that connection with you?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir; as far as I know. Otherwise my mother would have said that she received a long distance call.
Mr. SPECTER. When you say your mother----
Mr. WALL. Nonnie. Mrs. McKenna.
Mr. SPECTER.. Mrs. McKenna did not refer to any prior call to you?
Mr. WALL. No.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know how Mr. Ruby got your telephone number in Galveston?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir. I left my telephone number where I would be in Galveston with the operator in Dallas, which I do every time I go out of town so they will know how to contact me.
Mr. SPECTER. What is your purpose in leaving your telephone number in that manner?
Mr. WALL. Well, I get quite a few calls and the main reason I left it was because Mr. Anderson, who was the manger of the hotel, hadn't decided what day to come back to work, Monday or Tuesday, therefore, I needed to know so, therefore, I left the telephone number.
Mr. SPECTER After you completed your telephone conversation with Jack Ruby on that Saturday night, November 28, what did you do next?
Mr. WALL. As far as I can remember I had a sandwich and visited with the folks for about 45 minutes, then went to bed because I was kind of tired.
Mr. SPECTER. At what time did you awaken on Sunday morning, November 24?
Mr. WALL. I don't know the precise time. I do know it was about--it couldn't have been more than 10 minutes before Jack shot Oswald because I had just gotten up and walked in the bedroom and was watching it in the folks' bedroom, so whatever time Jack shot Oswald I was only up 10 minutes beforehand.
Mr. SPECTER. What, if anything, did you observe on the television screen at that time?
Mr. WALL. Nothing at all to relate it was Jack.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you know it was Jack at the time you saw the shooting of Oswald?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. What part of the man did you see on the television screen?
Mr. WALL. It all happened so quick I didn't see anything except I understood Jack had been shot.
Mr. SPECTER. Understood who had been shot?
Mr. WALL. I'm sorry, that Oswald had been shot and that--I watched the interview with the policeman saying he knew who it was but could not say publicly who it was. We waited around and, I would say, within a matter of 15 minutes they announced who it was. It seems to me that quick.
Mr. SPECTER. And who did they announce that it was?
Mr. WALL. Jack Ruby, owner of a stripper club called the Carousel.
Mr. SPECTER. What was your reaction, if any, to that?
Mr. WALL. Well, it was a shock. That is all I can say. It was a real shock.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you do for the balance of that Sunday afternoon?
Mr. WALL. Well, I would say within 30 minutes to an hour we received a call from the Washington Post representative who, I believe, was in Dallas at the time.
Mr. SPECTER. How did that representative of the Washington Post happen to call you?
Mr. WALL. I have no idea.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know what his name was?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; I don't.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you say to him, if anything?
Mr. WALL. Well, I was still in shock. I told him that I had talked to Jack over the telephone and he asked what we had said and I told him and he said: 
"Well, can you tell me a little about him?" And I was at that time having an argument with Mr. Peterson on what to do, you know, keep your mouth shut, or, you know, say what you had to say.
Mr. SPECTER. What was Mr. Peterson's view?
Mr. WALL. He said to keep my mouth shut, he did not want to get involved in any way, and that the right people would come to us and for us not to say anything so----
Mr. SPECTER. What was your view about that subject?
Mr. WALL. Well, I didn't know. I don't know. I can't remember. I would say mine was the same way. I was kind of scared, to be honest.
Mr. SPECTER. Why were you scared?
Mr. WALL. Just when people start calling you long distance you get scared. You don't want to get involved in anything, particularly if you didn't have anything to do with it. Then the next telephone call we got was from Dick Hitt, who is a man on the--a columnist for the Dallas Times Herald who knew I was a very close friend.
Mr. SPECTER. Had you known Mr. Hitt before that telephone call?
Mr. WALL. Oh, yes; ever since I have been in Dallas.
Mr. SPECTER. What did Mr. Hitt say to you?
Mr. WALL. He wanted to know about--he wanted me to talk to his editor or someone about Jack, to find out what kind of a person he was and everything.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you talk to his editor?
Mr. WALL. We did but very coldly. Joe talked to the editor.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you talk to him?
Mr. WALL. I talked to Dick Hitt but whenever they called back the man called back and said: "Dick Hitt said for me to call you." Joe got on the phone and said: "No, I don't know anything." I have a correction to make. The first call that we received was from the Dallas Morning News. The second call we got was from the Washington Post and the last call we got was from Dick Hitt.
Mr. SPECTER. Who called you from the Dallas Morning News?
Mr. WALL. I would say right now as far as I can remember it was Hugh Ainsworth because he also knew I was a very good friend of Jack's.
Mr. SPECTER. What was the content of the conversation between you and Mr. Ainsworth?
Mr. WALL. The conversation was that Jack had called me and--Hugh and I were good speaking friends. Not close friends, but we had talked a great deal--of course, this being the first person I had talked to that had also known Jack, we were just in a conversation. I told him: "Yes, I had received a call," you know, I was sort of outspoken in discussing it with Hugh. Joe got kind of angry and said we should not meddle in any way at all and so the Washington Post called after that and we were sort of cool and when Dick Hitt called we said we knew nothing.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you receive any other telephone calls?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you make any telephone calls on that Sunday?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Whom did you call?
Mr. WALL. I called Nancy Austin, who is a performer in our show, to find out how to get hold of Phil Burleson.
Mr. SPECTER. Who was Phil Burleson?
Mr. WALL. He was my attorney.
Mr. SPECTER. How long had he been your attorney?
Mr. WALL. Since I arrived in Dallas.
Mr. SPECTER. And what was the purpose of your wanting to get Mr. Burleson's telephone number?
Mr. WALL. Well, Phil also knew Jack and I wanted to see if he was going to represent Jack or if he could or wanted to or to see if he could get in to see Jack to see what was going on.
Mr. SPECTER. Why did you do that?
Mr. WALL. Well, as I say, I was in shock. I was upset because I liked Jack very much. He has been a very good friend of ours even with our ups and 
downs. Just to make sure everything was all right. To find out what was going on.
Mr. SPECTER. Had anybody requested you to contact an attorney on behalf of Jack Ruby?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. That thought came to you on your own initiative?
Mr. WALL. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you discuss it with Mr. Peterson?
Mr. WALL. Yes; I think so.
Mr. SPECTER. What did Mr. Peterson say about that telephone call?
Mr. WALL. It was fine with him. The main thing that Joe objected to, he did not want to be in print about saying anything or doing anything that would jeopardize our position at the Adolphus Hotel.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you know that Jack Ruby had other attorneys who represented him regularly?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Did he have any other attorney, to your knowledge?
Mr. WALL. I have never known him to have any attorney at all.
Mr. SPECTER. That is prior to the time of the shooting of Oswald?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you make any other telephone calls on that Sunday?
Mr. WALL. Well, any other phone calls I would have made would have been to cast members.
Mr. SPECTER. For what purpose?
Mr. WALL. To tell them that we still didn't know we were going to do the show or anything about it, just be prepared to come in Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, whenever they were notified.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you recall any other specific calls you made on that Sunday, November 24?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you do the balance of the day?
Mr. WALL. Watched television.
Mr. SPECTER. What time did you go to sleep that night?
Mr. WALL Late. It was very late.
Mr. SPECTER Where did you have super?
Mr. WALL. In the house.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you leave the house at all that Sunday?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; I didn't go out at all.
Mr. SPECTER. What time did you arise on the following Monday?
Mr. WALL. I would say Monday night. I really don't, to be honest with you, I don't know what time I arrived back. I don't know if we performed Monday or Tuesday. From all recollection it was Tuesday we performed. I don't know. It could have been Tuesday afternoon that we got back.
Mr. SPECTER. When did you go back to Dallas?
Mr. WALL. I don't remember, sir, now what day it was we left.
Mr. SPECTER. Have you seen Jack Ruby after the shooting of Oswald?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. When did you see him?
Mr. WALL. It was the first Saturday or the second Saturday after the assassination I was in the hotel room watching the football game and it was in the afternoon and Sheriff Bill Decker called me and said that Jack was very depressed and needed some cheering up and wanted to know if I would come down, so I went down.
Mr. SPECTER. How long after Sheriff Decker's call did you arrive at the jail?
Mr. WALL. I would say between half an hour and 45 minutes.
Mr. SPECTER. How long did you stay at the jail?
Mr. WALL. I would say about 20 minutes, maybe.
Mr. SPECTER. State as specifically as you can recollect the nature of your conversation with Jack Ruby indicating what he said to you and what you said to him?
Mr. WALL. Well, I wasn't the only person there. There were two other people there, one man I don't know--I have seen him around before. The other man 
was, I'm sure you have it in your records, he was the partner of Jack in the club who tried to run it after Jack had shot Oswald. I can't think of the man's name.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you recall the first name of either of those men?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; I don't. I know them by face.
Mr. SPECTER. Was there anyone else present besides the four of you?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; except for the two policemen that were inside the tank where Jack was. He was inside the tank.
Mr. SPECTER. What conversation ensued while you were present with Mr. Ruby?
Mr. WALL. Well, the main thing Jack brought out was he thought himself correct in shooting Oswald.
Mr. SPECTER. For what reason?
Mr. WALL. A far as I can remember he didn't give a reason. He just said, you know, "I was right in doing it."
Mr. SPECTER. Did any one disagree with him?
Mr. WALL. No.
Mr. SPECTER. Why not?
Mr. WALL. Well, they just didn't say anything against him. I can't remember the incident too well. I do know that Jack was very upset and the two men, on the outside, didn't argue with him at all in anything that he said, and they said they wouldn't. I remember them making the comment to each other they weren't going to upset him, and whatever he said they would just nod yes to and would agree with; they weren't going to get him upset.
Mr. SPECTER. What did you say to Jack, if anything?
Mr. WALL. I talked to him about Phil.
Mr. SPECTER. Phil who?
Mr. WALL. Burleson. "I was wondering if Phil came up to see you," and, "I asked him to come up," and "If you can get him to represent you as one of the attorneys," and everything, "I think it would be very good for you since he was at one time the assistant district attorney." I said, "I think he would do a good job for you. He is very honest, very aboveboard," and Jack said, "Yes, he came to see me and I think he would do well and I would like to use him if I can." Then I asked him how they were treating him in jail and he said how nice they were to him and he asked me what I was doing. I told him I was watching the football game and Sheriff Decker said I could come down and see him. Then he asked me specifically did I want to get involved in the case in any way, or something like that, and I told him under the circumstances please don't ever use our name or anything. It's not that I didn't like him. It was just that it might ruin our careers that we worked very hard for. He gave me his word he would never use us, say anything about us in any publication or anything. This was very true. While we were in Houston he needed money and wrote an article for a series of newspapers and he stated in the article, toward the end he made a call to Joe Feder and Beck Wald, which I thought was very nice of him and all the other circumstances in the article that I could see he used the names of the people.
Mr. SPECTER. Joe Feder was really Joe Peterson?
Mr. WALL. Yes.
Mr. SPECTER. And Beck Wald was really you?
Mr. WALL. Me; yes.
Mr. SPECTER. Can you recollect anything more about the conversation that you had at the jail on the Saturday you refer to?
Mr. WALL. No, sir. It was the first time I had seen him since the assassination and it was just, you know, kind of strange meeting. There wasn't any fun in it at all, you know, like laughs. Sheriff Decker told me he wanted to be cheered up. It was not like that at all. It was a very sad thing.
Mr. SPECTER. Have you ever seen Jack Ruby since?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; I have gotten a few letters from Jack.
Mr. SPECTER. How many?
Mr. WALL. I would say about three.
Mr. SPECTER. Where did he write to you?
Mr. WALL. From the jail. 
Mr. SPECTER. And where were you when you received those letters?
Mr. WALL. In--I think I received two in Dallas and I would say one in Houston, and they were very simple letters, just how he was feeling and, you know, what he was doing.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you respond?
Mr. WALL. Yes; I wrote him back and told him what we were doing and how we were doing and I hoped he was well.
Mr. SPECTER. How many times did you write to him?
Mr. WALL. Maybe three or four times. I don't know. I do remember another thing we discussed while he was in the jail. He said he was writing--I remember two things--he was writing down his memoirs and wanted to do it into a story form and would I be interested in doing it for him. I told him I would see. And the other thing he mentioned to me is he had received a lot of telegrams and letters from all over the country saying he was correct in doing what he did, or he was wrong in doing what he did, or whatever it was. He was getting so many in he had no way of writing them back. He wanted to thank each and every one for writing to him and wanted to know if I would correspond with them on behalf of him and that is when I said, "I would rather not get involved in any way and you can understand why." And he said "Yes, I do."
Mr. SPECTER. Have you had any other contacts at all with Jack Ruby after November 24, 1963?
Mr. WALL. Only through corresponding letters.
Mr. SPECTER. You have now mentioned all of the contacts you have had with him?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Going back to November 21----
Mr. WALL. I have one. I'm sorry. I do have one. As I said, Phil Burleson is Joe's and my attorney and, therefore, I would go see Phil every once in a while just to give Jack a message of hello, that we are thinking of him, and to see how he was. We were all right and everything. I did ask Phil to do this for me. Every once in awhile I would do it.
Mr. SPECTER. Have you now related all of the contacts you have had with Ruby since November 24, 1963?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Going back to November 21, the day before the assassination in 1963, did you have occasion to talk by telephone to Tom McKenna on that day?
Mr. WALL. The day before?
Mr. SPECTER. The assassination?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; not at all unless it was about football. I am a football fanatic. It was the day before. This would be Thursday, right?
Mr. SPECTER. Would it refresh your recollection if I said you had a telephone call with him at about 6:50 on that day?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; it wouldn't because I call him quite frequently. I just made a telephone call to him day before yesterday. Unless it was just to say hello and everything. We did not decide to go down to Galveston until that afternoon, the day after the assassination.
Mr. SPECTER. How long have you known Edward Parker of Fort Worth?
Mr. WALL. Eddie Parker is--came to work for us for Bottoms Up at Adolphus and he would help in costume changes and setting up the props. We had a portable stage which he would set up and get everything ready before the show would start. That would be about a year and a half, but we performed at the Playbill Club, we performed a show which he also helped us in, called Razzmataz was the name of the show.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you recall telephoning him on October 1st, 3d, and 4th, 1963?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; I would call him in any respect to the show. The only reason I would have anything to do with him would be to tell him whether we would do a television show, needed him there and needed Carl Tressler, who was in our show. They are roommates. Anytime I would call them would be in reference to the show.
Mr. SPECTER. You already mentioned you called him on November 22.
Mr. WALL. To tell him probably that the show had been canceled. 
Mr. SPECTER. At about what time was that call made, if you recall?
Mr. WALL. Well, it would probably be around, I would say, 1 or 2 o'clock. As soon as Mr. Anderson told us we would not perform that night or Saturday.
Mr. SPECTER. Could it have been as late as 6 that evening?
Mr. WALL. Yes. sir; it could have been as I was going out of town to tell him I was leaving and would be in Galveston; if they needed to get hold of me to call the operator.
Mr. SPECTER. But you didn't go to Galveston on Friday, November 22, did you?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; that was just to tell him we were not going to do a show that night.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know a Patricia Farmer?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr..SPECTER. Do you know a Clarence Vought?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. What relatives, if any, does Tom McKenna have in Dallas?
Mr. WALL. The only one that would be there would be his son who is 18 years old, George McKenna, who was working on a construction job at the Republic National Bank.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know R. D. Matthews?
Mr. WALL. No, sir
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know whether Jack Ruby knew anybody by the name of R. D. Matthews?
Mr. WALL. Only if that was the man I couldn't think of in the previous statement I said I knew their faces but not their names, but the name doesn't ring a bell at all.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know anything about Jack Ruby's trip to Cuba?
Mr. WALL. I have never heard of anything like that at all.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know anybody by the name of Henry Atcheson, A-t-c-h-e-s-o-n, or Henry Acteson. A-c-t-e-s-o-n?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you make any telephone call from the Adolphus Hotel to anyone in Canada during March of 1964?
Mr. WALL. I can't remember ever calling Canada. As I stated before to you the only one that I ever knew in Canada was Kay Sutton, who was a performer in our show who was somewhere in Canada.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know James F. Mahon?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir; he is my attorney, too.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you make a call to him on November 23, that is Saturday after the assassination?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir; possibly.
Mr. SPECTER. What was the purpose of that call, if I may ask?
Mr. WALL. Well, to find out, possibly, if he knew anything about Jack; to see if he was going to represent Jack or anything. He also knew Jack Ruby.
Mr. SPECTER. This was the day before the shooting of Oswald?
Mr. WALL. Well, it could be any business thing. Phil handled most of our things but as things stand right now Jim Mahon handles everything for us, our bookkeeping and everything, so it could have been anything at all.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you make any other calls on November 23, 1963, if you can remember?
Mr. WALL. The 23d was----
Mr. SPECTER. That is Saturday.
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir; I could have called any number of people.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you make a call to RI 8-1434?
Mr. WALL. That number--that could have been Jim Mahon.
Mr. SPECTER. Was Jim Mahon's number Riverside 8-4361 or do you recall?
Mr. WALL. No; that is his number. I do know--Riverside, 1434, I don't know, sir. I'm sure I placed quite a few calls that day. I talked to a lot of people.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you ever have a financial interest with Jack Ruby in the Sovereign Club?
Mr. WALL. No, sir; not as far as putting in our own money at all; only that we would retain a percentage of the club.
Mr. SPECTER. What do you mean by "retain a percentage of the club"? 
Mr. WALL. For doing our shows there because we only received a small salary, as I said, $125 a week. He said he would give us a portion of the club.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you mean a percentage of the gross receipts or a percentage of the net receipts?
Mr. WALL. I mean a percent of the club, period.
Mr. SPECTER. Half ownership in the club?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Was that ever formalized into a written contract?
Mr. WALL. As far as I know it was, sir, but I don't remember where the papers are. I think they were destroyed in the fire at the Playbill Club.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you ever get such an interest in the Sovereign Club?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Have you ever been interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other other Federal agency regarding your connection with Jack Ruby?
Mr. WALL. I have never been called into an office and interviewed at all possibly there were some men who came by and asked me a few questions but I can't remember it. It was that vague. I do know Joe Peterson was interviewed by some representatives of the FBI.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you think you may have been interviewed by the FBI, you are not sure?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you ever tell the FBI anything about Ruby's telephone call on the night of November 23 to you in Galveston?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir; if they interviewed me I definitely told them about it because it was very important.
Mr. SPECTER. But you are just not sure whether or not they interviewed you?
Mr. WALL. I will tell you, things happened so fast. I definitely remember Joe came back and said, "Two representatives want to talk to you," but I don't remember ever talking to them.
Mr. SPECTER. You don't have any specific recollection of ever talking to them or telling them about that telephone call from Jack Ruby on Saturday, November 23?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. Wall, did you and I have a brief interview before this deposition started today?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. And during the course of that interview did I ask you the outline of the questions which we have covered here on the record?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. And were your answers the same as you told me here this afternoon?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you have anything to add which you think would be helpful in any way to the President's Commission?
Mr. WALL. Well, the only thing that I stated to you before is that previously I said that Jack and Joe got into a fight when he blew his stack but then on the other hand there was a time when we needed $300 very desperately and Jack in a matter of 10 minutes went over and got a loan on his own car for us so that the man does have feelings and he can flare up in 5 minutes and then forget about it, you know. I can't, but he is one type of person who can. You never know what he is going to do next.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know Ralph Paul?
Mr. WALL That was the name of the gentleman who was visiting Jack the same time I was that I could not remember.
Mr. SPECTER. Aside from that time in the jail have you ever talked to Ralph Paul?
Mr. WALL. Very, very little. Jack at one time has taken Joe and I to a bowling alley--I remember Ralph Paul was along--and took us for breakfast. We bowled a game but I still didn't say seven or eight words to the man. I was very friendly but I still didn't say anything to him. 
Mr. SPECTER. Did you make any effort to telephone Ralph Paul anytime on November 22 or 23?
Mr. WALL. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Or November 24?
Mr. WALL. No, sir. I wouldn't even know how to get ahold of the man.
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. Wall, if you wish, we can make available the typed-up copy of this deposition for you to read and sign, or if you are willing, you can waive that signature which means that you will not read and sign the transcript. Do you have any preference on the subject?
Mr. WALL. I will do whatever is the easiest for you all and the best way.
Mr. SPECTER. Are you willing then to waive your reading and signature?
Mr. WALL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Fine. We appreciate that. We will then accept your waiver. It may or may not be available for you to read and sign. Thank you very much for your appearing here today.

Ruby’s gaydar reading

By Daniel A. Kusner – Life+Style Editor
Breck Wall — the man dubbed ‘Jack Ruby’s queer ex-roommate’ — says Oswald’s killer was too ugly to be gay

LUNCHEON DATES: Wall, and Jack Ruby regularly dined at The Copper Cow. But Wall says they were never roommates.

LAS VEGAS — A few miles east of the Sunset Strip, Breck Wall welcomes me into his home. Inside, it’s a busy morning — a technician just fixed the DSL line, and as he leaves, Wall gives the AT&T employee a Chihuahua.

"Tanner was left behind by a titty dancer who was staying in my spare bedroom. When she moved, she couldn’t take care of him. But Tanner and my dog aren’t getting along," Wall explains as we sit down in his living room, which also serves as a photo gallery of his famous friends: Sammy Davis Jr., Joan Rivers, Johnny Mathis, Liberace … .

At 74, Breck Wall is a legendary casino show impresario. His most famous credit is "Bottoms Up!" a bawdy burlesque revue that ran in Las Vegas for four decades. But before "Bottoms Up!" moved to Nevada, Wall opened the show in 1959 at the Century Room inside The Adolphus Hotel.

Across the street from The Adolphus was Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club. And for about a year and a half, Ruby and Wall ate lunch together practically every day at The Copper Cow restaurant on Commerce Street.

Wall is a minor figure in the Ruby-Oswald saga. In 1964, the Warren Commission questioned Wall about his friendship with Ruby. And when New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison pieced together his conspiracy theory about gay businessman Clay Shaw, Garrison described Wall as "Ruby’s queer ex-roommate."

"Garrison was a real jerk. Everyone hated him," Wall says. "Every day, his staff would make up absolute lies — about me, about Jack. We were never roommates. I lived at The Adolphus, and Jack Ruby never visited me there. And I never went over to Jack’s apartment. I don’t think Jack ever allowed anyone to visit him at home."

Wall says Ruby always carried a gun and big wad of cash.

"I don’t think he used a bank account," Wall says. "Jack was a character. He thought he was funny and wanted to be a comic. He talked like an Easterner and acted like a thug. He wanted to be in the Mafia, but they didn’t want him because he had such a big mouth."

For a few months, "Bottoms Up!" left the Adolphus and moved across the street to the Carousel Club. Wall co-managed "Bottoms Up!" with his lover, Joe Peterson.

"But Jack was really hard to work with. He wanted to be the boss," Wall says. "Finally, I told him, ‘Jack, I can’t take this anymore.’ At the time, we had a chance to go back to the Adolphus. Jack got so mad that he exploded. Instead of going at me, he knocked Joe down the stairs and broke his tooth. We didn’t speak for a month."

Did Ruby apologize?

"I never saw him sorry about anything. That stuff about worrying over Jackie dealing with Oswald’s trial was more like Jack saying, ‘Isn’t that terrible? Someone should blow that guy’s head off.’"

In 1992, the National Archives provided access to Ruby’s FBI files. At various times, FBI agents were ordered by the headquarter’s brass to investigate Ruby’s subversive activities and whether he had homosexual tendencies or other "sex perversions."

 "No. I don’t think he liked men. Besides, he was too fucking ugly. There was a woman, but I don’t think they ever had sex. Who would dare? Jack was too concerned about Jack Ruby to be interested in anyone else," Wall says. "But I liked Jack. He was entertaining. He didn’t have many friends, though. I think he was used to being alone and he was a little sad about it. I thought there was something good about him. But I also knew he was dangerous."

On the day Kennedy was shot, Wall and his lover watched the motorcade drive by The Adolphus. By the time they went back upstairs to their room, the TV news broke in with a special bulletin about Dealey Plaza.

"After that, the entire city of Dallas was shut down. All the lights went black," Wall remembers.

So Wall drove to Galveston to visit friends. He told The Adolphus’ front desk to call him in Galveston if the Century Room was up and running again. Like everyone else in the country, he saw Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV. Within five minutes, reporters were calling Galveston for quotes about Ruby. Wall immediately drove back to Dallas and snuck back to The Adolphus to lay low. The following Saturday, Dallas County Sheriff Decker called Wall and told him Ruby was depressed and not talkative. The sheriff thought Ruby’s lunch buddy might perk him up.

"I panicked. I thought they were going to arrest me," Wall said.

Three cop cars arrived at The Adolphus. After Ruby killed Oswald, downtown Dallas was besieged with onlookers and Kennedy mourners. The police station was only five blocks away, but Wall had to lay down in a back seat of the squad car as the car slowly snaked its way to the police station where four policemen escorted Wall to Ruby’s cell.

He only spent about 20 minutes talking to Ruby inside his "bulletproof tank. Jack had all these telegrams taped up — people congratulating him. I said, ‘Jack what did you do?’

He said, ‘I’m a hero. Look at all these telegrams.’" Wall recalls. "I said, ‘Jack, you’re not a hero. You shot the man who killed the president before he could talk.’"

Wall shows me a letter that Ruby sent from the Dallas County Jail on Dec. 24, 1963. The letter is addressed to Wall’s lover, Joe, thanking him for "how wonderful" Joe spoke of Ruby in an interview. He writes "Thank Breck for visiting with me. What do you think of all these crazy things in the newspapers? Everyone [is] taking a shot at me."

Wall doesn’t believe Ruby was involved in any conspiracy.

He thinks Ruby impulsively fired at Oswald — the same way the mercurial hustler exploded at Joe and broke his tooth.
"When Jack saw Oswald, he got so mad, he just pulled out his gun and shot him," Wall says. "Without any warning."

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 21, 2008.


Breck Wall Oral History
Object Number: 1993.011.0020
Category: Oral Histories
Oral history interview subject: Breck Wall
Oral history interviewer: Bob Porter
Type of Object: Oral history
Date: 12/28/1993
Dimensions: 47 Minutes
Medium: Hi-8 videotape

Videotaped oral history interview with Breck Wall. An entertainer in Dallas who created the popular "Bottoms Up" revue, Mr. Wall was one of Jack Ruby's best friends at the time of the assassination. He spoke to Ruby on the phone from Galveston the day before Oswald was shot and was one of the few individuals allowed to visit him in the Dallas County Jail. During the controversial assassination investigation by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, Wall was identified as one of several potential accomplices because of his friendship with Jack Ruby. However, no evidence was found and no charges were filed.

Interview conducted at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza on December 28, 1993 by Bob Porter. The interview is forty-seven minutes long.

The video attached to this record is an excerpt. The entire interview is available in our Reading Room to on-site researchers or by submitting a Rights & Reproductions Request Form.

Compiled by Michael T. Griffith
Excerpts from the HSCA Report

…..Additionally, the committee found it difficult to dismiss certain Ruby associations with the explanation that they were solely related to his labor problems. For example, James Henry Dolan, a Dallas AGVA representative, was reportedly an acquaintance of both Carlos Marcello and Santos Trafficante. While Dolan worked with Ruby on labor matters, they were also allegedly associated in other dealings, including a strong-arm attempt to appropriate the proceeds of a one-night performance of a stage review at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas called "Bottoms Up." ….

'Bottoms Up' revue comedian Breck Wall dies at 75

Posted: Nov. 16, 2010 | 12:00 a.m.
Updated: Nov. 16, 2010 | 3:34 p.m.

Breck Wall, the comedian synonymous with more than 40 years of the comic revue "Bottoms Up," died Monday. He was 75.

The blackout sketch revue first came to the Castaways in 1964 and played at many Las Vegas casinos over the years, before its last stand at the Harmon Theater in 2007.
Wall had been battling Alzheimer's disease. He died early Monday in a local assisted living facility.

Known for his contagious grin, a joke with every phone call and a willingness to strip nearly naked onstage well into his 60s, Wall and a close-knit ensemble led "Bottoms Up" through countless iterations.

"His history is so rich, with all the people he knew and all the performers he gave opportunities to," Jimmy Emerson said Monday. Emerson worked for Wall before settling into a long run in the Riviera's "An Evening at La Cage."

Wall was born Billy Ray Wilson in Jacksonville, Fla., on Nov. 21, 1934, and was raised in Freeport, Texas. He left the University of Texas after one year and spent time in New York before creating "Bottoms Up" with friends in 1958, inspired in part by the 1938 Broadway hit "Hellzapoppin'."

The first incarnation ran in Dallas, playing nightclubs affiliated with Jack Ruby before settling into a two-year stretch at the Adolphus Hotel.

Wall's connections with Ruby, who fatally shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, led to him testifying in August 1964 before the presidential commission investigating the Kennedy assassination.

Wall and partner Joe Peterson brought "Bottoms Up" to the Castaways in March 1964. Though it first played late nights -- with weekend performances as late as 3 a.m. -- it later broke ground as an afternoon revue at the Thunderbird, then a rarity for the Strip.

The show would play for years at a stretch, then tour before returning to a new venue on the Strip. Casinos that hosted the revue include the Aladdin, Caesars Palace, the Hacienda, the Mint, the International, the Sands, the Flamingo (twice), Bally's, the Sahara and Fitzgeralds.

Longtime sidekick David Harris said the show focused on more sophisticated, Second City-type material until the Watergate scandal soured the climate for political humor. At that point, the cast looked to burlesque revivals that were thriving on the Strip and said, "We can do that," Harris recalled Monday.

From then on, "Bottoms Up" was all about Vaudeville-era jokes and skits, framed with generations of new dancers and pop music.

"It was a little Milton Berle and a little Janet Jackson at the same time," Sue Motsinger said. She had been part of the comic ensemble since 1975.

"Corn is good," she said. "I think people could relate to corn and the nostalgia."

"Breck's main talent was his ability to assemble very talented people around him," Harris said. "There were a lot of laughs over 45 years, and not just onstage."

Wall had no survivors. He will be cremated, but friends are organizing a memorial service for a date to be determined. There probably will be an initiative to fund a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars, something the entertainer always said he wanted, his friend Carrie Proffitt said Monday.

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