Thursday, February 11, 2016

Judd McIlvain - TV Reporter Subject of Secret JFK File

Image result for Judd McIlvain

Of the first three documents among the list of those JFK Assassination records still withheld is: 
178-10004-10394 McIlvain Tape 75' Rock (Duplicate) that refers to TV reporter Judd McIlvain, who attended the University of Missouri School of Journalism and Columbia, served in the US Army Reserves, specialized in Central American stories, was known as the "Troubleshooter," and recently passed away. 

Here are some tributes to him from the Hollywood Reporter, LA Times and UM, that may give some insight into what he could of known and said during his interview with the Rockefeller Commission concerning the assassination of President Kennedy that is so sensitive that it must still be kept secret from the public. 

Judd McIlvain, Former Consumer Advocate for KCBS-TV, Dies at 73

He was known for his popular "Troubleshooter" reports, which came to the aid of the underdog.
Judd McIlvain, the investigative reporter and consumer advocate for KCBS-TV known for his "Troubleshooter" reports, died March 9 at his home in Woodland Hills, his family announced. He was 73.
McIlvain worked at the Los Angeles station for 10 years starting in 1988. Concurrently, he worked on the network’s 48 Hours news program with Dan Rather and later reported for ABC's 20/20. 

He came up with the Troubleshooter brand at Fox’s network news division, where he started in 1986.
Earlier, the broadcast journalist worked for KHOU-TV in Houston as an assignment editor and general reporter and created the investigative series "The McIlvain Files." 

At age 12, McIlvain wrote, produced and hosted Children's Digest, a kids' talk show for a local TV station in Bloomington, Ill. Three years later, he served as a radio disc jockey in Columbia, Mo., and went on produce a show,TV Dance Party, in Jefferson City, Mo.

After earning a journalism degree at Columbia University in New York, he traveled independently to Central America, where he sent war stories back to the U.S. for ABC News and United Press International.
His honors included two local Emmys, eight Golden Mikes, four Los Angeles Press Club honors and Texas’ top prize for investigative reporting, the Headliners Award. After leaving CBS, he continued to help consumers through an Internet TV show. 

Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Herlinda, children Marisol, Aaron and Sean, brother Gary and sister Carolyne.

A memorial service will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday at Malinow Silverman Chapel, 7366 Osage Ave., Los Angeles. Donations for the purpose of continuing his fight against elder abuse can be made payable to The Troubleshooter Foundation and sent to 23448 Bessemer St., Woodland Hills, CA 91367.


February 3, 1942 - March 9, 2015 Judd McIlvain, distinguished CBS and Fox News journalist and investigative reporter, champion of truth and advocate for the underdog, passed away at his home in Woodland Hills, California. He was 73 years old.

To the millions of followers over his storied career, he'll always be remembered as TroubleShooter Judd. Judd was half of the dynamic Herlinda and Judd team whose marriage spanned 47 years. They met in Moline, Illinois, and in 1967 moved to Houston, Texas, where they raised their two sons and daughter. He often spoke with touching pride and love about his wife's support that enabled him to be out in the world, fulfilling his purpose here on earth.

He adored his family. Judd's first experience in television was in Bloomington, Illinois, when, at age 12, he convinced the local TV station that a kids' TV talk show would be a big hit. He wrote, produced, and hosted Children's Digest and sold it to the sponsors. His family didn't even own a TV in 1954 and had to buy one just to watch Judd on his first show. His first radio appearance came at age 15, when he served as a disk jockey on broadcasts from KBIA and KFRU radio stations in Columbia, Missouri. At 17, while producing his TV Dance Party in Jefferson City, he bucked the Ku Klux Klan and local officials who tried to prevent him from hosting African American youths on a white dance show in the 1950s. Judd prevailed.

He joined the National Guard after high school and went on active duty with the U.S. Army. serving as a military police officer and becoming one of the youngest to reach the rank of sergeant. He served four more years in reserves while working part-time in radio and TV news and earned his bachelor of journalism degree at Columbia University. A reporter in search of stories, he traveled independently to Central America where he wired war stories back to the U.S. ABC News signed him, as did United Press International (UPI).

One of his favorite stories was about his escape from a Venezuela jail after being arrested for photographing the secret police beating demonstrators at the dictator Peres Jimenez's trial. For 18 years, Judd worked for KHOU-TV in Houston as the assignment editor, general reporter, and investigative reporter, later creating the investigative series The McIlvain Files. In 1986 Rupert Murdoch brought him to the Fox network news division in Los Angeles, where he developed The Troubleshooter. In 1988 Judd moved The Troubleshooter to CBS-2 for 10 years and while there developed The Troubleshooter Show. Concurrently, he worked on the CBS 48 Hours program with Dan Rather and later with Geraldo Rivera on ABC's 20/20. He set legal precedent in a landmark Texas Supreme Court case, McIlvain vs. Jacobs, which established the definition of "substantial truth" in libel law for many years. During his "retirement" he continued to dedicate himself to helping victims of crime and fraud through his web TV show. was viewed by millions all over the world, and he got calls for help from the Caribbean islands, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Africa, and across the United States. Judd never missed an opportunity to advocate for the needy and abused, appear at charity events, or counsel a student. His style was so congenial that almost everyone he contacted cooperated with him. Judd never gave up. His journalistic awards include two Emmys, eight Golden Mikes, four Los Angeles Press Club awards, and Texas' highest award for investigative reporting, the Headliners Award.

Judd is survived by his wife, Herlinda; daughter Marisol McIlvain Sagheb; sons Aaron and Sean McIlvain; brother Gary McIlvain, wife Val, and daughters Morgan and Felicia; and sister Carolyne Culotti and her daughter Christi and husband Hal. He is also survived by his beloved parents-in-law, Dolores and Fidencio Barajas. Judd was predeceased by his parents, Gaylord and Martha McIlvain. He also has many aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family who celebrate his life and is survived by thousands of colleagues, fans, and friends who have had their lives enriched in one way or another because of knowing him. Memorial service is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, from 6 PM to 9 PM at Malinow Silverman Chapel, 7366 Osage Ave., Los Angeles (800-710-7100). Confirmation will be posted on Judd's web site at and on Facebook. Donations for the purpose of continuing Judd's fight against elder abuse can be made payable to The Troubleshooter Foundation and sent to 23448 Bessemer St., Woodland Hills, CA 91367.

Published in the Los Angeles Times from Mar. 13 to Mar. 15, 2015

University of Missouri School of Journalism 

Radio, Television, Internet Broadcaster
Degree(s):  BJ '65
Emphasis:   Radio-Television Journalism

Judd McIlvain's award-winning career as a radio and television journalist spanned five decades before his passing in March 2015. He was known as a hard-driving investigative reporter for major stations in Houston and Los Angeles. McIlvain also dedicated his talents to fighting for consumer rights. The following Profile in Success was first published in 2011.

An Early Start in Broadcasting

Judd McIlvain, BJ ’65, has been in radio and TV for 45 years. He was first on TV when he was 12 years old and hosted a show called “Children’s Digest.” The show, sponsored by Blue Star Potato Chips of Chicago was 15 minutes long on WBLN-TV in Bloomington, Ill. McIlvain did radio shows as a disc jockey in Columbia, Mo., at radio stations KBIA and KFRU when he was 15 and 16 years of age.

Judd McIlvain, BJ ’65, hosts the television show “Dance Party” on KRCG in Jefferson City, Mo.
At 17, he produced and hosted a television show called “Dance Party” at the Jefferson City, Mo., KRCG-TV station. Teenagers from area schools would come to the studios each week and dance to rock ‘n’ roll on television. The show was sponsored by Pepsi Cola and was 90 minutes long.

McIlvain was the first TV producer to fight for African-American teenagers to dance on a so-called white TV show and win. A week later, the Ku Klux Klan showed up at the studios and demanded that the white teenagers not dance on the show if black teenagers were permitted to dance. It was 1959, and the white kids danced with white kids and the black kids danced with black kids, but for some members of the community, that was too much integration. Pepsi did not give in and cancel the show, and it continued until the end of the 13-week contract. However, McIlvain had to have one show with black dancers and one show with white dancers. Therefore, on the black show, he was the first white host of a black dance party TV show. After the 13-week contract, and many protests from the Klan, the show was not renewed.

After high school McIlvain joined the National Guard and immediately went on active duty with the U.S. Army. He graduated as a military police officer, served out his active duty and then returned to serve four years active reserve. McIlvain was one of the youngest military police to reach the rank of sergeant.
He worked part time in radio and TV news reporting when he went to the University of Missouri School of Journalism. During his college studies, McIlvain studied a summer semester in Monterrey, Mexico, where he learned Spanish.

A Career in Television and Radio

After getting his Bachelor of Journalism (BJ) in 1965, McIlvain headed for Central America to be a freelance news reporter. If there was a riot or a small war, he was there covering it and trying to find customers in the United States who would take his stories. McIlvain did some live feeds for ABC News from the riots in Panama City in 1965. He was paid $20 per radio story. While working for United Press International (UPI), McIlvain was arrested in Venezuela for taking pictures of the secret police beating demonstrators and of the trial of dictator Perez Jimenez. McIlvain was released on bond, and UPI’s bureau chief suggested it would be a great idea for him to flee the country because the penalty he was facing was six years in jail. McIlvain took the advice and was out of Venezuela the next morning. He has not been back since.

McIlvain has worked at eight different TV stations throughout the country.

He worked at the CBS-TV affiliate in Houston for 18 years. He was the assignment editor/ producer, general reporter and investigative reporter.

In 1986, Rupert Murdoch, the owner of FOX-TV, brought McIlvain to Los Angeles, Calif., to be the Troubleshooter on the FOX station, KTTV.

In 1988, he was hired by KCBS-TV in Los Angeles and moved his Troubleshooter operation to CBS, where he worked for 10 years.

McIlvain has done stories on CBS’ 48 Hours with Dan Rather, with whom he worked in Houston, Texas, in the late 1960s. McIlvain also helped produce stories for Geraldo Rivera at ABC’s 20/20. He was often on Geraldo’s syndicated show until the fighting and chair throwing began.

McIlvain has won two L.A. Emmys, eight Golden Mikes and four L.A. Press Club awards for outstanding TV reporting. One was for outstanding reporting during the Los Angeles riots. He also received Texas’ highest award for investigative reporting, the Headliners Award.

McIlvain now has a website,, and he also hosts an Internet consumer action radio talk show on

McIlvain and his wife Linda have been married for 40 years and have three children, Aaron, Sean and Marisol. They live in Woodland Hills, Calif.

J-School Reunion Under Gunfire
By Judd McIlvain, BJ ’65

It was one of those cold January mornings in Columbia, Mo., when you cannot see the sun, and the sky looks like it will be producing snow at any moment. The temperature was about 38 degrees, and there was a prediction of possible snow, if a front that was moving on Kansas City continued on to Columbia.
I was standing outside of Neff Hall on Ninth Street, saying to myself, “Is that all there is?” I was graduating from the J-School at midterm in January 1965, and it had just been explained to me that there would be no ceremony or even a certificate until June. A nice clerk wished me congratulations saying, “You now have a BJ degree from the University of Missouri,” and then she quickly took a phone call.

So here I stood on Ninth Street, the strollway in Columbia, a BJ graduate with no job and no one to tell that I had finally made it through J-School. I walked across the street to the Heidelberg Inn to get some hot coffee and think about the fact that I now had a BJ, and I was a journalist without a job.

I was sitting at the bar that was empty, with the exception of the bartender who was setting up for the day. In walked another student who sat on a stool near me. I decided I had to tell someone I had finally graduated from J-School. So I introduced myself and told this complete stranger that I was now a grad. He was surprised and said, “You are not going to believe this, but I just graduated and got my BJ today at midterm.” His name was Carlos, and he was from Venezuela. We had never met during all our time in J-School.
I said, “Let me buy you a drink,” so we toasted our joint graduation from the University of Missouri. He told me he was going home to Caracas, Venezuela, to work for an English language newspaper there. I told him I was headed to Central America to start my career as a foreign correspondent, but I did not have a job yet. 

He wished me luck, and I wished him luck, and I left the Heidelberg to walk to my car.

During that cold walk, I kept thinking of what Dr. Edward Lambert, the head of the Radio and TV Department at J-School, had told me. He had counseled me to forget the idea of heading for Central and South America to work as a foreign correspondent and take a job at a small radio station in Southern Missouri to get experience. Well, I cashed in a small insurance policy, took my $500 and headed for Central America by train.

Now, flash forward two-and-a-half months, and I was working part time for United Press International in Caracas, Venezuela. When I arrived in Caracas I was broke, and I made the rounds of news operations to see if I could get a job. Reuters had an opening for a reporter, and since I spoke both English and Spanish and had a BJ degree, I thought I would have it made. But the people at Reuters said they only hired reporters who spoke at least five languages. I didn’t know anyone in the country who spoke five languages. 

By the way, they never did find a reporter who spoke five languages, and they ended up closing the news bureau. Finally I got four hours of work each day at UPI, translating Spanish news stories into English for the afternoon New York feed. UPI also used me on photo assignments, and I was paid $25 per picture that they used on the wire. One morning I was sent to a small demonstration and possible riot in downtown 

Of course, I was hoping it would be a big riot so that I could get several pictures that UPI would buy for the New York wire and I would made $25 each. I was extremely poor at the time, and I needed the money just to eat. (Small sidebar: I found a little hot dog stand near the UPI bureau, and they sold good hot dogs for 12 cents. This stand was my lunch and dinner wagon – that is, until a kid told me that the hot dogs were really made out of dog meat.)

At the small riot, I was right up front in the crowd to get good pictures of the cops and the protesting people. There was a construction site on two corners, and the crowd had the cops surrounded. The rioters started throwing bricks and concrete from the construction sites at the cops. I was shooting picture after picture until the cops pulled out their guns and started shooting directly into the crowd where I was standing. It was a stampede of people. You could hear bullets whistling down the cannons of tall buildings. There were also the screams of the wounded.

Being a U.S. Military veteran, I was running a zigzag path trying to keep from being hit. I was looking for quick cover so I could continue shooting pictures. There was a bobtail truck with a lift on the tailgate that was raised, so I ducked under it for cover. About a minute later, another man ducked under the lift, and the bullets were still whizzing by the truck. I looked at him, and he looked at me with a surprised expression. I said, “Aren’t you the guy I bought a drink for at the Heidelberg across from J-School about two months ago?” He said, “Yes, I’m Carlos.” (This was a real WOW journalism moment!) Thousands of miles from Columbia, Mo., and months since our toast at the Heidelberg Inn, we were both working journalists and ducked under the same truck for cover.

Now, who says J-School grads never get together after they leave Columbia? I never saw Carlos again, and within two weeks I was arrested by Venezuela’s federal police for taking pictures of another demonstration. The government cancelled my work permit and charged me with being an illegal alien working in Venezuela. I was released that evening to UPI, and the bureau chief suggested I flee the country. I did, with the police one step behind me.

Those are the facts, Dr. Lambert, just the facts, and I know this would not have happened in southern Missouri. However, I did escape from Venezuela. That’s a story for another day, but thank goodness for a U.S. oil industry family who hid me from the police.

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