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For All Nails #86: The World Joan Made

By Johnny Pez


NCCC affiliate, Boston, Mass., Northern Confederation

12:13 am Eastern Time, March 5th, 1973


The vitavision screen shows a woman in a white tennis outfit (white collar shirt and knee-length white skirt) standing in a locker room

TENNIS WOMAN

...feel confident, the confidence that comes from wearing Fresh anti-perspirant.

We DISSOLVE to a close-up of a bottle of Fresh anti-perspirant against a black background. To the bottle's right are the words FEEL FRESH ALL DAY in white block letters.

VOICEOVER

Fresh anti-perspirant, so you can feel fresh all day.

In the bottom right corner of the screen a small stylized representation of the Kramerica Building appears, along with the words WE'RE KRAMERICA in small white sans serif letters.

We CUT to a still photo of the Hoboken Strip at night, every neon sign from every casino is lit up in a gaudy explosion of light. The words CLOSING TIME WITH WALT MACANUFF appear in white in the upper left corner. The MUSIC is an instrumental cover of Simon Carleigh's "Is Love Vain?"

We DISSOLVE to a shot of Shaeffer & Maroni's Genuine New Orleans Band as they bring "Is Love Vain?" to a quick conclusion. The AUDIENCE applauds, and we CUT to a shot of Walt MacAnuff seated at his stool as he applauds along with them.

MACANUFF

Thanks, boys, that was great!

The applause dies down, and MacAnuff turns to face the camera.

Our next guest tonight is the author of two bestselling history books. She's here tonight to tell us about her latest book, The Kronmiller Conspiracy. She's young, she's personable, and she's easy on the eyes.

Raise your glasses for Joan Kahn!

The AUDIENCE applauds again. The Walt camera PANS to the left to track the entrance of an attractive blonde woman in her early thirties. An IOW viewer might initially mistake her for a young Gloria Steinem. She is wearing a white blouse, a calf-length black skirt, sensible shoes, and round spectacles with oversize tortoiseshell frames.

MacAnuff, ever the gentleman, rises from his stool with the help of his cane, and shakes her hand. Kahn smiles at MacAnuff, and leans over to give him a kiss on the cheek. The AUDIENCE makes a collective "Ooooooh" sound as MacAnuff blushes. The two take their seats.

MACANUFF

Joan, thanks for being here tonight.

KAHN

Thanks for having me, Walt.

MACANUFF

Joan, you've made a career out of writing controversial books. What made you decide to take up investigative history as a career?

KAHN

Well, I've always enjoyed solving puzzles. My father would buy me these puzzle books, and I'd just eat them up. Then I started reading mystery books, especially the Herakles Perry novels.

MACANUFF

Murder on the Flaglerville Express.

KAHN

Exactly! I loved that book. Then in high school I read Boatwright's biography of Pedro Hermión, and I got hooked on the mystery of his assassination. The thing is, after the assassination, there was so much suspicion directed at Miguel Huddleston, that when the Fuentes Commission cleared him of complicity in Hermión's death, everyone decided that Zangora must have been acting alone.

MACANUFF

The "sole gunman" theory.

KAHN

That's right. And ever since then, anyone who rejects the "lone gunner" theory just goes back to trying to prove the Huddleston conspiracy theory, which is even less likely. But living here in the Northern Confederation, I had access to records that weren't available to the Fuentes Commission, or anyone else in the USM for that matter. So I was able to discover the Mendoza connection between Henry Gilpin and Emiliano Zangora.

MACANUFF

I should point out here that not everybody found your "Mendoza connection" convincing.

KAHN (with a shrug)

That's the history business for you. Apart from the Huddleston theory supporters like Menzer, there are plenty of people like George Loring who still idolize Gilpin, and refuse to believe he could have plotted Hermión's death. But the evidence is there, for anyone with an open mind who wants to look at it.

MACANUFF

Let's move on to your current book, The Kronmiller Conspiracy. Once again you take an unorthodox view of an episode in Mexican history, the fall of Benito Hermión in 1901.

KAHN (nodding)

Well, the popular view today is that KA President Diego Cortez y Catalán was the driving force behind El Jefe's overthrow. But it's important to rmember that all our information about Cortez's role comes from heavily-edited exerpts from his personal papers that were released by his successor, John Jackson.

MACANUFF

Are you saying that the Cortez Papers were forgeries?

KAHN

Not forgeries, no. They tell the truth, but not the whole truth. Jackson had his own reasons for releasing the Cortez Papers. By the late 1930s, Jackson had come to believe that Kramer Associates was a global power in its own right, and he wanted to emphasize the company's power and influence. So he released a version of Cortez's private journals and correspondence that made it seem that Cortez was the mastermind behind the overthrow of Hermión. For their own reasons, anti-Kramer historians like Frank Dana have also chosen to emphasize the company's influence on Mexican history, so the idea that Cortez pulled all the strings from behind the scenes has become the conventional wisdom. I've tried to look past the conventional wisdom.

MACANUFF

That sounds like what you did in your second book, the one about the Kinkaid assassination.

KAHN

Yes, that's right. In the case of the Kinkaid assassination, the anti-Kramer historians blame Kramer and Benedict, and everyone else either blames Rogers or Concepción. I chose to look beyond what you might call "the usual suspects", and I found evidence among declassified CBI documents of a plot directed against Kinkaid by Governor-General McDowell.

In the case of Benito Hermión, I've chosen to de-emphasize Cortez's role in an effort to see what other influences were involved in Hermión's fall. And when you look past Cortez, what you see is Thomas Kronmiller.

MACANUFF

Now, I'm no history whizz, but even I know that Kronmiller was never Governor-General, so how could he be responsible for Hermión's fall?

KAHN

Kronmiller may not have been the king, but he was certainly the kingmaker. He engineered Gallivan's ouster, and he played a pivotal role in Burgen's selection to replace him. And the whole point of removing Gallivan, remember, was Kronmiller's belief that Gallivan was ignoring the threat posed by Hermión. It's no coincidence that Hermión was ousted three months after Gallivan. Removing Gallivan was the first step to removing Hermión.

MACANUFF

That brings up something else. You claim in the book that it was actually Kronmiller who provided Councilman Stark with the documents he used to accuse Gallivan of being in the pay of Kramer Associates. Didn't the Nelson Committee use handwriting analysis to prove that it was Montalban who produced those forgeries?

KAHN

That was actually a bit of misdirection on Nelson's part. Some of the documents were forged by Montalban, but those weren't the ones that convinced Stark, and the experts that Stark relied on. Nelson didn't want to see Kronmiller in the Square Room any more than Gallivan did, so he emphasized the documents that Montalban did produce, as well as Montalban's mental instability. He probably suspected the rest were forgeries too, but his analysts couldn't confirm it, so he worded his report in a way that made it seem like all the forgeries were Montalban's work. I think I've made a reasonable case that the rest of the documents actually came from Kronmiller. Remember, he not only wanted Gallivan out of power, he also wanted a reason for war with Mexico, and if he could convince people that Kramer was trying to take over the CNA's government, he would have had his war.

MACANUFF

Well, it's certainly food for thought. Thanks for coming by, Joan, and good luck with The Kronmiller Conspiracy.

KAHN

Thank you, Walt. I enjoyed my visit.

MACANUFF

And we'll be right back with comedian Martin Stevens after this brief message from North American Motors.

The AUDIENCE applauds as the camera PULLS BACK from MacAnuff and Kahn. The band starts playing an instrumental cover of the Lokes' "Moving in Bi-aural" and we

FADE TO BLACK



Following the original broadcast of the 5 March 1973 edition of "Closing Time", some 65 seconds of the master tape at the NCCC studios in Hoboken were excised by order of CBI Director Timothy Liddy. The missing segment was eventually recovered from a copy of the original broadcast made by Peter Shaeffer's daughter Patricia. We at the "For All Nails" Project now present the excised segment, which is being shown for the first time since the original broadcast.

KAHN

I think I've made a reasonable case that the rest of the documents actually came from Kronmiller. Remember, he not only wanted Gallivan out of power, he also wanted a reason for war with Mexico, and if he could convince people that Kramer was trying to take over the CNA's government, he would have had his war.

MACANUFF

Have you ever thought about investigating something more recent than the 19th century? I'm sure there are plenty of mysteries to be found in the modern world.

KAHN (pondering for a second or two)

One or two, yes. Mind you, there are plenty of investigative reporters who specialize in current affairs. And of course we still have to deal with the legacies of Gilpin and McDowell, which can make it difficult for a private citizen to reveal matters that the government would prefer to keep hidden. Timothy Liddy is much more careful with his own secrets than he is with John McDowell's.

MACANUFF

I suppose Sir Anthony will find plenty to occupy his interest when he gains access to the CBI's records.

KAHN

That's assuming he does gain access to them.

MACANUFF

Surely you don't think Director Liddy would tamper with the Bureau's records?

KAHN (visibly restraining herself)

Walt, one thing I've learned in my work is that there are always attempts to conceal the truth, if someone in a position of power would like it concealed. But I've also learned that such attempts are invariably doomed to failure. The truth always comes out. And that goes for the present as well as the past.

MACANUFF

Well, it's certainly food for thought. Thanks for coming by, Joan, and good luck with The Kronmiller Conspiracy.


(Forward to FAN #87: Springtime for Ferdi and Elbittar.)

(Forward to 15 March 1973: Closing Time.)

(Forward to Joan Kahn in Water on the Brain.)

(Return to For All Nails.)

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