2 Signs to Change

Well, all righty now. The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series. Donald Trump is our president elect. If this isn’t signs we need to change, I don’t know what is. So here’s my change.

I’m going back to my first love of film making, documentaries. Yes, I know, some of my friends do not consider documentaries as being real films. You don’t need to. I do. To be the next Michael Moore or Ken Burns or Spike Lee has always, really, been my goal. As exciting and entertaining a Hitchcock film has been, a new film from Spielberg or Scorsese or Coppola has been, my heart was never in doing a fictional film. I want to present stories from our past. I want to talk to people about events that have happened in our past. For it is in our past that our future is foretold. Think I’m kidding? In 1946, during the infamous “Phantom Killings” (aka Moonlight Madness Murders) in and around both Texarkansas, one of the first victims, Mary Larey, said she thought the maniac was wearing a white hood, like a flour sake over his head. Now, how many horror films can you think of where the maniac wore a white hood over his face? In Wisconsin, Ed Gein killed a few people, but also dug up corpses from which he created a skin suit to portray his dead mother. Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, the list goes on and on.

For my friends who make fictional drama, comedies, horror films, I will celebrate your triumphs and cry over your failures. I hope you will do the same for me.

With that in mind, here is the slate of films I will be working on.

• The Haymarket Square Riot
• 1862: America at the crossroads.
• The Great Crusade: Normandy & Beyond
• The Irish War of Independence.
(Michael’s War? Maybe)
• The Shadow of the White City (Chicago’s Colombian Exposition
– H. H. Holmes had his Murder Hotel
during the Exposition and Mayor Carter Harrison, Sr.
was assassinated two days before the end
of the exposition)
• Who’s Your Favorite Clown?

The Haymarket riot was the aftermath of a bombing that took place at a labor demonstration on Tuesday May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour day and in reaction to the killing of several workers the previous day by the police. An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at police as they acted to disperse the public meeting. The bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians; scores of others were wounded.
In the internationally publicized legal proceedings that followed, eight of the organizers were convicted of conspiracy. The evidence was that one of the defendants may have built the bomb, but none of those on trial had thrown it. Seven were sentenced to death and one to a term of 15 years in prison. The death sentences of two of the defendants were commuted by Illinois governor Richard J. Oglesby to terms of life in prison, and another committed suicide in jail rather than face the gallows. The other four were hanged on November 11, 1887. In 1893, Illinois’ new governor John Peter Altgeld pardoned the remaining defendants and criticized the trial.
“No single event has influenced the history of labor in Illinois, the United States, and even the world, more than the Chicago Haymarket Affair. It began with a rally on May 4, 1886, but the consequences are still being felt today. Although the rally is included in American history textbooks, very few present the event accurately or point out its significance,” according to labor studies professor William J. Adelman.

I was raised along Chicago’s south side. As far back as I can remember, I heard about the Haymarket Square Riot and, as far back as I can remember, I’ve always believed that the bomb was thrown by an agent of the Chicago Police Dept. The policemen’s deaths were accidental, but the bombing gave the police a reason for arresting the labor organizers and anarchists. Nationally, the Haymarket Square Riot launched America’s first “Red Scare.”
Boys and girls, moms and dads of all ages, this is going to be fun!

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