Four Died Trying: A Powerful, Riveting, and Masterful Documentary Series Begins

It is hard for those who have not lived through the shattering political assassinations of the 1960s to grasp their significance for today.  Many might assume that that was then and long before their time, so let’s move on to what we must deal with today.  Let some old folks, the obsessive ones, live in the past.  It is an understandable but mistaken attitude that this documentary will quickly shatter, visually and audibly.  The echoes of those guns that killed President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy in rapid succession repeat and repeat and repeat down through the years, and their echoes bang off the walls of all today’s news that springs from the cells of all the little digital dinguses that provide a constant stream of distractions and fear porn meant to titillate but not illuminate the connections between then and now, nor those between the four subjects of this illuminating film.

Today we are living the consequences of the CIA/national security state’s 1960s takeover of the country.  Their message then and now: We, the national security state, rule, we have the guns, the media, and the power to dominate you.  We control the stories you are meant to hear.  If you get uppity, well-known, and dare challenge us, we will buy you off, denigrate you, or, if neither works, we will kill you.  You are helpless, they reiterate endlessly.  Bang. Bang. Bang.

But they lie, and this series, beginning with its first installment (see sneak peek here), will tell you why.  It will show why understanding the past is essential for transforming the present.  It will profoundly inspire you to see and hear these four bold and courageous men refuse to back down to the evil forces that shot them down.  It will open your eyes to the parallel spiritual paths they walked and the similarity of the messages they talked about – peace, justice, racism, human rights, and the need for economic equality – not just in the U.S.A. but across the world, for the fate of all people was then, and is now, linked to the need to transform the U.S. warfare state into a country of peace and human reconciliation, just as these four men radically underwent deep transformations in the last year of their brief lives.

Four Died Trying, directed by John Kirby, the wonderful filmmaker who made The American Ruling Class with and about Lewis Lapham, and produced by Libby Handros, his partner in exposing the criminals that run the country, has just begun streaming.

As I watched the first twenty minutes of this opening episode, I was inwardly screaming, feeling deep in my soul how powerfully the film was capturing the essence of the dynamic, prophetic, and charismatic voices of JFK, Malcolm X, MLK, Jr., and RFK.  All shot down – we hear the gun shots – by deep state forces, even as the film artfully juxtaposes this brutality against video clips of new reports, images of advertisements for silly products, and television shows that kept most of the public entertained and distracted during the 1960s carnage.  Doing the Hokey Pokey, as the soundtrack plays it, but not turning around in a profound sense, as did the four who died trying to radically change the country and the world for the better.  Simply as film art, this documentary is ingenious.  And its use of music is great.

I was transported back to the time of my youth.  I was startled again by the powerful courage, passion, and eloquent intelligence of those four compelling voices that once lifted my spirits to the heavens, and I felt the despair as well as each assassination followed the other and my spirits sank.  It is not nostalgic, I am sure, to say that one is hard pressed to find those qualities in many leaders today.  Like others of my generation, I am still trying to grasp the depths of what their assassinations did to me.  Bob Dylan, who came to prominence in the midst of it all, referring ironically to his own life and work, has said that his first girlfriend was named Echo.  I think I know her, for she echoed down the canyons of my mind as I watched this prologue and continues as I now reflect upon it.

So it does get hard to be objective, if that is what you want.  I don’t.  This not-to-be-missed film is truthful, for it uses vintage footage of what these men said and what was said against them by a government/media intent of distorting their messages and their assassinations.  Listen and then research if you have any doubts.  See if the film is truthful or manipulative,  As one who has deeply studied these matters, I can attest to the former.

And I can tell you that if you are young and never knew about these four guys and what men they were – not in any macho sense, but as true lovers of human beings, men with chests, as C.S. Lewis described those who were true and brave and undaunted by the then current vibes that sucked the soul out of you, not pseudo-men in the “pumping iron” sense, not men who tried to appeal to your grossest stereotypes – you are in for a great surprise.  You will yearn to see them resurrected in others today.  In yourselves.  As Malcolm X said hopefully, “The dead are arising.”

This 58 minute prologue touches on many of themes that will follow in the months ahead.   Season One will be divided into chapters that cover the four assassinations together with background material covering “the world as it was” in the 1950s with its Cold War propaganda, McCarthyism, the rise of the military-industrial complex, the CIA, red-baiting, and the ever present fear of nuclear war.  Season Two will be devoted to the government and media coverups, citizen investigations, and the intelligence agencies’ and their media mouthpieces’ mind control operations aimed at the American people that continue today.

One important aspect of this documentary series – never before done in film – is the way it shows the linkages between these four great leaders.  Beside their own words, we hear from their families and associates throughout.  Based on over 120 interviews conducted over many years, we hear from the four men’s children, Vince Salandria, James W. Douglass, Mort Sahl, Harry Belafonte, Khaleed Sayyed,  Earl Caldwell, Clarence Jones, James Galbraith, John Hunt, Stephen Schlesinger, Andrew Young, Oliver Stone, David Talbot, Adam Walinsky, et al.  It is an amazing list of thoughtful commentators who tell the story for the dead men whose living tongues have been silenced, although we are privileged for their fatidic cinematic ghosts to speak to us through archival footage.

In this opening Prologue, I was especially impressed with the words of Vince Salandria, one of the earliest critics of the Warren Commission’s absurd claims, and Adam Walinsky, a former aide and speechwriter for RFK, who made it clear that we are free, no matter what the propagandists tell us.  That freedom to think and act, to make connections between then and now, to see the linkages between the four men’s messages and today, is crucial to carry on their legacy.  That message ends the Prologue.  It is a message of hope in a dark time.

This opening prologue is divided into four parts, each devoted to what each man tried to accomplish.  That is followed by a section on how they died and the ways it was buried, ending with an Epilogue on why they died and why it matters today.

All four died fighting the international power structure, the CIA and FBI, the military-industrial complex, the racist ideology central to the capitalist elites’ economic injustice and warfare state – those deep structures of power that have come to be called the deep state.  They were brothers in arms, their only weapons being their linked arms in a spiritual war against evil forces.  They were men of compassionate conscience, warriors for peace and justice for all.  That is why they were killed.

Four Died Trying is a profound documentary.  It is good that each episode will be a stand-alone short film – that gives the viewer time to absorb its lessons rather than binging on too much too soon.  Once you watch this prologue, with its overview of all to come, you will be hooked.  It is not just revelatory history, but is artistically made, and, dare I say, entertaining.  Kirby and Handros are astute to realize that young people demand more than lectures, and it is to the next generations that these voices must be addressed.  For although the times have changed, in so many ways we are today faced with all the same problems.  The deep wounds of the 1960s were never given careful treatment; they are now suppurating and the infection is spreading.

Then and now.  There is a powerful clip in the film of Senator Robert Kennedy giving a speech in Chicago when he has decided to enter the race for the presidency right after the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, a massive breakout surprise to U.S. authorities who thought they could contain and defeat the Vietnamese struggle for independence; that they had them trapped.  Kennedy has decided to enter the race for President and realizes that supporting a corrupt South Vietnamese government and their ruthless policies aimed at exterminating the Vietcong and North Vietnamese is morally wrong and runs counter to American attestations of the belief in democracy and justice for all.  He says about such an impossible military victory:

. . . and that the effort to win such a victory will only result in the further slaughter of thousands of innocent and helpless people—a slaughter which will forever rest on all our consciences and the national conscience of the country.

His was a powerful moral voice.  Who is standing with the innocent and helpless people today?  And who is standing with the killers?  As Martin Luther King, Jr., put it, “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”  And procrastination is still the thief of time and conscience whispers those pathetic words: Too Late.

Don’t miss Four Died Trying.  I am sure it will affect you deeply and force you to think twice over about what is going on today.

Yes, then and now.  To slightly alter the song, As Time Goes By:

It’s still the same old story.
A fight for love and glory.
A case of do and die.
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.







13 thoughts on “Four Died Trying: A Powerful, Riveting, and Masterful Documentary Series Begins”

  1. The sixties brought mankind to the brink of the nuclear apocalypse, JFK chose to step back from the precipice: the planet was saved. But we are there again, teetering. Our rulers have not learned a single lesson from history, which can be summed up in a simple syllogism: every empire eventually gets the war it is trying to avoid: everyone wants to avoid WW III; therefore, that is the fate that awaits. If they fail to grasp this deductive logic they will drag us over the edge.

  2. The bubble (post-war American prosperity), the boom (my massive generation), the spectacle (analog media), the pill (separation of sex from reproduction), the bursting of the bubble (financialization), the hall of mirrors (digital media). Such have been the overriding factors I can identify that have shaped my 75-year lifespan. Ed would have me add “the coup (the deep state takeover of American government)” to the list, and he’s surely right. It would seem to belong between the pill and the bursting of the bubble.

  3. If we don’t understand history, we won’t understand the present….it is said. And today, 60 years later, while in the Present, most of the world, most citizens are silent while there is much suffering, killing everywhere, available for everyone to see, to read about, to listen to, so to See/Understand. It appears any age group has relinquished their humanity since people have no way to experience or learn of their real selves as just part of, a member of the natural world not this man designed disaster we have had for far too long. It appears no matter what form of learning taking place, it does not bring us to our real selves. It does not make a tree a horse. It does not remove the indoctrination so that we become real beings of cooperation in peaceful communities without the junk of consumption and focusing solely on acquiring money. I’ll personally pass on the film, because it too can become another diversion, another escape from what is presently. I think we need to become fully awaken to now ! Remember the final scene in the French movie, ‘Butterfly’ ? A walk among the trees is a healthier activity.

  4. I was 16 when JFK got taken out, and well recall that episode along with the other three. Of course, I was still too young then to put it all into proper historical perspective, but the subsequent years have unfolded in a way that marks that decade as a pivotal turning point in our country’s story.
    “The day the music died” extended itself another five years, the deconstructive effects moved along with us, and now here we are. A severely polarized and “diverse” population largely distracted with intentionally malignant nonsense inside a collapsing paradigm. It’s obvious the whole thing cannot end well, though the precise details to come remain mutable.

  5. Splendid, Mr. Curtin, as usual, and about an extraordinary undertaking. Mssrs. Kirby, Handros, et al, deserve great praise for their depth of vision, discipline, and extraordinary talents.

    One fact gnawed at me as I read your piece. I was an international banker in the 1960s. John Kirby, though much younger than I, is my brother-in-law. I have watched him work these past few years and made minor suggestions, for which he was kind enough to give me a credit.

    The gnawing referred to will become increasingly apparent as the series unfolds. The assassinations of the 1960s were Act 3 of America’s unfolding drama. Now, 60 years after the murders began, we’re in Act 5, our denouement. Sad to say, most of us have been made confused, anxious, and fragmented by the cabal which committed the murders. We’re running around like chickens with our heads cut off.

    It is one thing to tell the history of our republic’s decline, still another to interpret the events, and many writers and filmmakers have done admirable work in these areas.

    “Four Died Trying” does more. It goes beyond the history to challenge and inspire us to read the tea leaves and respond with the courage and conviction of our slain leaders.

    The series will do this through its stellar interviews with brilliant participants, commentators and activists. Kirby invites them to go deep into what occurred behind the scenes in the 1960s, how it anticipated what followed over the next 60 years, and what the combination points to going forward. To watch it is to be confronted with the choice of the person I am going to self-create in whatever time remains for me.

    The series should be taught and discussed in every high school in America, but between the decline in civics curriculum funding and the prevailing penchant for revisionist history, you can be sure it won’t be. All the more reason for us to watch it – with all the Gen Z hippies we can pack into the room!

  6. Thank you very much for your work. I now have more ammunition for when I speak about all of this in public and get nothing but doubt.

    I would add Patrice Lumumba to the number even though he was not American he was very much in the fight.

  7. While I have no doubt that this presentation of the facts on the assassinations is powerful in its own right – but who’s watching? Let me explain…….

    EC – your dissertation has led directly into my bailywick – a journey which began at least 20 years ago and is still ongoing……and I assume until my demise.

    Having been all of these in my prior life: neocon, zionist, warmonger, agnostic, American exceptionalist, premillennialist, war refugee…….just to name a few. In other words….been there-done that. So now what?
    I believe I am at least partly qualified to begin the process of discovering the causes behind the overall degradation of Western Civilization – and it leads directly into the fundamental loss of mission by Churchianity. Notice – I didn’t say ‘Christianity’. Churchianity ain’t Christianity!

    First – there is DaSynagogue of Satan – which would be unable to do anything without the aid and willfully ignorant cheerleading churchianity with a seared conscience – both are servants of Satan! And both born againers and Catholics qualify – especially American – both could not possibly ignore the injustices driven by Western Civilization all over the world unless they had a seared conscience. Outside of their own churchian culture, they care about nothing……and willfully so. Question: How many churches will show this documentary?
    Take it from a former churchian zionist, for example – until I discovered that today’s jews are NOT Old Testament Israel, I was just as confused as most of today’s pundits – trying to complete a puzzle with major missing pieces…..and those missing pieces are spiritual…….but with material consequences.
    The big picture ongoing war which started as described in Genesis and runs as a thread all the way through Revelation, and is literally still being waged as we speak – – history confirms this, if one is paying attention to history. Unfortunately, most folks are as ignorant of history as everything else.

    Both OT and NT – what I have learned over the years – systematically – is that the narrative thread from Genesis to Revelation is all about Jesus the Messiah – including plenty of mayhem of all kinds, the prophets warning Israel of their ultimate demise which occurred in 70 AD. But the spiritual descendants of DaPharisees are still with us.

    One more thing – Christianity is NOT etiquette – – you can start here.
    And if you really want to dig deeper, insert CHURCHIANITY or any other term into the search window of DaLimbraw Library and read for hours, if not days. Churchianity is our PROBLEM – it has deflected from building the Kingdom of God into an individual pursuit of piety, as if the main mission of Christ was to become our divine butler – a shameful deception!

    The journey begins here – – and never ends because discovering truth is a process, never an end state for us mortals.

    1. First I thought to write a stand alone comment, then I saw your comment, and I will say something to you and Ed (1) and later something that goes to you (2)

      History is definitely in a field of my interest. But not long ago I became kind of bothered with some aspects of it.

      It started with my best friend, who is very much into history, talking to me about a book dealing with crimes, mass murders, committed after WWII on territory of ex-Yugoslavia perpetrated by communists. It happened, no doubt. People are squabbling about the numbers, but to me that is like juggling with corpses, not my cup of tea.
      He then pushed on, emotionally loaded: what can a son of killers- commander think, feel about the affair, about his father?

      I like to think about hard stuff, well, this was…..
      After a while, some discussion, it came to me and asked him: Have you heard about Presentism?
      It is a metaphysical position in philosophy of time and I hope I won’t do to much disfavor to it by roughly presenting it: Only Present is Real, Past and Future are not Real.
      I tried a little bit to wrap my mind around it and saw some problems, the result was to reconsider my stance on history.

      How can I judge killers-commander when I look at him through the glasses of Present? I can do my best trying to put on glasses of the Past, still I can’t live the zeitgeist when human life was worth less than a penny – that shit was Real then.
      I can never understand murders of four outstanding people, Ed wrote about, the same way Ed does, who was alive then.
      The farther we go into history, the bigger the problem is.

      I think it’s not the same as ‘is my red the same as your red’, it’s easier, nevertheless…
      Actually, just want to express that we might be cautious with history, more with learning from history and particularly with arguments based on history.

      I have my own beef with etiquette, mostly is bullshit. I have no problem with swearing, not even in writing. Some people lost their names because they crossed the line irreversibly, like: bad-billy, the orange one, that bitch saying: “There is no such thing as society”, holy-elon, sugar-borg, epstone……

      I also have a beef with people who are full-mouthed of God, religion and especially spirituality.
      To the latter I say: meditate on what brought to me Revelation.

      When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
      When goodness is lost, there is morality.
      When morality is lost, there is ritual.
      Ritual is the husk of true faith,
      the beginning of Chaos.

      Tao Te Ching 38

      1. Good evening mik…your writing reminded me….Natural Being and a Coherent Society – Mae-Wan Ho
        Science is a system of concepts and tools for knowing and living with Nature.
        As such, it should be integral to any human society from the most primitive prehistoric culture to the industrialized nations of to-day.
        But whereas the primitive lived within Nature by her knowledge which is the totality of her personal and tribal experience, the civilized man is imprisoned outside of Nature, of which, therefore, he can have no real knowledge.

        I do not know if Mae-Wan Ho spoke about ‘direct knowing’ and how this process can develop in human beings.
        So then I will ask…how can we programmed humans reach this level of knowing ? I think we can give it a try instead of marching in place in quick sand, having war after war after war. We know war will happen. Can we find beyond?

        1. Thank you very much for Mae-Wan Ho, I didn’t know about her. I will try to find more about her work, because that might be useful to substantiate my claims that gene engineering and “gene editing” is a pure fucking monkeying. On top, it is monkeying with, according to science, foundations of life. And to be worse, they don’t know that they don’t know, or they just pretend allover.

          ” We know war will happen.”

          If that conclusion is derived from argument based on history, then this is a case I warned about before.
          Of course, the conclusion can also be validated with the fact that standing armies exist. I see no need to discuss all the supportive circumstances.
          Once I’ve read about anthropologist who went to the wilderness of Borneo (or similar) to visit a primitive tribe that was known to be furious warriors, everyone was scared of them. He lived with them for a while, few times he noticed that fights happened. He tried to get more information about their fights, but they were silent. After some time he was told: Yes, we are fighting, it’s terrible, it’s bad, therefore we don’t talk about it.
          Quite the opposite of what is happening in our society, particularly regarding the history, not to mention unadulterated snuff coming from Ukraine that is available on Telegram (possibly freely available; I don’t use it, but I know it exists, Military summary youboob channel publishes censored versions of snuff….and I’ve seen no one discussing this horrible phenomena).

          I think mathematics is about direct knowledge. Although it looks mathematics is limited only by our by our imagination, still there are limits if you want to have something meaningful.
          Art, on the other hand, seems to me very limitless, observing it, I’m sometimes amazed in all possible ways, imagination reigns.
          There is a huge problem for mathematics, and consequently Rational, Goedel’s theorems: mathematics cannot be complete and consistent at the same time, there are mathematical statements that neither can be proved or disproved (this is just a gist of it). Riemann hypothesis seems to be true, but no one has been able to prove or disprove it and pocket a million dollars.
          From the above I conclude that Rational itself is limited. I also see this to be supportive of Kant’s thesis that we are unable to know Things in Themselves.
          Further on, I think this should have some repercussions on science, well, we are in an era of scientism, science cannot be humble. Occasionally there are some signs of humbleness:

          The Biggest Gap in Science: Complexity

          (but they are 9X,XX% certain temperature will rise…..)

          So, direct knowledge…..I don’t know….that maybe puts me in a way to contradiction regarding Revelation I wrote before….
          Nevertheless, I’m certain, excerpt from Tao Te Ching is true.

          Below are links to some stuff I wrote and is related to your comment (something is also exchange with others, so you might need to follow thread).

  8. Thank you Ed. I’ve been waiting for this series for some time now. It sounds like it has been very much worth the weight. I must say there is a certain dread I feel that accompanies the anticipation of viewing this series – as I know that archival footage will trigger deep and painful emotions from so many decades ago.

    Your reflections on the series brought me immediately back to the memory of being 16 years old and watching a news broadcast which I’ve never forgotten. In it the male MSM presenter on one of the big television networks literally pirouettes for the camera in order to both “demonstrate and fabricate an explanation” for how RFK could have been shot in the back – rather than the front of his body – by an assassin who was never behind him according to all witness reports.

    To further add to the vaudevillian nature of this “news” broadcast the presenter then asserted that Sirhan mush have “lunged forward” in the blink of an eye – a “lunge” somehow “undetected” by witnesses – in order to accomplish inflicting those “point blank” – entry wounds in RFK’s back.

    This must have been broadcast after the official autopsy report had already made a mockery of the “official story” – and so the MSM was brought to bear to in true CIA “Mockingbird” style – in order to provide the “true believers” with the necessary “plausible deniability” story they needed in order to be able to sleep at night. Many of us then youngsters of our generation have never really “slept well” since I dare say.

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