In 1960 Cooney produced the documentary film Justice and Caryl Chessman
, which was shown in more than fifteen hundred movie houses in America and countless others overseas.
I want to say to people, 'Yes, I'm nice in real life, but I'm also an actor!' "Actually I did kill a guy on Death Row once in a project," Alda says, referring to Kill Me If You Can (1977), a television movie in which he played Caryl Chessman
, a real-life Californian who spent 12 years on Death Row before being executed.
I can recall one special case where my grandfather's principles and character were tested by a very controversial and sensational event that took place in the 1950s dealing with a notorious criminal, Caryl Chessman
. It is difficult to describe the tension and negative atmosphere caused by press reports of Chessman's scheduled execution date on July 30, 1954.
At times this means that the reader is hurled into a welter of material and connections that seems a little too forced (for example, the discussion of Caryl Chessman
's execution in the Kaufman chapter).
For example, readers do not know the circumstances surrounding the execution of Caryl Chessman
, who became a cause celebre in the 1950s after receiving eight reprieves (74).
She spoke out against the death sentence of convicted murderer Caryl Chessman
, whom police nicknamed the "Red Light Bandit." Kirk visited Chessman several times in prison until he was executed in 1960.
Rebel and a Cause: Caryl Chessman
and the Politics of the Death Penalty in Postwar California, 1948-1974
Some of the crime scenes participants were to hear about: the scenic lookout on Mulholland Drive where "Red Light Bandit" Caryl Chessman
committed one of his crimes; the spot where "Hillside Strangler" Angelo Buono dumped his first victim, as well some of his other murder scenes; the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, who were murdered by the Manson Family; Nicole Brown Simpson's home; and the Ambassador Hotel, where Sen.
How did you meet death row inmate Caryl Chessman
? In your bio he is noted as being instrumental in your changing attitude.
The collection opens with the poem "Caryl Chessman
Interviews the PTA (from his swank gas chamber)," a long piece which Maria Damon describes as a work that "joins social protest and physical fracturing through linguistic play" (41).