Did she or didn’t she? The burning question, at least to Bob Slatzer, author of “The Marilyn Files,” is whether Marilyn Monroe committed suicide or was murdered, and if she was killed, who did it and who covered it up. KTLA’s two-hour live show based on the book answers a different question: Should a grand jury reopen the investigation into Monroe’s death?
Based on the evidence presented in this surprisingly dull show, the answer from a panel of five former district attorneys and attorneys general is a resounding yes.
Co-hosts Bill Bixby and Jane Wallace seem to have modeled their performances on Geraldo Rivera’s during his live opening of Al Capone’s vaults. But as in that show, all the vamping and attempts to create suspense lead to a big nothing.
Bixby and Wallace are constantly craning their necks to look at monitors awkwardly placed behind them on a stage crowded with a replica of Marilyn’s bedroom and the judges. He intones, she grins.
Rounding up the usual suspects –John and Robert Kennedy, the Mafia, the CIA and the FBI, the Secret Service, the L.A. County coroner and Monroe’s doctors–“The Marilyn Files” purports to punch holes in the “official investigation.” If it accomplishes nothing else, this program shows there was widespread bungling. Big surprise.
Glossing blithely over the holes in its own story, “Marilyn Files” digs up discredited witnesses, tarnishes the reputations of those who have chosen to stay silent and attacks those foolish enough to show up in front of the studio audience and the panel of judges.
For instance, the show concludes that Bobby Kennedy was responsible for Monroe’s death because he was at her home that night and they had a loud fight. Slatzer alleges that the argument was taped by a private investigator, although Slatzer has never seen or heard the tape. But apparently the possibility never occurred to those behind this show that Monroe, despondent over the end of her relationship with Kennedy, actually could have killed herself.
By show’s end, one is left wondering what it is about the Kennedys that creates so many conspiracy theories around them, and who, since most of the principals are dead, could possibly benefit from such tripe as “The Marilyn Files.”