There is a saying around Hollywood, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” and this seems to have been the attitude adopted while creating this new mini-series “The Kennedys,” writes Paul Allen.
The series which is due to air tonight on the European platform of the History Channel, has already established numerous critics ahead of its premier on TV tonight. Much like the various President John F Kennedy’s assassination conspiracy theories, none of which we subscribe to, there are plenty of conspiracies surrounding this new series, which we buy into. “After viewing the final product in its totality, we have concluded this dramatic interpretation is not fit for the History Channel,” so said History Channel USA back in January when it dropped the $25 million production. How telling was this decision and we wonder what made them change their minds for the viewing public of the UK and Europe?
As its very description states, it’s a dramatic interpretation otherwise called “sexing up the legacy” of the Kennedys’ lives offers a less than accurate insight into the lives of this political clan. We are told that the series turns their legacy and memories into a cheap and shoddy soap opera aimed at encouraging a new 21st century audience into watching the 4 part series.
Despite the campaign “Stop Kennedy Smears,” led by filmmaker Robert Greenwald and the late, great and much missed Theodore C. Sorensen, President Kennedy’s adviser; the controversial mini-series “The Kennedys,” which stares Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear will be aired tonight in over 30 countries, including the UK and Ireland.
We understand the series already been accused of inventing scenes that are historically inaccurate or entirely made up. Ahead of tonight’s screening here are some of the inaccuracies that plague the production:
The creator of the show has attempted to create a Godfather/Soprano style production, turning the Kennedy boys into the Corleone boys and Joe Sr into the Godfather type figure. The show claims that Joe Sr offered Jackie Kennedy a $1 million trust if she promised to stay with Jack, knowing that if he loses the presidency, she can leave him and keep the money. Where can the possible truth be in this as if Jackie was going to leave Jack, she was going to get more than $1 million?
Remaining on the Soprano theme the programme shows Joe Sr. buying off Chicago mobster Sam Giancana in an effort to help win Jack’s presidential election. Yet we know that there is no evidence of this and this is a complete fictional fabrication by the show’s creator.
Another invented story line is seen during the scene when, Joe Sr. learns that Jack is romantically involved with Inga Arvard, a married Danish woman, linked to counterintelligence activities and when Jack refuses to end his relationship with Arvard, Joe calls the Secretary of the Navy and has his son shipped overseas.
Beyond the deceptions and the lies that are seen in the production, the series is also inundated with many factual inaccuracies, here are some we noted. The programme refers to exit polling for the 1960 presidential election when exit polling had not yet been invented; and that President Kennedy introduces the Peace Corps during the Bay of Pigs crisis in April 1961, when in fact he signed an executive order creating the corps one month earlier, putting our late friend Sergeant Shriver, husband of Eunice Kennedy, in charge of that new organisation.
And finally we leave the last word to the late, great Theodore Sorenson who saw the production prior to his untimely death in 2010 said, “Every single conversation with the President in the Oval Office or elsewhere in which I, according to the script participated, never happened.”