Episode 086

086: The Onion Field


February 20th, 2019

1 hr 14 mins 53 secs

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About this Episode

Kevin Smokler returns to discuss Joseph Wambaugh's canonical account(s) of the murder of Ian Campbell On the Rushmore of true-crime classics, there's one face Kevin and I hadn't contemplated yet: Joseph Wambaugh's The Onion Field, which narrates the fateful kidnapping of LAPD officers Ian Campbell and Karl Hettinger, the murder of Campbell, and the precursors and aftermaths of that night in the onion field in 1963. It's a quick read whose influences you can see in Ellroy, Mailer and others, but may have suffered from being written while various court cases were still in process...and from not including a notorious police department's history as context.

Later in the podcast, we talk about the 1979 film version of the book starring Jon Savage, Ted Danson, Franklyn Seales, James Woods, and a parade of Hey, It's That Guy!s. Wambaugh wrote the screenplay, and the things that make the book a standout don't always translate...but sometimes they're improved by excellent acting. Should you read the book first, or see the movie? Do you need to consume both? And does the ghost of Capote hover over everything that came after? Come for the discussion, stay for the DVD giveaway on The Blotter Presents, Episode 086.

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