I know some think Citizen Kane is the greatest movie in the world, but Orson Welles actually fumbled the ball big-time. It’s interesting how Nucky Johnson, the former boss of Atantic City, is making it back to national recognition through HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, but did you realize Nucky played a significant role in the life of William Randolph Hearst, the well-known subject of Orson’s epic film? Anyone familiar with marijuana prohibition knows what a crucial role Hearst played in that operation as he held a near monopoly on the news in his time, owning 200 papers and most of the biggest magazines in America. In fact, Hearst likely invented reefer madness. And he didn’t need to make profits with his vast media empire (and usually didn’t) because he had partial ownership of the stolen land from the Lakota where all that gold was located. Hearst shared ownership of that stolen land with some of the most powerful bankers in Europe.
Hearst is seen in the photo above with his mistress, the beautiful and talented Marion Davies, who Welles unfairly parodied as a talentless, wanna-be opera singer, when, in fact, Marion was a Broadway chorus girl who became a great comic actress of the silent era. Charlie Chaplin was head over heels in love with her, along with many others in Hollywood.
Hearst’s real wife was a former Broadway chorus girl herself, and she’d met Hearst likely because her mom ran New York’s classiest brothel right across from Tammany Hall, a society once run by Aaron Burr, a British spy. Similar in some respects to Boston’s Sons of Liberty (a front for a lodge of Freemasons), The Tammany society had originally organized in Philadelphia, although other “wigwams” were located around the country. “Wigwam” is what they called their meeting halls. Almost all the Tammany ritual and ceremony was based on Native American iconography and the society was used to harmonize incoming Irish immigrants into a political machine, and, in fact, became the Democratic Party. The Tammany emblem, which still appears on the facade of their former headquarters, is a red phrygian cap (left) just like the one that appears on the seal of the United States Senate. I sometimes wonder if this hat is a nod towards that old pagan culture: the Saka’s, the original stoner tribe of Eastern Europe and Asia, the people who invented the wheel and first domesticated horses. The Sakas were famous for wearing pointy hats and were eventually demonized as “witches.” The phygian hat first appeared in Greek sculpture to portray the Persian God Mithra, a bull-slayer, and reappears in ancient Rome as the icon for a powerful secret society about which absolutely nothing is known for sure.
Hearst was planning on becoming President someday and his biggest potential stumbling block was Nucky Johnson, the boss of Atlantic City and Republican Party kingmaker. Hearst and Johnson got into a huge rivalry over an Atlantic City showgirl, and that girl must have been flattered to have two of the richest men in the country vying for her attention simultaneously. Hearst lost that battle, but won the war after he began devoting himself to bringing down Johnson, a campaign that took years, cost him a small fortune no doubt, but eventually succeeded.
Hearst was one of the prominent founders of the Bohemian Club, but he soon led a revolt from that society and formed his own secret club in San Francisco, The Family. Ty Cobb and General Blackjack Pershing were members. Pershing would soon lead the first fully mechanized army into Mexico to hunt down Pancho Villa, one of Hearst’s obsessions. Villa had seized all Hearst’s timber holdings in Mexico with his stoner army singing songs about weed. All this played a role in Hearst going after marijuana in the first place. Strangely, none of this appears in Welles’ film, and all the facts are turned upside down. In Citizen Kane, the Nucky Johnson character comes after the Hearst character to destroy his political career, when that’s what Hearst did to Nucky. So like the Marion Davies story, everything is reversed? Marijuana, so crucial to the Hearst saga, is never even mentioned? Nor is the Bohemian Club, the Family or any of the East Coast secret societies?
There are still many secrets from this era yet to be revealed, but to understand how things really work, you have to study the secret societies these people operated in.
And Hearst had his day of reckoning, but the way, soon after Nucky went down, losing almost everything in the stock market crash, although his family fortune and media empire was later slowly rebuilt for the most part, but without Hearst at the helm as he had been arm-chaired out of his role as CEO.