JFKcountercoup: Shenanigans at the Dallas State Fairgrounds
JFK Assassination Shenanigans at the Dallas Texas State Fairgrounds
By William Kelly
The first time I ever heard about the State Fairgrounds in Dallas was during Larry Meyers’ Warren Commission testimony when he told about coming to Dallas a few weeks before the assassination, possibly for the grand opening of the Dallas Cabana, where he also stayed over the weekend of the assassination.
Meyers described how he was a salesman from Chicago who had met Jack Ruby sometime previous, and since Ruby was from Chicago too, they developed an affinity, so whenever he came to Dallas he would stop and visit Ruby at the Carousel Club.
This particular time, a few weeks before the assassination, Ruby took him over to the Dallas State Fairgrounds to meet some friends who had a failing carousel act – a tent where they showed a film called “How Hollywood Made Movies.”
Meyers said he wrote out a $500 check for Ruby to cash and share with his friends who ran the enterprise. Two of those involved, Joyce McDonald and Larry Crafard, went to work for Ruby in the following weeks, McDonald at the Carousel Club and Crafard as a handyman who became Ruby’s right-hand man, living at the Carousel Club, doing some of the duties Ruby usually did, and then helping to manage Ruby’s other club, which never gets as much attention as the Carousel. Unlike the Carousel, Ruby’s other club didn’t have the dancers, but featured music instead, usually a rock and roll band.
Crafard also bore a remarkable physical resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald, so much so that more than once, it was later alleged that Ruby and Oswald were seen together, when it later turned out that it was actually Ruby and Crafard who were together.
Crafard may have also intentionally impersonated Oswald in one of the many instances where the accused assassin was blatantly and intentionally impersonated by others, possibly as part of the effort to frame him.
[Larry Crafard is a living witness]
Then there’s Joyce McDonald. She worked at the Fair and then worked for Ruby. When Larry Meyers returned to Dallas over the assassination weekend, he brought a young lady with him, Jean Aase (aka West), and Jean and Joyce went shopping together.
Just as a people confused Crafard and Oswald, Ruby employed two women named McDonald, and they too are often confused. As Ian Griggs notes in his book “No Case to Answer” ( JFK Lancer, 2005, p. 224) that, “Betty McDonald (Nancy Jane Mooney) This former Ruby stripper, who often appears to be confused with others of a similar name, provided an alias for Darrell Wayne Gardner when he was accused of shooting Warren Reynolds, a witness close to the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit. This occurred on 5th February 1964. Just eight days later, she was arrested in Dallas and charged with a minor public order offence. She was locked up in the City Jail and later found dead in her cell, apparently having committed suicide by hanging herself with her toreador pants. Her name inevitably appears on the list of suspicious deaths…”
According to Griggs (p. 227), then there’s “Joy Dale (Joyce Lee Witherspoon McDonald, now Joyce Gordon), who is probably the women recruited by Ruby from the State Fair and who met Larry Meyers. Griggs describes her as “One of the ‘Five exotics’ who were due to perform on 22 November 1963, she had worked for Ruby since August 1963. She is the girl on the left in a series of five photographs taken in Ruby’s office (Armstrong Exhibit Nos. 5301-A to E). She was interviewed extensively in the video Jack Ruby on Trial.”
[This may not be the Armstrong Exhibit but Joyce McDonald Gordon is a living witness]
That Ruby would recruit two employees from the Dallas State Fair was all quite coincidental, and I took it that way until a researcher sent me some Deep Background on early organized gambling in Dallas that indicated such gambling was centered around the Fairground until the Chicago mob moved in, a move that apparently included Jack Ruby. Then the Dallas organized criminal underworld shifted to Joe Civello, the Campisis and company, who were associated with Carlos Marcello in New Orleans.