SHOWTIME, “PARIAH: THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF SONNY LISTON”. Based on the book, “THE MURDER OF SONNY LISTON: LAS VEGAS, HEROIN AND HEAVYWEIGHTS”. Is misleading, because it is described as documentary. But if you study the syntax of everything that is being said in the show, it is all scripted.

 

PARIAH: THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF SONNY LISTON
Simon George. Writer Director
Based of the book, The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Murder, and Heavyweights
Black Professors used as props. They state that all black people think alike. A racist trope.
THEY HAVE BASICALLY CREATED A “Who Done It” Without the concern of getting to the truth of the matter.  
#1 LARRY GANDY
My partner and I got a call from dispatch. Says, “ Any narcotics detectives in the area of Ottawa drive to come back”. I went up to the bedroom, there was Sherriff’s deputies running around the place like ants, they were everywhere. It didn’t even look like Liston, he had been dead for so long. He had been dead for four or five days. He was bloated, full of methane gas. It really made me sick to my stomach. Because he was such a predominant figure, in the sports world. I just thought it was a disrespectful way for him to go.
#2 SHAUN ASSAEL
Sonny Liston was the greatest heavyweight who ever lived. I have no doubt about that. He was a bonafide monster. He punched with the force of a government crash test.
#3 MIKE TYSON
Sonny was the first intimidating fighter. With the mean scowl, and the mean grin. He was a real badass. A real menace, a
force.
#4 SHAUN ASSAEL
The way Sonny won most of his fights was before he got into the ring. Those eyes.
#5 LISPSYTE
He was an ex-convict. He was brutal, he was mobbed up. He was a symbol of the Champ we didn’t want.

#6 PROFESSOR HASAN JEFFRIES/ OHIO STATE UNIVERSITYAmerica needed to remind the broader white public of the danger that was black folk. And nobody represented that danger more than Sonny Liston.

#7 PROFESSOR RANDY ROBERTS UNIVERSITY OF PURDUE
Geraldine knew how Sonny died
We don’t know how Sonny Liston died. And in the void created by the absence of rational explanation conspiracy filled it like a foul odor.
#8 SHAUN ASSAEL
Geraldine believed that he died of natural causes. Because of Sonny’s life insurance
The medical examiner called it natural causes. But know one around Sonny believed that. Everyone believed he was murdered. So many people wanted Sonny dead. The only question is, who got to him first.

#9 NIGEL COLLINS RING MAGAZINE

Nobody really knows when Sonny Liston was born. He often gave a date of May 8, 1932. He was probably older than that. There were no records. Not even the family bible had his birthdate in there. So he was a mystery right from the start. Sonny was the 24th of 25 children. His father Tobe was a sharecropper. And with that many mouths to feed. It must have been tuff. Sonny knew what it was like to be hungry. He knew that.

# 10 HELEN JEAN LONT SONNY’S NIECE
In Fare City Arkansas, we were trying to survive. Day to day survival. Cause poor people, we were poor people. So we try to live from day to day.
#11 NIGEL COLLINS RING MAGAZINE
Geraldine taught Sonny to read and write
He didn’t get much of a education. He never learned how to read and write. He was out in the fields working. By the time he was eight years old.

#12 JERRY IZENBERG JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR

The story and I think that it is more than apotholic. The mule dies, and his father says, you’re the mule. Hooks him up to a harness, and he’s… He was whipped by his father to make him work harder. And Sonny had the marks to prove it.

#13 MIKE TYSON
Being beaten as a child really effects your outlook on how you see things. If you had hope for a better life. You would live your life differently. He didn’t have hope for a better life.

#14 Professor Randy Roberts Purdue University

All Sonny knows is violence. And if Sonny looks at the world around him. What does he see? He sees violence toward black men, black children.

#15 Dr. Hasan Kiwame Jeffries- Ohio State University

Jim Crow America was violent, Jim Crow America was dangerous. You could be walking down the street as a young man, as a boy, as a woman. And literally, your life could be snuffed out. That’s what Jim Crow was.

#16 Ring Magazine Editor
1946, Sonny’s mother left to have a better life in St. Louis. Sonny was still living on the plantation, got a bus ticket to St. Louis.

#17 Dr. Hasan Kiwame Jeffries- Ohio State University

They called it black folk in search of the promised land. You get a couple of million black folk, literally. You’re looking for a better way of life. The reality though, was that the promised land was fabled.

#18 Professor Randy Roberts- Purdue University

Sonny finds his mother. Is the mother, she happy to see him? Maybe a little, maybe not. Sonny is another mouth to feed. And then he’s on the streets.

#19 Mike Tyson

He was on the dark side of St. Louis. And he saw how the poor got money. They robbed and stole.

#20 Don Majeski Journalist
Sonny Liston, after some minor infractions, went to the big time. He went to rob a gas station. He went to rob a restaurant. He used a gun in the commission of crimes. Sonny always wore a yellow shirt. Police knew that they were looking for a guy in a yellow shirt. And they got him. After, Sonny was tried and got 5 years in jail. That was the sentence for armed robbery at that time.

#21 Shaun Assael

He went to the penitentiary in Jefferson. Which was a really tuff place. Time Magazine called it, the bloodiest 47 acres in America. Gangs ruled it, there were fights all the time. Guards were afraid to patrol some of D Block.

#22 DON MAJESKI JOURNALIST
Liston was brutalized early In prison. I believe that Liston had to fight for everything he got there. And I think that he took a fair share of beatings. It was a Darwinian existence.

#23 Dr. Leah Wright Rigueur Yale Kennedy School

His story becomes about survival. His story has always been about survival. But it takes on a new element.

#24 RING MAGAZINE DON MAJESKI
Father Stevens who was working at the prison got him into the boxing program. Father Stevens was trying to do a good turn for somebody he felt that might have a chance to break away from a life of crime.

#25 Jerry Izenberg

Boxing has always been a step ladder for poor people without other skills. And Sonny fit that picture 100%

#26 TYSON

Sonny Liston saw boxing as a way out. They didn’t want to live that life in prison no more, they did not want to live that life in the streets. And that is why he excelled ad did so well.

#27 Don Majeski

Sonny was a prodigy, was a revelation. This is a guy who can be a really exceptional athlete a great fighter.

#28 PROFESSOR RANDY ROBERTS

And this is something good. That he can hang his identity onto. This is what his identity is about. Sonny had beaten up all the inmates that got in the ring with him.

#29 Ring Magazine
BOXING IS A NEW ELEMENT OF SURVIVAL FOR SONNY
Sonny had beat up all the inmates that dared get in the ring with him. Father Stevens thought, well lets say what he could do with a pro. So they brought in Thermon Wilson. Who was considered the best heavyweight in the neighborhood. He lasted two rounds with Sonny.
#29 Don Majeski
History of Race Relations leading all the way to Sonny
The manager Mitchelle who brought him in said. I don’t think I should be managing Mitchelle. I should look into handling Liston.
#30 RANDY ROBERTS PURDUE UNIVERSITY
That’s with everything with Sonny Liston. There’s always a subtext. It turns out that Frank Mitchelle is connected to Jonny Vatalli. Johnny Vitali is in the mob. And before you know it Sonny is paroled. He does not have to serve his full year.  Also, Jonny Vitali can offer two things. One he can offer an outside job which is breaking people’s legs.
#31 Don M.
Sonny Liston would be head breaking against union breakers. And there was racketeering and there was picking up money for the Lone Sharks.
#32 Randy Roberts Professor Purdue University
But secondly, John Vitali knows, a guy by the name of Franky Carbo. He is the underboss of boxing.#32 Ring MagazineYou couldn’t get a big fight in most divisions if you didn’t have Carbo on your side. That’s just the way it was. In a way boxing has been corrupt forever. So it wasn’t anything new. But Carbo was more powerful because he had an organization behind him. And he had a reputation as a murderer.
#33 VINCENT
100% Gangster, what does that even mean. Boxing was a way to clean their money legitimize themselves. Find a way out of the game.
Franky Carbo would kill you on a dime. Franky was the real thing. He was 100% gangster. There was no question about that. But Franky loved boxing.

#34 RING MAGAZINE

Sonny decided if I’m ever going to make anything out of my life. I got to go with these guys. Because their the ones that can get me where I want to
go.

#35 Dr. Hasan Kiwame Jeffries- Ohio State University

He chooses this path. And I don’t know how many of us would choose something any different. Given that same set of choices that we had.

#36 Professor Randy Roberts Purdue University
Before you talk professional, its good to get an amateur career. An amateur tryout if you will. So Sonny, enters into the Golden Gloves tournament. He won the Chicago Golden Gloves.
#37 SELF PROCLAIMED FIGHT FIXER
If you wanted to build a perfect Heavyweight. You would use Sonny Liston as your model. He heralded in the era of giant Heavyweights. Without the fact of being a giant Heavyweight himself. He was only a bit over 6’ tall. And he weighed about 200lbs. Liston’s reach was 86”. Which was the greatest reach of any Heavyweight Champion in history. With the possible exception of Prima Vera.

#38 RANDY ROBERTS PURDUE PROFESSOR

He was enormously powerful. Through the shoulders. He had long arms. His fist was like huge hams. His jab was his greatest weapon. And it’s the greatest jab any heavyweight has ever had.

#39 TYSON

Most fighters jabs are just to set the opponent up. Usually its not that hard. But Sonny Liston used it as a weapon to Knock you out. To knock you down.

#40 RANDY ROBERTSON PURDUE PROFESSOR

Sonny’s left jab was a nose cracking, teeth busting, jaw-dropping experience. And they said getting hit by it, was like being hit by a pole.

#41 TYSON

Well, Sonny had a big menacing tuff reputation. And that super ceded him in the ring. He intimidated the fighter. The fighter was really beaten before he got in the ring. Sonny could pull it off. I could pull it off. Not many people could pull it off.

 

 

SYNTAX OF ALL THE SPEAKERS UP UNTIL THIS POINT

Proof that everything that was said in the Showtime Special up until this point was pre-scripted. By having 14 different Speakers in this section, it gives the illusion of a general discussion. There are added lines from the special included below. I will be dissecting the rest of the script at a later date.

My partner and I got a call from dispatch. Says, “Any narcotics detectives in the area of Ottawa drive to come back”. I went up to the bedroom; there were Sherriff’s deputies running around the place like ants; they were everywhere. It didn’t even look like Liston; he had been dead for so long. He had been dead for four or five days. He was bloated, full of methane gas. It really made me sick to my stomach. Because he was such a predominant figure, in the sports world. I just thought it was a disrespectful way for him to go.
Sonny Liston was the greatest heavyweight who ever lived. I have no doubt about that. He was a bona fide monster. He punched with the force of a government crash test. Sonny was the first intimidating fighter. With the mean scowl, and the mean grin. He was a real badass: a real menace, a Force. The way Sonny won, most of his fights were before he got into the ring. Those eyes.

He was an ex-convict. He was brutal; he was mobbed up. He was a symbol of the Champ we didn’t want. Sonny was in the epicenter of the perfect storm as far as what was going on in society. The Civil Rights Era was just starting, and he was the guy in the middle, that took all the grief. America needed to remind the broader white public of the danger that was black folk. And nobody represented that danger more than Sonny Liston.
We don’t know how Sonny Liston died. And in the void created by the absence of rational explanation, conspiracy filled it like a foul odor. The medical examiner called it natural causes. But no one around Sonny believed that. Everyone believed he was murdered. So many people wanted Sonny dead. The only question is who got to him first.

Nobody really knows when Sonny Liston was born. He often gave a date of May 8, 1932. He was probably older than that. There were no records. Not even the family bible had his birthdate in there. So he was a mystery right from the start.
Sonny was the 24th of 25 children. His father Tobe, was a sharecropper. And with that many mouths to feed. It must have been tuff. Sonny knew what it was like to be hungry. In Fare City, Arkansas, we were trying to survive. Day to day survival. Cause we poor people, we were poor people. So we try to live from day to day.

He didn’t get much of an education. He never learned how to read and write. He was out in the fields working. By the time he was eight years old. The story and I think that it is more than apocalyptical. The mule dies, and his father says, you’re the mule. He hooks him up to a harness, and he was whipped by his father to make him work harder. And Sonny had the marks to prove it.
Being beaten as a child really effects your outlook on how you see things. If you had hope for a better life. You would live your life differently. He didn’t have hope for a better life. All Sonny knows is violence. And if Sonny looks at the world around him. What does he see? He sees violence toward black men, black children. Jim Crow America was violent, Jim Crow America was dangerous. You could be walking down the street as a young man, as a boy, as a woman. And literally, your life could be snuffed out. That’s what Jim Crow was.
1946, Sonny’s mother left to have a better life in St. Louis. Sonny was still living on the plantation, got a bus ticket to St. Louis. They called it black folk in search of the promised land. You get a couple of million black folk, literally. You’re looking for a better way of life. The reality though, was that the promised land was fabled. Sonny finds his mother.

His mother, she’s happy to see him. Maybe a little, maybe not. Sonny is another mouth to feed. And then he’s on the street. He was on the dark side of St. Louis. And he saw how the poor got money. They robbed and stole. Sonny Liston, after some minor infractions, went to the big time. He went to rob a gas station. He went to rob a restaurant. He used a gun in the commission of crimes.
Sonny always wore a yellow shirt. Police knew that they were looking for a guy in a yellow shirt. And they got him. After, Sonny was tried and got five years in jail. That was the sentence for armed robbery. Liston was brutalized early in prison. I believe that Liston had to fight everything he got there. And I think that he took his fair share of beatings. It was a Darwinian existence. He went to the penitentiary in Jefferson, which was a really tuff place. Time Magazine called it the bloodiest 47 acres in America. Gangs ruled it; there were fights all the time. Guards were afraid to patrol some of D Block.

 

 

 

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