I SAW J. EDGAR HOOVER|
KISSING SANTA CLAUS
(The following, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, was transcribed from the tape of a phone conversation on June 22, 1955, between J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and his assistant Clyde Tolson, and others.)
HOOVER: I'll take this one, operator, thank you. Clyde? Clyde? Where are you?
TOLSON: In New York. At the Stork Club. Is she... off?
HOOVER: Yes, I think so.
TOLSON: I hope so.
HOOVER: Don't worry, Clyde, she's off.
TOLSON: She could still be listening.
HOOVER: She's not listening. She's off.
TOLSON: Good, because I—I miss you... darling.
HOOVER: Yes, me too. Sweetie.
TOLSON: Why don't you come up here and join me?
HOOVER: Too much work.
TOLSON: Tell me I'm your only one.
HOOVER: You're my only one.
TOLSON: Oh, whenever I hear you say that I—
FBI OPERATOR: Mr. Hoover?
FBI OPERATOR: Sir, I'm sorry to interrupt but you have an emergency call from a... Frank Costello.
HOOVER: Put him through, operator.
FBI OPERATOR: Hold please.
HOOVER: Clyde, I'll have to get back to you.
TOLSON: But, John, I- (He's disconnected.)
FBI OPERATOR: Go ahead, Mr. Costello.
COSTELLO: Is that you, Hoover?
COSTELLO: You got some news for me? We haven't heard anything lately.
HOOVER: Uh, yes, actually, I've got one piece of information your boys will be very interested in.
COSTELLO: Then let's hear it, you fat fairy, cause I'm getting impatient with you.
HOOVER: Now that's not very nice, Frank. Really.
COSTELLO: Shut up. What's the news? And it better be good.
HOOVER: All right, here it is... Have you ever heard of Disneyland?
HOOVER: Disneyland. Walt Disney—he's building an amusement park out in California, calls it Disneyland. It opens next month. In California.
COSTELLO: Yeah? So what?
HOOVER: Well, I've got about thirty agents working there, undercover. Anytime any of your people want to go to this place and ride the roller coaster and all, they can get in for nothing. Do you understand?
COSTELLO: Let me get this straight. Your news is that we get to ride for free on the (expletive deleted) roller coaster in California?!
HOOVER: Well, I hear it's more than just a roller coaster, there's—
COSTELLO: Hey, I don't give a (expletive deleted) what they got out there! If I wanna ride the (expletive deleted) Loop-de-Loop I can go to Coney Island, where I've never had to pay in my (expletive deleted) life!
HOOVER: Well, yes, Frank, but—
COSTELLO: Look, you (expletive deleted) little (expletive deleted) queer—I've got some news for you.
COSTELLO: Lansky's got the pictures... Did you hear me?
HOOVER: Uh, yes... which ones?
COSTELLO: You and Clydesie. In bed. Two of those.
HOOVER: Uh huh... I see.
COSTELLO: And a couple of beauts taken at the Plaza Hotel in New York. My my my. You got a sensational figure there.
HOOVER: (Clears his throat.)
COSTELLO: Now, you know what this means, you big (expletive deleted) sissy? It means we could use a little more help, more than a (expletive deleted) free ride on a (expletive deleted) roller coaster! Okay?
HOOVER: Well, sure, sure, and I will, just as soon as I—
FBI OPERATOR: Mr. Hoover?
FBI OPERATOR: You have a call from Walter Winchell.
HOOVER: Put him through, operator. I'm sorry, Frank, I've gotta go.
COSTELLO: All right, but watch your step, you limp-wristed poof, or I'll tell Winchell about the pictures. 'Bye.
HOOVER: (Clears his throat.) Hello? Walter?
WINCHELL: How are you, John?
HOOVER: Fine, Walter, fine.
WINCHELL: Feeling lucky today?
HOOVER: Maybe. Anything going off at thirty-four to one at Saratoga?
WINCHELL: Thirty-four to one at Saratoga? Jesus (expletive deleted) Christ, where do you come up with these bets?... Thirty-four to one at Saratoga... thirty-four to one at Saratoga... what made you think of—wait—yes, there's one horse. Mainway III. Fourth race.
HOOVER: Mainway III? Two thousand. No, make it five thousand.
WINCHELL: Okay, but—
HOOVER: Walter? I have a question for you.
HOOVER: What do you know about Walt Disney?
WINCHELL: Walt Disney? What do you want to know?
HOOVER: What kind of life does he lead? Any personal problems, extra-marital affairs?
WINCHELL: Walt Disney? Walt (expletive deleted) Disney? You've got to be kidding. The guy's as clean as Mickey Mouse. Cleaner. Why?
HOOVER: Nothing. I just thought that, since he lives in Hollywood—
WINCHELL: You won't find anything on Disney. Now I've gotta run, John, if I'm gonna get these bets down. 'Bye.
FBI OPERATOR: Yes, sir?
HOOVER: Get me the Stork Club in New York. I want to talk to Clyde Tolson.
FBI OPERATOR: Yes sir...
FBI OPERATOR: Go ahead Mr. Tolson.
HOOVER: Clyde?... Clyde?
TOLSON: I'm waiting.
HOOVER: Waiting? For what?
TOLSON: For the operator to get off.
HOOVER: How many times do I have to tell you, Clyde, she's not—all right, never mind, pay attention. I've got a special assignment for you.
TOLSON: I thought you received the nylons.
HOOVER: This isn't about that. I want you to investigate someone for me.
TOLSON: Roy Cohn?
HOOVER: No, not Roy. I know everything there is to know about Roy. No, Clyde, I want you to check out Walt Disney.
TOLSON: Walt Disney? Why? What's he done?
HOOVER: Nothing. Yet. But in a few weeks we're going to turn up a photograph or two of Mr. Disney in a very compromising pose.
TOLSON: We are?
HOOVER: You are.
TOLSON: But how?
HOOVER: That's your problem, Clyde. Just make it nice and... kinky.
TOLSON: Why Walt Disney?
HOOVER: I'll explain later.
TOLSON: But, John, you've always confided in me. Why can't you tell me about this? Things have changed, haven't they? I can sense it. I know. Things have changed.
HOOVER: Now, Clyde...
TOLSON: You're seeing someone else, aren't you? I've heard the rumors.
HOOVER: What rumors?
TOLSON: How you've been sneaking around Washington lately, right after sending me on some wild goose chase to New York, or—California!
HOOVER: Now, Clyde...
TOLSON: That's what you're doing, isn't it? While the cat's away. Who is it? It's not that Mafia guy Costello, is it?
HOOVER: Don't you ever say that word while we're on the phone.
TOLSON: What? You mean this is being taped? You said—
HOOVER: Everything's on tape, Clyde. Everything. Everything in this office is on tape. Your farts are on tape.
TOLSON: But... you are seeing someone else, aren't you?
HOOVER: I'll have to call you back Clyde.
TOLSON: Well then... I'll talk to you later, I guess.
HOOVER: Right. (He's disconnected.)... Operator?
FBI OPERATOR: Yes?
HOOVER: Get me the White House...
FBI OPERATOR: Please hold.
WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR: White House. What extension please?
WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR: Please hold...
WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR: Go ahead please.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: Hello?
HOOVER: It's me.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: Is this the sweetest little thing that ever slipped on a pair of black lace stockings?
HOOVER: And how's my big love machine?
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: You sure this line's secure, John?
HOOVER: Of course I'm sure. God, everybody's paranoid today.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: It's good to hear your voice. What's on your mind? Besides sex, of course.
HOOVER: I was just thinking how those two little girls of yours would really love to attend the grand opening of Disneyland next month. They would, wouldn't they?
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: What do you mean?
HOOVER: Like, with their mom, for maybe a week or two?
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: Ahh, now I understand. You know, you might be right. But what about Clyde?
HOOVER: Don't you worry about Clyde.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: Does he know about... us?
HOOVER: No, but he's getting suspicious.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: I like Clyde, he's got a cute ass.
HOOVER: Yeah, yeah. So what do you say?
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: I'll have to call you back, John. After I've talked to, uh, Tricia and Julie. Oh, and Pat. Until then, au revoir.
HOOVER: Au revoir?
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: That's goodbye in French. (They both laugh.)
(End of tape.)
(This originally appeared in The Realist.)
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