The testimony of Norman Earl Wright was taken at 9:10 a.m., on July 24, 1964, in the office of the U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas, Tex. by Mr. Burt W. Griffin, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Let me introduce myself. My name is Burt Griffin. I am a member of the staff of the general counsel's office of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy.
I want to tell you a little bit before I administer the oath and start to ask you questions about the nature of the proceedings that we are going to have here for the next few minutes.
The Commission that I work for was set up by President Johnson under an Executive order which he issued on November 29 of last year, and also pursuant to a joint resolution of Congress.
We have been directed to investigate into and evaluate and report back to the President on all the facts that relate to the assassination of President Kennedy and the death of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Under this Executive order and joint resolution, the Commission has been given authority to promulgate certain rules and regulations. Pursuant to those rules and regulations I have been designated to take your deposition. Our particular purpose in calling you here today, as you probably well would imagine, is to find out what you know about Jack Ruby. But if you have any information about the assassination of President Kennedy or any other matters that we are inquiring into, we would like to have any of that that you can give us.
Let me ask you if you received a letter from the Commission.
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, the letter is in St. Louis, but I didn't receive it while I was there. I was on my way when it came to East St. Louis.
Mr. GRIFFIN. I should tell you under the rules of the Commission you are entitled to receive written notice from us 3 days before you appear here, and I would ask you at this point if you are willing to go forward without actually having received the letter.
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes. I spent a lot of money on this.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Do you have any questions about this proceeding before I administer the oath?
Mr. WRIGHT. None whatsoever, because I have been through this with the FBI quite a few times on the west coast, and I imagine it is along similar lines.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Let me ask you to raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. WRIGHT. I do.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Will you state to the reporter your full name?
Mr. WRIGHT. My full name is Norman Earl Wright. My stage name is Earl Norman.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Where do you presently live?
Mr. WRIGHT. I live at 8820 Bermuda Street, Caseyville, Ill.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Were you living in Dallas in the fall of 1963?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes. My family was here. I will explain that. I lived here, but the week of the Friday the President was killed, I opened at the Club in California the night he was killed, on that day, which would be bet 22.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Where had you been working in Dallas previous to that?


Mr. WRIGHT. Previously I worked for Jack for over a year. I worked for Abe at the Colony Club. I don't remember exactly how long. I worked for Barney at the Theatre Lounge.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Immediately before you went to California, who were you working for?
Mr. WRIGHT. Barney Weinstein.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Theatre Lounge?
Mr. WRIGHT. Theatre Lounge.
Mr. GRIFFIN. You ceased working for Barney when?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, it was the Sunday. I don't know the date, but it was the Sunday before I opened the following Friday.
Mr. GRIFFIN. That would have been the 17th of November? Friday was the 22d.
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; I closed on a Sunday and opened out there on a Friday.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did you have then 4 days in which you were unemployed before Sunday to Friday?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, I had left here. I stayed here until Tuesday and left Tuesday and arrived in California Wednesday afternoon, because I was directed by my agent to be there by Wednesday night, which the club only requested that I be in 2 days before opening.
Mr. GRIFFIN. I want to go back somewhat in time and ask you when it was that you first met Jack Ruby.
Mr. WRIGHT. It was in June of 1961 when I came to work for him.
Mr. GRIFFIN. How did you happen to become employed by him?
Mr. WRIGHT. I Was employed by an agent out of St. Louis. I got a contract from an agent, Mike Riaff in St. Louis, to come to work for Jack Ruby at the Carousel Club, and it was the first time I had met Jack, or the first time I had been in Dallas in about 11 years, I imagine.
Mr. GRIFFIN. What actually is it that you do?
Mr. WRIGHT. I am a comic, MC, and I sing and do comedy, and run the show.
Mr. GRIFFIN. How long have you been in that line of business?
Mr. WRIGHT. Since 1950.
Mr. GRIFFIN. How old are you now?
Mr. WRIGHT. Thirty-nine.
Mr. GRIFFIN. How long did you work for Jack when you started in June of 1961?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, it was approximately about 13 or 14 months. I don't really remember the exact length of time.
Mr. GRIFFIN. How did you happen to terminate your employment with him?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, the first time I got very ill because I was working 7 days a week consistently, for approximately 6 months, and I lost the hearing in one of my ears and practically lost my voice. He didn't want to let me go, so I Just quit and went back to St. Louis.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Then did you work for him again?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes. I went to Biloxi, Miss., and Jack called me down there and asked me to come back to work for him, and I came back ,again.
Mr. GRIFFIN. When was it approximately that you. came back to work for him?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, it was, I would say, approximately 8 weeks after I left.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Still would have been the latter part of 1962?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes.
Mr. GRIFFIN. How long did you work for him on that occasion?
Mr. WRIGHT. About 5 or 6 months. I don't remember exactly.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did you ever work for him again after that?
Mr. WRIGHT. Off and on. Sometimes as a relief for the MC there, or maybe a week at a time, or 2 weeks at a time, but no more than 2 weeks at a time.
Mr. GRIFFIN. I would like you to tell us something about Jack Ruby's attitude toward the kind of jokes that he permitted to be told in his club.
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, Jack first of all,. the first thing he told any MC, including myself or anyone else, was that he did not want anyone to tell any Jewish stories. Later on I realized the fact that he was very self-conscious about many things about him personally, and I imagine that is why I came


to this conclusion. But most of the material would be standard material burlesque houses.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Can you tell us what sort of personal things Jack was sensitive about?
Mr. WRIGHT. His hair. His speech.
Mr. GRIFFIN. What was there about his speech?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, he had a small impediment in his speech that he was quite conscious of.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Was it a lisp?
Mr. WRIGHT. Sort of a lisp, and he wore a hat practically all the time outside of the club. He was very conscious of that. And he was very conscious of his weight. He was always going on a diet, or weightlifting, or something, and he was always conscious of the fact that a lot of people thought he was sort of a gay boy. Whether he was, I don't know personally.
Mr. GRIFFIN. What was there--I take it by "gay boy," you mean that he was a homosexual?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes.
Mr. GRIFFIN. What was there about him that gave that impression?
Mr. WRIGHT. I don't know. He never impressed me that way, but he him self thought that people thought he was that way.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Had you ever heard anyone say that they thought he was a homosexual?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; not personally.
Mr. GRIFFIN. How would Jack mention this to you?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, in a joking manner. As I remember, one time gave him a cigar or something, and he put it in his mouth and lit it and said to me, "I don't look gay now, do I?" It was Jack's attitude toward people that I imagine some people might have thought he was that way.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Can you be more explicit about his attitude toward people?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, he seemed, and I imagine in the eyes of most people, to go out generally with more men than women. But there were more women that came to the club to see Jack than men. George Senator is about the only guy that I know that he ran around with who was his roommate, and Ralph Paul, who was one of his partners. But other than that---
Mr. GRIFFIN. Was the Carousel Club frequented, to your knowledge, by homosexuals?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Are there clubs in Dallas which are hangouts for homosexuals?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did Jack object to any sort of religious jokes other than Jewish jokes?
Mr. WRIGHT. Not to my knowledge. He specifically made a statement that he didn't want any Jewish stories at all told, whether or not they were jokes or just stories or anything about Jewish people.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Was there anything else in his conversation with you or his behavior that suggested other things concerning his attitude about being a Jew?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; not to my knowledge, because I worked for just about every club. He was a typical club owner, but an odd one.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Now, you had worked for the two Weinsteins, and I take it they are beth Jewish?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did they have the same attitude toward Jewish jokes?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; very few Jewish people do have. In fact, I worked for a lot of Jewish people, and Jack is the only Jewish owner of any club that ever told me that or has ever told any MC that.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Have you every been in Jack's apartment?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; I was over there once. George fixed dinner, and I don't know, there were a bunch of kids from. the club, and we all went over one night after dosing.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Do you ever recall seeing any books in Jack's apartment?


Mr. GRIFFIN. Do you ever recall talking with him about any books that he had been reading?
Mr. WRIGHT. Never.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Specifically, did he ever mention to you that he was reading any books about the Jewish people such as Exodus by Uris?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; not to me.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did Jack ever indicate that he didn't approve of Catholic jokes?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did you have any limitation on the sexual jokes that might be told?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, yes. There is a standard that I think all MC's with quality carry, and Jack, operating as an operator here in Dallas, realized that you can only go so far, and if you go over further, you only end up hurting yourself anyway. He maintained as good an operation as anyone else in town, as far as I am concerned.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did he ever express any views on the political jokes that you might have told?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Specifically, did you have any occasion to talk with him about President Kennedy?
Mr. WRIGHT. I imagine once or twice he mentioned the fact that he admired President Kennedy quite a bit and had a great deal of admiration for him and what he was trying to do.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Do you have any specific recollection of such a conversation?
Mr. WRIGHT. Not specifically; no.
Mr. GRIFFIN. What sort of relationships did he have with his employees?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, with Jack, it was an off and on relationship. He could be smiling and joking with you one moment, and then be mad and ready to throw you out of his club the next. He was a very unpredictable man when it came to relationship between employees and boss.
Mr. GRIFFIN. How was his employee turnover? What success did he have in keeping people?
Mr. WRIGHT. He had very good success in keeping people. Jack was the type of person that you liked and disliked, and how you can analyze this, I don't know. But with all his faults, the way he did things, you still liked the man, and at the same time he could make you dislike him just like that [snapping fingers], you know, on the spur of the moment.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Was it your experience that once he hired somebody, that that person stayed with him?
Mr. WRIGHT. Pretty much so. I know the length of time I worked with Jack, and even after I left Jack, most of the employees that were there when I came there and came there after I was there, were still there when I left.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did this include the dancers?
Mr. WRIGHT. Most of the dancers, and the band was there for the year and a half after I left.
Mr. GRIFFIN. What was Jack's attitude toward his competitors, the Weinsteins?
Mr. WRIGHT. He thought they were out to close him up. Neither Abe nor Barney were worried too much about Jack, but Jack worried all the time about them. He tried to outdo them or capitalize on any publicity that might bring people from their club to his club.
Mr. GRIFFIN. What was it that they did which indicated to Jack that they were trying to close him up?
Mr. WRIGHT. Nothing. Just Jack's own mind and the way he thought.
Mr. GRIFFIN. What sort of things did he attempt to do to attract people from their club to his club?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, trying to put in different ads. In fact, he had a billboard made about his club and some of the pictures of the acts in the club put in the cleaners underneath Abe's club and things of that sort.
Mr. GRIFFIN. That is the Enquire Shine & Press Shop?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; it is right below Abe's club and each night the guy would


stick it in the window and it advertised Jack's club, which was down on the other side of the parking lot from Abe's club.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did Jack use amateur strippers in his shows?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; they all do.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Now, do you recall that there came a time when Jack felt that he wasn't being permitted to use the amateurs and the Weinsteins were?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, Jack fought the battle. First of all, Jack didn't like to put out the money that Abe and Barney were putting out, because Abe and Barney would use on their amateur shows, which is held once a week in each club, they would use on the average, if they had the girls, maybe five or six girls. which would cost them anywhere from $10 to $15 a girl. Jack felt that that was too much money to put out, so he would. therefore, use three or four girls. But in the meantime, he was trying to get the union to stop amateur shows altogether.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did the union have any sort of rule against amateur shows?
Mr. WRIGHT. They did and they didn't. We never actually found out.
Mr. GRIFFIN. What was ambigious about the rules which they had in this respect?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, our constitution says that no professional entertainer is to work with an amateur entertainer. This was the primary rule that Jack was basing his complaint on, which I and most of the entertainers at the time agreed upon. But you must work in this business, and therefore, Barney and Abe, well, especially Barney, started the amateur shows, I think about 13 years ago, and he has put a lot of People in business as far as dancers go, and he has put a lot of people to work. I was on the local board at the time, and we had memos from the west coast and New York.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Excuse me, was this the local board of the American Guild of Variety Artist?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; it is the local executive board. We were sent memos to the branch managers that at one time the amateur shows were to cease, or these people were to join the union and then they could work. Well, this was complied with, and then not long after that, the people that were head of the various regional offices were fired and we had new memos. So actually, we never found out whether the whole thing is still legal or illegal, but a lot of the kids that were amateurs joined the union, and some of them still belong to the union.
But I imagine some of them don't. I don't know for sure, because I quit the board because of the fact that we got one memo that said one thing, and another memo that would contradict the memo before, so it got to be a confusing situation altogether. When I got out in Califoria, I went to see Mazzie, who, when I left Dallas, was the west coast regional director of AGVA.
Mr. GRIFFIN. M-a-z-z-i-e?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; well he was west regional director. But when I got to California I went up to see him to talk to him about what was going on in Dallas. He had been fired and Bobby Faye in New York had been fired. They went into an interim committee that took care of the union until recently. I understand they had elections, and I forget the gentleman, I don't even know the guy that is head of the thing. I haven't bothered to look to see.
See, our union is not run like most unions. AGVA is run by the secretary of the union, and then you take people like Joey Adams who was president. It is an honorary thing. Then you have the vice presidents and so forth. But the main part of the union is run by the members of the national board.
Mr. GRIFFIN. When did you quit the local board here in Dallas?
Mr. WRIGHT. It was about a month before I left town, I believe.
Mr. GRIFFIN. While you were on the local board, did Jack come to you about his problems with the Weinsteins?
Mr. WRIGHT. He went to everybody on the board about his problems.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did he come to you?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did he feel that you were helping him or not?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, when I left town--in fact, the main reason, one of the reasons that I resigned from the board was the fact Jack thought after I had gone to work for Barney and Abe after leaving him, that I was against him,


and whatever happened to the board, I was doing for the benefit of Barney and Abe. In fact, last time I saw Jack before I left town, he refused to let me in his club because he said I was with his competitors against him.
Mr. GRIFFIN. I want to ask you some specific questions about that particular incident. How did you happen to go to Jack's club that night?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, I was working at the Theatre Lounge, and the Theatre Lounge only does three shows a night, and Jack was doing a continuous show. I had about a 20- or 25-minute break, so I walked over to see Wally Weston, who was working there at the time.
Mr. GRIFFIN. You didn't come over to see Jack?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, I went over to see Jack or Wally, whoever was there. No one specifically. All three clubs are within half a block of each other, and you walk around between shows.
Mr. GRIFFIN. How far did you get into the club?
Mr. WRIGHT. I got to the door.
Mr. GRIFFIN. What happened?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, he asked me to leave.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Do you know whether or not he had a gun with him?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; I don't.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Do you know whether he asked anybody to go get a gun when you came up, or when he saw you coming up?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did he threaten you in any way?
Mr. WRIGHT No; he just asked me to leave.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did you have an argument with him there?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; he just said, "I don't want you in my club. You are against me." I said, "Fine." So I left.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Had he ever asked you to. do anything for him in connection with his complaint about the amateur strippers?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, he had asked to bring up at board meetings the reason why it hadn't been cut out, because of his complaint. In fact, I believe he called Bobby Faye in New York several times, and called Muzzle in California several times.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Was any effort made by the people who were in charge of AGVA to get the Weinsteins to stop using the amateurs in their shows?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, like I said, we got memos to one effect that they were either to stop or the kids were to join the union, and then most of the kids joined the union, and in that way it went from $10 or $15 per girl to $35; which is our minimum that any act can receive as long as they are carrying a card. $35 per performance or per show, which would be one performance of the amateurs.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Was Jack continuing to use amateur dancers during this period that he was complaining about the Weinsteins?
Mr. WRIGHT. Oh, yes; he wasn't about to cut it out. Sometimes he would use one or two girls instead of using four or five on something.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did he advertise also that he was using amateurs?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did you ever hear Jack Ruby discuss any political idea or political movements?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Specifically, did you ever hear him talk about H. L. Hunt?
Mr. WRIGHT. Not to me.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did you ever see Ruby with any political literature of any sort?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did you ever talk with Jack about what his aspirations were?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; never.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Some people have mentioned that Jack sort of admired what he called "class." Do you ever recall that?
Mr. WRIGHT. Jack always wanted to be Mr. Big. He felt that he should be the top nlghtclub owner and the top boss in town, and he tried to capitalize on any type of publicity he could to promote his club.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Do you consider it unusual that Jack Ruby should not have


attended the Presidential motorcade, and yet at the same time was very upset over the assassination?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, like I said before, Jack was a peculiar man. To analyze his thinking within a period of an hour, would take a mass of brains to do because he never actually--Jack did things like this, where other people would think them out [snapping fingers].
I have seen him argue and get mad with somebody for no reason at all, just because of what they said or the way they acted just hit him the wrong way. And to say why he would do this and not do this, I couldn't say. As long as I knew him, he still mystified me.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Were you ever with Jack when he had a gun with him?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; he carried a gun in a bank bag on the seat of his car when he went to the bank.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Was it his custom to carry the gun in his pocket?
Mr. WRIGHT. Not to my knowledge.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did you ever have occasion to drive Jack's automobile?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Do you know whether Jack had any particular practice concerning where he kept his car keys?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; I imagine in his pocket because I know he kept a lot of his money from the night's receipts. He put his money--a lot of the time I have seen him put his money in the trunk of his car.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Was Kathy Kay working for Jack Ruby when you worked for him?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; in fact, we started her off as a professional entertainer when I was there.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Was that the first time that you worked for him that she started?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; well, she did a couple of amateur shows, and then he put her to work as a regular dancer.
Mr. GRIFFIN. But she had worked for him then, I take it, since sometime in 1961?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes.
Mr. GRIFFIN. How about Tammi True, was she working for Jack when you worked for him?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, she came later on. I worked with Tammi, I don't know exactly what month, but I have worked with her. I worked there with Millie Perelle, and worked there with Lee Sharon. I was trying to think of the girl that was there when I first came there. She is quite a good dancer. I can't remember her name. But Kathy Kay, Jack put into the business, as far as a professional dancer.
Mr. GRIFFIN. At the time the President was shot, was Kathy Kay a dancer who had worked for Jack the longest of any of the ones he had?
Mr. WRIGHT. I believe so, to my best knowledge, because you got to understand I was in and out of town a lot of times, too, and I don't know whether the girls were there. I know she was there most of the time when I came back into Dallas, so I just assumed that she had been there all the time.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Do you know how Little Lynn happened to leave the employ of the Weinsteins and go to work for Jack?
Mr. WRIGHT. I have no idea; because I was not working for Jack at the time.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Was Little Lynn working for the Weinsteins?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes; I was working for Barney when she came to work for Barney, and I believe, I am not quite sure, I know she didn't show up for 2 or 3 nights or something, or didn't come to work, and didn't call or anything, and Barney fired her. I assume that is the reason she went to work for Jack.
Mr. GRIFFIN. I am going to hand you what I have marked for identification as Norman E. Wright Deposition, July 24, 1964, Exhibit No. 1 This is a document that consists of three pages numbered at the bottom as 556, 557, and 558. It purports to be a copy of an interview report which was prepared by FBI Agent Lloyd D. Johnson, and Agent Aldo A. Giannechhini, after they had an interview with you on November 26.


Look this over and read it carefully and tell me if it accurately records what you told them on the 26th of November.
Mr. WRIGHT (after reading). I think that is pretty much what I said.
Mr. GRIFFIN. You are satisfied that this is an accurate report of what you said?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Then let me ask you to sign it on the first page near where I have marked it.
Mr. WRIGHT. (initials).
Mr. GRIFFIN. As a final question, let me ask you, Mr. Wright, is there anything that you can think of that you know about Jack Ruby or know about the activities of November 22, 23, and 24, that might be helpful to the Commission that we haven't covered?
Mr. WRIGHT. If I did, I would be glad to tell you, but being in Los Angeles during the whole time and not getting back to Dallas until after the middle of January, I have no more knowledge than what I have already stated.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Have you any information or heard anything which you think might be reliable about how Jack Ruby got into the basement of the police department on the 24th?
Mr. WRIGHT. No; I don't. But I do believe that the way the---where the source came from, I have no idea, but I did hear that Sheriff Decker sent a car and a wagon, I believe, to pick Oswald up at 2 o'clock in the morning, and Chief Curry said that he had promised the news media that he would bring Oswald down at 11 that morning. Actually, this is hearsay, as far as I am concerned, but I have heard that.
The only other thing that I believe, in my own opinion, the police department is just as much to blame as Jack in a roundabout way, because there was no reason in the world, with all the police they had, for Jack to walk directly straight through that many people and walk up to a man and shoot him. I personally believe that they shared at least 50 percent of the blame.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Well, I appreciate your frankness.
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, that's the only way I can be.
Mr. GRIFFIN. That's right and I appreciate your coming here today. You have indicated previously that this did interfere with a prospect for a job that you had, so the Commission appreciates anybody who is willing to give us the time under circumstances like that. I have no more questions, and if you have no more questions----
Mr. WRIGHT. I have no more questions.
Mr. GRIFFIN. All right, thank you very much.

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