By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
"Seinfeld"/Sinatra Death Link Exclusive!
"TV shows don't kill people . . . but final episodes sure do!"
That's the shocking claim from experts who insist that legendary entertainer Frank Sinatra's fatal heart attack was actually a result of the Final Episode Curse--a bizarre jinx that strikes a death blow whenever a television series ends!
For 82 years, the fast-living, hard-drinking Chairman of the Board did it his way--and not even a whopping laundry list of health woes could force him to throw in the towel.
But in the end, the scooby-dooby superstar was simply no match for the final installment of "Seinfeld," the much-hyped ratings-grabber that aired just hours before the singer's May 14 death.
Incredible as it sounds, insiders insist Ol' Blue Eyes is just the latest celebrity to be struck dead by the strange TV hex!
Although television industry insiders claim they've long known about the killer curse, the "Seinfeld"/Sinatra death link is the first time anyone has publicly acknowledged the dreaded whammy.
"It sounds crazy, I know, but it's a scientific fact," says a top episodologist who's been tracking the curse for years. "Since the dawn of television, people have been dying whenever a final episode from any series has aired. But it took Sinatra's death to open people's eyes. If you don't believe me, check the obits."
To test the unbelievable theory, Westword's research team painstakingly cross-referenced the dates of several dozen randomly selected celebrity deaths against last-episode air dates listed in a TV almanac. Amazingly, the astonishing results far exceed statistical coincidence and will force even the most hardened skeptic to accept the reality of the horrific hex.
Consider this sampling of the overwhelming evidence:
* "Gentle Ben" leaves the air on August 31, 1969; that same day, the "final episode" curse KO's heavyweight boxing champ Rocky Marciano in a tragic plane crash!
* The geriatric gumshoes on "The Snoop Sisters" solve their last case on August 20, 1974. Buford Pusser, the no-nonsense sheriff whose exploits inspired the movie "Walking Tall," dies the following day!
* Although officials blame a drug OD for the September 18, 1970, death of guitarist Jimi Hendrix, some believe the musician was really a victim of a "final episode" double whammy. Series enders of both "Here Come the Brides" and "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" air the same day he dies!
Actors, sports figures, world leaders: Top curse experts agree that no one--not even couch potatoes--is safe from the video voodoo that's turning every TV cancellation notice into a potential death certificate.
"Frankie never had a chance against the last 'Seinfeld,'" concludes one longtime curse observer. "Still, I think Ol' Blue Eyes would have wanted it this way. A day earlier and he would have been done in by the 'Ellen' finale. She wasn't his kind of broad. Now, THAT would have killed him."
"Lucy" Kids Cheat TV Death Whammy!
Hell hath no fury like a final episode aired!
So say top cursologists who've compiled this mind-boggling list of calamity, murder, even suicide--all directly traceable to the last segments of various television series!
* Just one day after longtime panelist Dorothy Kilgallen makes her last appearance on "What's My Line?" (the chin-challenged columnist suddenly dies within hours of taping the show), a massive power outage plunges the Eastern seaboard into darkness! At least three deaths are attributed to the November 8, 1965, blackout.
* One of the most notorious clunkers in TV history, "My Mother the Car," permanently conks out on September 6, 1966. Eerily, South African prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd is stabbed to death by an assassin during a session of Parliament!
* School's out forever for Tootie, Natalie, Mrs. Garrett and the rest of "The Facts of Life" gang on September 10, 1988. But death and destruction take no recess in Port-au-Prince, Haiti--where weeks of violence culminate in a blood-drenched donnybrook that kills 17 and injures more than 70 other rioters.
Yet for all its destructive power, the curse thankfully misses its mark on rare occasions. Such was the case when CBS broadcast the last original episode of "I Love Lucy" on May 7, 1957. Earlier that very day, while his young sisters looked on, a three-year-old boy had tumbled into a north Denver irrigation ditch that a passerby termed a "death trap"!
A man pulled the boy out just in time. "We pulled a lot of kids out of things like this when I was on the fire rescue squad," said the boy's father, a former fireman. "But a good many of them weren't so lucky." Says one longtime jinxologist familiar with the case, "I guess you could say that was the day the hex went on hiatus."
Death Jinx Payback!
Did a "final episode" death-curse payback from beyond the grave cost Frank Sinatra his greatest screen role?
That's the question that still haunts curse researchers more than 40 years after the hotheaded star stormed off the set of "Carousel"--only to be replaced in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical by singer Gordon McRae.