Christine Chubbuck
March 28, 2006 9:01 PM   Subscribe

"In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts and in living color, you are going to see another first -- attempted suicide." The 1976 multiple-Oscar-winning movie Network is said to have been partially inspired by this suicide. [Aug. 4, 1974 Washington Post story (PDF)]. This guy doubts that a tape exists.
posted by spock (30 comments total)
Although he's briefly mentioned in the article, this story seems quite reminiscent of R. Budd Dwyer's televised suicide.
posted by cloeburner at 9:06 PM on March 28, 2006

I just read about this for the first time the other day. Interesting stuff.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:13 PM on March 28, 2006

I saw the Dwyer suicide on live tv. I remember jumping up and running toward the television as if I could stop it.
posted by jrossi4r at 9:21 PM on March 28, 2006

weird. I've considered making a FPP out of Budd Dwyer's suicide but backed out of it for some reason. Kudos, spock. this stuff is fascinating.
posted by visit beautiful mount weather! at 9:49 PM on March 28, 2006

damn that's a sad story. this is apparantly her sole available pic...

posted by visit beautiful mount weather! at 10:19 PM on March 28, 2006

Wikipedia's list of unusual deaths looks like hours of entertainment.
posted by jewzilla at 10:20 PM on March 28, 2006

Yeah, jewzilla. You find her mentioned on pages of similarly strange deaths/suicides like: and this guy's Top 25 Crazy Deaths (on which Apollo 1 should not appear, IMHO).
posted by spock at 10:32 PM on March 28, 2006

I considered bringing Dwyer's televised suicide into the FPP, but figured it would only result in "why can't more Republican's do that" comments.
posted by spock at 10:35 PM on March 28, 2006

From jewzilla's link:

207 BC: Chrysippus, Greek stoic philosopher, is believed to have died of laughter after seeing a donkey eating figs.

I guess you had to be there...
posted by piratebowling at 10:39 PM on March 28, 2006

where's the google vid?

[this is interesting, though. television personality growing pains]
posted by Busithoth at 10:42 PM on March 28, 2006

where's the google vid?

there are LOTS of folks who have tried to find copies of the video. i believe that still resides in the posession of the local p.d. and may never see the light of day.
posted by visit beautiful mount weather! at 10:46 PM on March 28, 2006

wiki death list
2003: Brian Wells, pizza deliveryman, was killed by a time bomb which was fastened around his neck. He was apprehended by the police after robbing a bank, and claimed he had been forced to do it by three people who had put the bomb around his neck and would kill him if he refused. The bomb then exploded killing him. >

From Heist, a new show on NBC:

James and Mickey were scoping out a bank and pontificating on the morals of thievery when a pizza delivery kid wearing a parka came inside. Suspicious, they took off and called the cops… a good idea since the kid had a bomb strapped onto his body. The kid made off with sacks full of dough, but the bomb exploded outside the bank, killing him flat.

The cops found a radio detonator at the scene of the crime, and Amy realized the kid wasn’t a bank robber – he was a hostage forced into the job.

Amy learned that another pizza delivery guy had been reported missing. Putting two and two together, she realized that someone was kidnapping pizza delivery guys to use as suicide bank robbers.

Wow, they didn't even try to pretend they didn't rip that off.
posted by ninjew at 10:53 PM on March 28, 2006

ninjew, didn't that deliveryman possibly put the bomb on himself? and have you ever heard of the Law & Order series(es)?
They brag about ripping the story right out of the Post headlines.
posted by Busithoth at 10:58 PM on March 28, 2006

ninjew, didn't that deliveryman possibly put the bomb on himself? and have you ever heard of the Law & Order series(es)?
They brag about ripping the story right out of the Post headlines.
posted by Busithoth at 10:58 PM PST on March 28 [!]

Apparently the real life case is still unsolved.

Law and Order never used to do it for EVERY episode. It seemed like it would only be an occasional sweeps epsiode. Now I think they've just run out of material. Hard not to with 1 original and 2 spinoff series in almost nonstop reruns.
posted by ninjew at 11:11 PM on March 28, 2006

posted by spock at 11:13 PM on March 28, 2006

L&O hasn't been very good since Hennessey left.
Orbach (RIP) was the final nail.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:30 PM on March 28, 2006

I'd never heard anything about this, and given the amount of cultural nodding I'm surprised.

Guilty or not, it's a shitty thing to destroy a man so completely that he feels the only positives arrive on his death. What happened to the "medieval" Judge Muir and his extraordinary sentences?
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:17 AM on March 29, 2006

spock wins the inline image contest today. spock gets a packet of beer cookies and an inline diploma.
posted by dabitch at 2:49 AM on March 29, 2006

All I could think reading the article is how aspie-ish she sounded.
no social life , no friends
But this is the quote that got me the most:
". She gave so many presents, spent so much money, not to buy their friendship... but because she wanted to. It's almost like her life was a little out of gear with other people. She was the only person I ever knew who would walk into a room and every head would turn... yet nobody ever came over and asked for her phone number. "
so sad!
posted by gminks at 3:52 AM on March 29, 2006

The Dwyer video is on youtube; I'm not linking it. I didn't see anything for Chubbuck, though.
posted by Eideteker at 5:07 AM on March 29, 2006

Eideteker, I was talking about the Chubbuck video, (obviously I believe it's around, for starters) Dwyer has been available to any interested for a while.

Chubbuck's story is definately sad, in many ways. That Post article is a wrenching read.

Oh, and Alvy nailed it as far as the quality of L&O.
posted by Busithoth at 5:36 AM on March 29, 2006

I find it interesting that the Washington Post story was apparently published nearly three weeks after her death.

Also, her suicide was included in a published (American Socological Review, 1982) scholarly paper which demonstrated "that U.S. daily suicides increase significantly after highly publicized suicide stories appear on televised evening news programs".

This paper may be found by searching academic research sites for "Chubbuck AND suicide" or perusing a copy here: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.

posted by spock at 7:05 AM on March 29, 2006

Note: If your browser scales images to fit your browser window, the GIFs above will probably be too small to read. (Change that setting in your preferences, or use another browser.)
posted by spock at 7:08 AM on March 29, 2006

I know that thirty years has changed our language when it comes to relationships and whatnot so it looks jarring to me in 2006, but it still must've stung even in 1974 to have your own mother call you a "spinster."
posted by Spatch at 7:47 AM on March 29, 2006

I could've sworn I'd seen this footage many years ago, on an old-school mail-order videotape I believe. Maybe I'm confusing it with The Howling or something, but the mention of the fact that she shot herself in the neck really makes me wonder...does anyone else recall seeing this?
posted by stinkycheese at 9:15 AM on March 29, 2006

I'm almost positive I've seen it, stinky; it may have been on one of those "Faces of Death" tapes me and my antisocial friends used to pore over back in the eighties.I even remember the barely contained professional voice she put on that seemed to speed up preceptively as she hurried towards the punchline.
posted by Perigee at 10:18 AM on March 29, 2006

via wiki death list:

"2006: Dr. Richard Root, clinical instructor at the University of Washington Medical Center, died during an expedition on the Limpopo River in Botswana, when a crocodile pulled him from the dugout canoe in which he was riding. "

Interestingly enough, I stumbled across this moments after my friend told me how his professor was eaten by a crocodile.
posted by iamck at 12:42 PM on March 29, 2006

And yet, that professor would probably not have believed you had you said that a crocodile ate your homework.
posted by spock at 1:06 PM on March 29, 2006

Perigee: Yep, that sounds right. That's always very freaky the way people making suicide videos get so tense right before they actually, uh, commit suicide.

Probably the worst example of that I've seen was the home videos of Ricardo Lopez, the guy who tried to kill Bjork with the booby-trapped explosive fanmail. His face - which he has painted red and black - gets really flushed and crazy, and he starts hyperventilating just before he kills himself, and whoo, it's pretty difficult to watch...this one was actually on VH1's 'Behind The Music', believe it or not (though of course they don't actually show the suicide itself, just everythinh immediately preceding it).
posted by stinkycheese at 1:26 PM on March 29, 2006

Publicize a suicide, and rates go up. Yet the only known form of effective suicide prohylaxis is to allow people to talk freely about suicide. Whats a body to do?
posted by fcummins at 3:56 AM on March 30, 2006

« Older Ukraine is divided on the issue of Russian   |   You Suck! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments