A new podcast from Campside Media, Inc., “Eclipsed” is unearthing the stories from the end of the archive, or rather, stories overshadowed by time and circumstance. What important events did we miss because we were paying attention to something else that day? What missed the front page and was therefore overlooked in the grand scheme of history?
Host Bijan Stephen is desperate to find out and tell those stories. A journalist and history buff, he has been fascinated by the potentially pivotal moments surpassed by even more pivotal moments. And the first episode does not disappoint in form, research, and production.
July 20, 1969
The first series of this podcast is looking at the moon and the (pop) stars. July 20, 1969 was no doubt a day that will not go down in anonymity without a fight – the day we landed the first humans on the moon. Millions watched live as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps off of the Earth; there was literally nothing that could be bigger than that.
Except, there was big news that day. Not overtaking-the-moon-landing big, but, big. The United States and a number of its allies were fighting a bloody war in Vietnam. This moon landing was a moment that the U.S. needed after a violent decade of assassinations, civil unrest, and war. So, the story that the moon landing (ironically) eclipsed? The onstage murder of a teen pop star at a Marine base in Vietnam.
Stephen speaks with a Marine defense attorney who remembers that day not for the moon landing, but for the murder that should have made global headlines. What was destined to be a taste of normalcy for the young military men an entire ocean from home turned into a manhunt for a murderer in their own ranks.
Cathy Wayne, Little Pattie and the Vietnam War
Australian Cathy Wayne was a 19-year-old rising star in her country. In fact, her song was battling The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” for the top spot on the charts in her home country. So, when her family received the call that she, not her brother, was being “deployed” to Vietnam to entertain their Australian troops and allies, she agreed. Little Pattie, the young Australian pop star even bigger than Cathy Wayne, who was on the same Vietnam tour with her counterpart, speaks about their time leading up to July 20, from understanding what the war was, why people were so vehemently against it, and what it meant to go into a warzone.
When Cathy was shot, collapsing on stage, the troops, and even her band, which included her fiancé, thought it was part of the show. It wasn’t until blood started to stain her blouse that chaos erupted. The Marines thought an enemy sniper was firing at them on their own base but soon realized that the call had come from inside the house. A 19-year-old girl, the first Australian woman to die in the Vietnam War, was killed by one of their own.
While this episode is just 20 minutes, it left us grateful that it ended on a cliffhanger, desperate to hear more of this buried history. Sadly, the murder doesn’t even leave us asking how it was possibly overshadowed. In the midst of war and the greatest human achievement of nearly all time, it’s no wonder. The Marines, and the entire U.S. military for that matter, probably got lucky that Cathy Wayne’s murder was “Eclipsed.” The global outcry against the Vietnam War was already so resolute, would this have changed the course of the war? We certainly aren’t qualified to say.
Regardless, this first episode of “Eclipsed” is poignant. It’s not just about Cathy Wayne, although it does it’s duty to honor her and her story, but about the plight of musicians, Australian musicians more specifically, and their role in the war. It’s really a story about what happens when teen pop superstardom meets the horrors of war. We will be anxiously awaiting the next episode on Tuesday.