On Dec. 28, 1968, movie star Barton MacClane was in St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. He had just hung up the phone after talking to his teenage granddaughter, Ginger, who was in Madera. He had told her he was feeling better; the antibiotics seemed to be helping, and he probably thought he was recovering.
MacClane had just been released from the hospital in Madera after a bout with an intestinal problem. After rallying a bit, he left to go back to work in Hollywood. He had some more episodes to film for his television show, “I Dream of Jeannie.”
In a short time, however, he developed pneumonia and he was admitted into Santa Monica hospital. On New Year’s Eve night, Charlotte, Barton’s wife, walked him to the elevator and he kissed her goodnight, sure that he would be home in a day or two.
Charlotte called Ginger to tell her that her grandfather was doing much better, but early the next morning the young woman got another call. Things didn’t go like they thought. Barton had had two massive strokes that night, and he died...