Slow Burn: Watergate

Season 1: Episode 1

Martha

Our eight-episode miniseries launches with the story of a woman who knew too much.

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Episode Notes

People called her crazy, and to be fair she must have seemed crazy. But she was onto something. How Martha Mitchell, the celebrity wife of one of Nixon’s closest henchmen, tried to blow the whistle on Watergate—and ended up ruining her life.

Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.

Read the Episode 1 transcript.

Slate Plus Member Content Bonus Episode

Yearning for Watergate

Dick Cavett admits that it can be fun to live through perilous times.

Notes on Episode 1

In researching Episode 1 of Slow Burn, we made use of the following sources.

Books

Bernstein, Carl and Woodward, Bob. All the President’s Men: 40th Anniversary Edition, Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Dean, John. Blind Ambition: The White House Years, Open Road Media, 2016 (originally published 1976).
Emery, Fred. Watergate: The Corruption of American Politics and the Fall of Richard Nixon. Times Books, 1994.
Lukas, J. Anthony. Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon YearsViking Press, 1976.
McLendon, Winzola. Martha: The Life of Martha Mitchell. Random House, 1979.
Perlstein, Rick. The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Reeves, Richard. President Nixon: Alone in the White House, Touchstone, 2002.
Rosen, James. The Strong Man: John Mitchell and the Secrets of Watergate. Doubleday, 2008.
Sussman, Barry. The Great Cover-Up: Nixon and the Scandal of Watergate, 4th ed., Catapulter Books, 2010 (originally published 1974).
Thomas, Evan. Being Nixon: A Man Divided, Random House, 2015.
Thomas, Helen. Front Row at the White House: My Life and Times. Scribner, 1999.

Film and TV

Dickerson, Nancy and Carpenter, William. 784 Days That Changed America, Television Corporation of America, 1982.
Scheinfeld, John. Dick Cavett’s Watergate. Thirteen Productions, 2014.
Gold, Mick. Watergate. BBC, 1994.

News Articles

Cadden, Vivian. “Martha Mitchell: The Day the Laughing Stopped,” McCall’s, July 1973.
Cheshire, Maxine. “The Redskin and the Socialite,” Washington Post, Jan. 15, 1980.
Robertson, Nan. “Martha Mitchell: Capital’s Most Talked‐About Talkative Woman,” New York Times, May 1, 1970.
Cimons, Marlene. “Hoover Lauds Martha Mitchell; His Verdict: ‘A Lovable Girl.’” Los Angeles Times, May 25, 1971.
Cimons, Marlene. “Mrs. Mitchell Breaks Mold of Cabinet Wife,” Los Angeles Times, Jan. 4, 1970.
Crawford, Clare. “Martha Mitchell plans to leave her spouse; their lives wrecked by Watergate.” Washington Star-News, Jan. 2, 1973.
Radcliffe, Donnie. “Martha Mitchell: Two Long Years After Watergate,” Washington Post, June 17, 1974.
McLendon, Winzola. “When Watergate came, she paid for her big mouth.” Chicago Tribune, July 29, 1979.
McQuiston, John T. “Martha Mitchell, 57, Dies Of Bone‐Marrow Cancer,” New York Times, June 1, 1976.
Thomas, Helen. “Mitchell ‘Broken’ by Watergate, Wife Says.” Thomas, Helen. Los Angeles Times, Aug. 28, 1973.
Evans, Katherine Winton. “Washington’s Other Martha,” Washington Post, June 17, 1979.
“Arkansas town to unveil statute of Martha Mitchell,” The Arizona Republic, May 27, 1981.
Woodward, Bob and Bernstein, Carl. “Suspect in Bugging of Democrat Office Found to Be GOP Worker,” Los Angeles Times, June 19, 1972.

Episode 1 makes use of archival footage from the following sources:

The Frost Interview, 9/20/1974 (courtesy BBC/Getty)
NBC Nightly News, 6/19/1972 (courtesy NBC News Archives)
NBC Nightly News, 4/17/1973 (courtesy NBC News Archives)
NBC Nightly News, 8/27/1973 (courtesy NBC News Archives)
The Tomorrow Show, 5/04/1974 (courtesy NBC News Archives)
Laugh-In, season 5, episode 1, 1971 (courtesy Schlatter, Friendly, Romart)
NBC Nightly News, 6/18/1972 (courtesy NBC News Archives)
Watergate: Cover-Up, episode 2, 1994 (courtesy BBC/Getty)
NBC Nightly News, 9/12/1972 (courtesy NBC News Archives)
Watergate: Scapegoat, episode 3, 1994 (courtesy BBC/Getty)
Helen Thomas interview (courtesy AP Archive)
The Dick Cavett Show, 11/08/1973 (courtesy Daphne Productions)
The Frost Interview, 5/26.1977 (courtesy Reelin’ in the Years Productions)

Slow Burn’s theme song is “Back to The Old House” by Niklas Ahlström. Other music in Episode 1 includes “Cloudz” by Jahzzar.

Season one of Slow Burn was produced by Leon Neyfakh and Andrew Parsons. Bonus episodes for the season were produced by Leon Neyfakh and Jeff Friedrich.

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About the Show

You think you know the story, or maybe you don’t. But Watergate was stranger, wilder, and more exciting than you can imagine. What did it feel like to live through the scandal that brought down President Nixon? Find out on this eight-episode podcast miniseries hosted by Leon Neyfakh. Made possible by Slate Plus members.

Read Leon Neyfakh’s introduction to Season 1.

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