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Cold Con: Investigating Falsified History

Posted by on March 10, 2014

This is the press release going out next week for the first event in our 75th Anniversary fundraising campaign:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fairfield, CT – CT House Histories in conjunction with The Fairfield Museum and History Center will host a screening and slideshow presentation with filmmaker Robert Kalm on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, at 7PM. Kalm’s documentary Self Made: The American Dreams of Philip Musica investigates the biggest single fraud of the twentieth century, which culminated in Fairfield 75 years ago. The lecture and fundraising event is part of Fairfield’s 375th Anniversary Celebration.

Doctor Frank Donald Coster was a respected name in depression era America. He was CEO of pharmaceutical giant McKesson & Robbins, a Republican prospect for the 1940 presidential ticket, and host to Wall Street tycoons on the largest yacht on Long Island Sound. On the morning of December 16, 1938, federal agents arrived at Coster’s estate at 400 Mill Plain Road in Fairfield to arrest him on multiple charges, but Coster shot himself in an upstairs bathroom.

There was no equal to the McKesson & Robbins fraud in imagination or international scope until the Enron and Madoff scandals of the early twenty-first century. Unlike those recent white-collar crimes, McKesson’s was only a chapter in the much larger mystery of Doctor Frank Donald Coster aka Detective William Johnson aka convict Philip Musica. The complete, untold story of Philip and the Musica family is an astounding narrative of American history.

How do you trace the path of one of the most creative con artists that ever existed? How can you trust a single primary source document, when many of them are known forgeries? Emmy- winning producer Robert Kalm’s grandparents were both employees and relatives-by-marriage of Frank Donald Coster. Attendees will get a preview of the large collection of never-before-seen Musica artifacts gathered for the film, from family photos to McKesson’s papers.

Refreshments and a question and answer session will follow the presentation. The event will take place at The Fairfield Museum and History Center and is free and open to the public. Please RSVP at 203.259.1598. Donations will support the ongoing production of the documentary. For more information, or to make a tax-deductible contribution online, visit the documentary website at

Robert Kalm
Headless Media, LLC

Melanie Beal Marks
Principal Researcher
CT House Histories, LLC

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