Monday, August 21, 2017

Roman Polanski: The Dark Side

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will always find a way around the law"

 - Plato

" If you have a great passion it seems that the logical thing is to see the fruit of it, and the fruit are children"

- Roman Polanski

Yeah, I am back. I just couldn't help myself. I was watching cable news this morning smoking a bowl, and Roman's name came scrolling across the bottom of the screen. I found myself thinking again of the worst husband on Earth. The guy who sent his 8 month pregnant wife on a ship sailing across the Ocean, without him, back to stay with people he would later say he didn't trust. To some, this will be a hatchet job on Roman. O.K. I can live with that. However, sprinkled in with my own personal commentary, there will be some hard to ignore points presented to make a case that this man is a very dangerous predator with an extremely dark side. So come with me, for a few minutes if you wish, while I explore what lies in the heart of this man - Roman Polanski. There are two sides to every story, but with some individuals, in some cases, there is a third. The Dark Side.....

( God that was a cheesy line lol maybe I should stop lighting up for the rest of this post lol)

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles judge on Friday rejected a request by the woman who was raped by director Roman Polanski 40 years ago to have the criminal case against him dismissed. Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon ruled that Polanski remained a fugitive from justice and that the court could not dismiss a case "merely because it would be in the victim's best interest."The ruling follows the first appearance in June in the case by Samantha Geimer, who was 13 years old when Polanski sexually assaulted her in Los Angeles in 1977. 

- Reuters  8/17/17

 In March of 1977, Roman Polanski was charged with 5 offenses against Samantha Gailey a 13-year old girl.  Rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. He was given a plea bargain and all charges were dropped and he pleaded guilty to a single charge of unlawful sexual intercourse. Days before he was sentenced he decided that the judge might go back on the agreement, so he took it upon himself to flee the country in the darkness of night. In the years since, Samantha has asked for it to be dropped. Roman and his Hollywood supporters have asked for it to be dropped, yet once again, the courts have decided not to drop it. You see, even 40 years later it is not for a person to say what another person should be allowed to do to a 13 year old child- even if that child is her. Nor, does the court feel, is it appropriate for Roman to say when enough is enough. Especially, since he never showed up to accept his responsibility in the first place. Roman just ran like a coward. He paid almost no price at all. And there are many who think he has paid enough. Now it is not the intention of this post to decide, or debate the law and arguments that go with that chicken-shit move. Suffice to say, I don't understand how anyone can defend that? He decided for himself that the sentence might not be what he thought was agreed on, or fair, so he decided not to be sentenced at all? Anyway, that is just one reveal of a much darker character. This would not be a one time thing, but a foreshadowing of the type of relationship he would pursue for the rest of his life. Roman is attracted to children more or less. Even as he got older, and the age of his woman rose above the age of legality, there would remain a disparity of never less than 25 or more years to his romantic interests. But first what we learned from Samantha: Roman is a coward. He ran when he felt threatened. Roman gave this 13 year old girl part of a Quaalude, Champagne,  and that despite her saying NO- he had sex with her orally, anally and vaginally. He chose his own sentence, and then just split. He would later make patronizing statement and jokes about the entire situation. Things like:

"If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But… fucking, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls. Everyone wants to fuck young girls!"

I disagree Roman. I know plenty of guys who do not want to have sex with 13 yer old children. Most guys I know would be appalled at the idea. It seems to me he never did get that. He has lived his whole life thinking that these desires are normal and acceptable. Maybe that is because he never had to pay a price for what he did? There is a documentary floating around called; "Roman Polanski -Wanted and Desired". It argues very strongly that Roman got a bum deal. They argue that Roman had the right to flee, because after the Government dropped the charges from 5 offenses to 1, and they were going to give him a slap on the wrist with just one lesser charge, Roman still thought he might not get treated fairly enough. So he had no choice, I suppose but to bail. Anyway, you can go learn all about that case by watching that documentary, and maybe you will walk away feeling different than me? I think he should have faced the music for his actions and accepted responsibility for what he did. Roman did not have the right to decide for Roman what was and was not fair punishment for what Roman Did...

Back to Roman....

Next up...

“I fell in love with him at the beginning,” says Nastassja, who met Roman at a party in Germany when she was 15. “He was really a gentleman, not at all like the things I had heard,” she continues. “He introduced me to beautiful books, plays, movies. He educated me.”

-Nastassja Kinsky

 Roman meets Nastassja on the set of Tess. This "relationship" lasts not long because she says he is, "Controlling and aggressive." She also said this:

That's why when Roman [Polanski] came along and gave me Tess, it was like. . . it gave me such dignity, you know what I mean?' Tess (1980) – a reverential, three-hour-long rendering of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles – was the film that turned Kinski into a full-blown international film-star, and Polanski her mentor: "He would be very strict with me and send me books, and send me to school. And then when we did the movie he said, "I really want you to do this for me, because I wanted to do it for my wife [the murdered actress, Sharon Tate], and it means so much to me. But the only way you can do the film is to show you'll learn the [Wessex] accent, so I'm going to send you to England for four, five, six months and when you come back we'll do the test."' Kinski passed that test, and Polanski 'gave me a lot of respect. It was all very serious. He was a very severe person, in the best sense." 

Can this guy use his status to his advantage or what? But it wouldn't be last time Roman used this method. Not at all...

When Emmanuelle Seigner meets Roman Polanski at a dinner in 1985, she is a young model and he is already a celebrated director. In 1988, he turns the model into an actress and reveals her to the public with the film Frantic before the couple gets married in 1989. In 2009, they face, united, the scandal of Roman Polanski’s accusation of sexual crime on a minor - an affair that goes back to 1977 after Roman Polanski had tragically lost his wife Sharon Tate. Emmanuelle Seigner refuses to judge the past of her husband and faces the calumnies at his side. Since, the director has featured his sexy wife in a successful film, Venus in Furs and the cosmopolitan and charismatic Parisian couple continues to stand tall despite the age difference, the highs and lows in an independent spirit true to their somewhat rock n’roll personas.

33 years his junior... He has a couple of kids with this one. Roman is something else when it comes to younger woman. But at least this one agreed to have sexual relations with a guy old enough to be her dad. One must wonder if there were any others over the years who did not agree??

It has been a long time since Charlotte Lewis held a crowd enthralled in Hollywood.
But if she ever dreamed of a return to Los Angeles, where as a young actress she was hailed as a ‘golden child’ – talented, exquisitely beautiful and with a film career unfurling before her – it would never have been like this. On Friday, Charlotte, now 42, called a Press conference in Los Angeles to claim that director Roman Polanski, the man who gave her her first break, had abused her, ‘in the worst possible way’ when she was just 16 years old.

The chic from "The Golden Child"! Not Eddie Murphy's finest hour. The little Asian kid was cute though. Anyway, this is hearsay, as our more legally trained minds will be aware,but I believe her. Partially because I see it as part of a larger pattern, and secondarily because I just watched what happened with Bill Cosby unfold. I'll get to that in one minute, because first I need to point out one more case which will let me introduce what I call the "Glorida Allred Factor".....

"The day after it happened, I did tell one friend that Mr Polanski had done that to me," the woman, identified as Robin, said in a statement on Tuesday. "The reason, with this exception, that I kept it to myself is that I didn't want my father to do something that might cause him to go to prison for the rest of his life." The alleged victim’s lawyer remained tight-lipped about the details of case, but said that it had occurred in southern California. Robin on Tuesday said that she was "infuriated" that Mrs Geimer had forgiven Mr Polanksi and asked in June for the case to be closed."I'm speaking out now so that Samantha and the world will know she is not the only minor Roman Polanski victimized"

- The Tight-lipped lawyer mentioned is Gloria Allred. This happened 5 days ago. The purpose of this was specifically to enable this woman to be a witness at the retrial of Samantha should there be one. This woman is not seeking money ( A typical Allred motivation) She is doing the groundwork to add ammunition to any future trial of Roman about sexual abuse charges. Sounds personal to me. This brings me back to Bill Cosby and the "Gloria Allred Factor". Bill Cosby had fame, friends and power. Similar to Roman. I believe both of them had life-long , nasty, needs that they just couldn't control. I think Fleeing saved Roman's life more than he will ever know. Had he stayed, he would have went on satisfying his craving until, like Cosby, at some point the sheer numbers would have caught up with him at some point, if no one individual could in the short term. BUT....

Roman had to leave. And where did he go? Europe. He spent the rest of his life in countries, and places where they have much more liberal views about these types of things. For example, if you live in Japan, South Korea and Spain, the age of legal consent is 13. In Italy and Austria it is 14. and in France, where Roman has made his home all these years, it is a mere 15. Point being, who knows how many teen age and younger girls Roman has been able to manipulate all these years? But I submit that, had he stayed in the US and something like this came out, whenever it came out, with the resources, celebrity, and Gloria Allred's of the world prying into his background- would Roman not have gone down at some point eventually? That's the "Gloria Allred Factor"....

I will mention that he has his supporters lol. They always do. Hollywood and quite a few Celebrities have defended him over the years. Only a well known public figure can make you see that being a good artist is always an acceptable excuse to drug and annaly rape 13 year olds, but to be fair lets allow them to have their say:

Whoopie Goldberg said:  "I know it wasn't rape-rape. It was something else but I don't believe it was rape-rape. He went to jail and and when they let him out he was like "You know what this guy's going to give me a hundred years in jail I'm not staying, so that's why he left."

Adrian Brody thinks he should get a pass due to his past: “Life is very complicated,” Brody, 43, said. “I look to collaborate with artistic people and to go into an endeavor without judgment and to hopefully be treated with the same. It’s an artistic pursuit, and Polanski for instance had a very complicated and difficult life. It would be unfair of me to delve into something as complicated as the past that was brought up in the media.” 

How about Debra Wingers statement as head of the Zurich Film Fesitval: Winger... on Monday demanded Polanski's release and criticized Swiss authorities for their "philistine collusion" in arresting Polanski as he entered the country. "This fledgling festival has been unfairly exploited, and whenever this happens the whole art world suffers," Winger said in a statement on Monday, standing together with the other four international jury members who wore red badges reading "Free Polanski" as they announced plans to continue the fest.

And famously when he was, temporarily, held in Switzerland- they all came out to sign petitions and make a big stink how unfair it was he might finally pay. And not just Whoopi and Adrian Brody. Some big name players:

A petition was immediately organized calling for his release, signed by prominent fellow directors including Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Darren Aronofsky, Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Demme, Ethan Coen and David Lynch, as well as actresses Penelope Cruz and Tilda Swinton.

Shame on them all I say. 13 to 15 year old girls for god-sakes. Drugs, and alcohol and forced sex. Take out the alcohol, and trade the dirty mattresses' of Spahn, for the hot-tub at Jack Nicholson's and tell me what the difference was between what Charlie was doing versus Roman? Roman has a very dark side and it shows in his work as well. Lets take a quick look at that....

 Roman Polanski knows women because he understands men. He knows both sexes because he understands the games both genders play, either consciously or instinctively. He understands the perversions formed from such relations and translates them into visions that are erotic, disturbing, humorous and, most important, allegorical in their potency. One should not (as so many did with his misunderstood Bitter Moon) take Polanski’s films entirely literally, for they are often heightened versions of what occurs naturally in our world: desire, perversion, repulsion. Film scholar Molly Haskell said that at the core of Polanski’s work is the “image of the anesthetized woman, the beautiful, inarticulate, and possibly even murderous somnambulate.” Her observation is astute, but it’s followed by the criticism that in all of Polanski’s films, including Repulsion, “the titillations of torture are stronger than the bonds of empathy.” Of course. And then, no. And then, of course. Polanski’s removed morality is exactly why he is often brilliant: He is so empathetic to his characters that, like a trauma victim floating above the pain, he is personally impersonal. He insightfully scrutinizes what is so frightening about being human, yet he doesn’t feel the need to be resolute or sentimental about his cognizance. He is also, consciously or subconsciously, aware of the darkness he explores, especially in his female characters, who could be seen as extensions of himself.

- Kim Morgan (Lifework: The Films of Roman Polanski. Chapter 5)

Mr. Polanski's obsessions seem to to have emerged full formed. The series of short films he made in the late 50's and early 60's map out his universe in embryo. His first student film, "Murder" stages in just over a minute a fatal stabbing by penknife: a killing without motive or context, rendered with startling detail and economy. Films like "Teeth Smile, "Break up the Dance," and "The Fat and the Lean", hint at the mind games and power plays. From the start Mr. Polanski was a definitive filmmaker with a penchant for extreme situations. The aura of violence and perversity that surrounded the films suited an enfant terrible who enjoyed notoriety. But the murder of his wife, besides shattering Mr. Polanski's life, turned this convenient master narrative into sick joke. Describing the carnage at his rented Benedict Canyon home, the Satan worship of "Rosemary's Baby" fresh in their minds, journalists could not refrain from comparing it to a movie- specifically a Roman Polanski movie. " It was a scene as grisly as anything depicted in Polanski's film explorations of the dark and melancholy corners of human character," Time Magazine declared. Roger Gunson, the prosecutor assigned to the statutory rape case, prepared for the trial that never happened by taking in a retrospective of his films. " Every Roman Polanski movie has a theme: corruption meeting innocence over water," he says in Marina Zenovich's 2008 documentary " Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired", noting that Mr. Polanski had seduced his underage quarry in a Jacuzzi.

- Dennis Lim ( New York Times)

"Normal love isn't interesting. I assure you that it is incredibly boring."

- Roman Polanski

Strange Fruit. Strange fruit indeed. So I guess this is the part where I point out how hard his childhood was. Doctors of the Psychiatry and Psychology fields would tell you to factor in his upbringing and the extreme hardships he endured. He lost his mother to a concentration camp, and was subject to much prejudiced and shuffling around as a child. He lived in a ghetto, and he pretty much did whatever he could just to get by and survive. But, like many others who went through the same thing, he did survive. After the war he was reunited with his father, who he remained in contact with until the time his father passed in 1984. He had, and has, family contacts to this day. Roman also got into movies very early and was able to enroll in film school and start acting at a young age. He was able to do what he loved and he eventually had tremendous success as a result of it. He had a life that many people would dream of. So, please don't Doctor me to death with the psychology, or cry me a river for Romans childhood. I am sorry for what everyone went through in that age and place, but I do not accept that's a reason for a man to have a life long infatuation with 13 year old girls, or obsess over blood and gore. I can't personally make that leap. But let me tell you more than anything else why I can't stand this bastard:

He had Sharon. He did not value that. He did not protect that. He bragged of infidelity and he made jokes when talking about her slaughter to police. What in the name of Polish ghettos makes that an alright thing to do when you just lost your wife and unborn child?

Polanski's polygraph was conducted by Lieutenant Earl Deemer at Parker Center. ( From H/S)

Q. "Mind if I call you Roman? My name is Earl."

A. "Sure.... I will lie a time or two times during it and I will tell you after, o.k.?"

Really?? I am going to lie, or play coy little games, on my polygraph when we are talking about the very recent slaughter of my wife and unborn child?

Q. "So there was no indication that Sharon went back to Sebring at any time?"

A. "Not a chance! I am the bad one. I always screw around. That was Sharon's big hangup ya know. But Sharon was absolutely not interested in Jay."

Great to brag about being a cheater, Great marriage and family life this guy would have provided for Sharon and his kid... Sigh.

Q. "Do you smoke cigarettes?"

A. Yes." There was a long pause and then Polanski began laughing.

Q. "You know what you are going to do with that screwing around? I/m going to have to start all over again."

A. "Sorry."

Q. "Look at the increase in your heart rate when you lie about the cigarettes.

Are you kidding me? What in the world is funny about anything he is dealing with? What in his past, or which experience justifies goofing off when the police are trying to solve the brutal murder of your family? Please tell me, because this just makes absolutely no sense. This is a man with no soul.

Look it is time to take this home. I do not care who you are in Hollywood, or how many awards you have won. I do not care if Roman Polanski is an amazing Director, or cinematic genius. Roman is as scary a guy as anyone who has ever walked the streets. The warning signs have been flying for 50 years. He has shown us in his actions, movies, words, and "relationships" who he really is. He is not a confused, scarred victim of anything or anyone. He is a smug, arrogant pedophile, who thinks that he has the creative right to do whatever he pleases. We enable him every day that he is allowed to be free. He has the very worst of basic respect and empathy for others and feels no personal responsibility for any actions that he feels are justified to him, regardless of how society and the people who live around him feel about those actions. That is the very definition of a dangerous man. He is capable of doing anything if it suits him. And considering the impulses, fascinations, habits, and history of Roman Polanski- that should scare us all....

                                                               - Your Favorite Saint

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Charles Manson Gets A New Mug Shot

For some reason the video won't embed correctly, but you can view on Huffington Post's site.

Convicted mass murderer Charles Manson has a new mug shot, thanks to officials at Corcoran State Prison in Central California.

Manson is serving nine life sentences at the facility. On Monday, prison officials took a new photograph for security reasons, just in case the 82-year-old manages to escape.

Although the swastika facial tattoo seems especially prominent in the photo, he’s had it for more than 30 years.

TMZ suspects his wrinkles may be accentuating it.

Manson’s last mug shot was made in January, when he was taken to a hospital in Bakersfield for an undisclosed medical issue, according to Reuters.

Manson became infamous in the late 1960s as the leader of a murderous group of mostly female runaways and outcasts known as the Manson Family.

Prosecutors said the murders were part of a plan to incite a race war.

Manson was initially sentenced to death in 1971, but his sentence was converted to life in prison after a California Supreme Court ruling that declared the state’s death penalty law unconstitutional.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Deconstructing Pete Porteous

As everybody gears up over the next couple of years for the Big Fifty it will quickly become evident how much attention this case still attracts after almost half a century. Right now there are probably at least a half dozen projects in the works designed to capitalize on the Golden Anniversary of the Tate-LaBianca murders. Whether it’s books, television, movies, or independent documentaries it is obvious that a market still exists for the TLB Brand and that people are still happy to spend their attention and money on it. But unfortunately there are also people who want to cash in on all of that attention and money. And so in a situation like this you not only have people who want to pay attention but you also have people who want to get it. Therefore, keep an eye out in the coming months for never-before-heard-of childhood friends, old school chums, long-forgotten roommates, distant family members, former neighbors, brief, one-time acquaintances, and any and all manner of other such alleged ancillary characters to the case who want to get a slice of the Death to Piggies Pie. The big problem, though, is that many of these purported peripherals to the case will be imposters. And a prime example of such a mistaken individual is Pete Porteous, the Hollywood stuntman who claims that as a ten-year-old boy he was mentored into the stuntman profession by Donald Jerome “Shorty” Shea at Spahn’s Movie Ranch during the summer of 1969. Porteous’s recollections are particularly remarkable because among them are his memories of being present at the ranch when Charles Manson was beaten up on several occasions by stuntman associates of Shea.

Pete Porteous

Below is a slightly abbreviated version of Porteous’ story as it appeared here on the MF Blog in January of 2015 (You can read the entire article here.):

I Learned to be a Stuntman from Shorty Shea

[Introduction Clipped]

“I would ride to Spahn Ranch on my mini-bike between the ages of 9 or 10 without my mother's knowledge. I was a bit of a black sheep to begin with, but after my dad bought me that mini-bike I was outta control. We lived on the corner of Elizondo Ave. and Currant Ave in Simi Valley.  A flood control wash was right across the street that runs right through the center of Simi. I rode that about 10 miles or so on the hard-packed parts. Then I rode a small service road along the railroad tracks for a few miles to Santa Susana Pass Rd.

“I was fascinated with stuntmen and I wanted to be one even at that early age. I knew Charlie (Manson) by sight and name, but I thought he was a stuntman. I figured everyone at the ranches were stuntmen. I already knew a couple of them from a neighboring ranch called Corriganville Movie Ranch - specifically Jimmy Babcock, Monte Laird and Joe Soto. Those guys would also frequently be at Spahn to do stunts for the various B movies that were filmed there.


“It was actually Charlie who introduced me to Shorty. I asked Charlie how to become a stuntman and he said, "First you have to be one" (He always talked in riddles). He also said, "You'll want to talk to Shorty". So that's when my career as a stuntman first began. My time with him lasted four or five months.

“Shorty was a great guy. He taught me everything like how to take a saddle fall, how to throw a punch and how to take a punch. Most of my friends played sports, but I hung around Shorty. He took the time to show me things. He took a liking to me and an interest in teaching me. He also didn't treat me like a kid. He treated me like an equal. In exchange, I worked for him. I did things like clean horse stalls and other things. For instance, sometimes a ranch customer would be out for a ride and get off the horse to urinate and the horse would run away. So, part of the job was to go find that horse. I really liked it, even cleaning the stalls. If I got there early enough I got to help feed the horses. I loved things like that. My dad was a city boy and didn't like horses but I loved it. I liked cleaning and being a cowboy.

“Charlie was always nice to me. He sometimes would ask to ride my mini-bike. I'd let him and he'd tear around on it and seemed to have fun like a little kid. But, Shorty didn't like Charlie and didn't want me near him. He said, "If you play with a bucket of shit long enough, you're gonna get some on ya". I know that people have the idea that Charlie was in charge of the ranch, but he wasn't. The wranglers thought he was a clown. They laughed at him - never took him seriously. Monte Laird slapped the shit out of Manson twice that I know about. I got there shortly after the first one. I witnessed the second, and Laird sure bloodied him up. I also saw Joe Soto throttle Manson good one day. You gotta remember, these guys were a different breed. If you pissed them off they didn't wonder "hey will this guy call the cops?" No, they'd rough you up and just laugh. Those guys were tougher than any bikers. I know that there are folks out there who see Manson as some mysterious guru, but he was a joke to those guys. I wound up having a long relationship with Joe Soto. From the time I met him as a kid at Corriganville Ranch until he passed away in 2009 at age 80.

“The only other Manson Family person that I had any real exposure to was Tex. The thing I remember best was that he'd take us for ice cream. He had a pickup truck and we'd all (mostly kids and teenage girls) pile in the bed (since it wasn't illegal back then). Tex would spin the truck out leaving the ranch and we'd all slide around and bang into the sides and laugh. He was almost like a kid when we'd go on those ice cream rides. He was always nice to me.

“I remember some of the girls, but I don't remember any of their names because I mostly hung around with the wranglers. I do though remember that sometimes they made brownies and would give me some. I also remember that they liked to take gum wrappers and fold them up to connect to each other and make chains. They had some really long ones going!

“One day I got up early and went to Spahn Ranch because I wanted to help feed the horses. When I got there Shorty wasn't around and the horses had not been fed, so I did it. When I finished I saw Charlie talking to Tex and another guy. I asked about Shorty and Charlie said, "He went away on a trip." When I asked when he'd be back he said he probably wouldn't be back. I was very hurt. Shorty was my teacher and more importantly, my friend. He was also the first adult friend I ever had. It was the first time in my life that my heart was broken.

“I first heard about Shorty's demise at home. My mom watched the news every evening because the Vietnam war was on and we had relatives over there. This one night the ranch was on the news. Miss Pearl (Ruby Pearl) was being interviewed. She said she was worried about Shorty and feared something very very bad had happened…”

Pete Porteous (right) with Eric Estrada (left) at a reunion for the CHiPs television program in Las Vegas, Nevada

Porteous’s story might sound reasonable enough on its face, but once you start to think about it for more than a few minutes it starts to fall apart quickly and completely. The important thing to consider here are the various demonstrable timelines for the persons who were involved with the alleged events that Porteous describes. To begin with, Porteous says that his time as Shorty Shea’s shadow lasted “four or five months.”  Since Shea’s own time ended at the end of August, 1969, four or five months earlier than that (five, to use the outside time estimate) would take us back to the beginning of April, 1969. April through August 1969 — that is the timeline into which Porteous has locked the duration of his alleged association with Donald Shea at Spahn’s Ranch.

Because Donald Shea disappeared on a fairly certain date and was presumed murdered, law enforcement officials put considerable effort into determining his actions in the weeks and months leading up to the date of that disappearance. The results of that effort were testified to by friends of Shea’s at the various trials of the persons eventually convicted of his murder, Charles Manson, Bruce Davis, and Steve Grogan. That testimony reveals an interesting fact, namely that for the vast majority of the time frame given by Pete Porteous as the period he associated with Donald Shea, Donald Shea was no nowhere near Spahn’s Ranch.

Perhaps a little background on Spahn’s Ranch and the situation there in the summer of 1969 would be helpful here. By August of 1969 the nominal “Movie Ranch” already had its best days behind it. Western movies and television shows were losing favor with the public and the demand for western sets for entertainment purposes was no longer great. (Nearby Corriganville, a much larger and more successful movie ranch than Spahn’s, closed its doors in 1965.) In 1969 Spahn’s Ranch mainly supported itself by renting out animals to outside events needing them (circuses and parades, for example) and by renting horses to riders who wanted to explore the rocky hills around the ranch in the Santa Susana Pass area. Spahn’s Ranch was not a bustling money-maker, but was rather a business that was barely getting by. This reality was evidenced by the fact that the wranglers who worked there were not paid any wages for their labors. Instead they got a place to sleep, meals to eat, and occasional cash allowances to buy such necessities as work clothes, gloves, and cigarettes. Spahn’s Ranch was not a place where anybody was likely to make a lot of money in show business, and thus there were no actual “stuntmen” hanging out there unless they had a real, paying job to perform, which, in the summer of 1969, none of them did. Most of the people who did work at the ranch could be classed as “down and outers,” people with nowhere else to go who were happy to exchange a day’s labor for a day’s place to stay. In August of 1969 Donald Shea was just such a person. He had no job, his wife had left him, and he was living in his car.

But what was Donald Shea doing before that? By examining the testimony of witnesses at the several murder trials held in connection with Shea’s disappearance we can construct a fairly complete timeline of where Donald Shea was before his arrival at Spahn’s Ranch in the middle of August, 1969.

We know from trial testimony from various prosecution witnesses that in the summer of 1968 Shea spent some time working at a salt manufacturing facility in the Vallejo, California area before returning to Los Angeles in the latter part of the year and taking up residence at Jerry Binder’s house at 8010 Hollywood Boulevard. Jerry Binder was a longtime friend and frequent employer of Donald Shea. He often let Shea live in his residences and loaned him money on many occasions when Shea had the need.

While staying at Binder’s Hollywood house Shea helped Binder with his mail order business selling adult literature and novelties from out of the house. Business was good, so Binder set up several shops where such merchandise could be purchased in person. Shea helped Binder with the setup of one such store in Las Vegas and then began working at Binder’s L.A. enterprise, the Hollywood Shopper book store.

Jerry Binder’s house on Hollywood Boulevard where Donald Shea lived in the spring of 1969

At some point in “the beginning of ’69,” according to Jerry Binder, Donald Shea was back in Las Vegas assisting with the physical work (setting up shelves, hanging signs, doing fixit work, etc.) involved with launching several of Binder's adult-oriented retail enterprises (the Swingers Boutique, the House of Paperbacks, and Book City) in the city. Shea worked at several of Binder’s retail outlets, waiting on customer and doing other odd jobs around the premises. At one of Binder’s establishments Shea was entrusted with keys to the business and acted as a sort of assistant manager. By April he was back in L.A. and hired by another friend of Binder’s, a Mr. Bromberg, to work at one of Bromberg’s drinking establishments. This time sequence is established in the testimony at the Grogan trial for Donald Shea’s murder when defense attorney Charles Weedman asked Binder when Shea started working in Bromberg’s beer bar:

“Do you recall when Mr. Shea was hired by Mr. Bromberg for the first time to work at one of his beer bars?”

“I can’t recall the exact date, no,” Binder replied.

“If I told you that it was around May of 1969 would that be…. substantially correct in your judgment?“

“No, I don’t think it was that late. It was earlier than that.”

So, starting earlier than May 1969 Shea was working in one of Mr. Bromberg’s beer joints in Los Angeles and was not at Spahn’s Movie Ranch working as a cowboy or stuntman.

Jerry Binder testified that Shea started working at Binder’s Swingers Boutique adult entertainment store in Las Vegas from the end of May and for “a little over a month.” If Binder’s testimony is to be believed (and he was a prosecution witness) that means that Shea was not in Los Angeles (much less at Spahn’s Ranch) for almost all of June of 1969.

Shea must have been in Los Angeles at some point in June of 1969, though, because Spahn’s Ranch forewoman Ruby Pearl recalled seeing him not at the ranch but at her house on DeSoto Street in Chatsworth where he picked up some photographic negatives featuring him at various jobs that he wanted to have printed up as part of his job-seeking resume. Regardless of that brief encounter, however, Pearl must not have seen Shea at Spahn’s Ranch in June because if she had she would have so testified later.

Ruby Pearl

On July 1, 1969, while still in Las Vegas, Shea married Magdalene Velma “Nikki” Fuery, a black topless dancer he had met earlier in Carson, California. The couple immediately encountered problems in Vegas, mostly to do with the fact that not too many people were willing to rent housing to a biracial couple. Thus Shea’s wife then left for L.A., according to Jerry Binder, “after a couple or two [sic] weeks.” Shea followed her, Binder continued, on “approximately the 25th [of July] — no wait. It had to be around the 30th.” Again, if Binder’s testimony is believed, that means that Shea was not in Los Angeles (much less at Spahn’s Ranch) for all of July of 1969.

Shea’s precise whereabouts in the first weeks of August are not known, but we can determine from Ruby Pearl testimonies that although Shea had been an on again/off again habituĂ© of Spahn’s Ranch for about fifteen years in the summer of 1969 she did not see him there until after the raid of August 16. From that time on Shea began living at the ranch in his car and she said she saw him on a daily basis. So, Shea apparently was not at Spahn’s Ranch during the first half of August.

All of this testimony presents a pretty convincing argument that Donald Shea was only sporadically in Los Angeles from late 1968 until mid-August of 1969 and that when Shea was in L.A. he was not at Spahn’s Ranch.

But still another indication that Shea was not in Los Angeles for the greater part of 1969 came in the testimony of Arch Hall, another Los Angeles-area friend of Shea’s who had loaned Shea money to buy a pair of matched western revolvers. Hall loaned Shea the money in August of 1968. Then, he didn’t hear from Shea again for a long time, which was unusual because when Shea was in Los Angeles he usually checked in with him at least every few weeks about employment opportunities.  At the Shea murder trial of Bruce Davis, L.A. Deputy District Attorney Stephen Kay asked Hall, “Now between the time that he purchased the guns from you in August of ’68 until the time he called in late July or early August ’69, had you heard from him?”

“No, I had not…. He said the he was very sorry that he hadn’t gotten back to take care of the payment [for the loan for the two guns]; and that he had been out of the [state] — I think he said he had been married in the meantime, and that he would come by in a few days and settle up and pick up the cameras and pay me the balance on the guns…. I gave [the time of the call] considerable thought before, and I think it was around the middle of August.”

Hall never heard from Shea again.

Now we have a fairly complete and convincing timeline showing that Donald Shea was not at Spahn’s Movie Ranch at the time Pete Porteous claims to have been with him there, from April to August of 1969. Shea’s whereabouts elsewhere are partially documented for the latter part of 1968 up until May of ’69, and are well documented for June, July, and August of '69. (And it could be added here that if Porteous was at Spahn’s Ranch for any amount of time in April or May of 1969 he must have been skipping a considerable amount of his school classes. That’s not an impossibility, of course, but the reader might want to consider the likelihood that a ten-year-old boy would be truant from school for two months in 1969.)

Not only was Donald Shea not at Spahn’s Ranch when Porteous says he knew him there, but the other people described by Porteous as being present were also very likely not there. Monty Laird worked at nearby Corriganville, but there is no record of him working at Spahn’s Ranch in the summer of 1969. Joe Soto is another stuntman claimed by Porteous to have been at Spahn’s. But in 1969 Joe Soto was forty years old and had, according to his obituary, begun a 25-year stint working as a heavy equipment operator four years earlier, in 1965. (Perhaps not coincidentally, Corriganville closed in 1965.) Is it believable that Soto would take a several-months-long break from his burgeoning career operating heavy machinery in the spring and summer of 1969 so he could hang around Spahn’s Ranch hoping to pick up work as a stuntman? (In her trial testimony during the Shea multi-murder trials Spahn’s Ranch forewoman Ruby Pearl said that the only people working as ranch hands in the summer of 1969 were Randy Starr, Larry Craven, Bennie Dietrich, and, later, John Schwarz and Juan Flynn -- not Monte Laird, Joe Soto, or even Donald Shea.)

Another factor which casts doubt on Porteous’ recollections of his life at Spahn’s Ranch are those very recollections, especially the memories of the bad blood and numerous violent encounters between Shea and his stuntman friends and Charles Manson, two of which encounters Porteous claims to have actually witnessed.

Ruby Pearl worked for George Spahn for almost twenty years. In the summer of 1969 she worked at the ranch every day, seven days a week, from mid-morning to late in the evening. She oversaw the operation of just about every aspect of the ranch. If there had been enough disharmony to result in multiple violent encounters she certainly would have known about it. But she never had any such recollection. In fact, aside from a few incidents when “Family” vehicles got too close to horseback riders on one of the riding trails, she recalled no trouble at all  between Manson and his friends and the other people at the ranch.

“We liked ‘em all,” Pearl later testified about Manson and the people with him. “George liked them, and I liked them.”

“You liked Mr. Manson?” asked Manson defense attorney Irving Kanarek.

“We never had an argument. Never had an argument.”

“You never had any argument with Mr. Manson at all?”




“And you never saw Mr. Manson have any argument with anyone else?”




It is pretty clear from that testimony that Spahn’s Ranch was a relatively harmonious place in the spring and early summer of 1969 and not a place where ranch denizens were regularly getting into violent confrontations with visiting stuntmen. (If it had been, the ever-present and all-seeing Ruby Pearl would have been well aware of such incidents. Not to mention all of the other persons who were unquestionably present at the ranch who also don’t recall such violent episodes. And also not to mention that such a violent undercurrent between Manson and Shea would surely have been known to the prosecution during the Shea murder trials and they just as surely would have introduced evidence of such an undercurrent to support their theory that “The Family” had something to do with Shea’s disappearance.)

There are still other thoughts that I’ve had about Pete Porteous’ claims that I have expressed here. I would encourage interested parties to read those thoughts and add them to the information that has been presented here. Because when you read those thoughts and consider what I’ve shown here I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s very reasonable to conclude that neither Donald Shea nor any of his supposed cowboy compadres were at Spahn’s Ranch when Pete Porteous claims they were there. And thus we also can state with near certainty that Porteous’ claims of ongoing hostility and violence between Manson and Porteous’ stuntman pals are also without foundation.

So, in the final analysis you can take Pete Porteous’ reminiscences about his life at Spahn’s Ranch and file them along with the fake mug shots, phony personalities, and outlandish new lies (e.g., Jeff Guinn’s recent uncontested Dateline assertion that Charles Manson went to the Polanski residence after the murders there and draped an American flag over the back of the couch) as an insult to anyone who considers themselves to be a serious student of this case. Because I don’t think it’s likely that Pete Porteous ever met or knew Donald Shea. He probably met or knew Monty Laird and Joe Soto. He might even have been to Spahn’s Ranch at some time in his childhood. But otherwise, Pete Porteous is a fantasist, a fabulist, and a fraud. He is like countless other individuals who have dishonestly latched onto the Tata-LaBianca murder case in order to attract attention to themselves.

I’ve been asked, “If he’s making it up, why?” I’m not inside Pete Porteous’ mind, so I can’t definitively answer that question. But perhaps getting attention is enough of a motive. Perhaps, like his supposed mentor, he is a dreamer seeking stardom. And perhaps the only way he can get some sort of stardom is to claim that he was buddies with tough guys who beat up Charles Manson. But whatever the motivation, it doesn’t justify what he is doing. For by fabricating a relationship with Donald Shea Porteous actually dishonors the hapless, would-be stuntman he so ardently claims to admire. And in doing so he cheapens Shea’s life by using Shea and his unfortunate demise as props in the furtherance of his own publicity-seeking agenda.

Pete Porteous and Matt at Spahn’s Movie Ranch on the MF Blog 2015 Tour. (And yes, that’s Stoner and St. Circumstance hitting a pipe in the background.)

Pete Porteous’ bio on IMBd

Pete Porteous accidentally gets shot while performing in a mock gunfight

Pete Porteous fantasizing  about his time with Donald Shea at Spahn’s Ranch on You Tube

The Indiegogo fundraising page for one of Pete Porteous’ recent film projects

Monday, August 7, 2017

Get Shorty: The Tragic Tale of Don Shea

Donald Jerome Shea
On August 16, 1969, the police raided Spahn's Movie Ranch after receiving complaints about stolen tools and vehicles being used in a primitive dune buggy chop shop there. Twenty six members of The Family were arrested. Manson was convinced that it was ranch hand Donald "Shorty" Shea that helped the police set up the raid.

The likable part-time ranch hand worked at Spahn Ranch sporadically for up to fifteen years. Whether or not the raid was his doing, this was the event that likely sealed Shea’s death warrant.

Some time between Aug. 27 and Sept. 1, 1969, Tex Watson, Bruce Davis, Steve Grogan, Bill Vance, Larry Bailey, and Manson somehow got Shea into the back seat of their car.

Grogan hit Shea on the head with a pipe wrench and the fight was on. Watson stabbed Shea repeatedly. Shea fought hard but the group pulled him from the car and dragged him down a hill behind Spahn Ranch, where they overpowered him and stabbed him to death.

It wasn't until December 1977, that Shea's body was found. Steve Grogan was in prison when he drew a map of where Shea's body had been buried and gave it to the authorities. His motivation was to prove that, contrary to rumors, Donald Shea had not been cut into nine pieces and buried. Grogan was later paroled and he remains the only Manson family member convicted of murder that has ever been paroled.

The events described above are well documented. But who was Donald Jerome Shea? What do we REALLY know about him? I recently took a much closer look.

A good source is his friend Jerry Binder. Through Binder's trial testimony we can read a lot into who Shea was and see juxtaposed patterns both positive and troubling in his tragically short life.

Binder employed Shea off and on from 1965 until 1969. First as a helper with animals such as elephants and lions he kept for rental to movie studios and later as a helper in Binder's retail operations. Binder described Shea as a dependable employee that he could count on and trust. He showed up for work and no task was beneath him. Shea was all about "a day's work for a day's pay". He also said that when Shea was away he never went more than three or four weeks without calling.

Binder obviously had a sound trust in Shorty as an animal handler. From Binder's testimony:
Q: What was the nature of Shorty’s job at the time?
A: Taking care of animals and backing me up as the second man. 
There was one case where we did a show on Wild, Wild West at the CBS Studios, and there was a tiger we had to do a bit with that had to lunge at the star of the show, and he got past me and Shorty stopped him before he got to me with a pole. 
You always have to have somebody there you can really depend on. Otherwise, you can really get hurt if you are handling anything as dangerous as that. 
Q: In connection with that function, did you depend on Shorty quite a bit? 
A: With my life.
He consistently lent Shea money, but was always repaid either directly, through sweat equity or both. An example would be the prized pistols that Shorty owned.

They were obtained from Arch Hall via a $100 loan from Binder (only $25 of which went toward the pistols), plus a couple of cameras Binder gave him to help in purchasing the guns and money orders of an unknown amount. However, the money orders bounced. Arch could prove that Shorty never paid in full for the guns and had the documentation to prove it so the guns were returned to him. Arch Hall was the only person who was able to get any of the firearms confiscated at the raids back in his possession. That is how they were able to be put up for sale at that gun auction site mentioned in that post.

Some of the Spahn Ranch raid weapons

Reading the testimony shows that Shea was always borrowing and repaying. He never was able to get himself on solid financial ground.
Q: Now, over the years that you knew Don, that is between 1965 and 1969, had you advanced him on numerous occasions loans? 
A: Oh, all kinds of money. 
Q: Did he ever fail to pay you back? 
A: No. 
Q: Or work it out in employment? 
A: He would work it out, take out so much each week out of his pay or if he worked someplace else he could come and bring me the money before he went away to do another movie job or whatever. 
Q: But on those occasions he always paid you back or worked it out? Is that correct? 
A: Correct.
Shea worked fairly consistently for Jerry Binder from 1965 onward. That is, when Binder had work for him and Shea wasn't drifting. In Binder's testimony:
Q: Between the dates that you first met him in 1965 and 1969, say, using the date just after he was married July 1, 1969, how often would you generally see him? 
A: Generally it was every day unless he was working in and out on a job somewhere, and then he would get in touch with me, at least once a week, to find out what was happening, if we had anything else coming up.
Binder's friend and sometimes business partner Herb Bromberg owned several topless bars. When Binder didn't have work for Shea, Bromberg often employed him:
Q: And did you introduce Mr. Bromberg to Mr. Shea for a specific purpose? 
A: One of the times that I brought him to his office was to see if he could get him a job because I didn't have enough work for him to do. 
Q: And at your behest did Mr. Bromberg hire Mr. Shea? 
A: He had him first as a handyman, then he put him up as the manager in some of the different bars and clubs that he owned.
The topless bar work underscores a common theme in Shea's life. Rather than describe it I'll just let you read, first through Binder's own words in his testimony and second through records of Shea's relationships and marriages. In the following chunk of testimony Binder describes Shorty's duties in Binder's retail and mail order business:

So it appears from the testimony that Shea worked for Binder and Bromberg as a topless bar manager, bouncer and seller of pornography consistently but not necessarily full-time from 1965 to July 1 of 1969. So, during that period when did he have time in 1969 to work at Spahn Ranch?

The answer is... not much. According to George Spahn in the below article from the LA Times in Dec of 1969:
"He worked in pictures, driving teams and handling saddle horses, but he leaned more to beer joints. He was a bouncer."

The shaky employment Shea received from Binder and Bromberg had dried up. Shorty needed full-time work and returned to Spahn in July of 1969 hoping George could come through for him. The problem was the Manson Family's presence at the ranch. According to Danny Decarlo's questioning by LASO (Helter Skelter page 153):
"Shorty was telling old man Spahn that he should put him in charge and he would clean everybody up." He would, in short order, run off Manson and his Family. Shorty, however, made a fatal mistake: he forgot that little Squeaky was not only George's eyes, she was also Charlie's ears.

Donald Shea's Relationships:

May 15, 1959 Shorty married a girl named Phyllis Gaston. She was 19 years old and pregnant, Shorty was 25 years old. Not a big deal, plenty of people have shotgun weddings and Shorty and Phyllis more or less are age appropriate. Daughter Karen was born November 10, 1959.

Now it starts to get a little weird...

According to Shea's Wikipedia page, "There is anecdotal evidence that Donald had a son with a woman named Judith Ellen Lawson named either Ray or Roy who died in infancy in 1960 in Hood County, Texas."

Well folks, there's nothing anecdotal about it. Between the time that Shorty married Phyllis and Karen was born, Shorty went to Texas. It is not clear why. While there he he got 15 year old Judith Ellen Lawson pregnant. Mind you he was 25 years old, not so age appropriate, and likely illegal. Judith and her brother George Jesse Lawson were both born in Los Angeles but apparently went to live in Texas when they were young. Her brother was known to family as Jesse.

The child’s name was Roy William Shea. An official birth certificate is not possible to show you because in Texas you must be family to obtain one. You can get an informational copy in California (for example) which is stamped "informational copy" across the front but Texas does not have that option. But here is his line in the Texas Birth Index:

Little Roy Shea died of a brain hemorrhage at about 3 1/2 months of age. It is possible that the baby was shaken thus injuring his brain though he could have been dropped, too. There is a page for him at Find A Grave (FAG) where a younger half sister tells a little about his death, referring to head injuries so it's doubtful that some kind of illness was involved.

The FAG page doesn't indicate whether or not Shorty ever actually had any contact with the child but does say that Shorty had gone back to LA before Judith knew she was pregnant. However, Shorty went back to LA with Judith's brother Jesse so she certainly could have gotten word to Shorty, through her brother, of her pregnancy.

If you notice on the baby's death certificate it says the baby's father was "Roy". The informant for the information was Kelly Sawyer who the sister mentions on the FAG page as having tried to help Judith with the baby. It's possible that he did not know who the father was and just said Roy assuming that the baby was named after his father. Since there is an official Texas birth record stating the father was Donald Jerome Shea, it’s likely that Sawyer just didn't know. Also, the person, Dorothea Guinn, who wrote up the FAG page for little Roy Shea has a little problem with math even though she stated the dates of birth and death. Here is a baby picture of the child and his death certificate:

Judith is no longer living, you can access her FAG page by clicking on her name on Roy's page. Kelly Sawyer is listed on her page as a previous husband but a record of that marriage isn’t found. He has since passed away.

Judith's brother Jesse is still living. He has quite a criminal background dating back to crimes in LA in the early 60s. We have never seen criminal records go back that far on a background report!

February 21, 1961 Shorty married a pregnant 15 year old Sandra L Adams, he was 27 years old. The marriage record says she was 16 years old but Ancestry tends to treat people's birth dates like race horses, everyone turns a year older on January 1st. Their first child Elizabeth was born Sept. 6, 1961. The record shows her name without the H at the end but Ancestry sometimes truncates a name at 8 letters. (There is no rhyme or reason to Ancestry at times and it makes for difficult searching.)

If you are following the bouncing ball, this is the third teenage girl in this narrative, and the second fifteen year old that Shea knocked up. I'm no legal eagle but I'm pretty sure in 2017 he'd be doing a prison term and labeled a sex offender for this.

Shorty's next marriage was July 1, 1969 to topless dancer Magdalene "Nikki" Fuery. The marriage took place in Las Vegas only weeks after they first met in May of that year.

Magdalene "Nikki" Fuery Shea

Jerry Binder was a marriage witness as was another woman who worked for Binder as stated in his testimony. He didn't remember the woman's name in the testimony though.

The marriage to Nikki was short-lived and disintegrated very quickly. In the article below, Fuery says it was over Shea's inability to get a full-time job. This further reinforces the both the motivation and likelihood that Shea was behind the Spahn Ranch raid. He wanted to rid Spahn of the Manson Family so that he could be employed at his familiar old haunt on a full-time basis in an effort to keep Nikki from leaving him.

Shorty Shea was a man's man who dreamed of a big break in Hollywood that would make him a successful stuntman/character actor. When he was employed as an animal handler or as a ranch hand he was dependable and well-liked by his employers. But, Donald Jerome Shea also seems to have had his demons. In his final years he worked shady jobs in topless bars and adult bookstores, none of which was able to free him from the pattern of borrowing and repaying. His relationships tended to be with topless dancers and girls below the legal age of consent. When those relationships yielded children he wasn't able (or perhaps willing) to provide for them. At the end, in a hurried push for full-time employment to save his new marriage he rubbed a certain Charles Manson the wrong way... after eight bodies had already piled up.

Donald Jerome Shea's life was a complex and tragic tale, indeed.