Monday, January 6, 2014

The Missing Link, Part Penultimate

Parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series can be found here, here and here.

Blogger Cybot asked, "did drug trade start by hippies and then go to the organized crime, or were drugs traded by o. c./mafia from the beginning? - and when did the trade start?" Patty was thinking about his questions the other night while watching the Ken Burns documentary on prohibition. Was that when organized crime started in the US? Of course not.

From the very minute folks got off the Mayflower, they started forming alliances just like they do on Survivor. Even before that, the natives likely did the same. Those who are the most organized, have the most resources, make the best alliances, always win. Those who overstep the boundaries created by the dominant group are marginalized and punished. When one season is over, another rises to take its place. This is the way the world has worked since the very beginning.

We are interested in a very short capsule of time when studying the murders, which might be described as the proverbial "perfect storm." We know that up north, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love (BEL) had deals with the Panthers, with the Gypsy Jokers and also with the Angels (see here). To the south, the mob had been in Hollywood for quite some time, but were not really involved in the trade of psychedelics. If anything, they were supplying cocaine, but not on the scale that they later would. In the summer of 69, there was a market for psychedelics, and there were many competing parties who wished to be the fulfillment arm of the BEL drug empire.

The BEL began as a group of high school students in Anaheim. You will remember that John Griggs, founder of the BEL, hadn't tried LSD until he and his friends dropped acid near Palm Springs. Griggs relieved a "famous producer" of his cache of Sandoz LSD during a Hollywood Hills dinner party in 1966. That experience was the birth of his organization, which he preferred to call a church rather than an organized crime syndicate.

By all reports, Griggs was well intentioned about using LSD to the betterment of humanity. The BEL lobbied to become an official, tax-free religious organization: when it was accomplished, he named California Governor Ronald Reagan as an honorary member!

Anyway, Patty digresses. The point of all off this is that the identity of the producer who had a kick ass, laboratory grade connection and who did not prosecute Griggs may be relevant. Who and what the famous producer actually produced is unknown. Patty has compiled a short list of guesses, as follows:

Bob Evans was very close friends with Roman and Sharon and had produced Rosemary's Baby.  He hosted a large, lavish funeral reception for Sharon. Bob was an infamous partier who, with his brother Charles, was convicted of cocaine trafficking in 1980.

Clive Davis was general manager of Columbia Records by 1965. He is responsible for signing Janis Joplin after the Monterrey Pop Festival of 1967, and for bringing the Grateful Dead to the Arista Label in the 70's. Bob Weir would occasionally change the lyrics of Jack Straw in concert from "we used to play for silver, now we play for life," to "we used to play for silver, now we play for Clive."

Terry Melcher and Bruce Johnston formed the vocal duet Bruce & Terry in the early '60s. Later, Johnston joined The Beach Boys and Melcher went to work with the Byrds for Columbia Records. There, he produced  "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn! Turn! Turn!" Melcher also performed on Pet Sounds as a background vocalist and was a producer of the Monterrey Pop Festival in 1967.

Chuck Barris, of all people, is a weirdly compelling shortlister. Wait a sec, hear Patty out before you start L'ing YAO. Chuck Barris married Lyn Levy, whose father founded CBS, in 1957. He first became uber-successful during 1965 with his creation of The Dating Game on ABC. He also produced the Canadian-based Bobby Vinton variety show and infamously claims to have worked for the CIA.
Brian Wilson would be the most expeditious and direct choice for the "famous producer" in question. The Beach Boys were signed to Capitol Records in 1962. They released their groundbreaking single "Good Vibrations" and album Pet Sounds in 1966. According to many sources, brother Dennis was a hub around which many relevant relationships centered. The Neil Young connection is said to have been through Dennis. Bryan Lukashevsky knew Dennis, too. Strangely, Lukashevsky (who now lives in Honolulu) told Brian Davis in March, 2012 that one day soon, the time will be right for the real story to come out. He did not elaborate on why that is. 

Is it safe to say now that everybody absolutely did know everybody else on the scene in 1969? How to the LaBiancas fit in to all of this?

According to police investigation reports, Leno was part-owner of nine thoroughbred horses. He liked to make large bets at the track, frequented Las Vegas as late as March, 1969 and had misappropriated about $200,000 from his Gateway Markets since 1964. When he met and married Rosemary, she was a waitress at the Los Feliz Inn. At the time of her death, she had two dress shops: one having just been opened on Figueroa Street in LA. This is not a nice area. In fact, it is within yards of noisy Interstate 5 which runs from Mexico, where Rosemary was born, all the way to Canada.

Leno was a board member at the Hollywood National Bank. It is long gone, but it used to sit a block south of Hollywood and Vine at Argyle. Today, this is next to the Pantages Theater and within view of the Capitol Records Building (see left). According to an article at TOTLB, Hollywood National opened to much applomb in 1964 with appearances by celebrities and government officials. Wouldn't you just love to know which ones? Patty sure would. She would also love to see Hollywood National's books, or at least a copy of the local and federal investigations into them. By 1967, Leno's colleagues were being investigated and convicted for laundering "hoodlum money." By 1971, the bank was bought out by United States National Bank of Portland; by 1973, it became a part of Wells Fargo.

The BEL's ability to produce Orange Sunshine was financed by Billy Hitchcock, a richie rich from the East Coast who rented Millbrook in 1963 so that Tim Leary, et. al. could perform their "research" there in peace. He was a member of the Carnegie Mellon family on his mother's side: "old money" they call it, with ties to huge companies like Gulf Oil, Alcoa, New York Shipbuilding, Westinghouse, Newsweek, U.S. Steel and General Motors.

He had large deposits at The Castle Bank & Trust, an infamous Bahamanian bank founded in the 1960s by a former member of the US Office of Strategic Services and a tax lawyer friend. In 1967, the bank's clients were celebrities, organized crime figures and wealthy business owners like Hitchcock, Credence Clearwater Revival, Tony Curtis, Hugh Hefner, the Pritzker family (Hyatt Hotels), and Las Vegas gangster Moe Dalitz.The Mary Carter Paint Company, one of the the bank's shell companies, later became Resorts International which built a luxury hotel in the Bahamas called Paradise Island. President Richard Nixon stayed there on many occasions. Castle Bank contributed quite a bit of money to his re-election campaign, as discovered by the Ervin Committee in 1972.

In 1968, Hitchcock purchased land just north of one of his homes in Sausalito, then put Nick Sand and Tim Scully on retainer. Shortly thereafter, Hitchcock and Owsley hired a New York law firm called Rabinowitz, Boudin and Standard to look into the possibility of legally producing LSD and hash in the Bahamas. Soon thereafter, the IRS' "Operation Tradewinds" revealed that Castle Bank was involved in tax evasion. It was also covertly funneling funds for CIA military operations including the anti-Castro maneuvers at Andros Island.

By this time many investors including Billy Hitchcock had moved their funds elsewhere. The IRS planned to initiate a new investigation called Project Haven into the affairs of individual Castle Bank clients like Billy's college chum, Sam Clapp. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, the investigation was dropped because of "pressure from the CIA." Castle Bank collapsed in 1977 leaving poor John Fogerty and many others in the lurch. You can draw your own conclusions about that. In any case, Patty would love to find a connection between Hollywood National and The Castle Bank or any of its shell companies, and she is still looking into it.

Phew...that was a lot. Are you still with Patty? Let's sit on that for a while. She promises the next post will be the last in this series.  Happy New Year, and PEACE.





30 comments:

Suze said...

So Patty are you saying that there's a possibility that Leno LaBianca could have been linked to the BEL through his (possible) questionable dealings through Hollywood National Bank?

Robert Hendrickson said...

Sometimes the best clues are hidden in the smallest details.

The "Prohibition" series is a must see, because, if nothing else, it reveals that before Prohibition the US government obtained one third of its operating budget from liquer taxes. As soon as "Prohibition" was enacted, Congress created legisaltion to make up for the loss in revenue via an INCOME tax, and REAL corruption was born. The wealthy like the Kennedys and Rockerfellas NEVER show INCOME and thus NEVER pay INCOME tax. Only the poor "working stiff" employees show INCOME and thus pay INCOME taxes.

So what does DRUGS have to do with INCOME TAXES? NO visible income - NO pay INCOME taxes. Only pay-off cops, judges and politicians - with pennies and get to keep the MILLIONS.

IF it doesn't make sense - it's about MONEY !!!

PS: Patty - just think: somehere there are "documents" that fill in the blanks.


CarolMR said...

Thanks, Patty. BTW, great picture of Leno and Rosemary. Never saw it before. I hate the unflattering pics that are usually shown of them.

Panamint Patty said...

Suze, Patty does not know for sure. She is dying to find out who was at the opening of Leno's Bank in 1964. Maybe DebS will help Patty with that one: it would be very telling.

Robert Hendrickson said...

IF Patty's on to something, that sure supports the "Black Book" theory.

The Evans / Polanski connection: When Polanski was wrapped-up in the Swiss/US extradition issue, HIS wife made a trip to the US and visited Evans at his home.

Considering the circumstances, was Evans able to help Polanski avoid extradition? It was the US DA's Office that supposedly screwed-up the extraditionn LEGAL requirements. Back in the day, Evans was a top Paramount Pictures production head. The Paramount / Mafia Connection was an inside joke at the time - maybe it wasn't that funny. The mob WAS and maybe still is heavily involved in the music scene. The mob was also very connected to VHS video cassette distribution.

Some years ago, the story broke, and the Feds got involved, in connection with the Mob's involvement in video distribution in major Hollywood Studios. I know of one major studio VP that actually had a HA at his desk.

When I sued eBay over the "counterfeit" MANSON DVDs and discovered that the mob was involved - I actually named members of the "counterfeit gang" so their Beverly Hills attorney appeared in Court "hand-in-hand" with eBay's lawyer. But the Director of the FBI refused to get involved.

Remenber - FEAR - is the most powerful weapon in the world and the mob and CM actually knew how to effectively USE it. When IT comes right down to it, any FBI agent will shit in his pants, at just the thought of the mob doing their thing. If you think about it, all the MANSON Gang did, was take FEAR to a whole new level.

starship said...

This just keeps getting better and better. Excellent work.

A couple of thoughts, just off the top of my head:

Bob Evans: Was he really a famous producer in 1966? His career really doesn't get moving until 1968. However he is a figure in the Cotton Club murder of Roy Radin by which William Mentzer was convicted who Maury Terry claims is Manson II. Further, Terry speculates that radin may have been at the center of the Son of Sam Death Cult.

Clive Davis? Interesting. But he is so mainstream now he even has adopted highway: a section of I-684 near the NY-Conn border.

Melcher and Johnston? Interesting.

Chuck Barris? Again, interesting. Haven't read the book but George Clooney's film of CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND is fantastic.

Brian Wilson? I doubt it. Too obsessed with music making. And Dennis is out of the question as he was just too dimwitted.

And how do we know what BL said to Brian Davis in 2012?

The LaBiancas: not disputing your points made here, but to put a finer point on them: Leno was part owner of nine thoroughbreds, not whole owner. His shares might possibly have been very small. The Hollywood National Bank guys were convicted of a check kiting scheme, which enriched themselves only and leno was gone from the bank by then. The notion of 'hoodlum money' seems to have come from the cops themselves and except for that statement there hasn't been any further proof. But hell yes I would like to see the books too and know which celebrities were part of that celebration.

Billy Hitchcock? Don't know anything about him. But I shall assume he had good taste as Millbrook is a beautiful place.

Very interesting stuff. Excellent work Yes indeed it sure looks like everyone knew everybody else. Remember the BEL commissioned the Weather Underground to bust Timothy Leary out of prison and smuggle him away to Havana too...



starship said...

And what is HA, Mr. H? I don't get it.

Evans also produced Chinatown which Roman directed...

Panamint Patty said...

Starship, Patty loves that you are taking this possibility seriously because she respects your intellect and opinion. Keep thinking on it, and thank you!

About BL, follow the link to SCR, then find the show with Lukashevsky. Brian had just spoken with him, and relayed to his audience what he was told. Patty is assuming that Brian's reporting is pretty accurate, she has come to greatly respect the puzzle pieces that he has found and placed on the table.

Onward. :)

Robert Hendrickson said...

HA = "Heart Attack" but who knows for sure, maybe HE was wisked off in 'Witness Protection."

Anyone SEE 60 minutes Sunday night? It was about the Dufus in another country where the Feds are trying to bust him for HIS MEGA Video Sharing website - because the Major Studios are complaining. Funny, the same studios wouldn't support ME in MY "first" impression lawsuit regarding the DMCA - which NOW governs ALL digital copyright materials over the internet.

THOUGHT FOR the DAY

What is the name of the College Course that teaches how the Mafia controls the business of America?

Panamint Patty said...

Patty has updated the info on Leno's horses...thank you Starship. Patty is still confused about whether the family knew about them or not, because of this statement in the hyperlink you can follow if you like: "To the family's astonishment it was learned after Mr. LaBianca's death-- he owned nine thoroughbred race horses including Kildare Lady." Anyone?

starship said...

Patty, this is really good stuff. And just to show you what a doofus I can be, I confused Brian Davis with Bruce Davis in my reading of your post. I had followed the link but still couldn't understand how BL would have told Bruce that the time soon would be right to reveal the truth....

My apologies. Especially to Brian...

Panamint Patty said...

:D

Asphalt said...

Very good read again, Patty!

I watched Rainbow Bridge last night, and i was surprised at all the extra terrestrial hype BEL was spouting. It made me think of the UFO people you were talking about down near Tecate. And in Rainbow Bridge, they straight up said they were hauling stuff over the boarder in rv's and vans and stuff. No wonder they were all arrested after the movie came out.
I was also surprised to see Dr. Bronner, the soap maker, giving a speech about spaceship stuff. Which i guess shows how much i know... But, Dr. Bronner is/was out of Escondido.
I was sad about Jimi Hendrix though :(

Panamint Patty said...

Rainbow Bridge! Patty met some old Hippies in Capitola last fall. They claim that if you ask a "real Hawaiian" where that is, they will tell you that it doesn't exist. Patty is not sure exactly what they meant by that...

CarolMR said...

Robert H., what is the college course that teaches how the mafia controls business? Gotham Unbound?

Robert Hendrickson said...

The question is NOT whether Patty's theory is TRUE, but whether it is as "plausible" as Bugliosi's Helter Skelter. Once the playing field is leveled, the game can LEGALLY begin. Leno's partner in the Gateway market business was the cops first suspect.

Panamint Patty said...

Holy shit! check this out:

In 1986, Michele Phillips wrote an autobiography, California Dreamin': The True Story of the Mamas and the Papas. In it Phillips describes such events as winning 17 straight shoots at a crap table in the Bahamas when the band was broke and could not afford the air fare back to the United States.

The Bahamas, you guys! WOOT

Panamint Patty said...

The casino that acid built:

http://www.atlantis.com/casino.aspx

"In 1994, Sol Kerzner purchased a languishing Resorts International from entertainer/entrepreneur Merv Griffin."

Should Patty put Merv on the shortlist? LOL

Panamint Patty said...

Merv Griffin:

"In 1965, Griffin launched a syndicated talk show for Group W (Westinghouse Broadcasting): The Merv Griffin Show."

Westinghouse is owned by Billy Hitchcock's family.

"Griffin was not shy about tackling controversial subjects, especially the Vietnam War. The guests on the Westinghouse show were an eclectic mix of entertainers, authors, politicians, and "personality" performers like Zsa Zsa Gabor."

It was Zsa Zsa's house where the Beatles dropped acid for the first time. Did Patty relay the story of how Peter Fonda freaked everyone out that day?

"Upon his retirement, Griffin sold his production company, Merv Griffin Enterprises, to Columbia Pictures Television, at the time a unit of The Coca-Cola Company, for US$250 million on May 6, 1986, the largest acquisition of an entertainment company owned by a single individual at that time. Following the sale, Forbes named him the richest Hollywood performer in history."

starship said...

What is it with game show people? Merv Griffin....Chuck Barris....

starship said...

Leno's partners in the Supermarket business were his mother and two brothers in law, Smaldino and DeSantis. And they all knew about Leno's gambling debts and his helping himself to quite a bit of the Company's money. A deal was being brokered between them all which would allow Leno to leave the business and pay back what he owed. They were, in fact, supposed to have a meeting about it on August 9, 1969, but the meeting never happened...probably because Leno decided to go to the lake instead. Would that have been the last straw? Finally pissed someone else who he owed money to into a murderous rage? I have considered this but, Mr. Hendrickson, I have never heard that the cops considered anyone in Leno's family a suspect. Please explain.

You can read all about this stuff at the blog I contribute to.

Panamint Patty said...

Thats what they did back then...the price is right, 25,000 pyramid, Hollywood squares. Now we have the dumb Kardashians, Jersey Shore and Real Housewives.

Panamint Patty said...

Tell him what he's won, Roddy...

Well, Bob, it's...

A NEW CAR!

John Seger said...

Patty, why do you always post your comments in the 3rd person?

Panamint Patty said...

Patty told Matt why once over drinks inRidgecrest. No one else besides our significant others know the real truth. Oh, and Jimmy Hoffa knows too...or rather, he DID know! ooEEoo

AustinAnn74 said...

And Cosmo Kramer ended up with the Merv Griffin set furniture.....

AustinAnn74 said...

If Bugliosi is the only one with the HS theory, why did Leslie Van Houten not shut up about it at her last parole hearing? She told the board that she really believed in HS, and that it was necessary. Question: could the Family keep a secret this long? Meaning, if these murders were done for another reason, don't you think someone would of talked over the years? Whatever the reason, they made damn sure their victims suffered horribly!

AustinAnn74 said...

I have always, always, always wondered that myself, my good man. For some reason, I never thought to ask her.

Panamint Patty said...

Patty is adding a new guess for the producer's list: Lou Adler??

Panamint Patty said...

from http://www.themortonreport.com/books/interviews/a-perfect-haze-harvey-kubernik-and-the-magical-monterey-international-pop-festival/ : "I will add, and this is something D.A. Pennebaker told me although it might not be totally accurate, but he has a great memory: he believes the sound board mix he employed for his movie Monterey Pop was mixed by Lou Adler and John Phillips on an eight-track machine that Brian Wilson owned at the time. So, Brian was involved in some technical or spiritual aspect of the festival's audio results. I asked Brian but he could not remember. But he always had the latest sound system around town, even an eight-track in 1966."