Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My first encounter with Charles Manson

In the summer of 1968, I would make my first encounter with Charles Manson. On a typical 100plus degree day, Bob, Craig and I were returning to the San Fernando Valley from scouting filming locations in the nearby Simi Valley. As we travelled back on the Old Santa Susana Pass Road, I remembered that there was a coke machine in the saloon at the old Spahn Movie Ranch. Bob pulled up to the old western town boardwalk and I hopped out of his Dodge convertible. As I strolled toward the saloon, Charlie appeared and began walking toward me. When I was about 10 feet from bumping into him, without reason, I seemed to have walked “bam” right into a glass cylinder like a shield encircling an alien being. I made a 180 degree turn, walked back to the car and hopped over the passenger car door as I commanded, “Let’s go.” Bob started the engine and pulled away without questioning my decision to leave. He nor Craig ever complained, “Where are the cold drinks?”  Down the road I finally thought, “Why did I do that?” Not until many years later would I think, “If I had connected with Charles Manson that fateful day, could I have ended up filming the tragic events of August 9th and 10th, 1969?”






15 comments:

AustinAnn74 said...

Charles Manson completely took over that whole ranch from Mr. Spahn, didn't he? I grew up on a ranch. I can't imagine someone moving in, then taking it over. George Spahn needed serious help running Charlie's ass off that ranch!

Matt said...

Sometimes when I ponder doing something incredibly stupid I think my grandmother comes from the beyond and smacks me really hard. It's the only explanation.

Robert Hendrickson said...

Just a "Fork in the Road" but see how 2 people (Ann & Matt) react totally different. AND there are even two more prongs (total of 4) to most every fork.

While I was making MANSON, one day I received a letter that presented a very substantial opportunity. I would have to drop MANSON and take another prong to the "fork." I even knew the new "opportunity" would lead to greater wealth, BUT I chose to continue on the MANSON prong of the fork. Of course, I obtained a certian amount of fame with MANSON, but the "wealth" eluded me.

Now, decades later, the exact same decision confronts me. Which "prong" would YOU take, this time knowing for sure, the result of each decision.


Dooger said...

I don't see you as someone easily impressionable.

I think if they wanted those events filmed, they would have been. They had the gear.

Manson has told me that in an old cabin in Goler Wash area (a cabin he said was used as a set in a movie, owned by Warner Brothers) they left a lot of the NBC camera equipment. They stored it there, and acted like they were filming a movie when people came up and asked them why they were there.

I wonder if there may be any film canisters there?

AustinAnn74 said...

Did I say something wrong? I don't get it.

Panamint Patty said...

Dooger, Patty always heard that it was the Lotus Mine that was owned by Warner Brothers?

Sun King said...

Dooger- If there were any film canisters around there it either would be raw stock in it or exposed/ undeveloped film. If it was undeveloped film it surely is shot from the heat there.

It is fairly expensive to develop 35/16mm motion picture film so even if someone from the family got a hold of a motion picture camera and film I doubt it ever would have made it to a lab.

Max Frost said...

Robert, I remember hearing this story from you several years ago. I remember you describing it as though Manson was in control of the energy field around him. I also remember your first impression of Manson (due to this incident) as being someone very powerful.

Is that accurate?

starship said...

Again, just in case:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Dead-Circus-A-Novel/dp/0802140173/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392307776&sr=8-1&keywords=the+dead+circus

A fictional take on some of the possibilities discussed here...

starship said...

Again, just in case:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Dead-Circus-A-Novel/dp/0802140173/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392307776&sr=8-1&keywords=the+dead+circus

A fictional take on some of the possibilities discussed here...

Robert Hendrickson said...

Ann: There is NO right or wrong, only what Grandmother approves OR disapproves of. Matt apparently "gets it." Maybe HE could elaborate on the "mystery" WE all are befuddled by.

Dooger: Who exactly are "they"

Sun King: The actual 16mm raw stock I shot MANSON with was in the desert for months before I filmed the "Family."

Max: YES, but is that "power" or some other "thing" WE simply don't understand yet.


Matt said...

Robert, I once saw a really funny comedian who's name escapes me at the moment who did a routine where he wished he had a "Mistake Mouse". Mistake Mouse would be exactly like Mighty Mouse. He'd raise the fist but would instead sing "Miiiiistaaaaaake!" every time he was about to do something stupid.

I just think your Mistake Mouse visited you that day. I think my Mistake Mouse is my long departed grandmother.

Sun King said...

"The actual 16mm raw stock I shot MANSON with was in the desert for months before I filmed the "Family."

Robert, but would you use any of that film now 40 years later?

As for the Manson energy field didn't Manson describe it in one of those jailhouse film interviews where they show him doing those fancy ninja like moves? Maybe he wasn't kidding?

Robert Hendrickson said...

Does anyone else understand the issue Matt is raising? Maybe there are guardian angels watching over all of us, OR maybe Matt's grandmother's teaching are now buried within HIM.
Of course, This is the stuff scary movies are made of.

Panamint Patty said...

Well, Shit. Patty is going to have to go deeper into that Lotus Mine next time. As you drive up the wash, it's on the right before Newman's. You can see up past the buildings near the road a giant, open pit mine up on the ridge. Patty has never gone all the way back there to see if there are more cabins...Google Earth, here she comes!