Monday, June 13, 2016

Laurence Merrick and the Crazy Person

Look - my first guest post and my first blog post in God knows how long !!!

Back in the day I would buy like 20 magazines a week. Now in our fast internet world I maybe buy 20 in a year.

FilmFax is a pretty obscure film magazine that comes out 3 or 4 times a year. This article is from the latest issue.

They don't really address the Manson Doc very much at all.  They do call Watkins an "actor" in one pic.  

We learn more about the murder of Laurence Merrick than I ever knew. We learn that the insanity defense actually used to work- this crazy fucker did only 4 years for murder. If only the girls had tried it!

We see very little about the documentary, no mention of our esteemed friend Robert and lots of words from Merrick’s widow. I hope Deb S can tell us what happened to the killer after release, is he still with us?

The Col is pleased to share it with the readership of the best remaining active, if Unofficial, TLB Blog.













60 comments:

Terrapin said...

Col, you're gonna make Robert's head explode...

Logan said...

engaging article, thank you for sharing. I thought that l. merrick's connection to ed wood's cinematographer was an especially cool piece of trivia. Interesting to me that N. Schreck puts forth a theory similar to the murderer's regarding a connection between profit from Mob thievery from the JFK airport & the TLB murders...a la Rostau in Schreck's case. Coincidences are everywhere I guess...

On the topic of true crime historians espousing dubious narratives, I read that Steve Hodel of Black Dahlia Avenger & Most evil (in)famy worked on this case while he was a homicide detective in Hollywood. (here's the link: http://zodiackiller.fr.yuku.com/topic/4221/Questions-for-the-author-Steve-Hodel?page=14#.V15IsSMrK1s)

orwhut said...

Thank you ColScott. I've been wanting to know who killed that guy for a long time.

St Circumstance said...

Very interesting! Great to see The Col. As always, he brings some great stuff to the table...

I too await the thoughts of Mr.H on this subject lol

MHN said...

No mention of RH. Conspicuously absent. Mr Hendrickson's CIA handler continues to do a great job.

MHN said...
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MHN said...

Col, who owns the copyright on this article? Do you have the correct permissions to share it here?

Love ya ;)

Matt said...

^^^ Bwahahahahaha!

Robert Hendrickson said...

I can't read the text - it's to fuzzy !

I'm a numbers guy - so when TWO significant players like R. Howard and L. Merrick make "deals" with the COPS and end up murdered, I get suspicious.

Then, when absolutely NOT one member of the "law & order" GANG, including the #1 crime solver
V. Bugliosi, can even help find THEIR killer(s), "Suspicion turns to Suspect".

BUT then, when we hear that the F.B.I had previously interrogated the Orlando Massacre Shooter on MORE than one occasion, it's sounds more like another "What the Fuck Chuck" case. (We ran out of glazed donuts)

BTW. Just saw two hours of the new OJ Documentary and it is definitely the most well made BEST doc of all time.

Manson Mythos said...

What is the latest issue? With Zacherley on the cover?

DebS said...

Manson Mythos.... the current issue of FilmFax with the article is #144. It has Star Trek people on it. A teaser at the bottom mentions Laurence Merrick's Manson.

Hopefully this link will take you to the cover.

http://oldies.scdn5.secure.raxcdn.com/i/boxart/zoom/a-z/f/fx144.jpg

orwhut said...

Now, Robert's got me craving glazed donuts.

orwhut said...
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orwhut said...

How did Scotty wear a red shirt and survive? I thought red shirt wearers were always dead meat.

Manson Mythos said...

I'll have to pick up a copy.

Hey Robert, do you remember the promotional material for Manson? I have one of the side-ways posters, but I question if it's legit. The material isn't typical theatrical poster thickness that I know of. It's more like a thicker lobby card.

Suze said...

So Mr. Merrick was taken out by an insane person with access to a gun. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? It seems like every day we read a similar story. When will this madness end? Second Amendment be damned!

Fiddy 8 said...

And all this time I tought it was LBJ.

orwhut said...

Deb and/or Matt,

I wasn't going to bring this up because I thought the problem lay in my tablet computer but since Robert too, found the print fuzzy, I will.

When ColScott jumped the gun and published it himself, I THINK I touched (clicked) and stretched on the copies of the pages expecting them to become clearer but to enlarge toward the lower right hand corner of the screen and refuse to drag up so I could read the whole page. I distinctly remember being amazed at how the print became clear and stayed centered. Now that the post is back up, the print is playing all of it's old tricks again.
I don't fully understand how you guys put posts in queue to be published but my thinking is that MAYBE ColScott's publishing it himself is what made it easy to read.
Thanks for listening.

chatsworth charlie said...

Click on each page and then right click to save it to desktop.
Do this for all 8 pages and then open them individually and you can see them clearly.

orwhut said...

Chats,
Thank you. If I can figure out how to apply that to a tablet, I'll try it.

orwhut said...

No go, Chats. I touched the immage and it seemed to go the desktop and was clear, then when I stretched it so it would be big enough to read it enlarged to the lower right corner and off the page. It wouldn't drag up so I could read the hidden portion. It's OK though. I borrowed a tablet and managed to read most of the parts I missed the first time the article was up. This is an old problem ans I was hoping for a better solution.

JIM HAYES said...

thanks for saying how to read it and yeah i think it falls under fair use

Matt said...

I'm blind too. I recently upgraded from 1.25 to 1.5. It did the trick. Old farts know what I'm talking about!


Farflung said...

In spite of the racism, large prison population, and wackos with guns, tens of thousands of Hondurans sought refuge in the violent US? Why?

Honduras is vastly latino ethnically, has a small prison population, and has a universal ban on all guns for its citizens. Sounds like paradise. So we should deport all of them for humanitarian purposes, AND allow any American a free one-way ticket there so they can experience Honduran social splendor first hand.

Be careful what you wish for.

chatsworth charlie said...

You kids and your tablets!

orwhut said...

We kids have to use what we can afford. BTW I'm 65.

Fiddy 8 said...

Robert H, I also think the new OJ documentary is excellent. No narration, the thread is carried entirely by video clips and interviews. The broadcasting is a bit confusing though: only Part 1 of 5 is shown on ABC, the other four parts coming up will be shown on Cable TV (on ESPN, who produced it).

DebS said...

Okay, I went in and made the pages extra large so maybe those that are having trouble reading the article can do so now. I have to admit I was having trouble myself.

orwhut said...

You're great, Deb! Now I can stretch them and make them out without sending them to the desktop.

Robert Hendrickson said...

FARFLUNG: Now check-out the names of those killed in Orlando. Many Latinos - go figure.

FIDDY 8: I didn't even care about seeing or hearing any more about OJ or football, BUT this doc got to me. After two hours I actually became very "interested." It really humanized HIM and I could even see where there are potential OJs and Charlie Mansons, sprinkled through-out our society - and THEN Orlando erupted.

ALL I could think about was NOW I know how to make my 5 hour mini-series ROCK.

orwhut said...
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orwhut said...

Robert,
I'm told that the average life expectancy for someone my age 76 and it's comin' down fast. Please get that mini-series done before one of us dies.:-)

Robert Hendrickson said...

Hey! looks like we got another "Get out of Jail FREE" case here. ONLY this crazy guy only served 4 years in a "mental" ward. Of course, now-a-days the LAW even "allows" the "crazies" to go do the crazy THINGS crazy people do. NO jail "expense" for the taxpayers - makes sense to ME - makes for heros TOO.


Robert C said...

Orwhut: if you're 65 now your **average** life expectancy is closer to age 66 for those born in '51.

Avg. 76 is closer for male children and those being born now.

Robert H. better hurry even faster.

DebS said...

Robert C, I can't believe you said that!!! If it's true, Robert H is well past his expiration date.

orwhut, we're the same age, wanna have a double funeral? :)

Robert C said...

We'll have a triple funeral (me = 1952) and include Robert H in the deal making it a quadruple !!!

Or .... we're all the 50 percenters reaching beyond the average that will go the distance !

chatsworth charlie said...

What is this, Heaven's Gate?!??!

Robert C said...

When you get to this age, Chatsworth, anything goes ....

For you nervous nellies .... http://demog.berkeley.edu/~andrew/1918/figure2.html

Back to regular programming ....

orwhut said...

Robert C said... Orwhut: if you're 65 now your **average** life expectancy is closer to age 66 for those born in '51.

Hurry Robert! If you start now I might have time to watch your blockbuster on my way to the funeral home.

Actually, my life expectancy figure came from what a doctor told me. I hadn't checked his figure until today. After Robert C's info, I did a search and came up with something much more appealing. https://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html

Deb,
A double funeral would be nice, but women usually out live men so, you might not want to go when I do.

orwhut said...

Chats,
When I realized I was fairly close to expiration, the way I looked at a few things changed. Maybe it happens that way with everybody.

orwhut said...

Robert C.,
Did you get my my life expectancy from the table at the url you provided? My interpritation of the note at the top of the page is that, those were not life expectancies for people BORN in the years listed, BUT the average age at which people died in those years. For example in 1951, the average male in the U.S. died at 66.7 years of age. We'd all better hope I'm right.

Robert C said...

Yes, that's where I got it and yes, for both our sakes I hope you're right ;-)

Actually, other published charts vary and it gets even more complex because one says if you live to 65 you have a good chance of making the mid-80's !

Life insurance companies have some really complex formulas.

I think the bottom line is whether the figure is 66 or 73 it's still the average but it's not really a predictor of when we or anyone else will check out.

Frankly I'm glad to have lived when I did and for so long so far because what I see coming down the pike .... whoops ! 8-O

Good luck to you young-uns and thanks for all the fish ... I mean good times :-)

All good fun .... and Manson is still alive !!!!

Robert C said...

Orwhut -- I checked your social security life expectancy link and it also seems to imply our average is indeed 66 years BUT if we live to that age or there abouts we get 20 bonus point years to 85 !!! It sort of gels with what I discovered above and that does sound better (for us) :-)

Ok ... enough geriatric chat unless we want to bet on how long Manson lasts ?

orwhut said...
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grimtraveller said...

What's with all this morbid death talk ? This is a murder case website you know......

Robert C said...

Sort of like Peter Seller's US president character in "Doctor Strangelove" saying "gentleman, you can't fight in here ... this s a war room !"

penny lane said...

Chats..Off topic...u mentioned Heavens Gate...dont suppose you know what the deal is with their website?.whos updating it ??..I thought they all comet hopped !

chatsworth charlie said...

HA!
I have never been to that website, nor have I looked at any death charts!

ziggyosterberg said...


The "Israeli soldier sent to the US to raise funds for Zionism meets aspiring Broadway showgirl..yada yada yada" sounds a bit like Hollywood horseshite to me.

There was a guy named "Qeev Lahav" who entered the USA in 1953 who may have been Merrick. The age is right - 26 in Feb 1953 (Zeev Lahav was born in April 1926). He later changed his status/extended his visa (in Oct 1953) to a student one, if I read it correctly. If this guy was in the military, he sure was taking a loooooong leave of absence.

HellzBellz said...

Easy to magnify the articles..... I mean left click on pic. then you get in a square ,save picture, save as, look at picture,and so on....then right click on ,,Look at picture,, and then a magnifying glas comes with a + and - , click in it + and the picture / article is twice the size... This is for Windows 10 I use..... Hope it helps...

Bobby said...

Suze said...

So Mr. Merrick was taken out by an insane person with access to a gun. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? It seems like every day we read a similar story. When will this madness end? Second Amendment be damned!

So Mr. Merrick was taken out by an insane person with access to a gun.

take away knives in this case, cars & alcohol in others, deer , bees , elk , moose,etc.,etc.

Hey someone had to type it why not me.

grimtraveller said...

Bobby said...

So Mr. Merrick was taken out by an insane person with access to a gun. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? It seems like every day we read a similar story

We just had one today in England. A member of the British parliament, a 41 year old mother of 2 was shot and stabbed to death {apparently the first MP since 1990} and there's actual video footage of the police catching the guy. Turns out he has had a history of mental health problems.
But we're not a gun country.....

HellzBellz said...

@Grimm Remember the Dutch Politician Pim Fortuyn ?? We are not a ,,Gun Country,, too.....

DebS said...

ziggyosterberg said...

The "Israeli soldier sent to the US to raise funds for Zionism meets aspiring Broadway showgirl..yada yada yada" sounds a bit like Hollywood horseshite to me.

There was a guy named "Qeev Lahav" who entered the USA in 1953 who may have been Merrick. The age is right - 26 in Feb 1953 (Zeev Lahav was born in April 1926). He later changed his status/extended his visa (in Oct 1953) to a student one, if I read it correctly. If this guy was in the military, he sure was taking a loooooong leave of absence.

Ziggy that's a good find! I will use it, along with other records I found, for a follow up post on Merrick. There are quite a few records on him and some are misspelled similar to this one.

Robert Hendrickson said...

SEEMS like the crazy folks IE: Clem, Merrick's KILLER, President Reagan's SHOOTER, etc. all get out of "confinement" SOONER than "normal" criminals.

SO why doesn't most EVERY lawyer use the "INSANE" defense for HIS client ?

AND how come the JUDGE in Clem's case (who determined that Clem barely functioned above the animal level) didn't sentence HIM to a mental hospital instead of prison.

So WHY do WE, the intelligent ones, have such a hard time understanding the "crazy" people. Just look at the Orlando massacre. NOT one F.B.I agent saw or realized any RED flag when interrogating the obvious Muslim "terrorist" WHO KILLED 49 lives in one fell swoop. DAH !

ziggyosterberg said...


@DebS - Thanks Deb. Yeah, "Qeev" is likely a misspelling. From what I can tell, Zeev or Ze'ev or Zev is a name given to boys in Israel, but I haven't been able to find any Qeevs.

The boy wonder said...

Like ;-)

starviego said...

The background of Laurence Merrick is interesting. He was sent to the US to raise money for Israel while in the IDF, so Merrick must have had very special qualifications for this job. And we probably assume Merrick was an assumed name. When Merrick wanted to marry, his military bosses said no, so he was very much in the Israeli military at the time. But then he just walks away from that obligation, apparently without any repercussions: "As far as the Israeli army, he never heard from them again." Uh huh...

Then we hear "Government subsidies alleviated the financial burdens of running such an ambitious school." What government? The U.S. or the Israeli? Why would either fund a for-profit school for aspiring actors run by a man with no experience in the acting field?

Once suspects the acting school was some kind of intelligence front, perhaps for recruiting unsuspecting actors to play out roles in covert intelligence operations. In the spy novel, 'The Little Drummer Girl' by John le Carré, an actress is covertly recruited by the Mossad to catch a terrorist, using her acting skills.

The background of the alleged killer, Dennis Mignano, is also suspect. He was an Army vet, who was fascinated by magic. Merrick was able to film his Dracula flick in the "Magic Castle," an exclusive private Hollywood club dedicated to the magic arts, where Merrick allegedly was friends with the owner of the club--one of his students.

starviego said...
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starviego said...

Another oddity: The newsclip posted says Mignano turned himself in back in 1979, yet this news article said it was in 1981:

http://www.upi.com/Archives/1981/10/02/A-San-Jose-man-who-confessed-to-the-murder/2476370843200/
Because the murder complaint filed by the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office against Mignano did not include special circumstances, bail was set at $150,000.

Huh? The murder was premeditated. That doesn't count as special circumstances?

Also odd that this case was only solved when the killer turned himself in. Without that, the crime would likely have never been solved.