Monday, November 2, 2015

"The Picture Is A Warning"

Contemporary local media coverage of the TV-movie Helter Skelter


Sunshine69 said...

The first picture looks like Cat Stevens used a flat iron.

MHN said...

"the cult leader and demigod".

Wow. Is that all it takes? Charlie tells psycho Tex to do his thing, and the next minute he's.... a demigod?

Seems to me Bugliosi wasn't merely a judicial genius; he was a lawyer, a priest, and a salesman rolled into one.

And I don't say that as a criticism.

Robert Hendrickson said...

"DemiGod" sounds about right to me - Half human / half God.
Kind's like that Jesus guy - Mother human / father ?

MHN said...

RH - a nice symmetry: Manson was no demigod, but his prosecutor tried to make him one in order to secure CM's conviction and cement his own fame. Jesus (some believe) was literally divine life in human form, yet his Roman prosecutor is portrayed as being a deeply unwilling participant in JC's execution, preferring to let him go as a harmless philosopher, but being persuaded by the mob that he needed to be got rid of.

Matt said...

Amazing the fear the whole story generated in Hollywood. Still to this day I hear things like "No, I don't want to talk on the record because I think I might be on their hit list". That's always good for a chuckle.

George Stimson said...

Who was that, Matt? (Just kidding....)

Anonymous said...

The most interesting thing about the movie is the fact they filmed the LaBianca sequence in the actual house and the car was the actual car that was lent to the production team by the LAPD.

That's California for ya!

I watched it for the first time in years. A guilty part of me enjoys it, despite it being at the expense of so much. Brings back memories of countless hours watching grainy horror movies on VHS. It's one of those things you put on when your stoned for a laugh.

MHN said...

Seriously? They used the actual crime scene for that scene?

DebS said...

I understand why the TV movie was not shown in Los Angeles but the producer/director says later in the article that the ratings did not include San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Portland ME and Bellingham WA. I assume that is because the movie was not broadcast in those places. Why?

Anonymous said...

"The picture is a warning to parents and to children...." A warning as to what precisely? How very noble of Vincent B to collaborate with a film crew to protect the American people (and fill his pockets, as well as keeping his name as a crime author in the public psyche).

How come Mr H's documentary ended up being banned in California, yet it is alright to reconstruct the events and characters in a tv film? It's as if the US authorities thought that if we saw footage of the real people, we wouldn't be able to handle it!

Chris B said...

Equinox, Squeaky was on trial after the doc was released but convicted before the tv movie.

I believe the doc got pulled to protect Squeaky and guarantee her an unbiased jury.

Chris B said...

After Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 a new law was passed about trying to kill presidents.

Squeaky was definitely the first woman, if not the first person, to be convicted of trying to kill a serving USA president.

Anonymous said...

@christopher butche

Christopher, thanks for this. I wonder which part of the documentary would have prejudiced her trial? The bit where she's pointing a shotgun?

Shame it got banned because it's one of the best pieces of 20th century social history.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Can't believe they filmed the LaBianca murder in the same house. Yuck.
Which makes me wonder, does anyone know how much trouble it was to sell
that house after 1969? And what about Hinman's house?
The commentary about Ali at the end cracked me up.

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote 1975 on that cover but that must be 1976?
Gries died January 3rd 1977 playing Tennis while that Ali Doc was in post-production.

George Stimson said...

Yes, I think 1976 should be right. Someone cataloging it must have put the wrong date on it.

Robert Hendrickson said...

In digging through lots of stuff in search of an old MANSON trailer, I came accross publicity material the Helter Skelter publisher gave me - back in the day.

Of Bugliosi and Gentry "The two became collaborators - Bugliosi supplying voluminous trial transcrips, investigation records and legal expertise, and Gentry sorting out the material and putting it in cohesive form..."

"Organizing and writing took him (Gentry) four years." "He (Gentry) says he worked about nine hours a day, seven days a week during the four years."

Well folks, there you have it - not only was Mr. "B" a great Prosecutor, BUT also a magical "author."

Robert Hendrickson said...

YOU folks SEE the "Manson Family Story" in somewhat of an intellectual historical light, BUT most others actually SEE it as a manifestation of a supernatural SATAN.

The story of "Dracula" by Briam Stoker is based on actual "bloodsuckers" that were thought to rise from their graves at night. STOKER then added elements to HIS Dracula story that would create / enhance a kind of literary FEAR. Curt Gentry: ditto - ditto - ditto.

Gentry even claims that HE purposely created Heller Skelter with a structure that provides for a MORE horrible sense of the crime with each chapter. AND that suspense builder was necessary because EVERYONE already KNEW the final outcome.

My question NOW is: Did Manson give Bugliosi the IDEA to have someone else execute HIS "vision." Cause it is now apparent that Bugliosi ONLY "stole" government property (trial transcripts / police reports) so that HIS collaborator could "create" a profitable project out of it.

So NOW - where does the "Helter Skelter" COPYRIGHT stand in the eyes of the LAW. Did Bugliosi and Gentry's heirs actually receive "stolen" property.

Can YOU imagine where the whole Helter Skelter story is going a hundred years from now ?

EVERYTIME "you" comment here, you may actually be contributing to the NEXT great LEGEND - Fable - RELIGION and a main character with a life everlasting.

Chris B said...

An interesting thought Mr Hendrickson, Manson could in theory hold the 'intellectual property rights' to Helter Skelter and then earn a percentage profit from its use.

Has Frykowski's claim lapsed? I understand that the son died many years ago. I believe Manson is not legally allowed to profit from his crimes, but Helter Skelter pre-dates them.

Ironically, if Manson was successful, I would imagine future writers/film and documentary makers would not wish to pay to use the Helter Skelter concept and it would promptly disappear from history.

Anonymous said...

christopher butche said

"..Squeaky was definitely the first woman, if not the first person, to be convicted of trying to kill a serving USA president."

Christopher, please refresh my memory, but wasn't Lynette's gun empty? If so, what was she going to do - pistol whip him to death? She served one hell of a long sentence for, in fact, doing, nothing very much.

Fiddy 8 said...

I've never seen this TV movie myself, but I found this quote on IMDb (definitely 1976):


Dist. Atty. Vincent Bugliosi: Good Evening, you're about to see a dramatization based on actual facts. We may not like to accept the fact that those in the story of Helter Skelter exist in our lives. Yet, they do. And while they do we can not say that the story of Helter Skelter has ended.


Matt said...

Equinox, I don't believe the gun was empty. At first she said it jammed but she may not have actually tried to fire it.

Anonymous said...

There was no bullet in the chamber. Squeaky knew how to handle firearms, so I don't believe she intented on killing him, but rather to make a political statement. I don't believe Squeaky nor Sandra Good had the ability to take a life.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Matt and D.LaCalandra. I recall an interview Squeaky gave and she said something along the lines of being surprised at how close she had got to Ford, and that if she had wanted to get him, she could have done so.

If there were indeed no bullets in the chamber, then her intent to kill is debatable. I can't help but think that with better defence counsel, she might have received a much lesser sentence.

Chris B said...

Upon being checked the gun had a dusty barrel, there was a clip in it with several rounds, there was no round jammed in the chamber. It was later successfully test fired.

Jury instructions were: a semiautomatic pistol is a loaded pistol within the meaning of the law if the magazine contains a loaded cartridge or bullet which may be instantly transferred into the firing chamber by pulling the slide back and allowing it to move forward.

The guy who owned the gun testified that he had never put bullets in the gun the whole time he owned it.

Summing up the prosecutor stated...concealed under her robe and strapped to her.left leg was a holster. She was armed with a .45 automatic, and that .45 automatic had a magazine in it and that magazine had four live rounds in it.

Agent Buendorf, Officer Peterson and bystander Jerry Fox 'immediately subdued Lyn as she started to point her .45 calibre pistol at the president.'

Of great excitement was a statement she made to Sandy Good. After being taken to Sacremento police station when passing an interview room with the door open she said to her 'It didn't go off. I'm sorry Sandy'.

Chris B said...

Equinox, Squeaky was her own co-counsel.

Anonymous said...

@christopher butche

Thanks Christopher. These comprehensive detail clear up for me why Squeaky was charged with the attempted assassination. You know what they say about representing yourself in court:):) The judge must have been satisfied that she was confident to do so - compare that with Charlie getting his pro per rights taken away from him.

I am surprised to read that Squeaky referred to 'Sandy'. I thought by that time, these ladies were calling themselves 'Red' and 'Blue'. I recall on the Bertice Berry show with Patti Tate, that George Stimson corrected someone re Sandy's name by saying "it's Blue".

Chris B said...

A couple of times she tried to change her plea to guilty, but not for a legally acceptable reason. The generally accepted idea is that the incident to Squeaky was irrelevant as the whole situation was intended to give Manson a voice in court/the world.

She did testify something along the lines of if allowed to testify Manson would explain why the murders took place in 1969. Imagine that, the motive revealed in 1975!

I think it got turned down because as she hadn't seen him for years the judge decided the elapsed time meant he could not be called as a character witness.

Anonymous said...

christopher butche said...

"..meant he could not be called as a character witness."

The idea of Charlie acting as a character witness beggars belief!!

If he were allowed to speak at Squeaky's trial and explain the motive, he would be implicating himself as being art and part complicit, thereby coming under California's conspiracy laws.

DebS said...

We did a post on some tapes made of Lynette before the trial when she was given a psychiatric examination. I fixed the link in the post so it works now and it's certainly interesting.

Anonymous said...


Thanks Deb, I shall listen to those.

Robert Hendrickson said...

CHRIS: What an interesting idea that Helter Skelter belongs to C. Manson, BUT an "idea" which HS is, is NOT copyrightable. ONLY the "expression" of a specific "idea" is. As well, all the dialouge spoken in a courtroom is copyrightable BY the person who actually spoke the subject words (the expression.) EXCEPT those on the court's payroll, such as the Judge and the Prosecutor, are subject to the "work for hire" rule where the employer is the lawful copyright claiment.

SO if Bugliosi stole the court transcripts and quoted anything from the transcripts in HIS book - well we are talking copyright infringement, as well as possibly "grand theft." Unless HE paid the person speaking the words."

I have an audio copy of Bugliosi's "closing" 7 days, BUT because whoever signed HIS paycheck is the lawful copyright claimant, I don't "USE" it without permission.

Also because FACTS are NOT copyrightable, and Bugliosi "claims" his book HS is factual, it is very likely that Vince and Curt left their heirs with not much more than worthless paper. BUT if there is evidence that Vince and Curt LIED about HS - that it is fiction and thus THEIR original "creation," they may have a valid "copyright."

ANYONE see where this is all headed ? COL ?

ColScott said...


Wrong on many points. First off, there is a famous case in which a crazy Scientologist (I know, they all are) William Arnold wrote a bio of Frances Farmer, made up bullshit about lobotomies and rapes and said that it was non fiction. When the movie amalgamated his crap he then went and said "Hey that was my fiction, pay me." The judge told him to eat a bag of dicks. BUG said his book was TRUE CRIME, that's that.

The dialogue in a courtroom is public record and is NOT copyrighted by anyone at all. You are wrong on that fact. Testimony is public. Work for hire rule has zero bearing on this case.

The audio recording of BUG is a public record and no one owns it. NO ONE.

Your arguments are just all wrong. So was suing Ebay because if you had allowed the doc to actually be released no one would have bootlegged it.

Robert Hendrickson said...

GEE "Col" - is there ANYTHING you DON'T know EVERYTHING about ?

Like did Mr. "B" have it in him to have Merrick wacked ?

candy and nuts said...

Lmfao @RH