Sunday, June 16, 2019

MansonBlog Tour 2019: Dearly Departed Tours

Scott Michaels of Dearly Departed Tours deserves a big shout out from MansonBlog. He is the owner/operator of the "black bus" that carried us about for a day through Laurel Canyon, The Whiskey a Go Go and Horn Ave.

This day was planned since last year's tour. The idea was to have a day of knowledge exchange. We got an education on many of the LA landmarks and Scott got more TLB arrows in his quiver. We even had a writer affiliated with 60 Minutes Australia along for the ride.

Scott Michaels is a gentleman and his tours and museum dedicated to LA macabre are a must for anyone reading this blog. If you get to LA, get on board one of his Hollywood Celebrity Tours and don't be shy about admitting you read MansonBlog.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Charles Manson and the Killing of Shorty Shea

Edwin Colin grew up at Corriganville movie ranch where his father was Crash Corrigan's foreman.  Ed met many people, some famous western stars and many, many stuntmen who were the stars of Corriganville's weekend shows.  One such stuntman who stood out to Ed was Shorty Shea.  Shorty became a close friend of the Colin family, frequently coming over for family dinners and being an older "big brother" to Ed.  Shorty was the one to pick out Ed's first horse and teach him a thing or two about working on a ranch.

To honor his friend, Ed has written a touching memoir along with attempting to find the truths behind Shorty's murder.  Ed has plenty to say about Shorty but when it came to the particulars about Charles Manson and the Family his knowledge was a little sketchy.  He found there were so many conflicting versions about what actually happened that he sought someone to help him through the Manson maze.

That is how I became to be the "with" author on this book.  It wasn't a project I wished to take on, writing a book takes an enormous amount of time, but Ed convinced me that my help would greatly enrich his book and it was clear to me that Ed truly wanted to do this project as correctly as possible.

The book is self published, we don't have a website but we do have a Facebook page where you can contact Ed to purchase a book.

Ed did an interview about the book with his local newspaper.  You can read the article here-

Monday, June 10, 2019

MansonBlog Tour 2019: What's with Horn Avenue?

While on the Mansonblog tour this year, I requested that we go by a particular street in West Hollywood.

Horn Avenue looking towards Sunset Blvd.

There is a little street named Horn Avenue that is off Sunset Boulevard.  The street is just two blocks long and intersected by a single street, Shoreham Drive.  While just a short street it does have quite a few residents due to a handful of apartment buildings on the long side of the street.  Between the apartment buildings there are single family residences.

Horn is conveniently located in the heart of the Sunset Strip just a couple of blocks east of the Whisky a-go-go and a couple of blocks west of Mel’s Drive-In.

Horn Avenue came to my attention because it’s where Bernard “Lottsapapa” Crowe was arrested for forgery at the end of March 1970.  Crowe, who was arrested with three others, claimed that the apartment at 1211 Horn Avenue was his residence.  However, we know that Crowe actually lived on Woodrow Wilson Drive up in Laurel Canyon.

The newspaper article telling about his arrest erroneously gives the name as Horn Street, there is no Horn Street in West Hollywood or Los Angeles.  The house number is consistent with an apartment building on Horn Avenue.  The apartment building where Crowe was arrested has 16 units.

1211 Horn Avenue

Not long after learning about Crowe’s “other” residence I was reading the first homicide report for the Tate murders.  The report details the movements of Wojiciech Frykowski in the afternoon of the night of the murders.  At about 3 PM Frykowski left the Tate residence and went over to Jay Sebring’s home on Easton Drive.  Apparently, Sebring had asked Frykowski to pick up Suzan Peterson who had been Sebring’s companion the previous night, and Frykowski was to take her to her home.

They first made a stop at Witold Kaczanowski’s gallery on Wilshire Boulevard, where Frykowski’s wanted to pick up a key to the house on Woodstock.  The key to the house was not in Kaczanowski’s possession so Frykowski, Peterson and Kaczanowski all went to another person’s home and eventually secured the key.  After dropping Kaczanowski off back at he the gallery Frykowski finally took Peterson home.

Turns out that Suzan Peterson lived, according to the report, on Horn Street!

Okay, a second reference to Horn, be it street or avenue.  Horn sometimes had N. in front of it.  This is true of most the streets on the north side of Sunset Blvd. though it doesn't usually show on maps, just on the street signs.

In an endeavor to find Peterson’s exact address on Horn, I looked through several newspaper articles.  I was not able to determine her exact address but I did find that there had been another arrest on Horn not long after Crowe’s arrest.
On June 18 1969 an article in the Van Nuys Valley News reported that law enforcement had made arrests of several people for breaking into travel agencies and stealing blank airline tickets.

According to other articles in the Los Angeles Times the robberies had been taking place for two or three years prior to the arrests but the airlines were reluctant to press charges against those using the stolen tickets, they figured they could eat the loss in favor of good customer relations.  When the airlines found they were suffering more and more losses they decided to report the stolen airline tickets to law enforcement.  Law enforcement had been investigating the robberies for at least six months prior to the arrests.

The initial newspaper article explains the depth of the stolen airline tickets and just how lucrative a business it could be for those who were stealing the tickets.

There were three people of those arrested that got my attention because they lived at 1211 Horn Avenue.  They are David P. Marsh, 23; Stephen E. Pankey, 26; Linda Faye Cody,22. That’s very same address that Lottsapapa was using for his forgery business.  Since it was an apartment building it’s more than likely that they lived in different apartments.
Another two people in that group, Dennis A. Blum, 23, and Jack R. Mirsky, 23, lived at 840 Larrabee Street.  This was the same address that Joel Rostau gave when he reported a break-in at his apartment back in March 1969.  Rostau was living a couple of blocks over at 999 Doheny when he was murdered in May 1970.

What the heck is going on?  How is it that these two criminal enterprises, Crowe’s forgery business and the stolen airline tickets, which have a rather symbiotic relationship could be operating in the same building at roughly the same time?

Joe Guntman aka Joe Gunn seemed to be the head of this particular gang of eight people.  His own company Shady Productions was located at 8780 Sunset Blvd. which is a block and a half from the intersection of Horn Avenue.

The Los Angeles Times was more forthcoming in naming the entertainers who were busted using the stolen tickets than the Van Nuys Valley News.  Some of those in the entertainment industry were 15 people traveling with Carlos Santana who were arrested in New York on their way to London and Linda Ronstadt and five backup musicians were stopped in San Francisco on their way to Honolulu.  They said their tickets were given to them by their manager, the tickets were stolen in a robbery in Hollywood on April 27, 1970.
The weekend prior to the arrests of the gang, Eric Burden and War were stopped at the Anchorage Alaska airport with tickets that were stolen in the Los Angeles area.

A 1972 newspaper article told of a group of people who were arrested back east for stealing and selling airline tickets.  In this article the FBI and Interpol joined forces for the arrests because “underworld figures” were using the tickets to smuggle drugs and to unload “millions of dollars in stolen securities throughout Europe.”

It’s not a stretch to consider that Joel Rostau may have been using stolen tickets when going abroad while he was unloading securities Europe, stolen from the U.S. mail at airports.  If one were to purchase a fake driver’s license and social security card from “Lottsapapa” and his crew it would be a simple thing, back in those days, to get a passport in an assumed name and to conduct business under the radar.  Grab yourself some cut-rate airline tickets and you’re good to go!

While on tour, Dreath and I endeavored to locate reverse street directories for West Hollywood so we could find out exactly in what apartment each of those arrested resided and when. Also, to find out what was the address where Suzan Peterson lived on Horn Avenue.  We went to the West Hollywood Library only to find that there was no such animal for the years we required that included Horn Avenue.  The adult services librarian, David Davis, did his best to help us going as far as phoning other library branches to see if they had the information we sought and even sent a follow up email after we returned home.
So, if all that isn’t enough, I also learned that there is a connection to Horn Avenue with Dianne Linkletter, who committed suicide October 4 1969 by jumping out her sixth-floor kitchen window to her death.  Dianne lived at 8787 Shoreham Drive.  Remember I said earlier that the only street to intersect Horn Avenue was Shoreham Drive.  The location of Dianne’s apartment in that building was across the street from 1211 Horn Avenue.

Shoreham Towers fronts Shoreham Drive. Dianne's apartment was on the left facing 1211 Horn Avenue.

Dianne had apparently called her friend Edward Durston to come to her apartment in the middle of the night because she wanted to talk.  Durston arrived at the apartment about 3 AM.  Durston did not have far to go because he lived at 1211 Horn Avenue.  Though Ed Durston was not considered a suspect in Linkletter's death, his presence at the accidental 1985 death of Carol Wayne, in Mexico, raised some eyebrows.  Wayne was a television and film actress who made numerous appearances on the Johnny Carson Show as Art Fern's Tea Time Movie lady.

Los Angeles Times Oct. 5, 1969

Later newspaper articles said that Linkletter was a friend of Abigail Folger and probably knew Sharon Tate.  The article went on to say that Durston was a “speaking acquaintance” of Voityck Frokowski.

Independent Press-Telegram Oct. 18, 1969

Four days after Dianne Linkletter’s suicide another woman committed suicide, this time by overdose.  She had told her husband that she was despondent over the Linkletter suicide.  The woman, Toni Monti, lived at 1211 Horn Avenue.

If there ever was a place for paranormal activity in West Hollywood, I think it would be on Horn Avenue.

All of this led me to conclude that if “Lottsapapa” had any connection, no matter how small, to the Tate/LaBianca saga, that connection would lie with the victims and not the Manson Family.  "Lottsapapa" sure as heck didn't have anything to do with the Family after he was shot by Manson.  Frykowsky had been to Horn Avenue on the day of his death.  Sebring most likely was familiar with Horn Avenue because of Suzan Peterson.

I was never able to reach that ah-ha moment with all of this information but if you can come up with something, I'm all ears.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

"The Last of the Manson Girls" is screening in Los Angeles this Sunday

The Last of the Manson Girls is screening in  Los Angeles this Sunday, June 9 as part of Film Invasion L.A.. Ticket info is below. You can use the code 19manson to get $5 off tickets.

The film is also screening at the Chicago Underground Film Festival the same day.

Based on the essay "My Acid Trip with Squeaky Fromme" by Paul Krassner, The Last of the Manson Girls takes place in January, 1972. Convinced there's more to the Manson murders than meets the public eye, counterculture journalist Krassner embarks on an LSD tinged investigation of the last of Manson's disciples: Brenda McCann, Sandra Good, and Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme. What he finds could change how the world sees the 60s... if he lives long enough to tell the story.

Monday, June 3, 2019

MansonBlog Tour 2019: The Whisky A Go Go

An opportunity arose when Jake, who works at The Whisky A Go Go called the MansonBlog bus (seriously) and offered us access while it was closed. Naturally, we jumped at it.

We were particularly taken by the size - or lack thereof. It's small inside - but the history is B I G. Performers have included Iggy And The Stooges, Alice Cooper, The Doors, No Doubt, System of a Down, The Byrds, The Germs, Buffalo Springfield, Steppenwolf, Van Halen, Johnny Rivers, X, Led Zeppelin, KISS, Guns N' Roses, Death, AC/DC, Linkin Park, and Mötley Crüe. In 2006, the venue was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

BTW, Dreath is a walking, breathing rock and roll encyclopedia.

The venue has some Manson connections too. You may recall this passage from Guinn's book:
As they moved toward it Manson broke away, saying that he wanted to dance. Charlie couldn't have chosen a more certain means of receiving his comeuppance. Few stylishly dressed, celebrity-obsessed girls at the Whisky would deign to dance with a short, scruffy nobody, and even if Manson did somehow make it onto the dance floor he'd just be one more body crammed in there. Had any of them been in a more generous frame of mind, Wilson, Melcher, or Jakobson could have escorted Manson down; dance space was always made for stars and their sidekicks. But they were content to let Charlie flounder on his own. Soon enough he'd slink over to their booth, chastened by an unmistakable reminder that, for all his philosophical prattling and grandiose dreams of rock stardom, at least for now he remained an insignificant speck in the L.A. galaxy. Manson disappeared into the crowd, and the three friends sipped drinks and chatted until they were startled by a commotion. Looking around, they saw something unique in the history of the Whisky a Go Go: Instead of vying to get on, everyone was struggling to clear off the hallowed dance floor, where they had been packed in so tightly that they now had trouble squirming apart. 
Melcher, Jakobson, and Wilson exchanged puzzled glances. They stood up to get a better look, and that was when they saw that smack in the middle of the floor a single figure remained—Charlie Manson, gyrating to the music. His dancing grew increasingly maniacal; he tipped back his head and threw out his arms and they agreed later that it seemed as though electrical sparks flew from Charlie's fingers and hair. The crowd had surged off the dance floor as if driven from it by some irresistible force field. Now it circled the floor, mesmerized by the sight of the whirling dervish who seemed oblivious to everything but the pulsating beat. 
Over the past weeks, Wilson, Jakobson, and Melcher had seen Manson effortlessly enthrall small gatherings at meals or parties. Until this moment they had no idea that he could extend his magnetism and dominate a much larger audience, let alone a jaded one like the regulars at the Whisky. It was one thing for Charlie to convince a string of needy female hangers-on that he was an all-knowing guru who must be worshipped and obeyed. But these were hipsters whose self-images depended in large part on not acting impressed by anyone other than the biggest stars. Now they openly gawked at someone who only moments before would have seemed the unlikeliest candidate to command their rapt attention. It was a reaction far beyond deference, Jakobson thought. This approached awe. "That was when we realized that he was really something different, that time at the Whisky," Jakobson said almost forty-five years later. "Anytime, anywhere, that Charlie decided to be the center of attention, he could be. At the Whisky, everybody thought that they had seen it all. "Until that night, when they saw Charlie."
This video contains interview footage which includes both John Densmore and Ray Manzarek talking about their memories of The Whisky A Go Go sandwiched around audio recorded performances there. Very worth the watch:

What it looks like today:

Thanks, Jake!!!