Sunday, January 9, 2022

The Freewheelin' Mark Ross

Our dude in a high school yearbook scene.
             
Let's do the Time Warp again...

Several posts covering the man known as Mark Ross during his Manson days can be found along the right side of this blog. Ross is now called Aesop Aquarian. Let's use his former name during this discussion to avoid confusion. 

I grabbed a bit of backstory if you're interested in a refresher or new to the study and unfamiliar with Ross. Here's a quick read by DebS you will find on different sites, often uncredited, that was posted here first. This piece by St. Circumstance discusses Ross's connection to filmmaker Robert Hendrickson. 

A comment popped up on the blog in 2020 (screen capped below) that sent me searching for proof on some of the claims. My brain typically shuts down after the eighth sentence in every giant rambling paragraph but I gave the school stuff a shot for us. 


No one ever mentions Ross's school by name online but I suppose we all cut-and-paste every now and then. You'll sometimes see The Desert Sun School sensationalized as a learning institution for delinquents although I was unable to verify that claim. Rich delinquents, maybe. Tuition at Desert Sun was $4000 each year while Ross, Diane Linkletter ('66), and Sinatra's kids attended the school. At USC, tuition bled parents for $960 in 1961. 

Mark might've been class of '61 and not '62 at Desert Sun. Here he is with Frank Sinatra Jr. two years before Junior's famous kidnapping. 

The dear old campus lodge.
Beefcake Days Revisited! Hubba Hubba! 

None of these slick f*ckers anticipated the Internet. That's a bearded, longhaired Ross doing his best Lee Marvin while pudgy in paisley and displaying his oral fixation. Ross used a nom de plume and trashed his pretend homies in Argosy Magazine forty-five days before jury selection began for Charlie and the girls' trial in 1970. A friend indeed. 



And then a quick shower and drive down to the courthouse to hang with the peeps he's helping bury. Not that they needed assistance. 


Here is the full episode of Ross playing Charlie during the second season ('75) of the American television detective show, Starsky and Hutch. The title of the episode is Bloodbath. David Soul wants to kill Ross and I don't blame him. In maybe Soul's best scenes in the series, his fake Charlie overacts until viewers (me) are nauseous. Ross's character is named Simon Marcus, which might be a play on the evil magician from the Book of Acts, Simon Magus, and Ross's first name, but I'm guessing. 


After reading everything I could find on Ross, methinks the Family greatly underestimated him like they underestimated his cronies Hendrickson, Huntington, and Merrick. While the latter three have passed, Ross remains above ground at this writing. His net worth is listed online at $1.5 million (US dollars). 


-------------
Bonus Stuff:

Linkedin provides a background in psychology and acting for our once handsome saboteur. Interesting combination. For the craft, I'm sure. 



Ross played the 3rd Lead of Theseus in a Banff production of the Bard's Midsummer Night's Dream. Some of his lines accompanied him to old George's movie ranch where he updated them for his dupes. Pretty pretty gurlll...


And...



Let's wrap up today with a list of Desert Sun School Rules published in 1964. Makes me wonder what kind of shenanigans were taking place on and off campus. Clearly, the English teacher was not consulted before the mimeograph machine went into action. +ggw

71 comments:

starviego said...

The Argosy story does have the ring of truth about, so I believe it.

Torque said...

Thanks for this. Good backstory, and I have not seen an episode of Starsky and Hutch in ages.

Doug said...

Good ole Eddie D was also the last person to see the beautiful and buxom comedic actress Carol Wayne who, among numerous guest roles on the Love Biat, Fantasy Island, etc...made many appearances on the Johnny Carson-era Tonight Show!

This blog post was justva quick grab to link for those wanting MORE...

GW - one day you hafta ho full-on Ginsu 2000 with some "But wait! There's MORE!" action when you drop bonus tidbits and clever bon mots!!!

Doug said...

Link to blog post

https://derangedlacrimes.com/?tag=edward-durston

GreenWhite said...

What's up everybody. I hope you're keeping on. Thanks, Torque. Hi, Star. Doug, I wondered when thinking up a title if you'd remember the 1990 Mark Arm record titled The Freewheelin Mark Arm?

Thanks for the link going there now.

Doug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug said...

Mark Arm is a killer vocalist. I recall this album but groggy on the specific songs at the moment.

Doug said...

This episode is nuts. Re-watched ot very early into Covid!

Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/UWeVMubJTCE

Doug said...

BLOODBATH

https://youtu.be/UWeVMubJTCE

Gorodish said...

starviego typed:

The Argosy story does have the ring of truth about, so I believe it.

It is mostly true, but Y. Lee Freeman is not Mark Ross. If you look closely his face looks nothing like Ross. His name is Richard Kaplan.

Peter said...

Will you vaccinate for me.

GreenWhite said...

LOL Peter!

GreenWhite said...

General Gorodish - Might you have a link for me about Kaplan? I'm still learning and not familiar with him. Thank you.

Manson Mythos said...

I could be wrong, but I think Robert Hendrickson said Mark Ross and Sharon Tate attended Lawrence Merrick's acting school. Either at different or the same time. It's of course a fact that Merrick and Hendrickson made contact with the Spahn gang through Ross.

TheStonesUnturned is a fucking idiot. He's extremely pompous, yet almost 100% wrong on everything. He has this bizarre belief that Vance "ran the family". He also wrote an entire book claiming the Zodiac Killer was a hoax and it was all different killers and letter writers. He's of the Maury Terry school of thought too.

Not to get off topic, but The Ed Durston who was with Linkletter when she jumped (or pushed) out of a window and who was an early suspect, IS NOT David E. Durston, the gay director of I Drink Your Blood. The first names are not even the same, so I have no idea where that comes from and that is an absolute fact. A friend of Jay Sebring's that I've talked to extensively confirmed this and is convinced he killed Linkletter and others too aside from Carol Wayne. She told me he killed a girl years before Linkletter and he was living in the guest house of an well known audio engineer named Gary Kellgren when he and his secretary both drowned in his pool.

Durston was also a drug dealer, along with two other early suspects. He was actually busted in a stolen car not far from Cielo which could have very well been on the night of the murders.



Doug said...

http://bobbyjameson.blogspot.com/?m=1

Knee deep in the underbelly of "mondo hollywood" on so many levels and, with so many people with "six degrees of separation" with both himself and, 4 of the 5 killed at Cielo.

The myriad of "connect the dots with more dots with Bobby (and Ed) at/near the centre is very compelling indeed...

TabOrFresca said...

GreenWhite said :

Kaplan? I'm still learning and not familiar with him.

For about 50 years “Ed Sanders” has said in “The Family/Dune Buggy Attack …” than Manson had secured possession of the back ranch from Richard Kaplan. If you look at the 2002 version under Acknowledgments, you will see Kaplans name. I don’t know if he was the actor in The Other Side …”.

ImaFibben said...

There is a letter in the June 1970 Los Angeles Free Press where Y Lee Friedman complains about the Argosy article. He says it wasn’t accurate and that he was writing a book.

ImaFibben said...

Y Lee Freeman I meant. I don’t know how to edit on here. I’m usually just a lurker.

prefeteria said...

Bobby Jameson was also tangential (as was Manson) in Swim Through the Darkness, a great book that I believe I discovered via a recommendation on this blog.

Gorodish said...

Green White typed:

Might you have a link for me about Kaplan? I'm still learning and not familiar with him.

Sanders wrote about him in "The Family. The excerpts (in the 2002 version) are on page 32 and pages 71-74. Supposedly Manson traded his witchy tent (painted by the girls, of course) to Kaplan for the right to occupy the back ranch. Somewhere on an ancient web site (circa late 90s), I remember reading about Kaplan selling the tent to a collector of weird things for a huge amount of $$. Most likely if you google "Richard Kaplan Spahn Ranch" you may find an article or a blog or two.

TabOrFresca typed:

I don’t know if he was the actor in The Other Side …”.

Different guy. That Richard Kaplan played "Victim" in that movie; his part was Jay Sebring. In the credits, Frykowski/Folger/Sebring/Parent were just called "Victim", while Sharon Tate was "Victim/The Starlet".
To me, that movie mirrored reality in the sense that the Tex character plays a far bigger role than Charlie. Just like the actual murders. Most movies about Manson/TLB seem to have Tex as an afterthought; a minor character.

GreenWhite said...

Thank you all.

Ima, there's no way to edit here. Just gotta ride with the typos. It's fine.

Ima Fibbin said...

ImaFibben,
Good to see someone else with the same idea.
I first read HS as a teen in the 70's, and got a chuckle out of reading that alias at the time. I still have that paperback version, which was my older sisters book. I didn't buy some of the story as a 15 yr. old then and still don't. Hence an on and off over the years interest.

GreenWhite said...

Ima - It's tough to stay in it year after year without breaks I think. Makes people mean and intolerant or something. HA!

There seems to be a theme of coming across HS as a teenager and the book sticking in our brains. Those of us who didn't live through it but were reading before the digital age, at least. I hope you're doing good down there on the river. I'm up in CBUS and missing the woods. Been too wet to hike for my tastes so far.

Ima Fibbin said...

GreenWhite,

Yes, too cold. Two hours east of Cbus by the lake here they have nature hikes year round.
The interest has always been there, but real life calls, so I just lurk as well.

Doug said...

For anyone that is curious...I found this online searching "Richard Kaplan Spahn Ranch" as suggested -

"In late summer of 1968, during the Family's first stay at Spahn Ranch, there was a bit of a contest taking place between a land developer and the Family regarding a dilapidated ranch house that sat on either side of the border of Spahn's property and another parcel of land belonging to a development corporation.

This was a building that the Family called the "Back Ranch", and Charlie had his eye on the place as being a highly desirable addition to Charlie-Land at Spahn almost from the instant he showed up there.

At one moment in time, a guy named Richard Kaplan was living in this run-down shack of a ranch house, and as it happened, Kaplan got along quite well with Charlie and the girls.

One night, Kaplan and a couple of Family members were partying in a biker dive called the Galaxy Club, down on Sunset Strip, and they got into doing some PCP before returning to Spahn. Kaplan headed for the back ranch, but then freaked out on the PCP and so walked back to Spahn. There, he found Charlie and about twenty of the girls hanging out in one of the movie ranch buildings, listening to a tape of Charlie playing guitar and singing.

The Family was still mostly in its flower-power phase at that point in time, and Charlie was still posing as a benign guru. He came on in wisdom and gentility, talked Kaplan down off the jagged edge of the PCP he was bumming on-- and then introduced the subject of Kaplan abandoning the back ranch to provide the then-burgeoning Family with additional shelter. Charlie appealed to Kaplan's sense of altruism while explaining that the living accommodations represented by the back ranch were sorely needed by the peaceful, loving Manson Family. In exchange for Kaplan turning the place over to Charlie, Charlie would let Kaplan in on an orgy about to explode at Spahn... and as an extra-special bonus, M would also hand over Charlie's very own camping tent so that Kaplan would still have shelter.

This tent was very interesting. The girls had painted it with all manner of mystical and witchy insignia-- all-seeing eyes, ankhs, weirdo glyphs, and so forth, all in day-glo. It was a really freaky-looking leftover from the Family's "Witches of Mendocino" era.

Kaplan took the deal, and as promised there was a big, raunchy, Manson-style orgy in the back ranch itself, as the Family both celebrated and consummated their occupancy of the sought-after dump.

After coming down from the PCP, Kaplan took the tent and quickly split from the ranch. Though lots and lots of people came to the Manson Family and partook of many a festive evening with the always-spirited and very playful group, quite a few had second thoughts about remaining with them all that long. Then too, Charlie rejected a lot of newcomers as being unsuitable candidates for full-fledged membership in his group and ran them off himself.

And so like so many before and after him, Kaplan split and only looked back to ensure he wasn't being followed.."

And...

"And so Kaplan held onto that tent for many years as a sort of curio... but then, when Manson stuff became all the rage, is said (by some) to have sold it to an undisclosed buyer for an obscenely large amount of money."

GreenWhite said...

Thanks, Doug! Listened to some Red Kross today btw. Admittedly, Cease to Exist over and over lol.

Doug said...

Fun fact -

Redd Kross - second band to cover "Cease to Exist:

Beach Boys (of course) wete the 1st.

Both from Hawthorne and both featuring brothers...

GreenWhite said...

Well I'm your kind, I'm your kind, I CAN SEEEEEEEEEEE...

Doug said...

Rock on...rock on...

"Notes & Chords Mean Nothing To Me"

Janet's drumming on that one...a commentary on CM's musical credo?

Monica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monica said...

When is the next Manson Tour? We should do something over Zoom if an actual tour doesn't work. Maybe we could do a multi day thing with special guests...Col...Mike...Deb...Matt...Mario...others involved.

GreenWhite said...

Aww thanks, Featherstone! We were hoping you'd be back with a rewrite of your last scorcher. You doing good? Mental health okay? Why don't ya come on in and motorboat Donna's big ole boobies? I won't mind and you'll feel right as rain after. Don't be a victim of changes!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oef3Jowc_qI

GreenWhite said...

Monica - Pretty sure Redwing Featherstone wants an invite. You probably need to show him how to Zoom too idk.

GreenWhite said...

So no motorboat?

GreenWhite said...

Monny, we should probably take Phony Featherstone off the Zoom list. Looks like he's back on the dope.

Vera Dreiser said...

Uh oh, censoring antiblog posts again. Not a good look Matt. Whether you agreed with Featherstone or not, it was an articulate, passionate opinion. Nothing offensive except to the targets (Green and the blog-runners) who should have the balls to take and refute it. Guess not, eh?
Welcome to the Red State.

Proteus said...

Blogs do change in nature. When I signed up here it was 'managed' by Evil Liz, after she was booted from Cats' excellent site (from which she ripped off so much content). In time Matt made it a more respectable site and now, for the time being perhaps, it seems to be in the hands of GW. Presumably Matt is ok with this. Rather than bitching we as blog members would do better to take things as we find them - we have no 'rights' to anything here. In time the blog will change or fold, it's in the nature of such things. In the meantime, if you're really not happy, I suggest you take your toys and go play somewhere else.

Peter said...

Well said, Karen.

Doug said...

Thanks for this Proteus. I logged on to post something similar but you are far more concise and reserved than I am.

I would respectfully add that those who are bummed out about changes that occur over time and, the ehb and flow in people, opinions, contributors and, the varying styles, topics, discussion that also occurs over time (especially when the topic has been really dissected ad nauseum for 50 year) maybe those who are miffed can do the research and commit their own time and effort and CONTRIBUTE CONTENT THAT THEY CAN GET BEHIND L.

FAK

Peter said...

Aint nobody got time for that.

GreenWhite said...

Articulate not so sure. But your sexy Caroline Bingley vibes warm my shriveled heart, Vera.

I brought all that on myself via taunts and shooting my mouth off when I should've minded my own business. Redwing Featherstone, I'm sorry I said that shit about you. I was out of line. Won't happen anymore. Please accept my apology.

Monica, you didn't have to remove your comment. I wasn't upset.

Everyone else, I like writing here and don't spend a lot of time thinking about 8/8 and 8/9. A million other people already write about it. Even some of you. My interests are in other areas of this GIANT saga. Leave me to write about Bewitched, and hit me up when you solve the cases. I want to know just like everyone else does but it's not my bag.

GreenWhite said...

The stats are great and the blog is not dead. Right now we don't have giant runs of comment strings because readers aren't duking it out below posts, fighting with writers, and I'm the only person here instead of four or five other writers commenting on each other's articles. And also because I write about Bewitched. Trolls and shitty comments drove the others into the shadows. And life did too. This blog is in its 12th year of at least weekly posting. No one ever alt solved the crimes since this study began. What's the point in having all the wars?

GreenWhite said...

And thanks, Proteus and Doug. Kind of you.

Dan S said...

They solved the crime in '69.

Matt said...

Thank you, Proteus. At present both Deb and myself are too busy with life to participate much. This will eventually change. GW offered to help and we gratefully accepted. We all owe him at the very least a tip of the hat. If anyone else has ideas for content or would like to author some posts just email me. I look forward to eventually getting back in the saddle.

Proteus said...

Peter said...

Well said, Karen.

Who's Karen?

orwhut said...

GreenWhite said...
Thank you all.

Ima, there's no way to edit here. Just gotta ride with the typos. It's fine.

If I feel my mistakes are bad enough to edit, I usually copy the message to the clipboard, paste into a new message, edit, post, and delete the original message. Then I find mistakes in the edited and posted message. )-:

orwhut said...

Hat tip to Green White.
Whut

Milly James said...

This chap, Mark Ross, didn't he own/lease the house where Zero was found dead? On one of those walking streets? This is a genuine question as I may well have got muddled. Zero, who apparently played Russian Roulette by himself with a wiped gun.

GreenWhite said...

Yes, Milly. Same guy.

Doug said...

Clubhouse 28
Venice Beach

The gun Zero (?) used belonged to Mark/Aesop top

Doug said...

First time I ever visited Robert Hecker in a trek down the coast to LA he was living almost next door to #28

More Redd Kross degrees of separation from MF

GreenWhite said...

Hurdles! Hi, Robert!

GreenWhite said...

Thanks, whut. Much appreciated.

starviego said...

Ross also owned the camper truck that Watkins was sleeping in when he got seriously burned.

GreenWhite said...

Good point, Star. Ross is in a lot of places at the "right" times. Was he lucky or is there more to him?

starviego said...

I think it's quite possible was Ross was recruited as some kind of informant; but how would you even prove that? Your thread was the first to publicize the fact that Ross was a military veteran, like so many of the people surrounding the case. That may have been the route for recruitment.

starviego said...

Also, the Argosy article really spells out that Ross and his bud were active members of the Family for a short time in '68, which I was not aware of.

Gorodish said...

starviego typed:

Also, the Argosy article really spells out that Ross and his bud were active members of the Family for a short time in '68, which I was not aware of.

Like I posted above, that's not Ross in the Argosy article. It's Richard Kaplan.

Doug said...

State record

GreenWhite said...

Doug, so Dez was or WAS NOT actually Zero? I watched Matrix Resurrections last week and ever since then I don't know what's what.

Doug said...

Yes, Dezo was Zero

Doug said...

Dez also played in Redd Kross

Jenn said...

I agree with Matt. Cheers, Green/White!

I hope to write something come summer.

Jenn said...

Doug wrote:
Clubhouse 28
Venice Beach

Presently for rent for $6450/month.

GreenWhite said...

Doug, I was trying to do a funny but I'm not funny so it failed.

GreenWhite said...

Thanks, Jenn.

Milly James said...

Jenn - Crikey! I can only imagine the demographic has changed somewhat.

starviego said...

Gorodish said...
"Like I posted above, that's not Ross in the Argosy article. It's Richard Kaplan."

OK, I agree that the person IDed as Y.Lee Freeman was much more likely Kaplan than Ross. Though I am still mystified as to how and when Ross first got introduced to the Family.

PaulH said...

I have photos of Mark Ross at the Desert Sun School from 1960, when he was a sophmore. So if Mark Ross changed his name from Mark Rosen, it was BEFORE he went to high school. So I guess it's possible he was born Mark Rosen and then his family changed the name to Ross while he was a child.
Also, I have photos of Mark Ross in the exact same paisley shirt that Y. Lee Freeman is wearing in the Argosy article.

GreenWhite said...

PaulH - When I look at the photo of Ross with Sinatra, his eyes look the same as the argyle photo. I want to hop in the genealogy sites and see if there's a photo for a Richard Kaplan around that age for comparison.

Didn't Sanders also say one of the Manson girls was dragging a dead baby around behind her like a rag doll?