Inside The LC: The Strange but Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and the Birth of the Hippie Generation
what do Diane Linkletter (daughter of famed entertainer Art Linkletter), legendary comedian Lenny Bruce, screen idol Sal Mineo, starlet Inger Stevens, and silent film star Ramon Novarro, all have in common?
If you answered that all were found dead in their homes, either in or at the mouth of Laurel Canyon, in the decade between 1966 and 1976, then award yourself five points. If you added that all five were, in all likelihood, murdered in their Laurel Canyon homes, then add five bonus points.
whose crack team of studio musicians, dubbed The Wrecking Crew, were the actual musicians playing on many studio recordings by such bands as The Monkees, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, and The Mamas and the Papas.
control over his unreleased material fell into the hands of a guy by the name of Frank Zappa
Deaths in Laurel Canyon - Death list
Marina Elizabeth Habe, whose body was carved up and tossed into the heavy brush along Mulholland Drive, just west of Bowmont Drive, on December 30, 1968.was the daughter of Hans Habe studying psychological warfare at the Military Intelligence Training Center. After completing his training, he put his psychological warfare skills to use by creating 18 newspapers in occupied Germany – under the direction, no doubt, of the OSS.
Christine Hinton, who was killed in a head-on collision on September 30, 1969. At the time, Hinton was a girlfriend of David Crosby and the founder and head of The Byrd’s fan club. She was also the daughter of a career Army officer stationed at the notorious Presidio military base in San Francisco.
Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson, singer, songwriter and guitarist for the Laurel Canyon blues-rock band, Canned Heat, was found dead in his Topanga Canyon home on September 3, 1970. His death was written off as a suicide/OD. after the band’s Laurel Canyon home – on Lookout Mountain Avenue, next door to Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash’s home – burned to the ground.
Jimi Hendrix, who reportedly briefly occupied the sprawling mansion just north of the Log Cabin after he moved to LA in 1968, died in London under seriously questionable circumstances on September 18, 1970.
Jimi had served a stint in the U.S. Army with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell
As a young boy, whenever the chance came, Jimi would try to play along with his R & B records.However, music was not his life long dream
Jimi started out playing as part of the back-up for small time R & B groups
Jimi himself once told reporters that he was given a medical discharge after breaking an ankle during a parachute jump.
Within a year of Jimi’s death, an underage prostitute named Devon Wilson who had been with Jimi the day before his death, plunged from an eighth-floor window of New York’s Chelsea Hotel.
Michael Jeffery, who had managed both Hendrix and Burden, was killed in a mid-air plane collision. Jeffery was known to openly boast of having organized crime connections and of working for the CIA.
Jeffery had been funneling most of Hendrix’s gross earnings into offshore accounts in the Bahamas linked to international drug trafficking.
Jim Morrison, who for a time lived in a home on Rothdell Trail, behind the Laurel Canyon Country Store, may or may not have died in Paris on July 3, 1971.
A few years after Jim’s death, his common-law wife, Pamela Courson, dropped dead as well, officially of a heroin overdose.
Also like Hendrix, Morrison was just twenty-seven at the time of his (possible) death.
Brandon DeWilde, a good friend of David Crosby and Gram Parsons, was killed in a freak accident in Colorado on July 6, 1972, when his van plowed under a flatbed truck.
Christine Frka, a former governess for Moon Unit Zappa and the Zappa family’s former housekeeper at the Log Cabin, died on November 5, 1972 of an alleged drug overdose, though friends suspected foul play.
Danny Whitten, a guitarist/vocalist/songwriter with Neil Young’s sometime band, Crazy Horse, died of an overdose on November 18, 1972.
Bruce Berry, a roadie for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, died of a heroin overdose in June 1973. Berry had just flown out to Maui to deliver a shipment of cocaine to Stephen Stills, and was promptly sent back to LA by Crosby and Nash. played a part in the fake kidnapping of Frank Sinatra, Jr., just after the JFK assassination.
Clarence White, a guitarist who had played with The Byrds, was run over by a drunk driver and killed on July 14, 1973.
Gram Parsons, formerly with the International Submarine Band, The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, allegedly overdosed on a speedball at the Joshua Tree Inn on September 19, 1973. Just two months before his death, Parson’s Topanga Canyon home had burnt to the ground.
his body was stolen from LAX by the Burrito’s road manager, Phil Kaufman, and then taken back out to Joshua Tree and ritually burned on the autumnal equinox
“Mama” Cass Elliot, the “Earth Mother” of Laurel Canyon whose circle of friends included musicians, Mansonites, young Hollywood stars, the wealthy son of a State Department official, singer/songwriters, assorted drug dealers, and some particularly unsavory characters the LAPD once described as “some kind of hit squad,” died in the London home of Harry Nilsson on July 29, 1974 (Nilsson had been a frequent drinking buddy of John Lennon in Laurel Canyon and on the Sunset Strip).
Amy Gossage, Graham Nash’s girlfriend at the time, was murdered in her San Francisco home on February 13, 1975. Just twenty years old at the time, she had been stabbed nearly fifty times and was bludgeoned beyond recognition.
Tim Buckley, a singer/songwriter signed to Frank Zappa’s record label and managed by Herb Cohen, died of a reported overdose on June 29, 1975.
Phyllis Major Browne, wife of singer/songwriter Jackson Browne, reportedly overdosed on barbiturates on March 25, 1976.
Bobby Fuller, singer/songwriter/guitarist for the Bobby Fuller Four, was found dead in his car near Grauman’s Chinese Theater on July 18, 1966, after being lured away from his home by a mysterious 2:00-3:00 AM phone call of unknown origin. Fuller is best known for penning the hit song “I Fought the Law,” which had just hit the charts when he supposedly committed suicide at the age of twenty-three.
Gary Hinman, a musician, music teacher, and part-time chemist, was brutally murdered in his Topanga Canyon home on July 27, 1969. Convicted of his murder was Mansonite Bobby Beausoleil, who had played rhythm guitar in a local band known as the Grass Roots.
Janis Joplin, vocalist extraordinaire, was found dead of a heroin overdose on October 4, 1970 at the Landmark Hotel, about a mile east of the mouth of Laurel Canyon, where she occasionally visited.
Joplin’s father, by the way, was a petroleum engineer for Texaco.
Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, lead guitarist and bass player for the Allman Brothers, were killed in freakishly similar motorcycle crashes on October 29, 1971 and November 11, 1972. Allman was the son of Willis Allman, a US Army Sergeant who had been murdered by another soldier near Norfolk, Virginia (home of the world’s largest naval installation) on December 26, 1949.
Duane was killed when a truck turned in front of his motorcycle at an intersection and inexplicably stopped. Just over a year later, Oakley had a similar run-in with a bus, just three blocks from where Allman had been killed. Following the crash, Berry had dusted himself off and declined medical attention, insisting that he was okay. Three hours later, he was rushed to the hospital, where he died. Both Oakley and Allman were just twenty-four years old.
Phil Ochs, folk singer/songwriter and political activist, was found hanged in his sister’s home in Far Rockaway, New York on April 9, 1976. Throughout his life, Ochs was one of the most overtly political of the 1960s rock and folk music stars.
In 1967, under the management of his brother, Michael Ochs, Phil moved out to Los Angeles. Michael had begun working the previous year as an assistant to Barry James, who maintained a party house at 8504 Ridpath in Laurel Canyon.
In early summer of 1975, Phil Ochs’ public persona abruptly changed. Using the name John Butler Train, Ochs proclaimed himself to be a CIA operative and presented himself as a belligerent, right-wing thug.
Judee Lynn Sill, who was once favorably compared to such other Laurel Canyon singer/songwriters as Joni Mitchell, Judi Collins and Carole King. By the time of her death on November 23, 1979, however, she had been all but forgotten, and not a single obituary was published to note her passing.
In the late 1960s, with her addictions apparently temporarily curbed, Sill joined the Laurel Canyon scene, where she attempted to forge a career as a singer/songwriter. Her first big break came when she sold the song “Lady O” to The Turtles (yet another Laurel Canyon band to hit it big in the mid-1960s; best known for the hit single “Happy Together,” The Turtles were led by lead vocalist/songwriter Howard Kaylan, who happened to be, small world that it is, a cousin of Frank Zappa’s manager and business partner, Herb Cohen).
Sill became the first artist signed to David Geffen’s fledgling Asylum record label.
The first single from the album, “Jesus Was a Crossmaker,” was produced by Graham Nash, whom she opened for on tour following the album’s release.
Sill’s second album, 1973’s “Heart Food,” was even more of a commercial disappointment.
in 1974 she began work on a third album in Monkee Mike Nesmith’s recording studio.
she abandoned the project and promptly disappeared without a trace.
It is alleged that she was seriously injured when her car was rear-ended by actor Danny Kaye, causing her to suffer from chronic back pain
the day after Thanksgiving, 1979, Judee Sill, the last surviving member of her family, was found dead in a North Hollywood apartment.
Judee began to realize that “there was a part of her that wasn’t under her conscious control.” I’m guessing that Phil Ochs, and quite a few other characters in this story, could relate to that.
Charles Spencer Mann and his partners began buying up land along what would become Laurel Canyon Boulevard, as well as up Lookout Mountain.
the crest of Lookout Mountain was carved out, and upon that crest was constructed a lavish 70-room inn with sweeping views of the city below and the Pacific Ocean beyond. The Lookout Inn featured a large ballroom, riding stables, tennis courts and a golf course, among other amenities. But the inn, alas, would only stand for a decade; in 1923, it burned down, as tends to happen rather frequently in Laurel Canyon.
In 1913, Mann built Laurel Tavern, the structure boasted a 2,000+ square-foot formal dining room, guest rooms, and a bowling alley on the basement level. The Laurel Tavern, of course, would later be acquired by Tom Mix, after which it would be affectionately known as the Log Cabin.
the grounds of the Laurel Tavern/Log Cabin were also laced with odd caves and tunnels. As Michael Walker notes in Laurel Canyon, “Running up the hillside, behind the house, was a collection of man-made caves built out of stucco, with electric wiring and light bulbs inside.” According to various accounts, one secret tunnel running under what is now Laurel Canyon Boulevard connected the Log Cabin (or its guesthouse) to the Houdini estate. This claim is frequently denounced as an urban legend,
The Tavern itself, as Gail Zappa would later describe it, was “huge and vault-like and cavernous.
castle-like mansion across the road, at the corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and what would become Willow Glen Road. The home featured rather creepy towers and parapets, and the foundation is said to have been riddled with secret passageways, tunnels, and hidden chambers. Similarly, the grounds of the estate were (and still are) laced with trails leading to grottoes, elaborate stone structures, and hidden caves and tunnels.
the new inn and roadhouse, and the new parcels of land for sale, definitely weren’t for everyone. The roadhouse was essentially a country club, or what Jack Boulware of Mojo Magazine described as “a masculine retreat for wealthy men.” And Bungalow Land was openly advertised as “a high class restricted park for desirable people only.”
I need to mention here that, of the eight celebrity residents of Laurel Canyon listed by the Association, fully half died under questionable circumstances, and three of the four did so on days with occult significance. While Bessie Love, Norman Kerry, Richard Dix and Clara Bow all lived long and healthy lives, Ramon Navarro, as we have already seen, was ritually murdered in his home on Laurel Canyon Boulevard on the eve of Halloween, 1968. Nearly a half-century earlier, on January 18, 1923, matinee idol Wallace Reid was found dead in a padded cell at the mental institution to which he had been confined. Just thirty-one years old, Reid’s death was attributed to morphine addiction, though it was never explained how he would have fed that habit while confined to a cell in a mental hospital.
Tom Mix died on a lonely stretch of Arizona highway in the proverbial single-car crash on October 12, 1940 (the birthday of notorious occultist Aleister Crowley), when he quite unexpectedly encountered some temporary construction barricades that had been set up alongside a reportedly washed-out bridge.
Harry Houdini died on Halloween day, 1926, purportedly of an attack of appendicitis precipitated by a blow to the stomach. The problem with that story, however, is that medical science now recognizes it to be an impossibility.
Houdini’s death, on October 31, 1926, came exactly eight years after the first death to occur in what would become known as the “Houdini house.”
early 1920s, during a brief movie career in which he starred in a handful of Hollywood films. A key scene in one of those films, “The Grim Game,” was reportedly shot at the top of Lookout Mountain, near where the Lookout Inn then stood.
On October 31, 1959, precisely thirty-three years after Houdini’s death, and forty-one years after the unnamed party guest’s death, the distinctive mansion on the corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Willow Glen Road burned to the ground in a fire of mysterious origin (the ruins of the estate remain today, undisturbed for nearly fifty years).
On October 31, 1981, exactly twenty-two years after the fire across the road, the legendary Log Cabin on the other side of Laurel Canyon Boulevard also burned to the ground, in yet another fire of mysterious origin (some reports speculated that it was a drug lab explosion).
And twenty-five years after that, on October 31, 2006, The Secret Life of Houdini was published, challenging the conventional wisdom on Houdini’s death.
the book revealed for the first time: Harry Houdini was a spook working for both the U.S. Secret Service and Scotland Yard. And his traveling escape act, as it turns out, was pretty much a cover for intelligence activities.
compellingly document that Houdini was, in fact, an intelligence asset who used his magic act as a cover. Not only did the authors obtain corroborating documentation from Scotland Yard, they also received an endorsement of their claim from no less an authority than John McLaughlin, former Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
of the eight celebrity residents of Laurel Canyon listed on the Laurel Canyon Association website, at least two (Novarro and Houdini), and possibly as many as four, were murdered.
Lookout Mountain Laboratory was originally envisioned as an air defense center. Built in 1941 and nestled in two-and-a-half secluded acres off what is now Wonderland Park Avenue, the installation was hidden from view and surrounded by an electrified fence. By 1947, the facility featured a fully operational movie studio. In fact, it is claimed that it was perhaps the world’s only completely self-contained movie studio. With 100,000 square feet of floor space, the covert studio included sound stages, screening rooms, film processing labs, editing facilities, an animation department, and seventeen climate-controlled film vaults. It also had underground parking, a helicopter pad and a bomb shelter.
the studio produced some 19,000 classified motion pictures
the facility was run by the U.S. Air Force
process AEC footage of atomic and nuclear bomb tests.
indications that Lookout Mountain Laboratory had an advanced research and development department that was on the cutting edge of new film technologies
3-D effects were apparently first developed at the Laurel Canyon site
Hollywood luminaries like John Ford, Jimmy Stewart, Howard Hawks, Ronald Reagan, Bing Crosby, Walt Disney and Marilyn Monroe were given clearance to work at the facility on undisclosed projects.
The facility retained as many as 250 producers, directors, technicians, editors, animators, etc., both civilian and military, all with top security clearances – and all reporting to work in a secluded corner of Laurel Canyon.
the secret bunker had been up and running for more than twenty years before Laurel Canyon’s rebellious teen years, and it remained operational for the most turbulent of those years
The existence of the facility remained unknown to the general public until the early 1990s
In the 1950s, as Barney Hoskyns has written in Hotel California, Laurel Canyon was home to all “the hippest young actors,”
Marlon Brando, James Dean, James Coburn and Dennis Hopper.
Natalie Wood. In fact, Natalie lived in the very home that Cass Elliot would later turn into a Laurel Canyon party house
Sal Mineo, lived at the mouth of the canyon
Nick Adams, lived just a mile or so away (as the crow flies) in neighboring Coldwater Canyon.
With the exception of Hopper, all of their lives were tragically cut short, proving once again that Laurel Canyon can be a very dangerous place to live.
James Dean, who ostensibly died in a near head-on collision on September 30, 1955, at the tender age of twenty-four
Nick Adams died on February 6, 1968, at the age of thirty-six, in his home at 2126 El Roble Lane in Coldwater Canyon. His official cause of death was listed as suicide, of course, but as actor Forrest Tucker has noted, “All of Hollywood knows Nick Adams was knocked off.”
Sal Mineo, whose murder on February 12, 1976 we have already covered.
Natalie Wood, who died on November 29, 1981 in a drowning incident that has never been adequately explained
famous former residents of the canyon also includes the names of W.C. Fields, Mary Astor, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Errol Flynn, Orson Welles, and Robert Mitchum
Robert Mitchum, who was infamously arrested on marijuana charges in 1948 at 8334 Ridpath Drive, the same street that would later be home to rockers Roger McGuinn, Don Henley and Glen Frey, as well as to Paul Rothchild, producer of both The Doors and Love. Mitchum’s arrest, by the way, appears to have been a thoroughly staged affair that cemented his ‘Hollywood bad boy’ image and gave his career quite a boost, but I guess that’s not really relevant here.
science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein, who reportedly resided at 8775 Lookout Mountain Avenue. Like so many other characters in this story, Heinlein was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and he had served as a naval officer. After that, he embarked on a successful writing career. And despite the fact that he was, by any objective measure, a rabid right-winger, his work was warmly embraced by the Flower Power generation.
Heinlein’s best-known work is the novel Stranger in a Strange Land, which many in the Laurel Canyon scene found to be hugely influential. Ed Sanders has written, in The Family, that the book “helped provide a theoretical basis for Manson’s family.” Charlie frequently used Strange Land terminology when addressing his flock and he named his first Family-born son Valentine Michael Manson, in honor of the book’s lead character.
David Crosby was a big Heinlein fan as well. In his autobiography, he references Heinlein on more than one occasion, and proclaims that, “In a society where people can go armed, it makes everybody a little more polite, as Robert A. Heinlein says in his books.
Frank Zappa was also a member of the Robert Heinlein fan club. Barry Miles notes in his biography of the rock icon that his home contained “a copy of Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince and other essential sixties reading, including Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi classic, Stranger in a Strange Land, from which Zappa borrowed the word ‘discorporate’ for [the song] ‘Absolutely Free.’”
Laurel Canyon era that we are primarily concerned with, the wild and wooly 1960s, which we will take a closer look at in the next chapter of this saga.
We have learned that murder and random acts of violence have been a part of the culture of the canyon since the earliest days of its development.
spooks posing as entertainers have likewise been a part of the canyon scene since the earliest days
spooks who didn’t even bother to pose as entertainers were streaming into the canyon to report to work at Lookout Mountain Laboratory for at least twenty years before the first rock star set foot there.
we are supposed to believe that all of these musical icons just sort of spontaneously came together in Laurel Canyon (one finds the words “serendipitous” sprinkled freely throughout the literature). But how many peculiar coincidences do we have to overlook in order to believe that this was just a chance gathering?
(Jim Morrison) find yourself fronting a band that is on the verge of taking the country by storm. Just a mile or so down Laurel Canyon Boulevard from you lives another guy who also recently arrived in Laurel Canyon, and who also happens to front a band on the verge of stardom.
(David Crosby) He happens to be married to a girl that you attended kindergarten with, and her dad, like yours, was involved in atomic weapons research and testing (Admiral George Morrison for a time did classified work at White Sands). Her husband’s dad, meanwhile, is involved in another type of WMD research: chemical warfare.
almost all of you hail from (or spent a substantial portion of your childhood in) the Washington, D.C. area
now find yourselves on the opposite side of the country, in an isolated canyon high above the city of Los Angeles, where you are all clustered around a secret military installation.
background in research on atomic weapons, your father is probably familiar to some extent with the existence and operations of Lookout Mountain Laboratory, as is the father of your kindergarten friend, and probably the fathers of a few other Laurel Canyon figures as well.
what do you suppose the odds are that all of that just came together purely by chance?
“Vito and his Freakers were an acid-drenched extended family of brain-damaged cohabitants.” And that, in an incredibly self-indulgent 489-page tome, is the only mention you will find of “Vito and his Freakers” – despite the fact that, by just about all other accounts, the group dismissed as “brain-damaged cohabitants” played a key role in the early success of Crosby’s band. And the early success of Arthur Lee’s band. And the early success of Frank Zappa’s band. And the early success of Jim Morrison’s band. But especially in the early success of David Crosby’s band.
Sunset Strip clubs when The Byrds played: “We had them all. We had Jack Nicholson dancing, we had Peter Fonda dancing with Odetta, we had Vito and his Freakers.”
“The Byrds were closely associated with Vito and the Freaks: Vito Paulekas, his wife Zsou and Karl Franzoni, the leaders of a group of about 35 dancers whose antics enlivened the Byrds early gigs.”
In Waiting for the Sun, Barney Hoskyns writes that the early success of The Byrds and other bands was due in no small part to “the roving troupe of self-styled ‘freaks’ led by ancient beatnik Vito Paulekas and his trusty, lusty sidekick Carl Franzoni.”
Alban “Snoopy” Pfisterer, former drummer and keyboardist for the band Love, went further still, claiming that Vito actually “got the Byrds together, as I remember – they did a lot of rehearsing at his pad.”
The Byrds did indeed utilize Vito’s ‘pad’ as a rehearsal studio, as did Arthur Lee’s band
the Freaks drew the crowds into the clubs to see the fledgling bands perform.
“The first hippies in Hollywood, perhaps the first hippies anywhere, were Vito, his wife Zsou, Captain Fuck and their group of about thirty-five dancers. Calling themselves Freaks, they lived a semi-communal life and engaged in sex orgies and free-form dancing whenever they could.”
they “started the whole hippie thing: Vito, Karl, Szou, Beatle Bob, Bryan and me.”
They were let in for free, because they were these quintessential hippies, which was great for tourists.”
Vito Paulekas, whose full name is said to have been Vitautus Alphonsus Paulekas. Born the son of a Lithuanian sausage-maker circa 1912, Vito hailed from Lowell, Massachusetts. From a young age, he developed a habit of running afoul of the law.
In 1938, he was convicted of armed robbery and handed a 25-year sentence
1942, however, just four years later, he had been released into the custody, so to speak, of the US Merchant Marine
1946, Vito arrived in Los Angeles.
by the early 1960s, Vito was ensconced in an unassuming building at the corner of Laurel Avenue and Beverly Boulevard, just below the mouth of Laurel Canyon (and very near Jay Sebring’s hair salon).
his young wife Szou’s clothing boutique, which has been credited by some of those making the scene in those days with being the very first to introduce ‘hippie’ fashions
“Vito Clay” studio, where, according to Miles and various others, Paulekas “made a living of sorts by giving clay modeling lessons to Beverly Hills matrons who found the atmosphere in his studio exciting.”
Vito’s reportedly insatiable sexual appetite and John Holmesian physique.
Vito’s students also apparently included such Hollywood luminaries as Jonathon Winters, Mickey Rooney and Steve Allen.
Carl Orestes Franzoni, he has claimed in interviews that his “mother was a countess” and his father “was a stone carver from Rutland, Vermont. The family was brought from Italy, from the quarries in the northern part of Italy, to cut the stone for the monuments of the United States.”
went into business with some shady Sicilian characters selling mail-order breast and penis pumps out of an address on LA’s fabled Melrose Avenue.
Franzoni remembered it, his business “partner’s name was Scallacci, Joe Scallacci – the same name as the famous murderer Scallacci. Probably from the same family.”
Franzoni, born circa 1934, hooked up with the older Paulekas sometime around 1963 and soon after became his constant sidekick
Carl Franzoni, there were indeed a couple of brothers named Franzoni who were brought over from Italy in the early 1800s to carve the Masonic monuments of Washington. According to Ihna Thayer Frary’s book, They Built the Capitol, Guiseppe Franzoni (and his brother Carlo) “had especially good family connections in Italy, he being a nephew of Cardinal Franzoni and son of the President of the Academy of Fine Arts at Carrara.” Also shipped over were Francisco Iardella, a cousin of the Franzoni brothers, and Giovanni Andrei, a brother-in-law of Guiseppe Franzoni. Thus far, I have been unable to verify that Carl Franzoni is in fact descended from these men, but it seems quite likely given that Carl would probably not be aware of such an obscure chapter of American history were it not for a family connection.
Vito’s wife Szou, an ex-cheerleader who had hooked up with Paulekas when she was just sixteen and he was already in his fifties.
young Rory Flynn (Errol Flynn’s statuesque daughter),
Ricky Applebaum who had half a moustache on one side of his face and half a beard on the other,
young girls who would later become part of Frank Zappa’s GTO project,
other oddball characters who donned ridiculous pseudonyms like Linda Bopp, Butchie, Beatle Bob, Emerald, and Karen Yum Yum.
young Gail Sloatman (the future Mrs. Zappa, for those who have already forgotten)
a curious character on the LA music scene by the name of Kim Fowley. The two were, for a time, closely allied, and even cut a record together as “Bunny and the Bear” that Fowley produced (“America’s Sweethearts”). In 1966, Fowley produced a record for Vito as well, billed as “Vito and the Hands.” The 7” single, “Where It’s At,” which featured the musicianship of some of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, came no closer to entering the charts than did Fowley and Sloatman’s effort
Fowley, as with so many other characters in this story, has a rather interesting history. He was born in 1939, the son of actor Douglas Fowley, a WWII Navy veteran and attendee of St. Francis Xavier Military Academy.
He grew up in upscale Malibu, California
his later employment as a young male street hustler, a profession that he practiced on the seedy streets of the city of angels (by Fowley’s own account, I should probably add here, just as it was James Dean himself who claimed to have worked those same streets with Nick Adams).
Fowley spent some time serving with the Army National Guard
after which he devoted his life to working in the LA music industry as a musician, writer and producer – as well as, according to some accounts, a master manipulator.
Around 1957, Fowley played in a band known as the Sleepwalkers, alongside future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston.
Fowley was best known for producing such ridiculous yet beloved novelty songs as the Hollywood Argyles’ “Alley Oop” and the Rivington’s “Papa Oom-Mow-Mow,”
collaborating on some Byrds’ tracks
his original songs covered by both the Beach Boys and the Flying Burrito Brothers.
In 1975, Fowley had perhaps his greatest success when he created the Runaways, further lowering the bar that Frank Zappa had already set rather low some years earlier when he had created and recorded the GTOs. The Runaways featured underage versions of Joan Jett and Lita Ford, whom Fowley tastefully attired in leather and lingerie. As he would later boast, “Everyone loved the idea of 16-year-old girls playing guitars and singing about fucking.” Especially, I would imagine, their mothers and fathers. Some of the young girls in the band, including Cherie Curry, would later accuse Fowley of requiring them to perform sexual services for he and his associates as a prerequisite for membership in the group.
he received a guest vocalist credit on the Mothers of Invention album “Freak Out,” as did both Vito Paulekas and his sidekick, Carl Franzoni, to whom the song “Hungry Freaks, Daddy” was dedicated (some sources claim that Bobby Beausoleil also provided guest vocals on Zappa’s debut album, though his name does not appear in the album’s credits).
1962, not long before Carl Franzoni joined the group, the Freak troupe was already hitting the clubs a couple nights each week to refine their unique style of dance (perhaps best described as an epileptic seizure set to music) and show off their distinctively unappealing, though soon to be quite popular, fashion sense
Franzoni has said, “There were no white bands [in LA] yet,” and “There were no clubs on Sunset Boulevard.”
by magic, new clubs began to spring up along the legendary Sunset Strip beginning around 1964
old clubs considered to be long past their prime miraculously reemerged
January 1964, a young Chicago vice cop named Elmer Valentine opened the doors to the now world-famous Whisky-A-Go-Go nightclub
year later, in spring of 1965, he opened a second soon-to-be-wildly-popular club, The Trip
end of 1964, the legendary Ciro’s nightclub began undergoing extensive renovations. Opened in 1940 by Billy Wilkerson, an associate of Bugsy Siegel, the upscale club had flourished for the first twenty years of its existence, with a clientele that regularly included Hollywood royalty and organized crime figures
Ciro’s reopened in early 1965, just before The Trip opened its doors and just in time, as it turns out, to host the very first club appearance by the musical act that was about to become the first Laurel Canyon band to commit a song to vinyl: The Byrds.
Smaller clubs like the London Fog, where The Doors got their first booking as the house band in early 1966, opened their doors to the public in the mid 1960s as well.
The paint was barely dry on the walls of the new clubs when bands like Love and The Doors and The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield and the Turtles and the Mothers and the Lovin’ Spoonful came knocking.
the band members themselves didn’t actually play on their records (at least not in the early days),
the rich vocal harmonies that were a trademark of the ‘Laurel Canyon sound’ were created in the studio with a good deal of multi-tracking and overdubs. On stage, it was another matter entirely.
Vito and Carl’s dancers were a fixture on the Sunset Strip scene from the very moment that the new clubs opened their doors to the public, and they were, by all accounts, treated like royalty by the club owners. As John Hartmann, proprietor of the Kaleidoscope Club, acknowledged, he “would let Vito and his dancers into the Kaleidoscope free every week because they attracted people. They were really hippies, and so we had to have them. They got in free pretty much everywhere they went. They blessed your joint. They validated you. If they’re the essence of hippiedom and you’re trying to be a hippie nightclub, you need hippies.”
Kim Fowley put it, with characteristic bluntness, “A band didn’t have to be good, as long as the dancers were there.”
Gail Zappa candidly admitted that, even at her husband’s shows, the real attraction was not on the stage: “The customers came to see the freaks dance. Nobody ever talks about that, but that was the case.”
Frank added that, “As soon as they arrived they would make things happen, because they were dancing in a way nobody had seen before, screaming and yelling out on the floor and doing all kinds of weird things. They were dressed in a way that nobody could believe, and they gave life to everything that was going on.”
Vito and Carl seem to have become minor media darlings over the course of the 1960s and into the 1970s. The two can be seen, separately and together, in a string of cheap exploitation films, including Mondo Bizarro from 1966, Something’s Happening (aka The Hippie Revolt) from 1967, the notorious Mondo Hollywood, also released in 1967, and You Are What You Eat, with David Crosby, Frank Zappa and Tiny Tim, which hit theaters in 1968. In 1972, Vito made his acting debut in a non-documentary film, The White Horse Gang.
Vito operated “the first crash pad in LA, an open house to countless runaways where everyone was welcome for a night, particularly young women.
mid 1960s, the group had expanded into a second communal location in addition to the basement studio at 303 Laurel Avenue: the ubiquitous Log Cabin.
architect Robert Byrd and his son built a new guesthouse (aka ‘the treehouse’) on the property in the early 1960s, and “The following year, a communal family of weirdos moved into the cabin and treehouse, centered around two underground hipsters named Vito Paulekas and Carl Franzoni, organizers of freeform dance troupes at clubs along the Sunset Strip.”
1967, the dancers were splitting “their rent with staff from the hippie publication The Oracle. Retired journalist John Bilby recalls at least 36 people living and partying at the Log Cabin and treehouse, including the band Fraternity of Man. ‘Tim Leary was definitely there, George Harrison and Ravi Shankar were there,’ Bilby says.”
the Fraternity of Man were best known for the novelty song, “Don’t Bogart Me,”
Tim Leary was best known for being a painfully obvious CIA asset
The Oracle was a San Francisco-based publication with intelligence ties that specialized in pitching psychedelic occultism to impressionable youth.
“Franzoni’s commune ended in May 1968,” as that was when The Oracle moved out and our old friend Frank Zappa moved in.
The lead Mother “had visited Karl at the log cabin on a previous trip and realized it was perfect for his needs.”
Frank, since he was already living in the canyon at the home of Pamela Zarubica (aka Suzy Creamcheese) at 8404 Kirkwood Drive, where Zappa had met his new wife, Gail, and where Gail’s old kindergarten pal, James Douglas Morrison, was known to occasionally pass the time. Ms. Zarubica/Creamcheese was yet another member of Vito’s dance troupe.
Frank Zappa took over as ringmaster, to be sure, but Franzoni and all his cohorts stayed on.
the Freak dancers became so closely associated with the Mothers of Invention that “they got dubbed as ‘the Mothers Auxiliary’
angelic hippie child that the readers of Life magazine met in 1966, and who we now must sadly add to the Laurel Canyon Death List. For young Godot Paulekas, you see, never made it past the age of three (by most accounts). The specifics of the tragedy are all but impossible to determine, unfortunately, as there is little agreement in the various accounts of the event. Left unclear is exactly how the child died, when the tragedy occurred, and what age the boy was.
“Vito and Szou’s three-year-old son Godo had fallen through a trapdoor on the roof of the building and died.”
“two or three” year old Godot “fall[ing] to his death from a scaffold at the studio.”
“a 5-year-old boy” who died when he “fell through a skylight.”
Godot, fell through a skylight during a wacky photo session on the roof and died at age three-and-a-half.”
“[Vito] got married, had a baby, gave it acid, and it fell off the roof and died.”
“Godo” Paulekas, he inserted the following caption: “Died age 2 – victim of medical malpractice.”
Vito and Szou insisted on continuing our plans for the evening. We went out dancing, and when people asked where little Godot was, Vito said, ‘He died today.’ It was weird, really weird.”
Godo Paulekas. Born on December 1, 1963, Godo died on December 23, 1966, having just made it past his third birthday. December 23 was, curiously enough, the winter solstice (or very close to it). And it wasn’t just any winter solstice, mind you, but specifically the first winter solstice in the Age of Satan (as declared by Kenneth Anger’s buddy, Anton LaVey, on April 30, 1966). The date of his death also means that young Godo died less than 48 hours before Christmas morning, and yet his parents still thought it a good time to go out dancing.
Vito and Sueanne divorced in Northern California in March of 1975. Before doing so, they produced several more children, each given increasingly ridiculous names. Gruvi Nipples Paulekas was born on June 23, 1967, exactly six months after Godo’s death and, therefore, very near the summer solstice. Bp Paulekas was born on December 29, 1969, just days after the third anniversary of Godo’s death. Bizarrely enough, Sky Paulekas was born on December 1, 1971, on what would have been Godo’s eighth birthday. Last but certainly not least, Phreekus Mageekus Paulekas was born on January 28, 1974, a little over a year before Vito and Sueanne divorced. According to one report, Gruvi has joined Godo in the great beyond, a victim of her voracious appetite for drugs and alcohol.
“[Kenneth Anger’s] first candidate to play Lucifer, a 5-year-old boy whose hippie parents had been fixtures on the Los Angeles counterculture scene, fell through a skylight to his death. By 1967, Anger had relocated to San Francisco and was searching for a new Lucifer.” As many readers may be aware, he soon found his new Lucifer in the form of Mansonite and former Grass Roots guitarist Bobby “Cupid” Beausoleil.
so it was that the soon-to-be convicted murderer replaced the cherubic hippie child as the face of Lucifer.
Kenneth Anger was at one time investigated by the police on suspicion that he had been producing snuff flicks
Vito Deported Late 1968..
Haiti that Vito appears to have fled to, and then to Jamaica (which at the time had no extradition treaty with the United States), accompanied by his wife Szou and their new baby daughter Groovee Nipple (or possibly Gruvi Nipple; does anyone really care which is the proper spelling?
1968, Carl Franzoni, meanwhile, became embroiled in some unspecified legal troubles of his own and went into hiding, resurfacing in Canada by some reports
Frank Zappa moved on to yet another location in Laurel Canyon, a high-security home on Woodrow Wilson Drive.
Late 1968, the Manson Family came calling at the Log Cabin: “One former Manson family associate claims that a group of four to six family members lived on Laurel Canyon Boulevard in the log cabin house once owned by cowboy-actor Tom Mix.
Manson also came calling at the Vito Clay studio on Laurel Avenue: “Applebaum took over Vito’s place when Vito vacated at Beverly and Laurel. So he inherited all the people that came after that … he was the beginning of the Manson clan. Manson came there because he had heard about Vito but Vito was gone.”
Charles Manson was little more than a younger version of Vito Paulekas.
David Crosby had “taken to wearing an Oscar Wilde/Frank Lloyd Wright-ish cape wherever he went.”
The Process launched a major recruiting drive in the United States. They were in Los Angeles in May and June of 1968 and for at least several months in the fall of 1969.” The Processians, it should be noted, were instantly recognizable on the streets of LA due to the fact that they had a curious habit of donning black capes wherever they went.
“Vito was just like Frank, he never got high either. They were both ringmasters who always wanted to be in control.”
“Zappa children watched porn with their parents and were encouraged in their own sexuality as soon as they reached puberty.
Gail insisted they shower with their overnight guests in order to conserve water.”
early 1970s, Vito Paulekas had resurfaced up north in Cotati, California, with Carl Franzoni once again at his side
Szou eventually split from Vito and went to work for an attorney, leaving the hippie life (and hopefully the “Z” in her name) behind.
Franzoni, meanwhile, turned up now and then on that early version of America’s Got Talent known as The Gong Show (apparently as one of the ‘Worm Dancers’).
Chuck Barris, who famously claimed that during the days when he appeared to be working as a mild-mannered game show producer, he was actually on the payroll of the CIA,
“Chucky Baby” was at one time a resident of – guess where? – Laurel Canyon (though I have not been able to confirm that).
Log Cabin - Eric Burden of the Animals moved in after Zappa vacated and the property continued to be communally occupied.
Log Cabin - remained something of a commune throughout the 1970s, quite possibly right up until the time that it burned to the ground on October 31, 1981
Log Cabin - Who paid the rent is anybody’s guess – as is why such a prestigious property seems to have been made available for dirt cheap to pretty much any “communal family of weirdos” who wanted to move in.
“Young Turks.” in Laurel Canyon - Sunset Strip - Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper and Warren Beatty, along with their female counterparts like Jane Fonda, Nancy Sinatra and Sharon Tate.
young and glamorous Hollywood stars forged very close bonds with the Laurel Canyon musicians.
Peter Fonda, found homes in the canyon so that they could live, work and party among the rock stars (and, in their free time, pass around John Phillips’ wife to just about every swinging dick in the canyon, including Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Warren Beatty, Roman Polanski, and Gene Clark of The Byrds).
Jack Nicholson to this day lives in a spacious estate just off the portion of Mulholland Drive that lies between Laurel Canyon and Coldwater Canyon
Not far west of Nicholson’s property (which now includes the neighboring estate formerly owned by Marlon Brando) sits the longtime home of Warren Beatty.
the symbiotic relationship between Laurel Canyon actors and Laurel Canyon musicians arose a series of feature films that are now considered counter-cultural classics. One such film was 1967’s The Trip, an unintentionally hilarious attempt to create a cinematic facsimile of an LSD trip. Written by, of all people, Jack Nicholson, the movie starred fellow Turks Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Bruce Dern. Seated in the director’s chair was Roger Corman, who, throughout his career, worked side-by-side with David Crosby’s dad on no less than twenty-three feature films.
The house where most of the film was shot, at the top of Kirkwood Drive in Laurel Canyon, was the home of Love’s Arthur Lee.
Another ‘psychedelic’ cult film of the late 1960s with deep roots in Laurel Canyon was the Monkee’s 1968 big-screen offering, Head. Also scripted by Nicholson (with assistance from Bob Rafelson), the movie included cameo appearances by canyon dwellers Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson and Frank Zappa.
1968’s wretched Psych Out (starring Nicholson and Dern).
"The Monkee's" - were fully accepted as members of the musical fraternity by the other Laurel Canyon bands. The homes of both Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork were popular canyon hangouts in the late ‘60s for a number of ‘real’ musicians. Also regularly dropping by Dolenz’ party house were Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson.
the very same studio musicians who appeared without credit on The Monkee’s albums also appeared without credit on their albums
Laurel Canyon’s ‘real’ musicians had taken a stab at being a part of The Monkees, including Steven Stills, Love’s Bryan MacLean, and Three Dog Night’s Danny Hutton – all of whom answered the Monkees’ casting call and were rejected.
Easy Rider. Directed (sort of) by Dennis Hopper, from a script co-written by he and Peter Fonda, the film starred Fonda and Hopper along with Jack Nicholson (the only one in the movie who did anything resembling actual acting).
Hopper’s walrus-mustachioed character in the film was based on David Crosby, who was regularly seen racing his motorcycle up and down the winding streets of Laurel Canyon (that motorcycle, by the way, had been a gift from Crosby’s good buddy, Peter Fonda).
Fonda’s absurd ‘Captain America’ character was inspired either by John Phillips’ riding partner, Gram Parsons, or by Crosby’s former bandmate in The Byrds, Roger McGuinn (depending upon who is telling the story.)
Roger McGuinn scored the original music for the film. His contributions were joined on the soundtrack by offerings from fellow Canyonite musicians The Byrds, Steppenwolf, Fraternity of Man and Jimi Hendrix.
And the movie’s hippie commune was reportedly created and filmed in the canyons, near Mulholland Drive.
art director Jeremy Kay, aka Jerry Kay. Before Easy Rider, Kay had worked on such cinematic abominations as Angels from Hell, Hells Angels on Wheels (with Jack Nicholson), and Scorpio Rising (Kenneth Anger’s occult-tinged homage to gay bikers). In the mid-1970s, Kay would write, direct and produce a charming little film entitled Satan’s Children.
his membership in the 1960s in a group known as the Solar Lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis (or OTO), which found itself in the news, and not in a good way, just after Easy Rider opened on theater screens across America.
Two weeks after Easy Rider premiered on July 14, 1969, police acting on a phone tip raided the Solar Lodge’s compound near Blythe, California and found a six-year-old boy locked outdoors in a 6’x6’ wooden crate in the sweltering desert heat. The young boy, whose father was a Los Angeles County probation officer (as was Michelle Phillip’s father, by the way), had been chained to a steel plate for nearly two months in temperatures reaching as high as 117° F.
The leader of the cult, Georgina Brayton, had reportedly told cult members that “when it was convenient, she was going to give [the boy] LSD and set fire to the structure in which he was chained and give him just enough chain to get out of reach of the fire.” Killing the child had also been discussed (and apparently condoned by the boy’s mind-fucked mother).
vehemently denied by concerned parties, various sources have claimed that Manson had ties to the group, which also maintained a home near the USC campus in Los Angeles
The massacre at the Tate residence occurred less than two weeks after the raid on the OTO compound.
Manson’s Barker Ranch hideout would be raided a few months later, on October 12, 1969 – the birthday, as I may have already mentioned, of Aleister Crowley, the Grand Poobah of the OTO until his death in 1947.
Turks were a fully integrated part of the Laurel Canyon/Sunset Strip scene, and also that they played an important role in luring the public out to the new clubs to check out the new bands
Mr. Bruce Dern, who has some of the most provocative connections of any of the characters in this story.
Bruce’s paternal grandfather was a guy by the name of George Dern, who served as Secretary of War under President Franklin Roosevelt
George had also served as Governor of Utah and Chairman of the National Governors’ Association
Bruce’s mother was born Jean MacLeish, and she happened to be the sister of Archibald MacLeish, who also served under Franklin Roosevelt, as the Director of the War Department’s Office of Facts and Figures and as the Assistant Director of the Office of War Information. Membership in everyone’s favorite secret society, Skull and Bones (class of 1915, one year before Prescott Bush was tapped in 1916).
Mr. Peter Fonda.son of good ol’ Hank Fonda
that Hank served as a decorated US Naval Intelligence officer during World War II
Hank’s wife, Francis Ford Seymour, was found with her throat slashed open with a straight razor. Peter was just ten years old at the time of his mother’s, uhmm, suicide on April 14, 1950. When Seymour had met and married Hank, she was the widow of George Brokaw, who had, curiously enough, previously been married to prominent CIA asset Claire Booth Luce.
within eight months he was married once again, to Susan Blanchard, to whom he remained married until 1956. In 1957, Hank married yet again, this time to Italian Countess Afdera Franchetti (who followed up her four-year marriage to Fonda with a rumored affair with newly-sworn-in President John Kennedy). Franchetti, as it turns out, is the daughter of Baron Raimondo Franchetti, who was a consultant to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. The countess is also the great-granddaughter of Louise Sarah Rothschild, of the ever-popular Rothschild banking family (perhaps you’ve heard of them?)
Henry Fonda scored his first acting gig through Dorothy “Dodie” Brando, the director of a local theater and the mother of Jack Nicholson’s future neighbor, Marlon Brando. Being the small world that it is, Marlon’s mom happened to be a good friend of Hank’s mom, Elma Fonda. Truth be told, the families had likely had close ties for a long time. A very long time. The ancestors of both Marlon Brando and Henry Fonda, you see, arrived in New York at nearly the same time, roughly three-and-a-half centuries ago.
Henry Fonda, on the other hand, is a direct descendent of Jellis Douw Fonda and Hester Jans Fonda, Dutch colonists who arrived in New York circa 1650 and settled near what would become Albany. The Fondas had sailed out of Friesland, Netherlands on a ship dubbed the Valckenier, which happened to be co-owned by a very wealthy Dutchman by the name of Jan-Baptist van Rensselaer. And Mr. van Rensselaer, as those who have been paying attention in class will recall, happened to be from the bloodline that would one day produce a guy by the name of David van Cortland Crosby.
Hopper’s dad was “a working person in intelligence” who during WWII “was in the OSS. He was in China, Burma, India.” Hopper has proudly proclaimed that his father “was one of the 100 guys that liberated General Wainright out of prison in Korea,” which might be a little more impressive were it not for the fact that it was actually the Red Army that freed Wainright and other prisoners; the US intel team just came to pick them up, debrief them and transport them home … but that, I suppose, isn’t really relevant.
his dad carried a gun, which I suppose is what most lay ministers in the Methodist Church do
The family also left the farm in Kansas and relocated to San Diego, California, home of the Imperial Beach Naval Air Station, the United States Naval Radio Station, the United States Naval Amphibious Base, the North Island Naval Air Station, Fort Rosecrans Military Reservation, the United States Naval Training Center, the United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot, and the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station. And just north of the city sits the massive Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. Other than that though, San Diego is just a sleepy little beach town where Hopper’s dad ostensibly worked for the Post Office.
proudly boasts of having voted a straight Republican ticket for nearly thirty years.
we have found that one of them is the nephew of a Bonesman, another is the son of a Naval Intelligence officer who was once married to a Rothschild descendent, and the third is the slightly deranged son of an OSS officer.
Sharon Tate was the daughter of Lt. Col. Paul Tate, a career US Army intelligence officer
Nancy Sinatra is, of course, the daughter of Francis Albert Sinatra, whose known associates included Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Sam Giancana, Carlo Gambino, Goetano Luchese and Joseph Fishetti (a cousin of Al Capone).
Frank Sinatra was also a client of hairdresser-to-the-stars Jay Sebring, as was Henry Fonda, who also at one time, strangely enough, lived in the guesthouse at 10050 Cielo Drive. Yet another client of Sebring’s was the next Young Turk on our list, Warren Beatty
father, Ira Owens Beaty, was ostensibly a professor of psychology. Young Warren, however, spent all of his early years living in various spooky suburbs of Washington, DC. He was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1937, after which his father moved the family to Norfolk, Virginia, which I think I may have mentioned is home to the world’s largest Naval facility (the reason for that, by the way, is that Norfolk is the gateway to the nation’s capital).
The family later relocated to Arlington, Virginia, home of the Pentagon, where Warren attended high school and where
he was known on the football field, as John Phillips (who attended a rival school) remembers it, as ‘Mad Dog’ Beaty.
If Ira Beaty was on the payroll of some government entity, working within the psychology departments of various DC-area universities, then it wouldn’t require a huge leap of faith to further speculate about what type of work he was doing, given the wholesale co-opting of the field of psychology by the MK-ULTRA program and affiliated projects.
Mr. Jack Nicholson
I accidentally cut and pasted ‘serial killer’ Ted Bundy’s bio instead of Jack Nicholson’s.
He grew up believing his mother June Francis Nicholson to be his older sister
The identity of his father remains a mystery
Jack Nicholson has no birth certificate.
no way to determine who Jack Nicholson really is.
1960s clique known as the Young Turks (and Turkettes) was composed of the following individuals: the nephew of a Bonesman; the son of an OSS officer; the son of a Naval intelligence officer; the daughter of that same Naval intelligence officer; the daughter of an Army intelligence officer; the daughter of a guy who openly associated with prominent gangsters throughout his life; the son of a probable spychologist; and a guy whose early years are so shrouded in mystery that he may or may not actually exist.
Brando is in a direct line of descent from French Huguenot colonists Louis
DuBois and Catharine Blanchan DuBois, who arrived in New York from Mannheim,
Germany circa 1660 and promptly founded New Rochelle. Other descendents of
DuBois include former U.S. Senator Leverett Saltonstall, former
Massachusetts Governor and CFR member William Weld, current California First
Lady Maria Shriver, and quite likely U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and
We know that one subset of residents was a large group of musicians who all decided, nearly simultaneously, to flood into the canyon.
The most prominent members of this group were, to an overwhelming degree, the sons and daughters of the military/intelligence community
We also know that mingled in with them were the young stars of Hollywood, who also were, to an astonishing degree, the sons and daughters of the military/intelligence community.
we know that also in the mix were scores of military/intelligence personnel who operated out of the facility known as Lookout Mountain Laboratory.
Laurel Canyon was a portal of child pornography, which of course goes hand-in-hand with the reports that we have already reviewed of organized, multi-perpetrator child sexual abuse
the top law-enforcement officials in the nation were also a part of the Laurel Canyon scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s, along with various other unnamed persons of prominence.
we also have that long and bloody Laurel Canyon Death List, which, in the next installment, is going to get even longer, and even bloodier.
most infamous male madam [throughout LA’s sordid history]
wealthy son of an oil magnate
part-time producer of gay porn
Bryars was said to have a stellar group of customers using his ‘brothel’ at the summit of Laurel Canyon
J. Edgar Hoover, the founder and chief executive officer of the FBI, was one of his best clients
police scrutiny in 1973, allegedly for trafficking in child pornography
confessions from some of his hustlers, and some of them identified Hoover and [Clyde] Tolson as ‘Mother John and Uncle Mike,’ and claimed that they had serviced them on numerous occasions.”
Alex Abella “has written a history of RAND, which was founded more than 60 years ago by the Air Force as a font of ideas on how that service might fight and win a nuclear war with the USSR … Abella focuses on Albert Wohlstetter, a mathematical logician turned nuclear strategist who was the dominant figure at Rand starting in the early 1950s and whose influence has extended beyond his death in 1997 into the current Bush administration … Wohlstetter epitomized what became known as the ‘RAND approach’ -- a relentlessly reductive, determinedly quantitative analysis of whatever problem the independent, non-profit think tank was assigned, whether the design of a new bomber or improving public education in inner-city schools.”
In the latter half of the 1950s and the early 1960s, while Wohlstetter was with the RAND corporation and also a professor at UCLA (and while his wife Roberta also worked as an analyst for RAND), Albert and his followers – the men who now serve as the apparent architects of US foreign policy – regularly met in a heavily wooded neighborhood in Los Angeles known as … actually, I think I’m going to defer back to the Washington Post’s book review and let journalist Gregg Herken tell you how “those bright, eager and ambitious young men … had sat cross-legged on the floor with their mentor at his stylish house in (drum roll, please!) Laurel Canyon.”
“Dr. Strangelove’s Workplace,” which presumably is a reference to the notorious RAND corporation. But I think that we can all agree that the title could just as easily apply to Wohlstetter’s stylish Laurel Canyon home. In fact, as the pieces of this puzzle continue to fall into place, it is beginning to seem as though “Dr. Strangelove’s Workplace” might be a good title for the entire damn canyon.
Laurel Canyon was also the birthplace and meeting place of what we now know as the ‘neocon’/PNAC crowd, as well as the home base of the guiding light of the Rand corporation.
Thus far in our journey, we have encountered Masons, the FBI, the OSS, the CIA, the secret society known as Skull and Bones, the Rothschild family, military intelligence of every conceivable stripe, the OTO, the RAND corporation, the ‘neocon’ cabal
Winthrop Rockefeller, 35, of New York – the fourth of John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s five sons and one of the most eligible bachelors in the world – had stated his intention of marrying one Eva Sears, also of New York.”
So who was this mystery woman – this woman who had once had a brief career in Hollywood before moving to Paris and taking a job as a secretary at the U.S. embassy? She appears to have gone by many names at different times in her life, including Eva Paul, Eva Paul Sears, Barbara Paul, Barbara Paul Sears, and “Bobo” Rockefeller. None of them, however, was the name she was given at the time of her birth.
“Her parents were Lithuanian immigrants and she was born Jievute Paulekiute in a coal patch near Noblestown, Pa.” Even that, however, was not her real name – at least not by American custom and tradition
“Paulekiute” is the feminine version of a surname we have previously encountered: “Paulekas,” which was her parents’ surname. Eva Paul’s father, as it turns out, just happened to be the brother of Vito Paulekas’ father (a fact verified by – and brought to my attention by – a member of the Paulekas family.)
"King of the Hippies" was a first cousin of "Bobo" Rockefeller, and a cousin-in-law (or something like that) of Winthrop Rockefeller himself. Vito was also a cousin of the couple’s only child, Winthrop Paul Rockefeller, who would later serve as the Lieutenant Governor of the state of Arkansas.
Brando, by the way, have I mentioned yet the curious string of deaths that began eighteen years ago, on May 16, 1990, when Marlon’s son Christian gunned down Dag Drollet, the father of his sister Cheyenne’s unborn child, in Marlon’s Laurel Canyon-adjacent home?
April 14, 1995, 25-year-old Cheyenne was found swinging from the end of a rope, her death unsurprisingly ruled a suicide
Christian Brando was released from prison and promptly became involved with a woman by the name of Bonnie Lee Bakley, who caught a bullet to the head on May 4, 2001 while in the company of new hubby Robert Blake (her tenth husband).
Marlon dropped dead next, on July 1, 2004 (though his death wasn’t particularly suspicious, given that he was getting on in years). His home was promptly purchased by good friend and neighbor Jack Nicholson, who immediately announced plans to bulldoze it, declaring the structure to be decrepit. He never did though explain why a man wealthy enough to own his own chain of Polynesian islands was purportedly living in a derelict abode
A few years later, on January 26 of 2008, Christian Brando dropped dead at the relatively young age of 49.
Mr. Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, who purportedly drowned without assistance in his home swimming pool on July 3, 1969
Just three days after Jones’ tragic death, the Stones, with the Hells Angels providing security, played a previously-scheduled concert in Hyde Park, footage of which appears in Kenneth Anger’s Invocation of My Demon Brother
Jones had been unceremoniously dumped by the group on June 9, less than a month before his death. He was replaced just four days later by the vastly inferior talent known as Mick Taylor (who would later be replaced by Ron Wood). It would later be claimed that Jones was booted from the band due to his chronic substance abuse problems, although Keith Richards’ legendary intake of drugs never seemed to pose a problem for the group.
In the summer of 1968 the English band was flirting heavily with Satanism and the occult … and spending a lot of time in Los Angeles.” A lot of time, that is, in and around Laurel Canyon – and during that time, Mick Jagger was involved in two occult-drenched film projects: Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising and Donald Cammell’s Performance.
Jagger was the first musical superstar tapped by Anger to compose a soundtrack for his Lucifer Rising project, which at the time was to star Mansonite Bobby Beausoleil (who had, as we all remember, replaced Godo Paulekas)
Anger would later solicit a soundtrack for the long-delayed film project from Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, the proud owner of one of the world’s largest collections of Aleister Crowley memorabilia, including Crowley’s notorious Boleskine estate on the shores of Scotland’s Loch Ness.
When ultimately released, however, the film featured a soundtrack by neither Jagger nor Page, but rather one that was composed, recorded and arranged inside a prison cell by convicted murderer Bobby Beausoleil. The pre-prison footage that Anger had shot of Beausoleil, meanwhile, ended up in a different film: the aforementioned Invocation of My Demon Brother. Starring in Lucifer Rising, as Osiris, was Performance writer and co-director Donald Seaton Cammell.
Donald Cammell was the son of Charles Richard Cammell, who happened to be a close friend and biographer of notorious occultist and British intelligence asset Aleister Crowley. Donald himself was the godson of the Great Beast. Cammell’s decidedly Crowleyian film was originally to star his good friend Marlon Brando, but the role ultimately went to actor James Fox. Brando and Cammell, by the way, once wrote a novel together – a novel so horrifyingly bad that I dare not mention its title here for fear that some of you may purchase it out of curiosity and then blame me for any trauma you endure while attempting to actually read it.
Donald Cammell’s Performance, we find that Mick Jagger was cast to play the role of ‘Turner,’ a debauched rock star (which, obviously, was a real stretch for Mick)
Bernard Alfred “Jack” Nitzsche, an occultist and the son of a supposed ‘medium.’ Nitzsche, along with Sonny Bono, had begun his music career as a lieutenant for gun-brandishing producer Phil Spector (Nitzsche was one of the architects of Spector’s famed “wall of sound”).
Nitzsche’s Performance soundtrack was composed, according to author Michael Walker, “in a witch’s cottage in the canyon” (I’m not exactly sure what a “witch’s cottage” is, but it’s nice to know that Laurel Canyon had one).
One of the musicians hired by Nitzsche to play on that soundtrack was Lowell George, who we will also be adding to the Laurel Canyon Death List. For now, let’s add Donald Cammell to the list, since on April 24, 1996, he became yet another of the characters in this story to catch a bullet to the head (need I add here that the wound was reportedly self-inflicted?)
John Phillips once stated that Performance was about estranging one’s self from society in order to create a new, better social order. “With really intelligent people,” according to Phillips, “it’s almost a matter of inbreeding at this point.” I don’t know about all of you readers out there, but when I first stumbled upon that quote, it suddenly dawned on me that one element that was previously missing from this story was a pro-eugenics comment from one of our flower-power icons, so I’m glad that we were able to squeeze that in.
Steve Brandt to the Death List. Brandt, who was also a close friend of the victims at 10050 Cielo Drive, allegedly overdosed on barbiturates in late November of 1969, some three-and-a-half months after the Manson murders. In the days and weeks following those murders, Brandt had placed numerous phone calls to the LAPD. Those calls became increasingly frantic in nature, and Brandt became increasingly fearful that his own life might be in jeopardy. He soon decided to put some distance between himself and LA, so he headed for New York City. On the night of his death, according to Phillips’ autobiography, Brandt attended a Rolling Stones concert at Madison Square Gardens, where he attempted to run on stage but was repelled and beaten by a security guard. He then went home and, according to official mythology, overdosed.
It seems obvious that if someone had information that desperately needed to be made public, and if it was the kind of information that authorities had, say, willfully failed to act upon, and if the information was of the type that could not, needless to say, be taken to the mainstream media, and if the year was 1969 and the mass communication technology that we now take for granted did not yet exist, then grabbing the mike at a Stones concert at Madison Square Gardens might just be one of the most effective means of disseminating that information.
David Blue , a lot of you scratched your heads and asked, “David Who?”
David Blue was one of the Laurel Canyon stars who never quite shone as brightly as they should have. And also like Sill, Blue was one of the first few acts signed by David Geffen’s fledgling Asylum label. Finally, as with Judee, David was long forgotten by the time of his death, on December 2, 1982, when the forty-one-year-old Blue dropped dead while jogging in New York’s Washington Square Park.
Ricky Nelson began
emerged as a respected pioneer of the country-rock wave that Canyonites Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles would soon ride to dizzying heights of commercial success
Canyon Band. As the name of the band would seem to imply, Nelson did not
Nelson was killed on New Year’s Eve, 1985, in a rather unusual plane crash. According to Nelson’s Wikipedia entry, “the original NTSB investigation long ago stated that the crash was probably due to mechanical problems. The pilots attempted to land in a field after smoke filled the cabin. An examination indicated that a fire originated in the right hand side of the aft cabin area at or near the floor line. The passengers were killed when the aircraft struck obstacles during the forced landing; the pilots were able to escape through the cockpit windows and survived.”
I can’t be the only one here who is pondering the obvious question: exactly when was it that the pilots were able to escape through the cockpit windows?
Nelson lived in a
rather unusual home. In 1941, swashbuckling actor Errol Flynn had
purchased an eleven-and-a-half-acre chunk of the Hollywood Hills just
if Flynn was an intelligence operative, then it is far more likely that the home was built not so much for Flynn’s personal pleasure, but rather as a means of compromising prominent public figures (much like the home of, for example, Craig Spence).
After Nelson’s death, the palatial home stood vacant until a curious incident took place; referring once again to Jacobson and Wanamaker, we find that “A "gang" broke in and murdered a girl in the living room. Then a mysterious fire burned half the house. The ruins were torn down.”
And when was the last time anyone ever heard of a “gang” kidnapping a girl and then taking her to a remote, isolated mansion to murder her?
In addition to having a fondness for multi-perpetrator murders, it appears as though cults also like to start fires, oftentimes because fires are a really effective way of destroying evidence.
Elvis Presley arrived
in LA in 1956, to begin what would prove to be a prolific film career that
would continue throughout the 1960s and would result in the inexcusable
creation of nearly three dozen motion pictures, each one arguably more
appalling than the last. In the early years of his film career, Elvis
reportedly spent his off-hours hanging out with his two best
Elvis, other than
that he reportedly died on
Elvis’ bass player, for example, can be heard on some of the Doors’ tracks.
entire band was recruited by “Papa” John Phillips to play on his less-than-memorable solo project
Mike Nesmith’s critically-acclaimed post-Monkees project, the First National Band, featured Presley’s band as well
Gram Parsons also hired Elvis’ band to back him up on the two solo albums he recorded at what proved to be the twilight of his life and career.
Emmylou Harris, a relatively late arrival to the canyon scene. Harris is the daughter – brace yourselves here for a real shocker, folks – of a career US Marine Corps officer.
As with so
many other characters in this story, she grew up in the outlying
Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., better known as John Denver, was born in Roswell, New Mexico.
Henry John Deutschendorf, Sr. might well have known a little something about that incident, given that he was a career US Air Force officer assigned to the Roswell Army Air Field (later renamed the Walker Air Force Base), which was likely the origin of the object that famously crashed in Roswell.
By November 1966,
A decade later,
in the latter half of the 1970s,
Twelve years later, in autumn of 1997, Denver died when his self-piloted plane crashed soon after taking off from Monterey Airport, very near where the Monterey Pop Festival had been held thirty years earlier.
The date of the crash, curiously enough, was one that we have stumbled across repeatedly: October 12.
Bono began his
hooked up with an underage Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPierre to form a duo
known first as Caesar and Cleo, and then as Sonny and
January 5, 1998 , Sonny Bono died after purportedly skiing into a tree.
Bono occupied a seat on the House Judiciary Committee, which was about to come to sudden prominence with the investigation and impeachment of President Bill.
murdered in his Encino home on
The official story, of course, holds that it was his wife Brynn, who shortly thereafter shot herself – with a different gun, naturally, and reportedly after she had left the house and then returned with a friend, and after the LAPD had arrived at the home
There is a very strong possibility, however, that both Phil and his wife were murdered, with the true motive for the crime covered up by trotting out the tired but ever-popular murder/suicide scenario.
lived in LA (in the spacious mansion just north of the Log Cabin on
Phil found work
as a graphic artist and he quickly found himself much in demand by the
He was, for example, a high school chum of Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who would later find herself living alongside Charlie Manson at the infamous Spahn Movie Ranch.
the Log Cabin’s guesthouse (aka the Bird House), which is still standing, was designed and built by architect Robert Byrd, who also, according to one report, designed the house at 5065 Encino Avenue where Phil Hartman was murdered, and the house at 10050 Cielo Drive where Sharon Tate and friends were murdered.
Spahn Movie Ranch
Wonderland Movie Ranch
: Ronald Launius,
Billy Deverell, Barbara Richardson and Joy Miller. All died on
The leader of the
group was Ron Launius, who reportedly embarked on his criminal career,
and established his drug connections, while serving for Uncle Sam over
Victim Billy Deverell was Launius’ second-in-command
Miller was Billy’s girlfriend as well as the renter of the
Victim Barbara Richardson was the girlfriend of another member of the gang, David Lind, who conveniently was not at the home at the time of the mass murder.
David Lind, police
informant for both the
Brian Cole, bass player for The Association, an LA folk-rock band known for the hit songs “Along Comes Mary” and “Never My Love.”
was not a
. Jerry Yester, a guitarist and keyboardist with the band, was formerly with The Modern Folk Quartet, a band managed by Zappa manager Herb Cohen and produced by Byrds’ manager Jim Dickson
Guitarist Larry Ramos had formerly been with the New Christy Minstrels, which also produced Gene Clark of The Byrds.
Lowell George, the founder and creative force behind the critically-acclaimed but largely obscure band known as Little Feat,
George was the
son of Willard H. George, a famous furrier to the
Lowell ’s first foray into the music world was with a band known as The Factory, which cut some demos with a guy by the name of Frank Zappa.
The Factory evolved into the Fraternity of Man, though without George, who had left to serve as lead vocalist for The Standells
the Fraternity of Man had taken up residence in the Log Cabin, alongside Carl Franzoni and his fellow Freaks.
joined up with Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, though his tenure
there was destined to be a short one; like so many others,
George helped Frank out in the studio with the GTOs’ first (and only) album, as did Brits Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart (who, readers of Programmed to Kill will recall, was one of the last people known to have been in the company of a pair of underage girls before they became victims of a ‘serial killer’ in June 1980).
After playing a
social stop-off for George was a Laurel Canyon house on Wonderland
Avenue belonging to Three Dog Night singer Danny Hutton. A drop-in den
of debauchery, the Hutton house featured a bedroom with black walls and
a giant fireplace.
Former Beatle John Lennon is, to be sure, one of the most famous names to be found on the Laurel Canyon Death List.
he was gunned
he was a fixture
on the Sunset Strip and at various
List. Lennon also
has the distinction of being one of the few
Lennon was, as
everyone knows, murdered in front of
Chapman had approached occult filmmaker Kenneth Anger and offered him a gift of live bullets
Just days after
Lennon was felled, Anger’s long-delayed final cut of Lucifer Rising
Tim Hardin – Canyonite, folk musician, close associate of Frank Zappa,
author of Rod Stewart’s “Reason to Believe,”
onetime tenant in Lenny Bruce’s Laurel Canyon-adjacent home
former U.S. Marine
died of a
reported heroin and morphine overdose in Los Angeles. At the time of his
Christa Paffgen , better known as Nico
July 18, 1988
, singer/songwriter/keyboardist , , died of a reported cerebral
fame as a vocalist with the Velvet Underground
Nico had left the Warhol stable and migrated west to Laurel Canyon, where she formed a bond with a then-unknown singer-songwriter named Jackson Browne
Nico’s 1967 debut album, Chelsea Girl (so named for New York’s Chelsea Hotel, from where Devon Wilson took a dive, and where the persona of John Train murdered the persona of Phil Ochs). Also contributing a song to Nico’s solo debut was Mr. Tim Hardin.
Frank Zappa died in
Some have speculated that the cancer could have developed as a result of the chemical agents Zappa was exposed to throughout his early childhood at the Edgewood Arsenal.
and various members of his entourage moved in with
Dennis didn’t seem to mind; he was busy recording Manson in his home studio and inviting fellow musicians, like Neil Young, over to the house to hear Charlie perform
Dennis would later claim that he had destroyed all the Manson demo tapes
Rustic Canyon - Murphy Ranch - Nazi Stronghold
“County records show
‘Jessie Murphy, a widow,’ purchasing 50-plus acres north of [Will]
September 2005, Cecelia
Rasmussen of the Los Angeles Times added a few details to the
story (“Rustic Canyon Ruin May Be a Former Nazi Compound,” September
4, 2005): “
research indicates that it could have been home to up to 40 local Nazis from about 1933 to 1945 … armed guards patrolled the canyon dressed in the uniform worn by Silver Shirts, a paramilitary group modeled after Hitler’s brownshirts … A man known through oral histories only as ‘Herr Schmidt’ supposedly ruled the place and claimed to possess metaphysical powers.”
nearby residents reportedly complained of late-night military exercises and the sounds of live gunfire echoing through the canyons.
To summarize then, it
appears that the city of
in September 1928, young Ned Doheny and his new bride moved into the humble abode. Within months, the home would be bloodstained; soon after, it would be permanently abandoned.
Ned, you see, was found
dead in the cavernous home on
Teapot Dome scandal, which the Doheny family, as it turns out, was very deeply immersed in.
a new Ned Doheny, scion
of the very same Doheny oil clan, would join the ranks of the
Jerry devoted his early years to pursuing a career in the Jesuit priesthood
Jerry Brown resided in
a home on
Friends - Linda Ronstadt (with whom he was long rumored to be romantically involved), Jackson Browne and the Eagles.
Curb worked as a musician, composer, recording artist, film producer and record company executive
Mondo Hollywood, which ostensibly chronicled the emerging Laurel Canyon/Sunset Strip scene. Filmed from 1965 through 1967
the film featured representatives from the Manson Family (Bobby Beausoleil), the Manson Family’s victims (Jay Sebring), the Freak troupe (Vito, Carl, Szou and Godo), and Laurel Canyon’s musical fraternity (Frank Zappa and his future wife, Gail Sloatman). It also featured acid guru Richard “Babawhateverthefuckitwasthathecalledhimself” Alpert.
served as ‘song producer’ on another key countercultural film of the era, Riot on the Sunset Strip
Curb scored a slew of
cheaply-produced biker flicks, including The Wild Angels, Devil’s
Angels, Born Losers, The Savage Seven and The Glory
Stompers. Along the way, he worked alongside many of
Mike Curb, you see, after being encouraged by Ronald Reagan to venture into politics, was elected to serve as Governor Jerry Brown’s second-in-command.
Lieutenant Governor Curb, as acting governor of the state, to sign into law a withering array of reactionary legislation that was far removed from what the people had in mind when they elected ‘Governor Moonbeam.’
Robert Carl Cohen
In 1954, Cohen served
in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. The following year, he was on assignment
to NATO. Following that, he served in Special Services in
he produced, directed, edited and narrated a documentary short entitled Inside Red China
Two years later, he wore all the same hats for a documentary entitled Inside East Germany
A few years later, he put together another documentary entitled Three Cubans.
Mr. Cohen would like us to believe that he undertook these projects as nothing more than what he outwardly appeared to be – an independent filmmaker
Morrison essentially arrived on the scene as a fully-developed rock star, complete with a backing band, a stage persona and an impressive collection of songs – enough, in fact, to fill the Doors’ first few albums.
before his sudden incarnation as singer/songwriter, James Douglas Morrison had never shown the slightest interest in music. None whatsoever. He certainly never studied music and could neither read nor write it. By his own account, he never had much of an interest in even listening to music. He told one interviewer that he “never went to concerts – one or two at most.” And before joining the Doors, he “never did any singing. I never even conceived of it.” Asked near the end of his life if he had ever had any desire to learn to play a musical instrument, Jim responded, “Not really.”
a guy who had never sang (apparently not even in the shower or in his car, which seems rather odd to me),
who couldn’t play an instrument and had no interest in learning such a skill
who had never much listened to music or been anywhere near a band,
this guy somehow emerged, virtually overnight, as a fully-formed rock star who would quickly become an icon of his generation
he brought with him enough original songs to fill the first few Doors’ albums
he allegedly wrote them all at once, before the band was even formed.
he hooked up with fellow student Ray Manzarek to form the Doors - likely that the pair would have actually met at UCLA, where both attended the university’s rather small and close-knit film school.
So we are to believe then that a few dozen complete songs, never heard by anyone and never played by any musician, existed only in Jim Morrison’s acid-addled brain.
songs that we are talking about here, as opposed to just lyrics, which would more accurately be categorized as poems. Because Jim, as we all know, was quite a prolific poet, whereas he was a songwriter only for one brief period in his life
Jim achieve the accompanying physical transformation that changed him from a clean-cut, collegiate, and rather conservative looking young man into the brooding sex symbol who would take the country by storm?
All four members of the group, for example, lacked previous band experience. Morrison and Manzarek, as noted, were film students, and drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Kreiger were recruited by Manzarek from his Transcendental Meditation class – which is, I guess, where one goes to find musicians to fill out one’s band. That class, however, apparently lacked a bass player, so they did without – except for those times when they used session musicians and then claimed that they did without.
the point is that none of the four members of the Doors had band credentials. Even a band as contrived as the Byrds, as we shall soon see, had members with band credentials.
Paul Rothchild, weigh in: “The Doors were not great live performers musically. They were exciting theatrically and kinetically, but as musicians they didn’t make it; there was too much inconsistency, there was too much bad music. Robby would be horrendously out of tune with Ray, John would be missing cues, there was bad mike usage too, where you couldn’t hear Jim at all.”
Another thing that was unusual about the band, however, is that, from the moment the band was conceived, the lineup never changed. No one was added, no one was replaced, no one dropped out of the band over ‘artistic differences,’
Other than that though, they were just your run-of-the-mill, organic, grass-roots rock-and-roll band – with a curious aversion to political advocacy.
Jim Morrison was, by virtually all accounts, a voracious reader. Former teachers and college professors expressed amazement at the breadth and depth of his knowledge on various topics, and at the staggering array of literary sources that he could accurately cite. And yet he was known to tell interviewers that he “[had]n’t studied politics that much, really.”
in the 1960s, you see; the young folks of that era just didn’t concern themselves much with politics, and certainly didn’t want their anti-war icons engaging in anything resembling political discourse.
Valentine was also – by pretty much all accounts, including his own – a ‘made man.’
Morrison “struck up an intimate friendship” with Whisky-A-Go-Go owner Elmer Valentine
Valentine was also, coincidentally of course, very close to his own secretary/booking agent, Gail Sloatman, whom Jim had known since kindergarten through Naval officers’ circles.
Chicago vice cop, but what wasn’t mentioned is that he was a fully corrupt cop
his night job was “running nightclubs for the outfit – for gangsters
One “very close friend” from his days in Chicago was “Felix Alderisio, also known as Milwaukee Phil, who was arguably the most feared hit man in the country in the 1950s and 60s
Valentine was ultimately indicted for extortion, though he managed to avoid prosecution and conviction.
Valentine had his very own club to run – the legendary Whiskey-A-Go-Go, where numerous Laurel Canyon bands, including the Doors in the summer of 1966, served their residency.
Frank Zappa once cryptically referred to Valentine’s backers as an “ethnic organization,”
Chris Hillman of the Byrds simply noted that, “whoever financed Elmer, I don’t want to know.”
“Within months of the Whisky’s debut, Life magazine had written it up
Jack Paar had broadcast an episode of his post-Tonight weekly program from the club
Steve McQueen and Jayne Mansfield had installed themselves as regulars.”
Mansfield was also a high-profile member of the Church of Satan, with close ties to founder Anton LaVey
Anton LaVey, who in turn had ties, as we have already seen, to the dance troupe led by Vito Paulekas
Vito Paulekas, which, as we have also seen, had close ties to Laurel Canyon’s very first band, the Byrds.
the band’s members did not own any musical instruments
Naomi Hirschorn, best known for funding such other quasi-governmental projects as the Hirschorn Museum in Washington, D.C., stepped up to the plate to provide the band with instruments, amplifiers and the like
a bigger problem, which was that the band’s members, with the exception of Jim (later Roger) McGuinn, didn’t have a clue as to how to actually play the instruments.
Chris Hillman, who had never picked up a bass guitar in his life.
Michael Clarke, who had never before held a set of drumsticks in his hands
Gene Clark, though by far the most gifted songwriter in the band and a talented vocalist as well, could play the guitar, but not particularly well, so he was relegated to banging the tambourine,
Crosby himself admitted, in his first autobiography (does anyone really need to write more than one autobiography, by the way?), that “Roger was the only one who could really play.”
the group was a bit lacking in songwriting ability. To compensate, they initially played mostly covers. Fully a third of the band’s first album consisted of covers of Dylan songs,
Carl Franzoni perhaps summed it up best when he declared that “the Byrds records were manufactured.” The first album in particular was an entirely engineered affair created by taking a collection of songs by outside songwriters and having them performed by a group of nameless studio musicians (for the record, the actual musicians were Glen Campbell – yes, that Glen Campbell, who also briefly served as a Beach Boy – on guitar, Hal Blaine on drums, Larry Knechtel on bass, Leon Russell on electric piano, and Jerry Cole on rhythm guitar), after which the band’s trademark vocal harmonies, entirely a studio creation, were added to the mix.
the band got a lot of assistance from the media, with Time magazine being among the first to champion the new band.
got a lot of help from Vito and the Freaks and from the Young Turks, as was previously discussed.
Chris Hillman stood at the corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Kirkwood Drive. In Los Angeles, you see, it is quite common for a very wealthy person to offer exquisite living accommodations to a random, scruffy vagrant. I know this to be true because it happened to Charlie Manson on more than one occasion.
Bryd's behind-the-scenes player and the band’s first producer
son of ‘virginal’ actress Doris Day at age 17
Melcher’s father was trombonist Al Jorden, who reportedly regularly beat Day, and likely Terry as well. Jorden wasn’t around for long though; his death, when Melcher was just two or three years old, was naturally ruled a suicide.
Doris Day married her
agent and producer, Marty Melcher, who was universally regarded as one
of the biggest assholes in
He also reportedly embezzled some $20 million from his wife/client. On the bright side though, he did adopt and help raise Terry, who took his name.
the most important figures lurking about the periphery of the Laurel Canyon saga, by virtue of the fact that he had deep ties to virtually all aspects of the canyon scene, including the Laurel Canyon musicians, the Manson Family, the Vito Paulekas dance troupe, and the group of young Hollywood actors generally referred to as ‘The Young Turks.’
Melcher first met Vito Paulekas when Terry was still in high school in the late 1950s.
When I was in high school, we’d go to his art studio because he had naked models.”
Melcher befriended Bruce Johnston, the adopted son of a top executive with the Rexall drugstore chain.
recorded together as singing duo Bruce and Terry. Johnstone also played in a high school band with Phil Spector
Spector’s crack team
of studio musicians, dubbed The Wrecking Crew, who would provide the
instrumental tracks for countless albums by
Bruce Johnston, meanwhile, would go on to become a Beach Boy, replacing Wrecking Crew member Glen Campbell
Brian’s little brother Dennis, meanwhile, famously forged a close bond with Terry Melcher
Wilson, Melcher and
Jakobson, who dubbed themselves the “Golden Penetrators” (
1966, Melcher, along with Mark Lindsay of the band Paul Revere and the Raiders, leased and moved into the soon-to-be infamous home at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon (Lindsay would later have the dubious distinction of also living for a time in the other infamous canyon death house, on Wonderland Avenue; Lindsay was also a regular visitor to the Log Cabin).
actress Candace Bergen. Melcher and
summer of 1968, when
Charlie Manson and numerous members of his entourage, including Charles
Just after Melcher and
was the modish co-owner of Crown Wig Creations on the corner of
1968, when Charles Watson met Charles Manson at Dennis Wilson’s home.
Charles (Tex) Watson - he began handling large drug transactions and large piles of cash for Charlie Manson.
Tex Watson was also “a regular patron of the Whisky,” which isn’t too surprising given that Elmer Valentine’s club was well known to be a major drug trafficking site during the late 1960s. Watson’s frequent sidekick Dean Moorehouse.
Dean Moorehouse -
Speculation that - Moorehouse served as a handler for both Charlies – Manson and Watson.
Bobby Beausoleil -
1969, the trio of Wilson, Melcher and Jakobson got close to Bobby Beausoleil
Jack Gerard, specialized in supplying topless dancers to seedy clubs, and actors and actresses for porno film shoots.
Beausoleil’s primary job with the agency was to deliver carloads of girls to the clubs; more than a few of those girls were members of Charlie’s Family.
Bobby had signed a songwriting contract with (Gerard Theatrical Agency) the agency and begun recording demos.
Beausoleil also accompanied Melcher and Jakobson on at least two trips out to the Spahn Movie Ranch
known to boast of having held over 100 hours of conversations with the all-knowing prophet known as Charles Manson
convicted murderer Bobby Beausoleil, who had jammed with Dennis Wilson, played rhythm guitar for the pre-Love lineup known as the Grass Roots, knew Frank Zappa and had visited the Log Cabin, and later composed and recorded the film score for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising.
Gregg also lobbied NBC to shoot a documentary film about the Manson Family’s ‘hippie commune,’ and the network was for a time quite interested in the project.
Dennis Wilson, Jakobson
also arranged for Charlie to record at an unnamed studio in
Charles Manson, of course, was widely viewed by his contemporaries in the canyon as a talented singer/songwriter/guitarist.
Convicted murdere Steve “Clem” Grogan was a talented musician as well; he later played in the prison band assembled by Beausoleil to record the Lucifer Rising soundtrack
Convicted murderer Patricia Krenwinkle was an accomplished guitarist and songwriter
Brooks Poston and Paul Watkins were accomplished musicians
Catherine “Gypsy” Share was a virtuoso violin player as well as being a singer and occasional actress (see, for example, Ramrodder, costarring Bobby Beausoleil and filmed partially at – where else? – Spahn Movie Ranch).
Orphaned as a child when both biological parents purportedly committed suicide, Gypsy was adopted by a psychologist and his wife. Her adoptive mother then allegedly committed suicide as well, leaving her to be raised by her adoptive father.
Share is also notable for being the oldest of Charlie’s girls, nearly twenty-seven at the time of the murders
Gypsy lived with Bobby Beausoleil before meeting and living with Manson, and she seemed to serve as a recruiter for both of them.
Gypsy Share also “arranged for Paul Rothschild, the producer of The Doors, to hear the family music.”
The Family was filmed at Spahn Ranch by Melcher as well. Family members also shot an extensive amount of film making ‘home movies,’ which many witnesses have claimed included Family orgies and ritualized snuff films.
not hanging out with Charlie and
The Byrds appear to have been initially conceived as an electric folk-rock group.
the first two Byrds to
get together were James Joseph McGuinn
In 1962, he left the
Chad Mitchell Trio and worked for a time in
The newly-formed folk duo soon added a third voice to the mix – our old friend David Crosby, who had formerly been a vocalist with Les Baxter’s Balladeers.
Chris Hillman - Jim Dickson cast him to play the part of the bass player in the world’s first folk-rock band. And as we already know, Hillman had just lucked upon luxurious living accommodations right in the heart of what was to become the music community’s epicenter, so he was all set to become a rock star.
his father had – wait for it – reportedly committed suicide
Hillman would ultimately become a skilled bass player and a major figure in the Laurel Canyon-spawned country-rock movement
Donnell Clyde Spade Cooley - Ella Mae Cooley
weekly shows at the Redondo Beach Pier
his own local television show, The Spade Cooley Hour
Ella Mae had been
spending a considerable amount of time in the company of two men,
identified as Luther Jackson and Bud Davenport, both of whom worked
in the sprawling,
Spade Cooley’s response to his wife’s declaration was to brutally beat, stomp and strangle her to death, but only after repeatedly burning her with a lit cigarette. All of this was witnessed by daughter Melody, who had been told by her father that “now you’re going to watch me kill this whore.”
Cooley was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to serve a life sentence
November 23, 1969
comeback concert in
manager Jim Dickson, who added fake bass player (but real musician) Chris Hillman
Crosby then rounded out the band by adding fake drummer Michael Clarke
and Crosby met in
end of 1964, Jim Dickson had signed the band to a deal with Columbia Records.
[They were] Assigned to staff producer Terry Melcher
rehearsal space just happened to be in the very same basement studio that Melcher snuck off to while in high school.
the band, or rather its surrogates, were already in the studio recording “Mr. Tambourine Man,” at the insistence of Jim Dickson
Byrds first public gig was booked by Lenny Bruce’s mother, Sally Marr.
She got them a job at
Paulekas booked the Byrds’ first live show, at a rented hall on
Terry Melcher recalled, “kids came from everywhere. It just happened. One day you couldn’t drive anymore. It was, like, overnight – you couldn’t drive on the Strip.”
Monterey Pop Festival, held on
Byrds - Gene Clark, dropped out in March of 1966,
Jim McGuinn, joined the Subud religious sect in 1965. Two years later, upon the advice of the cult’s founder, he changed his name to Roger .A decade later, he became a born-again Christian.
Chris Hillman became an Evangelical Christian in the 1980s, but then later switched to the Greek Orthodox faith
Hillman played with Gram Parson’s Flying Burrito Brothers, and in David Geffen’s failed second attempt at creating a supergroup, this one known as Souther.
David Crosby, of course, left the Byrds and became 1/3 of David Geffen’s first supergroup, Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Jim Dickson and Terry Melcher continued to work with some of the Byrds, particularly Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman
Melcher formed a particularly close bond with his fellow ‘trust-fund kid,’ Gram Parsons, as did Melcher’s sometime sidekick, John Phillips
Both Melcher and Phillips, of course, knew Charlie Manson (Melcher raved about him to Ned Doheny), whose former prison buddy, Phil Kaufman, was Parsons’ road manager (and cremator).
Doors’ road manager, Bill Siddons, was once a paramour of Mansonite Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme.
Manson Family’s fingerprints, as always, can be found in nearly every
nook and cranny of the
the fact that Jim Morrison’s father had served as the commander of the ships involved in the Gulf of Tonkin ‘incident’ had gone virtually unreported for some four-and-a-half decades.
December 8 2008, for example, the Los Angeles Times carried a report on Admiral George Stephen Morrison, described therein as “a retired Navy rear admiral and the father of the late rock icon Jim Morrison.” According to the Times report, “Morrison had a long career that included serving as operations officer aboard the aircraft carrier Midway and commanding the fleet during the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, which led to an escalation of American involvement in Vietnam.” (emphasis added)
Admiral Morrison exited this world on November 17, 2008, at the ripe old age of 89.
included raining bombs down on Japanese civilians and Pacific Islanders
during the final year of World War II, and serving as “an instructor
for secret nuclear-weapons projects in
Valentine, co-owner of the hottest clubs on the Strip in the late 1960s and
early 1970s – the Whisky-A-Go-Go, the Roxy, and the Rainbow. Valentine
died of unspecified causes on
Most of the classic
elements of the Laurel
he failed to achieve any significant level of commercial success.
many fans and musicians alike, he is considered a hugely influential and
tragically overlooked figure.
Ingram Cecil Connor, Jr, March 22, 1945 , “Coon Dog” Connor married Avis Snively
family fortune, there never would have been any such thing as a Hershey
bar or a town known as
family relocated to
Gram’s younger sister, known as Little Avis, would later recall, “Things were mighty strange around the house.”
Avis never appeared to grieve and she displayed a “total lack of remorse” over anything she may have done to drive Coon Dog to allegedly commit suicide (by some reports, she had been having an affair).
eighteen-year-old babysitter Bonnie, whom Bob immediately began an affair with
Robert Ellis Parsons became involved in the ‘Cuban cause,’
Bob Parsons converted a downtown warehouse that he owned into a teen nightclub to showcase the talents of his ‘son,’ Ingram “Gram” Parsons, who sang and played keyboards and the guitar.
Gram applied to Harvard and Johns Hopkins. Despite decidedly unimpressive grades and test scores, he was accepted by Harvard, purportedly due to an essay he submitted that he likely didn’t actually write.
Avis had died in the hospital, reportedly of alcohol poisoning, right after Bob Parsons had smuggled her in a bottle of scotch
after his mother’s death, Gram received a draft notice from the Selective Service. Not to worry though – Bob quickly got him a 4-F deferment and Gram happily went off to Harvard, enrolling in September of 1965
five months later, Gram
had had enough of Harvard - spent all his
time taking in the folk music scene in
music scene in
47, opened in 1958 as a jazz and blues venue. A very young Joan Baez,
Farina, the husband of Mimi Baez, Joan’s younger sister., was killed
in a motorcycle accident in
Band - early 1966, he and his new
bandmates moved to the
1966 - Gram ventured out to
Ross - In Ben Fong-Torres’ Hickory
Wind, Ross provides some interesting biographical details: “I grew
up with David Crosby here in town … I was thirteen when we met. David
and I were part of the debutante set … My father was a captain in
the Royal Air Force of England … I married Eleanor Roosevelt’s
grandson, Rex, at sixteen, seventeen. I was still married to Rex
when I was with David … The marriage lasted a couple of years. I got
an apartment and started designing restaurants for Elmer Valentine of
Whisky-a-Go-Go.” At age nineteen, Ross went with
– who received up to $100,000 a year from his trust fund, a
considerable amount of money in the mid-1960s – “found a house for
the rest of the band on