Blogging the Wolfe Book, Request Line X

Large ImageI have ceased blogging in real time as I read Donald H. Wolfe’s “The Black Dahlia Files: The Mob, the Mogul and the Murder That Transfixed Los Angeles.” Wolfe uses the “Laura” format, in which the anonymous, butchered body is found and the narrative proceeds in flashbacks.Now, I am taking a few requests before wrapping up the project. Today, we’ll continue our examination of Pages 213-215 at the request of Regular Anonymous Correspondent (who e-mailed me with some more pages. I hope I haven’t lost track of them).

You won’t believe this.

Trust me, you won’t.

Is it worse than faking documents?

Well no. But it’s close.

Remember all that stuff yesterday about Gerald and Sara Murphy?

Here’s the quote:

“It was through Manny
[Edward G. Robinson Jr.] that I met Arthur James at the Holiday House in Malibu. Owned by prominent artist Gerald Murphy and his wife Sara, the Holiday House stood on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and became a hideaway for Hollywood celebrities who didn’t want to be seen in public with the wrong woman—or the wrong man. Lana Turner and Johnny Stompanato used to stay there, as did Marilyn Monroe, upon occasion, with a young congressman from Boston named Jack Kennedy.”

Note: “Prominent artist Gerald Murphy and his wife Sara.”

So I went through all this research on their house in the Hamptons and how they were the inspiration for “Tender Is the Night.”

Are you ready?

Grab hold of something and hang on tight.

Large ImageThose were the wrong Murphys.

No, really! I heard from Regular Anonymous Correspondent yesterday, who pointed me in the right direction.

Wolfe isn’t talking about prominent artist Gerald and Sara Murphy. He means prominent film director DUDLEY Murphy and his wife, Virginia. Or as The Times would have referred to him at one point: Film director Dudley “Emperor Jones” Murphy. And the Holiday House was a restaurant and motel at 27400 W. Pacific Coast Highway.

And it must have been some secret hideaway, Murphy wanted to do a TV series based on his guests’ experiences. (Los Angeles Times, Aug. 25, 1950). Hm. Times gossip columnist James Copp paid a visit and overheard John Garfield telling the dieting Shelley Winters not to eat that filet mignon.

Looks like Copp was a regular out there. He wrote about it all the time. Although he never seemed to mention Edward G. Robinson Jr., Arthur James or Donald H. Wolfe.

Well this is interesting. Richard Neutra designed the apartments in 1949 but he and Murphy didn’t get along so Murphy designed the restaurant himself. (Lois Dwan, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 8, 1978).

Apartments apparently demolished in 1986. Used as film location for “Rockford Files” and “$6-Million Man.”

Let me put it this way…..

We’ve already seen that Elizabeth Short wasn’t in Los Angeles in 1944.

That’s when Arthur Curtis James Jr. said he met her. In fact James said he took her to Tucson in 1944, when he got arrested for violating the Mann Act. He drew two years in prison for that little number.

Then in 1947 he confessed to writing bad checks in September 1946, claiming they were to buy luggage for Elizabeth Short. Again, not true, although this story appeared in the Herald-Examiner and John Gilmore’s “Severed,” which is 25% mistakes and 50% fiction.

And Wolfe says James ran some rooming houses for Florentine Gardens business manager Mark Hansen, which is also false. “Severed” doesn’t make this claim, however. This is a new one.

And then Wolfe botches the facts about where the conversation supposedly took place between him and one—if not two—CDPs (conveniently dead people). Just a little matter of the wrong prominent Murphys.

Large ImageSo we’re supposed to believe:

“James said some ‘big shot’ had taken a fancy to Elizabeth and gotten her pregnant, and Hansen had tried to set her up with an abortionist. Instead, she fled to San Diego. The last time James said he saw her was several days before she left the city, and he had heard that the ‘big shot’ was Norman Chandler, heir to the Chandler dynasty. James recalled that he hadn’t heard from Elizabeth again or known what had happened to her until he recognized her picture in the paper and read the gruesome stories.”

Is Wolfe kidding or what?

Time for my walk.

Shout out to:

Malmo, Sweden (212.73.174.180) 6 hours?

Japan (219.110.229.241)

City of Los Angeles (161.149.63.203)

Note: Nobody using Windows 98. I’m very proud of you. I was starting to worry.

Hurry back.

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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Another Good Story Ruined, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, Cold Cases, Crime and Courts, Donald Wolfe, History, Hollywood, Homicide, LAPD, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Blogging the Wolfe Book, Request Line X

  1. Regular Anonymous Correspondent says:

    Well, it’s good to know that we can count on Don “Insider” Wolfe to hook us up with the real skinny. If he could only remember which of his close personal friends he is talking about.Who wants to bet the closest Don ever got to the Holiday House was afternoon re-runs of “Rockford Files”?

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