The ‘Masked Marvel Murder’ — Part 4

'The Masked Marvel'

Sept. 15, 1943, Coded Diary In case you just tuned in, we are looking at the unsolved September 1943 killing of actor David G.G. Bacon, who appeared in Republic’s “Masked Marvel” serial.

In Part 1, witnesses described Bacon driving erratically on Washington Boulevard, then crashing into a bean field, where he died of a deep stab wound.

In Part 2, we found that Bacon  went to Venice by himself, leaving his pregnant wife, singer Greta Keller, at home. He also didn’t take his three dogs, as was his custom when he went swimming. Police said that robbery probably wasn’t the motive, because he had $13 in his wallet and was wearing two valuable rings. They also noted that he habitually picked up hitchhikers.

In Part 3, we looked at his personal life and his marriage to singer Greta Keller, who was 11 years his senior and apparently more established in her career. Of particular interest was his arrest for contributing to the delinquency of a 15-year-old newsboy – which was reported in a United Press story.

Today we will turn his mysterious diary, which he kept in code.

Sept. 15, 1943, Bacon Diary

I haven’t been able to find any photos of the diary pages. Possibly the Examiner or Herald-Express managed to get some (readers with good memories will recall that I once posted Times photos of several pages of Mary Astor’s diary). But the coded diary is merely the first in a series of secrets will emerge after Bacon was killed. (I’ll deal with his secret hideaway in an upcoming post).

Note the presence of Detective Harry Fremont, which is one of the reasons I’m spending so much time on the Bacon killing. Fremont was one of the mainstays of the Homicide Division in the 1940s (it had yet to merge with Robbery Division) until he wrecked his career with “Bloody Christmas” and was put back in uniform. See former Chief Daryl Gates’ autobiography (with Diane K. Shah) “Chief: My Life in the LAPD” for more details about the end of Fremont’s career at the LAPD.

The Times said:

The diary, with its personal secret code, was found yesterday by Detective Lieutenants Harry Fremont and Lloyd Hurst in the beautiful Hollywood hilltop home of Bacon’s widow, beautiful Greta Keller, European concert singer.

Sept. 15, 1943, Coded Diary.

The next day, The Times reported:

Sept. 16, 1943, Coded Diary.

What’s more intriguing are details from a Sept. 15, 1943, United Press account:

Sept. 15, 1943, United Press
Hm. “She never was permitted to examine it, but knew that it was kept in the movie actor’s bedroom.” Does that mean they had separate bedrooms?

Authorities previously stated that Bacon was stabbed while he was leaning over, as if to open a door or release a parking brake. Now police said he was facing the killer…. While leaning forward.

Curiouser and curiouser.

And a Sept. 15, 1943, account from Hearst’s International News Service:

Sept. 15, 1943, INS

Which makes me suspect that the Examiner had more. I may have to trek to the Los Angeles Public Library’s microfilm department before this is over.

To be continued…

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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1943, Cold Cases, Crime and Courts, Hollywood, LAPD and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The ‘Masked Marvel Murder’ — Part 4

  1. Don Danard says:

    Did I not read somewhere that the LAPD files on “The Masked Marvel Murder”, which was never solved, had been “destroyed” or eliminated or deleted?

    • lmharnisch says:

      I’m a newcomer to the Bacon case. I’ve never heard that. The city of Los Angeles maintains fairly thorough archives (worth a visit). The LAPD files are off-limits to non-officers, but I know for a fact they have lots of old LAPD case files there. (Not the Black Dahlia files, however, which are kept at the Robbery-Homicide Division.)

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