Black Dahlia – Another Good Story Ruined


Curbed L.A. has posted a list of some “haunted” locations in L.A., including the Biltmore, where Elizabeth Short was left by Red Manley in January 1947, never to be seen again. The photo, alas, shows the current lobby, which didn’t exist then. Steve Hodel’s “Black Dahlia Avenger” makes the same mistake, which tells you something about the caliber of “research” in the book.   The actual lobby, off the Olive Street entrance, looked like this in the 1940s:

Biltmore Lobby


About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Another Good Story Ruined, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, Crime and Courts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Black Dahlia – Another Good Story Ruined

  1. David Klappholz says:

    The Olive Street entrance doesn’t look very much different now than it did then.


  2. Eve says:

    Two good stories ruined: Thomas Ince died of a perfectly boring heart attack, as has been proven by his recent biographer.


  3. Mary Mallory says:

    The Ince Studios story is wrong. Ince was not shot by Hearst, he died of stomach issues.


  4. Rotter says:

    I’m guessing there exists an autopsy report on Ince.


    • David Klappholz says:

      Have a look at the wikipedia article on Ince.


      • lmharnisch says:

        I will defer to Eve and Mary Mallory on this subject as it’s not my specialty. I haven’t seen the entry, but frankly I don’t put much stock in Wikipedia except for pop culture, the value of tin foil hats and questions like “When was the War of 1812?”

        “Ince died Wednesday morning in his home in Benedict Canyon after having suffered a severe attack of indigestion and heart trouble while on a yacht off San Diego. He was rushed ashore and to his home, but the efforts of his friends were unavailing.”

        Los Angeles Times, Nov. 22, 1924.


      • David Klappholz says:

        This Ince wikipedia entry basically says “heart trouble,” but gives some more interest detail and links to newspaper articles of the time, so, whatever one thinks of wikipedia in general, it looks pretty useful.


  5. Mary Mallory says:

    Wikipedia is good for laughs. It says that Santa Claus Lane came about because of Gene Autry’s song in the late 1940s, when the name actually came about in 1928 when the Hollywood Blvd. Association created their Christmas parade called Santa Claus Lane. Real accurate there, isn’t it?


  6. Mary Mallory says:

    Brian Tave, “Thomas Ince: Hollywood’s Independent Pioneer,” University Press of Kentucky, 2012

    The “new York Times” truthfully said that Ince had died of angina pectoris, and that the illness began while he was returning home via Del Mar…” (p. 2).

    On board the yacht, “Customary birthday toasts were offered and champagne served; Ince had already eaten salted almonds before dinner. Although he was under orders to avoid both because of ulcers, the truth about his health was not widely known, and Davies recalled that Ince asked to drink a toast to his son Richard’s birthday, too, to which Glyn responded, “Don’t drink it in water. It’s bad luck.”

    Ince had already complained of fatiguem and during the night he became very ill and decided to get up early and go into San Diego, and from there, return home. Dr. Goodman hailed a passing water taxi and, although he was not a practicing physician, decided it would be best if he accompanied Ince to the train station; Ince was carrying his suitcase. Seeing Ince’s condition worsen, Goodman continued on the train with him, noticing symptoms of a possible heart attack. They decided to get off at Del Mar and go to a hotel where he could see a doctor at once. Ince told the initial physician and nurse treating him, Dr. Truman A. Parker and Mrs. Jessie Howard, that he had drunk “considerable liquor” on the yacht, which he suspected was the cause of his illness, a diagnosis they supported.” (pp.6-7)

    Goodman called his wife Elinor, who brought down his doctor and their oldest son Bill. They all thought he would recover better at home, and took him by train onto Los Angeles. Ince had a sudden heart attack in the early morning hours.

    “Close friends and associates of Ince had noticed his poor health, especially intestinal problems and a heart condition.” (p. 7)

    “Adela Rogers St. Johns, who had one of her short stories produced by Ince in 1924, reported seeing the attacks of “acute indigestion” that “were well known to those who worked with him. Often in the middle of a conference he would double up with pain, the sweat would break out and drip.” He had been treated for ulcers, a “highly nervous condition brought on by overwork,” and chest pains diagnosed as symptoms of angina pectoris. Near the end of his life he was also suffering increasingly from insomnia.” (p. 8)

    Need I go on?


    • David Klappholz says:

      Lots more information here, but nothing that contradicts wikipedia…and wikipedia has some additional interesting information that can be checked vis the newspaper references.


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