Deputies Garner Brown, left, and John Schilling examine the Bauerdorf car for fingerprints, Los Angeles Examiner, Oct. 13, 1944.
When Georgette Bauerdorf’s body was discovered, investigators were unable to locate her car, a 1936 Oldsmobile coupe belonging to her sister.
The Oldsmobile was found Thursday, Oct. 12, 1944, in front of 728 1/2 E. 25th St. and had been parked there since early that morning. The keys were in the ignition and the gas tank was empty. (Daily News, Oct. 14, 1944). The vehicle was reported by Mrs. Marion Mound (Mounday according to the 1940 census), who said the car had been parked there since 7:30 a.m. (Herald-Express, Oct. 13, 1944). The Herald described the neighborhood as “a Negro residential district.” (Oct. 13, 1944.) (More about the neighborhood later).
Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21 | Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26 | Part 27 | Part 28 | Part 29 | Part 30 | Part 31
Using surface streets (no Santa Monica Freeway in 1944) the killer had several possible routes from Georgette Bauerdorf’s apartment at 8493 Fountain Ave., to the dump site at 728 1/2 E. 25th St. The distance is roughly 10 miles, as reported at the time and verified by Google Maps.
This 1936 Oldsmobile six-cylinder sedan was guaranteed to get 18 miles per gallon, according to the Aug. 3, 1937, Southeast Missourian.
Recall that gasoline was rationed in 1944 and that under newly tightened regulations, drivers with “A” cards were granted 120 miles a month, or about two gallons a week, according to The Times.
A bit of research reveals that a 1936 Oldsmobile six-cylinder sedan got 18 miles per gallon, at least the one listed for sale in 1937. But recall that the Bauerdorf car was not well-maintained and the engine frequently broke down, so we might assume that it got something like 15 mpg. The killer’s trip to the dump site would have accounted for almost the last gallon of gas in the car.
Also recall that Georgette drove from the Hollywood Canteen to Sunset and Laurel Canyon boulevards on the night she was killed, a little more than two miles, via Google Maps. If she drove from her apartment to the Hollywood Canteen, as is likely, that would be about three miles, for a total of five miles.
We also know that earlier in the day, Georgette had gone shopping with Rose Gilbert, her father’s secretary, and had her hair styled at Ann Meredith, 250 Canon Drive, Beverly Hills. We don’t know if Georgette went from her apartment to the hair salon (or even whether she drove), but assuming that she took the car on her shopping trip, she would have added at least 2 1/2 miles (five miles round trip) and possibly more.
The route from the Bauerdorf apartment to the Ann Meredith beauty salon, 250 Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, via Google Maps.
So let’s say Georgette took the car on her shopping trip, drove it from her apartment to the Hollywood Canteen and then drove back as far as Sunset and Laurel Canyon, plus the killer driving 10 miles. Figuring that the car got about 15 mpg, that would account for a bit more than a gallon of gas.
Recall that Sgt. Gordon R. Aadland said he was hitchhiking at Sunset west of Vine Street and Georgette picked him up about 11:30 p.m. gave him a ride as far as Sunset and Laurel Canyon. Also recall that Aadland said that instead of heading for her apartment on Fountain, she turned right on Laurel Canyon, which would have taken her up into the Hollywood Hills or over into the San Fernando Valley.
Laurel Canyon to Ventura Boulevard, 4.3 miles via Google Maps.
Simply getting to the Valley at Laurel Canyon and Ventura would have taken 4.3 miles (8.6 miles round trip), or a little more than half a gallon of gas. If Georgette had visited any late-night restaurant in the Valley, that would have added more miles, so let’s make that 3/4 of a gallon. This is purely speculation, the total driving might have consumed at least two gallons and possibly more, about the weekly average with gas rationing.
Would a 20-year-old woman drive over the hill to the Valley around midnight in a car that was prone to breaking down? Especially if she were low on gas and eager to get home because she was expecting a phone call? We will never know the answer for sure. What we do know is that no one ever came forward publicly and said that Georgette had stopped at their restaurant or club.
The Daily News (Oct. 14, 1944) said, based on preliminary results from the autopsy: “All that is known is that she stopped somewhere on the way home and ate a substantial dinner, including meat and string beans, about an hour and a half before she died.”
To be continued.
Speaking of gas rationing, the photo in the previous installment appears to show that the “A” sticker that should be in the lower right corner of the windshield is missing.
Couldn’t she have turned right on Laurel Canyon and then turned right on Hollywood Blvd, to get back to Fountain? If she did stop at a restaurant on the way back, probably there were more open on Hollywood then on Sunset. Also, it might have been easier to make the right turn than a left. (Or maybe she just thought driving down Hollywood Blvd was more interesting.)
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