Black Dahlia: BuzzFeed Goes ‘Drunk History’ on an Unsolved Murder


Since “Drunk History” debuted, I have been waiting for the show to do a version of the Black Dahlia case. But BuzzFeed Videos beat them to it.

Our hosts Ryan and Brent cruised L.A. and free-associated about the murder of Elizabeth Short. Think “Drunk History” meets “Carpool Karaoke.”


And, of course, since they are dealing with a gruesome unsolved murder, Ryan and Brent treated the case as a “Drunk History” laff fest.

Did it ever occur to you guys that some of Elizabeth Short’s sisters are still alive and might find this subject  rather painful?

They made some elementary errors (Elizabeth Short was not disemboweled; she did not check into the Biltmore Hotel), but mostly Ryan and Brent fell hard for the Steve Hodel scenario.


For one thing, Ryan and Brent, loved, loved, loved the idea that a picture found in Dr. George Hodel’s belongings is of Elizabeth Short and they trotted out proof from a “forensic artist” and “facial recognition software. Never mind that the Short family has gone on the record as saying that this is not Elizabeth Short – as if anyone couldn’t tell. (And nothing was said about another photograph that Steve Hodel claimed was Elizabeth Short – later identified as Marya Marco. Oops!).


Then there’s the famous quote of George Hodel, stripped of anything that might give it some context (and no, it wasn’t a tape recorder. It was an old-school wire recorder, guys).


Here we have the actual transcript, which reveals that George Hodel knew that the district attorney’s office was “out to get me” and was therefore suspected he was under surveillance.  Also note that “As stated, heretofore, conversation was garbled, and it was difficult to maintain a line of continuity of conversation.”

Here’s the entire transcripts, by the way.

The George Hodel files 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 | Part 32 | Part 33 | Part 34 | Part 35 | Part 36 | Part 37
I could go on and on about what’s wrong with this video, but I think you get the idea. Except to say that the LAPD didn’t “drop” the case. It remains open, although not active. The Steve Hodel version of the story is that the police were inept and corrupt (how else could they let George Hodel slip through their fingers?) The reality is that George Hodel was one of many suspects who was investigated and eliminated through diligent detective work – including several weeks of surveillance that turned up nothing. Nada.

Did I mention that these clowns asked me for help in clearances on photos? Apparently getting a photo credit right is much more important than getting the facts right.

Mic drop.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, LAPD and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Black Dahlia: BuzzFeed Goes ‘Drunk History’ on an Unsolved Murder

  1. James Scott says:

    “Drunk History” is hilarious. Stupid, but hilarious!


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