Black Dahlia: Blogging ‘Black Dahlia Files’ Part 62 — Request Line II

Large ImageNote: This is an encore post from 2006.

I 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” and am taking requests for particular pages. Wolfe is using the “Laura” format in which the anonymous body is discovered and the narrative proceeds in flashbacks.

Yesterday, we looked at Pages 101-103, today it will be Pages 108-111.

As I continue on this project, I have speculated as to whether Wolfe ever considered the title “Severed: 2006” as it draws so heavily on John Gilmore’s book.

To the haz-mat pile of Dahlia books.

Page 108-111

Wolfe is continuing his portrayal of Elizabeth Short’s purported decline into the world of prostitution. This promises to be rather juicy. Entirely fiction, of course, but juicy.

“One of the Hollywood hopefuls who fell through the tinseltown trappings was the curvaceous blonde starlet, Barbara Payton, who became a prostitute on her way down the ladder of success—before literally dying in the gutter from a narcotics addition. Elizabeth Short met Barbara Payton through Lucille Varela at Al Green’s Nightlife Bar and Grill on McCadden. “Al Green” was Albert Louis Greenberg, a former bootlegger for Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky, who had a long rap-sheet and did odd-job robberies and rub-outs on the side for Bugsy.”

Large ImageJust “for fun” (fun being a relative term) let’s see the source on this—if indeed there is any.

Nope. No source whatsoever.

You’re not surprised are you?

Oh and then Wolfe recycles the old nonsense about Elizabeth Short and Franchot Tone from “Severed,” (I really think this book should be titled “Severed: 2006.” I can’t understand why John Gilmore calls this work “crap” when it relies so extensively on his book. Of course he also called it “destined to become a true-crime classic. A must read!”).

Page 109

“During her stay in Hollywood in 1944, Elizabeth frequented the Hollywood Canteen, where she danced with servicemen and met some of the movie star volunteers.”

Page 110

Well this is actually somewhat interesting. Sort of like catching a card sharp palming an ace.

Of course Wolfe knows none of this happened because he has quoted from “Movements of Elizabeth Short Prior to June 1, 1946,” in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s files, which says that Elizabeth Short was nowhere near Los Angeles in 1944 and 1945. Not being one to let the facts get in the way of some scandal, Wolfe buries that information and picks up the lies from “Severed” (25% mistakes, 50% fiction).

Large ImageAh, but for some reason he wants to graft back on to reality, saying that in 1945, Elizabeth Short returned to Medford. I don’t know why he bothers at this point, but he does.

Let’s quote the document again:

“In December, 1943, she was employed at the Rosedale Delicatessen, 1437 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, Fla., by Mr. Meyer Yedlin (22) as a waitress, and was living at the El Mar Hotel 220—21st St., Miami Beach. She was employed there a few months and went to work for Mammy’s Restaurant located at that time at 2038 Collins Ave., and was employed there during 1943 and up into 1944, working there until the latter part of 1944. She left there and visited her mother (1) in 1944. She returned later and lived at the El Mar Hotel with Mrs. Devaul (23) during the last part of 1944 and until the first part of 1945 but did not work. She was employed from Mar. 30, 1945 to Sept.1, 1945 at the St. Clairs, Inc., Boston Mass., Mr. Burk (25), Personnel Mgr.”

Page 111

Large Image“Following her seasonal travel pattern, Elizabeth returned to Miami and spent the winter at the Colonial Inn, an upscale hotel owned by Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky, which was known by the FBI to be a hoodlum-run gambling establishment. Police investigators found no record of Elizabeth’s employment during her stay at the Colonial Inn.”

The end notes, Holmes?

Absolutely, Watson. Shall we wager? “Severed?” Nobody?

I won’t bet with the likes of you, Holmes.

Hm. Wolfe attributes this material to the district attorney’s files, presumably the “Movements of Elizabeth Short Prior to June 1, 1946.” I suppose we are to take it on faith that the Colonial Inn was a mob joint since he doesn’t cite anyone for that little goodie.

Let’s check “Movements of Elizabeth Short,” shall we?

Holmes, you’re laughing! What is it?

Stop, tell me what it is!!!!


Watson, I swear, the man cannot read what is in front of him.

See for yourself.


Large Image“In the latter part of September 1945, she registered in the Colonial Inn, 2104 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville, Fla., Mrs. L.U. Burkett (24) Mgr. And stayed there until Jan. 9, 1946. During her stay there she received checks from her mother (1) and there is no work record of her in Jacksonville.”

Great Scott, Watson, calm down!

But Holmes, Jacksonville, Fla., is 354 miles from Miami Beach!


Oh, and for the record, Barbara Payton didn’t “die in the gutter.” In May 1967, her parents found Payton’s body in the bathroom of their home at 1901 Titus St., in San Diego. She was survived by a son who was then serving in Vietnam. And she was 39.

Time for my walk.

Shout out to:

Large ImageBarcelona, Spain [ISP Redacted]

Portugal [ISP Redacted]

My homies in Germany [ISP Redacted]

University of Windsor, Canada [ISP Redacted] Windows 98? Upgrade!

UCLA [ISP Redacted]

Regular visitor at Air Force Systems Command [ISP Redacted]

Regular visitor at Dark Horse Comics.

Hurry back!

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, Crime and Courts, LAPD, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply. Note: Your IP is logged with your comment so a fake name and email address are useless.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s