Black Dahlia: A Crime Graphic Novel by James Ellroy, David Fincher, Matz and Miles Hyman

Black Dahlia cover

Take a close look: “The Black Dahlia ™.” Does that mean the publisher is trying to trademark “The Black Dahlia?”  Good luck with that.


I picked up a copy of the new graphic novel version of James Ellroy’s “The Black Dahlia,” and although I didn’t expect to like it, I ended up disliking it for entirely different reasons. Several pages had been posted online and it at least looked visually interesting, so I forced myself to read it. And this turned out to be quite a chore.

The book is credited to Ellroy, adapted by David Fincher – who was rumored for years to be directing a Black Dahlia movie — and Matz, and illustrated by Miles Hyman, with lettering by Deron Bennett. It is published by Archaia and lists for $29.99.

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Posted in 1947, Art & Artists, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, Cold Cases, LAPD | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)


This week’s mystery production has been the TV series “Johnny Staccato,” starring John Cassavetes, which aired 27 episodes on NBC in the 1959-1960 season. The mystery episode was “Fly Baby, Fly,” featuring Cassavetes,  Gena Rowlands (his wife), Howard Freeman, Dort Clark, Nesdon Booth, Ingrid Goude, Jan Brooks, Mike Steele and Dennis Sallas. It was directed by Robert B. Sinclair, written by Philip S. Goodman, with music by Elmer Bernstein and photography by Ray Cory. The series was produced by Everett Chambers and the executive producer was William Frye.

Other episodes feature such familiar faces famous character actors as Ted de Corsia, Elisha Cook Jr., Lloyd Corrigan and, according to IMDB, Snub Pollard.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times (Sept. 10, 1959), Cecil Smith said Johnny Staccato “is almost a carbon copy of  of Peter Gunn. The jazz blares, the liquor flows, the girls wait breathlessly for the slightest gesture of affection from Johnny Staccato.” Smith called Cassavetes “one of the best actors in television” and praised the show’s “great jazz music scored by Elmer Bernstein and played by such marvels as Red Norvo, Barney Kessel, Shelley Mann, etc.” (Note: Smith also disliked “Tightrope,” but praised Mike Connors.)

The TV series was made about the same time that Cassavetes was directing “Shadows,” which began as an improvised acting exercise and grew into a film shot over 12 weeks in New York.

Cassavetes told Charles Champlin (Aug. 27, 1984): “When I started making films, that was exactly what I wanted to do, make Frank Capra pictures. But I’ve never been able to make anything except these crazy, tough pictures. It’s not intentional. You just are what you are.”

“Johnny Staccato” is available on DVD from Amazon and random episodes are on

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Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 39 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Julian Eltinge Says ‘I’m at Your Service, Girls’

I'm at Your Service Eltinge


One of the most famous female impersonators of all time, but now also one of the most forgotten, Julian Eltinge stood as one of the most successful headliners of the early 1900s, setting attendance records at vaudeville and theatre box offices. He entertained audiences as one of the best dressed and most hilarious women on stage for decades, with many shows written around his unique talents. For his 1915-1916 theatre musical, “Cousin Lucy,” he saw to it that a song was created that summed up his career, his audience, and his life.

Eltinge began performing on stage in the mid-1890s per historian Tony Slide in his book, “New York City Vaudeville.” The New York Tribune February 2, 1902, states that Eltinge is “well known to Boston, New York, and Newport society as a female impersonator of talent and stunning costumes.”

“Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays” by Karie Bible and Mary Mallory is available at Amazon and at local bookstores.

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Black Dahlia: Can You Identify the Black Dahlia? (Updated)

Black Dahlia animated gif

I thought an animated gif of the two images would make it easier to see the similarities or differences between the two photos.

Which woman in the above images is Elizabeth Short?

1. Woman No. 1 is Elizabeth Short.
2. Woman No. 2 is Elizabeth Short.
3. Both women are Elizabeth Short.
4. Neither woman is Elizabeth Short.

At the end of a week, we have 13 votes for woman No. 2 as Elizabeth Short and 2 votes for both women being Elizabeth Short.

Woman No. 1 is a photo that Steve Hodel says he found in his father’s belongings and is of Elizabeth Short. Woman No. 2 is a known photo of Elizabeth Short.

Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, LAPD | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Black Dahlia: Can You Identify the Black Dahlia? Part 2


Here’s another photo comparison.

And be sure to take a good look.

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Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, LAPD | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 2016 S.F. Film Festival Offers Appetizing Selection

Beggars of Life.Glass Slide WEB
“Beggars of Life,” courtesy of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.


The just concluded Twenty First Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival featured a strong weekend of thoughtful and powerful films and music from all over the world. The diverse lineup revealed the deep emotional impact of well made, visually impressive silent films, motion pictures that still speak to the spirit today.

The Louise Brooks classic “Beggars of Life” opened the Festival Thursday, June 3. This spare but compelling William Wellman film speaks as much to today as it did the late 1920s, particularly with its hobos desperately looking for food and work. A simple line of dialogue gives the film its apt and effective title, describing how we all are “beggars of life.”

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ALLIES INVADE FRANCE! JUNE 6, 1944; Complete Radio Coverage

June 7, 1944, D-day

June 7, 1944, D-Day Map

The headline and map by Charles Owens from The Times.

June 6, 1944: Complete radio coverage of the D-Day Invasion. This was pool coverage using correspondents from various news organizations. By 10 a.m., CBS had resumed regular programming with news bulletins, so I’ll only post up to noon. The full day is at

It’s worth noting that German radio was the source for most of the information in the early hours of the invasion. The eyewitness accounts are vivid and it’s worth listening to Quentin Reynolds’ analysis on how the Allies learned from disastrous surprise invasion at Dieppe in 1942.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

June 11, 2016, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1937 MGM picture “Night Must Fall,” with Robert Montgomery, Rosalind Russell, Dame May Whitty, Alan Marshal, Merle Tottenham and Kathleen Harrison, ominous music by Edward Ward, photographed by Ray June, directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Hunt Stromberg.  The  screenplay by John Van Druten was based on the play by Emlyn Williams,  who also directed the Broadway and London versions and starred as Dan (renamed Danny in the film).  Williams, who died in 1987, wrote about two dozen plays including, “The Corn Is Green.” His New York Times obituary is here.

“Night Must Fall” received 64 performances on Broadway in 1936 with Whitty as Mrs. Bramson and was revived in 1999 with a cast that included Matthew Broderick.

Frank S. Nugent of the New York Times wrote (April 30, 1937): “The picture is a sober, evenly modulated and definitely (sorry, Mr. Funk) unusual melodrama, sentiently directed and remarkably well-played.”

Nugent said of Rosalind Russell: “nor has Miss Russell been altogether convincing as the murder-hypnotized niece. Possibly a less aggressive, more mouse-like person would have suited the role better. I felt this part of the film lacked persuasion.”

Edwin Schallert of the Los Angeles Times wrote (May 6, 1937): ” ‘Night Must Fall’ is a thriller at Grauman’s Chinese and Loew’s State theaters, one of the strongest and most uncompromising features of its type…. Much has been lavished on this picture to make it worthwhile and clearly it is a rare novelty — outstanding in that respect during the season.” The film was co-billed Laurel and Hardy’s “Way Out West.

In the past, I have avoided movies that recently aired on TCM, but since I cut back on cable in January, I stopped following TCM’s (rather repetitive) programming. Evidently “Night Must Fall” aired Wednesday, but I had no idea.

“Night Must Fall” is available on DVD from Warner Archive for $16.99.


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Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 57 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: First National Studios, Now Warner Bros., Turns 90


An aerial view of First National Studios in Burbank, Motion Picture News, 1926.


First National Studios, now known as Warner Bros. Studios, celebrates its 90th birthday on June 15, 2016. Basic construction was completed on the original studio that day in 1926, just 72 days after commencing on March 28, creating the second major motion picture lot in the San Fernando Valley.

First National actually was conceived April 25, 1917 by prominent Los Angeles resident Thomas Tally and J. D. Williams as a circuit of independent film exhibitors under the name First National Exhibitors Circuit, Inc. Because of problems resulting from the high cost of renting films, block booking, inferior quality of prints, and dealing with exhibitors, the group soon decided to purchase films on their own directly from stars and directors.

“Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays” by Karie Bible and Mary Mallory is available at Amazon and at local bookstores.

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Mary Mallory/ Hollywood Heights: Hollywood Cafes Then and Now


Hi-Land Kwik Lunch
The Hi-Land Kwik Lunch, 1714 Highland Ave., courtesy of Mary Mallory.


Thanks to vintage photograph, films, and ephemera, buildings still live on, even if eventually they were demolished and/or replaced. Sometimes thankfully they still survive. Here is a story of two buildings: one that survives and one replaced, revealing their place in the life and business of Hollywood, California.

Early in the history of Hollywood, 1714 Highland Ave. existed as a residence in the sleepy little farming community, just across the street from the Hollywood Hotel. Charles Hoffman resided here in 1913, not long after the streetcar line was constructed in the street, on what many believed would become a major thoroughfare. In 1914, Roy Gage, a wire man for the Telephone and Telegraph Company, resided in the home.

“Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays” by Karie Bible and Mary Mallory is available at Amazon and at local bookstores.


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Posted in Architecture, Food and Drink, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)



This week’s mystery movie has been the 1934 Universal picture “Imitation of Life,” with Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Rochelle Hudson, Ned Sparks, Louise Beavers, Fredi Washington, Baby Jane, Alan Hale, Henry Armetta and Wyndham Standing. The film was directed by John M. Stahl, with a screenplay by William Hurlbut, adapted from the novel by Fannie Hurst. It was produced by Carl Laemmle Jr.

Writing in the Nov. 24, 1934, New York Times, Andre Sennwald said:

Since a candid examination of Fannie Hurst’s “Imitation of Life” will only force this unpleasant department to label it the most shameless tearjerker of the Fall, let us proceed to an objective report on the latest of the cinemized social histories of America’s favorite philosopher. “Imitation of Life” is a dignified and sober dramatic chronicle which proceeds on its earnest way for almost two hours.

Edwin Schallert of the Los Angeles Times wrote (Nov. 28, 1934):

“Imitation of Life” is a screen victory that may well fling glory to its personnel, especially those who have contrived behind the screen to bring it to the screen…. There was sufficient testimony of tears last night to provie that “Imitation of Life” will be the joy of its women audiences.”

I picked “Imitation of Life” as this week’s film because my friend Farran Smith Nehme has an article about Carl Laemmle Jr. in Film Comment.


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Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 69 Comments

Black Dahlia: Can You Identify the Black Dahlia? (Updated)

OK, let’s have some fun.

Does either of these photographs show Elizabeth Short?
1. The woman on the left is Elizabeth Short.
2. The woman on the right is Elizabeth Short.
3. Both women are Elizabeth Short.
4. Neither woman is Elizabeth Short.

Woman on left 0
Woman on right 11
Both 2
Neither 2

Here is the final tally from our unscientific poll. The image on the left was found by Steve Hodel in his father’s belongings and according to Steve Hodel, this establishes a relationship between Dr. George Hodel and Elizabeth Short. The image on the right is cropped from a known photograph of Elizabeth Short.

I should note that Elizabeth Short’s family issued a statement saying that the woman on the left is not Elizabeth Short.

Only two people said both images showed Elizabeth Short — the same number that said neither image showed Elizabeth Short. In contrast, 12 said that only the woman on the right is Elizabeth Short.

Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, LAPD | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Black Dahlia: Dr. George Hodel, Here We Go Again


The latest on Steve Hodel’s allegations, in the Guardian.

There are several thousand things I would rather do that poke holes in Steve Hodel’s “theories” once again. As long-time readers know, I have been fact-checking Steve Hodel’s “case” against his father for years. I even published the entire transcription of surveillance recordings of his father, in 37 parts, from the Los Angeles County district attorney’s files.

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

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Posted in 1947, Another Good Story Ruined, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, LAPD | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Black Dahlia: Matthew Mezger, My No. 1 Troll, Is Dead

Matthew Mezger obituary
I hadn’t gotten any brickbats from Mr. Mezger in a couple of years and wondered whether I successfully blocked him everywhere or whether something had happened to him. I decided to Google him and found that he died of cancer in 2012. It is unfortunate that someone who was obviously a smart individual squandered his brainpower on personal attacks and cyber-stalking. He was obsessed with the notion that the nonexistent “Ed Burns” of “Severed” fame killed Elizabeth Short, and was incredibly hostile, superior and vitriolic to anyone who disagreed with him.

A sample of Mr. Mezger’s finest, from 2011:

Hey, Larry, are you off the hook? Are you free to finally apologize to Jack Pico, regain your manhood, and help us force LAPD’s hand on the Short murder? Without your big newspaper impramatur behind your blog, you don’t look very tough. But are you free to tell the truth, or must  you still toe the banal  company line.

The full obituary is here.

Posted in 2012, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, LAPD, Obituaries | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

‘Mad Men’ Props Auction June 1


Props from “Mad Men,” including Peggy Olson’s moving box, are going up for auction June 1.



More info here.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

May 28, 2016, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1932 Warner Bros. – First National Picture “Silver Dollar,” with Edward G. Robinson, Bebe Daniels, Aline MacMahon, DeWitt Jennings, Robert Warwick, Russell Simpson, Harry Holman, Charles Middleton, Emmett Corrigan, Christian Rub, Lee Kohlmar, Wade Boteler and William LeMaire. It was directed by Alfred E. Green, from a screenplay by Carl Erickson and Harvey Thew based on a book by David Karsner. It was photographed by James Van Trees, edited by George Marks, with art direction by Robert Haas, gowns by Orry-Kelly and silks by the Cheney Brothers.

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Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 52 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: ‘Mothers of Men’ Promotes Women’s Causes

'Mothers of Men'

An image from the teaser for “Mothers of Men,” courtesy of


At the turn of the twentieth century, women had few rights anywhere in the world. They were basically considered the property of their husbands and fathers, with little to no rights to owning property, voting, serving politically, or keeping the money they earned. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony began rallying American women for the right to vote. Over the next several decades, women organized rallies, marches, letter writing campaigns, all with the purpose of gaining women suffrage. With this right, laws could be changed in favor of women.

Moving picture newsreels documented marches and rallies, while shorts covered the subject, mostly as comedy relief. In 1914, Jane Addams, Anna Howard Shaw, and Mrs. Merrill McCormick decided the best way to reach millions demonstrating their cause would be through motion pictures. With the help of William N. Selig and Lewis J. Selznick’s World Film, they released “Your Girl and Mine,” focusing on an every woman who suffers myriad problems in states without woman’s suffrage. This powerful film did begin to change hearts and minds, receiving universally praised reviews and comments.


“Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays” by Karie Bible and Mary Mallory is available at Amazon and at local bookstores.

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L.A. Murders 1991 – 2014

Homicides in Los Angeles, 1991-2014

Here is a useful infographic from the spring issue of Blueprint, published by UCLA. Jim Newton has the cover story on Jerry Brown and an interview with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

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‘To Climb a Gold Mountain’ Airs Tonight

To Climb a Gold Mountain

Mary Mallory notes that “To Climb a Gold Mountain” will air tonight at 7 on PBS in Southern California, and again on May 21 and 22.

From the filmmakers:

“To Climb a Gold Mountain” tells the stories of four women of Asian descent who lived in America from the 1850s to the present day.  The women came from different backgrounds and lived dramatically different lives.  Some of the women featured in the film, such as Anna May Wong, have reached success and fame.  Still others, like Sing Ye, who lived in the 1800s and fought for freedom, are all but forgotten.

Each woman’s story represents a distinct theme of struggle and triumph, and ushers in the succeeding story leading up to the present time. Through these stories, the film tracks the progression, evolution and legacy of the immigrants in America as they integrate into the fabric of America.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Blondie of the Follies
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1932 MGM film “Blondie of the Follies,” with Marion Davies, Robert Montgomery, Billie Dove, Jimmy Durante, James Gleason, Zasu Pitts, Sidney Toler, Douglass Dumbrille, Sarah Padden, Louise Carter, Clyde Cook and the Rocky Twins. The story was by Frances Marion, dialogue by Anita Loos, music by Dr. William Axt, gowns by Adrian and photography by George Barnes. The film was directed by Edmund Goulding.

”Blondie of the Follies” was the last film of Billie Dove, who retired from the screen when she was still in her 20s after making nearly 50 pictures, mostly in the silent era. The Los Angeles Times did a brief story on her in 1990 in which she refers to an affair with Howard Hughes and says she is working on an autobiography, which was apparently unpublished.

For some reason (and it is easy to speculate why), the Los Angeles Times did not review “Blondie.” The New York Times said (Sept. 2, 1932): “Frances Marion has dug down into the scenario grab bag and brought up the one about the chorus girl and the wealthy playboy, wherein their pure love is blighted for ever so long amid the cocktails and the sin-laden trappings of Broadway.”

This is a pre-code movie involving chorus girls backstage in scanty costumes and wealthy titans of finance, so “Blondie” gets relatively racy at times. James Gleason, as Blondie’s father, wonders if he is too old-fashioned for being upset with her after she is out all night (ahem, ahem).

“Blondie of the Follies” is available from Warner Archive for $21.99.

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Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 28 Comments