« Lore

Episode 190: All That Glitters

2022-01-17 | 🔗

It’s a place where dreams are born, and were stars take flight. But beneath that thin, beautiful surface is a darker past, and the stories it holds are far from happy.


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
It's one of the distinct memories. From my childhood sure, I remember things like summers at the city pool or the way my neighbours. Buckeye tree dropped, those spiky gems every year, but on the best romantic end of the spectrum. I remember the first time I discovered what veneer was. It was an eye opener for sure that the desk, I believe, to be solid mahogany turned out to be something else, something cheaper sure. The surface looked bug but inside it was common, a lie veneer as a craft has been around for thousands of years. Some of the objects pulled from the tomb of King Tut were made with that technique and write down through the ages culture after culture has adopted and refined it, but I am of the industrial revolution, it was more engineering and art, which is why too,
We can order a bookcase from a big box store and put it together and from a distance get the few mean that it's a lovely thing. Crafted for walnuts are some rare, exotic wood and if we are honest There are a lot of things in life that share that concept. That approach, end veneer is all about appearances they represent the unusual the expensive and often the unattainable, without letting us see what's really beneath at all, and it's just as true for people as it is for bookshelves. Even places have a veneer, but few occasions. Have such a dark past hidden beneath its glittering surface, then the place that pumps out visions of our wildest dreams, it seem like everything there is picture perfect, but if you look close enough, the truth is more than a little frightening. So pack, your bags
grab your coat and put on your walking Jews, because I want to take you on a trip into the shadows behind the sunshine we're going to Hollywood. I'm Aaron Maggie, and this is lore. like a lot of things, it all began with Thomas Edison, not just because of his inventions, but because of his personality you see Edison loved to sue people. After shall we say, borrowing the idea for motion pictures from the work of other people like Englishmen, Edward, my Bridge and Frenchman, Louis Luella, Prince he register.
his own patents in America then then set about enforcing them. If any one other then the Edison company made a motion picture using technology that he felt had originated from his own. He sued them What happened is sort of like what takes place when a neighborhood kid encounters a bully on the way to the school bus stop each day they did their best. To avoid him, a number of filmmakers decided Pack up and move elsewhere, hoping different state laws and a bit of distance might protect them from Edison's greedy rate Now, if you remember that cameras in the eighteen ninety needed a ton of natural light, which meant filming outdoors most of the time, then you can see why California held such an attraction, beautiful weather all year round, lots of sun and, of course, far far away from Thomas Edison in New Jersey, so filmmakers headed west. What they found just north of LOS Angeles was avail
full of large ranches, lush, gardens and fruit tree orchards. It had been given the name Hollywood just a decade earlier, and the people who founded its head, instilled it with some very highly british characteristics. You know the highly religious, anti alcohol and anti gambling the first movie to be made in its entirety. In Hollywood was silent, film called perhaps appropriately in old California, released in nineteen ten and from their everything took off studios, where lt the town, grew exponentially and the world was changed, but not everything in early Hollywood had to do with movies. There's a story about a spanish government official name Jose Vicinity Phillies who live there in the late seventeen nineties in seventeen. Ninety five, the spanish government gifted him with a massive four thousand acre parcel of land that he quickly named Rancho loss Valise and for many years the ranch was owned and run by him and his family in eighteen. Sixty three,
though the family line had run dry with no direct mail heirs to pass it on to. But there were is a niece, a woman named Dinah Petronelle. So when the law asked Male Felice passed away and willed the land to a local politician. Instead of her, she was understandably furious Legend has it that she cursed the new owner, a man named Don Antonio Coronel and anyone else my own it in the future. The wrath of Heaven she cried out and the vengeance of hell shall fall upon this place. In those words, seemed Harrison Power Coronel quickly sign the land over to his attorney, but that man was killed in an accident. A few months later, the next owner invested huge amounts of money into converting the land into a cattle ranch and lost everything. They were fires and storms and even a flood, and all of it felt like a message straight from Dunna PET,
Miller, the final owner of the land, a guy named Griffith, J Griffith, who calls himself a colonel but really wasn't gifted huge portions of the property to the city of LOS Angeles and then in nice, Twenty three, a local newspaper owner name, Henry Chandler, invested a bunch of me the into a real estate development that he called Hollywood land and went looking for a place to advertise, it glancing up from the valley at the tall hills that at once had been Rancho lost valise. He knew he had found it, so he built sign and illuminated with over four thousand lightbulbs the planet and to leave it up for just a year. Pro Billy long enough to sell all the homes of the development, but the locals fell in love with it, and so it stayed twenties, years later. The local chamber of Commerce stepped into restore the aging sign and made some changes to. It, though, its went away and so did the whole piece of it. You see the than standing as one massive billboard, chancellors old sign was just a series of letters each one over thirty feet tall when
done. The sign had a new lease of life and has since become one of the most iconic shots in the state and its perfect really by dropping the last four letters that old The state advertisement has become a giant label hovering over the town itself. Hollywood Communities are often more than the sum of their parts, but in a place Like Hollywood. Those parts have a lot of stories to tell a great exam Bull is the legendary comedy store an institution in the world will stand up, comics located on Sunset Strip,. but before the building was home to laughs, it was home to vice back in nineteen. Forty was a nightclub called zeros and the owner took it
edge of the sort of legal, no man's land that its location enjoyed. You see back and Sunset Strip, was outside the jurisdiction of the LOS Angeles authorities, making it easier to offer services that were well less acceptable. Owner, William Wilkerson offered a great show in the main room. Of course, if you are We have swung, through there in the nineteen fortys and fifty's you'd have been able to watch legends like Lucille Ball Dean, Martin Mae West and where's perform their later. Even Richard prior would stand on that stage. I can imagine it was a busy place, but downstairs were all sorts of other forms of entertainment, many of which warrant so go and it didn't help that Wilkerson was more than a club owner. He was also a mob bus, so there were How stories of his enemies being killed in the basement, along with other
murders in and around the building and all that blood is left to mark. Even today, people continue to report unusual, frightening experience their one employee described entering a room to set up tables, turn on lights and get it ready for business only to return a few minutes later to find the room, dark and locked upon returning with a key. They found the room exactly as they left it. The first time open and all lit up. furniture has been seen to move on. Its own in lights are known, turn on and off without anyone around to control them. Once a staff member walked across an empty stage to turn off a light and when he turned around, he found the stage covered in chairs that hadn't been there moments before and speaking of stages. There's another that's worth visiting a nineteen forty two, a man named John Hampton, opened the silent movie theater as a way to preserve the older era of films that were being neglected or destroyed by the big studios,
The world had moved on to films with actual dialogue talkies as they were called, but those silent films needed saving Hampton spent decades fulfilling his mission, but the journey most likely killed him all those chemicals he used to preserve the old footage led to a cancer diagnosis and he passed away in nineteen ninety. but darker shadows entered the theatre it when the new owners arrived in ninety ninety seven James Van Sickle hired one of the theatres concession workers to kill his business partner Lawrence Austin. Both men went to prison for the murder, but if the stories are true Oskinson still haunts the building. Employees and visitors have often reported seeing his ghostly figure in the lobby after the theatre has closed up for the night and stairs in the lounge a place that used to be the apartment where original owner John Hampton had lived. People have seen other spectral shapes as well. It seems that some people just can't let go of their love for that place.
one last stop! That's a must see. Is the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel built in nineteen twenty nine? It was one The stamping ground for some of the towns biggest names, the hotel bar, was a favor spot for Marilyn Monroe enjoyed the measure and Elvis even stayed there. Well fill me in one of his movies. There other stories that lean harder into legend territory to the biggest is probably death of Irene Lentz, who took her own life there. November of nineteen, sixty two rumors that she had been struggling with the death of Gary Cooper. A man she claimed was her one true love, but there not a lot of evidence to back them up still, there are those think she's never really left the Knickerbocker. The building has since been converted into. Apart since, and a number of residents have reported, seen a ghostly woman in various parts of the building doors, known to open and close on their own and shadows and seen walking through the halls shadows without physical bodies.
Oh and the Hollywood. Knickerbocker was also the sight of a rather strange gathering about eighty five years ago. You see escape artist. an illusionist Harry Houdini, had promised his wife best that after he died, he would find a way to communicate with her after he passed away on Halloween of nineteen twenty six. She lit a candle and kept burning as in eternal flame after that, She hosted a science each year on the anniversary of his death to allow him a chance to speak to her once more bring the candle and a number of guests and they would list four messages from Houdini and each year there was nothing but silence. The and last Houdini seance was held in nineteen thirty, six on the roof of the Knickerbocker, and after that final failure to communicate. It said that best leaned over and blew out the candle ten years she later said, is long enough to wait for any man.
Four. one of the most frightening local legends. We need to step outside of Hollywood and into downtown LOS Angeles, but don't worry. There are still plenty of connections to tinsel town, when the LOS Angeles built more open in nineteen twenty three. It was the largest hotel in the western United States, and it was undeniably the most luxurious as well outside. It was a little bit spanish italian renaissance, with a dash of Mediterranean, but inside was where the real beauty waited the big example. I can give you is that the mural ceilings in the main Galleria and the Crystal Ball room we're both painted the same artist who had painted works for the Vatican and the White House. There were marble, fountains crystal chandelier, imported tapestries and so much more. I've even stayed there, and let me tell you folks this place
is gorgeous, and naturally this opulent palatial hotel acted like a massive flame to the model of Hollywood between I think thirty, five and one thousand nine hundred and forty two, the academy awards ceremony, was held there in the Biltmore Legends like Clark, Gable, Betty Davis Jimmy and Ginger Rogers all walked across the stage to accept their oscars. Honestly, it's a landmark for that reason alone. But guess there have reported more unusual sightings over the years. One of the most common is the figure of a little boy, running through the hallway. On the tenth floor, other ghostly children had been spotted elsewhere in the hotel, as have the fee years of a woman that some believe to be a nurse but one most memorable sightings is rumoured to be the ghost of a local murder victim. Her name
Elizabeth and she had moved to California from Boston back in nineteen. Forty two. She was young pretty and part of that constant inflow of men and women who typically came looking to strike it big and Hollywood. So most people assume that was goal as well by nineteen forty six? She was living and working in LA But on the night of January ninth, one thousand nine hundred and forty seven a friend, dropped her off at the Biltmore, where she said she was planning to meet her sister, who was in town visiting from hotel staff claim to see her use a phone inside, although she later left to visit the near my crown grill and after that she vanished would be a week later on the morning of January fifteenth that her body was found in a vacant lot in the neighbourhood of Le Maire Park. It was clear that she had been murdered because the evidence was utterly barbaric. Her mouth had been slashed wide all the way to her ears and her body had been drained of blood and cut
half at the waist. I won't go into any more detail, but the local Harold Express newspaper captured the brutality of her death best by calling it the werewolf murder, then, because of her loose connect. To the built more, the hotel has been the location of countless sightings over the years by people who are convinced they ve seen her ghost most mainly she's been spotted. On the tenth, an eleventh floors, visitors have reported a woman with black hair, dressed in nineteen forties clothing, walking through the hallways, and even the lobby itself. Some have even claim to see her for the elevator in write it down only to disappear near the sixth floor, others have watched her walk straight through walls as if they weren't, even real, or perhaps she wasn't, oh, and by the way that name the werewolf murder. Apparently didn't stick. It seems that reporters from the same newspaper learned of a nickname that sum of Elizabeth acquaintances had used for her and well
disputed whether she herself went by it is a name that taken on a life of its own. In the aftermath of her death, they called her the black dahlia. I think it's fair to say that our fascination with Hollywood is a mixed bag. Yes, there have been met than enough success stories, tales of people who gave up everything to move their and try their luck only to break through and become superstars, and those stories keep the process in motion attracting new comers each and every
day, but those cases are far outweighed by the ones that took their shot and failed and loss. Whether rooted in career aspirations, love or even death is a bigger legacy of that story, location from murders of people like Elizabeth Short, the black dahlia to curses and sciences. It seems like so many people there have had to struggle through disappointments and pain. Even the iconic Hollywood sign hasn't escape the darkness of the area. It said it back in eighteen, thirty, two, a beautiful blonde actress named peg and whistle, was struggling to build a career in show business. She had landed a few small roles, but in September of that year the studio she worked for dropped. Her contract
heart broken over. What fell like failure? She hiked up to the Hollywood sign scaled. The letter h and threw herself off to or death or body, was found two days later by a local hiker, along with her suicide note and with her death, the gilded entertainment machine had claimed another poor soul, certainly not the first and tragically, not the last Hollywood. After all, is a veneer there's, a lot of beauty to be seen from a distance, but the closer you get, the darker the shadows become: there's something hopeful in the attraction and has for people, but there is also something sinister for so many people beneath all that golden price ass mice, pain and loss. One last story: in eighteen: ninety a young couple were hiking in Griffith Park, part of the law. an donated to LOS Angeles by Griffith J Griffith that had once belonged to the Felice family and as
were approaching the gigantic famous Hollywood sign those enormous white letters looming ahead of them. They saw a woman, a few paces away. We look like she was lost or disoriented a couple stopped for a moment and watched her in a gasp, as the figure disappeared right before their eyes and while that's shocking enough even more frightening is the description they gave of her. She was blonde and dressed in nineteen thirty clothing. Hollywood is where legends are born, and I hope today is two or three. In has shown you that not all of those stories have happy. Endings and worse. There others I didn't have time to tell, but don't worry
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Only come back the bite you Rodolfo, however, agreed with his family and left ITALY at the age of eighteen, in search of new opportunities here, the New York City and nineteen thirteen and settled into that age, old hustle of trying to find work that paid well, but also satisfied him. He waited tables washed cars and even tried his hands learning, but within a couple of years he was working under the name. Rodolfo gloomy at a weird job called taxi dancing. Basically, he was employed by a dance hall, a place where hundreds of people would show up each night to hear music and dance and patrons could rent him as a dance partner and because they paid a fee based on how much time they danced with him. It was sort of paying a taxi fair, so taxi dancing by that'll came to an end and nineteen seventeen when his love interest dragged him into the drama of her failing marriage, a conflict that did in the husbands, murder Rodolfo didn't pull the trigger, but he didn't like the heat either. So he got far far away
from the kitchen and that's how he ended up on the West Coast in Hollywood, for them couple of years. He took on bit parts in a variety of films, but under a different name, one that wasn't connected to a New York city murder. Thankfully he had a few family names to pick from and he settled on one that would become a Hollywood legend Rudolf Valentino. The next few years would be a roller coaster of huge successes. Multiple girlfriends marriages failed business dealings and studio country acts along the way he started the nineteen twenty one break out hit the Sheik, which turn him into the hottest Darn Hollywood for a while, but the tragedy, both personal and professional, would always be a weight that slowed him down in August of nineteen twenty six after finishing a new film called the Son of the Sheik, he collapsed before undergoing surgeon. for a number of infections in his internal organs, Rudolf Valentino, would
away on August twenty third and that last film would be released two weeks later too much success. But his story was an over because his death shock. The nation and his funeral in New York City was swarmed by over fifty thousand mourners, at least one hundred. Were injured in the chaos and the funeral home had set up a makeshift emergency room to care for them all Of women even fainted as they passed by his coffin and one last thing, EL eighteen is said to have purchased a ring a few months before his death. During a visit to San Francisco, he had been warned about it by the seller that all who had owned it before him had suffered tragedy in death, but Rudolf didn't care and its was that he was wearing that ring the day. He died after that. His girlfriend took it for her
and less than a year later she married another man soon. The couple felt like tragedy was following them and their fortune vanished, but when she gave the ring to a friend oddly enough, eight Rudolf Valentino look alike, that man died in a shooting accidents, the dead man's best friend, a guy with the memorable name of Joe Casino, took the ring and died a few later when he was run over by a truck Joseph their decided to take the ring after that, but a burglar stole it before getting shot to death by the police. Finally asked ended up on the finger of another young actor that man died of a mysterious illness. Just two weeks later after that, some. Had the bright idea to lack the ring up in a bank vault we're a canoe
longer harm anyone. But somehow the ring disappeared after the bank burned down and in the end I can't think of a better object to represent the Hollywood experience that so many people have had its shiny, an attractive and oh so tempting to try and get your hands on it, but there's a darkness there as well, because as the old cliche so eloquently puts it all that glitters is not gold This episode of law was written and produced by me, Aaron Monkey with research by Megan. They rush in music by Chad. Lawson more is Much more than just a podcast. There's a book series available in bookstores an online and two seasons of.
television show on Amazon, prime video check them both out What more lore in your life also make an executive produce a whole bunch of other podcast, all of which I think you'd enjoy My production, company, grim and mild specializes in shows that sit at the intersection of the dark and the historical you go more about all of this shows and everything else going on over in one central place, grew and mild dot com, and you can also follow the show on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, just search for lore podcast, all one word and then click that follow button. And when you do say hi, I like it when people say hi and as always thanks for listening.
Transcript generated on 2022-02-22.