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Inside The LC: Part VII

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com http://robalini.blogspot.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 23, 2009
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      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist


      Inside The LC: The Strange but Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and
      the Birth of the Hippie Generation
      Part VII
      June 22, 2008

      "As all halfway-decent managers in the rock era have done, [Jim]
      Dickson worked on seducing the in-crowd and creating a buzz around
      [The Byrds] … The timing was perfect … LA's baby-boomers were mobile,
      getting around, looking for action. And now they were joined by the
      hip elite of Hollywood itself, from Sal Mineo and Peter Fonda to
      junkie comic Lenny Bruce."
      Barney Hoskyns, Waiting for the Sun

      As important as the Freaks were to building an audience for the new
      Laurel Canyon bands, there was another group that played a key role
      as well: Hollywood's so-called "Young Turks." Like the Freaks, the
      Turks became an immediate and constant presence on the newly emerging
      Sunset Strip scene. And as with the Freaks, their presence on the
      Strip was heavily promoted by the media. Locals and tourists alike
      knew where to go to gawk at the Freaks and, as an added bonus, quite
      possibly rub shoulders with the likes of Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson,
      Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper and Warren Beatty, along with their female
      counterparts like Jane Fonda, Nancy Sinatra and Sharon Tate.

      Many of these young and glamorous Hollywood stars forged very close
      bonds with the Laurel Canyon musicians. Some of them, including Peter
      Fonda, found homes in the canyon so that they could live, work and
      party among the rock stars (and, in their free time, pass around John
      Phillips' wife to just about every swinging dick in the canyon,
      including Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Warren Beatty, Roman
      Polanski, and Gene Clark of The Byrds). Some of them never left; Jack
      Nicholson to this day lives in a spacious estate just off the portion
      of Mulholland Drive that lies between Laurel Canyon and Coldwater
      Canyon. Not far west of Nicholson's property (which now includes the
      neighboring estate formerly owned by Marlon Brando) sits the longtime
      home of Warren Beatty.

      From the symbiotic relationship between Laurel Canyon actors and
      Laurel Canyon musicians arose a series of feature films that are now
      considered counter-cultural classics. One such film was 1967's The
      Trip, an unintentionally hilarious attempt to create a cinematic
      facsimile of an LSD trip. Written by, of all people, Jack Nicholson,
      the movie starred fellow Turks Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Bruce
      Dern. Seated in the director's chair was Roger Corman, who,
      throughout his career, worked side-by-side with David Crosby's dad on
      no less than twenty-three feature films. Recruited to supply the
      soundtrack for the film was Gram Parson's International Submarine
      Band (Parson's music, however, was ultimately not used, though the
      band does make a brief on-screen appearance). The house where most of
      the film was shot, at the top of Kirkwood Drive in Laurel Canyon, was
      the home of Love's Arthur Lee.

      Another `psychedelic' cult film of the late 1960s with deep roots in
      Laurel Canyon was the Monkee's 1968 big-screen offering, Head. Also
      scripted by Nicholson (with assistance from Bob Rafelson), the movie
      included cameo appearances by canyon dwellers Dennis Hopper, Jack
      Nicholson and Frank Zappa. The music – performed, of course, by The
      Monkees – was a mix of songs written by the band and contributions
      from Canyon songwriters like Carol King and Harry Nilsson. And
      shockingly, some of that music is actually pretty good. Even more
      shockingly, the movie overall is arguably the most watchable of the
      1960s cult films. It is certainly a vast improvement over, for
      example, 1968's wretched Psych Out (starring Nicholson and Dern).

      I do realize, by the way, that some of you out there in readerland
      cringe every time that I mention The Monkees as though they were
      a `real' band. The reality though is that they were every bit
      as `real' as most of their contemporaries. And while the made-for-TV
      Beatles replicants were looked down upon by music critics and fans
      alike, they were fully accepted as members of the musical fraternity
      by the other Laurel Canyon bands. The homes of both Mickey Dolenz and
      Peter Tork were popular canyon hangouts in the late `60s for a number
      of `real' musicians. Also regularly dropping by Dolenz' party house
      were Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson.

      The difference in perception between their peers and the public was
      attributable to the fact that the other bands knew something that the
      fans did not: the very same studio musicians who appeared without
      credit on The Monkee's albums also appeared without credit on their
      albums. And then, of course, there was the fact that so many of
      Laurel Canyon's `real' musicians had taken a stab at being a part of
      The Monkees, including Steven Stills, Love's Bryan MacLean, and Three
      Dog Night's Danny Hutton – all of whom answered the Monkees' casting
      call and were rejected.

      There were undoubtedly other future stars who auditioned for the show
      as well, though most would probably prefer not to discuss such
      things. Despite persistent rumors, however, there was one local
      musician who we can safely conclude did not read for a part: Charles
      Manson. Given that the show was cast in 1965 and began its brief
      television run in 1966, while Charlie was still imprisoned at
      Terminal Island awaiting his release in March of 1967, there doesn't
      appear to be any way that Manson could have been considered for a
      part on the show. And that's kind of a shame when you think about it,
      because if he had been, we might today remember Charlie Manson not as
      one of America's most notorious criminals, but rather as the guy who
      made Marcia Brady swoon.

      And, let's be honest here, would that really have been any worse than
      seeing her go ga-ga over the likes of Davy Jones? I mean, I could
      have understood if she had gotten weak in the knees over, you know, a
      real man like David Cassidy or Bobby Sherman. Now, I hope we can all
      agree that those guys were cool … right? Is everyone with me on this?
      Anyone? … Anyone? …

      You know, I'm thinking back right now as I sit here, and I can
      actually picture in my mind the covers of a couple of Bobby Sherman
      albums that I had in my personal coll … err, that we had lying around
      the house for some reason, I'm not really sure why, and … come to
      think of it, I think there might have even been a Bobby Sherman
      poster or two pulled from the pages of Tiger Beat magazine, and,
      uhmm, I suppose I can see how that might seem a little bit, uhhh,
      what's the word I'm looking for? … `gay' or whatever to a modern,
      twenty-first-century-man-about-town, but I'm sure that, if you
      checked into it, you would find that there were a lot of young boys
      back `in the day' who just really dug Bobby Sherman and those great
      songs like "Julie (Do You Love Me)" and "Easy Come, Easy Go" and …
      uhmm … maybe this is a good time to get back to where we left off.

      Returning then to the counter-cultural films of the 1960s, the most
      critically acclaimed of the lot, and the one with the deepest roots
      in Laurel Canyon, was Easy Rider. Directed (sort of) by Dennis
      Hopper, from a script co-written by he and Peter Fonda, the film
      starred Fonda and Hopper along with Jack Nicholson (the only one in
      the movie who did anything resembling actual acting). Hopper's walrus-
      mustachioed character in the film was based on David Crosby, who was
      regularly seen racing his motorcycle up and down the winding streets
      of Laurel Canyon (that motorcycle, by the way, had been a gift from
      Crosby's good buddy, Peter Fonda). Fonda's absurd `Captain America'
      character was inspired either by John Phillips' riding partner, Gram
      Parsons, or by Crosby's former bandmate in The Byrds, Roger McGuinn
      (depending upon who is telling the story.) That very same Roger
      McGuinn scored the original music for the film. His contributions
      were joined on the soundtrack by offerings from fellow Canyonite
      musicians The Byrds, Steppenwolf, Fraternity of Man and Jimi Hendrix.
      And the movie's hippie commune was reportedly created and filmed in
      the canyons, near Mulholland Drive.

      Since Easy Rider had such deep roots in the Laurel Canyon scene, we
      need to briefly focus our attention here on one other individual who
      worked on the film: art director Jeremy Kay, aka Jerry Kay. Before
      Easy Rider, Kay had worked on such cinematic abominations as Angels
      from Hell, Hells Angels on Wheels (with Jack Nicholson), and Scorpio
      Rising (Kenneth Anger's occult-tinged homage to gay bikers). In the
      mid-1970s, Kay would write, direct and produce a charming little film
      entitled Satan's Children. Of far more interest here than his film
      credits though is his membership in the 1960s in a group known as the
      Solar Lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis (or OTO), which found itself
      in the news, and not in a good way, just after Easy Rider opened on
      theater screens across America.

      Two weeks after Easy Rider premiered on July 14, 1969, police acting
      on a phone tip raided the Solar Lodge's compound near Blythe,
      California and found a six-year-old boy locked outdoors in a 6'x6'
      wooden crate in the sweltering desert heat. The young boy, whose
      father was a Los Angeles County probation officer (as was Michelle
      Phillip's father, by the way), had been chained to a steel plate for
      nearly two months in temperatures reaching as high as 117° F.
      According to an FBI report, the box also contained a can "partially
      filled with human waste and swarming with flies … The stench was
      nauseating." Before being put in the box, the child had been burned
      with matches and beaten with bamboo poles by cult members. The leader
      of the cult, Georgina Brayton, had reportedly told cult members
      that "when it was convenient, she was going to give [the boy] LSD and
      set fire to the structure in which he was chained and give him just
      enough chain to get out of reach of the fire." Killing the child had
      also been discussed (and apparently condoned by the boy's mind-fucked

      Eleven adult members of the sect were charged with felony child
      abuse, the majority of them young white men in their early twenties.
      All were brought to trial and convicted. In a curious bit of timing,
      the raid that resulted in the arrests and convictions coincided with
      the torture and murder of musician Gary Hinman by a trio of Manson
      acolytes. Though it is, not surprisingly, vehemently denied by
      concerned parties, various sources have claimed that Manson had ties
      to the group, which also maintained a home near the USC campus in Los
      Angeles. There is no doubt that Charlie preached the same dogma,
      including the notion of an apocalyptic race war looming on the
      horizon. The massacre at the Tate residence occurred less than two
      weeks after the raid on the OTO compound. Manson's Barker Ranch
      hideout would be raided a few months later, on October 12, 1969 – the
      birthday, as I may have already mentioned, of Aleister Crowley, the
      Grand Poobah of the OTO until his death in 1947.

      Sorry about that little digression, folks. I'm not entirely sure how
      we ended up at the Barker Ranch when the focus of this installment
      was supposed to be on the Young Turks. So having now established that
      those Turks were a fully integrated part of the Laurel Canyon/Sunset
      Strip scene, and also that they played an important role in luring
      the public out to the new clubs to check out the new bands, our next
      task is to get to know a little bit about who these folks are and
      where they came from. Let's begin with Mr. Bruce Dern, who has some
      of the most provocative connections of any of the characters in this

      It is probably safe to say that Dern's parents had rather impressive
      political connections, given that baby Bruce's godparents were
      sitting First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and future two-time Democratic
      presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson (he lost both times, in 1952 and
      1956, to Eisenhower). Bruce's paternal grandfather was a guy by the
      name of George Dern, who served as Secretary of War under President
      Franklin Roosevelt (for the youngsters in the crowd, `Secretary of
      War' is what we used to call the `Secretary of Defense' in a slightly
      less Orwellian era). George had also served as Governor of Utah and
      Chairman of the National Governors' Association. Bruce's mother was
      born Jean MacLeish, and she happened to be the sister of Archibald
      MacLeish, who also served under Franklin Roosevelt, as the Director
      of the War Department's Office of Facts and Figures and as the
      Assistant Director of the Office of War Information. In other words,
      Archibald MacLeish was essentially America's Minister of War
      Propaganda. He also served at various times as an Assistant Secretary
      of State and as the Librarian of Congress. By far the most impressive
      item on his résumé, however, was his membership in everyone's
      favorite secret society, Skull and Bones (class of 1915, one year
      before Prescott Bush was tapped in 1916).

      It would appear then that, even by Laurel Canyon standards, Mr. Dern
      has friends in very high places. Let's turn our attention next to the
      guy being embraced by Dern in the photo above, Mr. Peter Fonda. Of
      course, we all know that Fonda is the son of good ol' Hank Fonda,
      lovable Hollywood liberal and all-around nice guy. And certainly even
      a contrarian such as myself would not be so bold as to suggest that
      Henry Fonda might have some skeletons in his closet … right? Just for
      the hell of it though, there are a few chapters of the Hank Fonda
      saga that we should probably review here.

      We can begin, I suppose, by noting that Hank served as a decorated US
      Naval Intelligence officer during World War II, thus sparing Peter
      the stigma of being the only member of the Laurel Canyon in-crowd to
      have not been spawned by a member of the military/intelligence
      community. Not too many years after the war, Hank's wife, Francis
      Ford Seymour, was found with her throat slashed open with a straight
      razor. Peter was just ten years old at the time of his mother's,
      uhmm, suicide on April 14, 1950. When Seymour had met and married
      Hank, she was the widow of George Brokaw, who had, curiously enough,
      previously been married to prominent CIA asset Claire Booth Luce.

      Fonda rebounded quickly from Seymour's unusual death and within eight
      months he was married once again, to Susan Blanchard, to whom he
      remained married until 1956. In 1957, Hank married yet again, this
      time to Italian Countess Afdera Franchetti (who followed up her four-
      year marriage to Fonda with a rumored affair with newly-sworn-in
      President John Kennedy). Franchetti, as it turns out, is the daughter
      of Baron Raimondo Franchetti, who was a consultant to fascist
      dictator Benito Mussolini. The countess is also the great-
      granddaughter of Louise Sarah Rothschild, of the ever-popular
      Rothschild banking family (perhaps you've heard of them?)

      Before moving on, I should probably mention that Hank's first wife,
      Margaret Sullavan – who was yet another child of Norfolk, Virginia –
      also allegedly committed suicide, on New Year's Day, 1960. Nine
      months later, her daughter Bridget followed suit. In 1961, very soon
      after the deaths of first her mother and then her sister, Sullavan's
      other daughter, Brook Hayward, walked down the aisle with the next
      Young Turk on our list, Dennis Hopper. For those who may be
      unfamiliar with Hopper's body of work, he is the guy who was once
      found wandering naked and bewildered in a Mexican forest. And the guy
      who, after divorcing Hayward in 1969, married Michelle Phillips on
      Halloween day, 1970, only to have her file for divorce just eight
      days later claiming that Hopper had kept her handcuffed and
      imprisoned for a week while making "unnatural sexual demands."

      Without passing judgment here, I think it's fair to say that Michelle
      Phillips has been around the block a time or two, if you catch my
      drift, so if even she thought Hopper's demands were a bit over the
      top, then one can only wonder just how "unnatural" they might have
      been. For what it's worth, Hopper just recently told a journalist
      that he "didn't handcuff her, [he] just punched her out!" In his
      mind, apparently, that makes him somewhat less of an asshole.

      Most official biographies of Hopper would lead one to believe that he
      was the son of a simple farmer. Dennis recently acknowledged,
      however, that that was clearly not the case: "My mother's father was
      a wheat farmer and I was raised on their farm. But my father was not
      a farmer." To the contrary, Hopper's dad was "a working person in
      intelligence" who during WWII "was in the OSS. He was in China,
      Burma, India." Hopper has proudly proclaimed that his father "was one
      of the 100 guys that liberated General Wainright out of prison in
      Korea," which might be a little more impressive were it not for the
      fact that it was actually the Red Army that freed Wainright and other
      prisoners; the US intel team just came to pick them up, debrief them
      and transport them home … but that, I suppose, isn't really relevant.

      After the war, according to Hopper, his dad carried a gun, which I
      suppose is what most lay ministers in the Methodist Church do. The
      family also left the farm in Kansas and relocated to San Diego,
      California, home of the Imperial Beach Naval Air Station, the United
      States Naval Radio Station, the United States Naval Amphibious Base,
      the North Island Naval Air Station, Fort Rosecrans Military
      Reservation, the United States Naval Training Center, the United
      States Marine Corps Recruit Depot, and the Miramar Marine Corps Air
      Station. And just north of the city sits the massive Camp Pendleton
      Marine Corps Base. Other than that though, San Diego is just a sleepy
      little beach town where Hopper's dad ostensibly worked for the Post

      The modern version of Dennis Hopper, by the way, is wildly at odds
      with the hippie image that he at one time tried very hard to
      cultivate. Today's Dennis Hopper is an unapologetic cheerleader for
      Team Bush who proudly boasts of having voted a straight Republican
      ticket for nearly thirty years. He could very well turn up on the
      campaign trail in the coming months with his lips firmly planted on
      the ass of war criminal John McCain.

      To briefly recap then, we have thus far met three of the `Young
      Turks' and we have found that one of them is the nephew of a
      Bonesman, another is the son of a Naval Intelligence officer who was
      once married to a Rothschild descendent, and the third is the
      slightly deranged son of an OSS officer. Come to think of it, we have
      actually covered one of the `Turkettes' as well, since Jane Fonda
      obviously came from the same family background as her younger
      brother, Peter. As for the other female members of the posse, Sharon
      Tate was the daughter of Lt. Col. Paul Tate, a career US Army
      intelligence officer, and Nancy Sinatra is, of course, the daughter
      of Francis Albert Sinatra, whose known associates included Lucky
      Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Sam Giancana, Carlo Gambino, Goetano Luchese
      and Joseph Fishetti (a cousin of Al Capone).

      Frank Sinatra was also a client of hairdresser-to-the-stars Jay
      Sebring, as was Henry Fonda, who also at one time, strangely enough,
      lived in the guesthouse at 10050 Cielo Drive. Yet another client of
      Sebring's was the next Young Turk on our list, Warren Beatty, whose
      father, Ira Owens Beaty, was ostensibly a professor of psychology.
      Young Warren, however, spent all of his early years living in various
      spooky suburbs of Washington, DC. He was born in Richmond, Virginia
      in 1937, after which his father moved the family to Norfolk,
      Virginia, which I think I may have mentioned is home to the world's
      largest Naval facility (the reason for that, by the way, is that
      Norfolk is the gateway to the nation's capital). The family later
      relocated to Arlington, Virginia, home of the Pentagon, where Warren
      attended high school and where he was known on the football field, as
      John Phillips (who attended a rival school) remembers it, as `Mad
      Dog' Beaty.

      Ira Beaty's relatively frequent relocations, and the fact that those
      relocations always seemed to land the family in DC suburbs that are
      of considerable significance to the military/intelligence community,
      would tend to indicate that Warren's dad was something other than
      what he appeared to be – though that is, of course, a speculative
      assessment. But if Ira Beaty was on the payroll of some government
      entity, working within the psychology departments of various DC-area
      universities, then it wouldn't require a huge leap of faith to
      further speculate about what type of work he was doing, given the
      wholesale co-opting of the field of psychology by the MK-ULTRA
      program and affiliated projects.

      The next Young Turk up for review is the one who went on to become
      arguably the most acclaimed actor of his generation, Mr. Jack
      Nicholson. The following is a biographical sketch of Nicholson as
      presented by Wikipedia: "Bundy was born at the Elizabeth Lund Home
      for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont. The identity of his father
      remains a mystery … To avoid social stigma, Bundy's grandparents
      Samuel and Eleanor Cowell claimed him as their son; in taking their
      last name, he became Theodore Robert Cowell. He grew up believing his
      mother Eleanor Louise Cowell to be his older sister. Bundy
      biographers Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth state that he learned
      Louise was actually his mother while he was in high school. True
      crime writer Ann Rule states that it was around 1969, shortly
      following a traumatic breakup with his college girlfriend."

      Uhhm … hang on a minute … I think I might have screwed up. Something
      doesn't seem quite right, but I'm not exactly sure what …. Oh, shit!
      I see what I did wrong! I accidentally cut and pasted `serial killer'
      Ted Bundy's bio instead of Jack Nicholson's. Sorry about that. This
      is how Jack's bio is supposed to read: Nicholson was born at some
      indeterminate location to an underage, unwed showgirl. The identity
      of his father remains a mystery … To avoid social stigma, Nicholson's
      grandparents John Joseph and Ethel Nicholson claimed him as their
      son; in taking their last name, he became John Joseph Nicholson, Jr.
      He grew up believing his mother June Francis Nicholson to be his
      older sister. Reporters state that he learned June was actually his
      mother in 1974, when he was 37 years old. By then, June had been dead
      for just over a decade, having only lived to the age of 44.

      It is said that Nicholson was born at St. Vincent's Hospital in New
      York City, but there is no record of such a birth at the hospital or
      in the city's archives. As it turns out, Jack Nicholson has no birth
      certificate. Until 1954, by which time he was nearly an adult, he did
      not officially exist. Even today, the closest thing he has to a birth
      certificate is a `Certificate of a Delayed Report of Birth' that was
      filed on May 24, 1954. The document lists John and Ethel Nicholson as
      the parents and identifies the location of the birth as the
      Nicholson's home address in Neptune, New Jersey.

      It appears then that there is no way to determine who Jack Nicholson
      really is. He has told journalists that he has no interest in
      identifying who his father was, nor, it would appear, in verifying
      his mother's identity. What we do know is that the nucleus of the
      1960s clique known as the Young Turks (and Turkettes) was composed of
      the following individuals: the nephew of a Bonesman; the son of an
      OSS officer; the son of a Naval intelligence officer; the daughter of
      that same Naval intelligence officer; the daughter of an Army
      intelligence officer; the daughter of a guy who openly associated
      with prominent gangsters throughout his life; the son of a probable
      spychologist; and a guy whose early years are so shrouded in mystery
      that he may or may not actually exist.

      I should probably also mention here that Henry Fonda scored his first
      acting gig through Dorothy "Dodie" Brando, the director of a local
      theater and the mother of Jack Nicholson's future neighbor, Marlon
      Brando. Being the small world that it is, Marlon's mom happened to be
      a good friend of Hank's mom, Elma Fonda. Truth be told, the families
      had likely had close ties for a long time. A very long time. The
      ancestors of both Marlon Brando and Henry Fonda, you see, arrived in
      New York at nearly the same time, roughly three-and-a-half centuries

      Marlon Brando is in a direct line of descent from French Huguenot
      colonists Louis DuBois and Catharine Blanchan DuBois, who arrived in
      New York from Mannheim, Germany circa 1660 and promptly founded New
      Rochelle. Other descendents of DuBois include former U.S. Senator
      Leverett Saltonstall, former Massachusetts Governor and CFR member
      William Weld, current California First Lady Maria Shriver, and quite
      likely U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Zachary Taylor.

      Henry Fonda, on the other hand, is a direct descendent of Jellis Douw
      Fonda and Hester Jans Fonda, Dutch colonists who arrived in New York
      circa 1650 and settled near what would become Albany. The Fondas had
      sailed out of Friesland, Netherlands on a ship dubbed the Valckenier,
      which happened to be co-owned by a very wealthy Dutchman by the name
      of Jan-Baptist van Rensselaer. And Mr. van Rensselaer, as those who
      have been paying attention in class will recall, happened to be from
      the bloodline that would one day produce a guy by the name of David
      van Cortland Crosby.

      It would appear then that Peter Fonda kind of owed Crosby that
      Triumph motorcycle that he gave him back in the `60s, what with
      David's ancestors having been cool enough to give Peter's ancestors a
      lift over to the New World and all.

      One other thing we could note here about Hank Fonda before wrapping
      up this installment: on September 28, 1919, when Henry was just
      fourteen years old, he bore witness to a crime so brutally sadistic
      and depraved that one wonders what such an event would do to a young
      boy's psyche. According to an account published at the time, a young
      black man named Will Brown, accused of raping a white girl, was
      beaten unconscious by an angry mob. His clothes were then torn off
      and he was hanged from a lamppost. Though quite dead, his corpse was
      then riddled with bullets, after which he was cut down and dragged
      behind a car. His body was then doused with fuel and burned.
      Following that, Mr. Brown's charred, battered, bullet-ridden corpse
      was proudly dragged through the streets of downtown. To commemorate
      the event, the lynch rope was cut into small pieces that were sold
      for 10 cents each to eager buyers.

      And that, my friends, is a snapshot of the sick society we live in …
      but here, perhaps, I have digressed.

      Let's wrap up this installment with a quick review of what we have
      learned about the people populating Laurel Canyon in the mid-to-late
      1960s. We know that one subset of residents was a large group of
      musicians who all decided, nearly simultaneously, to flood into the
      canyon. The most prominent members of this group were, to an
      overwhelming degree, the sons and daughters of the
      military/intelligence community. We also know that mingled in with
      them were the young stars of Hollywood, who also were, to an
      astonishing degree, the sons and daughters of the
      military/intelligence community. And, finally, we know that also in
      the mix were scores of military/intelligence personnel who operated
      out of the facility known as Lookout Mountain Laboratory.

      I got to tell you here folks that, given the relatively small size of
      Laurel Canyon, I'm beginning to wonder if there was any room left
      over for any normal folks who might have wanted to live the rock `n'
      roll lifestyle. But even so, I'm sure that there are still some
      hardcore `coincidence theorists' in the crowd who will still see all
      of this as "much ado about nothing." I am committed though to helping
      those folks see the light, no matter how much it might hurt their
      sensitive eyes, so I am going to toss one more provocative element
      into the Laurel Canyon mix, courtesy of Paul Young's L.A. Exposed:

      "The most infamous male madam [throughout LA's sordid history] would
      have to be Billy Bryars, the wealthy son of an oil magnate, and part-
      time producer of gay porn. Bryars was said to have a stellar group of
      customers using his `brothel' at the summit of Laurel Canyon. In
      fact, some have claimed that none other than J. Edgar Hoover, the
      founder and chief executive officer of the FBI, was one of his best
      clients … when Bryars fell under police scrutiny in 1973, allegedly
      for trafficking in child pornography, officers obtained a number of
      confessions from some of his hustlers, and some of them identified
      Hoover and [Clyde] Tolson as `Mother John and Uncle Mike,' and
      claimed that they had serviced them on numerous occasions."

      It appears then that the top law-enforcement officials in the nation
      were also a part of the Laurel Canyon scene in the late 1960s and
      early 1970s, along with various other unnamed persons of prominence.
      And we also find, not too shockingly at this point, that Laurel
      Canyon was a portal of child pornography, which of course goes hand-
      in-hand with the reports that we have already reviewed of organized,
      multi-perpetrator child sexual abuse. And lest we forget, we also
      have that long and bloody Laurel Canyon Death List, which, in the
      next installment, is going to get even longer, and even bloodier.

      Stay tuned …
      * * * * * * * * *
      And now, faithful readers, allow me to address a few common questions
      that have arisen, beginning with:

      1. Where the hell are the freakin' photo captions? How am I supposed
      to know what I am looking at?

      Sorry about that. I meant to include a note with the last two posts
      instructing readers that the photos have pop-up captions; if you let
      your cursor hover over the images, the secrets should be revealed.

      2. What is the subtitle of the series, "The Strange but Mostly True
      Story …" supposed to mean? Do you just make this shit up as you go

      The subtitle alludes to the fact that when dealing with anything
      concerning Hollywood, there is almost always more than one version of
      the `truth.' Much of what passes for truth in Hollywood is actually
      legend and mythmaking, and much of what is dismissed as rumor and
      legend is actually at least an approximation of the truth. I have
      endeavored to report this story as accurately as humanly possible by
      utilizing my finely-honed bullshit detector to separate fact from
      fiction. Most of the important details of the story, in any event,
      are not disputed.

      3. Are you planning on ultimately publishing this as a book?

      I doubt it. I considered putting it together as a book manuscript,
      but I ultimately decided to put it out on the Internet instead, for a
      couple of reasons, the first of which is that I wanted people to
      actually read it. And you people, if we're being honest here, aren't
      really into that `old school' concept of buying and reading books.
      The reality is that, based on the traffic to my site of late, far
      more people have read this series in the couple of months that it was
      been in progress than have read my last book after four years in

      The other reason that I chose to present this material via the
      Internet is so that all of you can help to insure that the story is
      told as accurately as possible. This is, in a sense, a collaborative
      effort. Though I am willing to do most of the heavy lifting, I am
      relying on all of you to point out any gaffes or omissions. In other
      words, this is very much a work in progress and I have already made
      some minor corrections in previous posts thanks to feedback from

      Thanks to one particularly helpful reader who has access to
      California's Birth, Death, Marriage and Divorce Indexes, as well as
      U.S. Census information, we now know a little more about the Paulekas
      clan than we did before. Vitautas Alfonso Paulekas was born on May
      20, 1913 in Massachusetts, the son of John and Rose Paulekas. He had
      one older sister, Albena, and two younger brothers, Bronislo and
      John. Vito married Szou (real name Sueanne C. Shaffer) on July 7,
      1961, when he was 48 and she was just 18. If they met when she was
      16, as seems quite probable, then Vito was 46 at the time, rather
      than in his fifties as previously reported.

      By far the most interesting information to surface concerns young
      Godo Paulekas. Born on December 1, 1963, Godo died on December 23,
      1966, having just made it past his third birthday. December 23 was,
      curiously enough, the winter solstice (or very close to it). And it
      wasn't just any winter solstice, mind you, but specifically the first
      winter solstice in the Age of Satan (as declared by Kenneth Anger's
      buddy, Anton LaVey, on April 30, 1966). The date of his death also
      means that young Godo died less than 48 hours before Christmas
      morning, and yet his parents still thought it a good time to go out

      Vito and Sueanne divorced in Northern California in March of 1975.
      Before doing so, they produced several more children, each given
      increasingly ridiculous names. Gruvi Nipples Paulekas was born on
      June 23, 1967, exactly six months after Godo's death and, therefore,
      very near the summer solstice. Bp Paulekas was born on December 29,
      1969, just days after the third anniversary of Godo's death.
      Bizarrely enough, Sky Paulekas was born on December 1, 1971, on what
      would have been Godo's eighth birthday. Last but certainly not least,
      Phreekus Mageekus Paulekas was born on January 28, 1974, a little
      over a year before Vito and Sueanne divorced. According to one
      report, Gruvi has joined Godo in the great beyond, a victim of her
      voracious appetite for drugs and alcohol.

      As for Carl Franzoni, there were indeed a couple of brothers named
      Franzoni who were brought over from Italy in the early 1800s to carve
      the Masonic monuments of Washington. According to Ihna Thayer Frary's
      book, They Built the Capitol, Guiseppe Franzoni (and his brother
      Carlo) "had especially good family connections in Italy, he being a
      nephew of Cardinal Franzoni and son of the President of the Academy
      of Fine Arts at Carrara." Also shipped over were Francisco Iardella,
      a cousin of the Franzoni brothers, and Giovanni Andrei, a brother-in-
      law of Guiseppe Franzoni. Thus far, I have been unable to verify that
      Carl Franzoni is in fact descended from these men, but it seems quite
      likely given that Carl would probably not be aware of such an obscure
      chapter of American history were it not for a family connection.

      One final note: I looked it up and it turns out that Bobby Sherman
      ended up becoming a sheriff's deputy. For real. Unlike his late-1960s
      Here Come the Brides co-star, David Soul, who later became fake bad-
      ass cop `Hutch,' Bobby became a real bad-ass cop. So I guess he was
      pretty cool after all. Except for, of course, the hair. And the
      clothes. And the sappy songs. And the bad acting. And …

      Let's just forget that I ever brought it up.
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