Sunday, July 20, 2014

Curt Gentry (Co-Author of "Helter Skelter") Has Died.

Curt Gentry, a San Francisco author who wrote or co-wrote 13 books including best-seller "Helter Skelter" about the Charles Manson case, died July 10 in a San Francisco hospital.
Curt Gentry in the study of his San Francisco home in 1991.
He helped elevate the true-crime narrative into the mainstream. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Curt Gentry had his biggest commercial success when he teamed up with Vincent Bugliosi to write the 1974 blockbuster “Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders.” 

Mr. Gentry had written books about California history and culture when he teamed with Mr. Bugliosi, who as a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles had prosecuted the Manson case, among the most sensational of the 20th century.

As the prosecutor, Mr. Bugliosi was in a position to deliver an authoritative, exclusive account. He provided the facts and the documentation; Mr. Gentry, the driving narrative.

The book’s title was taken from words written in blood at one of the crime scenes, a reference to the title of a 1968 Beatles song that had resonated with Mr. Manson. He and his followers were convicted; Mr. Manson, now 79, remains in prison.

The book became one of the best-selling titles of the 1970s, helping to elevate true-crime narratives into the mainstream. In 1975, it won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for best fact crime book.

The success of “Helter Skelter,” and the royalty checks it provided, gave Mr. Gentry the time to research and write “J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets,” published in 1991.

With nearly 850 pages of text and documentation, including previously undisclosed internal documents, the book, a 15-year project, shed new light on the man who led the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 48 years.

Excerpted from: HERE

Mr. Gentry, who was 83, had been ill for some time with lung cancer.
A modest man with an easy manner, Mr. Gentry was a fixture on the North Beach literary scene for years. His books, which ranged from a guide to San Francisco to an account of the search for the fabled Lost Dutchman Mine ("The Killer Mountains," 1968) to his Hoover biography ("J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets," 1991) were always carefully researched and beautifully written.
"Helter Skelter," written with Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. The Hoover biography won a PEN award for the best nonfiction book of 1991.
The Los Angeles Times called "J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets" "an absolutely fascinating study of the man who ran the Federal Bureau of Investigation for half a century."
The Chronicle called it "a blockbuster." The New York Times said it presented Hoover as a man with "an unrelentingly harsh profile in vindictiveness and egocentricity."
The Hoover book took 15 years to write. Mr. Gentry interviewed hundreds of former FBI agents and reviewed 100,000 pages of previously classified information.
Mr. Gentry told then-Chronicle book editor Patricia Holt that before the Hoover book he had been turning out a book every nine months for 11 years, "complete with post-partum depression."
The Hoover book was his last. After that, Mr. Gentry wrote articles and started various projects, including unfinished biographies of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and John Steinbeckand a book on the origins of Las Vegas, said Tony Dingman, who was a friend for over 40 years.
"He was the perfect guy to do that book," Dingman said of the Las Vegas project. "It would have been great. Curt was the real deal, and people trusted him to tell their stories."
Curt Gentry was born in Lamar, Colo., in June 1931. "He always said Lamar was one stop west of Dodge City," Dingman said.
He served in the Air Force during the Korean War, mostly as a writer on the Pacific Stars and Stripes newspaper in Tokyo.
After military service, he attended the University of Colorado and then San Francisco State College. He stayed in San Francisco and became a professional writer.
Among his books was "The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California," a novel featuring a giant earthquake that caused California to slide into the ocean. He wrote "The Madams of San Francisco" (1964), an irreverent look at the city's past.
He took a look at the noted Tom Mooney case in "The Frame-Up," which told how the government blamed labor leaders Mooney and Warren K. Billings for a terrorist bomb attack that killed 10 people in San Francisco in 1916.
He also wrote a book about the U-2 spy case, involving pilot Francis Gary Powers, and another about the 1968 capture of the USS Pueblo by North Korean forces.
Mr. Gentry was friendly with many of the city's writers, particularly Richard Brautigan, and loved to talk about books. "He could talk about anything," said Dingman. "We talked about books, we talked about spy craft - he was interested in everything."
Mr. Gentry is survived by a brother, Pat Gentry of Novato.
At Mr. Gentry's request, there will be no services.
"He hated funerals, but he deserves a tribute, so we're going to do something anyway," Dingman said. It will be held sometime in August at Gino & Carlo, his favorite North Beach bar.
Carl Nolte is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Brian Davis has a new website.  
Check it out!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

TLB Timeline

I received an email last night, which contained an extensive timeline of the TLB events. The person who compiled it, would like to remain anonymous. Kudos to this individual for her hard work and generosity.


1887 Dec 12-Karl Stubbs born, ME -possible Family victim

1889-George Spahn  born, PA  

1903-Nancy Warren born, MO -possible Family victim

1909 May 2-William Manson born, WV-Listed on Manson's birth certificate as father
1910-Colonel Scott born, KY -Manson's biological father

1913-Frank Retz  born

1918-Kathleen Maddox, KY –Manson’s mother


1920-Paul Caruso born –attorney

1920 Feb 13 –Dean Moorehouse born, MN

1922-Robert “Ballarat Bob” Dunlap born
1923- Colonel Paul Tate born –Sharon’s father

1923-Earl Deemer born –detective
1924-Doris Tate born, TX –Sharon’s mother

1924-Paul Crockett born –miner, deprogrammer

1925 Aug  6-Leno LaBianca born, LA

1927-Nuel Emmons born. –author  "Manson: In His Own Words"

1929 Dec 15-Rosemary LaBianca born,  Mexico * per DL

1933 Aug 18-Roman Polanski born, France

1933/5? Apr 17 -Willam Rex “Bill Vance” Cole  born –w/ crew @ Shea’s murder

1933 Sept 18- Donald “Shorty” Shea born, MA

1934 est –Rosemary is adopted by the Harmon Family

1933 Oct 10-Jay Sebring born, AL

1934-Vincent Bugliosi born, MN

1934 Nov 12- Manson born, Cincinnati OH.

1934 Dec 24-Gary Hinman born, CO

1936-Manson's mother filed a bastardy suit against Colonel Scott, KY

1936 Dec 2-Wojciech Frykowski born, Poland

1937-Rosalie Willis born, WV –Manson’s 1st wife

1937-Paul Fitzgerald born-attorney

1939 –Dean Moorehouse marries Audrey Lucille Sirpless(Ruth’s mother)

1939-Kathleen Maddox, brother Luther, robbed gas station, WV

1939-Manson moved  w/ aunt & uncle in McMechen, WV

1939-Ed Sanders born, MO –author “The Family”

1939-James Craig born, CA  -murdered w/ Edward Barabas 1978

1939 Aug 23-Kenneth “Spider” Como born


1940 June 7-Joel Pugh born - Sandy’s ex-bf *per Simon

1940-Harold True born, CA  - F associate, lived on Waverly

1940- Krenwinkel's half-sister Charlene born, CA

1942 Feb 8-Terry Melcher born, NY

1942- Maddox paroled, reclaimed Charlie

1942-Bernard Crowe born, WA

1942-Johnny Swartz born –car used in murders

1942 Oct 5.-Bruce Davis born, Louisiana

1942 Dec 10-Catherine “Gypsy”  Share born, France

1942 Dec 18-Thomas “TJ the Terrible” Walleman born, MI

1943- Pic Dawson born, AL

1943 Jan 24-Sharon born, Dallas, TX
1943-Al Springer born, MI -biker
1943 Aug11-Abigail Folger born, CA

1943 Nov 9 –John Leo “Juan” Flynn born

1943 Dec 17-Mary Brunner born, WI

1944 –Daniel “Donkey Dan” DeCarlo born

1944-Maddox married 2nd husband

1945 Feb 27-Mark Stephen Ross born -Haught ‘suicide’ @Ross’  house, helped w/ Manson film

1944 Feb 20-Sandra “Sandy” Good born, CA

1944-Dennis Wilson born, Hawthorne, CA

1945 Dec 2- Charles “Tex” Watson born, TX

1945 Nov 4-Fillipo Tennerelli born. -possible Family murder victim

1946-James Willett born, KY -Family murder victim

1946 May 24- Steve “Clem” Grogan born, CA

1946 May 27 -Madaline Joan”Little Patty” Cottage born

1947-Maddox sent Manson to Gibault School for Boys-Terre Haute, IN –he raped another boy while holding a razor to throat

1947-John "Zero" Haught born, OH

1947 Nov 6-Robert Beausoleil born, CA

1947 Dec 3-Patricia “Katie” Krenwinkel born, Los Angeles CA

1948-Manson ran away from Gibault School for Boys
-Sent to juvenile center, Indianapolis, escaped next day
-Sent to Father Flanagan's Boys Town, escaped 4 days later.
-Sent to Indiana School for Boys, Plainfield, IN

1948 Feb –Susan LaBerge Struthers Welk born, CA

1948 Mar –Jennifer “Ginny” Gentry born

1948 May 7-Susan “Sadie” Atkins born, CA

1948-Michael Monfort born, CA –Brenda’s husband /

1948 Oct 22-Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme born, Santa Monica, CA

1948 Dec 15- Brooks Poston born, TX

1949-David Hannum born, CA –worker @ Spahn, Linda borrowed car, fled CA

1949 Aug 1-Catherine “Cappy” Gillies born, CA

1949-Aug 23-Leslie “Lulu” Van Houten born, Los Angeles, CA

1949-William Garretson born, OH –Cielo guest house caretaker

1949 June 21-Linda Drouin Kasabian born, ME

"Click" Below to view the rest! : )

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Diane Dimond: Rembrandts of the Courtroom Provide a Look Back at High-Profile Trials

Bill Robles’ iconic drawing and insider story of how murderer Charles Manson came to display to the jury a newspaper headline that read, “Manson Guilty Nixon Declares,” and nearly caused a mistrial is not to be missed in the book The Illustrated Courtroom: Fifty Years of Court Art.
By Diane Dimond | @DiDimond |

OK, by a show of hands, how many readers have actually sat inside a courtroom and watched a trial?

Having been assigned to cover countless high-profile trials over the years, I have to admit I relish it.
I love going to courthouses with their stately facades and imposing corridors. And inside it’s like watching a big vat of human soup. We all get stirred up together in a courthouse: the poor, the middle-class, the rich.

People seeking justice, people in big trouble with the law, people whose families are falling apart. The process is fascinating to watch.

Inside courtrooms where the most-watched trials take place, there is a group of unsung regulars that I have never written about — professional courtroom artists. Whenever I can, I try to get a seat next to one of them. Watching them work is a treat.

Cameras aren’t always allowed in court (especially in federal court), and so the artist is there as a front-row eyewitness to capture the scene, those special moments that can be shown on television or in print to give the public a real feel for what it was like in the room.

Elizabeth Williams is one of these artists, and she has just accomplished something remarkable. After a nine-year effort, she has brought together the artwork of five of the nation’s most experienced courtroom artists in the book The Illustrated Courtroom: Fifty Years of Court Art. It is a delicious retrospective for court aficionados who can’t get enough of headliner trials.

The vast collection of iconic art is punctuated by captivating personal stories from all five artists: Howard Brodie, Richard Tomlinson, Bill Robles, Aggy Kenny and, of course, Williams herself.

The book begins with the late Brodie’s intricate rendering of the courtroom in which Jack Ruby was found guilty of murdering presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in 1964. Also included is a sketch of Ruby as he heard the verdict.

“Just before the panel brought in a death sentence, Ruby’s Adam’s apple quivered and he gulped,” Brodie wrote on the bottom of that day’s drawing. Brodie recalled the judge sat on an inflated rubber-doughnut cushion and “decreed that only those within the rail could smoke, denying newsmen and spectators the privilege.”

From that time in a Dallas courtroom a half-century ago, the artwork flows like the pages of a legal history book. Among the pages are many other Brodie accomplishments: capturing the action at the Watergate cover-up trial, the Patty Hearst case and scores of others.

Tomlinson, also now deceased, was there to see radical Abbie Hoffman on trial for selling cocaine. The artist describes how his long-held philosophy, “to approach each subject as if it is the only chance I’ll ever have to draw them, because it just might be,” came in handy during that 1973 trial. Hoffman skipped bail, changed his name and appearance and didn’t resurface until 1980.

This Aggy Kenny illustration depicts Sydney Biddle Barrows, aka “The Mayflower Madam.”
Tomlinson’s bold drawings of David Berkowitz (aka the “Son of Sam”) are powerful, as was his portrait of Mark David Chapman (John Lennon’s killer) and he spent two full years drawing participants in the Black Panther 21 case, among many others.

“Now I’m glad the book took nine years,” Williams told me on the phone. “Because if I’d started it later, Howard and Richard would have been gone and we would have had no recollections from them.”

Kenny’s water-colored sketches are riveting. Among her included works are scenes from the trials of Iran-Contra defendants such as John Poindexter and Oliver North.

“Strange details sometimes stick with you, and I was very aware of Ollie’s mother wearing a prim bright-yellow hat,” Kenny recalls.

Also in the book, Kenny’s drawings from inside the U.S. Supreme Court, Robert Chambers the “Preppie Murderer,” Sydney Biddle Barrows aka “The Mayflower Madam” (another who favored prim hats) and Jerry Sandusky. Her 1974 portrait of James Earl Ray is shocking in his nonchalance as he faced charges of assassinating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Drawing (Ray) in a makeshift courtroom set up in a penitentiary was a first for me,” Kenny says. “I felt as if I was drawing an infamous felon in a school cafeteria.”

Kenny reveals that another courtroom artist there that day married Ray the next year.

Much of the book highlights the work of the talented and prolific Robles, considered to be today’s dean of courtroom artists. Based in Los Angeles, he has covered trials for CBS News for more than 40 years and remembers his first assignment, the 1970 murder case against Charles Manson and his followers, as if it were yesterday. Robles’ iconic drawing and insider story of how Manson came to display to the jury a newspaper headline that read, “Manson Guilty Nixon Declares” and nearly caused a mistrial is not to be missed. Robles’ rendition of the moment Manson grabbed a pencil and leaped to attack the judge graces the book’s front cover.

Robles went on to famously capture for posterity the trials of Roman Polanski, John DeLorean, Timothy McVeigh, O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson and too many others to mention here.

Included in Williams’ works are drawings from several dirty money cases including the infamous Bernard Madoff case. Williams was the only artist to render the moment Madoff was led away in handcuffs by federal marshals, and it was seen worldwide. Her works from several mob trials are also in the book along with her personal recollections of each (John Gotti once stood over her and asked in a menacing tone why her drawing of him “wasn’t smiling”) and give the reader a real feel for the pressures on a courtroom artist.

As the verdict neared at the Martha Stewart trial, Williams recalls, “The TV networks had their producers in the courtroom with red and black squares of paper they could hold up (on the courthouse steps) to indicate guilty or not guilty.” All correspondents had to do was glance up from their camera position to see the signal and instantly report out the news. The artwork was expected to be finished immediately.

For me, this book was a great trip down memory lane and it reminded me what a service these special artists do for the rest of us. They take us inside courtrooms where many have never been.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Ramrodder

Featuring Miss Catherine Share and Robert Beausoleil.

You will need to sign-in to watch as it's a bit cheeky. A gentleman helpfully simultaneously translates the dialogue into Russian throughout.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Anthony DiMaria

While watching the second episode of THE LEFTOVERS on HBO, during the end credits it caught my eye that Anthony DiMaria was credited as portraying Tactical Agent Kryczeck.  I've watched the episode twice and it seems to me he must be the guy who gets shot through the throat in the first couple of minutes of the episode, but cannot be sure.  They never speak anyone's name in the scene and I've watched the episode twice now.  Not sure why they would have given this character a name instead of TACTICAL AGENT NUMBER 1 or some such thing.

Anyway, it looks like Jay Sebring's nephew has a pretty busy career going, judging from is IMDb page linked above.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Porn Parody of the Manson Family??

Debra Tate says: "Over my dead body".  

The TMZ Story Below...
6/25/2014 12:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Charles Manson will NOT be glorified in porn ... so vows the sister of Sharon Tate.

Debra Tate is incensed over the impending casting of "Manson Family XXX" ... a porn parody of the twisted Manson family murder spree that rocked L.A. in 1969.

Adult film director Will Ryder -- whose credits include "Not The Wizard of Oz XXX" -- will cast Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten, Linda Kasabian, Charles "Tex" Watson, and others.  Manson is the central figure who has sex with all of them.

Debra Tate calls it the lowest of lows ... vowing to sic her lawyers on producers if they dare use Sharon's name or likeness.

Problem is, it's parody so she's flat out of luck.

Full Story Here: 

Submitted by our old friend Mary. Thanks Mary!
It was great hearing from you!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Sharon Tate: Recollection" by Debra Tate

Venus Weighs-In...

Ok, got it and loved it.  However, if you're looking for new pix, well....there weren't really many that I could classify as new--except for the family photos, which were excellent!  I will say that the quality of the photos is tremendous!  Very high quality!

Some of my observations:  I wish the article on page 61 was translated!  Anyone?

page 88:  This is a letter to Sharon's grandma while she was on location.  It's a sweet letter except I noticed that Sharon wasn't exactly terrific at grammar and spelling.  She uses "there" instead of "they're" in reference to some clippings she's sending to grandma.  "since 'there' my first but 'there' special....I 'wated' (should be "waited") so long...." It's a very sweet letter and shows her closeness to her family.  Her grandma loved her striped cap from "The Wrecking Crew" so Sharon later obtained it and gave it to her.

(I know I sound picky, but that's not it, I just thought it was cute that she'd have such errors.)

page 130:  AHA, I was right!!!!!!  A makeup guy (Ben Nye) did use Garbo's techniques!!!!!!  (I said this in a previous thread about Sharon's eye makeup)

page 132:  Debra and her dad 'discretely' exited....should be "discreet" (oh, editor????)

page 143:  Ok, this is a totally new pic to me, I remember my mom using makeup mirrors like that!

pages 68 and 158:  She's wearing the same sweater in both pix, just different colors, same photo session.  Of course, the color could've been changed by the photographer, but she also had this sweater in yellow so I'm guessing that she just really liked the style and bought a few of them!

page 265:  They would 'bare witness' (should be 'bear')

Now, let's do the math on something, ok?  Sharon's winning baby pic, the "Tiny Tot"'s always been said that she won the prize at the age of 6 months.  Ok.  However, in the book, it has the photo and says she was 4 months old when  it was taken.  No big deal, I just figured that the photo didn't win until she was 6 months old, that Doris had sent it in right after she got it from the photographer.  BUT!  The award certificate is pictured in the book and it's dated April 27, 1943.  Sharon was born in January so she would've only been 3 months old when the award was given out and probably only 2 months old when the photo was taken..

(Am I analytical or what??  LOL  I can find an error of some sort in practically every book I read....)

There's a photo of her with Max Baer from "The Beverly Hillbillies," taken on Aug. 1, 1963 and my first thought was '"she had 6 more years to live."  Things like that will really jump out at you.

I do recommend the book.  Many of the comments are not new ones, but they're sweet.  It's very clear that Sharon was loved!

One thing I did notice that really caught my attention.  There are a couple of photos of Debra at Cielo in July of 1969, wearing a very low cut yellow dress.  I'd love to know who took that, but can't look at the book right now to find out because someone else is reading it and won't give it back to me.  (Did anyone hear that chuckle they just gave me due to the fact that I read the previous sentence out loud as I typed it?!)

All in all, I really did enjoy the book and will definitely look at it over and over again.

I enjoyed the fact that her death (and how she died) wasn't mentioned, this was just about her and that was wonderful.

 Even though it's been said that she and Patti had problems, Debra didn't omit her from the book.  There are photos of her (including one that was also in another book but cropped out Debra) and she mentions her where it's applicable.  She also dedicates the book to her entire immediate family.  Debra did a nice job honoring her sister and I think she deserves the compliments and rave reviews that she's getting.

(This thread is dedicated to Carol, who asked me if I was going to write one about the book.  Come on, Carol, add your own thoughts!)