Monthly Archives: April 2010

Darlton likes to give me what I want. And then beat that very thing in the face with a baseball bat. Repeatedly.

Anyone who knows me at all knows that, for about four seasons now, what I’ve wanted out of LOST more than anything (yes, even more than finding out what the hell is going on) is for Jack and Claire to find out they’re siblings and to be an awesome brother/sister duo of adorable cute little sister/overprotective big brother adorableness.

Now, obviously, that’s a little too… what’s the word?… oh, yes. Happy. It’s  a little too happy for the world of LOST.

But I did get some of my wish fulfilled in season 4, the part about them finding out they’re related. Of course, when it happened, Jack was off island while Claire was still stuck there, so there couldn’t be any hugs or anything like that.

I’ve been waiting since then for Jack and Claire to be reunited. For Jack to go back to the island, to find his little sister, and for there to be hugs and family picnics.

Last night I almost got my wish. SO DAMN CLOSE. Jack and Claire were reunited. And they had a sweet conversation that was only ruined by the lack of hugs. Seriously, Jack, I know she’s filthy and all, but she’s your baby sister. And she’s been stuck on an island for three years. A hug would probably have been appreciated.

Not Pictured: The family picnic I'm just going to assume happened immediately after this scene ended

And I’m sure you’re saying, “But Katie, it was double good for you! They met and found out about their siblingness in BOTH timelines!”

Well, yeah, but then Jack was all like “WHAT!?” and left. Which is totally understandable. It’s not like they no eachother in the sidetimeline, and Jack just found out his dad was an even bigger dick than he originally thought (which is quite an accomplishment).

But, back to the part where their reunion in the islandtimeline started to crush my dreams. Jack, after reuniting with Claire, the baby sister he’s been wracked with guilt over leaving on the island for three years, agrees with no argument to leave her behind. So he abandons her once.

And then, when she does track them down, it’s not Claire’s big brother Jack who stands up for her and says, “Come on home with us. I’ll take you back to Aaron, and then I’ll be a totally awesome uncle and we’ll have dinner together every Sunday.” It’s not Jack who says, “If my sister can’t go, then I’m not going either.” No, it was FUCKING KATE. Giving me even more reason to hate her. I really, really wish that Claire had shot her at that moment. And that everyone would have then thanked her for finally shutting that bitch’s mouth.

But, okay, Claire is on the boat. This is okay. And then Jack, without one word to his sister, FUCKING JUMPS OFF THE BOAT AND ABANDONS HER A SECOND TIME. Hey, Jack, where’s all that guilt you were feeling from the first time you abandoned her. SHE’S YOUR FUCKING SISTER!

So I guess the question is… why do you hate me, Darlton? Seriously, the only way this can be redeemed would be for Jack to sacrifice himself and whatever duty he thinks he has to the island the save Claire.

If this isn’t in the finale, Darlton, you need to go and fix that.


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Six scandals that prove Hollywood was just as screwed up back in the day as it is now (pt. 2)

The “Suicide” of Thelma Todd

The Background: Thelma Todd was a beautiful star of comedies in the late 1920s and early 1930s, best known for her roles in Marx Bros. comedies. She also enjoyed danger. But not the kind of danger someone who usually says that “danger” is their middle name enjoys. The kind of danger where you date mobsters and do a lot of drugs. Her “steady” beau was producer/director Roland West. Her “danger” beau was gangster Lucky Luciano, who wanted her to allow illegal gambling in the club she owned.

The Scandal
: On the morning of December 16, 1935, Todd was found in her car in the garage a block away from her club. The cops ruled the death as a suicide. Which makes sense.

Except for the fact that her face was beaten in.

Oh, and the fact that her shoes were dirt free. Normally not a strange thing, but considering the fact that she would have had to walk down a long flight of outdoor stairs and across a dirt floor to get to her car, is strange. There was also a smudged handprint on her car, and it wasn’t hers.

She’d also had an argument with Luciano about the gambling in her club. He wanted her to allow illegal gambling in her establishment. Todd responded “over my dead body.”

So, it’s very possible (meaning, probable), that the mob killed her.

But, you know, it was LA.

The Aftermath: Well, other than the fact that a brilliant comedic talent was, dead, there wasn’t much.

Death on Hearst Yacht

The Background: Thomas Ince was one of the most important producers of early Hollywood, making his name with Westerns. But by the 1920s, Ince’s power was fading, and he was looking for a little help from his pal William Randolph Hearst, who was kind of a dick and wasn’t really looking to help Ince out.

Despite looking down on Ince and everything he did, Hearst decided to throw him a birthday party on his yacht. On November 15th, the guests boarded the boat. Among the guests were Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies, Charles Chaplin, novelist Elinor Glyn, columnist Louella Parsons, and Ince’s mistress Margaret Livingston.

And, if you listened to Hollywood gossip of the time, about  a million other Hollywood types were there, too.

It’s important to note two things that were happening before the boat trip. The first was that Marion Davies, Hearst’s longtime mistress, was having something of a fling with Charlie Chaplin (who had just robbed the cradle in a big bad way by knocking up his 17 year old leading lady Lita Gray), and Hearst was, obviously not pleased by this. The second was Ince’s aforementioned impending failure and Hearst’s reluctance to help him out.

On Sunday night, the group celebrated Ince’s birthday with the one drink Hearst would allow them (it was prohibition, after all). The next morning, Ince was taken by water taxi to the shore with Dr. Goodman, a guest at the party, who was a friend of Hearst’s and a licensed, though not practicing, physician. Two days later, Ince was dead…

The Scandal: …and things got weird. On Wednesday morning, a few papers carried the headlines “Ince Shot Dead on Hearst Yacht”. By the evening editions, the headlines had disappeared entirely, Ince’s body had quickly been cremated, and Ince’s widow Nell left for Europe.

Then Hearst, in an idiotic move that’s almost unexplainable for the man’s usual brilliance, issued a statement that Ince had fallen ill while visiting San Simeon with Nell and his children. A ridiculous move considering about half of Hollywood knew for a fact that Ince had been on the yacht over the weekend – and that he was there with Livingston, not Nell.

The way Hollywood legend tells it is that Ince took a bullet meant for Chaplin. One story says that Hearst mistook Ince for Chaplin and shot him. Another says that Hearst caught Chaplin and Davies getting busy and went for his gun. Davies screamed, Ince heard the screams, went to help, and the gun went off, the bullet hitting him instead of Chaplin.

An even more WTF?Really? version of the story has Ince raping Davies’ secretary Abigail Kinsolving during the weekend party, and possibly taking a bullet for that reason. Now, before you say, “Whatevs”, the unmarried Kinsolving gave birth to a baby nine months later, and then died in what is considered a “mysterious” car accident a few months later. Two Hearst body guards found her near Hearst ranch, with a suspicious suicide note. Her daughter was set up in an orphanage with support from Davies.

Chaplin’s secretary Toraichi Kono, claimed that he was waiting onshore when Ince was brought to the shore, and that the producer’s head was bandaged and bleeding. The story spread like some kind of bacteria through the servants of Hollywood, and in a few months the rumors were running so rampant that the DA had to step in.

Of course, this was California in the 1920s, so it’s not like that really meant much of anything. They only questioned one person, Dr. Goodman claimed that he had called Nell and another doctor to take care of Ince but that, in his opinion, Ince had either died of a heart attack or complications from his ulcers.

Even weirder, in the aftermath of it all, Nell Ince ended up with a trust fund set up by Hearst, and Louella Parsons, who had been on the yacht, ended up with a lifetime contract writing for Hearst papers.

The party guests didn’t help too much, either. In their attempts to deny the incident even happened, they ended up just making the whole thing look even more convoluted and suspicious. Chaplin claimed that he wasn’t even on the yacht, that he and Davies went to visit Ince in the hospital later in the week, and that Ince didn’t die until two weeks after their visit. Which is just factually incorrect. Davies then said that none of them had even been on the yacht at all, that she received a phone call from Nell on Monday night informing her that Ince was dead. Pretty impressive, considering Ince died on Tuesday. Though, in all honesty, Davies was drunk at least ¾ of the time, so she probably had no idea what day it was.

The Aftermath: After questioning Dr. Goodman, the cops basically said, “That’s good enough for us” and dropped the matter. Louella Parsons and her new contract reigned over Hollywood gossip for decades. Chaplin married Gray. They were married for three years and had two children together. Margaret Livingston worked in several silent films, including the classic Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, but she seemed to be the only person not to benefit hugely from Ince’s death. Davies remained in film throughout the 1930s, before retiring to take care of Hearst. The couple stayed together until Hearst’s death in 1951. And, unfortunately for Ince, rather than being remembered for his huge contribution to film, he’s mostly remembered today for the mysterious nature of his death. In 2002, Peter Bogdanovich directed the excellent film The Cat’s Meow, starring Cary Elwes as Ince, Kirsten Dunst as Davies, Edward Hermann as Heasrt, Eddie Izzard as Chaplin, and Jennifer Tilly as Parsons, about the weekend on Hearst’s yacht.

Paul Bern’s Suicide and Freak Funeral

The Background: In 1930, Jean Harlow burst onto the scene in a big way in a little film called Hell’s Angels (and by little, I mean that crazy bazillionaire Howard Hughes sank most of his money into the project). One would expect the blonde bombshell to take up with a sexy star, someone like Clark Gable or James Cagney. No, instead Harlow decided to show the whole world that she had daddy issues by marrying Paul Bern, an MGM producer 22 years her senior. He was also short, bald, and rumored to be impotent.

By all accounts, though, Harlow adored Bern. The issues in the marriage came from his end of things. He was generally sullen and depressed, and was rumored to be impotent. And if you’re a guy who can’t get turned on by the chick who rubbed ice on her nipples before takes, there’s something seriously wrong with you.

The Scandal: After only two months of marriage, Bern’s body was found in the couple’s bedroom, a bullet in his head, a gun in his hand. Naturally, the death was ruled as a suicide.

Harlow and Bern had apparently had an argument the night before, and Harlow went to stay at her mother’s house, where there was a dinner party planned, leaving Bern alone at their house.

There was a note, left by a picture of Harlow, that read: “Dearest dear, unfortunately this is the only way to make good the frightful wrong I have done you and to wipe out my abject humiliation. I love you, Paul. You understand last night was only a comedy.”

Now, this would be enough to wrap it up in a nice clean suicide bow and be done with it. After all, it was hardly the first Hollywood suicide.

But look at the cryptic nature of that letter. What wrong exactly had Bern done to Harlow? And what about their last night together made it a “comedy”?

Again, thanks to studio interference and police ineptitude, evidence was tampered with and blah blah blah, so we’ll never know exactly what happened the night Bern died. The servant who discovered the body, instead of calling the cops, called MGM, and Irving Thalberg, Bern’s BFF, and Louis B. Mayer were the first people at the scene. Thalberg didn’t call the cops until an hour later.

Rumors circulated about Bern’s impotence, to the point that it was spread around Hollywood that the couple had never consummated their marriage. People theorized that the couple’s argument had been about Bern not being able to “seal the deal”.

Really, though, those rumors were mostly thanks to MGM. Terrified of a scandal that could come about from whatever secret troubles Bern may have really been having with Harlow or his quickly diminishing bank account, and despite any possibility of some other kind of foul play, Mayer told every single MGM employee that they were to say Bern killed himself because of his impotence, despite the protests of Thalberg.

Even then, though, not that big of a deal. Until the word “murder” started floating around.

As it turned out, Bern had a common-law wife named Dorothy Milette that nobody knew about. Milette was seriously unstable, had spent years in a mental institution, and had apparently been bothering Bern since his marriage to Harlow. She was seen visiting Bern the night of his death. She was last seen alive the next day, boarding a boat in Sacremento. Days later, her body was found in the Sacramento river, an apparent suicide.

Police discovered that Milette had been living in New York as Mrs. Paul Bern for the past 15 years, and that Bern had been in contact with her since he’d left her, paying her a weekly allowance. Questions swirled around Hollywood, wondering if Bern and Milette had ever actually been married to Bern, and if Bern’s marriage to Harlow was bigamous.

As if that all wasn’t bad enough: Anyone who’s read Evelyn Waugh’s biting satire The Loved One knows all about the bizarre business of death in Hollywood. It was almost as much of a show business as the film industry was.

The owner of the funeral home where Bern’s memorial was held decided that he was going to be something of a showman. A horrible, awful, probably going to burn in hell showman.

It started out as a nice, normal Hollywood funeral. There were $25,000 worth of flowers and pretty much every single Hollywood name was in attendance. Actor Conrad Nagel (a.k.a. “Sex on Legs”) delivered the eulogy: “This can’t be the end. His gentle spirit is still with us. We bid you godspeed, Paul Bern, on your journey to a better place and we say here in your own words and in all reverence: ‘We’ll be seeing you.’“

After those nice words, the funeral director asked that everyone take one last look at their friend. Then, a mechanical pulley that was attached to the coffin brought the coffin to a nearly vertical position and the lid slid open to show Bern, as though he was standing in front of everyone in the chapel. Thalberg burst into tears. John Gilbert, another close friend of Bern, vomited. Clark Gable ran out of the chapel as fast as he could. Friends managed to get a sobbing Harlow out of the chapel, where she was then mobbed by throngs of heartless fans, hungry for tear stained autographs.

Finally, Bern was simply cremated.

The Aftermath: The stress of his best friend’s death caused a huge strain on the already not well Thalberg, who suffered from a life long heart condition. A few months after Bern’s death, Thalberg suffered a heart attack that put him out of action for months. When he finally returned to work, he’d been demoted by Mayer from Head of Production to a mere unit producer. Thalberg never entirely recovered and he died in 1936 at the age of 37.

Harlow’s film career did not die, as many people feared it would. Rather, her popularity only grew. In 1935, she continued with her “daddy issues” streak and started dating William Powell, 20 years her senior. They were engaged to be married when Harlow died in 1937 of kidney failure.

As for Paul Bern, he’s said to still haunt the house he shared with Harlow. There’s a pretty terrifying story about Sharon Tate seeing his ghost and then having a premonition of her death while staying in the house that I won’t go into because I’d kind of like to sleep tonight.


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Human Target – Awesome Season Finale is Awesome

Now that I’ve watched the season finale of Human Target about four times, I feel like I can finally succinctly express my thoughts.

Basically, those thoughts are…. OMFGAWESOMESAUCEPUPPYCARMINE!

I love puppies. I love puppies with big paws. I love puppy!Carmine.

But, there is of course more awesome to the episode. Like, you know… everything.

This was seriously an EPIC episode.

It ended on a cliffhanger. What’s going to happen? Will Chance be able to work alongside his old boss to save Winston?

Unfortunately, the show doesn’t have the most mindblowing ratings, and FOX is thinking of axing it (despite the fact that it regularly wins its timeslot). So, there’s a possibility we’ll never get an answer to those questions.

If that happens, FOX will be getting some very strongly worded letters from me. And by strongly worded letters, I mean poisoned muffins.

If you don't get the reference, you don't deserve to read this blog

When I saw that this was going to be a backstory episode, I was really worried that all of our questions about Team Chance would be answered and that then that wonderful layer of mystery the show has would be gone for good. Yes, they did answer most of the Katherine Walters/Chance turning good stuff, but even then it doesn’t seem quite so simple.

Chance was definitely going rogue before the Katherine situation. This was just the straw that broke the (really hot) camel’s back. And I have a hard time believing that it was just the previous Christopher Chance sparing his life and saying “nobody deserves to die” that made Chance the Newer rethink his whole life.

Also… the manner in which they “killed” Katherine… either they’re exceptionally lazy or that bitch ain’t dead. (I of course mean bitch affectionately). When the way you kill a character is to show her alone in a vehicle and then not show her again and then several minutes later have that vehicle blow up from a distance… yeah. Bitch ain’t dead.

And how about Winston… possibly double crossing Chance by totally taking the book. I really hope that Chance at least knows Winston took the book, even if he doesn’t know what Winston did with it. I’d hate for their bromance to be irreparably damaged.

And speaking of the book… I kind of can’t believe it took Lassiter (yeah, too busy to look up the actor’s real name. And yes, I’m aware that the time it’s taking me to type this is probably taking me longer than it would have taken to look it up on IMDb) SEVEN DAMN YEARS to realize “Oh, hey, why didn’t the cops ever show up?” I bet he wouldn’t have had that problem if he’d had Shawn and Gus working with him, amiright?

And speaking of the guest cast… SO AMAZING. This is the second show I love that Lee Majors has popped up on in a month (he was on Community a few weeks ago). I love the man, and I was so happy to see him. Armand Assante… well, I remember him being better in the ’90s, but the man can still chew scenery in a strangely subtle way.

This episode confirmed that my Amy Acker girl crush is still alive and well and that watching her shoot other girl crushes in the face on hasn’t ruined that. Speaking of Amy Acker and Joss Whedon, she should totally play Wasp in the Avengers movie.

Back to Lassiter, his role here kind of made me want to see him in a Faulkner adaptation. Now, I don’t think he’s quite big and imposing enough to play Sutpen, but perhaps General Sartoris. That could be a very, very good fit.

And, saving the best for last… Guerrero. There’s still some mystery there, too. We still don’t know exactly why he decide to come work for Team Chance. And we still don’t know about his kid. So, there’s still stuff to learn there.

As for This Episode in Guerrero… it was pretty great. Not only did we get an awesome quip (“My heart grew three sizes that day”) but we also got to see young!Guerrero AND action!Guerrero. Okay, he didn’t do anything as hot as use someone as a human shield. But he did pull a gun a few times, and he took on Chance.

Dear Guerrero,

I love you. Please don’t be creeped out.

Sincerely, Katie

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Six scandals that prove Hollywood was just as screwed up back in the day as it is now (Pt. 1)

With all the Lindsay Lohans and Paris Hiltons getting drunk and not wearing underwear, and with all the Tiger Woodses plowing their way through every single halfway decent looking girl in America, a lot of people might think that the depravity of Hollywood is at a new, never before reached level. You might even hear people wishing that things were as good and wholesome in Hollywood as they were “back in the day”.

Clearly, these people know nothing about Hollywood history. Because, really? There was some pretty fucked up shit happening “back in the day”.

The Death (Suicide? Murder? 100% Dumbass Behavior?) of Olive Thomas

The Background: Olive Thomas was the Most Beautiful Girl In the World. No, seriously, she won a contest. A former Ziegfeld Girl, Thomas started working in films around 1915-1916, under the tutelage (meaning she was probably banging them) of such Hollywood bigwigs as Thomas Ince. She was the first woman to be described as a “flapper”, pre-dating famous flappers like Clara Bow by several years.

In 1916 she met and married Jack Pickford, baby brother of Mary Pickford. You know, the most powerful woman in Hollywood at the time. Olive was, by Pickford’s account, the love of his life, and he was never happier than he was when he was married to her. He probably said that because they hardly ever saw each other. They were based on opposite ends of the country. When they did see each other, they fought constantly. And when they weren’t together, Jack was banging anything that wasn’t nailed to the floor (and probably a few things that were.)

Thanks to not being able to keep it in his pants, Jack contracted syphilis. Back in the early 20th century, Doctors prescribed  bichloride of mercury to treat syphilis, clearly not realizing that it’s incredibly toxic and, if not diluted correctly, can cause a person’s insides to disintegrate (if digested) or simply slowly burn through their skin (if topical). Of course, syphilis also causes people to lose their minds, so a bunch of syphilis patients screaming about “the burning” probably didn’t give a lot of doctors pause.

The Scandal: In September of 1920, the Jack and Olive took a vacation to Paris. On September 9, they couple returned to their hotel room at around 3am. The two had been doing some pretty hardcore partying, and had likely taken a pharmacy’s worth of  drugs. Jack fell asleep while Olive prepared herself for bed. At some point, she took Jack’s bichloride of mercury. Jack awoke to his wife screaming in agony as he insides literally burned away.  He summoned a doctor, but Olive was dead in less than an hour.

Whether she took the medication intentionally or not is still unknown. The French police chalked the death up to an accident and the case was closed, but theories still swirl about what really happened. It is entirely possible that Thomas, in her altered state, simply thought the bottle was full of water or sleeping aid or liquor.

Or, it could be more nefarious than that.

Some theorized that Thomas intentionally took the medication to commit suicide, after learning of her husband’s cheating ways when he passed his syphilis on to her.

Others thought that the existence of a life insurance policy, taken out on Olive the year beforehand, proved that Jack somehow fed the medication to Olive to kill her so he could collect on the policy. Because, you know, it’s not like he was already one of the richest men in the country.

Even more shady, some people thought that Jack’s big sister and mother, who apparently despised Olive, had plotted the death and had made it happen. Despite the fact that they were on a completely different continent at the time.

The Aftermath: Officially, Olive Thomas’ death was 100% accidental. It was the first celebrity funeral Hollywood had ever really seen, and thousands of people showed up for the event. Because she died at what would likely have been only the beginning of her success, Thomas is mostly forgotten today. Jack Pickford’s career remained fairly steady throughout the silent era. Olive’s ghost is said to haunt the New Amsterdam theater in New York, where she began her acting career as a Ziegfeld Girl.

The Rape and Manslaughter Trial of Fatty Arbuckle

Background: Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was an America film comedian hugely popular in the 1910s. He become famous for his work with Mack Sennett, mostly in films alongside Mabel Normand, no stranger to scandal herself.

In the summer of 1921, Fatty signed a contract with Paramount for three years at $1 million – higher than any paid star at the time. To celebrate, he threw a huge Labor day party in San Francisco. He invited several friends and business associates.

Not invited were party crashers Maude Delmont and Virginia Rappe, both of whom were notorious in Hollywood. Delmont was something of a Hollywood madam who specialized in the blackmail of her clients.  Rappe was notorious for a simpler reason. She was pretty much the biggest slut in Slut City. Which, in this case, was Hollywood.

The Scandal: At around 3pm on September 5th, Arbuckle left the party to retire to his room to get ready for a site seeing trip. He found Rappe in his bathroom, passed out on the floor. He took her into his room and settled her into his bed.  Thinking she was just drunk, he left her there for a few moments. When he returned, she was on the floor. He put her back in the bed and then went for help.

And this is where things get a little fuzzy.

According to Arbuckle (whose account is now the one accepted as fact) he had tried to revive her by holding ice to her chest and thighs. This was when Delmont walked into the room, and Arbuckle again asked her to get help. This was when Rappe started tearing at her clothes.

According to Delmont, what she saw was Arbuckle holding ice to Rappe’s “unmentionable” areas.

Rappe started to scream while she tore at her clothes (because the crazy isn’t complete without screaming), which drew the attention of the party goers, some of whom came in to watch the spectacle. Hey, this was the Hollywood crowd, and film was still in their infancy. They couldn’t be sure what was real and what was fantasy.

Several party goers helped carry her out, and it was at this point that Rappe screamed “What did Roscoe do to me?”

Now, she could have been referring to him raping her. Or, considering she was looking down at her nearly dripping wet dress, she could have been referring to the fact that Roscoe’s attempts to revive her had left her cold and wet. And not in the fun way.

She was placed in a cold bath in an attempt to sober her up, and then put in a bed in a different room. A doctor arrived a few hours later and decided she was just drunk. Yeah, doctors in the 1920s were stupid. Satisfied with the conclusion. Arbuckle left for his sight seeing trip, and the party continued. Little did Roscoe know that, while he was out having fun seeing all the sights of the city, Maude Delmont was back at the hotel, badmouthing him. And when I say badmouthing, I mean telling everyone who would listen that he’d raped Rappe. According to her account, Arbuckle had dragged Rappe into his room and raped her, and that’s when she started to behave ill. However, even the doctor Delmont had in her pocket found no evidence of rape.

A few days later, Rappe had not recovered, and she was rushed to the hospital. It was there that they discovered that Rappe’s bladder had burst. Several days beforehand.

Yeah, for those of you who don’t know, dying of a ruptured bladder is among one of the most horrific ways you can die. For one thing, it takes DAYS to die from it, and the longer it goes undiagnosed, the worse it gets. First of all, it’s unbelievably painful. You’re then unable to urinate.  So, where does the urine go? Oh, it’s just finding its way into your blood stream, poisoning your blood and driving you insane.

So this was what was wrong with Rappe. And she’d been sick for days, which meant she was at the most advanced stages of the illness. Which pretty much meant she was going to die. On September 9th, she died in the hospital.

When the question came as to how Rappe’s bladder managed to burst, Delmont again claimed that Arbuckle had raped her, and that his enormous weight on Rappe’s body had caused the rupture. And while the authorities were busy ignoring other ways that it could have happened, Arbuckle was arrested for rape and manslaughter. Arbuckle maintained his innocence. Because, really, with this  broad, all he’d have to do was ask. If he even had to do that much.

Hearst, who for some reason had a hard-on for making Arbuckle’s life miserable, ran some of the most damning stories anyone possibly could in his publications. And if Hearst believed it, America believed it.  Even the whole “he raped her with a broken Coke bottle, and that’s why her insides were ripped to shreds.”

Well, mostly. Thankfully the people on Arbuckle’s three juries weren’t entirely stupid. The first two juries were hung, and the final jury voted unanimously that Arbuckle was innocent, and even drafted an apology to the man for the ridiculousness he had to go through.

As it turns out, there’s no way Arbuckle’s external weight could have caused as much damage to Rappe’s insides as the prosecution claimed. It’s likely her injuries came about from a very poorly done abortion she’d had a few weeks before. And it probably wasn’t helped by the fact that somebody at the party had kicked her in the stomach while they were dancing.

The Aftermath: Though Arbuckle was cleared of all crimes, the public wasn’t really ready to forget. Arbuckle’s career was pretty much over. For most of the decade, he barely worked, despite the efforts of BFF Buster Keaton. Later in the decade, he did direct several films under a different name, including the silent masterpiece The Red Mill, starring Marion Davies. But he never really got his career back, and he died in 1933 of a broken heart (I assume).

The Unsolved Murder of William Desmond Taylor

The Background:
William Desmond Taylor was one of the biggest directors in Hollywood in the early 1920s. Between 1913 and 1922 he directed 64 films. He also managed to romance pretty much every starlet  in Hollywood. Whether intentionally or not.

The Scandal: On the evening of February 1st, 1921, Desmond met at his home with film comedienne Mabel Normand, his girlfriend. At about 7:45pm, he walked her to her car and said goodbye.

The next morning, at about 7:30am, Taylor’s valet, Henry Peavy, found Taylor’s body in the front room of his bungalow.

Now, I’m not saying that the LAPD was, you know, competent back in the 1920s. But they might have been able to find something resembling the truth halfway up their asses (you know, where their heads were) had Taylor’s Hollywood cohorts not come to his house before the cops did and remove any evidence of Taylor’s “bad behavior”. Many of the things taken from the house could probably have helped point the cops in the correct direction.  Among those items were love letters from teenaged actress Mary Miles Minter, who was in love with Taylor. In the way that John Hinkley loved Jodi Foster.

The suspect list is long and complicated. It includes Minter, her mother, producer Mack Sennett (who was in love with Mable Normand), and other Hollywood folks.

It Gets Weirder: One of the strangest suspects was Taylor’s former manservant, Edward Sands. Well, that’s the name he was using at the time. When he worked as Taylor’s valet, he sported a cockney accent and was such a dedicated manservant that one would probably think he was totally gay for his boss.

The only problem was that his name was not Edward Sands, he wasn’t English, and he wasn’t gay (well, we don’t really know about that last one). He was also a criminal mastermind. He waited until Taylor went out of town and then made a move, cashing a blank check for millions of dollars, and leaving the house with several of Taylor’s more pricey possessions.

On Christmas Eve, Taylor received a letter in the mail from Sands, with a pawn ticked for a pair of cufflinks Sands had stolen, with the note “So sorry for the inconvenience to inconvenience you, even temporarily. Also observe the lesson of forced sale of assets.”

Sands didn’t really make sense as a suspect though, since he had pretty much gotten away with his crimes scott-free, and there was nothing missing from Desmond’s house. He was also very likely dead from suicide. The cops probably knew this, but, well…it was the LAPD. So they kept looking for him anyway.

And It Gets Even Weirder: It couldn’t have helped investigators that William Desmond Taylor wasn’t William Desmond Taylor at all. It was simply the second identity of one William Cunningham Deane Tanner, a man who had a pretty strange past. He moved to the US from Ireland when he was 18 and worked all kinds of jobs, from miner to antiques dealer, which is where he met his wife Ethel. The pair had a daughter, Ethel Daisy, in 1903. In 1908, he went to lunch and never came back.

Apparently, abandoning your family was in the Deane Tanner family blood. William’s brother Denis did the same thing. He also spent most of his life leaching off of his big brother.

William Deane Tanner became William Desmond Taylor when he became an actor, and then later a director. The truth is, though, that not much is known of his life during his pre-US years, or during the few years after he abandoned his family.

What Probably Happened: This case is too big for a small piece of an article, so I suggest you check out’s page on the murder. It’s likely that Taylor was killed because of Normand. Normand had quite a cocaine problem, and Taylor was determined to put and end to it, even if it meant he had to destroy the mob to do it.

In the 1920s, the mob would send pushers to the studios to basically stand around and wait for people to buy drugs off of them. This was how Normand got hooked, and Taylor was so determined to save the woman he loved that he went to the FBI to work with them to bring an end to it.

So, basically, the mob probably sent a hitman to kill him.

The aftermath: Well, the murder was never solved, but Minter’s career never recovered. Neither did Normand’s, who managed to make a few more movies before dying in 1930. And, yeah, the LAPD continued to suck ass for a few more decades. There was a deathbed confession decades later by former actress Margaret Gibson, who had known Taylor professionally. Gibson had ties to many notorious underworld types, so her confession is quite possibly true.

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Human Target: Guerrero Uses Random Baddie as a Human Shield, and Completely Steals My Heart

This week on Human Target, Christopher Chance saved the life of a Princess who threatened to “damage the name of the crown” or some such nonsense by falling in love with a commoner. They hung out with an IRA terrorist, got cool costumes, and fought some English baddies with swords.

Oh, yeah. And this happened:


As if I didn’t already love him enough after the “I’ll take the beating, but I’m totally killing you in your sleep” speech, or when he shot that guy to protect Chance, or how he couldn’t even get through a “do the right thing” speech with a straight face, or when he electrocuted that guy, or his vulnerable moment (if you can call it that) when he was talking to Baptiste. He has to go and do that ultimate badass thing and use a living human being as a shield. Seriously, Human Shield-ing is pretty much Action Movie Way #1 into my heart.

So, yeah, I was pretty in love with Guerrero before this week’s episode. Now I’m pretty sure he owns my heart.

It’s almost disappointing that adorable EMT Tony dragged the guy inside to save his life. Thankfully, Guerrero redeemed the badassness of the moment by being an awesome sniper.

The man looks good behind a gun.

Of course, Chance, Winston, and Guerrero saved the day, and Princess Victoria got to marry adorable EMT Tony.

And then Guerrero talked about how there was once this tribal princess or something who totally wanted him.

And I wanted to punch something.

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Twin Peaks Turns Twenty

April 8th.

It was on this day, twenty years ago, that the pilot of the landmark television series Twin Peaks aired on ABC. It might

Spiritual FBI agents and 18 year old virgin femme fatales

be hard to understand exactly how important a show that ran for less than two whole seasons is to the landscape of television drama. But without Twin Peaks there might not have been an X-Files. There might not have been a Millennium. There almost certainly would not be a Lost.

But still, with all the bizarre, quirky, serialized shows that Twin Peaks inspired, there has still never anything else like it on television. A science fiction horror soap opera centered around a horrifying murder in a small town? How could that possibly work?

It worked because it was helmed by David Lynch, who’s made a career of the surreal and the strange, who has spent a fairly large chunk of his career exploring the dark and sometimes horrifying underbelly of the “normal” American town.

Before Twin Peaks, serialized television was generally left to daytime. Even shows like Dallas, which had an ongoing, week-to-week storyline, didn’t follow the same type of serialized storytelling that Twin Peaks did. Each episode of the show took place over the course of a single day, so that, after a year and a half on the air, only 30 days had passed in the cozy town. So if you missed and episode, it was entirely possible you’d have no idea what was happening from there on out. It was the definition of “appointment television”.

"She's dead...wrapped in plastic."

The show started out as what seemed to be a very basic whodunnit. The 18 year old town prom queen is found murdered, washed up on the shore, wrapped in plastic, and FBI agent Dale Cooper is called in to work with the local cops to investigate. But, even before things started to get really weird, it was clear from the atmosphere of the show, the strange shots of girls running across high school courtyards screaming, the deceptively dreamy music, that something in this town was very, very amiss.

Who Killed Laura Palmer was the heart of the show, but Lynch really used that as a springboard, to explore the lives of the people of Twin Peaks: a young high school couple in love, an eccentric psychiatrist, the grieving parents of the murdered girl, the star football player and his married girlfriend, and so on.

But what started out as a look at the deep, dark secrets of the inhabitants of the quiet Washington town soon became an exploration of good vs. evil. In the second episode of the

If I had dreams like Cooper did, I'd never go to sleep

series, through Cooper’s bizarre dream (the one with the dancing, backwards speaking midget, perhaps the most famous scene to come out of the show), we’re introduced the idea and the characters of the Lodges, even though we don’t really know it, or what it means, yet.

Soon the town wasn’t just inhabited by horny teenagers and messed up adults. There was also a midget, a giant, a one-armed man, and  a demon named BOB. Lynch didn’t just subvert expectations by bringing up question after question, but by doing things like revealing the killer early on in the first season. But just because we know that the maniacal BOB killed Laura, doesn’t mean we know who BOB is. Does that sound confusing? Yeah, that’s how Twin Peaks rolls.

Poor Ronnette

One of the things that really made the show special was how brilliantly the horror was mixed with humor, or with honest emotion. Lynch seemed to realize that, while he had created something genuinely frightening, there was a certain absurdity to it all that was kind of humorous. Only Lynch could balance the humor of a crazy, one-eyed middle-aged woman with the sad story of the way she actually lost her eye.

But it also managed to combine this terror with moments of absolute heartbreak. There’s a murder scene in the second season that is one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen on television, but it’s also incredibly tragic and utterly, completely heartbreaking.

Sadly, the network forced Lynch to reveal the identity of the killer early on in the second season, which caused a definite storyline dip for the middle part of the section. But the creative team seemed to suddenly realize, right before the final third of the season, that they still had this epic story of good vs. evil to tell, and it’s in that last run of episodes that the show really came together as an exploration of that ultimate theme. With the appearance of Cooper’s nemesis, the insane, but totally badass Windom Earl, the show picked up steam, and it ended with a bang. The series finale is creepy, sad, and 100% nightmare fuel.

A year after it’s finale, David Lynch released the prequel film, Fire Walk With Me, which tells the story of the final seven days of Laura Palmer’s life (warning: do NOT watch this movie if you have not seen the entire series). It remains one of Lynch’s most memorable and haunting works, a film that makes the downfall of even a character as unlikable as Laura Palmer almost unbearably heartbreaking.

Twin Peaks may have only lasted two seasons, but its impact shows in the way it’s being celebrated today, on its 20th anniversary. Most shows that get canceled after their second season are hardly even remembered twenty years later. That’s just how great Twin Peaks was. Even after twenty years, we can’t quite let go.

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