Our evening began, fittingly, at the Museum of Death on Hollywood Boulevard, where we were shown a number of bizarre "artifacts" from the Charlie Manson killings and the Heaven's Gate mass suicide. There were also some of the most sickening images I have ever seen, taken by an L.A. woman and her boyfriend who decided to murder and dismember the woman's husband... and then take photos of it... and then take said photos to get developed, which lead to their arrest.
From there, we were driven all around the city to see some of these infamous edifices. One of the most puzzling murders in L.A. history is The Black Dahlia case, which has still never been solved to this day. Actress Elizabeth Short was found in Leinart Park in January 1947, and there are hundreds of theories as to who may have committed this heinous crime. We were shown the house where it has been speculated that the actual murder took place, before the aspiring actress was dumped in Leinart Park.
We also saw the house where screenwriter Robert Lees (Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein) was savagely murdered (and beheaded) in 2004. To think, this man was one of the "blacklisted" writers of the McCarthy Era who lived to be 91 years old, only to die at the hands of a homeless man who broke into his own home.The next stop on our tour was home to a crime that shocked all of Hollywood in the late 1980s, but did end up leading to new laws being passed because of it. Rebecca Schaeffer was a rising star on the hit CBS sitcom My Sister Sam before being shot in her own home in 1989 by an obsessive fan. The deranged man obtained her address through a private detective, who received the info through the California Department of Motor Vehicles. In response to the killing, The Driver's Privacy Prevention Act was passed in 1994, preventing the DMV from releasing private addresses.
Among other stops on our trek through L.A. was the home where Dominique Dunne was slain, and the infamous Menendez slaughter. Our tour guide from Dearly Departed Tours, Brian, revealed that Jose and Kitty Menendez were actually watching the movie The Spy Who Loved Me when they were killed. We also saw the residences where gangster Bugsy Siegel and Johnny Stompanato, one of gangster Mickey Cohen's enforcers, were killed. Johnny Stompanato was dating Hollywood starlet Lana Turner before he was stabbed by her daughter, Cheryl, who alleged that Stompanato was beating her mother. The courts actually ruled it as a "justifiable homicide."
I have to say, after living in L.A. for nearly five years, I probably learned more about this city on that tour than in my entire time here combined. It just goes to show that, no matter what kind of neighborhood you live in, there may be sinister things afoot in the house at the end of your street. CLICK HERE to check out the rest of the photos from the tour on MovieWeb's Instagram account. You can CLICK HERE for more information on the Museum of Death on Hollywood Boulevard, and CLICK HERE to learn more about the Dearly Departed Tours. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for continues updates and photos. Just search Movieweb and follow!