Previously written by yours truly almost a year ago…and I had wanted to post it here, as my opening piece, but in the Manson blogging melee, never did…
Yes, it’s more emotional than informative…but a year ago, when I first delved back into this case, that was how I was feeling, the little girl, once again, in that hot and hazy L.A., all those years ago…
L.A. is a two-sided beast; on the outside, the houses (in the upper middle-class to affluent sections, I mean) look perfect and they lie on perfectly manicured lawns, and for more days than less, the sun is shining and the sky is blue and you can hear the incessant chirping of cicadas in the background heat and haze of the midday sun. Cars have no rust and are always new and shiny and the people who get out of those cars and new and shiny too.
The other side is the dark, invisible, unseen side of L.A., the side you only see if your New and Shiny has suddenly worn off and is now Old and Dull and no one cares if you live or die, and if you live, the other New and Shiny people pray they don't bump into you at Sardi's for lunch.
Big, huge names have tasted this side of L.A.; Peter Lawford, Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, John Holmes and normal people too, who have had non-celebrity businesses succeed beyond their wildest dreams, only one day, they stop being lucrative and the owners are forced to close up shop and move away in shame. Because if you no longer can afford the High Life then you are by Hollywood definition, a Low Life and Low Lifers can't afford to live in Brentwood, Holmby Hills or the Canyons. And even if they could, no one would invite them to their parties anymore, so what's the point.
The only key to insure everlasting New and Shininess is to die young in L.A., of any type of death really, just so long as it comes before the extra pounds, the wrinkles and the age spots take over. That's the E Ticket Ride out of Hollywood. Unfortunately you have to die to get on that ride; but maybe for the New and Shiny set that's okay.
You never here the phrase Falling Star in L.A., only Rising Star. No one wants to hear that gravity has overtaken your star. It's like the New and Shiny set dare to defy gravity or go out in a blaze of glory (and liposuction and Botox) trying.
Even killers of the New and Shiny set are redeemable somehow, as if they sacrificed their own lives just so a New and Shiny person could have immortal and everlasting beauty. Hell, killers in L.A. are put on some kind of perverse pedestal, brought into the L.A. court rooms wearing the garb that New and Shiny people wear and for an instant you forget, in the glare of the spotlight and the media attention, that a killer is just a killer and a human being God put on this Earth is really dead. That's just forgotten in L.A. or was secretly never really important in the first place.
I mean, look at the gift Charlie gave us; he ordered some kids to "off" some New and Shiny people and the gift is they get to stay young and sexy and average folk get to admire their old photos and films in a kind of swirling infinity in a Neverland that never really existed even when they were alive.
If Tate and Sebring hadn't been given the gift of everlasting youth and they were left alone by Charlie and The Family to grow old and less popular and given less work so their fortunes dried up, would we care? Would we idolize Jay after he went grey and hunched over from osteoporosis? Would Sharon even register on the Hollywood Richter Scale if she were allowed to continue to act in B Rate movies as we watched her hair get yellow and brittle from too many bleaching touch-ups, like Marilyn's did? Would we say a prayer for Gibby and Voytek if they had continued on their drug foray, used up all her inheritance and became recluses in some run-down flat off of Sunset Boulevard? Would we laugh at the irony if Steve Parent made a killing in the Stereo business and became an owner of a multi-million dollar Stereo Outlet mall, and with his riches, went on to buy 10050 Cielo Drive for himself, his beautiful wife and their four great kids? Would any of us even know how to spell the name LaBianca if Charlie had not been there to give everlasting youth to them too?
And people wonder why people idolize L.A. killers.
John Holmes' ridiculous porn movies probably get more airplay on YouTube than they ever did at the box office when he was alive. And his horrid little A.I.D.S. death probably gave him respect in Hollywood just like Liz Taylor made it O.K. to be gay and dying after Rock's passing.
Yep, L.A. is a Beast alright, a scary one. So don't let those manicured lawns and those palatial estates and those newest model Bentleys fool ya. There is the dark side and if you linger there for only a moment, we'll worship you forever; but if you linger there too long, we'll forget you had a name at all.
Good Bye, Mr. Lawford.
Good Bye, Ms. Tate.
Good Bye, Mr. Holmes, Ms. Harlow and Ms. Monroe.
Rest in Peace, okay.