Steve McQueen was one of several Hollywood celebrities placed on a “Death List” allegedly compiled by Charles Manson. The other names were Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones.
On August 9th, 1969, members of Manson’s “Family” carried out the brutal murder of Sharon Tate and 4 of her friends.
McQueen had briefly dated Tate, and had planned to visit the actress the night of her death.
In December 1969, Manson and the killers had been arrested.
When McQueen heard he might be targeted by Manson’s followers, he started carrying a gun. In October 1970, a still cautious McQueen wrote to his lawyer to find out if any “Family” members were still active, and to have his gun license renewed.
A SOLAR PRODUCTION
October 17, 1970
Mr. Edward Rubin
Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp
6380 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90048
As you know, I have been selected by the Manson Group to be marked for death, along with Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones. In some ways I find it humorous, and in other ways frighteningly tragic. It may be nothing, but I must consider it may be true both for the protection of myself and my family.
At the first possible time, if you could pull some strings and find out unofficially from one of the higher-ups in Police whether, again unofficially, all of the Manson Group has been rounded up and/or do they feel that we may be in some danger.
Secondly, if you would call Palm Springs and have my gun permit renewed, it was only for a year, and I should like to have it renewed for longer as it is the only sense of self-protection for my family and myself, and I certainly think I have good reason.
Please don’t let too much water go under the bridge before this is done, and I’m waiting for an immediate reply.
Save for the Kennedy assassination, coincidence has perhaps never coagulated with the same deeply improbable intensity as it did around the Manson killings.
Stranger still is the manner in which coincidence seems to knit the Tate/LaBianca murders together with both Rosemary’s Baby (a great film) and “the White Album” (a great record), as if all three were somehow of a piece—and in a sense that goes beyond the former’s being directed by Polanski, or the latter’s inspiring Manson’s derided “Helter Skelter” scenario.
Take, as a mere appetizer, the possibility that the Beatles may have stayed (and dropped acid) at 10050 Cielo Drive in the mid-sixties, something (apparently unwittingly) implied by John Lennon during a 1974 Rolling Stone interview.
And then, well, we just decided to take LSD again in California…We were on tour, in one of those houses, like Doris Day’s house or wherever it was we used to stay. And the three of us took it. Ringo, George and I… And a couple of the Byrds… Crosby and the other guy, who used to be the leader… McGuinn. I think they came round, I’m not sure, on a few trips.
Terry Melcher, of course, was Doris Day’s son, the Byrds’ producer, Manson’s almost-producer, and Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski’s predecessor at 10050 Cielo Drive.
In normal circumstances, Mother Superior could very well be accused of having jumped the gun were we to therefore conclude that the Beatles probably had sat turning their minds inside-out within the very walls that would—a few years later—have their as-yet unwritten song-titles scrawled upon them in blood (as if the killers were tracing indentations made by psychic shrapnel). Circumstances, however, are anything but normal…
In the spring of 1968—a handful of years after those mooted sojourns at Cielo Drive—the Beatles made their pilgrimage to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Valley of the Saints in Rishikesh, part of a sparkling celebrity coterie that included Mia Farrow and Mike Love. For the next couple of months, the days were mostly spent in epic bouts of Transcendental Meditation, as the Maharishi attempted to guide the most famous men in the world—who he himself described as “angels”—towards “total consciousness.” The Beatles, though, would spend much of their spare time writing songs – particularly Lennon, who found they were veritably “pouring out.”
Many of these new tunes would find their way onto the Beatles’ next LP, “the White Album.” One such was Lennon’s “Dear Prudence,” which playfully chided Prudence Farrow, Mia Farrow’s sister, for excessive metaphysical studiousness.
Mia Farrow herself had only recently completed filming Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. Her exquisite performance as Rosemary—a resident of New York’s Dakota building, impregnated with an anti-Christ by a coven of neighboring witches—surely meant she arrived in the Valley of the Saints carrying some very interesting inner baggage. Certainly her stay would leave its mark on history—most chroniclers ascribing some rumored sexual impropriety (or worse) on the part of the Maharishi towards Farrow as being the principal reason for Lennon and Harrison’s (the last remaining Beatles) acrimonious departure that August.
Lennon later claimed that, while packing his bags, he came up with the rudiments of another tune destined for “the White Album,” “Sexy Sadie,” four syllables that supplanted the original—and extremely libelous—“Maharishi.” The same four syllables would also find themselves supplanting the name of Manson Family Tate/LaBianca murderess Susan Atkins—known in the Family as “Sadie Mae Glutz” prior to Manson’s fateful encounter with “the White Album.” Before falling in with Manson, Atkins was an associate of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan. LaVey is said to have served as an unaccredited technical adviser on Rosemary’s Baby.
Incidentally, Lennon and Harrison’s jaded view of the Maharishi was such that, when their protracted flight from Rishikesh was impeded by a series of disruptions—they were abandoned in a broken-down taxi, and Harrison soon thought he was coming down with dysentery— our ruffled angels feared they had been cursed by their unceremoniously discharged guru. (Echoes, here, of Bobby Beausoleil’s attempted escape from Kenneth Anger, legendarily curtailed by Anger’s magickal locket.)
Around the very time the Beatles were arriving in Rishikesh, meanwhile, Mike Love’s cousin and fellow Beach Boy Dennis Wilson would reportedly pick up hitchhikers (and Manson Family members) Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey in Malibu.
Whether or not this actually happened (Charles Manson, for one, would later contradict this account, saying he first met Wilson at the house of a mutual friend’s) Wilson would definitely spend the following months as a sponsor and de facto member of the Family—footing the bill for their VD treatments (and much more besides), introducing Manson to industry figures like Neil Young and Terry Melcher, and so on.
Although Death Valley—in apparent contradistinction to the Valley of the Saints—sounded like an overtly hedonistic and nihilistic environment, Manson arguably presided over a commune no less spiritually preoccupied than the Maharishi’s, and Mike Love and Dennis Wilson seemed similarly as well as simultaneously attracted to their Ying/Yang gurus. But it appears positively miraculous that Wilson would be fraternizing with Manson while his cousin, on the other side of the world, would be fraternizing with the Beatles at the very time the songs were “pouring out” for “the White Album,” some of which would find themselves daubed on the walls at Cielo Drive in Sharon Tate’s blood, and two of which concerned Prudence and Mia Farrow, the latter having only just starred in a role once earmarked for Tate herself…
And that, as aficionados know only too well, ain’t even the half of it. (A little more to come from me on the topic though, shortly.)
Real life villains get the “Legion of Doom” treatment by Brazilian designer and illustrator Butcher Billy.
Some might say all art is a reflection of the times we live in.
If back in the day comics and movies were pretty naive and faced only as pure escapism, today’s fiction has to evoke reality to create something truly meaningful… and frightening.
This series is an experiment where a dictator, a psycho, a murderer (sometimes they are the whole package) or even a suspicious figure from real life is mashed with a comics bad guy - strangely related some way or the other with his counterpart.
The depressing thing? Realising that if the comic book supervillains were actually the ones threatening real life, the world wouldn’t be such a bad place.
A postcard written last month from Charles Manson to Marilyn Manson:
To Marilyn Manson –
It’s taken me a long time to get there from where I could touch M. Manson. Now I got a card to play – you may look into my non-profit, ATWA, and give Manson what you think he’s got coming for Air, Trees, Water, and you. Or I will pay Manson what you think Manson got coming – the music has make Manson into Abraxas Devil, and I’m SURE you would want some of what I got from what I got. It’s a far out balance. Beyond good and bad, right, wrong. What you don’t do is what I will do – what you did a sing-along, and let it roll and said how you saved me a lot of steps – I don’t need, it’s not a need or a want. Couped – coup. Ghost dancers slay together and you’re just in my grave Sunstroker Corona-coronas-coronae – you seen me from under with it all standing on me. That’s 2 dump trucks – doing the same as CMF 000007
I can’t comment because I have no fucking clue what this means…
Charles Manson, the right man for the right time. If he hadn’t existed, society damn well would have created him - a nail in the coffin of the counterculture, the peace movement and the Aquarian Age. Jim Thompson meets “Be Here Now.” When Rolling Stone goes so far as to call him “the most dangerous man alive” you know the hype machine is in overdrive. I can think of dozens of men who were alive in the the 1960s and 70s who were far more dangerous than Manson…starting with Richard Nixon, William Calley and the CEOs of Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical, the creators of Agent Orange and napalm.
Think what you will, Charley occasionally makes some good points…in those moments of clarity when he’s not a raving lunatic.
Charlie Rose is unusually tightlipped in this interview, thank goodness.
Charles “Tex” Watson, 65, the Manson Family murderer who once described himself as Charles Manson’s “right hand man,” was denied parole again today for the 14th time at Mule Creek State Prison, Sacramento. Watson is serving life in prison for his role in the slaying of pregnant film actress Sharon Tate and four others, in Beverly Hills on August 9, 1969 and the deaths of grocery store owner Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, the following night.
Watson was originally sentenced to death, a fate, like Manson’s own sentence, that was later overturned. He has spent over four decades in California prisons, marrying, divorcing and fathering four children. He is now an ordained Christian minister and has written a book. From LA Now:
On Watson’s ministry website, he says, he believed Manson “offered utopia, but in reality, he had a destructive world view, which Charles ended up believing in and acting upon. His participation in the 1969 Manson murders is a part of history that [Watson] deeply regrets.” He notes that he confessed to his crimes but it took him time to admit the horrible acts to himself. Watson argues he is a changed man and model prisoner who is seeking to better society.
On his website, Watson explains his feelings toward the victims at the time. “The night of the murders, I tried to medicate my pain with methamphetamines, but actually, it made it easier to turn my rebellion, fear and anger loose on my victims. Anyone outside the family had become the establishment, pigs—it was us and them. My life had come to mean nothing, so everyone’s life meant nothing. Death lost its meaning since the end of the world was near,” he wrote.
“I had no emotional attachments with my victims, whom I had never met. Yet, during the murders, I remember conflicting feelings would arise in a flash, but were overcome because Manson’s law was greater than my conscience. He promised us a life free of fear and judgment.”
Manson follower Charles ‘Tex’ Watson denied parole (LA Times)
Manson (1972) is the razorblade in your Halloween candy bar. Chock full of footage of Manson and his freaky followers, this competently-made and unsettling documentary is a horror show made that much more horrifying by the fact that these folks aren’t acting, they’re real. With subject matter this dark and disturbing, the film makers didn’t have to embellish the story in order to gut punch the audience. All they had to do was point the camera in the right direction and let the film roll. Some of the interviewees have the long-distance stare of the truly mad.
Had the US government wanted to put a stake in the heart of the hippie movement, Manson’s gang of demonic flower children and the mayhem at Altamont provided the perfect opportunities to discredit an entire movement. Along with the death of Sharon Tate and Meredith Hunter, 1969 saw the death of the Aquarian Age.
This is a genius prank (or a principled stand, take your pick—there is no third choice). The kids who are responsible for this magnificent move should all be given full scholarships by the Daily Kos college fund:
Open up the Russellville Middle School yearbook. You’ll see the students’ pictures, the administration, and a pretty controversial list that’s supposed to be covered with a piece of black tape.
“My problem is the tape can be removed easily,” said School Board Member Chris Cloud. Cloud has two kids in the Russellville School District and one brought home the yearbook.
“I’m furious as a parent and as a board member and as a tax payer and as a resident of Russellville,” he said. “It’s wrong.”
If this is wrong, as the song goes, then I don’t wanna be right:
The list is titled “Top 5 worst people of all time.” The top three, in order, are Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, and Charles Manson. Numbers four and five are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
And here I thought public schools in Arkansas were supposed to be the nation’s worst??? This gives me hope for the next generation!
Superintendent Randall Williams calls the list “an oversight.” Parents caught it after the yearbooks were printed. The district’s solution was to cover the list with tape. It didn’t work.
Superintendent Williams says the yearbook editing process is under review. I’ll bet it is!
Two rather odd experiments using the blue screen effect to put Ann-Margret’s candy-colored intro and reprise to Bye Bye Birdie into a nightmare context. Both are disturbing for different reasons. The Wizard Of Oz clip is almost Buñuelian in its sepia-tinged surrealism. While the sludgy-looking Manson mash-up is just plain creepy.
The Burroughs-Gysin cut-up method applied to one of America’s teen dreams results in something bordering on the horrifying and apocalyptic
Backporch Tapes have just uploaded these two incredible recordings purported to be of Roman Polanski’s lie detector interview with the LAPD August 16 1969, just one week after the murder of his wife, after Sharon Tate.
The overall sound quality is poor, and Polanski sounds confused and upset, but certain questions and answers can be heard clearly - Polanski’s psychological state, his medication, his knowledge of the Polish army, and on the second clip, Polanski’s thoughts about the killer’s motives, and his suggestion of looking for something much more “far out.”
Lie Detector Test: LAPD interview Roman Polanski August 16 1969
Lie Detector Test: LAPD interview Roman Polanski August 16 1969, in which he discusses possible motive.
Dangerous Minds pal, Simon Wells, author of the excellent biography Charles Manson: Coming Down Fast, sent this rather bizarre link to the finale of Sharon Tate’s rarely seen last film The Thirteen Chairs (aka 12 + 1) - an Italian comedy about a hairdresser searching for a missing inheritance hidden inside a set of chairs. However, it’s not the film’s plot that is intriguing, but the eerie freeze frame at the finish, which as Simon points out:
...is just weird. Sharon Tate’s last film: The Thirteen Chairs- shot just six months before her diabolical end. The final credits sequence: I will say no more that just watch it. Talk about creepy prophesies over “The End”. I am amazed this hasn’t been highlighted before. So very odd.
It certainly is odd, especially as co-star, Italian actor Vittorio Gassman, who played the well-groomed hairdresser, is suddenly turned into a demented long-haired hippie, with an uncanny resemblance to Charles Manson.
Cellphones are becoming commonplace in the California prison system. The contraband items are so commonly found these days that prison officials are having a hard time keeping them out of the hands of even the system’s most notorious criminals, like Charlie Manson, who was caught with a LG flip phone underneath his mattress.
Manson made calls and sent text messages to people in California, New Jersey, Florida and British Columbia before officers discovered the phone, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections.
Asked whether Manson had used the device to direct anyone to commit a crime or to leave a threatening message, Thornton said, “I don’t know, but it’s troubling that he had a cellphone since he’s a person who got other people to murder on his behalf.”
Prison officials would not release the identities of any of the people Manson contacted. But the entertainment news show Inside Edition broadcast recordings of a voice, identified as Manson’s, on March 23, 2009. Four days later, guards found a phone during a search of Manson’s cell.
Manson, 76, who is technically eligible for parole but will almost certainly die in prison for ordering the ritualistic murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others in 1969, had 30 days added to his sentence after his phone was discovered.
“He was counseled and reprimanded, too,” Thornton said.