charles manson

Charles Manson's Hollywood, Part 5: Doris Day and Terry Melcher by Karina Longworth


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Charles Manson became convinced his best chance at rock stardom was impressing Terry Melcher, a record executive who had made stars out of The Byrds, and who was also the son of one of old Hollywood's most wholesome, carefree Establishment stars, Doris Day. Terry and his girlfriend, Candice Bergen, had long lived at 10050 Cielo Drive, and sublet the house to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate months before the murders.

Show Notes:

The base list of sources for this series can be found here

If there is a good Doris Day biography, other than her autobiography (which I have on order, but it hadn’t arrived by the time I had to make this episode), I couldn’t find it. I consulted two books,Considering Doris Day by Tom Santopietro and Doris Day: A Reluctant Star, both of which I found to have problems. Day deserves a serious book; I hope she someday gets one.

The other woman at the center of this episode, Candice Bergen, has written two autobiographies. I based a large portion of this episode on her first memoir, Knock Wood, published in 1984. 

Other sources for this episode:

“1969: Film star stabbed in ‘ritualistic’ killings”

Sly Stone interview on Doris Day

Episode Breakdown:

Intro: “Album Tag Song” by Dennis Wilson/Modern Heavy Rock Guitar Top Line royalty free loop/Delay Guitar royalty free loop 

The Golden Penetrators: Mouse Trap by Apache Tomcat

Doris Day’s marriage to Al Jourdan/parallels to New York New York/Jourdan’s abuse/Doris Day’s first screen test for Michael Curtiz/Day’s rise to fame and “perpetual virgin” persona/Pillow Talk: Easy Listening in Jazz royalty free track

Terry Melcher’s early life as surf rocker/selling song titles to Bobby Darin/Recording The Byrds: “Somewhere in My Mind” by Apache Tomcat

Terry Melcher’s relationship with Candice Bergen/Bergen as celebutante, second-rate Julie Christie and bridge between Establishment jet set and hippies: Also “Somewhere in My Mind” by Apache Tomcat, but a different part of the song  

Terry Melcher and Candice Bergen as rich hippies/Melcher’s first visit to Spahn Ranch/Melcher sleeping with Manson girl/Manson as chameleon: “If I Can’t Dance It’s Not My Revolution” by Quantum Jazz

Terry wouldn’t let Manson in his house: “For Better or Worse” by Kai Engel

Sly Stone story:  “Que Sera Sera” recorded by Sly and the Family Stone

Marty Melcher dies, leaving Doris Day destitute: “Divider” by Chris Zabriskie

Terry Melcher moves out of Cielo Drive, goes off the radar: “Crazy Reggae FX Guitar” royalty free loop

Creepy-crawls(i.e.: Manson family home invasions): “Gagool” by Kevin MacLeod

Helter Skelter put on hold to prepare for Terry Melcher’s visit to Spahn Ranch: “Au coin de la rue” by Marco Raaphorst

How dare Terry Melcher stand Charlie Manson up: “Devastation and Revenge” by Kevin MacLeod

Charles Manson meets Sharon Tate/Terry finally auditions Charlie: "Blue Feather" by Kevin MacLeod

Manson wilully misinterprets Melcher’s promises: "Mellow Music Theme Instrumental" (royalty free)

Mike Deasy’s bad trip to Spahn Ranch/Randy Starr/Charlie becomes angry all the time: "Sci Fi Movie Sound Effects" royalty free loop

Manson gets dark, creepy crawls turn into robberies, Terry Melcher gets paranoid/Melcher’s testimony: "Sinister Mood Guitar Effects" royalty free loop

The Ballad of Easy Rider and Byrdmaniax/Melcher’s later life: “Decora” by Yo La Tengo

Outro: Pop Rock Rhythm royalty free loop; “Dig It” by The Beatles

Charles Manson's Hollywood Part 4: Spahn Ranch and The Beatles' The White Album by Karina Longworth


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After wearing out his welcome at Dennis Wilson’s house, Manson moves his family to Spahn Ranch, a dilapidated Western movie set where the cult starts preparing for Helter Skelter, Manson's made-up apocalypse inspired by The Beatles. There, Manson becomes aligned with the Straight Satans motorcycle gang, and finds a new antagonist in ranch hand-turned-stuntman Shorty Shea.

Show Notes:

The base list of sources for this series can be found here

Gary Kent's stories about Spahn Ranch come from his memoir Shadows and Light: Journeys with Outlaws in Revolutionary Hollywood. This is a book that I only became aware of when researching this series, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in the genre films of the 60s. 

Catherine Share's stories of her life as Manson family member "Gypsy" come from aLos Angeles Magazine "oral history" of the Manson murders, published in 2009. 

Gay Talese wrote a typically excellent story about George Spahn and his ranch for Esquire in 1970. Curbed published an also very good longform piece about the history of the ranch last year.

And, the story of Windy Bucklee comes from an interview conducted with her published in 2013 on The Manson Family blog in two parts.

I've been getting a lot of emails about music in the episodes (ie: which song is playing at which specific point in a given episode), so I'm going to try something new with the discography (see below). If you totally hate it, let me know, but if I can manage to do the extra work every week I think it will be useful. 

While I'm on the subject, a note on email: I read everything I get, and try to respond to anything that has an active question in it, as long as the question isn't hostile or insulting. Sometimes it takes me awhile. I'm trying to get better. But, you will probably receive a faster (albeit briefer) answer if you contact me on Twitter @RememberThisPod -- and this would be an especially good way to get in touch if you have a question that other people might want to know the answer to. 

Episode breakdown:

Intro: "Album Tag Song" by Dennis Wilson, Royalty free "Modern Rock Heavy" guitar riff

Gary Kent's story about meeting Tex Watson and Patricia Krenwinkle on Spahn Ranch:  "Blues Guitar Jam" royalty free loop

Spahn Ranch's silent film origins: "Piano Sonata in C minor" (royalty free)

Manson Family moving onto Spahn Ranch: royalty free "clean strumming guitar" loop

Manson Family rituals on Spahn Ranch: "Roads that burned our boots" by Jahzzar

Catherine Share's first night at Spahn Ranch: "Psychedelic Guitars Movie Soundscape" royalty free loop

Spahn Ranch ranch hands Juan Flynn, Shorty Shea and Steve Grogan: "Last Dance" by Jahzzar

Juan Flynn's confrontation with Charlie: "Atmosphere Movie Guitar Transition" royalty free loop

Shorty Shea's campaign against Manson, the family's nomadic life, The Yellow Submarine house and Manson's beating of Windy Bucklee: "I'm Not Dreaming (Instrumental version)" by Josh Woodward

Manson goes all in on Spahn Ranch as base for Helter Skelter: "Dramatic Metal Guitar" royalty free loop

The White Album writing process: "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da" by The Beatles

Manson's nutty, narcissistic, racist interpretation of The White Album: "Meditation, Re-energize, Beatles vibe" royalty free track (Yes, this is its actual title.); "Sexy Sadie"; "Piggies"; "Rocky Raccoon"; "Happiness is a Warm Gun"; "Revolution 1"; "Honey Pie"; "Helter Skelter"; all by The Beatles.

Manson's attempts to contact The Beatles: "Deep End Echo Piano" GarageBand loop

Manson's racist interpretation of "Helter Skelter": "Dark Melodic Metal Guitar" royalty free loop

Why the Family believed Charlie's Helter Skelter theories: "Magical Space Sound Effects" royalty free loop

Preparing for Helter Skelter: "Horror Sfx Falling Down Down Down" royalty free loop

Charlie tries to pimp out the girls: "Au coin de la rue" by Marco Raaphorst

The Straight Satans and drug deals: "Key of A (Slow Heavy Metal)" royalty free loop

Signs Charlie was becoming a bad guy, Tex Watson's defection and Paul Watkins choking: "I Need to Start Writing Things Down" by Chris Zabriskie

"Death is Charlie's trip" and Charlie pulls a gun on Gregg Jakobson: "The Sun Highlights the Lack in Each" by Palace (Will Oldham)

End credits: "Pop Rock Guitar Rhythm Loop 3" royalty free loop

Outro: "The Sun Highlights the Lack in Each"

Charles Manson's Hollywood Part 3: The Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson and Manson the songwriter by Karina Longworth


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After bringing his family to Los Angeles so he could look for a record deal, Charlie Manson befriended Beach Boy DennisWilson, and used the drummer to gain credibility in the music Los Angeles scene. In this episode we’ll talk about Charlie Manson’s arrival in Los Angeles in 1967 with designs on spreading his gospel through rock n’ roll, trace DennisWilson’s life and career leading up to this point, discuss the role Wilson played in enabling Manson’s rock n’ roll delusions, and explain how The Beach Boys came to record a song written by Charles Manson. Finally, we’ll talk about how Wilson suffered in the years following his association with Manson, leading up to his own untimely death.

Show Notes:

Today's special guests include Nate DiMeo of The Memory Palace, who returned as Charles Manson, and Noah Segan as DennisWilson. 

This episode includes many scraps of audio from DennisWilson's extraordinary solo albums, Pacific Ocean Blue and Bambu -- as much as I could reasonably fit in without egregiously violating copyright. If you like what you hear, these records are available as a single set on iTunes. 

In addition to our previously cited sources (particularly Waiting For the Sun), here is a bibliography specific to this episode:

Closing of club ignited 'Sunset Strip Riots,'LA Times, August 5, 2007

DennisWilson and Charles MansonNational Post, June 13, 2012

The Death of a Beach BoyPeople Weekly, January 16, 1984

On The Road With The New Hollywood (The Making of Two Lane Blacktop), Show, March 1971

DennisWilson: The Mayor of Washington BoulevardThe Guardian, December 31, 2013


Album Tag Song by Dennis Wilson

Out of the Skies, Under the Earth by Chris Zabriskie

Friday Night by Dennis Wilson

I am A Man Who Will Fight For Your Honor by Chris Zabriskie

For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield

Once Tomorrow (Instrumental Version) by Josh Woodward

By Request by Apache Tomcat

Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles

2PM Wake Up Call by Apache Tomcat

Pacific Ocean Blues by Dennis Wilson

Au Coin de la Rue by Marco Raaphorst

Garbage Dump by Charles Manson

Cease to Exist by Charles Manson

Nights in White Satin by The Moody Blues

Never Learn Not to Love performed by The Beach Boys

I Need to Start Writing Things Down by Chris Zabriskie

Farewell My Friend by Dennis Wilson

Dreamer by Dennis Wilson

Charles Manson's Hollywood, Part 2: Charlie Manson Finds His Family by Karina Longworth

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Today we're tracing Charles Manson's life from his birth to a teenage con artist, through multiple stints in reform schools and prisons, and finally to San Francisco circa 1967, where Manson began to try out his guru act on the local hippie kids, and started to form the "family" that he'd eventually migrate with to Los Angeles. We'll explain how Manson cobbled together a dogma and worldview from a number of disparate sources -- including pimps he met in prison, the devout Christians in his family, San Francisco activists The Diggers, Dale Carnegie and Scientology -- and describe how and why he was an appealing figure to young women floating around the Bay Area in the late 1960s.  

"Manson girls" Pat Krenwinkle, Susan Stkins and Leslie Van Houten.

Show notes:

This week, we welcome a very special guest: Nate DiMeo, the creator of the wonderful history podcast, The Memory Palace. Nate will be playing Charles Manson throughout this season. Check out Nate's podcast on iTunes or at the above link, and follow him on Twitter @thememorypalace.

The main sources for this episode are the same as those noted last week, plus Can't Find My Way Home: America in the Great Stoned Age, 1945-2000, By Martin Torgoff


Album Tag Song by Dennis Wilson

Slim Fitting by Glass Boy

OLPC by Marco Raaphorst

Scubba Adventure by Apache Tomcat

The Last Ones by Jahzzar

La Hacienda by Apache Tomcat

She's Leaving Home by The Beatles

Make a Wish (For Christmas) by Lee Rosevere

Don't Be Square (Be There) by Adam and the Ants

Charles Manson’s Hollywood, Part 1: What We Talk About When We Talk About The Manson Murders by Karina Longworth


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This season, You Must Remember This will explore the murders committed in the summer of 1969 by followers of Charles Manson, and the Hollywood music and movie scene surrounding the killings. Throughout the series, we’ll learn how a single sociopath’s thwarted dreams of fame and fortune led to the gruesome events which became the symbolic “end of the sixties.” Future episodes will explore the various celebrities, musicians, movie stars and filmmakers (including Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate, The Beach Boys, Dennis Hopper, Doris Day and more) whose paths crossed with Manson’s in meaningful ways, both leading up to the murders and in their aftermath. Today, we’ll talk about what was going on in the show business capital that made Manson seem like a relatively normal guy. Then we'll lay out the basic facts of who was killed, and how, in order to begin to explain how these unthinkable crimes fit in to the tapestry of one of the most tumultuous times in Hollywood history. 

Show Notes:

Welcome to our new season! This series will run a total of 11 weeks (I think; I’m still researching and writing) and will touch on topics as disparate as Doris Day and Michaelangelo Antonioni, Pet Sounds and Pink Flamingos. I became interested in these stories about a year ago, when I somehow found myself reading the obituary of Terry Melcher. Melcher had a really full Hollywood life, which we’ll talk about in one of these episodes, but the headline is that he was born to a teenage Doris Day, and 27 years later he became convinced he was the person the Manson family were really looking for the night they massacred everyone at Sharon Tate’s house. I knew Day and Melcher’s stories were enough to fill at least one episode; as I began researching Melcher’s connection to Manson, many, many other Hollywood stories began to emerge. I realized the story of Charles Manson and the murders he is responsible is really (or, also) the story of Hollywood and its mythology draining of hope, and I wanted to tell that story.

This should probably be obvious given the subject matter, but every single episode of this season is going to contain content and language that will probably be offensive to someone. Apologies in advance.


The foundational text of this series is Jeff Guinn’s recent biography Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson, which I read in long stretches late at night when I was supposed to be on vacation. I couldn't put it down to go to sleep, partially because I would have nightmares every time I tried. 

Here are some other books that I read or re-read to prepare myself generally for this season. I’ll make note of additional/specific sources as we go along:

Manson: The Unholy Trail of Charlie and the Family by John Gilmore (This book was previously published as The Garbage People, a much better title, I think) 

Waiting For the Sun: A Rock n’ Roll History of Los Angeles by Barney Hoskyns

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind

Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris

Weird Scenes Inside The Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & The Dark Heart Of The Hippie Dream by Dave McGowan

Shadows and Light: Journeys with Outlaws in Revolutionary Hollywood by Gary Kent


The Last Ones by Jahzzar

Stormy Moods Orchestra by Apache Tomcat

Scubba Adventure by Apache Tomcat

Alabama Song by The Doors

Alabama Song by Bertolt Brecht

Beware of the Fall by Apache Tomkat

Au coin de la rue by Marco Raaphorst

Private Hurricane (Instrumental) by Josh Woodward

Divider by Chris Zabriskie

Devastation and Revenge by Kevin MacLeod

Helter Skelter by The Beatles