jack nicholson

Charles Manson's Hollywood #10: Roman Polanski After Sharon Tate by Karina Longworth


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Roman Polanski was in London the night his pregnant wife was murdered in their home. He returned to Los Angeles, devastated, to find himself wanted for questioning in a crime which the LAPD, initially, had no idea how to solve. The next decade of Polanski's life would be a rollercoaster, hitting heights like his masterpiece Chinatown, and lows like his alleged rape of a 13 year old girl and subsequent exile from the US.

Show Notes:

Special thanks to Ram Bergman, making his final appearance as Roman Polanski.

The base list of sources for this series can be found here. This episode primarily draws from the books Roman by Roman Polanski, The Kid Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans, and The Girl by Samantha Geimer, as well as Julian Wasser's memories of photographing Polanski at Cielo Drive and several interviewswith Samantha Geimer

Episode breakdown:

Intro: "Album Tag Song" by Dennis Wilson; "Modern Heavy Guitar Top Line" royalty free track

Altamont: "Under My Thumb" by The Rolling Stones

Roman Polanski's return to Los Angeles; his temporary home, Julie Andrews' dressing room; the rumors that the murder victims did something to deserve it; Polanski's detective work; Polanski leaves Los Angeles; Polanski hangs out with schoolgirls in Switzerland, justifies his prediliction for teenagers: "Snow Drop" by Kevin MacLeod

Playboy's production of Macbeth; the X-rated What?; Polanski's Roman commune: "OLPC" by Marco Raaphorst

Problems with the screenplay for Chinatown: "Zenda" royalty free track

Polanski's battles with Robert Towne; Chinatown as the ultimate 70s film; Polanski returns to Rome, starts dating Natassja Kinski; edits French Vogue; the trend of sexy photographs of young girls in European fashion magazines; Polanski meets Samantha Geimer: "Stormy Moods Orchestra" by Apache Tomcat

Polanski's first photoshoot with Samantha; Samantha thought of herself as a child who was following directions from an adult who could make her famous: "Family Tree" by Jahzzar

Polanski's second photoshoot with Samantha; differing recollections of conversation about Samantha's sexual experience; Samantha agrees to go to Jack Nicholson's house: "Pretty Mellow Clean Guitar" royalty free loop

Shooting photos at Jack Nicholson's house: "Oxygen Garden" by Chris Zabriskie

What happened after the photoshoot; Roman takes Samantha home and smokes pot with her mom; Polanski is surprised to be arrested for rape; both accuser and accused are tried in the media; Polanski accepts plea deal and then flees the country; Polanski's Tess: Samantha Geimer publicly forgives Polanski; Polanski apologizes to Samantha: "For Better or Worse" by Kai Engel

End Credits: Panorama Synth Pad GarageBand Loop

Outro: "School Girl" by Dennis Wilson

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


Listen to this episode, or find on iTunes.

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