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