Freda Blum’s portraits and poignancies from the Arbuckle trial

Freda Blum’s articles about the personalities of the Arbuckle case first appeared in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin, where she was the film reviewer. Unfortunately, this newspaper isn’t digitized or easily accessible at this writing. But her work was syndicated through the Hearst newswire International News Service and appeared in many newspapers too small to send their own reporters to cover “the trial of the century.”

The following are anecdotes about some of the leading and minor figures of the Arbuckle trial. They included Zey Prevost and Alice Blake, Maude Delmont, Ira Fortlouis, Minta Durfee, and Arbuckle himself.

Blum’s eye for the women in the case, of course, is of special interest to our work. One can see, for example, that Arbuckle’s party guests reveal his preference for brunettes, each echoing something of Mabel Normand. Blum is also able to elicit private thoughts by building a rapport with some of her subjects, as in her interview with the Minta Durfee, where the actress drifts into a reverie about Roscoe’s future that sounds both sincere yet also theatrical.

Regarding Blum’s take on Arbuckle, it stands in contrast to the accounts of other reporters, who almost to a man—pun intended—praised unambiguously Arbuckle’s performance in the witness chair as calm and collected. Blum, however, offers something of a psychological portrait that one can read as either for or against the comedian.

Zey Prevost and Alice Blake

San Francisco, Nov. 26—Zey Prevon-Prevost and Alice Blake, the two star witnesses for the state in the Arbuckle manslaughter trial, will stand side by side forever more in the memory of the jury who heard their testimony yesterday.

The five women jurors will remember the two show girls in all their silken-feathered finery, their pale faces and frightened eyes. The men in the jury box cannot help but remember them in all their trimness of ankle, their shapely shoulders and ivory throats.

For all this was too well displayed, too obvious to let observation pass it by. So true to the type were both of them that they can be detailed together.

Both had abandoned their make-up for the showing.

Both have exquisite skin, like the complexion of white roses in bud.

They have large, dark, beautiful brown eyes and black hair. Their lips are full and red and sensual.

The two were dressed in street suits and winter hats. Both carried large beauty boxes, obviously containing the mascara, paint and powder, should it become vital to them as a last minute impulse. Their skirts were noticeably short. Zey Prevost displayed her well-formed ankles in a pair of dainty black satin slippers with sheer hosiery to match, while Alice Blake saw fit to set her costume off with grey suede oxfords and pearl-pink stockings.

Though the day was dreary and cold the two wore only the merest shadow of protection at the throat. This was, in both cases, but the flimsiest of ecru lace vestees, pinned to the coat at a very low angle and disclosing the soft contours of neck and chest.

Be it said of the women sitting in the jury box that they took no cognizance of the smile with which the girl witnesses answered to this and that. After their first official appraisals the women jurors centered their attention solely on the testimony.

One woman juror though studied the girls intently from beneath her large red hat. She had the puzzled express of doubt about her and openly showed it.

The men were curious about the testimony, too. They were attentive and extremely watchful.

But in more than appearance were the two witnesses sisters. Both were called upon to give lurid, morbid testimony, which during the preliminary hearing they had been allowed to whisper to the judge. When it came time for them to say the word, on which a courtroom hung, each in her turn cast an appealing glance all about the courtroom, sweeping the judge, the spectators, counsel and finally the jury.

They forgot they were show girls who are supposed to laugh while their hearts break.

Like the gentle rainfall just beginning to come down from the clouded heavens outside, the natural modesty of all womanhood fell upon them suddenly.

Each in her turn became ashamed, abashed.

They wanted to cry.

However, it finally came out, from both them, the word that counsel insisted upon.

“I want to go home; I want to go home,” moaned Zey when it was all over. “I want to go home to my mother.”

Even the women of the jury saw and heard it all, unmoved.

But just the same they are never going to forget the spectacle.[1]

Maude Delmont

San Francisco, Nov. 26—Bambina Maude Delmont, “the accuser,” has come to sit with the spectators in the courtroom where Arbuckle, charged by her with the manslaughter of Virginia Rappe, awaits the vote of the world. This is her first public appearance since giving her testimony at the coroner’s inquest preliminary to the trial.

The very air is charged with her presence. She sits almost in line with the witnesses and directly facing them. Her chair is immediately behind that of Mrs. Roscoe Arbuckle.

As every witness takes the stand—doctors and nurses who were in attendance while Mrs. Delmont hovered like a lioness beside the bed of the deceased girl—she listens carefully without show of emotion. She hears her own name mentioned, but gives no sign of sympathy.

Mrs. Delmont is alone and unattended. Yesterday marked her first courtroom appearance.[2]

It was she who swore to the original statement charging Arbuckle with the murder of Virginia Rappe after the party in the St. Francis rooms. And now as the law grinds its course and the trial is well under way, she has come mysteriously and unbidden out of the hazy delirium of the past to listen.

Mrs. Delmont is a tall, athletic woman and pretty with silver gray hair. Her costume yesterday was gold and brown with a spray of holiday berries pinned to the neckpiece of her coat.

All heads looked toward her and whispered.

She suffered a single dramatic incident yesterday.

That moment came when suddenly the eyes of “the accuser” and those of the accused’s wife, Minta Durfee Arbuckle met for an instant and then clashed.[3]

San Francisco, Dec. 3—Almost directly overhead the courtroom where eager throngs await the jury’s decision in the Arbuckle manslaughter case, Bambina Maude Delmont, who signed the warrant for the actor’s arrest, lies on a cot in the city prison.

She has been on a hunger strike about 14 hours. Mrs. Delmont is booked on a bigamy charge pending before R. E. Cornell, justice of the peace of Madera County.

Since the fatal party at the St. Francis hotel on Labor Day, Mrs. Delmont has been so steeped in misery and “bad luck” as she calls it, as to lose all interest in the trial she started.

“I have done my duty that is all. I am still sorry for that poor child that had the life crushed out of her by the big blubbering fat man. I do not care about the outcome of the jury’s decision.”

Mrs. Delmont when taken into custody pleaded illness. She lies now in a pink and white embroidered kimono, tossing on the prison cot, moaning and crying that she is deserted by all.

“Where are Virginia Rappe’s family? Why don’t they come to help me?” she queries.

“Oh, why didn’t they let me tell my own story on the stand. Why didn’t the district attorney let me testify?” Mrs. Delmont mutters in hysteria.

She will be taken to Madera in charge of the officers within the first few days.[4]

Minta Durfee

San Francisco, Nov. 19—What sorrows sees the heart of “Fatty” Arbuckle in the tumultuous days of his trial, is not known to any but Minta Durfee Arbuckle, his wife.

What frightful dreams harass the nights of the comedian, in fitful spasms of sleep, only Minta Durfee Arbuckle knows.

She knows of the stinging bitter thoughts that eat at the mind of the man as he daily sits in court and awaits his fate.

Each hour is intense for her, each morbid and depressing thought of his is hers to battle with and overcome; each terrifying fancy a thing to fight unto the death.

All this she told me today.

As the precious minutes of the trial move swiftly towards the end she dreams of better things.

“I never think of defeat,” she protested to me, with wistful bravado. “I am making plans.”

“What are those plans?” I asked her, conscious of her child-like confidence.

“That I will take Roscoe away from it all here, high up into the mountain air; and that our three dogs shall come along.

“Or, perhaps, that he shall go alone; if he so prefers.

“Or that we shall be on a sea voyage somewhere with the blue waters and the pale skies to help us both forget.”

Mrs. Arbuckle is a mere wisp of a girl, and dainty as Dresden china.

“You know—it may be—well, we might not be able to go at all.”

She turned a searching glance upon me here and I could see how piteously her lips quivered. I thought of a drowning person fighting for life.[5]

Ira Fortlouis

San Francisco, Nov. 25—In all the crowded courtroom and among witnesses, kin and friends of the dead Virginia Rappe, for whose death “Fatty” Arbuckle is being tried, there is none so bewildered, so conscious of being a tool in the hands of Fate, as Ira Fortlouis.

By the merest chance Ira Fortlouis happened to stray into the lobby of the Palace hotel on the morning of September 5. He had in his hands suitcases containing fashionable dress creations for women which he had come west to sell.

Chance led before his eyes the vision of Virginia Rappe, fresh from her morning’s toilette. The jade green dress she wore was very simple yet it became her elegantly. Fortlouis noticed that. He noticed carefully her graceful carriage, her tall slender figure. It forcibly occurred to him that she would make a splendid model on which to display the goods he had on hand. That would help them sell.

Reasoning further, he argued that she probably would be at leisure to accept the work form him; that she appeared to be not too expensively dressed and did not give the impression of being employed. Then he inquired and learned of her name.

Later that morning in Arbuckle’s rooms he told Fred Fischbach of the stunning girl he had seen a few hours before. Fischbach attended to the conversation listlessly. Fortlouis persisted in explaining.

“Her name is Virginia Rappe,” he said.

“Oh, that’s different,” said Fischbach, “I know her. You are quite right. We’ll have her come up here and make a party.”

Such was the prologue written before the final chapter of Virginia Rappe’s life. From such a stray thought did the whole whirlwind evolve.

Fortlouis, with the exception of testifying at the coroner’s inquest, has not, as yet, been sent to the witness chair. [6]

Roscoe Arbuckle

San Francisco, Nov. 29—When Roscoe Arbuckle took the witness platform yesterday and stood, a funny little fat man wildly gesticulating with his chubby hands the events which took place at the fateful party in the St. Francis rooms, the audience, though outwardly suppressing it, was hysterical at heart. Picture yourself a comic toy, on a string, forcing you to laugh at its grotesqueness. Then picture to yourself that toy, a human thing, begging for itself human consideration, and you see Arbuckle on the stand.

His voice is clear and as you listen, it becomes convincing. His forehead lines with wrinkles as he concentrates for a clear understanding of the cross examination. When something puzzles him, and he searches his mind for an answer, he gazes on the floor, looking at his dull leather oxfords for inspiration. His fat fingers constantly play at the single button on his jacket. He is wearing a neat blue suit, a simple black tie on his immaculate white shirt and is freshly shaven. His skin is as pink and rosy as a child’s.

As the long questions are propounded to him, Arbuckle puckers up his lips as if he had a bitter nut meat in his mouth. Then he begins to get nervous and moves about in his chair. First one arm goes over the back of his seat—then he takes it off and fumbles with a pencil and you can see his hands are slightly trembling.

He has trouble fixing his eyes where the scene will not disconcert him. He does not seem to like looking at the jury. He avoids glancing towards his counsel. When he casts his eyes among the spectators it makes him more nervous to find them staring at him, some with their mouths wide open in curiosity. He cannot look into the judge’s face because he would then have to turn his back on the jury.

The defendant knows where his wife is sitting, but dares not rest his eyes there. He has just had a glimpse of her, with her face very pale and her lips silently moving, as if in prayer. The play of expression and emotion on the actor’s face is superb.

Fatty decides finally where he will focus his attention. He shifts his chair and looks into the eye of Leo Friedman, who is conducting the cross examination. Friedman is very small, very blonde and very young.

Roscoe Arbuckle looks him fair and square in the eye. And answers up! Somehow tragedy seems to fall away when the comedian is talking. Every one grasps at straws in his testimony at which to smile. There is a slight titter when the defendant says, “search me” or “a whole lot” or makes common expressions.

Finally, finis. Roscoe Arbuckle is done with his performance. The stupendous scene had been taken and enacted with only court records to show what has been said and done. No celluloid this time. No celluloid will ever show the likes of it or scenario will be the equal of it. It is Fatty’s masterpiece. [7]

Was Arbuckle attracted to dark-haired women like Virginia Rappe? (Private Collection)

[1] “Sordid Details of ‘Fat’ Arbuckle Case: Girls on Stand Tell of Happenings at Disgraceful ‘Picture’ Orgy,” Hammond [Indiana] Times, 22 November 1921, 1.

[2] Actually, Delmont had been attending the trial since the first week.

[3] “Accuser of Arbuckle Trial Sits at Trial for First Time Since Case Is Begun,” San Antonio Evening News, 26 November 1921, 1.

[4] “Maude Delmont, Who Filed Warrant, Is Facing Trial on Bigamy Charge,” Tribune [Coshocton, Ohio], 4 December 1921, 1.

[5] “Fatty Arbuckle’s Sorrows Known Only to Faithful Wife as Trial Drags On,” Pittsburgh Press, 20 November 1921, Additional News Section, 12.

[6] “Idle Inquiry Leads to Death of Rappe Girl,” Oakland Tribune, 27 November 1921, 11.

[7] “Fatty, Testifying, Like Animated Comic Toy on String, Forcing You to Laugh Over Grotesqueness,” San Antonio Evening News, 29 November 1921, 3.

100 Years Ago Today: Irene Morgan, one of the sketchier defense witnesses, December 2, 1921

Roscoe Arbuckle’s personal lawyer, Milton Cohen, found a number of witnesses in Los Angeles County who could testify that Virginia Rappe routinely suffered fits of female hysteria. These bore a marked resemblance to how she was found in room 1219 of the St. Francis Hotel on Labor Day 1921. Among those witnesses was Irene Morgan. In March 1920 she had been hired by Henry Lehrman to serve as an in-home nurse, masseuse, and domestic.

Morgan was seen as a rebuttal witness to challenge Rappe’s adoptive aunt, Kate Hardebeck, who asserted that Rappe was in perfect health. The reporter Chandler Sprague billed the young woman as the star witness:

Miss Morgan has been kept “under cover” as much as possible by defense counsel, but it is understood that the district attorney’s office learned a few days ago that she would be a tremendously important cog in the defense machinery.  

She is a nurse and masseuse who lived with Virginia Rappe for seven months. She will tell the jury that the dead girl suffered with chronic bladder trouble and that she was on a diet for the ailment. Miss Morgan will say also that Miss Rappe had been warned against drinking liquor and will detail several occasions on which, having disregarded that warning she became hysterical and tore off her clothes in the same fashion as at the Labor Day party in the St. Francis. The entire statement which Miss Morgan is prepared to give is said to be extremely sensational and will include allegations that certain interests have sought to prevent her testifying in Arbuckle’s favor. She will also, it is believed, make charges of brutality against a male associate of Miss Rappe.[1]

Morgan was a former Canadian Army nurse. She spoke with a pronounced lisp. Her face bore the scars of an ambulance accident suffered during the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918. Given her commendable service, she was seen as a reliable witness and took the stand on November 25 as the first of several witnesses who had seen Rappe drink, tear at her clothes, and suffer attacks. Morgan claimed to having seen five such attacks. During one of these, Rappe allegedly ran out of the house naked.

If Morgan played as well for jurors as she did for reporters, the prosecution’s case against Arbuckle was in trouble. The news stories tended to see the former nurse as convincing and the headlines now cast Virginia Rappe in a new and darker light. Even a newspaper sympathetic to Rappe, the Los Angeles Herald ran “BARE RAPPE GIRL’S PAST” in a typeface just a shy of the size used for a declaration of war. 

Morgan bore up well under cross-examination and remained in San Francisco should Arbuckle’s lawyers need her to take the stand again. During the last week of November 1921, she befriended another defense witness from Los Angeles, a Miss Pearl Leushay, a former “floor women” in a department store who had also seen Rappe have a fit but never took the stand. Leushay and Morgan likely hit it off because Leushay was a Frenchwoman as well as single, or, at least single in San Francisco, for she was still Mrs. Leotta Pearl Ortega, the estranged wife of an oil field worker and, before that, a young widow, going by Leotta Pearl Wright.

On November 30, Morgan and Leushay went to the Winter Garden, a dance hall and ice rink in the Tenderloin district. There Morgan, who didn’t dance, met a man who had been following the pair in a sea-green automobile.

The next day, Morgan was found by Miss Leushay laying across her bed in an adjoining hotel room. Morgan’s clothes were ripped in the “manner in which Virginia Rappe’s clothing was torn,” according to the San Francisco Examiner on December 2. A stenographer recorded Morgan’s statement (see below) and although seemingly incoherent, bits and pieces of her real backstory emerge. Like other witnesses who saw Rappe’s histrionics, they posed problems for Arbuckle’s defense—especially if the prosecution saw such witnesses as obviously coached and parroting much the same story about the victim.

What goes unreported is that Rappe’s Aunt Kate took the stand and rebutted Morgan’s testimony in kind. This may have triggered the incident Morgan was involved in, presumably drugged or poisoned, on November 30.

Arbuckle’s lawyers stood by their “star” witness after the event and insinuated that the prosecution was behind Morgan’s “mystery man.” A doctor however determined that she had overdosed on nine aspirins and some kind of opiate.

Morgan was expected to testify again at Arbuckle’s second trial in January 1922. However, when District Attorney Matthew Brady threatened to impeach her, Morgan disappeared, reportedly abroad, to the Netherlands.

A year later Morgan reemerged on the faculty of the College of Applied Science in Los Angeles  as a Doctor of Kinesiology. This new institution in January 1923 was founded by Edward Oliver Tilburne, a former minister, actor, lecturer, conman, and snake-oil salesman, self-proclaimed medical doctor, embezzler, and shady real estate broker known by a number of aliases, including “Nevada Ned” before he remade himself into a Christian psychologist. Tilburne was also the author of short story about the Jack-the-Ripper murders that speculated on “Jack” being under the control of a hypnotist.[2]

This is, of course, a tangent for others to follow. For our purposes, Morgan’s reinvention as a practitioner of alternative medicine likely began in part in 1920 when Rappe pursued both a wellness program as well as a diet and exercise regimen for her figure. Here Arbuckle’s lawyers and prosecutors alike saw her fitness program as evidence to support their opposing narratives, on one hand to show that Rappe was prone to spontaneous rupture of the bladder and conversely that she was robust and healthy at the time of the Labor Day party.

Here is the complete statement given to a stenographer yesterday afternoon [1 December 1921] by Miss Irene M. Morgan after she was found in her hotel room suffering from poison which she declares was administered to her in candy by a “mystery” man who had been following her for days: 

Miss Graind and I came to the United States. I didn’t want them to know I was Dutch. I am going home in four months. I don’t want anyone to know who I am in the United States. My grandfather’s name is Bornidot. My name is Irene Morgan. My ancestors go back four or five hundred years. 

Golondit Bornidot. Don’t tell the Swedish country anything about me. I worked in the United States as a servant. I love one man in the United States. I shall search from country to country, from state to state. He don’t know me, but I know him. When a lady has a title—lived with a man I love. I can’t live with a man in this country. Can I have one drink of moud? 

The United States don’t now who I am. I want to go back home and no one will ever find me. Can you speak French-Danish, Spreg Deutsche. (To Doctor [Julien L. Waller]) Talk French, why yes, German, yes. Educated in five languages. I going for a ride today with the Duke from Spelice. He is coming over. Do you know what Miss Rappe said to me? If you tell on me I am going to kill you, Irene. 

Mrs. Hardeback say I lie. Where is Mr. Lehrman now? Where is Miss Rappe? I never seen him, or never for a long time. (To doctor) Spreg Deutsche. 

You can never learn the language. Please telephone to the Senator I came in on the steamer and my grandfather was here to meet me. My heart. 

“When did you first meet this man?’ she was asked. 

I don’t know. 


Met the man at dance. I got to go home. He gave me candy. You can’t poison me. 

Mrs. Hardeback has lied and lied to me. She called the doctor and she would never let sit in room. She shot me out and she was afraid I would tell on her. 

I was subpoenaed to come to San Francisco. But did not want anyone to know. Did not want my grandfather to know. I am going back to my grandfather. He lived five miles out of Stockholm. My mother was Swedish—my father American. My mother died when I was born. The name of the town I lived in was Guttenberg [Gothenburg?]. I never have been notorious. I have always tried to keep my body and my mind clean. I never have been to a public dance hall until I was in Los Angeles. 

“Do you remember going to San Francisco in the Arbuckle case?” she was asked. 

Yes, yes, yes. I never met the man. They tried to make me tell a lie on the witness stand. I would no lie. Mrs. Hardeback came up and lied to me and she lied and lied and I got up to hit her in the face. They said, Olga Reed Morgan, sit down, sit down. They took me to San Francisco and made me go through hell and fire. 

“Who?” she was asked. 

Well, I was subpoenaed in the case and when I got there, there was a man with white hair and brown eyes and he stared at me and then he said he would put it in the paper. 

Some people took me down here and at San Francisco every one was so good to me. 

We walked and walked and walked a long time. The man did not go with me into the drug store. He said, “I’ll wait outside.” He said, “Take some orange juice and another piece of candy. It will make you feel fine.” 

I said, “Give me orange juice. Will it be good for me. I am so dizzy?” 

“Did he wait outside the drug store?” she was asked. 

Yes, he took me to the hotel, and he said, “I got you now. Go to hell.” I thought he was from the District Attorney’s office. I do not know. I presumed so. He looked like a man who had been around the Hall of Justice and talked to me day after day. I turned my back on him. He had been to my house several times in South Pasadena. The man with gray hair gave me candy. Let me sleep because I want to go home. 

Source: “Here’s Statement of Poisoned Girl in New Arbuckle Case Sensation: Talks Incoherently of Mystery Man Who Gave Her Candy, Urged to Drink Orange Juice,” San Francisco Examiner, 2 December 1921, 4. See also, “Nurse Who Aided Arbuckle Defense Near Death from Mystery Poisoning,” San Francisco Examiner, 2 December 1921, 1, 4.

The Winter Garden was the new name of the Dreamland Rink shown here. These structures later demolished for the Dreamland/Winterland auditorium. (Calisphere)

[1] Chandler Sprague (Universal Service), “Sensational Testimony from L.A. and Santa Ana Nurses Is Expected at Arbuckle Trial,” [Pomona] Bulletin, 25 November 1921, 1.

[2] See Donald Hartman, Edward Oliver Tilburn (aka N. T. Oliver, Ned Oliver, Nevada Ned, and Edward Tilburne): The Profile of a Con-Artist (N.p.: Themes & Settings in Fiction Press, 2021).

Arbuckle’s testimony of November 28, 1921

Satirical photograph published in the Modesto Evening News, November 28, 1921 (

On the morning Roscoe Arbuckle was to testify, it was rumored that an unidentified attorney threatened to quit the so-called “million-dollar defense” team. According to the Los Angeles Express, this was Milton Cohen, angered over the lead defense attorney, Gavin McNab, mulling the idea that it might be better not to have the defendant testify. The reporter Chandler Sprague in the San Francisco Examiner reported one possible reason for McNab’s hesitation, that “certain business interests were adverse” to the comedian testifying. (We take this to be a veiled reference to Adolph Zukor, Jesse Lasky, and other motion picture executives.)

There was also dissension on the prosecution’s side. Milton U’Ren, a veteran assistant district attorney, had been passed over to lead the cross-examination of Arbuckle. He, too, was angry enough to resign from the case. During the noon recess, U’Ren could be heard arguing with District Attorney Matthew Brady in the Hall of Justice, undoubtedly because the younger assistant DA, Leo Friedman, had gained little ground in his questioning of Arbuckle.

Most reporters expected Arbuckle to eclipse anything thus far said from the witness chair. Otis M. Wiles for the Los Angeles Times used a slapstick term for the comedian’s impending appearance as a “climax stunt.” Early into his cross-examination, Arbuckle impressed most of the reporters who saw and heard him and who they were rooting for was evident in their copy. According to Bart Haley of Philadelphia’s Evening Public Ledger, Arbuckle

revealed himself in his narrative as the most piteous of fat men, the most tragically used of all good Samaritans, an amiable individual whose rooms were invaded by uninvited guests, who at his food and borrowed his motorcar, and ran up a big bill on him and got him into a pit of trouble with the hotel management before they finally started him on the way to jail under a charge of murder.[1]

What follows is a provisional transcript of Arbuckle’s testimony. It is a work-in-progress drawn from reports in newspapers as we have discovered them. It is likely the most complete transcript of the testimony available since no state transcript has been preserved or discovered and is largely based on the work of stenographers employed by the San Francisco Call, Chronicle, and Examiner rather than the courtroom stenographer.

Many contemporary observers like Bart Haley, Otis M. Wiles of the Los Angeles Times, Edward Doherty of the Chicago Tribune, Walter Vogdes of the San Francisco Examiner believed that Arbuckle had likely secured his acquittal. As it turned out, at least two jurors were unconvinced and saw Arbuckle as an actor playing a role. Indeed the testimony reads as if it were tailored or, to use the language of the cinema, a recut of previous testimony by other witnesses to fit the image of a gentler Good Samaritan Arbuckle that would befit the public image of “Fatty.” This includes his original statement issued on the night of September 9, 1921, the day Virginia Rappe died and published the next day in the morning Los Angeles Times. That statement, which was vetted by Arbuckle’s original lead attorney, Frank Dominguez, only states that “After Miss Rappe had a couple of drinks she became hysterical and I called the hotel physician and the manager.” In its place, however, Arbuckle posits a much expanded series of events.

Traces of the real Virginia Rappe emerge here and there in the testimony. But most of Arbuckle’s description is of a woman who is little more than a poseable doll, even before she is found on the bathroom floor. That said, there are just a few points in the testimony where an inconsistency with previous witnesses’ testimony might alert the reader. One is his explanation about turning his attention away from Rappe the moment she crossed the reception room from room 1221 to 1219, his bedroom. This way, Arbuckle can assert that he is unaware that she is in his bedroom when he enters to get dressed to go “riding” with the other woman in his story, Mae Taube.

Though Arbuckle’s testimony is ductile, that fits and twists and conforms to what really happened in room 1219, it suggests to us that the injury that was inflicted on Rappe took place in the bathroom and even has the outlines of a sexual act though not in the missionary position. Laws had been on the books for decades in regard to the temptations of hotel and furnished room accommodations as dens of lasciviousness, fornication, and adultery. But for casual sex during a party in a smallish three-room hotel suite, the privacy for such intimacies (and immediacies) could be found in the bathrooms. If there was a sexual encounter that preceded or led to the injury, the bathroom would have provided a space with greater privacy and sound dampening, not to mention conveniently located fixtures such as a sink, a toilet, and towel rods for grab irons, as well as the hard surfaces on which to brace oneself. (The brass bedsteads in room 1219, shown in E. O. Heinrich’s photographs, could also serve this purpose.) But we digress.

What was termed an “official transcript” lacks much of Arbuckle’s real “voice” dismissing Friedman’s skepticism and often making him Fatty’s straight man. But the seeming frustration and incompetence seen in the youngest member of the prosecution is exaggerated. Friedman’s approach likely relied on the jury’s perception of subtleties in Arbuckle’s testimony that reveal it to be rehearsed, coached, and a piece of fiction. We also see places where Friedman should have probed more deeply, such as Arbuckle’s reason for expelling Ira Fortlouis, a San Francisco gown salesman, from the party in the early afternoon. It was Fortlouis’s sighting of—or rather attraction to—Rappe that resulted in her invitation to Arbuckle’s suite. Did Fortlouis pay so much attention to her that Arbuckle saw a rival to his own attentions to Rappe? And why did Friedman not ask about the vomit? It seems as though Rappe vomited copiously and it’s unlikely all of it would have gone down the toilet, yet that word is absent in all the other testimonies. In the testimony of party guests Zey Prevost and Alice Blake, the back of Arbuckle’s pajamas is visibly wet. The double bed in which Rappe was found was soaking wet.[1] But nothing was asked about the source of the wetness, as though it were a taboo subject. One must wonder if there was a code among newspaper editors that prevented them from reporting specific details. (Interestingly, the prosecution’s criminologist E. O. Heinrich reported on old semen stains he found on the mattress pads and bedclothes, but these had already gone through the laundry and could have come from other guests. For this reason, Milton U’Ren elected to pursue only the fingerprint evidence and the marks left by the French heels of Maude Delmont’s kicking the door—which Arbuckle said that he didn’t hear.)

The same might be asked about the defense attorneys who failed to subpoena May Taube. She was possibly Arbuckle’s only close friend at the hotel that day. She was seen by other party guests in the early afternoon, as Arbuckle’s testimony states. But in her one statement to the District Attorney, she left because she didn’t know anyone there, which refers to the women and with the implication that they were low by her standards. Friedman does establish that Arbuckle introduced Taube to one of these women, indeed, Virginia Rappe. But that is as far as he takes it, leaving it to the jury and us to see if there was a “woman scorned.”

Taube could have easily corroborated the story Arbuckle tells in the following transcript. She would also have been a perfect character witness. Although she didn’t go “riding” with Arbuckle on Labor Day afternoon, she did go dancing with him in the St. Francis ballroom according to her statement to the DA. But she is never called in any of the three Arbuckle trials. The reason for this may have been another “woman scorned”, Minta Durfee, who likely saw Mrs. Taube as a problem for her husband’s rehabilitation once his acquittal had been achieved. (See our Taube entry for more information about her.)

[1] Bart Haley, “Fatty, Cool on the Stand, Recites New Version of Miss Rappe’s Hurt,” Evening Public Ledger, 29 November 1921, 1.

[2] The double bed was used by Fred Fishback. Given its condition, he slept in a room taken by Rappe’s manager, Al Semnacher.

History is always written by the winners. This official photograph of Arbuckle and his “million-dollar defense” team was likely cropped from a series of panoramic images that included the prosecution seated to the on the right in a more collegial group photograph that is now lost. A similar image with the prosecution is shown at the bottom of this entry. (Calisphere)

Arbuckle: My name is Roscoe Arbuckle. I am a movie actor. [. . .]
McNab: Mr. Arbuckle, where were you on September 5 of this year?
A: At the St Francis Hotel.
Q: What rooms did you occupy at the St. Francis Hotel?
A. 1219, 1220 and 1221.
Q: Did you see Virginia Rappe on that day.
A: Yes, sir.
Q: At what time, and where?
A: She came into 1220 about 12 o’clock, I should judge.
Q: That is 1220, your room at the St, Francis Hotel?
A: Yes, sir.
Q. Who were there when she came?
A: Mr. Fortlouis, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Fischbach and myself.
Q: Did Miss Rappe come to those rooms by your invitation?
A: No. sir.
Q: Who, if anybody, joined your party?
A. A few minutes —
Q: Joined the company in your rooms?
A: A few minutes after Miss Rappe came in Mrs. Delmont came in.
Q: Dd you know Mrs. Delmont previous to that time?
A: No. sir.
Q: Was Mrs. Delmont there by your invitation?
A: No.
Q: Who else came in, if anybody?
A: Miss Blake came in.
Q: Did Miss Blake come there by your invitation?
A: No, sir.
Q: Anybody else come?
A: Yes, Miss Prevost came later.
Q: Did Miss Prevost come by your invitation?
A: No, sir.
Q: Anybody else come?
A: Mr. Semnacher came in.
Q: Did Mr. Semnacher come by your invitation?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did anybody else come?
A: Yes, sir. Mrs. Taube and another lady.
Q: Did Mrs. Taube come by your invitation?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: How were you dressed on that occasion?
A: I was dressed in pajamas and bathrobe and slippers.
Q: I will ask you if this is the bathrobe that you wore on that occasion (showing bathrobe to witness).
A:  Yes. sir. my robe, yes, sir.
Q: I will ask the ladies and gentlemen of the jury to look at this; this has been much commented on in evidence.
Q: Did you at any time during that day see Miss Virginia Rappe in room 1219?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: About what time.
A: Around 3 o’clock.
Q: How do you know it was about 3 o’clock?
A: I looked at the clock; I was going out.
Q: And what fixes—what caused you to look at the clock at that time?
A: I had an engagement with Mrs. Taube, and she came up about 1:30, but I had loaned Mr. Fischbach my car and she said she would wait downstairs until he came back; and he said he was going to the beach and he would come back just as soon as he could, so I figured it was about time for him to come back, so I looked—
Mr. Friedman: Just a moment. We ask that everything after the words “I figured” be stricken out as a conclusion of the witness.
The Court: It goes out.
Mr. McNab: Where, if any place, previous to seeing Miss Rappe in 1219, where last before had you seen her?
Arbuckle: In 1220; I saw her go into 1221.
Q: And when you entered—at what time did you enter 1219?
A: Just about 3 o’clock.
Q: At the time you entered 1219 was or not the door between 1219 and 1220 opened?
A: Yes, sir, it was open.
Q: Did you know at the time you entered 1219 that Miss Rappe was there?
Mr. Friedman: Now, that is objected to as calling for the conclusion of the witness, and as leading and suggestive. And upon the ground that the question has already been asked and answered.
Mr. McNab: I have not asked that, and the question is not leading.
The Court: Objection sustained.
Mr. McNab: Did your honor sustain the objection?
The Court: Sustained the objection.
Mr. McNab: At the time you entered 1219, I understand the door between 1219 and 1220 you state was open?
Arbuckle: Yes, sir.
Q: And where in 1219 did you see Miss Rappe?
A: I did not see her in 1219.
Q: Where did you see her?
A: I found her in the bathroom.
Q: Of what room?
A: Of 1219.
Q: And under what circumstances did you find her in the bathroom?
A: When I walked into 1219, I closed and locked the door, and went straight to the bathroom and found Miss Rappe on the floor holding her stomach and moving around on the floor. She had been vomiting.
Q: What did you do? Explain to the jury all the circumstances which occurred in the bathroom of 1219.
A: When I opened the door the door struck her, and I had to slide in this way (illustrating) to get in, to get by her and get hold of her. Then I closed the door and picked her up. When I picked her up I held her under the waist like that (indicating), and by the forehead, to keep her hair back off her face.
Q: Then what else occurred? Give the jury all the circumstances occurring in the bathroom of 1219.
A: I took a towel and wiped her face, she was still sitting there holding her stomach, evidently in pain, and she asked for a drink of water.
Mr. Friedman: We ask that the words “evidently in pain” be stricken out.
Mr. McNab: It may go out.
Q: She asked for a drink of water, and I gave it to her, and she drank a glass of water, and she asked for another glass, and I gave it to her, and she drank another half a glass of water.
Q: What else happened?
A: I asked her if I could do anything for her. She said no, she would just like to lie down; so I lifted her into 1219 and sat her down on the small bed and she sat on the bed with her head toward the foot of the bed.
Q: What else did you do, if anything?
A: She just expressed a wish that she wanted to lie down; that she had these spells; that she wanted to lie down a while. I lifted her feet off the floor and put them on the bed; she was lying this way, with her feet off the bed, and I went into the bathroom and closed the door.
Q: What else happened when you left, the bathroom and returned to 1219, if anything?
A: I came back into 1219 in about—well, I was in there about two or three minutes, and I found Miss Rappe between the beds, rolling about on the floor, holding her stomach and crying and moaning, and I tried to pick her up, and I couldn’t get hold of her; I couldn’t get alongside of her to pick her up, so I pulled her up into a sitting position, then lifted her on to the large bed and stretched her out on the bed. She turned over on her left side (Arbuckle said Miss Rappe was taken ill again). I immediately went out of 1219 to find Mrs. Delmont.
Q: Whom did you find in 1220 when you went there?
A: Miss Prevost.
Q: Did you advise Miss Prevost of the condition of Miss Rappe?
A: Yes, I just said “Miss Rappe is sick.”
Q: Did Miss Prevost go into 1219 at that time?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What else happened?
A: Just a few minutes after Mrs. Delmont came—not a few minutes, just may be a few seconds—Mrs. Delmont came out of 1221 and I told her and she went into 1219 and I followed behind her.
Q: What happened in 1219 then?
A: Miss Rappe was sitting up on the edge of the large bed, tearing her clothes in this fashion (illustrating), tearing and frothing at the mouth, like in a terrible temper, or something—
Mr. Friedman: We ask, of course, that the words “like in a terrible temper” be stricken out as a conclusion of the witness.
Mr. McNab: That may go out.
The Court: It goes out.
Mr. McNab: What else? Give the. jury a narrative of what occurred at that time in 1219.
Arbuckle: I say she was sitting on the bed, tearing her clothes; she pulled her dress up, tore her stockings; she had a black lace garter, and she tore the lace off the garter. And Mr. Fischback [sic] came in about that time and asked the girls to stop her tearing her clothes. And I went over to her to her and she was tearing on the sleeve of her dress, and she bad one sleeve just hanging by a few shreds, I don’t know which one it was, and I says “All right, if you want that off I will take it off for you.” And I pulled it off for her; then I went out of the room.
Q: Did you return to the room later?
A: Yes, sir, some time later.
Q: What was occurring in the room at that time, when you returned?
A: Miss Rappe was then on the little bed. Nude.
Q: What occurred?
A: I went in there and Mrs. Delmont was rubbing her with some ice. She had a lot of ice in a towel or napkin, or something, and had it on the back of her peck, and she had another piece in her hand and was rubbing Miss Rappe with it. massaging her, and there was a piece of ice lying on Miss Rappe’s body. I picked it up and said, “What is this doing here?” She says, “Leave it here; I know how to take care of Virginia,” and I put it back on Miss Rappe when I picked it up and I started to cover Miss Rappe up, to pull the spread down from underneath her so I could cover her with it, and Mrs. Delmont told me to get out of the room and leave her alone, and I told Mrs. Delmont to shut up or I would throw her out of the window, and I went out of the room.
Q: What else occurred? Tell the jury what did you do? Anything further?
A: I went out of the room, and Mrs. Taube came in and I asked Mrs. Taube if she would phone Mr. Boyle, and we went into 1221, and Mrs. Taube picked up the phone and phoned Mr. Boyle and asked him to come up to the room and get a room for Miss Rappe. [. . .]
Q: What occurred after that?
A. I went back into 1219 and told Mrs. Delmont to get dressed, that the manager was coming up. and she went out to get dressed, and she pulled the spread down underneath—from underneath Miss Rappe. down below, underneath her feet, and put it up over her, and went back into 1221.
Q: What further happened?
A: Mr. Boyle came in; he came to the door of 1221.
Q: What occurred thereafter?
A: I took him in to where Miss Rappe was lying in 1219.
Q: And what was done then?
A: Mrs. Delmont came in and we put a bathrobe on Miss Rappe, Mrs. Delmont and myself.
Q: Where did you get the bathrobe?
A: Out of the closet. It was Mr. Fischbach’s robe.
Q: And what then was done?
A: We took her around through the hall into 1227.
Q: How did you get out of 1219?
A: Took her out of the door leading into the hall.
Q: Who opened the door?
A: Mr. Boyle.
 Q: How did you get Miss Rappe around to 1227?
A: I carried her part of. the way. She was limp and did not have any life in her body. She kept slipping, and I got about three-quarters of the way and I asked Mr. Boyle—I did not ask him to take her, I asked him to boost her up in the middle so I could get another hold of her, and he just took her right out of my arms and we went into 1227.
Q: Then what occurred in room 1227, if you know?
A: We put her to bed and covered her up. and I asked Mr. Boyle if he would get a doctor; and I walked back to the elevator with him and then I walked on into the room, into 1219.
Q: Was the door between 1219 and the hall unlocked throughout the day?
A: lt was. so far as I know. Mr. Fischbach went out that way.
Q: You saw him go out.
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And when you took Miss Rappe out, the door was open from the bedroom of 1219, was it?
Mr. Friedman: We object to the question as leading.
Mr. McNab:  Well I withdraw it. How was the door open from 1219 into tlie hall?
Arbuckle: Mr. Boyle just walked over and opened it.
Q: Was or was not the window of room 1219 open that day?
A:  lt was always open.
Friedman: Just a moment. We ask that the answer “always open” be stricken out.
Court: It goes out.
Arbuckle: lt was open.
McNab: How was the curtain of the window in room 1219?
Arbuckle: I raised the curtain myself in the morning when I arose.
Q: During the time that you were in room 1219, did you ever hear Miss Rappe say, “You hurt me,” or “He hurt me?”
A: No, sir. I didn’t hear her say anything that could be understood.
Q: Next day. September 6, or any other time, did you ever have any conversation at all with Mr. Semnacher about any incidents whatever regarding ice on Miss Rappe’s body?
A: Absolutely not.
Q: Did you ever, —did you ever at any time, while in room 1219 of the St Francis Hotel, on September 5, 1921, have occasion to place the bottom of your hand over the hand of Miss Rappe, while her hand was resting against the door into the corridor, I or did you do so?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did you at any time, while you wore in room 1219 of the St. Francis Hotel, on September 5, 1921, come into contact in any way with the door leading into the corridor?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did you ever know a man by the name of Jesse Norgaard?
A: No. sir.
Q: Did you. during the month of August, 1919, or at any other time, in Culver City, or at any other place, have the following conversation with Jesse Norgaard: You are supposed to have said to Mr. Norgaard, “Have you the key for Miss Rappe’s room?” and he is supposed to say. “Yes,” and then you are supposed to have said, “Let me have it; I want to play a joke on her.” And then Mr. Norgaard is supposed to have said, “No, sir, you cannot have it.” Then you are supposed to have said, “I will trade you this for the key,” and then you had a bunch of bills in your hand, supposed to have had a bunch of bills in your hand, consisting of two 20’s and one 10 and other bills, too. Now, I will ask you if such a conversation, or any conversation like it, happened at the time and place between yourself and Mr. Norgaard?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did any such conversation occur between Mr. Norgaard and yourself, regardless of time and place?
A: No. sir.
Q: Did such a conversation, or anything like it, occur between yours self and any other person at any other time?
A: No. sir.
Q: Did any other circumstance occur in room 1219 of any kind, that you can tell this jury?
A: No. sir. [. . .]
Q: You have narrated all the circumstances that occurred?
A: Absolutely all of the them.
Mr. McNab: That is all. Cross-examine the witness.
(Twenty-minute recess)
Mr. Friedman: Now. you stated that you were residing at the St. Francis Hotel on the fifth of September, is that correct?
Arbuckle: Yes. sir.
Q: How many rooms did you have there?
A: Three rooms.
Q: Three, rooms?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And which of those rooms did you occupy?
A: I slept in the small bed in room 1219.
Q: And did anyone else occupy the room
A: Mr. Fischbach—we were there three nights. He occupied the room with me the first two nights.
Q: And the third night he didn’t occupy the room with you, is that correct?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now. you stated that you never saw Mr. Norgaard at Culver City during August of 1919, or at any other time, is that correct?
A: I stated that I never had any conversation with Mr. Norgaard.
Q: Well, did you see him during the year 1919?
A: I cannot remember him.
Q: Now, where were you employed during August of 1919?
A: I had my own company.
Q: You had your own company, yes. but where?
A: At Culver City.
Q: At Culver City?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you had a studio there?
A:  No. sir.
Q: Were you using a studio?
A: I was renting a studio there.
Q: And from whom were yon renting the studio, if from anyone?
A: I had to work there, because I had to help finish paying for the studio, and that was the only way.
Q: You had to work where?
A: At Mr. Lehrman’s studio.
Q: Yes. then, during August of 1919, you did occupy the study in conjunction with Mr. Henry Lehrman?
A:  Yes, sir.
Q: And you do not recall whether you saw Mr. Norgaard there or not?
A: I do not remember.
Q: Do you recall of ever seeing Miss Rappe there?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now, what time did Miss Rappe enter your room on the 5th of September?
A: About 12 o’clock, as near as I could judge.
Q: Twelve noon?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And there was no other lady in the room when she entered?
A: No, sir.
Q: And how long was she there before anyone else arrive?
A: I couldn’t tell you; Mrs. Delmont came up a few minutes afterwards, I think. [. . .]
Q: You knew Miss Rappe before the 5th of September, did you not?
A:  Yes. sir.
Q: How long had you known her?
A: Um-huh, about five or six years.
Q: About five or six years?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And when you say that—withdraw that. Did you know, before Miss Rappe came to your rooms on the 5th of September, did you know that she was coming there?
A: No, sir. [. . .]
Q: Nobody told you that she was coming there?
A: No, sir.
Q: Mr. Fischbach didn’t say anything to you about her coming there, did he?
A: He said that he was going to phone her.
Q: Do you know whether or not he did phone her?
A: I presume lie did.
Q: Do you know whether or not he did phone her?
A: I didn’t hear him phone.
Q: Did he tell you that he had phoned?
A: He said. “I am going to phone her.” He didn’t really say that to me. He said it to Mr. Fortlouis.
Q: He said that to Mr. Fortlouis in your presence?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did he say in your presence whether she was coming up or not?
A: I don’t remember.
Q: Do you recall whether or not he received any phone calls from the time he phoned Miss Rappe until Miss Rappe came up into your room?
A: I do not recall that.
Q: Then I take it that the first you knew that Miss Rappe was coming up to rooms 1219, 1220 and 1221 was when she knocked on the door and came into the room?
A: I just heard Mr. Fischbach say that he was going to phone, and then a short time afterwards she came in.
Q: But from the time that Mr. Fischbach said that he was going to phone nobody had told you that she was coming up to the room and you did not know it until she came into your room?
A: No, sir.
Q: Where were you when she entered the room?
A: I was in 1219.
Q: You were not in room 1220 when she entered?
A: No, sir. but I saw her come in.
Q: How long afterwards did you enter room 1220?
A: Almost immediately.
Q: Almost immediately?
A: Yes. sir.
Q: And how long did you remain in room after she arrived?
A: I remained there until I went into room 1219.
Q: And how long was that?
A: Well, from the time that she came in until around 3 o’clock.
Q: You remained there about three hours then?
A: Yes. sir.
Q: And you were donned how when Miss Rappe entered room 1220?
A: I was clothed in this bathrobe and pajamas and slippers.
Q: What kind of pajamas were they, silk?
A: Yes, sir.
Q:  And slippers?
A: Yes, sir, and I had my socks on.
Q: You had your socks on?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And room 1219 was your room, wasn’t it?
A: Yes. sir.
Q: Now. how long after Miss Rappe had entered room 1219, how long after that was it that Mrs. Delmont appeared?
A: Mrs. Delmont came in just a few minutes after Miss Rappe came in.
Q: And did you know how Mrs. Delmont happened to come to room 1220?
A: No. I do not know.
Q: You do not know?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did you know Mrs. Delmont before the 5th of September?
A: No, sir.
Q: And the first that you knew that Mrs. Delmont was coming to your rooms was when she knocked on the door and entered?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Nobody ever told you that Mrs. Delmont was corning up to your rooms?
A: No. sir.
Q: You didn’t rear anyone phone downstairs for her?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did you see or hear any one use a telephone in either of these three rooms at the time that Miss Rappe entered room 1220 until Mrs. Delmont entered?
A: Yes, sir, I saw Miss Rappe use the phone.
Q: Which phone did she use?
A:  She used the phone in room 1220.
Q: In the same room that you were in?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: You didn’t hear what she said?
A: No. I didn’t hear what she said; I knew to whom she was talking.
Q: In that conversation did she mention the name of Mrs. Delmont?
A: No, sir; not that I recall; she talked to a lady by the name of Mrs. Spreckels [i.e., Sidi Spreckels].
Q: Did you hear Miss Rappe mention the name of Mrs. Delmont from the time that Miss Rappe entered your room until the time that Mrs. Delmont appeared?
A: No, sir, she. never mentioned the name. She said she had a friend downstairs.
Q: Did she say who that friend was that she had downstairs?
A: No. sir.
Q: She never said that Mrs. Delmont was coming up to the room; never said that Mrs. Delmont was waiting downstairs or never said anything about Mrs. Delmont until she arrived, actually arrived in room 1220?
A: She never mentioned the name.
Q: She didn’t say that she was coming?
A: Not by name.
Q: You don’t recall that?
A: No, sir.
Q:  You were in room 1220 when Mrs. Delmont arrived?
A: Yes. sir.
Q:  What room did she enter?
A: She came into room 1220.
Q: Came into room 1220?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you were still clothed as you have testified to?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did you ever change those clothes from the time Miss Rappe arrived until Miss Rappe went into the bath of room 1219 as you have testified to?
A: No, sir.
Q: Now, who was present when Mrs. Delmont arrived in the room?
A: Miss Rappe, Mr. Sherman. Mr. Fortlouis and myself, and Mr. Fischbach, I think. He was in and out; I do not know whether be was there or not at that time.
Q: And how long after Mrs. Delmont arrived was it before someone else joined the party, if anyone, did join the party?
A: Well, I do not know; they kept coming in all the time.
Q: Well, who was the next person to enter your rooms after Mrs. Delmont arrived?
A: Miss Blake.
Q: Now. had you known Miss Blake prior to her coming to room 1220 on the day in question?
A: Never saw her in my life.
Q: Never saw her in your life before?
A: No, sir.
Q: And how long after Miss Rappe had entered that room was it that Miss Blake arrived?
A: I do not know; they all came in there, and they were all there by 2 o’clock, when Miss Blake left again to go to Tait’s. They all kept stringin’ in.
Q: Now. prior to the time that Miss Blake came into your room, did you know that she was coming?
A: No. sir.
Q: Did you know that any other woman was coming to your room on that day?
A: No, sir.
Q: Then the first you knew that any other woman was going to join the party was when Miss Blake knocked on the door of room 1220 and entered the room?
A: Yes. sir.
Q: Nobody informed you that Miss Blake was coming up to your room on that date?
A: No, sir; never heard about it.
Q: You never heard about it?
A: No, sir.
Q: And you were in room 1220 when Miss Blake entered, were you not?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now. how long after Miss Blake entered these rooms was it before Miss Prevost entered?
A: I couldn’t tell you in minutes.
Q: Well, about how long, approximately?
A: I do not know; she came in after Miss Blake did. I will guess the time if you wish me to. Probably twenty or twenty-five minutes—I don’t know.
Q: You don’t know?
A: No. sir
Q: Had you known Miss Prevost before she entered your rooms on the 5th day of September?
A: No, sir; not that I can remember.
Q:  Nobody, prior to the time that Miss Prevost entered your rooms on the 5th day of September, had told you that she was coming up to your rooms?
A: No, sir.
Q: Prior to the time that Miss Prevost did come up on the 5th day of September, you did not know whether or not she was coming up to your rooms?
A: No, sir.
Q: Nobody told you that Miss Prevost or any other lady was coming?
A: No, sir. [. . .]
Q: And after the entry of Miss Blake and the time that Miss Prevost arrived in your rooms on September 5, you had no idea that anybody else, or any other woman was coming to your rooms on that day?
A: Absolutely not.
Q: Then, sir, I take it from your testimony that you didn’t know at any time until these various parties knocked upon the door of your rooms, whether Miss Rappe, Mrs. Delmont, Miss Blake or Miss Prevost was coming to your room. Is that correct?
A: No, sir, I did not.
Q: And all this time, while each of the ladies was arriving, you were still clothed, as you have testified, in your bathrobe and pajamas and slippers. Is that correct?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now, what were you doing when Miss Prevost entered room 1220?
A: I was sitting in a chair,
Q: Well, what were you doing?
A:  Talking to Miss Rappe and the rest of the people.
Q: What else yore you doing?
A: Having some breakfast. I think, or lunch.
Q: Well, was it breakfast or lunch?
A: Well, it was lunch for some and I breakfast for the others.
Q: Well, so far as you personally were concerned, what was it?
A: Breakfast.
Q: It was your breakfast?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What time had you arisen that morning?
A: Between 10 and 11 o’clock, I guess.
Q: You had arisen between 10 and 11?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you were then having breakfast?
A: Yes, sir; I had a cup of coffee.
Q: What did you have to drink with your breakfast?
A: I had coffee.
Q: Was there anything else to drink there?
A: On another table, yes, sir.
Q: And what was there upon that other table?
A: Scotch whisky, gin and orange juice?
Q: What else?
A: White Rock.
Q: And what else?
A: That is all.
Q: And how much whisky was there?
A: A bottle or two.
Q: And how much gin?
A: A bottle.
Q: And how much orange juice?
A: Two quart bottles.
Q: And how long had that been there?
A: They had been brought up.
Q: Well, how long before?
A: Well, sometime between the time that Miss Rappe came in and the time that Miss Prevost came in.
Q: They were not in the room prior to that time?
A: The whisky and gin was in the closet in room 1221. The water and orange juice was brought up by a waiter.
Q: Oh, the whisky and gin was there in a closet?
A: Yes, sir. |
Q: And who brought the whisky and gin out of the closet into room 1220?
A: Mr. Fischbach; he had the key.
Q: Now, what was said at that time?
A: Nothing said; he just set it down
Q: Well, did anybody suggest that the drink be served?
A: They kind of helped themselves is all.
Q: Who said that?
A: He said probably “help themselves.
Q: Yes, who said that?
A: Mr. Fischbach, I suppose. He brought it in.
Q: Did you say anything else about a drink before this time when this whisky and gin was brought in?
A: Did I say anything about it?
Q: Yes.
A: I don’t remember.
Q: And who was the first person to mention a drink?
A: I do not know that anybody mentioned it; he just brought it in.
Q: And Mr. Fischbach brought it in?
A: Fischbach brought it in; I do not remember just what time be brought it in, but I know that he brought it in. I know it was there all morning.
Q: Was it there before Miss Rappe arrived?
A: No, sir. I do not think so. I think he brought it in about that time.
Q: All right: what I wanted to know is when he brought it in, was there anything said about a drink by anybody there, by Miss Rappe, Miss Prevon [sic], Miss Blake, Mr. Sherman or Mr. Fortlouis?
A: No, sir, he just brought it in, that is all.
Q: He brought it in without saying a word?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did you say, or what did he say?
A: He set it down—probably, “There it is; help yourselves.”
Q: Well, tell us the words?
A: His exact words I do not know.
Q: Did you hear him say anything?
A: I cannot recall.
Q: Did you hear anybody say anything?
A: About this liquor being brought in?
Q: Yes.
A: Not that I ran remember particularly.
Q: Now, when did Mr. Semnacher come up to your room?
A: He one up after Mrs. Delmont.
Q: Well, how long after Mrs. Delmont arrived?
A: I couldn’t say exactly.
Q: Had you known Mr. Semnacher before his coming up to your room on the 5th of September?
A: I had known Mr. Semnacher several years.
Q: You had known Mr. Semnacher for several years?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did you know he was coming up to your rooms on this day?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did you know at any time, even for a minute before he entered your rooms on that day, that, he was coming up to your rooms on that day.
A: No, sir.
Q: Nobody mentioned the fact that he was coming up?
A: Not that I remember of.
Q: Now. from the time that Miss Pryvon [sic] entered room 1220, and you saw Miss Rappe go into room 1221, as you have testified to, what was being done in these rooms?
A: Well, people were eating, drinking, the Victrola was brought up and that is about all; just a general conversation.
Q: Well, who suggested that the Victrola—who, if any one, suggested that the Victrola be brought up?
A: Miss Rappe.
Q: Miss Rappe suggested that?
A: Yes. sir.
Q: And whom did she suggest that to?
A: To me.
Q: And what did you say?
A: She suggested that we get a piano and I said. “Who can play it?” Nobody. Then I said “Get a Victrola.”
A: And who, if anyone, sent for a Victrola?
A: I telephoned for it.
Q: You phoned for it?
A: Yes, sir.
A: And you say the parties had been drinking up to this time. Had you indulged in anything?
A: I was eating my breakfast.
Q: You didn’t drink anything?
A:  Yes, sir; after breakfast.
Q: And what were you drinking, gin or whisky?
A: I was drinking highballs.
Q: And after the phonograph was brought into the room, or the Victrola, what was done then by the people in room 1220?
A: Well, they danced.
Q: Did you dance?
A: Um, um.
Q: And how long did this dancing and drinking keep up?
A: All afternoon until I left, and some after that, I guess.
Q: All afternoon long?
A: Yea, sir.
Q: What time did you leave the room?
A: I went downstairs about 8 o’clock in the evening.
Q: Eight o’clock at night?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Where did you go to?
A: Down in the ballroom.
Q: Down in the ballroom of the hotel?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And were they still dancing when you came back to your room?
A: Yes, sir.
 Q: And what time did you return to your room?
A: Around 12 o’clock, I guess.
Q: And from the time you left your room until you came back you were down in the ballroom of the St. Francis; is that correct?
A: Yes. sir.
Q: Now, you did know that one young lady was coming to your room that day, did you not?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And that young lady was coming at your invitation?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And what time was she to be there?
A: No special time; she just said that she would come there.
Q: No special time?
A: No, we were just going riding.
Q: Yes.
A: You had made this appointment the preceding day?
A: The preceding evening.
Q: The preceding evening, that would be the night of the 4th?
A: Yes. sir.
Q: And no particular time was set, she was just coming over, and you were going riding?
A: Yes, sir, she said that she would call up or come over.
Q: What time did Mr. Fischbach, leave your rooms, do you know?
A: He left sometime between 1:30 and 1:45?
Q: He left between 1:30 and 1:45?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And had you had any conversation with him prior to his leaving?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: You knew he was leaving, did you not?
A: Yes, sir, he borrowed by car.
Q: Oh, he borrowed your car?
A:  Yes. sir.
Q: And did he tell you where he was going in your car?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And what did you say?
A: I said, “All right, go ahead.”
Q: Yes. When did you next see Mr. Fischback?
A: When he came into room 1219.
Q: Well, how long after he had left your room was that?
A: Probably an hour and a half, and maybe a little less, or maybe a little more, I couldn’t say.
Q: What time did ho leave your room, did you say?
A: Between half past one and a quarter to two.
Q: Did Mr. Fischback tell you where he was going when he left your rooms and you loaned him your car?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And did he tell you who he was going with?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did he tell you he was going to call on anyone?
A: No; he just told me he was going out to the beach with some friend of his; was going to take him out there to look at some [seals]; he thought—this fellow thought maybe he could use them in a picture.
Q: Now, after this Victrola was brought up, did Miss Rappe dance?
A: No. sir; I didn’t see her dance.
Q: You didn’t see her dance. And what did she say when she suggested that a piano be brought up? Just give the conversation at that time?
A: She says, “Can’t we get music or a piano, or something?’” I says, “Who can play it?”
Q: Did she say what she wanted the piano for?
A: Just said she wanted some music.
Q: When it was decided nobody could play it. who suggested the Victrola?
A: The conversation?
Q: Yes, the conversation.
A: I don’t know the conversation. I says, “I will get a Victrola—I will see if I can get a Victrola.”
Q: Did you say what you were going to get a Victrola for?
A: What I was going to get a Victrola for? We wanted music—she wanted music.
Q: Up to the time that the Victrola was brought into the room was anything said about dancing?
A: No. sir.
Q: Miss Rappe never mentioned dancing?
A: No, sir; not to me.
Q: Miss Rappe did not say to you, “Let us have some music so we can dance”?
A: Not to me.
Q: Did you hear her say it to anyone else?
A:  No, sir.
Q: Did you hear anyone say it?
A:  No, sir.
Q: You say that you danced after the music was brought?
A: Yes. sir.
Q: Did you dance with Miss Rappe?
A: No, sir.
Q: Who did you dance with?
A: Miss Blake.
Q: Did Mr. Sherman dance?
A: I can’t recall whether he did or not.
Q: Did Mr. Fischbach dance?
A: Mr. Fischbach was not there at that time.
Q:  Who else was there? What other men were there?
A: Mr. Sherman, Mr. Fortlouis, and Mr. Semnacher—I can’t keep truck of him, he was in and out, all day.
Q: Did Mr. Semnacher dance at any time?
A: No.
Q: Did you see Mr. Fortlouis dance?
A:  No, I didn’t see Mr. Fortlouis.
Q: Did Mr. Sherman dance?
A: Yes, he danced once in a while.
Q: Whom did he dance with?
A: I suppose with Miss Prevon [sic] or Miss Blake.
Q: Do you know—did you see him dancing with anybody?
A: At that time I don’t recollect whether he did or not; I know later on he did.
Q: Whom did he dance with later on?
A: There was a couple of girls came up later on, about 4 o’clock.
Q: That was about 4. Then you never saw Miss Rappe dance at any time in your room?
A: Not that I can remember. I did not dance with her.
Q: You did not dance with her?
A:  No. sir.
Q: And yet she was the one that asked for the music?
A: She asked for the music, yes, sir.
Q: You have seen Miss Rappe on other occasions, have you not, when there has been music?
A: I have never been with her only once.
Q: You have seen her on other occasions?
A:  Yes, sir.
Q: Where there has been music?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Have you ever seen her dance?
A: Certainly I have seen her dance.
Q: Now, did you. at any time up to 3 o’clock in the afternoon of the 5th of September, tell anyone in your rooms that they would have to leave your rooms?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Yes. Whom did you tell they would have to leave?
A: I did not tell that party they would have to leave; I asked Mr. Sherman to ask them.
Q: You asked Mr. Sherman to ask whom?
A: Mr. Fortlouis.
Q: Is that the only person you asked to leave your rooms?
A: Yes, air, in the afternoon.
Q: Well, at any time, I am speaking now of any time from 12 to 3 o’clock, did you tell anybody in your rooms outside of this Mr. Fortlouis that you have mentioned, that they would have to leave your rooms in the St. Francis Hotel?
A: I did not say they would have to leave; I was stalling to get him out. I said there was some press—some newspaper people coming up, to get him out.
Q: I am saying, with the exception of Mr. Fortlouis, did you suggest to any one that they would have to leave your rooms?
A: No. sir.
Q: Did you ask anyone to leave your rooms?
A: No, sir.
Q: What time did Mrs. Taube—is that the name, Mrs. Taube?
A: Mrs. Taube.
Q: Yes, what time did she enter your rooms?
A: The first time?
Q: On the 5th of September?
A: The first time she entered the room was. I guess, between, somewhere around 1:30. I guess, probably a little before.
Q: And she entered your rooms ai 1:30. How long did she remain there?
A: Five or ten minutes.
Q: Five or ten minutes. And she left?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Was there any conversation between you and Mrs. Taube as to her returning?
A: She said she would call later. I told her that we would go riding I says, “I loaned Mr. Fischback my car for a few moments; he is going to use my car and when he returns with it we will go out.”
Q: And what time did you tell her to return?
A: I didn’t tell her to return. She said she would call back.
Q: She said she would call back?
A: Later on in the afternoon.
Q: Was there anything else said about what you were going to do, between you and Mrs. Taub [sic]?
A: She asked me who all these people were, and I told her. “You can search me. I don’t know.” I tried to introduce her; I couldn’t remember their names. I introduced her to Miss Rappe, I think.
Q: She stayed there for how long?
A: Just a few moments.
Q: And then she left?
A: Yes.
Q: Do you know why?
A: Yes, I think I do.
Q: Why?
A: Well, she had another girl with her.
Q: Yes.
A: And she didn’t want to stay there.
Q: Did she say why she did not want to stay there?
McNab: I object to that as not proper cross-examination. It has nothing to do with the issues of this case.
Court [i.e., Judge Harold Louderback]: Objection overruled.
Arbuckle: This girl? Mrs. Taube says why—she didn’t say at that time. She said she was going down, that she would come back.
Friedman: What time did she return? Did she return?
A: Yes, she returned later on after this trouble in 1219; came up about ten minutes after Mr. Fischback, somewhere along there.
Q: And how long did she remain at that time?
A: She remained in the rooms until after Miss Rappe had been taken to 1227 and I came back.
Q: Yes. And then she went out?
A: Then she went out again, yes. sir.
Q: You did not go with her?
A:  No; she did not go riding.
Q: You did not go riding?
A: No.
Q: And you saw her again that day?
A: Yes, sir; she called back about 6 o’clock in the evening, I think.
Q: Now, do you know why Mrs. Taube went away after you had moved Miss Rappe to room 1227?
A: I don’t know; she just seemed to me like she was a little peeved or something.
Q: Isn’t it a fact that she said something to you that indicated that she was a little peeved at the time?
A: Yes, she did.
Q: What was it she said?
A: She asked me who those people were, and what they were doing; I told her I didn’t know who they were.
Q: And she asked you on the first occasion, didn’t she?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And that is why she left, wasn’t it, because these people were in your rooms?
A: I probably think so.
Q: And you did not go with her on either of the occasions in the afternoon?
A: No.
Q: Now, upon Mrs. Taube’s first visit to your room on the 5th of September, about half past one, as you have testified to, what was Miss Rappe doing at that time?
A: She was sitting on a settee in the corner, I think.
Q: Did she remain there all the time that Mrs. Taube was in the room on the first visit?
A: I can’t remember whether she did or not: I talked to Mrs. Taube.
Q: You can’t remember whether she did or not. Did you notice where Miss Rappe was after Mrs. Taube left on her first visit? I was talking to Mrs. Taube. I don’t know.
Q: You saw Miss Rappe go into room 1221. did you?
A: Yes, sir, later on.
Q: You introduced Mrs. Taube to Miss Rappe I believe you said?
A: I think I did; I don’t know; maybe somebody else; I just can’t recall whether I introduced her.
Q: Well, now, did you or didn’t you?
A: I don’t know whether I did or not.
Q: Did anyone else in that room know Mrs. Taube that you know of?
A: Yes, Mr. Fischbach knew her, but he was not there.
Q: He was not there, so you don’t know whether you introduced her to Miss Rappe, or not?
A: No, I don’t know.
Q: Do you know whether or not she was introduced to Miss Rappe?
A: Yes, sir. I think she was. I suppose so.
Q: Well, were you present when she was introduced to Miss Rappe?
A:  Well. I don’t know; I have a habit of introducing people. I don’t always do it.
Q: We are not talking about your habits; we are talking about what happened in this room at this time, about 1:30 on September 5.
A: Yes, I think she was introduced, as near as I can remember.
Q: All right; now where was Miss Rappe when you were introduced to Mrs. Taube? What was she doing? Was she standing up or sitting down?
A: I think she was sitting on the settee, as near as I can remember.
Q: All right; how was she dressed?
A: Miss Rappe or Mrs. Taube?
Q: Miss Rappe?
A: She had on a green dress, a green skirt and a green jacket.
Q: Did she have a hat on?
A: I can’t remember whether she had a hat on at that time or not.
Q: Well, you don’t know whether she had a hat on or not; is that the answer?
A: Yes.
Q: Was her hair up or down?
A: I can’t remember that, either.
Q: You can’t remember that. You don’t recall seeing her hair down at that time, do you?
A: No, I do not.
Q: Now, when Miss Rappe went into room 1221, as you have testified to, was she still dressed as she was introduced to Mrs. Taube?
A: Yes. sir.
Q: Did she have a hat on at that time, or not?
A: I don’t—no, she did not have a hat on then.
Q: Was her hair up or down at that time?
A: I can’t remember exactly.
Q: You can’t remember; you don’t remember of seeing her hair down at that time, do you?
A: No, sir.
Q: How long did she remain in 1221?
A: I don’t know.
Q: You don’t know? You saw her go in?
A: I saw her go in, yes, sir.
Q: You saw her go in room 1219?
A: I did not.
Q: You did not—did not see her go into room 1219?
A: No, sir.
Q: How long a time elapsed from the time you saw Miss Rappe go into room 1221 until you went into room 1219?
A: I couldn’t tell you.
Q: Well, what were you doing when she went into room 1221?
A: I was sitting there talking to her when she went into 1221.
Q: You were sitting there talking to her?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And she got up and went into room 1221?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did you do when she got up and went into room 1221?
A: I got up; I don’t what I did; went to the Victrola or something, or danced; I don’t know; I don’t remember at that time.
Q: Well, how long a time would you say elapsed from the time you saw Miss Rappe go into room 1221 until you went into room 1219?
A: I couldn’t tell you.
Q: Well, was it a half hour?
A: No, I don’t think it was that long.
Q: Well, fifteen minutes?
A: I wouldn’t say what time it was. It was—
Q: As a matter of fact, was it only a minute or two?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Do you recall doing anything from the time that Miss Rappe went into room 1221 until you went into room 1219?
A: Yes, certainly.
Q: What did you do?
A: I put—changed a record on the phonograph; I think I danced with Miss Blake; I am not sure what I did.
Q: Then you don’t recall what you did; you don’t recall doing anything?
A: I was around the room; I don’t just exactly know what I was doing.
Q: You don’t know what you were doing or how long a time elapsed—is that it?
A: I couldn’t tell you.
Q: And what time was it that you entered the room 1219?
A: About 3 o’clock.
Q: About 3 o’clock? And how was it that knew it was 3 o’clock?
A: I looked at the clock.
Q: You looked at what clock?
A: On the mantel.
Q: Isn’t it a fact that the clock was not running when you looked at it?
A: (laughs) No, sir; that is not so.
Q: Are you certain the clock was correct?
A: Well, everything else in the hotel is pretty good, so I supposed the clock was all right.
Q: What time was Mrs. Taube coming back?
A: She said she would call back; she didn’t say any particular time.
Q: Then you didn’t know whether she was coming back about 3 o’clock or not, did you?
A: She said she was. [. . .]
Q: Oh, what time did she say she was coming back?
A: I told her when she came up. I says, “Mr. Fischback has go my car; is going to use my car; when he comes back we will go riding.” And she says, “Where is he going?” I says, “He is going to the beach and back.” She says, “I will come back after a while.”
Q: And, as a matter of fact, when you arose on the 5th of September and went into the bathroom to clean up, it was your intention then to get ready and go out riding with Mrs. Taube?
A: When she came in.
Q: When she came in?
A: There was no particular time set; it was just for the afternoon.
Q: But you did not get dressed at that time?
A: No, these people kept coming in, and I was trying to be sociable.
Q: With whom?
A: With them.
Q: They were not your guests?
A: No, I didn’t want to insult them.
Q: You didn’t invite them there, did you?
A: No, sir.
Q: With the exception of Miss Rappe, you didn’t know anybody that was coming there at that time, any of these young ladies?
A: No.
Q: You did not invite them?
A: No.
Q: And you didn’t tell anyone else to invite them?
A: No.
Q: After Mrs. Taube phoned Mr. Boyle, where were you at that time?
A: In 1221, where she phoned from.
Q: 1221. And where were you?
A: Standing right by her.
Q: Where was Mrs. Delmont?
A: In 1219 with Miss Rappe.
Q: In 1219. And after Mrs. Taube had phoned as you have testified to, what did you do? Did you stay in 1221?
A: No, I went in and told Mrs. Delmont to get dressed.
Q: You told Mrs. Delmont to get dressed?
A: That the manager was coming up.
Q: What did Mrs. Delmont do when you told her to get dressed?
A: She went and got dressed.
Q: Where did she go?
A: She went and put on her dress. I don’t know where it was.
Q: Did she leave room 1219?
A: Yes.
Q: Did you stay in room 1219?
A: No, I covered up Miss Rappe.
Q: Then where did you go?
A: I went back and talked to Mrs. Taube.
Q: What room was that?
A: 1221.
Q: Did you go from 1219 through—withdraw that. Do you know when Mrs. Delmont took off her dress?
A: No. I can’t recall just when she took it off.
Q: Do you know which room she went into to change her dress?
A: No, I don’t.
Q: Do you know whether it was 1219 or not?
A: No. She changed in 1221, I think.
Q: Then when you went in to talk to Mrs. Taube, was Mrs. Delmont in there changing her dress?
A: You mean after or before?
Q: After you told her to change her dress?
A: I couldn’t tell you.
Q: You couldn’t tell; you never noticed?
A: I didn’t pay any attention.
Q: You never noticed whether there was a lady in there changing her dress or not?
A: No.
Q: Now, you also stated that you saw Mrs. Rappe tear which of her garments?
A: I saw her tear her waist.
Q: Yes.
A: Take hold of that jacket and try to tear it.
Q: Anything else?
A: That is all I saw; I went out of the room then. [. . .]
Q: Isn’t it a fact that Miss Rappe tore the lace off this garter that you have testified to, in room 1220, before she ever went into 1219?
A: No, sir.
Q: You are positive of that?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did you see her tear any other portion of her clothing?
A: No, sir. I went out of the room.
Q: You went out of the room?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now, you can’t fix the time—I withdraw that. What time did Miss Rappe to into room 1221?
A: I couldn’t tell you just what time.
Q: Well, you say that you had been sitting in 1220 talking to her when she went in there?
A: Yes.
Q: Where were you sitting?
A: She was sitting here, and I was sitting on this chair here (indicating on diagram).
Q: What time did Fischbach leave your room?
A: Between 1:30 and a quarter to 2, I guess.
Q: Between 1:30 and a quarter to 2. Did Miss Rappe go into room 1219 before or after Fischbach left your room?
A: It was after Miss Blake had come back from Tait’s, sometime between 2:30 and 3 o’clock.
Q: Sometime between 2:30 and 3 o’clock. And what time was it—withdraw that. You say that you told somebody to tell Mr. Fortlouis that the reporters were coming up to your room?
A: Uh huh (affirmative).
Q: Who did you tell?
A: I told Mr. Sherman, I believe.
Q: And when did you tell him that?
A: Oh, I can’t just remember when.
Q: You can’t remember when it was. Did Mr. Fortlouis leave your room?
A: Yes, but I don’t know when he left.
Q: You don’t know when he left. Well, how long after you told Mr. Sherman to tell him that the reporters were coming upstairs did he leave? Did he leave alone?
A: I can’t remember; I don’t know when he left.
Q: You don’t know when he left. Did he leave before or after Miss Rappe went into room 1221?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Did you see Mr. Semnacher again after he went out with Miss Blake?
A: He was in and out all afternoon. I can’t—I couldn’t tell you anything about him at all.
Q: Now you say that Miss Blake came in in about a half an hour or so; is that what you said?
A: Yes.
Q: How do you fix that?
A: That is just a judge of time; I don’t know; I couldn’t tell you; it seemed to me.
Q: When did you next see her after she went to rehearsal?
A: When she came back to the room.
Q: What was she doing? What was the occasion? What attracted your attention to her? Did you see her come in?
A: Not that I remember; she just appeared in the room.
Q: All of a sudden you discovered she was there?
A: She was back.
Q: Right in the middle of the crowd again?
A: Yes, she was there.
Q: Now, after you had discovered that Miss Blake had returned and Miss Rappe was in the room, what did you do? Play some more music?
A: Yes; the music was going.
Q: Did you dance after that?
A: I think I danced with Miss Blake, yes; I am not sure.
Q: Do you remember if, after you discovered Miss Blake had returned to this room, of changing any of the phonograph records yourself?
A: Yes, I think I did; I changed—
Q: How many?
A: Whoever was closest to it; I don’t know.
Q: You don’t remember what you did. As a matter of fact, you don’t remember how long it was after Miss Rappe went into room 1221 that you went into 1219?
A: Well, I couldn’t tell you exactly; no.
Q: But your recollection is it was five or ten minutes?
A: I believe, I don’t know; it might have been more or less.
Q: It might have been less?
A: I don’t know.
Q: It might have been as little as two or three minutes, isn’t that a fact?
A: No.
Q: You’ve heard the other witnesses testify on the stand to that time, haven’t you?
A: I’m not telling their testimony.
Q: Well, refresh your memory and don’t argue about it. You say it was 3 o’clock when you went into room 1219 and that this was a little after you noticed Miss Rappe go into room 1221—when did you see Miss Rappe come out of room 1221 and go into 1219?
A: I didn’t see her leave room 1221.
Q: How long after you saw Miss Rappe go into 1221 did you go into 1219?
A: I don’t remember; it may have been five or ten minutes. I’ll guess for you if you wish, but I couldn’t say exactly.
Q: Well, it might have been that short a period of time?
A: I couldn’t tell you, because that is the last time I saw her, when she went into 1221.
Q: And you don’t know what you did after that; and you don’t know how long a time elapsed after that before you went into room 1219?
A: No, I suppose I did what I had been doing; there was music and dancing and kidding around the room.
Q: And you had an appointment to take Mrs. Taube out riding?
A: Yes.
Q: And still you figured you couldn’t go away without insulting those people, is that right?
A: No, I figured I couldn’t go away until Mr. Fischbach came back with my car.
Q: Now, isn’t it a fact, Mr. Arbuckle, that Mrs. Taube came into room 1220 in the St. Francis Hotel on the 5th day of September, between the hours of 1 and 2 o’clock in the afternoon thereof, before Mr. Fischbach had left your rooms and used your car?
A: No, sir, I don’t think so.
Q: You are positive of that, are you?
A: No, I would not be positive.
Q: You wouldn’t be positive. Then are you positive that you told Mrs. Taube that Mr. Fischbach was out using your care when she arrived at your rooms?
A: I don’t know whether I told her he was, or he was going to use it. I know I gave him my word he could have my car. I told her words to that effect.
Q: You don’t know whether you told her that he did have or he was going to have your car?
A: I gave her to understand that he was going to use the car for a while.
Q: Had you and Mrs. Taube decided on any particular place to go driving on this 5th of September?
A: No particular place.
Q: No particular place at all?
A: No.
Q: And all that Mr. Fischbach wanted your car for was to go out and look at seal rocks?
A: Not seal rocks; he was going out to look at some seals that he was going to use in a picture.
Q: Some seals. Those seals were where, did he tell you?
A: By the beach.
Q: And you don’t know how long a time elapsed from the time that Miss Rappe went into room 1221 until you went into 1219?
McNab: If the court please, we are supposed to end this trial sometime. I object to the same questions being asked more than ten times.
Court: Proceed with the examination.
Friedman: Very well, answer the question.
Arbuckle: What was it? (Question read by the reporter.)
Schmulowitz: I object to the question on the ground it has been asked and answered several times, if the court please.
Court: Objection overruled.
Arbuckle: No, I couldn’t tell you.
Friedman: Can you recall of speaking to anyone at all from the time that Miss Rappe went into room 1221 until you went into room 1219?
A: Me speaking to anyone? Can I recall me speaking? If there was people in there, I suppose I spoke to them.
Q: Do you recall speaking to Mr. Sherman during that period of time?
A: I say I don’t recollect whether he was there; possible he was there; possibly he was not.
Q: Then you have no recollection of whether you spoke to him?
A: No.
Q: Do you recall what you said to Miss Rappe at that time?
A: No.
Q: Now, prior to your going into room 1219 and locking the door, as you have testified to—
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did you tell anyone who was in either one of these three rooms what you were going into room 1219 for?
A: No.
Q: You didn’t tell anyone you were going to get dressed?
A: No.
Q: Just walked in and locked the door?
A: Walked in.
Q: And locked the door?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: When you spoke to Miss Blake just before going into room 1219, you didn’t tell her what you were going into 1219 for?
A: No, sir.
Q: Never said a word to her about it?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did you tell anyone that you were going to leave?
A: No, sir.
Q: And at 3 o’clock you decided, just without speaking to anyone about it, that you would go in and get dressed so that would be ready to go riding; is that it?
A: Yes, sir.
<Noon recess; afternoon session follows.>
Q: What did you do after you entered room 1219? What was the first thing you did?
A: Locked the door.
Q: You locked the door; and which door?
A: The door leading into 1219.
Q: There are two doors; was it the door from 1219 into 1220?
A: The door opening into 1219. As near as I can recollect, it had a mirror in it.
Q: You don’t recall closing more than one door do you?
A: No. I just closed the door and locked it.
Q: Now, after Miss Rappe had gone into room 1221, did you remain in room 1220?
A: Yes, I was in 1220.
Q: And you remained in there until you went into room 1219 as you have testified to; is that correct?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did you at any time see Miss Rappe come out of room 1221?
A: No, I didn’t see her after she went into room 1221.
Q: You are positive you didn’t see her come out of room 1221?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now, from the time that Miss Rappe went into room 1221, until you went into room 1219, will you just show on this diagram which portion of room 1220 you remained in?
A: I do now know what part of the room I remained in; I was in the room.
Q: And you do not know what portion of the room you remained in?
A: No.
Q: And you are positive you didn’t see Miss Rappe come out of room 1221?
A: Absolutely.
Q: And you remained in room 1220 all that time?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you remained in room 1220 all that time?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you can’t recall what you did while you were in there?
A: I did the same thing as I had been doing all the afternoon.
Q: But more specifically than that you cannot say?
A: No.
Q: And what was the first thing that you did after you went into room 1219?
A: I closed the door and locked it.
Q: And that was the door that opened in as far as room 1219 was concerned?
A: I think so; I am not positive.
Q: And why did you lock the door?
A: I was going to get dressed.
Q: Is that why you locked the door?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Is it your habit to lock that door when you to in to get dressed?
A: Yes, if there is anybody in the room—the ladies were there.
Q: Are you positive that is the only reason you had in locking the door?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: From 1219 to 1220?
A: Yes, sir, to change my clothes and get dressed.
Q: Did you bathe that morning?
A: Yes.
Q: Did you see Josephine Keza, the chambermaid, while you were bathing?
A: I did.
Q: Where were you at the time?
A: I was in the bathroom, shaving. She opened the door, and then excused herself and went out.
Q: Did you have your bathrobe on?
A: No.
Q: What did you have on?
A: Nothing.
Q: Nothing?
A: Nothing.
Q: And you locked the door so you would not be disturbed while you were dressing?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: So you did not lock the door at all from room 1219 into the corridor?
A: No, I did not; I never gave it a thought.
Q: Why didn’t you lock the door from room 1219 out into the corridor?
A: I told you I never gave it a thought.
Q: All you did think about was the door between 1219 and 1220 being open, being unlocked?
A: What do you mean? I locked it because there were so many coming back and forth through the rooms. [. . .]
Q: Well, had anybody gone out into the hall?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Do you remember Miss Rappe going in there at any time?
A: No, sir, but the doors were open.
Q: Now, after you had locked the door to keep those ladies out of room 1219, while you were dressing, what did you do?
A: I went straight to the bathroom.
Q: You went straight to the bathroom?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did you do then?
A: Opened the door.
Q: You opened the door?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And did the door open readily?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And then what occurred?
A: The door struck Miss Rappe where she was lying on the floor.
Q: You say the door struck Miss Rappe where she was lying on the floor?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And what was she doing at that time?
A: Just holding her stomach with her hands and moaning.
Q: Had she been ill up to that time?
A: No, sir. [. . .]
Q: Then what did you do?
A: Then I asked her if there was anything I could do for her
Q: She wanted to lie down?
A: Yes.
Q: Then what did you do?
A: I helped her into the bedroom.
Q: From the time that you picked her up off the floor—I withdraw that. From the time that you [. . .] until you helped her into 1219 [. . .]
A: No.
Q: She held the water that you gave her on her stomach until you got her into room 1219?
A: I suppose so. [. . .]
Q: How did you assist her from the bathroom to the bed?
A: She walked
Q: She walked. Did you help her in any manner?
A: I put my arm around her.
Q: You put your arm around her and assisted her, and you walked off to which bed?
A: To the little bed.
Q: Then what did you do?
A: She sat down on the edge of the bed.
Q: She sat down on the edge of the bed?
A: Yes; then laid over on it.
Q: Then laid over on the bed. Which way was she facing?
A: She was facing (going to diagram)—facing this way (indicating). She sat down here and just laid over on the bed with head toward the foot.
Q: With her head toward the foot?
A: Yes, sir. I picked her feet up and put them up on the bed.
Q: Then what did you do?
A: I went back into the bathroom.
Q: You went back into the bathroom. What did you do in the bathroom?
A: Well, I went back into the bathroom. [. . .]
Q: All right. How long were you in the bathroom?
A: Three or four minutes, or a couple of minutes, I guess. I don’t know.
Q: Then what did you do?
A: I came out again.
Q: You came out again [. . .] I take it?
A: Naturally. [. . .]
Q: How, after you had—after Miss Rappe had been seated on this small bed, as you have testified to, and after she lay over with her head toward the foot, and you raised her feet up upon the bed, in which portion of the bed was she lying? Was she lying in the center of the bed, on one side or the other?
A: She just laid over in the bed; I didn’t notice whether she was to one side or the other.
Q: But it was on the side nearest to the window of the room that she sat down; is that correct?
A: Yes, sir?
Q: Now, then, what did you do after you came out of the bathroom?
A: I found her in between the beds.
Q: You found her in between the beds after you came out of the bathroom?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you were only in the bathroom how long?
A: Three or four minutes, I guess.
Q: Three or four minutes; and you found her in between the beds. Which way was her head when you found her?
A: Facing out toward the foot of the beds
Q: Just show upon the diagram?
A: She was lying right in here (indicating on diagram).
Q: Right in there?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Which was she facing?
A: Her head was this way.
Q: Her head was that way; which way was her face? Toward the window or toward the door, or was it facing toward the ceiling?
A: She was lying on her back.
Q: While you were in the bathroom, did you hear any noise in 1219?
A: No, I did not.
Q: You did not hear her fall of the bed?
A: No, sir, I did not; I did not see her.
Q: Did she holler or was there any sound?
A: No, she was just moaning, holding her stomach and thrashing around on the floor.
Q: On the floor?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What condition was she in when you went into the bathroom? You say you helped her up on the bed. Was she moaning then?
A: No, she just appeared to be sick and laid over on the bed.
Q: All right. After you went into the bathroom, and after you placed her one the bed, when was the first time you heard her moaning?
A: I heard her moaning when I came into the room, and she was lying between the beds.
Q: What did you do?
A: I put her on the big bed.
Q: Which way did you put her upon the big bed?
A: I picked her up and just put her on the big bed like this (illustrating), pulled up to a sitting position, and took hold of her, and put her on the bed, turned her around and laid her down on the bed.
Q: Did you turn around with her?
A: No, I just picked her up to a sitting posture. I couldn’t get to the side of her; there isn’t enough space, I just reached over like that, and picked her up and sat her over on the bed, and turned her around, and put her head upon the pillow.
Q: Then what did you do?
A: [. . .]
Q: Did you put her feet on the bed?
A: I put her whole body on the bed. [. . .]
Q: [. . .]
A: I didn’t notice it particularly. I went right out of the room then to get Mrs. Delmont. [. . .]
Q: Now, when you picked her up, when you started to lay her out upon the small bed, did she say anything at that time.
A: She might have said something.
Q: Now, did she—not what she might have said—did she say anything that you remember?
A: I can’t remember what she said exactly, or—
Q: Then she did say something to you, but you can’t remember it. Is that true?
A: She might have said something. I don’t know.
Q: Not what she might have said. Did she—do you remember her saying anything?
A: I can’t remember whether she did or not.
Q: You don’t know whether she did or at that time?
A: No.
Q: Did she, when you picked up, picked her feet up to straighten them out upon the bed, did she cry or moan at that time?
A: Not at that time, no.
Q: Never said a word. Did you place a pillow under her head?
A: No, I did not.
Q: You did not place a pillow under her head. There was a pillow on the bed, was there not?
A: Yes.
Q: And you did not place it under her head; you just laid her out and walked into the bathroom?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: When you came back, she was upon the floor between the beds?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: When you picked her up in this sitting position, what did she say then?
A: She didn’t say anything; she was just groaning and holding her stomach.
Q: She was just groaning and holding her stomach?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Was she groaning very loud?
A: Not particularly.
Q: Not particularly loud?
A: No, she just seemed to be in pain, short pains, or something.
Q: Was she groaning as loud as you are talking now?
A: I couldn’t tell you just how loud she was groaning; she just seemed to be—
Q: You couldn’t hear her groan when you were in the bathroom, could you?
A: No.
Q: Did she say anything when you raised her to this sitting position?
A: No.
Q: And did you say anything when you picked her up in this position that you have described to the jury?
A: No.
Q: Did she say anything when you seated her upon the bed and helped her down upon the bed?
A: No, she did not.
Q: Did she say anything when you straightened her out upon the bed?
A: No; I just turned her around to straighten her out but she kind of rolled over [. . .]
Q: She never said anything from the time you came out of the bathroom until you put her one the bed, so far as you know?
A: Not that I can remember [. . .]
Q: Now, did she wrench [. . .] while you were picking her up off the floor just before you placed her upon the bed?
A: She was just holding her stomach and groaning [. . .]
Q: After you laid her upon the bed [. . .] as you have testified; what did you do then?
A: Went out of the room.
Q: You went out of the room?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Where did you go?
A: To 1220.
Q: To 1220. Did you unlock the door?
A: Yes.
Q: From the time you came into room 1219, from the time that you locked the door between room 1219 and room 1220, until you unlocked the door, as you have testified to, did you hear any sounds in room 1220?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Did you hear anybody at any time knock upon that door?
A: I did not hear them, no.
Q: Did you hear anybody at any time holler to you through the door?
A: No.
Q: Now, when you opened the door from room 1219 to 1220, who was the first person you saw?
A: Miss Prevost.
Q: Where was Miss Prevost standing?
A: She was standing in the room.
Q: Well, where?
A: I couldn’t just say where. She was in the center of the room. She was walking across the room.
Q: She was walking across the room?
A: Yes.
Q: Did you see Mrs. Delmonte [sic]?
A: Not at that time, no; I saw her just a minute so afterwards.
Q: Where was she when you saw her just a minute or so afterwards?
A: She came out of 1221.
Q: And she was not in 1220 when you opened the door from room 1219, is that correct?
A: No, sir.
Q: Where was Miss Blake?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Did you see her in room 1220?
A: Not at the time.
Q: But you saw her in room 1220?
A: Not at the time.
Q: But you saw Miss Prevost in the middle of the floor?
A: Yes.
Q: Was anyone else in room 1220 after you opened the door?
A: I came out and I made some remark about Virginia being sick.
Q: What did you say?
A: I said, “Virginia is sick,” or words to that effect.
Q: Now, isn’t it a fact, Mr. Arbuckle, that when you came out of room 1219, when you unlocked the door and opened the door and stepped from room 1219 into 1220, Mrs. Delmont and Miss Prevost were right there at the door of 1220?
A: Miss Prevost was.
Q: Mrs. Delmont was not?
A: Not that I can remember.
Q: Did Miss Prevost say anything to you when you opened the door?
A: No, she just went in.
Q: What did you come out of room 1219 for?
A: To get Mrs. Delmont.
Q: To get Mrs. Delmont?
A: No; she came in right afterwards, and she went into 1219.
Q: So, you came out of room 1219 to get Mrs. Delmont, but you told Miss Prevost?
A: I just made a general remark as I came out, that is all.
Q: How long after you came out of room 1219 was it that Mrs. Delmont went into room 1219.
A: It could not have been very long, possibly a minute or two minutes she came in.
Q: From the time that you went into room 1219 until you came out of room 1219, how long a time elapsed?
A: [No answer in transcript].
Q: You were dressing for the purpose of going out with Mrs. Taube when she arrived, were you not? That is what you went into 1219 for?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And it didn’t concern you at all how long a time you had spent in attending to Miss Rappe while you were in there?
A: I had forgotten about my ride. When a person is sick, naturally you are thinking about it. You are not thinking about something else.
Q: Well, then, you were concerned about Miss Rappe’s condition?
A: Well, [. . .] she appeared to be sick and I went out to get Mrs. Delmont.
Q: You went out to get Mrs. Delmont, but first you went into the bathroom?
A: Yes, because she wasn’t doing anything; she was just lying down on the little bed.
Q: Now, just state to the jury what you said when you opened the door from 1219 into 1220?
A: I couldn’t state the exact words; I made a remark that she was sick or something.
Q: All right. What did you say as near as you can remember?
A: I made some remark about Miss Rappe was sick, that is all.
Q: Miss Rappe was sick. Who did you say it to?
A: I suppose to Miss Prevost.
Q: Do you know who you said that to?
A: I just made that remark.
Q: You just made that remark?
A: Yes.
Q: For the benefit of anybody that wanted to listen to it?
A: Yes.
Q: To nobody in particular?
A: Yes, I just made the remark.
Q: How long did you remain in room 1220?
A: Just a minute or so. Mrs. Delmont came in and I went back with her.
Q: You went back to 1219; then what did you do?
A: Miss Rappe was sitting up on the bed; she sat up on the bed and started tearing at her clothes.
Q: She started tearing at her clothes?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did she start to tear first?
A: I don’t know; she was just tearing like this (illustrating [“jerking his hands apart and gritting his teeth”]).
Q: Just tell the jury how she tore the upper part of her dress?
A: She just tore her clothing; caught hold of them and tore them like that (showing).
Q: Did you help her take off any portion of them?
A: No, sir; I went over to see and tried to stop her, and kept on; she had one sleeve just hanging by a thread, or two, and I pulled that off.
Q: You pulled that off?
A: Yes.
Q: Then what did she say, if anything?
A: She kept tearing; she caught hold of the green jacket, but she could not tear that.
Q: Then what did she do?
A: I went out of the room there. Mr. Fischbach came back in and I went out of the room.
Q: Mr. Fischbach came in how soon after you took off the balance of this waist?
A: Well, I will tell you, I didn’t see him come in; he was in there when I turned around.
Q: He was in there when you turned around?
A: Yes, he was.
Q: When you turned around and discovered Mr. Fischbach what was Miss Rappe doing?
A: Tearing her clothes.
Q: Isn’t it a fact that Mr. Fischbach did not come in there while Miss Rappe had any clothes on at all?
A: Yes, he was in there while she was tearing her clothes.
Q: He was in there, while she was tearing her clothing?
A: I think he was.
Q: Now, after you turned around and saw Mr. Fischbach, what did you do?
A: I went back into 1220.
Q: You went back into 1220; how long did you remain there?
A: I was out sometime?
Q: You were out sometime?
A: Yes.
Q: And who was in 1220 while you were in there?
A: I don’t remember just who was in there; Mrs. Taube came up in a few minutes.
Q: Mrs. Taube came up in a few minutes? Did you see Mr. Boyle?
A: Not at that time; no.
Q: When did you see him?
A: He came up after I had phoned for him.
Q: After you phoned for him?
A: After Mrs. Taube phoned.
Q: After Mrs. Taube phoned. I believe you said, from room 1221?
A: Yes.
Q: Now, where were you when Boyle came into the room?
A: I was in room 1221 talking to Mrs. Taube.
Q: And what room did Mr. Boyle come in?
A: He came to the door of room 1221. He came to the door; he might have come in a little ways.
Q: What did you say?
A: I said, “She is in there,” and took him through room 1220 and into room 1219.
Q: What else did you say to Mr. Boyle?
A: I cannot remember what I said, I may have explained to him what happened, or something.
Q: What do you remember of saying anything?
A: I spoke about the situation, the exact words I cannot tell you.
Q: Well, in substance—at the time, in substance? Didn’t you say anything?
A: Yes, that the girl was sick and to get her another room.
Q: Did you tell Mr. Boyle what caused her sickness?
A: No, how would I know what caused her sickness?
Q: Now, when you came out of room 1219 to room 1220 and said that Miss Rappe was sick, did you tell Miss Prevost or Mrs. Delmont what was the matter with her?
A: No, I just said she was sick.
Q: You just said she was sick?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: You didn’t say anything else?
A: Not that I remember.
Q: Now, did anybody ask you what was the matter with Miss Rappe?
A: I cannot remember whether they did, or not.
Q: You cannot remember?
A: No, sir.
Q: And you cannot remember of telling anybody about her illness except that she was ill?
A: No, sir.
Q: You didn’t tell anybody that you found her in the bathroom?
A: No, sir, nobody asked me.
Q: Did you see anybody give Miss Rappe anything to drink after you had gone into room 1220 from room 1219?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Do you know whether or not anybody gave her some bicarbonate of soda?
A: I do not know.
Q: You didn’t tell anybody that you had found Miss Rappe upon the floor between the two beds, did you?
A: No, sir.
Q: You didn’t tell anybody that you had placed her on a bed, and that she had fallen off while holding her abdomen and moaning with pain, did you?
A: No, sir.
Q: Now, did you hear Miss Rappe make any statement of any kind, of any kind at all from the time that you found her upon the floor in the bathroom in room 1219 until you assisted in carrying her to room 1227?
A: No, sir, just heard her moan and groan.
Q: You just heard her moan and groan?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: She asked you for some water, didn’t she?
A: Yes, that was in the bathroom
Q: You understand that?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did she say anything else to you?
A: No, sir, excepting that she wanted to lie down for a little while.
Q: You had changed your clothes you say?
A: Yes, sir, after Miss Rappe was taken to room 1227, I changed my clothes.
Q: You dressed?
A: No sir, I had on a pair of golf trousers, and a soft shirt.
Q: You dressed in a pair of golf trousers and soft shirt?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And around 8:30 or 9 o’clock you changed again?
A: Yes, sir, and put on a dinner suit.
Q: And that is the way you went down to the ballroom and stayed there until after 12 that night, is it?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What was Miss Rappe doing when you entered room 1219?
A: Which time?
Q: After you had been talking to Mrs. Taube in room 1220.
A: She was lying on the little bed.
Q: She was lying on the little bed?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And was that before or after Mr. Boyle came—
A: (interrupting) That was before.
Q: Before Mr. Boyle arrived?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now, how long after Mrs. Taube had phoned for Mr. Boyle was it before Mr. Boyle appeared in your room?
A: Just a few minutes, I guess.
Q: And how long after you came out of room 1219 was it that you had Mrs. Taube phone for Mr. Boyle?
A: I came out of room 1219 and talked with Mrs. Taube; then went back into room 1219, and then went back and asked Mrs. Taube to telephone.
Q: All right. After you came out of room 1219 the first time, you saw Mrs. Taube then?
A: No, the second time.
Q: Then you went back into room 1219 after you came out the first time. Is that correct?
A: Yes, with Mrs. Delmont.
Q: All right. What did you do after you went back?
A: I came out the first time and saw Mrs. Prevost with Mrs. Delmont.
Q: And then you went back again?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And that is where you saw her tearing her clothes?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And that is when you saw Mr. Fischbach there?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And then what did you do?
A: I went out.
Q: And that is when you saw Mrs. Taube?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now, how long after you came out was it that you had Mrs. Taube phone for Mr. Boyle?
A: I do not know. Probably ten or fifteen minutes. I do not know.
Q: Well, you talked with Mrs. Taube there for ten or fifteen minutes?
A: No, I had left Mrs. Taube once and went back to room 1219.
Q: And then you came out of room 1219 again. Is that correct?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And then after you came out of room 1219 the last time, when you saw Mrs. Taube, how long a time elapsed before you had Mrs. Taube phone for Mr. Boyle?
A: I came right out and asked her to phone Mr. Boyle.
Q: You came right out and immediately asked her to phone for Mr. Boyle?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And that is the first time that you saw Mrs. Taube?
A: I saw her before and talked to her before.
Q: How long before did you talk to her?
A: Well, probably ten or fifteen minutes.
Q: You didn’t ask Mrs. Taube to phone the first time?
A: Not until I went back in again.
Q: Now, what did you say to Mrs. Taube?
A: I said, “That girl is sick and we ought to get her a room,” and I said, “You know the management here, and phone down and get a room.”
Q: So you were concerned with getting her out of your room?
A: Well, I thought she was sick and needed another room.
Q: What is your answer; is your answer “yes”?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: You didn’t tell Mrs. Taube to phone for a doctor at that time, did you?
A: No, sir; I didn’t tell her at that time.
Q: Did you think she needed one at that time?
A: Well, I got her one later on.
Q: I am talking about the time that you told Mrs. Taube to phone for Mr. Boyle; you didn’t tell her to get a doctor at that time, and you didn’t think she needed one at that time?
A: No.
Q: Well, you say you got a doctor later?
A: After we took her into room 1227, I asked Mr. Boyle to get a doctor.
Q: And up to that time you never suggested getting a doctor?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did you ever tell anyone else, or did anyone else in your presence tell anyone that Miss Rappe was sick and needed a doctor, and to send for a doctor prior to that time that you sent for the doctor when she was in room 1227?
A: No, sir.
Q: Nobody suggested that at any time?
A: No, sir; not that I heard.
Q: I mean that you heard, of course.
A: No, sir. [. . .]
Q: Now, after you had seen Mr. Fischback in room 1219, and after you had gone out into room 1220, you said you went back into room 1219 again.
A: Yes.
Q: All right. What was Miss Rappe doing when you came back on that occasion?
A: She was on the little bed.
Q: Well, she was not frothing at the mouth then?
A: She might have been.
Q: When you testified this morning that she was frothing at the mouth, did you mean that?
A: She might have been.
Q: Well, was she?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: When you first saw Miss Rappe tearing her clothes upon the bed, and she was frothing at the mouth, as you have testified to, did she say anything, did she make any sound?
A: Not outside of grunting and breathing (imitating slight grunt), just that.
Q: Just grunting and doing like that?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: She wasn’t hollering with any pain that you know of?
A: I couldn’t tell why she was acting like that.
Q: Well, did you hear her holler at any time?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did you hear her scream at any time?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did you at any time hear Miss Rappe say, “You hurt me”?
A: No.
Q: What was the condition of her hair?
A: Her hair was down.
Q: Her hair was down at this time?
A: Yes, sir, it was down when I went into the bathroom.
Q: Her hair was down when you went into the bathroom?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: On which occasion?
A: When I found her there.
Q: Then her hair was down when you found her there in the bathroom?
A: Yes, sir, I had to hold it back away from her when she was vomiting. [. . .]
Q: Now, when she was tearing her clothes off, [. . .]
A: She was just sitting on the bed there, tearing her clothes.
Q: Well, did she move the lower portion of her body at all?
A: I didn’t pay any particular attention to that.
Q: Just saw her tear her waist?
A: Yes, sir, and [. . .]
Q: When was it that you told Mrs. Delmont that she had better dress, or change her dress?
A: After I had Mrs. Taube phone Mr. Boyle.
Q: After you had Mrs. Taube phone Mr. Boyle.
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And where did you find Mrs. Delmont to tell her this?
A: She was in room 1219.
Q: She was in room 1219?
A: Yes.
Q: You are positive that you told that to Mrs. Delmont?
A: Yes.
Q: Now, when you moved Miss Rappe from room 1219 to room 1227, did anyone tell you to carry her?
A: No, I picked her up and carried her.
Q: Nobody told you to do that?
A: Not that I can remember of.
Q: How did you know that there had been another room procured for her?
A: Why, I asked Mrs. Taube to phone to Mr. Boyle to get another room.
Q: Yes, and Mr. Boyle came up?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And that is when you made the statement to him that you testified to, that she was in the other room, or words to that effect?
A: Yes, “She is in here,” and took him in.
Q: And what occurred in there?
A: I went into the closet and got a bathrobe.
Q: Didn’t Mr. Boyle say something when he entered room 1219?
A: Not that I can remember.
Q: Did Miss Rappe speak to him, or to anyone else?
A: No, sir, she didn’t speak at all.
Q: Nobody spoke to Miss Rappe in your presence, while Mr. Boyle was in the room?
A: No, not that I can remember of.
Q: Do you recall if at any time from the time you found Miss Rappe in the bathroom until you helped to carry her into room 1227 if anybody asked her in your presence what was the matter with her?
A: No, sir, I do not.
Q: Well, can you tell from the various times that you saw Miss Rappe, from the time that you found her in the bathroom of room 1219 until you carried her into room 1227, whether or not Miss Rappe became unconscious at any time?
A: Yes, sir, she was unconscious when I asked Mrs. Taube to phone.
Q: She was unconscious at that time, when you asked Mrs. Taube to phone?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And when did you first discover that fact?
A: When I went back into the room, when Mrs. Delmont had the ice on her.
Q: Then Miss Rappe was unconscious at the time you found the ice on her body?
A: Apparently, as near as I could tell, she was unconscious.
Q: And making no sound?
A: No, sir.
Q: What did you say then, when you discovered that she was apparently unconscious?
A: That is when I picked up the ice. I didn’t say anything to her.
Q: Did you say anything to anybody about her condition at that time?
A: No.
Q: You never say anything to anybody except that Miss Rappe was sick?
A: Nope.
Q: Not even to the doctor?
A: Nope.
Q: After Mrs. Delmont entered the room and you went back to 1219, hoe did you find Miss Rappe?
A: Nude. Mrs. Delmont had some ice in a towel. There was ice on the bed and piece of ice on Miss Rappe’s body. I picked the ice up from her body. I asked Mrs. Delmont what the big idea was. She told me to put it back, that she knew how to care for Virginia, and ordered me out of the room. I told her to shut up or I would throw her out of the window.
Q: And then, after you told Mrs. Delmont to shut up or you would throw her out of the window, then you left the room?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And what is the time you went and told Mrs. Taube to phone for Mr. Boyle; is that correct?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And that is when you told Mrs. Taube to get Mr. Boyle so he could get another room for Miss Rappe, is it not?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you believed that she was unconscious at that time?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you didn’t suggest that a doctor be called in at that time?
A: Not at that time, no.
Q: Now, did you see Mr. Fortlouis come back into the rooms at any time after you had opened the door from room 1219 to room 1220?
A: I cannot remember.
Q: You cannot remember whether you saw him again or not?
A: No. [. . .]
Q: And then, when they were placing this ice pack on her head, and you found this ice on her body, that was after clothes had been removed and she was on the smaller of the two beds?
A: I think so.
Q: Well, is it correct? You can answer that yes or no.
A: Yes, that is where I found her.
Q: Well, did anyone named Minnie Edwards come into your rooms on the day in question, the 5th of September? [This person is likely a red herring intended to trip up the witness.]
A: Not that I can remember of.
Q: Do you know anyone named Minnie Edwards?
A: No.
Q: Now, after Mr. Boyle had come in and you had gone to the closet in room 1219, and after you had got this bathrobe or cover, what did you do then?
A: Mrs. Delmont and I put it around Miss Rappe.
Q: Mrs. Delmont and you put this bathrobe around Miss Rappe?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And then what occurred?
A: I picked her up in my arms.
Q: And then what happened?
A: Mr. Boyle opened the door and we went out into the hall.
Q: And did you notice how Mr. Boyle opened the door?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did you pay any particular attention to his opening of the door?
A: No, sir.
Q: Do you know whether or not the door was open?
A: I know it was open in the morning—when Mr. Fischbach went out.
Q: You never looked at the door any time after Mr. Fischbach left in the morning to see whether or not it had been locked?
A: No, sir.
Q: And after you opened the door from room 1219 to room 1220, you didn’t go over to the door to the corridor to see whether it was unlocked or locked, did you?
A: No, sir, I never paid any attention to it; never gave it a thought.
Q: Now, from the time that you found Miss Rappe in the bathroom of room 1219, until she was removed into 1227, you never told anyone in those rooms on that day that you had found her in the bathroom upon the floor, did you?
A: No.
Q: Did you tell anyone on the 5th day of September in these rooms at the St. Francis hotel, anyone at all, that you had found Miss Rappe lying between the large bed and the small bed in room 1219, apparently writing in pain?
A: No.
Q: You never told that to anyone?
A: No, sir, I just said she was sick.
Q: Did you tell anyone that on the 5th day of September you had picked Miss Rappe up off the floor and placed her upon the large bed, and that [. . .] ?
A: No.
Q: When was the first time you told anybody that you had found Miss Rappe in the bathroom of room 1219?
A: I told Mr. Dominguez.
Q: You told who?
A: Mr. Dominguez.
Q: Mr. Dominguez?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And who is Mr. Dominguez?
A: He is an attorney.
Q: And when did you tell him that?
A: I told him when I came up here.
Q: And when was that?
A: After we came up here.
Q: Well, when, what part of the month, what day of the month?
A: What day of the month?
Q: Yes.
A: I couldn’t tell you what day of the month it was; it was after I came up here.
Q: Well, how long after the 5th of September?
A: I told it to him when I was put in jail; I told him the whole story.
Q: You told him in jail?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And from the time that you found Miss Rappe in the bathroom in room 1219, until you told your story to Mr. Dominguez in jail in this city and county, had you ever told anybody that you had found Miss Rappe in the bathroom of 1219, upon the floor, and that she had been vomiting.
A: No, sir.
Q: And from the time that you told it to Mr. Dominguez in the jail here, when was the next time that you ever told that to anyone?
A: I told it to Mr. McNab.
Q: And with the exception—Mr. McNab is your counsel, is he not?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And with the exception of your counsel, have you ever told that to anyone?
A: No, sir.
Friedman: That is all.
McNab: That is all.
(Recess of twenty minutes)
Arbuckle is recalled and cross-examination resumed.
Friedman: Mr. Arbuckle, you have stated that you returned to San Francisco after the affair of September 5.
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Who did you come to San Francisco with?
A: Mr. Dominguez, myself and my chauffeur, and Mr. Anger.
Q: And that was before you were first placed in the city prison, as you have testified to?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you arrived in San Francisco what hour of the night?
A: I couldn’t say; I guess around 9 o’clock—between 8 and 9 o’clock.
Q: Between 8 and 9 o’clock that night. Now, isn’t it a fact, Mr. Arbuckle, that on the night you arrived in San Francisco, as you have been testifying to, about 10 o’clock that night, in the office of Captain Matheson, captain of detectives of this city and county, that you were asked what had occurred in room 1219 on the 5th day of September of the present year, and you replied that you refused to answer upon the advice of counsel?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And had you told your counsel what had occurred in room 1219 prior to that time?
McNab: If the court please, that is invading the province of counsel, and it is a privileged communication, and has no right to go into the invasion of the confidence between attorney and client.
The Court: I think that had been answered heretofore, anyway. The objection will be sustained.
Friedman: That is all.
McNab: That is all.

Sources: The transcript is a reconstruction based on the following newspaper transcripts and reportage. The San Francisco newspapers relied on their own stenographers. The out-of-town newspapers provide some of the missing testimony. The placement of this reportage has been inferred.

San Francisco Call, 28 November 1921,

San Francisco Chronicle, 29 November 1921,

San Francisco Examiner, 29 November 1921,

Los Angeles Evening Herald, 28 November 1921,

Los Angeles Times, 29 November 1921, Otis M. Wiles quotes and paraphrases from Arbuckle’s testimony with an ear to his more casual speaking voice (e.g., “Nope” instead of “No”), 

Chicago Tribune, 29 November 1921, Edward Doherty reports much like Wiles,

New York Daily News, 29 November 1921,

The original group portrait of the defense attorneys and prosecutors that appeared in the Sacramento Star on November 16, 1921 (

What motivated DA Matthew Brady?

If one reads superannuated texts about the Arbuckle case, such as David Yallop’s The Day the Laughter Stopped (1976), Andy Edmonds’ Frame Up!: The Untold Story of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle (1991), or Wolves at the Door: The Trials of Fatty Arbuckle (2010) by David Allen Kizer, and the like, the prosecutor Matthew Brady emerges as a vindictive man trying to “get” Arbuckle.

According to the jacket blurb for the Kizer book, “Roscoe was a gentle soul caught in the middle of a political and media hurricane led by Matthew Brady, the district attorney who would stop at nothing to convict him with or without real evidence.”

Some authors imagine Brady to have been motivated by political ambitions, such as becoming the next Democratic governor of California. But he never ran for an office beyond district attorney, the position to which he had been elected in 1919. The ambition for which Brady probably became best known speaks more about his zeal for fairness than an interest in a political career. Thomas Mooney, a labor leader and socialist, had been convicted in a show trial, prosecuted by the district attorney who proceeded Brady, Charles Fickert, for the bombing of a parade in San Francisco that resulted in ten deaths. Mooney was serving a life sentence in San Quentin and Brady was among those who publicly (and unsuccessfully) lobbied for a new trial for him for nearly a decade. Mooney was eventually pardoned in 1937.

Dorothea Lange photo for Tom Mooney Defense Fund, 1934.

What is underappreciated is that Brady rarely examined or cross-examined witnesses. One could probably count as many times on one hand. He didn’t step into the spotlight the way his adversary, Arbuckle’s lawyer Gavin McNab, did. McNab had a dominant personality in the courtroom and in California politics, sometimes called the “dictator” of Democratic party politics. Brady, in contrast, seemed disassociated from the trial and to most observers his case seemed lost by the middle of the second week. However, as in The Art of War, Brady’s relative quiet now seems to have been calculated to allow the defense to destroy itself.

Matthew Brady (Calisphere)

The following letter was published on the editorial page of the Fort Wayne Sentinel on November 26, 1921. It sheds light on Brady’s motivations. We see a number of possibilities here, from good (a “slave revolt,” an “I am Spartacus” moment before Hollywood got there) to bad (a veiled anti-Semitism that would appeal to Indiana readers in one of the hotspots of Ku Klux Klan membership).

Unbought and Unbribed

E. V. Emrick, of this city, is a long-time friend of Matthew Brady, district attorney of San Francisco, and recently wrote him endorsing his stand in the Arbuckle case and making inquiry as to certain matters in connection therewith. The following answer has been received:

Mr. Brady is a public officer and naturally speaks with the utmost conservatism concerning a case about which public interest centers so particularly. It means much, therefore, when he alludes to the powerful influences that have been brought to bear to swerve him from his duty, and reading between the lines one can imagine just what influences there were and picture the golden lure they held out. The conscienceless and rapacious producers of California have millions of dollars wrapped up in the Arbuckle films and if it were possible for them not only to clear Arbuckle but to whitewash him at the same time, it would be to their immense financial advantage to do so.

City and County of San Francisco
District Attorney, Hall of Justice
San Francisco, Oct. 21, 1921

E. V. Emrick, Citizens Trust Bldg.
Fort Wayne, Ind.

Dear Mr. Emrick:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your courteous communication of recent date respecting the Arbuckle case.
It is most gratifying to me to receive expressions of this kind form individuals of your standing in the community; a public official in the honest discharge of his duty needs moral support of this kind and I am extremely gratified at the sentiments expressed.
Under the California law, if a death results from the commission of a felony the charge is murder. In the Arbuckle case it is alleged that either an attempt was made to commit rape or a rape was committed upon Virginia Rappe, as a result she died. Therefore, under the law, it is our contention that the crime committed was murder and not manslaughter.
The duty of a police magistrate is to inquire into the facts of the case. If reasonable and probable cause appear, it is the duty of the police magistrate to hold the defendant to answer. It has been held that even where there exists the remotest possibility of a crime having been committed, it is the duty of the magistrate to hold.
Evidence was introduced at the preliminary hearing of Roscoe Arbuckle showing reasonable and probable cause to believe him guilty of the crime of murder, as charged. At the conclusion of the hearing, the police magistrate[1] reduced the charge from murder to manslaughter, upon which charge Arbuckle was held to answer to await trial before a jury in the superior court. As district attorney, I am convinced that more than ample evidence was introduced to warrant a holding upon the murder charge. I regret deeply that the police magistrate in his judgement reduced the charge to manslaughter. Has Arbuckle been held upon the murder charge, it would then have been within the province of the jury to have rendered a verdict of manslaughter, if in their judgement mitigating circumstances were present.
Powerful influences have been brought to bear upon this office with the hope that I might be swayed from doing my full duty as district attorney, but you may rest assured that such efforts have proved of no avail, and every facility of my office will be employed in a most vigorous and earnest prosecution of this case.
Again assuring you of my sincere appreciation of the moral support you have given me through the sentiments expressed in your letter, I am

Very truly yours,
Matthew Brady
District Attorney

It is hardly to be doubted but that Mr. Brady could have gathered in at least half a million dollars had he been willing to prostitute his high office and see to it that the evidence went as these sinister and malign corrupters of the public morals desired. It is fortunate, indeed, when the people have as firm and honest a champion in public office as Matthew Brady.

Note: We’re rather disappointed to see that the New Yorker published a piece observing the centenary of the Arbuckle case and the death of Virginia Rappe and only rehashed what the author could lift from the Greg Merritt book, Room 1219, which is also superannuated.

This blog was published in time for journalists to see what is new and what other possibilities there are for revision and doing justice—especially in regard to Virginia Rappe.

This isn’t new for the magazine, since one of us (James Reidel) assisted in the writing of a similar anniversary piece observing the 1955 disappearance of Weldon Kees. It is entirely lifted from his book Vanished Act (2003), a biography of the poet and artist who disappeared from the Golden Gate Bridge in 1955.

Reidel did enjoy seeing himself called “the assiduous biographer” by Tony Lane.

[1] Brady refers to Police Judge Sylvain Lazarus, who presided over the preliminary hearing referred to here as well in late September 1921.

The Arbuckle Trial begins: A theater review of the first week

While working on the corpus of our narrative, we have neglected to add some timely sidebars to this blog. So, we shall observe the end of the first week of the first Arbuckle trial with this mock theater review by George Warren, a theater critic for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Unlike the Examiner and the Call, the Chronicle didn’t give the Arbuckle trial first-page coverage. The editors saw it as local news and restricted the front page to more serious stories, like the naval disarmament conference in Washington. Even this “review” didn’t appear in its pages. It was distributed by a press syndicate to newspapers such as the Salt Lake Telegram, Chattanooga News, and other out-of-town papers where it ran the week of November 20-26, 1921.

Datelined November 19, the Sunday feature is based on the initial days of jury selection. But it captures the theatrics that many observers thought characterized the defense. Here, Arbuckle played an important part that may not have been passive but well planned, like shooting a comedy. So did his estranged wife, Minta Durfee.

What Dramatic Critic Thinks of Arbuckle: Frisco Writer Sees Fatty’s Biggest Drama Being Enacted in Court

By George Warren

Life, the greatest dramatist of them all, has written a rather involved piece in that much discussed tragedy, “The Death of Virginia Rappe.”

I have seen but the prologue and find that, as usual, this master of the drama makes one wait through tedious routine in order to catch the fine climaxes and thrills. There has been more of action than of drama. For the most part, the lines run too long to sustain dramatic interest.

This may explain why, in spite of the worldwide publicity, the tragedy has received, the first-night audiences were slim. There was no rush for admission and those who attended were mostly students of life’s dramas or professionals who came in on complimentaries.

While the product was being prepared, I had heard so much of the lead character, Roscoe Arbuckle, that I was a bit disappointed at the manner in which he was shoved into the background in the earlier scenes. A newcomer had been secured,[1] almost on the eve of the first presentation, and had been given all the “fat speeches.”

He is Gavin McNab, a veteran actor who plays the role of attorney for Arbuckle. He gives a fine and finished performance. In his past roles of a political dictator, clubman, and public figure, he has handled himself almost equally well, but he is best known for the performances in which he plays the part of defense counsel.

His stage presence is perfect and he becomes at once a dominant figure. His long and sometimes tiresome lines are forgotten in his excellent facial expressions and suave command of situations.

Arbuckle is doing tremendously fine work in his unhappy role. He is presumed, in the play, to have brought about the death of a beautiful actress, Virginia Rappe, during a revel staged in a fashionable hotel suite.

Here is an actor who, a few months back, was presumed to be fit only for slapstick comedy. Never have I seen a player who so completely reversed his type. His expression is frequently that of a hurt and troubled victim of circumstances, perplexed by what is going on about him, appealing to all eyes for sympathy. Again, he is the tense observer of the figures that pass before him, as though disinterested in all else but that upon which his eye centers. It is an impressive performance, having a tendency to make one forget the lack of drama and center upon this characterization of the man who plays the “heavy.”

Quite an interesting a performance is given by Minta Durfee Arbuckle, the wife. It has been customary in drama of this sort for the accused and his wife to appear side by side, but here we have the wife in a more or less inconspicuous part of the stage. Accustomed to the ingénue, the soubrette of light opera roles, she now appears in a semi-emotional part—that of a wife helping her husband in his fight for freedom. My chief criticism would be that she overdresses a bit for the part.

The district attorney and his assistants are handled with fine restraint by Matthew Brady and Milton U’Ren. Assurance and confidence, rather than spectacular stagecraft, marks their work.

Comedy relief was furnished for the most part by several dozen men and women who had bits as prospective jurors. They acted as “feeders” for the lines of the attorney characters.

Altogether it gets away to a fair start and, as the plot later proceeds, may prove as interesting a drama of life as had been done in some years.

San Francisco Hall of Justice, the site of all three Arbuckle trials (Calisphere)

[1] A reference to Gavin McNab having taken over as lead defense counsel from Frank Dominguez.

100 Years Ago This Week: November 14–18, 1921

One hundred years ago Roscoe Arbuckle’s trial for manslaughter in the death of Virginia Rappe began. Most of that first week was taken up by jury selection. Although Arbuckle’s chief defense lawyer, Gavin McNab was reportedly against including women on the jury, he and prosecutor Matthew Brady settled on five women and eight men, including one alternate.

Although the procedure of accepting and rejecting jurors is tedious, we devote some attention to this deliberate process because it reveals much of the trial strategies of both the prosecution and defense.

For those of you who have followed this blog, we discussed the possible testimony of George Glennon, the St. Francis Hotel detective (see George Glennon, the muted witness). His midnight interview with Virginia Rappe on September 5, 1921—conducted hours after she had been found in Arbuckle’s bedroom variously in a state of shock and hysteria, tearing at her clothes—was intended to be used by the defense to quickly end the trial in an acquittal. If a jury had heard that Rappe had absolved Arbuckle of injuring her, the case in all likelihood would be over. No matter how much circumstantial evidence there was in room 1219, her words would underscore Arbuckle’s professions of innocence. He only need take the stand and provide an anodyne account that that would make him out to be nothing less than a decent, caring gentleman.

However District Attorney Matthew Brady and his deputies challenged Glennon’s simple question-and-answer statement as hearsay and managed to keep it out of the record. Accusations of witness tampering were being made against both sides so the objection may have been borne of that suspicion.

Similarly, McNab and his colleagues intended to get the doctors who attended Rappe to “speak” for Arbuckle. Here Maude Delmont factored. She had, as Rappe’s companion at the Labor Day party, looked after Rappe and taken charge as her ersatz medical power-of-attorney. She spoke with some authority, despite being inebriated, and was the person the attending physicians consulted about what was wrong with Ms. Rappe. But the Prosecution saw to it that Delmont’s comments to the physicians were also barred from the record.

At the end of the second week of the trial, one of these doctors, Melville Rumwell, was called to the stand as a defense witness. He, too, like Glennon, had spoken with Rappe in the hotel about her condition. Again, the answers Rappe gave Rumwell were believed to have exonerated Arbuckle. These too were stricken as hearsay.

This defense strategy is intriguing on several levels, given the prosecution’s determined effort to prevent a jury from hearing a narrative that included the words of Rappe and Delmont. While it seems counterintuitive to silence the victim and the accuser, we think we understand Prosecutor Brady’s motivation. At the time Rappe’s injury occurred, Delmont’s initial statements might have intentionally downplayed Arbuckle’s involvement without really knowing what the truth was. She didn’t want to be at the center of a sex scandal. Rappe, too, may have been likeminded. They didn’t, like other guests, see any gain in getting Arbuckle in trouble, whether he did something injurious behind the door of room 1219, something desperate to save his reputation, or something that, as he made it out to be, the Good Samaritan redux.

In other words, Brady and his deputies were building their case on the belief that Arbuckle had injured Rappe in a clumsy attempt at rape or possibly rough consensual sex and they couldn’t afford to let anything Rappe or Delmont had said that evening stop them.

Roscoe Arbuckle and costar Alice Lake in The Rough House (1919) (Private collection)

George Glennon, the muted witness

Roscoe Arbuckle’s first trial for manslaughter was to begin on Monday, November 7, 1921. But the following day was Election Day and Armistice Day would be celebrated later in the week. So, Judge Harold Louderback of the Superior Court of San Francisco County announced that he would delay the opening of the trial one week.

This gave the prosecution and defense breathing space to consolidate their strategies. Assistant District Attorney Isadore Golden had been dispatched to Chicago to get the testimony of Mrs. Katherine Fox. She had been Rappe’s mentor and virtual foster mother since 1905. Mrs. Fox had been responsible for coaxing Rappe to become a teenage art model, dancer, and stage performer. Undoubtedly, Mrs. Fox also directed Golden to other associates who might contradict the testimony of the three Chicago witnesses deposed by Arbuckle’s lawyers, Alfred Sabath and Charles Brennan.

The Chicago witnesses for the defense, especially the nurse/midwife/provider of adoption services, Josephine Rafferty Roth, would help convince a jury that Rappe’s bladder and sex organs had been ravaged by unwanted pregnancies, bouts of cystitis, and the invasive procedures the treatment of those conditions involved in the early twentieth century.

Arbuckle’s lead attorney Gavin McNab, however, had an even stronger card to play in house detective George Glennon. Glennon had initially been interviewed and dismissed by the District Attorney’s office only to be later chosen as a witness for the defense.

His testimony might have been enough to sway a jury to acquit Arbuckle of the manslaughter charge. But what he had to say was largely squelched by prosecution objections on the basis of hearsay.

Despite not being able to deliver on Arbuckle’s behalf, Glennon may have been rewarded for his willingness, having made the curious career move from hotel dick to movie theater manager, a job he held until Prohibition ended and he went back to his preferred profession of bartending.

The following draft passage is where we introduce him into our account of Labor Day, September 5, with the working title of “The Life of the Party.”

Around midnight, Virginia Rappe received a visit from George Francis Glennon, the stout, middle-aged house detective at the, St. Francis Hotel. As a defense witness during the first Arbuckle trial, Glennon said that Maude Delmont and Dr. Beardslee were in room 1227 when he arrived. Despite the late hour, he wanted to speak to Rappe.

Glennon held various jobs over the years. As a boy, he operated a freight elevator and, in later years, worked as clerk, a chauffeur, and as a bartender, a job at which he excelled. Prior to Prohibition, Glennon was described as “the best mixologist in the business” while employed at the Hotel Terminal’s bar on Market Street. We can assume he had a brutish attitude, having made the news for striking an effeminate young man who had “lisped” a request for a “beauty special,” a lavender-colored cocktail with a dash of ice cream.[1] The blow cost him a ten-dollar fine. The coming of Prohibition however forced him out of bartending altogether. – at which point he found work as a special policeman.

The special police were essentially security guards and privately paid by the businesses that hired them. Special police were employed by banks, penny arcades, movie theaters, skating rinks, and the like. They worked as night watchmen in warehouses, factories, and on San Francisco waterfront. They also worked as hotel detectives. Since they carried firearms and could arrest people, they were licensed by the San Francisco Police and were considered peace officers as well. Thus, Glennon possessed a modicum of authority if there should be trouble in the hotel in the form of an unruly guest, room thief, call girl, and any other criminal acts on the hotel’s premises.

So the Arbuckle party, despite being hosted by a frequent and famous guest, couldn’t be ignored. There was liquor in plain view in Room 1220, seen by maids, bellboys, waiters, and now an assistant manager, Harry Boyle. It had also become known that an unclothed woman at the party had been found in severe distress and had to be carried to an empty room. By the time Glennon arrived late in the evening, she had already been seen four times by the two hotel doctors.

However when Glennon was a defense witness at the first Arbuckle trial, he was prevented from discussing his brief conversation with Rappe, as the prosecution objected on the basis it was hearsay.

Glennon’s account was reported in the newspapers though and, unlike the accounts provided by Drs. Kaarboe and Beardslee who said she barely spoke, he said he found Rappe to be alert and responsive to his questions. She was no longer agitated. If Glennon indulged in any small talk with her, it went unreported. Instead, Glennon got to the point, asking a battery of questions that had nothing to do with her welfare but rather serendipitously worded as though by a lawyer to exonerate Arbuckle when the time came.

Glennon said he asked Rappe if Arbuckle had hurt her and she answered “no”. Then Glennon asked if anyone had hurt her. “I do not know,” Rappe allegedly said. “I may have been hurt by falling off the bed.”[2]

[1] Universal News Service, “Beauty Special Was Too Much for This Bartender,” The [Pomona]Bulletin, 10 September 1919, 6.

[2] “Girl Said to Have Cleared Arbuckle: Clown’s Lawyer Has Statement from the Hotel Sleuth,” Daily Arkansas Gazette, 11 November 1921, 1.

100 Years Ago Today: Arbuckle’s lawyers state they will not defame Virginia Rappe, October 31, 1921

After spending a week in Chicago, lawyer Charles H. Brennan of San Francisco had secured depositions from three witnesses, among them Josephine Rafferty Roth, a midwife and nurse. All three claimed that Rappe had given birth to a premature baby in 1908 and again in 1910 and treated more than once for the “same trouble,” meaning the chronic cystitis that was evidenced in her autopsy.

Nevertheless, Brennan reassured reporters in Chicago, “The defense has no intention of defaming the character of Miss Rappe after she is dead. We are merely trying to establish the fact that Miss Rappe had been suffering from organic trouble for a long time. Arbuckle, we contend, was not responsible for the rupture which caused her death.” The introduction of a “fallen woman” trope, however, was undoubtedly intended. If Rappe was to blame, then Arbuckle was the unfortunate victim of a coincidence.

Fallen woman? Virginia Rappe in Redbook, August 1912

Virginia Rappe’s dog

One of the last photographs taken of Virginia Rappe before she left for San Francisco in September 1921 was with her dog “Jeff.” Like Roscoe Arbuckle’s dog “Luke,” Jeff was a Staffordshire bull terrier. The difference between the two was that Jeff had a brindle coat and, like Rappe, hadn’t made it big in pictures.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jeff-and-rappe2.jpg
Rappe and Jeff, 1921 (Calisphere)

Jeff was from a large menagerie of animals acquired by Rappe’s boyfriend, the comedy director Henry Lehrman, when he was in charge of Fox Studio’s Sunshine Comedy Co.

The menagerie also included: “Joe,” a monkey; “Theodore,” a cat; “Billy,” a goat; “Bum,” a bulldog; “Rats,” a terrier; “Ludwig,” a dachshund; as well as three unnamed white mice and four canaries.[1] Lehrman also had ostriches, ducks, chickens, a small herd of elephants, and a pair of lions.

Jeff’s first performance may have been this studio photograph with Virginia Rappe (below). He sits on a telephone stand while Rappe poses in a summer suit and Panama hat.[2]

Jeff and Virginia Rappe, about 1917 (Library of Congress)

The puppy bonded with her over time, due in part to her stepping in to comfort him when she thought his trainer was abusive.

Jeff was evidently indifferent about movie stardom, having once wandered away from a shoot in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park in August 1918, and found only after Lehrman was forced to offer a reward.

Eventually, Jeff became Rappe’s charge after he began routinely waiting at her car in the parking lot of Lehrman’s Culver City before she left for home. After refusing to recognize any other master, Rappe was allowed to keep Jeff as her own. But given Lehrman’s penchant for dangerous stunts, Jeff may have been easy to part with, having already lost an eye, which spoiled his appearance and ended his brief career.

[1] “Who Said Monkey Dinner?” Los Angeles Times, 29 July 1917, III:2.

[2] See “Lost Dog Star, Not Sirius, But Lehrman’s Jess [sic],” Los Angeles Herald, 10 August 1918, II:3; and “Aunt, Pet Mourn Death of Miss Rappe,” San Francisco Call, 16 September 1921, 2.

Document dump #8: The first comprehensive report, published twenty-four hours after Virginia Rappe’s death

[This early report, in the early afternoon of September 10, 1921, raised our eyebrows more than once. You will read here, just as the San Francisco Call readers did a century ago, how many of the essential details of what became the Arbuckle case were known. There is much here about the illegal autopsy performed on Rappe’s body, which suggests that had someone—a whistleblower—not called the S.F. Coroner’s office, Arbuckle’s downfall might never have happened. Other revelations here, of course, include the term “spontaneous” to describe Rappe’s bladder rupture. The source, Dr. Ophuls, the professor of pathology at Stanford’s medical school, didn’t use that term again. He also described the walls of Rappe’s bladder as thin. Later he used the term “small for a woman her size.” Notice too, that all those foxtrots and like dances imagined at the Labor Day party in various Arbuckle narratives are certainly moot.]


FRESNO, Sept 10. —Roscoe Arbuckle, film star, tore through Fresno today in a high-powered car, on his way to San Francisco for the inquiry into the death of Virginia Rappe, movie actress. He would not pause to give new details of his answer to charges involving him, but said he would reach San Francisco at 3 p. m.

A manifold official investigation was begun today into the death of Virginia Rappe, film beauty, following a drinking party in the suite of Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle, film star, at the Hotel St. Francis.

The police, while spreading a watch for Arbuckle as he sped north from Los Angeles, detailed a squad of veteran detectives to the case, and the coroner’s office and District Attorney Matthew Brady both took steps for a complete investigation, while members of the grand jury also went into the case with a view to action by that body.

Clubwomen also entered the situation, many of them telephoning officials of the grand jury demanding an inquiry. The jury may take up the case at its regular meeting Monday night.

The investigation included not only the circumstances of the actress’ injury, illness and death, but those of an autopsy performed at the request of the physician in charge of her case, Dr. M. E. Rumwell.

Dr. Rumwell, instructed to appear at the coroner’s office to explain, telephoned that he would come this afternoon and said the autopsy was regular, the case having been one of natural causes.

Dr. William Ophuls went to the morgue and declared that the autopsy was regular, and he had taken it for granted the legal requirements had been met by his confrere.

A coroner’s jury met this afternoon to view the body, which was photographed.

These developments today came on the heels of the breaking of a dam which had held up all word of the scandal for several days. Acting Captain of Detectives Michael Griffin detailed Detectives Henry McGrath, Griffith Kennedy ard Thomas Regan to the case with orders to look into the autopsy matter as well as all other features.

District Attorney Matthew Brady said this afternoon: “It is reported death occurred under mysterious circumstances. If necessary my entire force will be detailed to aid the police in a full investigation and if it is found death was due to an attack or abuse by any person, we will prosecute. We will go after anyone who seems guilty just as strongly as we went after the Howard street gangsters.”

When he spoke, Brady had not been officially advised of the case.

Curtis Clifford, foreman of the grand jury, said today that the case had not been called to his notice, officially, but that he would investigate with a view to bringing the matter before the grand jury if the circumstances warrant it.


The grand jury is due back tomorrow from a trip to Hetch Hetchy.

Harry Kelly, secretary of the grand jury, also declared the grand jury was ready to hear all pertinent evidence in .the case. He said he himself had received telephone messages from many clubwomen demanding grand jury inquiry.

Arbuckle left Los Angeles at 1 a.m. today by auto, accompanied by Frank Dominguez, Los Angeles attorney. He said he was coming to help in the inquiry.

The police established a watch for his machine, with orders to take him to the detective bureau immediately on his arrival.

Arbuckie came north issuing denials of responsibility for the girl’s death. The stomach of the actress was sent to Dr. Frank T. Green, city chemist, for analysis, following the report of the physicians who attended her that death was caused by peritonitis, due to a rupture of the bladder, which might have been caused by a fall or by a blow.

This action was taken by the coroner’s office after the autopsy had been performed by a private physician, Dr. Ophuls, called in especially for that purpose by the doctors who had been attending the woman.

The body was taken from the hospital to the undertaking: establishment of Halstead & Co., 1122 Sutter street, and later removed to the morgue. Dr. Ophuls and Dr. M. E. Rumwell, whose patient the woman had been and therefore in charge of the case, were directed to go to the morgue to give their explanation.

It was declared that Dr. Ophuls assumed the other doctors had fulfilled the legal requirements for an autopsy and that he considered his action a part of routine in a surgical case.

The death of the woman was learned by accident by the coroner’s office.


Yesterday afternoon a woman phoned, saying she was speaking from the Wakefield Sanitarium, 1065 Sutter street, where the actress had died. She asked when the autopsy was to be performed.

Coroner T. B. W. Deland was at Santa Crux with the naval reserve, but Deputy Michael Brown, who had answered the phone, went to the hospital immediately after the woman, presumably an employee, had hung up without giving further details.

At the hospital Brown was refused the name of the dead woman and told to see Dr. Rumwell, whose patient the woman had been. He waited.

Presently Dr. Rumwell and Dr. Ophuls came down stairs. They had portions of the body—specimens.

Brown told them they had exceeded the law and had them telephone to the chief deputy coroner, Mrs. Jane C. Walsh. Dr. Rumwell said he had beep trying to get Dr. Leland by telephone.

Dr. Shelby Strange, acting autopsy surgeon, was sent to make a post mortem examination, and today the body was ordered taken from the undertaker’s, Halsted & Co., where it was removed from the hospital, and subjected to a new examination at the morgue.

Dr. Strange found bruises on the right and left legs of the body, one apparently from a pinch on the arm. and dark spots on the abdomen.

Dr. Ophuls said today, death was caused by peritonitis, due to a rupture of an abnormally thin bladder.

Dr. Rumwell was called to the St. Francis Tuesday. The actress remained at the hotel till Thursday, when she was taken to the hospital.

Dr. Rumwell was the physician in charge of the case and called in others in consultation—Doctors W. P. Read and Emmet Rixford.

His contention was, when asked for an explanation by the coroner’s office, that the case was one of natural causes and therefore his conduct was within the law’s requirement.

When the deputy coroner went to the hospital and met Dr. Rumwell immediately after the autopsy performed by Dr. Ophuls, Dr. Rumwell was told that he should have got in touch with the coroner’s representatives and that the law demanded that relatives or the coroner’s office issue a permit for an autopsy.

He said: “I did not attend the woman but was called in only for the autopsy. I found a spontaneous’ rupture of the urinary bladder. It was abnormally thin and may have been too full. There were no signs of violence. The case was simply a surgical one in which the diagnosis was doubtful.”

He denied a report that one of the woman’s ribs was broken.

Dr. Beardslee was the St. Francis house surgeon. He attended the woman while she was there before Dr. Rumwell was called in.


According to members of the party of nine that participated in the party at the hotel, which took place Monday, there was plenty of liquor in Arbuckle’s room. Virginia Rappe’s case was at first believed by her companions to be one of hysterics. She had taken two drinks, they said. The physicians who treated her found her suffering apparently from alcoholism.

As pieced together by the police, the story of the events leading up to the fatal illness is this:

Miss Rappe, Mrs. Maude Del Mont and Al Semnacher, manager for Miss Rappe, met at a Los Angeles candy shop and motored to San Francisco, going to the Palace Hotel. They spent Sunday night at the hotel.

Arbuckle telephoned the Palace and invited them to his rooms at the St. Francis on Monday. There was general drinking. Arbuckle and Virginia Rappe went into a room of his suite adjoining that in which the party was being held. The door was locked. According to one report, eventually there were sounds of a scuffle and an outcry.


Pounding on the door eventually brought out Arbuckle. He was clad then, as before, in pajamas and bathrobe. The girl lay on the bed in the room where she had gone with him. She was naked. According to women members of the party her clothing, even her stockings, was torn to shreds so that she could not be clothed at once. The girl was put to bed in another room. She was unconscious. A cold bath did not revive her. The hotel management was notified.

Arbuckle had come to San Francisco with Frederick Fishback and Lowell Sherman.

The management of the hotel knew nothing of the party in the actor’s suite except that he asked that a phonograph be sent up and this was complied with when it was determined the machine was not wanted for dancing.


Here is the story as told today by Arbuckle, with the corroboration of Fishback and Sherman:

“We arrived In San Francisco. Fishback, Sherman and I, last Saturday afternoon and went to the St. Francis Hotel, where we engaged an apartment. Tired from the long trip, we went to sleep immediately. Shortly before noon Monday a friend of Mr. Fishback. with us in the apartment, remarked that he had seen Miss Rappe at the Palace, and desired to meet her, as he wished her to model some gowns for him.”


“I told him that I knew her and would make the introduction. She readily consented to come to the St. Francis. After meeting the man, we had a few drinks. Miss Rappe had one or two drinks. She went into the other room of the apartment and began tearing her clothes from her body and screaming.

“The other woman, Maude Del Mont, and a companion, rushed into the room. They put Miss Rappe into a tub of cold water. She cried out that gas had formed around her heart—that she couldn’t breathe.

“We engaged another room in the hotel for her and moved her there. Then a physician was called and, after he reported that she had quieted down, Mr. Sherman and I went down into the dining room and danced the rest of the evening.

“We already had engaged passage on the Harvard to return to Los Angeles Tuesday, and did so.

“We had not received any intimation that Miss Rappe’s illness was as serious as it turned out to be and were very much surprised to learn of her death.”


One of the women guests at the party gave new details today, saying:

In all there were eight or ten people there. Some came in and went out after a little while.

Virginia Rappe went to the bath room, which connected the room where all were with another.

Arbuckle followed and took her to the other room. He said something about having waited five years for her.

Then there were screams.

She said, “He’s killing me.” Someone kicked on the door and told him to let her out. He said “no.”

When the door was finally opened, she was hysterical and he was swearing at her.

Among those who were In Arbuckle’s suite during the party, according to other guests, were Lowell Sherman, an actor; Dollie Clark and a man named Glass. Arbuckle was ordered from the hotel, according to Assistant Manager H. J. Boyle. This the actor denies.


Boyle said:

“Mr. Arbuckle came to the hotel Monday and took a suite of two rooms. Monday afternoon he sent word that he wanted a phonograph, and after Assistant Manager Thomas Keating had learned that no dance records were desired—only popular songs—he sent the machine and some records.

“There was nothing to cause comment until late in the afternoon, when a woman’s voice from the room occupied by Mrs. Del Mont asked for assistance, saying:

“A woman is hysterical tip here and is tearing her clothes off. You had better do something about it.”

“I went to the room, but before I entered the room another door opened, and Arbuckle, clad in a bath robe, pajamas and bath slippers, came to the door of the adjoining room and said: “She is in here; come in.”


“I entered and lying on the bed was Miss Rappe, nearly nude and unconscious. Mrs. Del Mont, three or four women whose names I did not learn, a man who gave his name as L. Sherman and another who gave his name as Fred Fishback. both of Los Angeles, were in the room.

“Their story was that the young woman had had three drinks and had become hysterical. There were several bottles in evidence, and I took it for granted that there was nothing more serious than a drinking party. Mrs. Del Mont wanted another room for Miss Rappe and she was placed in bed.


Later her condition became so serious that a physician was asked for and one of the hotel’s assistant physicians was sent in the absence of Dr. Arthur Beardslee, the house physician. Later he arrived and took charge of the case, which was deemed sufficiently serious to make it advisable to send the young woman to the hospital.


A detailed version of the event was given to the police In the form of a sworn statement by Alice Blake, art actress, living at the Woodrow Hotel, 364 O’Farrell street.

She has been appearing in a revue at Tait’s.

Her statement, given to Detective Griffith Kennedy, says:

“On Monday, about 2 o’clock, Lowell Sherman, an actor friend, called me and invited me to a party in Roscoe Arbuckle’s apartments, rooms 1219, 1220 and 1221. at the Hotel St Francis. There were several people in the room when I entered. There were Sherman, a short, stout Jewish gentleman whose name I do not know; Mrs. Maude Del Mont Miss Zey Prevon. Miss Virginia Rappe and Arbuckle.

“When I entered Arbuckle and Miss Rappe were occupying a settee together. All were laughing and talking. All had been drinking. Miss Rappe was drinking gin and orange Juice. We all ordered something to eat and afterward just sat around and talked.”

Alice Blake, September 1921 (Associated Press)


“Various people whom I did not know, men and women, came in from time to time. One of them was Al Semtoacher, who, I was told, was Miss Rappe’s manager. At this time we were in room 1220, which was used as a reception room. After we had finished eating. Miss Rappe got up and went into the bath room, which was connected with Arbuckle’s room, No. 1219.”


“About the same time I went into room 1221 with Miss Prevon. When I returned a few moments later neither Arbuckle nor Miss Rappe was present. I asked Sherman where Arbuckle and Miss Rappe were. He replied; “In there.” pointing to the door of room 1219. About a half hour later Mrs. Del Mont tried to get into the room, but the door was locked. She banged and banged on the door and Arbuckle came out. As he opened the door we heard Miss Rappe moaning and crying. ‘I am dying! I am dying!’ Arbuckle came out and sat down with us and said. ‘Go in and. get her dressed and take her back to the Palace. She makes too much noise.’

“In the meantime Mrs. Del Mont had entered the room where Miss Rappe was. Miss Prevon and I entered and found Miss Rappe lying on the bed. She was entirely unclothed. She was moaning and crying. She seemed to be in great pain and I tried at once to help her. I first thought she was suffering from gas pains so I gave her a cup of hot water with bicarbonate of soda, but she vomited at once.

“Someone suggested a cold bath, so we filled the tub, and one of the men and I carried her and put her into it for a moment. It had no effect so We took her out.”


“We tried to dress her but found her clothes torn to shreds. Her shirtwaist, underclothes and even her stockings were ripped and torn so that one could hardly recognize what garments they were. We could not dress her because her clothes were torn so.

“After that a clerk was summoned. Then we carried her to room 1227, which we had engaged, and the house physician, I believe, was called. There was plenty of liquor there, but I was told that Miss Rappe had only had two drinks. I had only one drink myself. “From the time I entered the suite arid all during the party Arbuckle was clothed in pajamas, a bathrobe and bedroom slippers.”

Virginia Rappe had been in the movies for several years, was well known in film circles and had played important parts in some productions, but is said not to have been working lately.