One of the last photographs taken of Virginia Rappe before she left for San Francisco in September 1921 was of herself and her dog “Jeff.” Like Roscoe Arbuckle’s “Luke,” Jeff was a Staffordshire terrier. The difference between the two was that Jeff had a brindle coat and no film credits to his name. Jeff was … Continue reading Virginia Rappe’s Dog
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 … Continue reading Document dump #8: The first comprehensive report, published twenty-four hours after Virginia Rappe’s death
Before meeting with Minta Durfee as she was en route to join her husband in San Francisco, Chicago attorney Albert Sabath had been digging into Virginia Rappe’s earlier life in his city. In doing so, and without ever appearing in a San Francisco courtroom, the former amateur playwright may have done as much as Arbuckle’s … Continue reading 100 Years Ago Today: The bladder with a fuse on top, October 22, 1921
Four years before he coauthored Ecstasy and Me (1966), the autobiography of Hedy Lamarr, Leo Guild published The Fatty Arbuckle Case (1962), the first book in English to tell the “true” story of the death of Virginia Rappe and the three Arbuckle trials. Guild’s previous credits included Bachelor’s Joke Book (1953), The Loves of Liberace … Continue reading Leo Guild’s The Fatty Arbuckle Case
[The following is a draft passage about the first wave of “defamation” and “propaganda”—the actual terms used by San Francisco District Attorney Matthew Brady—that began on the same day that his counterpart on Roscoe Arbuckle’s defense team, Gavin McNab, assumed his lead role. A series of news stories began to appear during the second half … Continue reading 100 Years Ago Today: The propaganda war against Rappe begins, October 16, 1921
On the day the United States outlawed the home brewing of beer and the New York Giants won the 1921 World Series over the New York Yankees, the Arbuckle case saw another milestone. In the company of his lawyers, Milton Cohen and Charles Brennan, Roscoe Arbuckle entered San Francisco’s Hall of Justice and appeared before … Continue reading 100 Years Ago Today: “Fatty” Arbuckle pleads “not guilty”, October 13, 1921
We are currently working on the book proper—as well as finishing a short break from blog content. This photomontage from the San Francisco Call of September 13, 1921, presents several rare photographs of the doctors who treated Virginia Rappe as well as her night nurse, Vera Cumberland (who is discussed in previous blog entries).
Accurately reconstructing the facts of Virginia Rappe’s life is crucial for our book in order to show how much it stands in contrast to the life posited by Roscoe Arbuckle’s lawyers. To do this, we had to pay attention to even the tiniest piece of evidence. Here is a case in point. We are currently … Continue reading Reading a photograph of Virginia Rappe
[Early this morning, TCM host Jacqueline Stewart featured a documentary about the silent film actor Francis X. Bushman, narrated by one of his grandsons. The following provisional passage is from our draft and covers an episode in Bushman’s life that we didn’t expect to see covered in the documentary, that is, the interruption in Bushman’s … Continue reading Francis X. Bushman and Virginia Rappe
[Ernestine Wollenberg Black (1881–1970) was the daughter of the San Francisco merchant Louis Wollenberg and his wife Fanny, both German Jewish immigrants, and the widow of another San Francisco journalist, Orlow “Orin” Black. Black was also a suffragist, feminist, and a conspicuous member of Noël Sullivan’s progressive circle in San Francisco during the first half … Continue reading Document Dump #7: Ernestine Black on Maude Delmont
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