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Roscoe Arbuckle reading the latest issue of La Vie Parisienne, dated 17 January 1920. The front cover illustrations shows an older male skater pulling a young female into a hole in the ice while tearing off her clothes. The rear cover depicts two streetwalkers having a conversation in which one asks the other if she believes in the end of the world (monde). The other responds how could she know since they are both of the demimonde. (Library of Congress)

Virginia Rappe’s Dog

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

100 Years Ago Today: The bladder with a fuse on top, October 22, 1921

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

100 Years Ago Today: The propaganda war against Rappe begins, October 16, 1921

[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

100 Years Ago Today: “Fatty” Arbuckle pleads “not guilty”, October 13, 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

Nurse Cumberland, Dr. Rumwell et al.

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).

Document Dump #7: Ernestine Black on Maude Delmont

[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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