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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 “Pyjamarama” of 1915

Anyone who writes objectively about the manslaughter trials of Roscoe Arbuckle will notice that the image of Virginia Rappe, his alleged victim, fades from the press coverage of the three trials between November 1921 and April 1922. Immediately following her death on September 9, 1921 though there was a surfeit of Rappe photographs published. Many of … Continue reading Virginia Rappe’s “Pyjamarama” of 1915

NOLA: Zey handicaps the prosecution

The following passage from our work-in-progress is based on research for an earlier deprecated post and prefaces the third Arbuckle trial narrative. “Burn it up,” said Frank Mayo, “The Hollywood film colony is a pernicious influence.[1] Scatter it, abolish it—something ought to be down. Burn it up—I say!” The young leading man had been quoted … Continue reading NOLA: Zey handicaps the prosecution

Maude Delmont’s unrealized disambiguation

The following is an interpolation from our work-in-progress that allows for a segue between the second and first Arbuckle trials. The day after second Arbuckle trial ended in a hung jury, the San Francisco’s newspaper announced the possible engagements of the two women who were present when Virginia Rappe passed away in September.[*] Sidi Spreckels, … Continue reading Maude Delmont’s unrealized disambiguation

A magic lantern slide for A Twilight Baby, Virginia Rappe’s only star billing

As we have been writing and editing our work-in-progress on Virginia Rappe and Roscoe Arbuckle, our blog entries have been fewer in number but hardly pushed aside. We were recently alerted to the object depicted below, an artifact from a critical turning point in the life of Virginia Rappe. Of course, many things we do … Continue reading A magic lantern slide for A Twilight Baby, Virginia Rappe’s only star billing

Artist’s sketches from the second Arbuckle Trial

To our knowledge, the Arbuckle trials saw no courtroom artists as we have come to know their work, which often captures some compelling moment in a jury trial of public interest. During the second Arbuckle trial, however, the San Francisco Call enlisted the well-known American engraver and Western artist Fred Grayson Sayre to draw Roscoe … Continue reading Artist’s sketches from the second Arbuckle Trial

Minta Durfee takes the stand (or getting ahead of the court of public opinion)

We have been toying with incorporating certain contextualized documents in the book as interpolations or as parts of a conventional appendix. This piece, now in public domain, is inserted between the end of the first Arbuckle trial and the beginning of the second. Intermezzo: The True Story About My Husband[*] Mrs. Minta Durfee Arbuckle In … Continue reading Minta Durfee takes the stand (or getting ahead of the court of public opinion)

Brady answers charge of witness intimidation, January 21, 1922

The following is Matthew Brady’s response to Edgar Gleeson of the San Francisco Call. Here he refutes the notion that he or his subordinates coerced Alice Blake and Zey Prevost. He also explains his rationale for “protecting” them from bad influences, namely Arbuckle’s lawyers and their agents. He cites precedent here: two rape victims who … Continue reading Brady answers charge of witness intimidation, January 21, 1922

The San Francisco Call goes all-in for Roscoe Arbuckle, January 20, 1922

The day before the second Arbuckle trial began with jury selection, two young women waited outside the offices of San Francisco District Attorney Matthew Brady. Alice Blake and Zey Prevost, two unemployed “showgirls”—a term that doesn’t do them justice—wanted to be paid “witness fees” for their testimony at the first Arbuckle trial. A trial that … Continue reading The San Francisco Call goes all-in for Roscoe Arbuckle, January 20, 1922

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