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The Manson Family appropriately laid roots, for much of its short existence, at the Spahn Movie Ranch, a fading set popular in an older, black-and-white, cowboy-crazy Hollywood but used for horse rides and an occasional shoot (a Bonanza here, a softcore porn movie there) as Westerns waned in the public imagination.
If the Manson Family’s existence were a movie—and it later became several movies—Spahn Ranch might serve as setting and foreshadowing and metaphor. Like the run-down ranch, its tattooed, hirsute inhabitant never quite made it in the entertainment industry in the late 1960s. So, he exacted his revenge on that industry.
Lessons - Alvin - Karpis - FBI - Public
After taking guitar lessons from Alvin Karpis, once the FBI’s Public Enemy #1, at McNeil Island Penitentiary, Charles Manson petitioned the criminal with connections to land him gigs in Las Vegas. Karpis refused. The year following his release, the parolee made his own connections in the business, befriending Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, who provided Manson and his growing harem a more lavish place to live than Spahn Ranch. In exchange, Manson’s women supplied sex and housekeeping.
Then, as now—the current scandals embroiling Hollywood surely demonstrate this—men used sex as a means of gaining power in the entertainment industry. With more than a dozen girls and young women, many of them extremely attractive and some of them underage, mesmerized by the guru’s spell, Manson empowered himself to gain an audience with powerful men who might otherwise dismiss him by giving them use of the bodies of his acolytes.
Group - Others - Tinseltown - Manson - Dean
The group cozied up to others in tinseltown. Manson recruited Dean Martin’s daughter Deanna, to whom he presented a ring, to join the Family—to no avail. Manson so impressed Neil Young, who later called him “stone-brilliant” and compared him to Bob Dylan, that he gave him a motorcycle and recommended that Reprise Records sign him....
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