Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Esotouric to offer 62nd anniversary of Black Dahlia murder bus tour

WHAT: 62nd Anniversary Edition of Esotouric's Real Black Dahlia Crime Bus Tour

WHEN: Saturday January 10, 12pm-4pm

WHERE: Departing from The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 5th & Olive, L.A.
FYI: Despite the myths, the Biltmore was the actually second-to-last place Beth Short was seen alive; this tour goes to the real last spot as well.

COST: $58/person (15% off for KCRW or KPCC members)

INFO:, 323-223-2767

On January 10, the eclectic bus adventure company Esotouric offers a special anniversary edition of its most popular true crime tour, THE REAL BLACK DAHLIA, during the 62nd Anniversary week of the notorious kidnap/murder. It was January 9, 1947 when Beth Short left the Biltmore Hotel for a nearby bar and vanished, only to be found cut in two in a vacant Crenshaw District lot six days later.

Since January 1947, this one iconic murder mystery has lingered unsolved at the forefront of the American imagination, with dozens of books, films and websites dedicated to solving the slaying of Beth Short, the Massachusetts girl who came to Hollywood hoping to make it, and ended up cut in two in a vacant lot. Suspects in the Black Dahlia murder have included L.A. Times publisher Norman Chandler and Orson Welles, crazed lesbians, twisted drifters and more than one writer's father, but still the mystery abides.

The Real Black Dahlia tour dedicates itself to revealing who victim Elizabeth Short really was by exploring her life in Los Angeles from mid 1946 to her January 1947 murder through examination of the police investigation and news coverage. The various theories are up for discussion during the onboard Q&A sections, and the hosts share their idea of who the killer might have been, but the focus is firmly on the 22-year-old woman whose death continues to fascinate. Along the way, passengers will explore the social history of postwar Los Angeles and its lively downtown scene and learn the role the city played in Short's mysterious death.

The tour begins at the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, where Beth Short went after checking her bags at the Greyhound Terminal. Passengers will tour the beautifully restored hotel before heading south, to the low rent Olive Street bar where she met her murderer. The Downtown portion of the tour includes the Examiner newspaper offices, where the crime became myth as pioneering female City Editor Aggie Underwood spun the case for weeks, and the Figueroa Hotel, where Short stayed in happier times.

The bus then heads west towards Leimert Park and the formerly vacant lot where Short's bisected body was discovered on January 15, 1947. Also in this neighborhood, passengers visit the site of another unsolved 1947 kidnap-murder and the home of Dr. Walter Bayley, who has emerged in recent years as the most compelling suspect, with his personal ties to Beth Short's family and the crime scene, and the surgical skill needed to bisect the body. The tour includes a cop-approved snack stop for Krispy Kreme donuts near the body dump site.

Also featured: a special presentation from cosmetics historian Joan Renner exploring Beth Short's unusual proto-goth make up, so different from the popular girl next store look of 1947, and a key to understanding her psychology.

Passengers on this eye-opening and informative tour will leave with a new understanding of the Black Dahlia case and what it was like to be a single woman in 1940s Los Angeles. It is highly recommended for natives and newcomers, crime and history buffs and anyone who likes to seek out the unexpected.

Upcoming Esotouric bus tour schedule:
Thurs Jan 8- The Hippodrome & Hazard's Pavilion (Downtown Art Walk Shuttles, free)
Sat Jan 10 - The Real Black Dahlia
Sat Jan 17 - Reyner Banham Loves LA: Route 66
Sat Jan 24 - Weird West Adams
Sun Feb 1 - Reyner Banham Loves LA: South LA architecture tour
Thurs Feb 12 - The Hippodrome & Hazard's Pavilion (Downtown Art Walk Shuttles, free)
Sat Feb 14- Blood & Dumplings
Sat Feb 21- Raymond Chandler's LA
Sat Feb 28 - Crawling Down Cahuenga: Tom Waits' LA
Sat March 7 - The Lowdown on Downtown: The Secret History of LA
Thurs March 12 - The Hippodrome & Hazard's Pavilion (Downtown Art Walk Shuttles, free)
Sat March 14 ­ Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski's LA
Sat March 21 ­ Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice
Sat March 28 ­ Pasadena Confidential

For more info on Esotouric, visit

For more on the Dr. Walter Bayley theory, visit Larry Harnisch's "Heaven is Here" website

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