Black Dahlia bus tour gets into the heads of the lonely girls of WW2 L.A.
WHAT: Esotouric's Real Black Dahlia Crime Bus Tour
WHEN: Saturday September 25, 12pm-4pm
WHERE: Departing from The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 5th & Olive, L.A. FYI: Esotouric is the only tour company invited to begin its tours in the historic Biltmore Hotel. 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: http://www.esotouric.com, 323-223-2767
On September 25, the eclectic bus adventure company Esotouric offers its most popular true crime tour, THE REAL BLACK DAHLIA. 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 mid1946 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 and special event schedule
Sat Aug 28 - Reyner Banham Loves LA: The Lowdown on Downtown
Sun Aug 29 - LAVA Sunday Salon (info at www.lavatransforms.org)
Sat Sept 11 - Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice crime bus tour
Sat Sept 18 - Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour
Sat Sept 25 - The Real Black Dahlia crime bus tour
Sat Oct 9 - The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain's So. Cal Nightmare
Sat Oct 16 - John Buntin's L.A. Noir
Sun Oct 24 - CSULA crime lab tour (info at www.lavatransforms.org)
Sat Oct 30 - Maja's Mysteries: Rapture & Release
Sat Nov 6 - Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles
Sun Nov 7 - CSULA crime lab tour (info at www.lavatransforms.org)
Sat Nov 13 - Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski's L.A.
Sat Dec 4 - Pasadena Confidential with Crimebo the Clown
Sat Dec 11 - Eastside Babylon crime bus tour
Esotouric's Richard Schave, Kim Cooper and Joan Renner are proud members ofLAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association.
For more info on Esotouric, visit
For more on the Dr. Walter Bayley theory, visit Larry Harnisch's "Heaven is Here" website