Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meet Virginia (Haunted Hollywood Part III)

"Even their graveyard is glamorous."

The young couple held hands and stared, mesmerized, at the lush green paradise surrounding them.

Tall, skinny palm trees burst from a elegantly manicured lawn. Gothic concrete tombstones dusted the landscape.

They had managed to roam into a desolate area of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. In the distance, they could see specks of other tourists paying respects to silver screen icons on a cloudy Labor Day.

As they drew nearer to one section, they could hear a woman crying.

"This place is so beautiful, I forget that actual people have relatives buried here," the 25-year-old girl whispered to her boyfriend.

But as they drew nearer, and the sobbing grew louder, the couple realized something was wrong.

Sitting near a tombstone was a black-haired woman wearing a shredded dress. Her face was buried into her lap.

When the couple stopped walking, the woman looked up.

And then she disappeared.

Hollywood's first and most widely seen and heard ghost is Virginia Rappe.

For almost 100 years, there have been dozens of reports from people hearing and seeing a woman sobbing near Virginia's grave, and then she vanishes into thin air.

When she was barely 20, Virginia moved to Hollywood from Chicago in 1916, desperate to escape a past clogged with abortions, a child out of wedlock, and most likely, sexual abuse.

Stunningly beautiful, she quickly gained work as a model and then as a film actress.

Life was fabulous for the gorgeous brunette. She was the first Hollywood style icon, being officially named "The Best Dressed Girl in Pictures." The public adored Virginia.

But by 1921, her past behavior had caught up with her.

She was humiliated by an incident when a studio executive publicly condemned her for passing an STD to several crew members. Her much-older boyfriend was a complete douchebag. And there were rumors that she was pregnant, seeking to have yet another abortion.

To escape Hollywood's scorn, Virginia accepted an invitation to Fatty Arbuckle's Labor Day weekend bash in San Francisco. To celebrate his new $3 million studio contract, the good-natured overweight comedian had reserved three rooms for a fabulous weekend, promised to be filled with (illegal) unlimited supply of liquor, hot and steamy orgies, and plenty of wild dancing.

On Labor Day, the party had gotten out of control with dozens of people filing in and out of the hotel rooms, giddily drunk and practically naked.

And around 3 p.m. that afternoon, Fatty walked into the bathroom and found Virginia nearly passed out on the floor. Thinking she was merely intoxicated, he picked her up and placed her on the bed.

The next 24 hours, all hell broke loose.

After being placed on the bed, Virginia started tearing at her clothing and screaming in agony. Fatty tried to control her, but she lashed out at him. When people came in the room, Fatty told them Virginia must have had way too much to drink and could they help him put her to bed?

Virginia started screaming that Fatty had violently raped her and she was going to die.

A doctor came and examined Virginia. He found not only no evidence of rape, but no evidence that she had even had sex recently. He did notice she was sweating profusely and in intense pain. He gave her a shot of morphine and left.

The next morning, the 26-year-old was taken to the hospital, where she died of an infection due to a ruptured bladder.

Fatty was charged with rape and murder and after a highly publicized trial, he was declared innocent.

Despite his name being cleared, his reputation was tarnished so badly that his career as America's favorite funny guy was destroyed. He was a ruined man.

And the rumors have been swirling about Virginia's death ever since.

The most popular theory is that Virginia had suffered a botched abortion before she attended the party. After all, it was known that she had been pregnant.

Another major theory is that bacteria from an STD had caused peritonitis, which had ruptured her bladder.

And of course, there are still Hollywood historians, who swear to this day, that Fatty had indeed violently raped Virginia, his morbidly obese body rupturing her bladder in the process.

Unfortunately, since Virginia's organs were destroyed after her death, there is virtually no way of knowing.

So for now, we just have to tip-toe around her grave. And endure the broken-hearted sobs of a woman who came to Hollywood to be a star, and left it as an enigma.

Paving the way for all the beautiful women who became ghosts in her footsteps.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Fallen Starlet (Haunted Hollywood Part II)

"I'm heading out to the drug store to meet some friends."

Uncle Walter looked up and smiled kindly.

"Have fun, sweetie," he said.

Peg Entwistle smiled back.

She exited the charming white bungalow she shared with her uncle and headed up the sidewalk. Golden sunlight pierced through the bright blue sky. The smell of gardenias wafted in the air.

It was truly a beautiful day.

She twisted and turned through neighborhoods and eventually wound up in the dusty brown hills. She was so lost in thought she didn't even realize how far she had walked in such a short period of time.

Up ahead, Peg could see the outline of the Hollywoodland sign. The looming dirty white letters seemed almost disappointingly abrasive against the vast Los Angeles skyline.

Without hesitating she started to walk up the steep brown hill. She slid down. Hitching her long dress up, she clawed her way up the chalky dirt mound. Out of breath and sweating, she eventually reached the top. She was right behind the massive 50-foot sign.

Peg wistfully stared out at the breathtaking view, through each giant letter. God, Los Angeles was stunning.

All of the sudden, she heard a noise behind her. She snapped around. Nobody was there.

"Hello?" she called out.


She took off her coat and folded it neatly, placing it on the ground with her purse. She couldn't quite shake the feeling that somebody was watching her.

She climbed up a workman's ladder on the back of the "H" and stood on top of the letter, peering down at the cityscape below.

And then she performed a perfect swan dive straight down.

The 24-year-old died instantly.

Peg was born in London in 1908, but grew up in New York City. Her mom had died when she was very young, and then when she was a teenager, her father got run over by a car.

After high school, she pursued theater and her natural talent and girl-next-door personality earned her success on Broadway.

During one of her stage productions, sitting in the audience was a girl named Bette Davis, who turned to her mother and whispered, "...I want to be exactly like Peg Entwistle."

In 1932, Peg moved to Los Angeles to see if she could try her hand at movie-acting. Fortunately, her Uncle Walter lived out there, so she was able to live with a watchful guardian, rent-free.

Within the year, she dabbled in stage work and was eventually signed to RKO Studio and cast in a major film production, Thirteen Women. The sweet-tempered blonde couldn't have been more thrilled. She was going to be a star!

But when the film was released, the movie received scathing reviews from critics. RKO dropped Peg's contract like a hot potato.

The 24-year-old was heartbroken and grew severely depressed.

And then one afternoon, she climbed the Hollywood sign and killed herself.

A hiker found her body a couple days later, with her suicide note tucked inside her purse.

 In an ironic twist of fate, just mere days after her death, a letter from the Beverly Hills Playhouse arrived at her uncle's doorstep. The theater wanted her to star in their latest production, playing the role of a woman who commits suicide.

Although she has been dead for exactly 80 years, Peg isn't exactly...gone.

Dozens of people over the past eight decades have reported seeing a forlorn blonde woman in a white dress roaming the grounds near the Hollywood sign.

So in the end, her dream of becoming famous did come true.

Peg is forever known as the Hollywood Sign Girl, the ghost who haunts a landmark representative of hope and success, and all the glorious tragedy that comes with it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Peroxide Blonde (Haunted Hollywood Part I)

"Open the fucking door!"

A chilly breeze enveloped Thelma Todd's scantily clad body.

The glittering lights of Hollywood danced around the building, but the gorgeous starlet was too drunk and too cold to care. After a night of partying at the hottest nightclub in town (and had she gone to a few other places? She couldn't remember. The whole night was a blur), she was now at her boyfriend's apartment. She didn't even know how she got there.

She banged on the door again.

"Let me the fuck in, Roland!"

No answer.


She burst into tears and finally turned around and stumbled down a never-ending staircase. She tripped on the last step and fell down, scraping her bare knee. The world seemed to be spinning. God, she felt like puking. All over Roland's doorstep. Maybe his crazy wife would step in it.

The thought made Thelma smile.

As she walked over to the garage, the star-lit sky faded into pitch black.

The next morning her dead body was discovered inside her running Lincoln convertible, sitting in the garage. Her favorite slinky cocktail dress was clinging to her body. An expensive fur coat wrapped her body protectively.

Despite the bruises on her throat, the two cracked ribs, and the broken nose, the police determined the 28-year-old's death was an accident. She must have gone to her car, turned it on inside the garage, and then passed out drunk, dying from carbon monoxide poisoning, they stated in their report, ignoring the fact that she had clearly been beaten up beforehand.

But people in Thelma's life knew better. And when the details of the peroxide blonde's scandalous adventures were revealed, the public became obsessed.

This was not a girl who died of carelessness.

This was a girl who died of murder.

And there were many people who wanted her dead.

A decade before, when Thelma was a 19-year-old beauty queen on the East Coast, a talent scout encouraged her to try her luck in Hollywood. Upon the move, she quickly discovered fame and fortune in the movie industry. She played the sexy blonde in a string of hit comedies.

But behind the camera, the vivacious actress was a hot mess.

Thelma was dangerously attracted to older, rich men who physically abused her, just like her own father had years before. And she was obsessed with sex, constantly spreading her legs for every guy who offered a simple compliment. She couldn't help it. She craved feeling gorgeous. She needed to feel desired. Without sex, she felt worthless and that was a feeling which terrified her.

She was also addicted to diet pills, stemming from her studio contract, which stated that if she ever gained more than five pounds, her career would be immediately terminated.

Her partying lifestyle introduced her to a rough crowd. Her first husband was a gangster who beat the shit out of her. When Thelma finally left him, she secretly worried that one day he would take revenge. It was a fear always nagging in the back of her mind.

In 1931, Thelma fell in love with her married director, Roland West. His wife, Jewel, didn't bother her. She was annoying and her looks were fading and she clearly couldn't please him in bed. Obviously, no competition.

Plus, she wasn't planning on being entirely faithful either. Thelma couldn't help being attracted to other men and was too weak to fight off her sexual temptations.

In fact, it was her unfaithfulness which was the reason Roland never opened his door for her that crisp December night. He was inside, bitterly ignoring her drunken pleas, too proud to take her back.

And then there was Lucky. Thelma didn't even know how she got herself wrapped up into that mess. Lucky Luciano was the scariest mobster in the Los Angeles area.

When Thelma and Roland opened up their restaurant, Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe, a year before, it had become an overnight success, attracting the Hollywood in-crowd and tourists. Thelma couldn't have been more proud. Here she was, proving to the world that she was more than just a pretty face and nice piece of ass. She was a businesswoman. A real powerhouse!

But one day Lucky just appeared in her life. They'd slept together a few times, after downing bottles of Dom Perignon. He'd rough her up a bit, but nothing she couldn't handle. Then, one afternoon Lucky told her he wanted to take over her nightclub for the mafia. Outraged, she told him to fuck off. The look in his eyes told her she might have taken things too far.

And amidst this mess, this circus of a life she'd created for herself out in paradise, Thelma wound up dead.

The fake friends she'd collected at her side wept for the cameras and told reporters it was a "shock."

Almost exactly two years later, Thelma's ex-husband murdered an actor at the very same nightclub where she had last been seen.

Her lover, Roland, became a recluse and never made another film. He later confessed to murdering her on his deathbed in 1952, but since he was mentally unstable from a stroke, the police dismissed it.

Her money-hungry mother, Roland's bitter wife, and a string of lovers also appeared as possible suspects. But nothing could be proved. And the police, eager to wrap up the media frenzy, stopped analyzing the situation by labeling it an accident.

To this day, nobody knows what really happened to Thelma that night in 1935.

Nobody knows who did it.

But that person got away with it. And they took the details to their grave.

Leaving Hollywood with the mystery.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Just a Girl

I once had a boyfriend get really mad at me and scream,

"You're an estrogen-soaked tampon!"

He went on to rant that I'm so girly, it suffocated him. It was like living inside cotton candy or something.

At the time, I laughed at him. Of course I was girly! Did he want me to be a boy? Good lord.

But lately, I'm beginning to realize what he meant.

I'm not like most girls. I think I'm too much of a girl.

It recently occurred to me that other female news reporters don't show up to interviews wearing floral dresses, using pink feather pens, writing in vintage Barbie notepads, and handing out Tiffany blue business cards. During an interview with two middle-aged city officials this afternoon, I looked up and realized both men were staring at me like I was a unicorn.

And there are other hints that I'm living in cotton candy.

There have been several mornings and afternoons where I get sucked into staring at girly things on the internet for hours. For example, this afternoon I literally spent two hours looking up rabbit-shaped iphone cases. There were polka dot rabbit cases. Pink fluffy-tailed rabbit cases. Glittery turquoise rabbit cases. I didn't buy any of them. I just wanted to look. I was enchanted.

And then I click out of my browser and see my laptop's wallpaper, which is a white fluffy bunny sitting in a bed of pink flowers.

I use Hello Kitty Band-Aids. I know all the names and personalities of the guys in One Direction. I once drove to five different stores until I found Disney Princess sandwich bags. When I'm walking in a store and spot something pink, I stop in my tracks and Rian has to literally drag me away, like I'm a five-year-old.

It's been this way since I was born.

I'm an only child and I didn't interact much with boys growing up.

When I was in high school, I finally found a boyfriend who I thought was absolutely perfect. I couldn't believe I had snagged the ideal guy. He loved to go shopping at the mall with me. He loved Britney Spears as much as I did. Hell, he even knew the dance moves to Baby One More Time better than me! Of course, he turned out gay. So did my next two boyfriends. I had so little in common with straight guys, that I just naturally gravitated towards the gay ones. And I got my heart broken every time.

It wasn't until I was 21 that I learned I was going to have to put up with a straight one if I ever wanted to be in a successful relationship.

And I'm not going to lie. Being around straight guys can be a challenge.

I hate sports. I don't like beer. I could care less about cars. I have absolutely no interest in ever reading Ernest Hemingway. I despise video games. I refuse to drink Mountain Dew. I can't even think of anything else that boys like because they're such a foreign species to me.

And I think one of the reasons I immerse myself in fashion blogs and have befriended so many fashion bloggers is because the community is like home for me. A group of girls (and guys!) who love shopping and pretty clothes and pink stuff! And they talk about it every day! Heaven.

This is me. I can't change me.

But sometimes I worry about my cotton candy world.

What if I suffocate myself?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Swimming in the 20s

I am ridiculously obsessed with the 1920s.

Dorothy. Zelda. Louise.

It was a pretty fabulous decade.

One of the many reasons I love that time period is because of the fashion. It was truly a revolutionary decade for women. Hemlines went up. Corsets went out the door. And fashion started being really fun and eclectic.

Especially when it came to swimsuits.

I don't know about you, but this past summer, I got really tired of seeing this:

It seems like swimsuits these days are just about showing skin. Sure, sometimes on fashion blogs I'll come across a cute bikini, but nothing that makes my jaw drop.

I wish swimsuits were still like they were in the 1920s.

Wouldn't you rather go to the beach and see this?

Okay, swimsuits were basically tank tops with shorts. But they were adorable. It was so easy back then to be creative with this style.

See how much fun these girls are having? I wanna hang out with them! Wait for me!

And since these attractive girls aren't baring it all on the beach, this charming young man is enjoying their company and admiring their personalities. He cares about who they are, not what they are.

Seriously, I want to cry because I don't own this swimsuit. And yes, she's wearing ballet slippers with socks. Like a bad ass.

If a girl in a skimpy bikini was posing in this shot, you probably wouldn't even had noticed that she's feeding the plastic zebra seaweed.

And in the 1920s, you could even wear a costume as a swimsuit! These girls won a swimming tournament dressed as Peter Pan and Robin Hood. (Actually, I have no idea what the fuck is going on here, but work with me).

I really, really want this swimsuit. It's like a lil swimdress. She can keep the bandana though.

Holy shit her umbrella matches her outfit.

HER SHOES MATCH HER SUIT. I can't handle this.

So, yeah. Let's bring back 1920s swimsuits next summer, okay?

I'll be waiting for you with my socks.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Schiaparelli (strikes again)

Coco Chanel's greatest rival is being resurrected from the dead.

Of course, I'm talking about Elsa Schiaparelli.

She was the Isabella Blow of the early 20th century.

Shoe hats. Lobster dresses. Skeleton dresses. Spiraling metal glasses.

A closetful of her designs would be enough to give Lady Gaga a full-blown orgasm.

Schiaparelli created bizarre and surrealistic fashion designs that had people in the 1930s scratching their heads. Of course, today, we think they're cool. She was waaaay ahead of her time.

She closed her shop in 1954 and she died in 1973, but her design house is being revived. The rights to the house were bought six years ago and now her original showroom has been acquired. The first couture line is expected next summer.

Actress Farida Khelfa was named as house ambassador and she's being pretty coy about who will be coming on as the head designer. (There's rumors its John Galliano).

To give you an idea of how cool this is, let me provide you with a little background of Schiaparelli.

The 1920s and 1930s were a whirlwind for the eccentric designer.

She introduced the world to jackets worn with evening gowns, skorts, visible zippers on dresses, and wacky prints (among a zillion other things).

In 1937, the famous designer collaborated with the world's most intriguing artists, creating items of clothing that made her an icon.

She worked with Jean Cocteau to create this legendary jacket.

It was her partnership with Salvador Dalí which raised eyebrows, however.

He painted this lobster dress for Schiaparelli.

The Tears Dress featured a print he made which was intended to give the illusion of torn animal flesh.

He helped her design this skeleton dress.

After his wife jokingly photographed him wearing one of her slippers on his head, Dalí sketched designs for a shoe hat for his friend, which she featured in her 1937-38 collection. It became a popular headpiece for her most famous and wealthy clients.

When she wasn't busy partnering up with her famous artsy friends, Schiaparelli created work inspired by her fans.

Her perfume, "Shocking!" in 1936 came in a bottle shaped like a woman's torso. The bottle, inspired by Mae West, was an explosive pink, which in turn was inspired by her client Daisy Fellowe's famous pink diamond.

Oh, and she is also believed to have invented the first power suit.

So, in other words, Schiaparelli was fucking fabulous.

Needless to say, Chanel hated her guts. The two women tossed insults at each other through news articles.

Unfortunately, after World War II, the bad ass designer refused to keep up with the Christian Dior inspired change in fashion and her business tanked. In 1954, she closed shop. Ironically, it was the same year her rival Chanel decided to come out of retirement.

And now, probably thanks to the success of Lady Gaga's outrageous style, the Schiaparelli house is back.

I can't even imagine what Schiaparelli is going to throw at us next summer.

Are you excited?