Riding My Time Machine. Again.
So I Googled some names of people I know from the 1970s and came up with a delightful lady in Los Angeles who currently is the Associated Press "Trial Maven." Someone who now held a position once described as a "sob sister writer" back in the day.
She rated front row PRESS seats for the Manson trial, the O.J. Trial, The Menendez Brothers, Michael "Jacko" Jackson, etc. I ran with that group for about half a year then dropped out for measly tourism promotion which was less newsy, less spectacular and a helluva lot less bloody.
She is the leader in fast-paced, front page tabloid journalism. This is cut-throat competition. Impossible deadlines. High profile trials. Hey, we all saw and enjoyed Richard Gere starring in "CHICAGO." And, if you're old enough, remember the newspaper-types in "Front Page?" A different world!
After an extensive online search, I actually found an e-mail address for Linda and dropped her a note from "someone in your really, really, really distant past." I had given her a beer toast at a Halloween party while wearing handcuffs for Pete's sake.(Me cuffed, not Linda. She was probably holding a reporter's notebook)
She wrote back immediately. (I LOVE high technology.) As a Chinese proverb - or something Asian - says "we live in interesting times." I warned her this whole thing might end up in my blog so read on...
We're talking about Charlie Manson & The Family and the 1971 trial where all the principals were sentenced to death and then, within a year, the ultimate penalty was eliminated and now - 35 years later - they've all been turned down for parole about 13 times each. They will die in prison for their heinous crimes.
But, I was told, my days as the CBS TV News newbie were still remembered and there are photos hanging on the wall in the Los Angeles D.A.'s office of our extremely weird and tasteless media Helter Skelter Halloween party that was held during the trial.
I had showed up dressed in denim shirt and jeans as Charlie with a swastika carved in my forehead (theatrical clay) to duplicate the "other" Chuck. A helpful neighbor policeman in Burbank had loaned me official cuffs so I showed up with my hands properly manacled behind my back.
I was officially restrained yes, but quickly realized I was not able to drink so I gave Linda the key, and she unlocked me and re-positioned my hands in front so I could accept what the bartender offered.
No pictures received yet but I've been promised that some are on the way. Stay tuned.
They tell me that in one photo I am handcuffed to another reporter and sitting on her lap. Did I mention that, in those days, I could pretend to look VERY drunk for the camera if needed. I expect this will prove that ability.