Mark Hansen

Of all the men Short was involved with, Hansen is the most peculiar. Mark Marinus Hansen was born in Aalborg, Denmark on July 25, 1890 and moved to the United States in 1919. In 1921, Hansen moved to Los Angeles. He lived at Melrose and Larchmont and owned the Larchmont Theatre. He also had a theater in Whittier, one in San Pedro, one in Walnut Park, three in Oxnard and three in downtown Los Angeles. Clearly, Hansen was smitten with movie stars and Hollywood. In 1926, Hansen built the Marcal Theatre as a playhouse. He and his wife separated from each other in the mid 1940′s.

Mark%20Hansen%2021When he knew Elizabeth Short in the 1940′s, Hansen was a Hollywood resident and a successful businessman. At the time, he was described as 55 years old, 5′ 9′, 175 lb, with graying hair and an accent. He was also chubby and utterly banal in appearance. Hansen owned two rooming houses, and was part owner of the Florentine Gardens, a nightclub on Hollywood Boulevard. Hansen’s friend, actress Anne Toth, lived with him off and on at the house on Carlos Avenue. Short also stayed at Hansen’s house for two weeks in October and ten days in November, 1946.

Short waitressed at the Gardens for a time and it was in this manner that the two met. He became interested in her soon after she began working for him. At some point she quit her job and moved in with Hansen, but like all of her living arrangements, it didn’t last long. Short lived with Hansen for two weeks in October and ten days in November of 1946. However when she lived there, Short wasn’t his only female occupant.

Hansen had a reputation for being a ladies’ man. He only OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhired beautiful, young women to dance as showgirls at the Gardens. A beautiful girl who could put one foot in front of the other without falling over was easily hired. Whenever a beautiful young woman was short on cash, Hansen, ever the white knight, offered her a room in his home for free….well, free where cash was concerned.

Short and her friend Marjorie Graham were first brought to his home by Sid Zaid, a musician of questionable character, in October, 1946. According to Hansen the girls stayed, “Perhaps about a week or ten days; something like that.” He asked them to leave, “because this Graham girl, she was inclined to be liquored up and I didn’t like it at all; and this Short girl, she had always some undesirable looking character waiting for her outside and bringing her home.” Toth explained it more succinctly “Well, Marjorie drank up all of Mark’s liquor, so he kicked her out, so out Betty went too. I don’t blame him.”

Hansen welcomebette1d shady clients into his club: Mafia kingpin Mickey Cohen was an
occasional visitor, as were his henchmen. However, the Gardens was also a watering hole for celebrities, servicemen and regular folk with the right look and money to spend.  After the murder Hansen became a suspect. However when investigators approached Hansen he put an abrupt halt to their questions by threatening to go to the media about the police officers he paid off to remain open to the public. That was the end of that lead.

eliza ann toth interShort’s eventual roommate Anne Toth, knew Short and Hansen quite well. For a time Toth also lived with Hansen although they weren’t romantically involved. She believed Short was infatuated with Hansen and that the feeling was mutual. However, both Hansen and Short continued to see other people. Hansen played down his interest in Short. One of those open-type dating relationships I guess and a volatile one. Short moved out of Hansen’s place on October 22, but moved back in on October 23. Toth stated that Short had placed a long distance telephone call to Texas, to this Fickling, and I think that sort of — she charged it on his telephone bill, and I don’t think she told him about it. That is one of the things too, he wanted her to — then of course, I think she paid for it later.”

Inspector Jemison’s report said, “Anne and her friend Leo
Hymes state that Mmark_5ark was crazy about her and jealous of her, that he is a man who must have what he wants. Beth 
told Anne Toth that Mark was trying to make her, that he was jealous so she had to leave boyfriends at the corner so he wouldn’t see them.” Hansen also owned an apartment building under the name of, what else, the Gardens.  He had one of his tenants, “who was in the dressmaking business,” make two dresses for her “which she fitted and made, but never delivered to the victim.

Short permanently moved out of Hansen’s home on November 13, 1946, after an argument with another of Hansen’s girls. Hansen led Short to believe they were exclusive or at least pretty close to it, but then he allowed other girls to move in with him. One afternoon Short caught Hansen with another woman and ordered her to go home, calling the woman a “tramp.” The womAnna%20Tothan replied in an equally insulting manner but before the two women became involved in a physical fight, Hansen ordered Short to move out. Seriously. Make up your mind, dude. “
One afternoon Hansen and Toth visited the LAPD Homicide office where there were twenty reporters and photographers. Hansen stated he was nobody and that he was Toth’s  chauffeur. “Well, he used to get provoked at me about mentioning his name, he, at that time, to the papers, and one thing and another, which I didn’t.  Only they found [Short’s] address book and, of course, they got his name, but I didn’t mention his name or anything.”

For a time Short and Graham returned to Hansen’s residence but supposedly not for a long-term stay. Short brought a man named Marvin Margolis with her and both told Mark that Margolis was Short’s cousin. Cousin? Whatever. The two women stated they wanted to leave town, as they were going to go east and Margolis was going with them. Hansen explained, “Later thiGreyhound%20Depot%203s Graham girl came over one night.  I wasn’t home, but she was sitting, eating dinner, and she was sitting eating dinner and crying.”

“The next day [Margolis] came around there and carried the suitcase up and I says, ‘What’s this?’ He says, ‘Can she leave this here overnight? She’s going away tomorrow and would like to leave these until tomorrow.’”  Clearly, Margolis was finished with Short and was dropping off her belongings at Hansen’s house. Hansen stated “that night I come home Beth Short was there.” Is anyone else confused here or is it just me? And does this sound like a page out of a high school girl’s diary? Who says that the adult years bring about adult behaviour? Certainly it didn’t happen for Short and Graham.

On January 25, 1947, Hansen was again interviewed by police in  his home. “Several girls have rented rooms here at the house, but I never went out with them.  She had lots of dates. There was a language teacher that I know of, and with other persons, mostly hoodlums whom I wouldn’t even let in my house.” He also indicated that a memorandum and calendar book was missing.  “I believe Miss Short stole that.”

“I thought you were just going to leave your suitcases,  and she said,  ‘I didn’t have no place to stay.’  Would I mind if she stayed.  She kept staying and staying. (To Hansen’s way of thinking 10 days is “staying and staying.”) Then she moved over to the Chancellor Apartment.  Then it was after that oOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAne night she was sitting and crying about being scared – one thing and another, I don’t know.  She said she was going to Oakland to a sister.  Well, from there she wanted to know if she couldn’t come back there when she came from Oakland. She said she was scared.” What Short was scared of remained unmentioned,which
is not to say that Hansen wasn’t aware of it. Was it Margolis? Graham? Something or someone else? Perhaps it was her fear of abandonment and not having a place to live again. Or maybe something much darker.

It was then that Toth found an apartment for Short at the Chancellor. Short visited Hansen and Toth later, telling them that she didn’t like living at the Chancellor. Hansen stated: “I felt sorry for her.  She said there was bad company over there and she couldn’t stand it. She say she was going to Oakland during the holidays with her sister. When she comes back she says she would call me to see if I changed my mind, to see if she would stay at the house. I never saw her again.”

lola_titus_&_thad_brownHansen himself nearly met an early demise. In 1949, Lola Titus shot Mark Hansen while he was in the bathroom of his Carlos Avenue home. Lola, aka Beverly Alice Bennett and nicknamed  “The Lady in Gold,” was a 25-year-old blond taxi dancer. Apparently she was a darned good shot, at least at close range, but she didn’t quite accomplish her goal of murdering Hansen. The bullet pierced a lung and missed his heart by 7/10 of an inch. Lola explained to the press, “I made up my mind that he was either going to love me, marry me or take care of me or I was going to kill him.” In the investigation Lola was listed as a, “Friend of Short. Never thoroughly quizzed.” 

I don’t believe Hansen was a viable suspect in the Short case. He had no reason to kill her and certainly I can’t see him committing murder in such a gruesome manner. Short was no threat to him personally or professionally. His statement “I felt sorry for her” is very telling. A sympathetic sadistic murderer has never existed. I’m unaware of a connection between Titus and Short. If you have information to share, I would like to print it.



Janice Knowlton and Daddy Dearest

I’ve blogged twice about John Gilmore and his “expert” opinions about Short. Another author of Daddy was the Black Dahlia Killer, Janice Knowlton, insisted to Pamela Hazleton, owner of the Black Dahlia Website that Gilmore is a “selfish bookbastard none of us should trust.” Ouch. I don’t necessarily trust Gilmore but I wouldn’t refer to him as a “selfish bastard.” My guess is that Knowlton objects to the fact that Gilmore is out to make his money with his text about Short and for that reason possibly refuses to share any information with her. Well, doesn’t going for that bestseller and the royalties that accompany it place Knowlton in the same category?  Knowlton stated that Gilmore sent her “threatening letters” when she was writing her own book about Short. Certainly threatening letters are a problem but I’d have to read one to believe it.

Perhaps the worst thing Knowlton wrote about Short in her own book was that Short was a “peddler” of children and a pedophile. Now that type of rumour makes my blood boil, more than any other. It has to be one of the worst slurs I’ve ever heard about Short. Why does Knowlton write it? To make money, of course. And we’re back to the selfish thing again. Something about the pot calling down the kettle, I believe. Knowlton’s book is only going to sell if she can sensationalize it. This is another one of those “tell-all” (the bullshit) books I will not be reading. How does Knowlton know that her father George Knowlton was the BD killer? Because he raped and beat Knowlton repeatedly over the years and during her traumatic flashbacks over the decades she somehow came to the conclusion that daddy dearest also killed Short. She recalled him celiza7ommitting beating and killing their animals, beating her mother…when the repressed memories came o
ut, it was of him murdering other people.
It gets better than that. Knowlton claims that her father and Short were lovers and  Short was a frequent visitor. Knowlton was told to call Short Aunt Betty, but her mother set her straight: “she’s not your aunt, she’s just another of your father’s whores.” Knowlton said that her father had been having an affair with Short and that Short was staying in a makeshift bedroom in their garage, where she suffered a miscarriage.

Along with those repressed memories, Knowlton recalled being in the garage with her daddy when he killed Short. Forced to participate, the young Knowlton carried “guilt feelings” for years. Knowlton said she was later forced to accompany her father when he disposed of the body. Knowlton’s therapist, whom I suspect has been cut in for a percentage of Knowlton’s royalties, stbd11_001ated on Inside Edition that “I think a pretty seasoned therapist is good at this.”
Personally, I wouldn’t have said that out loud. Police in Los Angeles and Westminster dismissed Knowlton’s Black Dahlia story when it surfaced. Naturally the facts Knowlton delivered to Det. John St John (better known as Jigsaw John – let’s hope that isn’t a dark joke about his participation in the Short case) aren’t compatible with Knowlton’s staggering retrieved memories. I tend to side with the detective. In 1991, she persuaded skeptical  Westminster police detectives to search for evidence of the Black Dahlia murder — and that of another murder she believed her father committed — by excavating a vacant lot, the site of her former home. Nothing to warrant a criminal investigation was found. Here is a pitch for the book: Carefully documenting her claims, she exposes George Knowlton’s 30-year rampage of rape and murder. Even more shocking is the evidence she provides 

black dahlia smilerevealing that the police always knew the killer’s identity. Additionally, without any evidence of course, Knowlton has the audacity to state that,“Be
th Short stole too much from me when I was nine and ten. She and curiosity-seekers will get no more.”

This statement was a response to Hazleton, who invited her to participate in a 3-hour chat session on her blog (I believe) about her book with interested members of the public. Knowlton abruptly refused. She didn’t wish to be questioned about her book even though it was a great promotional opportunity.   Knowlton didn’t mind promoting herself and her book with the press, however. “Any time we ran anything about the Black Dahlia case, she’d leave long, rambling voice messages on my answering machine at The Times,” said Larry Harnisch, a Times copy editor. Harnisch’s curiosity was pblack dahlia eyesiqued by Knowlton’s silence after a Nov. 21 Los Angeles Times Magazine article on Steve Hodel about his supposed killer father George Hodel was published. Harnisch began
investigating, as any good editor will do, and discovered that Knowlton died March 5 at her home. The Orange County coroner’s office classified the death as a suicide from the combined effect of five drugs. Jolane Emerson, Knowlton’s stepsister, told The Times she “her story was trash, and it wasn’t even true. She believed it, but it wasn’t reality. I know, because I lived with her father for 16 years.” Her stepfather, a foundry worker who died in 1962, “could be meaner and ornerier thacomfort ringn heck, but he wasn’t a killer.” Of course, Knowlton has further repressed memories that involved another horrific murder – this one being Georgette Bauerdorf. I assumed there would be a sequel to the Short memories had she lived.

There exists an amateur yet sensible theory about the death or disastrous misfortune of a person called the Comfort Theory.  It’s something that should be (and typically is) common sense to most of us, but not to the Janice Knowltons of this world (or the next). The theory (illustrated on the left) states that when you consider the misfortunes of others, it’s NOT all about YOU (Janice, are you listening up there on your cloud)? The comfort theory is best illustrated with rings or circles.

dahlia bikiniIn the centre ring is the victim (Short). All rings circling outward are the people closest to her who are the most effected by  her murder. Obviously that includes her mother and sisters, then her friends such as Anne Toth and her ex-boyfriend Gordon Fickling. The further out the rings are (which means the bigger the rings) the less connected these people are to the subject at hand. These are the LEAST important people in the circle. These are the people who think “it’s all about me” when clearly it is not. Somehow these egocentric types believe their experiences with the person in the centre of the ring matter more than that person him or herself. Never mind what suffering Short has been through: it’s all about Knowlton, or Hodel, or anyone else who is out to make a profit from Short’s tragedy and in doing so, keeps the spotlight firmly on him or her.  And for many Black Dahlia authors, that’s all it’s about.

Richard Miller and the Black Dahlia “Expert”

I took this information from the Black Dahlia Website by Pamela Hazelton. In it, she includes an article by  Russell Miller, is an award-winning journalist and author of fifteen books, including biographies of Hugh Hefner, J. Paul Getty and L. Ron Hubbard. Miller was born in east London and began his career in journalism at the age of sixteen. In this article he sought out John Gilmore as part of his investigation into the life of Elizabeth Short.

gilmoreGilmore, the very same man who studied Method Acting and who I discussed in the blog John Gilmore, has written books about Manson, Tucson’s Charles Schmid and James Dean, stated emphatically that “it’s the body itself which laid the groundwork for endless generations of Black Dahlia zealots. It’s like this tremendous, bizarre magnet. It gets to our unconsciousness, and it gets to us on a real subliminal level… So much hidden agenda went into that murder that it was inherent at the scene of the murder.”

Gilmore’s expertise on Short stems from his childhood, when he met Short at his grandmother’s boarding house. He was about 9 years old at the time and this makes him an expert on Short. Riiight. Aside from Short’s ghastly murder, Gilmore documented that Short couldn’t have sex because her genitals were not fully developed, meaning Short was incapable of having sex. Personally I don’t believe that. The autopsy report, I’ve read, didn’t state anything of the kind. The SEVERED book went so far as to state, “STRANGE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER VICTIM WAS NOT A BEAUTIFUL FEMME FATALE, BUT WAS A MAN.” Considering the photographs of Short’s displayed body, fully developed breasts and vagina, I find that to be a completely stupid statement.

Gilmore is utterly convinced he has Short figured out correctly: “She knew that she couldn’t ever possibly become a full-blown elizabeth_short_nd_man_lapd_01_thumbwoman in any size, shape, or form and she decided she was going to do the role anyway. Because she did. It was just a series of games, a series of encounters with people that would lead to the romance-type situation, and then she would disappear. I think she overlapped relationships, so she always had a place to go, and a place to be transported to.”

In other words, Short had a secret so dark she had to hide it from the male acquaintances in her life. If so (and I will allow for the remote possibility) this would indeed partly explain why Short refused to sleep with men to get a screen test or even a small role in a film. However, bear in mind there are many ways to have sex. Personally I think the distorted genital story is nonsense and it was Short’s morals that prevented her from using sex to get “discovered.”

In the 60s, Gilmore worked with actor Tom Neal to make a movie about Short. Gilmore went speaking with financiers, one of whom was a “weird, weird guy“. He wanted to touch Gilmore’s hands, because they had touched the field where the body had lain. So… there are still people strolling about who are about as weES 2222ird as the actual killer. To think, they live among us. All plans of making a Dahlia movie with Neal were abruptly halted when Neal went to jail after murdering his wife in Palm Springs. If only Neal had started working on the Dahlia before he killed his wife he might not have killed her: he would have had a creative outlet for his murderous impulses. Such a shame.

In late 1981, a shady character named Arnold Smith emerged as a suspect in the Black Dahlia case only because he related the story to an informant (Gilmore brought Smith to the LAPD’s attention). Of course Smith stated he wasn’t responsible for the murder. An acquaintance of his named Al Morrison murdered Short in a house on East 31st near Trinity. When the LAPD investigated this Al Morrison, they didn’t turn up any proof that Morrison ever existed. Naturally police suspected Smith himself was the mysterious Morrison.

After Gilmore took taped interviews to the LAPD, Smith became impossible to track down. However, the LAPD and Detective Badge Number One, John St. Johnblack-dalhia-p1, was sure that Al Morrison was Smith: Smith related details about the murder that only the murderer could have known. These were details that the hordes of whackos who “confessed” to the murder of the Black Dahlia knew nothing about. Wouldn’t you know it, Smith was a smoker and one night, he nodded off while smoking and died in a fire in his tiny room in the Holland Hotel near downtown. Not only might he have been a deranged killer, he was a (gasp) smoker and stupid, too.

So Short’s “maybe” killer was suddenly gone. And, surprise it wasn’t a doctor with the skill to surgically cut Elizabeth Short into two. It was a loser, one of countless zeros wandering around Los Angeles.  How he was able to sever poor Short so precisely is also a mystery. Probably just a fluke. The whole area where Short’s body was dumped was Mr. Smith’s neighborhood and playground and on the night Short was abducted he may have been the psychopath who came out to play in the worst manner possible. Maybe. In his article, Miller wondered why pretty Elizabeth Short had given Arnold Smith the time of day.

“With them, I think it was a very strange connection of the cripple,” Gilmore told me. “She was crippled. She was a defective individual, and he was a defective individual. And you have a tense situation with people whose nerves are on the surface, where thelizabethe antennas are very clear with one another. Very clear. I think he was a man who just overrode all boundaries. I don’t think he even recognized boundaries in life… plus, he was stalking her, so it was simply a matter of time. “

If that isn’t the most insulting and derogatory explanation in the history of crime then it’s a very close second. Short wasn’t a “cripple.” If she had defective genitalia that didn’t mean she wasn’t able to walk or was in some manner physically handicapped, which is the definition of a cripple (personally I loathe the word cripple, a demeaning label). She also wasn’t handicapped. Flawless is another contention of mine. Why would Short even compare her own genetic “flaw” with the darkness inside of this psychopath’s mind? I’m sure nothing of the kind occurred to her. Short herself didn’t “override all boundaries” as Gilmore seems to imply. She lived very flamboyantly and took many chances with her well-being, but she remained firm in her ethics and self-respect, two traits the killer lacked. She also maintained social ties and respected laws, two more aspects of the murderer that clearly he didn’t possess.

Miller suspects that it was Elizabeth Short’s insecurities that 02-Marilyn-Manson_mm_eliz_short_1led her to associate with the wrong people, at the wrong time. I can allow for this perspective, as it isn’t cruel and has an element of truth to it. I think it was more that Short was ignorant of the people with whom she associated. We don’t know what story Smith (if it was him at all) gave her about her Hollywood connections. We also don’t know that she went with him willingly. How many kidnappers and rapists hide in bushes and around corners, then take a woman by force? I’ve heard of a rapist walking up to a victim in daylight, sticking a knife in her side and telling her if she didn’t walk with him he would kill her. As usual, people are willing to blame the victim for her horrible fate, rather than putting the blame where it belongs…on the killer.

Gilmore felt she was ambitious but “afraid of running into herself”:

“…She played these games out with men, and reached a point where… it was time to get up and do the act. And she couldn’t do the act– I think it was a moment of great anxiety for her, which might have been all along leading up to a point where she fled. She left and ran. I think (Smith) was there at the right time, at the right place, as if to say, take my hand– the spider and the fly. And I think she was a willing fly. She was willing herself into the crime, as weird as that might sound. So you could look at him as an incidental thing, an appendage to her success or something, as a noir star, a dark star.”

I only wish Short was alive today to hear that statement. I would love to hear her answer to that supposition, that she was willing to sacrifice her life to a man who would torture her for 2 – 3 days, slice her in half and dump her body on the side of a road in a horribly demeaning position. Gilmore’s theories are beyond stupid – they are degrading to all women and are completely inane. And insofar as Short’s success went, it is well-known that there was none. She didn’t reach her goal as an actress. She had a few modelling jobs that didn’t pay well and that was the closest to success that this lovely woman ever reached.

Miller ruminated: How many things could Elizabeth Short have done differently after she arrived in LA to avoid her run-in with Arnold Smith on January 14, 1947? Standing there in the shadow of the Holland Hotel, I finally realized what it was about the Black Dahlia murder. In its uniquely haunting way, Elizabeth Short’s story is a play about randomness– the Black Dahlia case embodies the consequeGreyhound%20Depot%203nces of Chance in a stark nutshell. By naive, dumb chance, Elizabeth Short’s path crossed that of a murderer. And from that point on, a shortly wound clock was ticking towards her macabre murder.

I agree with Miller wholeheartedly when he says the Black Dahlia’s fate was one of chance and randomness. (When he says naive, dumb chance he doesn’t insult Short, he implies it was the very bad luck of the draw that their paths crossed at all).  In other words, the Dahlia could have been anyone who immersed herself into Hollywood without understanding its demographic, and not just Short. She was a random choice on his part. Not her own.

About his foray into Hollywood, Miller stated, “Freaks with Black Dahlia tattoos walk the streets of America. Goatee-black_dahlia_by_mistertrece-d5rl2iqsporting, cappuccino-sipping, wanna-be-arty gothic-types sit in coffee houses rambling on about Elizabeth Short, practically deifying the girl.” Miller can say with surety that “America” is wearing tattoos of Short or has he only seen them in Hollywood? And are they freaks? Millions of people are obsessed with Short. Does that make all of us freaks? What about Miller himself? He doesn’t consider himself among these many “freaks” because he doesn’t wear Short’s remains or face on his arm, and perhaps he doesn’t tend to hang out in coffee shops having discussions about Short. Oh wait a minute….he did exactly that with Gilmore when he researched Short for this article. And so the hypocrisy and irony around the Short story continues unabated, even by so-called “professional” authors and journalists.




Anne Toth

For weeks Marjorie Graham, an acquaintance of Short’s and Short lived together as roommates in various locations. They left the Hawthorne Apartment where they were staying  in September 1946, then teamed up with Sid Zaid, Marjorie_Graham-Roommatea musician who let them stay at his home. On October 1, Zaid drove the girls to the home of Mark Hansen on Carlos Avenue in Hollywood and left them with him. Short was becoming known around Hollywood although not for shady reasons. If anything Short was referred to as a “tease” because she refused to have sex with the majority of men she dated (or perhaps any of the men at all). The war was over, and returning soldiers and sailors filled the streets and bars of Hollywood. Like so many women, Short liked men in uniform and she began to spend a lot of time in Hollywood bars where servicemen were to found in droves. Short met many men and women during her brief time in town, but bette7none of the friendships appeared to be close. It was only beautiful actress and model Anne Toth, 24 years old, that was her truest friend.

Toth first met Short in Hansen’s home after she returned from a trip to San Diego. Hansen owned the Florentine Gardens nightclub on Hollywood Boulevard and the Marcal Theatre near by. He owned other properties around town, including his home on Carlos Avenue, behind his club. He allowed showgirls and young women to stay at his home. His own estranged wife and daughters lived in the Hollywood Hills. When Toth came hAnna%20Tothome one day, Short and Hansen were there. That was the first time the two girls met. Over time, Hansen and Short got romantically involved. Investigators asked Toth, “-did she want him to think he was going steady with her?” Toth replied, “Yes.” She agreed with investigators that asked if Hansen “was kind of carrying the torch for her at that time.” But the two fought with each other, too, she said.

“Well, she cleaned up his bathroom for him and threw out a number of things, you know, set them out, empty bottles and things that he didn’t have any use for, but then he got awful damn mad about that. So I told him he should be thankful somebody wanted to clean it up for him. He said “I would rather leave the damn things alone and she leave my things alone. For a week he carried on about it.

LAPD Officer Ed Barrett asked, “Anne do you think Beth was afraid of Mark?” “Yes, I do,” she answered. “She never said much around him. As a matter of fact, she , she was – seemed ann_toth_6afraid to tell me anything because I think she thought that I was in cahoots with him, I think, that I might say something to him. That is probably why I didn’t find out half as much as I should have.”

When Toth was asked if Hansen ever hit Short, she replied, “Well, I don’t know if he did or not. Of course, maybe she was afraid to say anything because she had a feeling I was on Mark’s side, I would probably tell him. Actually, I was just living there, I was just an innocent standbyer. My friend and Mark were very good friends, they used to – he used to visit with Mark. They were pretty good buddies, so he was always around there, so he couldn’t get too rough with me. I don’t think he would of if he could, because we are both of the same nationality, I can be just as mean as he can get, so -”

Short moved out of Hansen’s place on October 22, but she was back at his home on October 23. At least Short was a woman who could make up her mind. Toth said Hansen allowed Beth to “come back in, and I think at that time, I think, she placed a long distance telephone call to Texas, to this Fickling, and I think that sort of — she charged it on his telephone bill, and I don’t think she told him about it. That is one of the things too, he wanted her to — then of course, I think she paid for it later, and then he let her come back in later and she had a place to stay, without Margie of course.”

Toth said Hansen was trying to get Short to have sex “a couple of times,” but Short was a virgin. After that he didn’t Mark%20Hansen%2021bother her again. She continued to see other men, but they were not allowed to to visit her at the Carlos address. Toth  indicated that Short moved out of Hansen’s home about November 13, 1946, after an argument with another of Hansen’s girls. Short “was planning to stay for the evening and, of course, as Mark told Betty that he was going with her and she was going with him and vice versa. In the meantime, he was having other girls come over there, and I imagine he was trying to romance her or something. Well, anyway, Betty came along –.” The other girl was upset.Betty got out of bed, she was sleeping with me, and insisted that this tramp go home.” The other girl told Short to go home to her mother where she belonged. Anyway, words were flying back and forth and there was almost a beef and a fist fight, and Mark stepped in between them and he ordered Betty to move the next day. She was right though, I’ll tell you that.”

Toth defended Short to the end and beyond. In the first place, she didn’t drink, she didn’t smoke, because after all, living with her. I knew. and she always came in at a decent hour, 11 o’clock, or around there. She never came in later than that, and naturally if she was supposed to be sexy and do other stuff, there is a lot more that goes to it, rather than if a decent girl~ there is drinking, smoking, wining and dining, and a few other things that go with it. In a plain way. Nothing malicious about her. He didn’t know that she lived aGreyhound%20Depot%203t the apartment there, because I was the one that got it for her, and he was amazed, he didn’t know what had happened to her, where she had gone or what had happened. I didn’t say anything. I borrowed a car to move her and everything and I never told him. He would have probably gotten pretty sore at me, so I didn’t tell him that I knew she was living there, because I had been there to visit her, and he drove her home. 

Toth that looked out for Short and tried to help her. Toth:

  1. ES-24loaned Short the coat she wore at the Biltmore on the evening of January 9, 1947.
  2. found her a place to stay at the Chancellor of Hollywood
  3. paid her first week’s rent when Hansen threw her out
  4. helped Short move
  5. took her mail to her

Toth was a true friend to Short, to the end and beyond. Ann Toth died in the late 1980s from natural causes.  Toth was in a nursing home at the time. Toth left Hansen’s house after the murder, but they remained on good terms. Had Short survived, I’m sure that would have been the case with the two friends.




Black Dahlia Art Gallery

There’s something about a beautiful young woman’s murder that brings out the macabre artist in some people, many of whom are quite talented despite the subject matter. Enclosed are a few notables I’ve managed to find on the internet. I would love to hear about more if you have any sources.



black dahlia black

black dahlia art print by lydia


black dahlia breasts  black dahlia



black dahlia eyes

original oil painting black dahlia  studios fine art


black dahlia match

black dahlia   pinterest



black dahlia by mistertrece  deviant art







black dahlia    amybalot  deviant art




le dahlia    david fincher



bd doe

need source




from the movie


the black dahlia by coinreturnslot

black dahlia lie

elizabeth short  marilyn manson





elizabeth short/senior storyboard  pinterest



black dahlia smile

elizabeth short as snow white  marilyn manson images



black dahlia katy

Jimmy Lee Society 6



black dahlia mouth

deviant art  blue canvas



black dahlia – deviant art



black dahlia face deviant art




black dahlia in progress




black dahlia gabrielle mcdaniel




black dahlia nightwalker art online store










Watering (pun) Holes

Short didn’t waste any time tasting the night life when she arrived in Hollywood. She didn’t live in the downtown area as dahliablueit was too expensive and she had little money. However she lived on the outskirts and knew of very popular nightclubs and bars. She attended these and made the acquaintance of celebrities, models and Mafia men alike. Short herself got intermittent work as a model but she didn’t get a screen test for a movie. She never appeared in a movie. In the meantime, Short worked for a time at the Florentine Gardens as a waitress. She enjoyed her life and didn’t seem to worry much about the future. She lived in the moment and perhaps it was just as well. (The picture enclosed is of the fictional Blue Dahlia in the movie of the same name. The film Dahlia was a nightclub, not a person.)

The Florentine Gardens
Perhaps the classier of the clubs Short attended, the Gardens was owned by Mark Hansen, an associate of (although not a member) the Mafia. His club was a very popular Mark Hansen 21establishment for celebrities, the Mafia, starlets, models, and pretty young women such as Short who were hoping to break into showbiz. Hansen was a ladies’ man. He was known to provide young women with a place to stay for a time when they were low on cash. Of course nothing in Hollywood comes free. Short didn’t take Hansen up on his offer.

Police believed Short might have met her killer at the Gardens. When they attempted to investigate Hansen he intervened from the start. His threat was that if the police interrogated him or any of his friends (including the mob) he would reveal to the press that he’d been paying the police blackmail money in order to remain in operation. The police quickly backed off and Hansen was taken off the suspect list even though Short briefly dated two Mafia members she met through the Gardens. Frankly I don’t believe Hansen belonged on the suspect list. He was as unlikely a candidate as any. Hansen could associate with Short any time he liked and he was surrounded by beautiful women. He was not known to be violent or disrespectful towards them. Many women stayed in his private quarters and never claimed that he’d been violent with them.

The Hollywood Canteen
Another haunt (pun) of Short’s and her friends was the Canteen. It was financed and built by Bette Davis and a few of her celebrity cohorts. Celebrities, servicemen, starlets, and dahliacanteenmany other glamorous people attended the Canteen regularly. It was the place to be on a Saturday night. Its interior decor wasn’t too wonderful: it had a western motif complete with wagon wheels hung on the walls. Ick. Short made the acquaintance of Georgette Bauerdorf who was a junior hostess. That meant Bauerdorf volunteered to dance with servicemen and provide them with proper, ladylike company while they were there. Rule Number 6 stated that none of the hostesses were permitted to leave with anygeorgette of the customers and Bauerdorf never did.

Just weeks before Short was murdered, Bauerdorf was also killed in a brutal slaying. She was found face down in a bathtub perhaps in an effort to remove the killer’s DNA, a rather eerie similarity to Short’s murder. There was a large bruise on the right side of her head and another on her abdomen, perhaps the result of blows from fists. She
had been strangled with a piece of towel stuffed down her throat. Her right thigh showed the bruised imprint of a hand “even to the fingernail marks piercing the skin.”  Yet when the story broke none of the hostesses at the Canteen batted a masacara’d eyelash. They weren’t frightened for their safety and continued to dance the night away with servicemen.

Tom Breneman’s Restaurant
tomThomas Breneman Smith was a popular 1940s American radio personality known to his listeners as Tom Breneman. Breneman was host of the show Breakfast in hollywood which aired on several major networks at various times from 1941 to 1948. The popularity of the radio program was such that he created his own magazine, and in 1945 he opened his own establishment, Tom Breneman’s Restaurant, located on Vine Street off Sunset Boulevard. It wasn’t open only for breakfast of course and it had a fun nightlife. Short and friends began attending Tom Breneman’s Restaurant in 1946. It was as popular as the aforementioned clubs. Certain hotspots in town were known to be filled with the Who’s Who of Hollywood, and Short gravitated to those establishments. Her behaviour was ladylike and she was never seen leaving any of the clubs or restaurant with a man. Breneman himself died in 1948.

The Crown Grill
Another place to see and be seen, the Grill, as it was known, hosted good times, jazz and swing music, and popular ES 2222persons galore. Short attended the Grill nearly as often as she did the Gardens and the Canteen. Joe Scalis , an employee at the Grill was a suspect after her murder simply because he knew her and witnesses claim they saw him associating with her on her last night, but eventually he was cleared.

Short lived a relatively glamorous life considering she was always low on money. Somehow she managed to appear, at least on the fringes of celebrity royalty, rather than being an essential part of any influential group. She socialized and worked where celebrities and servicemen were to be found. It would cost Short her life.  Still, associating with celebrities at the clubs  wasn’t a bad idea since she wanted to break into movies, but, like hundreds of pretty women in LA at the time, even these associations didn’t help her to begin a movie career.

bette7I’ve wondered how her friends reacted to her murder, how their lives might have been changed by it, whether or not they missed her or attended her funeral. I’ve wondered whether they continued to frequent the same clubs they’d always gone to without Short. Perhaps the murder was too close to home and the girls became more cautious, less flighty and less inclined to bar-hop the night away. If none of her casual acquaintances and friends were touched by her murder that would be a pitiful clue as to how few people actually knew and cared about her. I guess we’ll never know.