Dahlia myth begins with 1950 film-noir – "Sunset Boulevard"

       Sunset Boulevard (1950)                      

Check out the irony!. 

Hollywood, California, Spring 1950

At the exact same time that Dr. George Hill Hodel is under active surveillance and secretly being tape-recorded by detectives from the LAPD and DA’s Office as the prime Black Dahlia suspect –director Billy Wilder, is just two-miles away from the Franklin House, shooting the final scenes for what will become one of Hollywood’s greatest films  —SUNSET BOULEVARD. (Released Aug 4, 1950 11 Academy Award nominations, 3  Wins) 

In the scene below, screenwriter, Joe Gilles (William Holden) has just arrived at a New Year’s Eve party and is greeted by his friend and fellow writer, Artie Green (Jack Webb, soon to become Dragnet’s, LAPD Sgt. Joe Friday.) Artie introduces Gilles to the room full of party-goers. From the script:

                                        Joe Gilles                         Artie Green

Joe Gilles & Artie Green


Well, what do you know, Joe Gilles!


Hi Artie.


Where have you been keeping that gorgeous face of yours?


In a deep freeze.


I almost reported you to the Bureau of Missing Person.

(To the company)

                       Fans, you all know Joe Gilles, the well-known screen writer, unranium smuggler and Black Dahliai suspect. (laughter)

                                               click here –sunsetblvd.wav

Sunset Boulevard, premiered  nation-wide, just three-years after the brutal murder of Elizabeth Short.   The party-scene shows that within just a few short years of the actual murder, L.A.’s most horrific crime had already gained legendary status. So much so, that it had  become a fashionable status-symbol and inside-joke to be identified as “the Black Dahlia suspect” and everybody was laughing!  More fictional accounts of the murder would follow in novels loosely based on the crime such as:  John Gregory Dunne’s TRUE CONFESSIONS (1977) and James Ellroy’s BLACK DAHLIA (1987),

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  1. Niteflyte on June 4, 2022 at 6:15 pm

    That is indeed ironic (and eery)!

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