Dr. George Hodel 1942 Mystery Residence Located in South Pasadena: Author Returns for a Sleepover at the Family Home after 74-Year Absence
December 30, 2018
Los Angeles, California
Location? Location? Location?
Dorothy “Dorero” Hodel with author Steve age 1 (standing on the railing) looking at his newborn brother Kelvin (born Oct 4, 1942) Photo taken in October 1942 at previously unknown Hodel residence. Photo analysis of T.O.D. (Time of Day) presented by former Dallas P.D. officer and mystery writer, Robert Sadler. Photo believed taken at approximately 1:00 p.m.
The only other clues and description I had to our former mystery home came from my parent’s former lover then eighteen-year-old, Madi Comfort, who in 1950 would become a prime Black Dahlia witness interviewed in the LADA secret Hodel/Black Dahlia Files. (DA File included nude photographs of her with George Hodel) Here are some descriptive excerpts of the mystery house from BDA II (2014) Chapter 1, “Madi Comfort, Duke Ellington’s Original “Satin Doll.”
Mady Comfort in her private manuscript (page 29) described the entrance to the Hodel Residence as follows:
“George and Dorero lived in this tremendous mansion in Pasadena. Once entering the driveway one would wind, in this case, I would wind with George and Dorero in their…[in their car up the driveway]…last to be made after or before the war. It was a gorgeous black Lincoln Continental convertible with a wheel on the back. It was pure gorgeous. Round and round and up and down for what seemed like blocks to this four-story mansion. ”
Driveway video -Entrance to George Hodel Private Residence (1942-1944) CLICK HERE.
And here is her overall description of the actual residence along with a description of their menage a trois lovemaking and a few additional recollections of note from her manuscript:
“…The top floor was a ballroom; the third floor was a nursery for their three gorgeous children. The second was their bedroom quarters, I guess I should say playground because that’s where we played. They were both completely sensuous. George a very handsome polished tall lean born rich man indulged and adored by his father. George had beautiful black hair with a sophisticated wave in front, a classic nose with a perfectly trimmed mustache and very nice lips.
…George and Dorero led me gracefully and pleasurably, into sharing their joys in many exciting ways of the art of making love. It was all done so tastefully and made us very close friends. We liked very much bringing such joy and pleasures to one another’s life, yet we all maintained our dignity and self-respect.”
…George and Dorero had me over to their home for dinner quite often. They would take me out, come all the way to Willowbrook to pick me up…Dorero was having guests for dinner who had arrived from New York. They had both been put under contract. Their names were Van Heflin and Vincent Price. Actually, we were having hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at their [the Hodels] home first then we were going to Chinatown for dinner afterward. Chinatown was fairly new (remodeled) then and quite fancy and intriguing. It was a fun evening. Van and Vincent were both very charming and witty and they talked about New York and the theater. I just mostly remember what nice down-to-earth gentlemen they were.
…One morning around ten a.m. or so I was lying in bed and I hear the crash and Dorero crying. I ran into the bathroom. Dorero was in the bathtub, crying. George cool as you please explains to me Dorero is an alcoholic and has “sneaked a drink.” He was reprimanding her for her own good. I’m protesting. “You could break her neck! George, I cannot stand to see you knocking poor Dorero around like this. Please don’t treat her like this.” Meanwhile, I’m busy trying to pull Dorero out of the tub. We were all stark naked.
Madi Comfort photos
Photographs of Madi Comfort. Above photo was taken at the Plantation Club, 108th and Central Ave in Watts in May, 1943, nineteen-year-old newlywed Madi is seen dancing with her husband Joe Comfort, which resulted in a short-lived, abusive marriage. Madi wrote the following in her manuscript about their quick decision to marry:
“…Here comes Joe Comfort on his first furlough from Camp Rucker, Alabama. What a thrill. Joe proposed marriage. Naturally, I said “yes. ” There was a problem. One had to wait three days after getting your license at City Hall plus the blood test. Well, Dr. George Hodel solved that problem for me. He pulled strings at City Hall and we got our marriage license in one day. Off we went with my sister and Joseph’s sister Laura as witnesses to the preacher.” (Photo of them dancing above would be how Madi appeared during her sexcapades with George and Dorero at the 335 Monterey Road residence.) Joe Comfort would go on to become a well-known LA bassist who played with Lionel Hampton, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra in the 1940s and 50s.
Once Again a BDA Reader Provides the Answer
On December 7, 2018 (ironically what would have been my parent’s 78th wedding anniversary) I received an Email from a BDA reader, Mr. Lawrence Stevens. His email was titled:
“GHH 1943-1945 address: 335 Monterey Rd., South Pasadena, CA”
I here reproduce Larry’s communication in part:
I was reading BDA III tonight, and on page 108, at the start of the video transcript of Tamar, there was this note:
[This would be the yet unidentified home we lived in circa 1943 as described by witness Mady Comfort…]
I just now looked up my notes from my March 7, 2018 visit to the South Pasadena Public Library, and here is my entry—I copied the entry from the city directory character for character, case sensitive, under Hodel:
“1943 George H Dr. Dorothy phys h 335 Monterey rd”
This identical entry was also there for 1944 and 1945.
Is this helpful? Maybe you already got the address.
It would certainly make my day if I provided you with some help, no matter how small!!
When reading all your books on GHH, I received the odd impression that somehow you wanted this address not to be made public. Because there was the description of the interesting house and its view, but no address or photo.
But I was wrong! I would have sent you this email back in March!
So, therefore, I was very curious about this house location, and other GHH addresses.
I started at the Pasadena Public Library and the city directories there. I did I find the GHH 1800 Huntington Dr. address there. But the other residence did not turn up.
So I went to the South Pasadena library and found the 1943 entry there.
I drove over to 335 Monterey Road and parked and looked at the hill from across the street, but it’s thoroughly wooded and I could not see much at all. But I think I remember remarks from your books that from the house you could look north and have a good view of the San Gabriel Mountains to the north. That would be true of this location. I would assume that the trees 75 years ago might not have as complete a cover.
Thank you Larry! You Made my month!
After conducting follow-up research/investigation I can now confirm your discovery. YES, the 335 Monterey Road residence address you provided was, in fact, the hitherto unknown home that was our family residence from 1942-1944.
Here’s what I have discovered.
335 Monterey Road, South Pasadena
The Craftsman style residence was designed and built in 1910 by Lester Sherwood Moore (1871-1924), a well-known Los Angeles architect. Originally built and known as the Ezra & Ida Thompsan Residence
After a “two-year green renovation process” the home opened as a BnB in 2007 and is now known as “The Arroyo Vista Inn”
The Inn offers a selection of nine different bedrooms. They include: The Oak Terrace, Veranda Room, Sunrise Room, Daybreak Terrace, Tree House Room, Cozy Nook, Monte Vista, San Gabriel, Forrest and Elenora.
I immediately booked an overnight stay for December 16 choosing the elegant Daybreak Terrace, which I now suspect was quite probably my parents Master Bedroom from 1942-1944.
Approximate view 1942 compared to higher elevated 2018 view looking north to the San Gabriel Mountains from the deck of what is now the Arroyo Vista Inn’s, “The Daybreak Terrace.” (Original 110 year-old-railing replaced in 2007 remodel.)
Map shows that my father’s childhood home, at 6512 Monterey Road (designed by noted Russian architect Alexander Zelenko) was less than one mile from our 1942-44 residence at 335 Monterey Road, now the Arroyo Vista Inn.
My Night at the Inn
Again, here is Madi Comforts description of the entrance to the home which I recorded upon my arrival:
“George and Dorero lived in this tremendous mansion in Pasadena. Once entering the driveway one would wind … Round and round and up and down for what seemed like blocks to this four-story mansion.
Driveway video -Entrance to George Hodel Private Residence (1942-1944)
I arrived at our former home just after 3:00 p.m., checked in to the BnB, obtained my room key and then decided to take some overall photographs to take advantage of the afternoon light. Here are the results:
My room “Daybreak Terrance” (Suspect this was my parents Master Bedroom)
Master bathroom in “Daybreak Terrance”
View from my room
SteakOut – Dinner IN 2018- (pun intended)
First, let me say without equivocation, my stay at the Arroyo Vista Inn was extremely pleasurable. The BnB is first rate and a class act. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to visit Los Angles. As far as I am concerned it is FIVE STAR. *****
That said, my overnight “reunion” was one of the strangest “investigative stakeouts” of my career. (I gave no indication to the Inn Keeper that this was my former home nor did I discuss any of my own or my father’s connections to the house. It was just another sub rosa overnight albeit very personal stakeout.)
Though the king sized bed with its 1500 count Egyptian sheets and soft comforter were top of the line and only the sound that could be heard came from the occasional chirping of a cricket, I had a very restless and mostly sleepless night.
My sleeplessness had nothing to do with the Inn.
Rather the disturbances were strong and dark and came from within. They were my own psyche, my own subjective thoughts surfacing and presenting me with a now “known chronology” from that long ago time.
They were not my childhood thoughts from having lived there, but rather came from a much newer adult knowledge. From what my almost two decades of recent investigations have taught me occurred during the years we lived there. (1942-1944.)
Each hour as I lay in bed I would awaken (not a dream) and be consciously presented with a thought, a reminder of something from my father’s timeline that my investigation had revealed. that had occurred.
I retired to bed at about midnight.
1:00 a.m I awoke to the realization that I was likely sleeping in my parent’s master bedroom. Probably the same room where George and Madi and Dorero shared their bed and lovemaking.
2:00 a.m. Again, awoke and my mind flashed on my mother, in the tub being assaulted by my father with Madi Comfort running in to rescue her. All three nude, and Madi yelling, “Stop George, you could break her neck! George, I cannot stand to see you knocking poor Dorero around like this. Please don’t treat her like this.”
3:00 a.m. Mind now focused on the Ora Murray “White Gardenia Murder” It is July 26, 1943. George meets her at the dancehall just a few miles southwest of this home. Shows her “Hollywood” beats her to death on a golf course and returns here to a sleeping family.
4:00 a.m. I awake to my mind picturing the Hodel family photograph taken by Galka Scheyer on November 7, 1943. Probably taken here at this house? I realize that in the photograph I am seen sitting on my father’s lap, just three months after he sadistically murdered Ora Murray after “showing her the town.”
5:00 a.m. “The Bathtub Murder” of victim Georgette Bauerdorf comes to my mind. It is October 11, 1944. Late night. We, three boys, are asleep in the nursery as described by Madi Comfort. Early morning. George returns home after strangling and placing the twenty-year-old victim in her Hollywood apartment bathtub and turning on the water.
6:00 a.m. I reawaken recalling the words of my half-sister Tamar’s. Her description of this home and her telling me of having witnessed our father’s abuse of my mother.
From a 2004 Tamar video interview:
“My earliest memories about my father were–I was about nine, and I begged my mother…my mother and father were separated and I wanted to see my father. He lived in a house at that time in South Pasadena. It was a wonderful house because you went round and round and round up the driveway to this magical lush house.
(In a separate interview, Tamar also describing this home)
…”I remember seeing George pulling Dorero around by her hair in the long driveway. “
Up now, I dressed, took a few more photographs from the balcony, and went downstairs to a breakfast of espresso, fruit, a spinach quiche. (All quite delicious.)
I thanked the Inn Keeper and headed back to my apartment in the San Fernando Valley–Mission Accomplished.
Again, my thanks to Larry Stevens for sleuthing out the address from the South Pasadena Library and providing it to me.
Expect this will be my final blog for 2018 so WISHING ALL OF MY READERS A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR.
(I am told 2019 is going to be “The Year of the Boar”, but somehow, I have my doubts.)
Los Angeles, California
Amazing Steve, I got chills just reading it!
Hi Kelly: Yes, it was quite an “overnight” two weeks ago. Mom holding you in the picture and you couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old, so had to be taken in late October 1942. Even back then I was “walking the rails.” Our mom looks like a “gun mall” in the pic. Wonder who took it, dad? Happy New Year. I think 2019 will be a very interesting year. Love, steve
Another fantastic piece of the never ending saga of your research into GHH. This is the great part of the internet and the pieces your readers have added to you investigation are outstanding. I’m surprised you got any sleep. BTW: the chicken pot pie looks delicious. Have a Happy New Year and may 2019 bring your efforts to fruition.
Hi Dennis: Thanks. I got the driveway video up and running now on the blog, so if you missed it you can check it out as the link should now be working on the page. Happy New Year to you too! Steve
Wow, that must have been quite the weird experience! Another chapter in the Hodel family mysteries revealed. Really fascinating!
However, you know the saying “You can’t go home again” (Thomas Wolfe).
Carol K: Yes, it was. And, as to the saying, “Agreed, but if you do, be sure to have an early check out in the morning.” steve
Hi Steve, I know that had to be a strange feeling to stay in what was once your parents bedroom. I would’ve had a hard time sleeping too, but you didn’t go there to sleep anyway. It has been quite a journey for you. Just think, it will be 20 yrs. ago this May, when you first started looking into your Dad’s past, hoping to clear him of the accusations. You uncovered what could never be made up in someone’s mind. The case is mind boogling & complex. GHH’s bizarre motives, the connections between the crimes in street names, the lists goes on & on. It’s been quite a journey for us readers, as well.
Happy New Year
Hi Dan: Thanks for the kind words. Yes, quite a journey indeed. And your major contribution of Man Ray’s 1943 “L’Equivoque” was a HUGE PUZZLE PIECE. So many readers like you that contributed to different parts. Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year. Will see what 2019 holds for us my friend. Best, Steve
2019 will be the year
I became addicted to your amazing writings. I’ve spent the last two days reading about B.D. As a retired Law Enforcement Officer, my interest in this story is begging for some type of closure, a reason for such a horrendous crime and a deep internal passion to know the truth. Off to purchase every single one of your amazing books. Happy New Year, Steve!
Susie N: Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. You want to be sure to get the updated versions of the separate books. Here they are with their suggested reading order: 1) BDA (Skyhorse 2015 ed.) 2) Most Evil (Dutton 2009) 3) BDA II (2014 ed.) 4) Most Evil II (Rare Bird Books 2015) and 5) BDA III (Rare Bird Books 2018) Lot of reading ahead of you there. And, thank you for your years of service in Law Enforcement. Best Wishes, Steve
Hi Steve, After some absence, I came back to your blog and found out that you have spent the night in one of your parents’ former residences on Monterey Rd – the mansion on top of the hill. My family used to live in the Pasadena area too – but not that particular area. That must have felt very strange! Then I saw that your newest book is out and for some unknown reason I did not get a notification so I have purchased the Black Dahlia Avenger III today. I don’t think I would have slept there either. Thank you so much for your dedication and sharing your journey with us! Hope that 2019 will be kind to us! Best wishes always! Kathy
Thanks Kathy. Yes, it was a very strange “overnight.” Happy New Year to you and yours.
Wait! I just read the comments and saw that you’ve already listed their reading order:
suggested reading order: 1) BDA (Skyhorse 2015 ed.) 2) Most Evil (Dutton 2009) 3) BDA II (2014 ed.) 4) Most Evil II (Rare Bird Books 2015) and 5) BDA III (Rare Bird Books 2018)
Thanks Steve! Hoping everyone who watches the TNT show will buy your books and get the truth.
I have a feeling they will….
Dana: Yes, public needs to know that the TNT miniseries “I Am The Night” is pure fiction and has nothing to do with the real Black Dahlia Avenger investigation and my true crime books. Just like James Ellroy’s “Black Dahlia” fictional novel and the movie had nothing to do with the real Black Dahlia investigation.
Hi Steve, I am struck by what an incredibly brave person you are. Thank you for looking for the truth, for your own family and also for the victims and the families of the victims.
Lynda F: Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. steve
i am a relocated Angeleno who has had an interest in the B.D. case for some time. The T.V. series has heightened my interest and I will continue to follow you. I find your efforts at finding the truth, no matter the outcome to be truly remarkable. This story is absolutely chilling! Best wishes to you always.
Pat A: Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. You also might want to check out the Eight part podcast: Root of Evil: The True Story of the Hodel Family and the Black Dahlia” Six of the eight episodes have aired with two more to come on Weds. Here’s a link to that podcast, or can listen to it on any other platform you may have. Regards, Steve
Very fascinating. What a beautiful home and now inn! Thank goodness for Larry. That would be tough though. I wouldn’t have slept either. Very haunting.
I was wondering, in the family photo where is your mother? That had me puzzled. Your parents didn’t get divorced until much later, correct? I’m just learning of your family’s history, so forgive me if you’ve already covered this topic. I just saw Dr. Phil today and it sparked my curiosity. I had only read and watched a little about Elizabeth Short and your father Dr. Hodel in the past. I plan on reading much more. Have a great day Steve!
Angelique: Not sure where she was in the family photo? Yes, they were still married in 1943, but would start divorce proceedings the following year and final in ’45. Have a great day too. Steve
Wow, very interesting. My grandma was friends with Madi Comfort and lived down the street from her in Whittier, and I remember my mom telling me stories how Madi would take her to bars with her when she was a kid and would buy her Shirley Temples, and that Madi was famous. My grandma used to take me to Madi’s house and her aunt who we called “Big Madi” lived with her. Madi was very stunning, and always happy when she would walk through the neighborhood. She used to paint and had her paintings all over her house that looked like a red school house. My mom still lives in the house down the street from where Madi used to live. Who knew Madi had some sort of connection to this.
David: Yes, BIG TIME CONNECTION. I have a whole chapter on her in BDA II (updated 2014 ed.) I will be giving a talk next Monday, May 13, 2019 at the Whittier Library, Whittwood Branch at 6:30pm. It will be on my newest book, BDA III, which came out last November. All Best, Steve
Here’s that info: https://stevehodel.com/2019/05/03/steve-hodel-author-talk-and-book-signing-whittier-library-whittwood-branch-monday-may-13th-2019-630-pm-black-dahlia-avenger-iii/
Hi Steve! I will have to check it out. Do you have to register/get tickets for the speaking engagement? Or can you just walk in? I definitely would like to attend. A few years ago for some reason I had Googled Madi’s name because I had remembered my mom saying Madi was famous, and I came across your website. It’s a fascinating story. Will you have copies of your books available for sale?
David: I’m not sure. Should be just able to walk in. No charge. Yes, I will have BDA III books there and my publisher rep should be there to sell them and I can personalize/autograph.
Hi Steve! I find your writing fascinating! Will you be speaking anywhere in the near future? Also, I was just wondering if anyone has mentioned to you that Fauna Hodel bares a remarkable resemblance to Madi Comfort? I see an amazing resemblance! Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing what you have with us. Iris
Hi Iris. Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. Glad you enjoy the book. No, have no planned appearances in the immediate future. Just finished a couple of local LA talks in past few weeks. But, if and when something comes up I will be sure to post on my website blog and Facebook. All my best, Steve.
Hello again Steve,
I’m curious if you have any memories of that house, or if any were jogged during your overnight stay there?
Also, you’ve probably already noticed this but I saw no mention of it. That strange feature of decorative shingles on the house your father grew up in are similar to the feature on the Sowden house, with what reminds me of the open maw of a creature. Could be one reason why your father was attracted to the house. Familiarity?
I have NO MEMORIES from the Monterey Rd House sleepover. I was only two and three years old when we lived there.
As far as my father’s “attraction” to the Sowden/Franklin House, I suspect his readings from Sade’s, “120 Days of Sodom” and the description of that home and the crimes committed therein, were most likely, at least in part, the knowledge that led to his liking and buying the house. The crimes committed there were reenactments right out of the pages of that “How To” book on Sadism.
Got chills. Took a walk over on Short (it’s name a bizarre coincidence) and passed the Hodel Residence and Tea House then decided to do some reading up on the Black Dahlia case. Stumbled across the video of the Monterey Road residence while trying to find more info residence on Short and came to the shocking realization that the Hodel residence in 1944 is the bed and breakfast adjacent to our property down the side of the hill, our deck overlooking its roof.
Yes, we lived there in 43-44. I visited the BnB a few years back and did a sleepover.
Didn’t discover the connection until fairly recently. Best, Steve