First “Black Dahlia Murder” Reference Found in Big Screen Film Release of “Heartaches” (1947) Just Five Months After Crime Occurred

November 7, 2019
Los Angeles, California
Thanks to the “heads up” from Bill S. in the below comment section. I had always thought that the 1950 classic film “Sunset Boulevard” reference to the Dahlia murder was the first on the Big Screen, but NOT SO.  As Bill S. points out, here is a much earlier reference in the 1947 film, “Heartaches” released just five months after the murder.

Click on above for thirty-second reference to Black Dahlia murder.
Film released June 1947 just five months after Elizabeth Short, “Black Dahlia” Murder.



  1. Paul BASS on November 8, 2019 at 9:09 am

    As you know, “released” time is many months after it was written, shot, edited, etc. Do you see any names in the production who knew George? Or Mann Ray?

    • Steve Hodel on November 8, 2019 at 9:42 am

      Paul B:
      Correct. So with the crime occurring on January 15, 1947 the actual writing and inclusion in the script would have been a number of months before (three or four?) which would mean “the reference line” was included/added very close to the actual murder.
      In checking the IMDB summary of the cast, there was only one name that jumped out to me, that being, “Lash La Rue” who is credited as playing, “DeLong-aka Trigger Malone (as Al LaRue)” Coincidentally, after marrying Kiyo in 1962 we bought a residential “mansion” in Laurel Canyon for the bargain price of $37,500 which was “big bucks” back then. A whopping $184 a month mortgage, which was a third of my monthly salary. We bought the home from Mr. and Mrs. Lash La Rue, who Kiyo had known from earlier times. (In his “trivia bio” I see they mention he was “married ten times” so not sure which Mrs. Lash it was when we bought their home? Maybe this little known factoid helps explain why he was known as “the fastest whip in the West”?

      • Paul on November 22, 2019 at 3:54 pm

        Yes, likely one of the later scenes in the film, inspired by the news. had to laugh at your Lash La Rue comments.
        Keep up the good work.
        Would really like to see a theatrical documentary or film one day to sort of “close” this for Elizabeth and the others who were victims.

    • Ann Y on November 16, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      Could Elizabeth Short’s family have sufficient cause for a law suit against the LAPD for negligence and tampering with evidence?

      • Steve Hodel on November 16, 2019 at 7:11 pm

        Ann Y:
        I don’t know the legal answer to your question?
        Not just Elizabeth, but all the victims that followed?
        I expect it may be one of the reasons the Department past and present wanted the public to think it was a “standalone” murder. “None before and none after.” No question those involved in the coverup have blood on their hands. To a moral certainty, but legally is a question left for The Law to answer?

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