Sunday, September 29, 2013

Remembering James Dean - A Trip Down Memory Lane At The Winslow Farm

James Byron Dean
Life Magazine, 1955 (Dennis Stock)
With the 58th anniversary of James Dean's death coming up, I am here to share with you a story. This story is a recollection of a man who many years ago experienced the dream of a lifetime, to visit the home of James Dean.  Not only did this person get to visit the home as a young man, but he also shared time visiting with Dean's family, resting inside Dean's home and exploring the Winslow Farm itself. The experience I am about to tell you is his and his alone, and the photographs of his visit have never been seen before. Therefore, I ask you with respect,  DO NOT to copy them in anyway because these are the property of my friend, Roland Boulware. The other photos I posted are the famous shots published in 1955 by LIFE Magazine, by photographer Dennis Stock.

This article is not to recycle the same old story that's been told over and over a million times. Nor is it some long biography of Dean's life from start to finish. No, instead this blog will be solely about my friend's experience at Dean's childhood home and cherished accounts shared by Dean's own family.

"It was June of 1984, as I recall," Roland started.
"We had been on our family road trip that we would take every Summer.  I was about fifteen at the time, and on this trip we were headed down to South Carolina to visit some family. As always, we like to enjoy our trips across country and so we stop along the way to see the sights. This time we wanted to stop in Fairmount, Indiana to visit the James Dean Museum. Unfortunately, when we got there the place was closed. There was a note on the door with a phone number written on it. We decided to walk over to the pharmacy in town to see if they had a payphone, so that my mother could call the number.  While inside the pharmacy, I just looked around, killing time. After getting no answer from the phone number she called, my mother got in line at the counter and waited her turn to ask the clerk about the Museum's hours of business. The woman standing in front of my mother, who was being helped by the clerk, kept looking over her right shoulder and smiling at me. I didn't quite get it at the time, but I just recall her continuing to look over and smile. Finally when she was finished, as she was walking out the door, again she looked over at me and smiled."

Winslow Farm (James Dean's Home)
As Roland recalled, his mother then reached the front of the line at the pharmacy and asked the clerk if they knew who to get in contact with to be able to get into the James Dean Museum. The clerk laughed and remarked, "The woman that just left out the door a second ago is married to Jimmy's cousin, Markie. You might want to go out there and catch her before she leaves."

Quickly they went outside and walked up to talk to the woman with shorter platinum blonde hair. She immediately took a liking to Roland's mother Patricia, and of course Roland. She stated that the way he was dressed, it reminded her of Jimmy and that was why she was looking at him.

Winslow Farm (James Dean's Home)
Then the most unexpected thing in the world happened, this nice lady invited their family over to their home.  "I'm going to take you to the farm. Now, this isn't a tourist attraction, its our home. We don't just let people come over here regularly." She went on to state that she took a liking to Roland's family and that she wanted to make the trip to Fairmount enjoyable, so she would bring them to the farm, then show them the cemetery and then to the Museum. The family was ecstatic as they jumped in their family station wagon and followed Mrs. Winslow up to the farm.

Dean playing with "Markie" (Life Mag. 1955, Dennis Stock)
 "I remember my dad pulling up into that driveway," Roland recalls."It was long and as we made that turn, I completely recognized it from the photos I had seen in books and magazines growing up. It was amazing. There I was, in James Dean's driveway! I remember going inside the farm house, and seeing all the mementos on shelves. This was not like a museum setting, but a lived-in, family home. The photos and decorations, the humble furniture and the absence of a television made it feel like I had just stepped into a time warp. It was like the 1950's all over again."

Spot look familiar? (Dennis Stock, Life Magazine, 1955)
 "I remember standing there in the living room area and recalling the photographs I had seen of James Dean playing on the floor with his cousin Marcus. There I was in the same room, of the same house, with my nephew Dusty."

Roland continued to remember sitting in a chair next to the window, just like this photo seen to the right. He said that the whole experience, being able to relax and visit with Dean's family, in their home was surreal and dream like for him at the age he was. His mother had a long lengthy conversation with Marcus' wife, while Marcus said a quick hello and went upstairs. Roland and his dad continued to take photos of the home and just take in the surroundings of where they were.

"My dad wasn't really all into James Dean, but my mother and I were. This stop in Fairmount was basically for my mother and I." As he continued to look at the photos on display, the lady came back in the room and told him, "Follow me, I have something to show you."

Roland sitting on a chair in James Dean's home
"We went out there and I followed her across the yard and to the back where the two barns were. We stopped at the smaller storage barn and she said, "Go ahead and slide it open (the doors), under the cardboard, you might find something that will interest you." So I went and pulled open the doors to the barn and pulled back the cardboard to reveal a slab of cement with the name Jimmy Dean carved in it, with his hand prints dried in the cement."

James Dean's 1949 Ford (given to him by his uncle for graduation)
Then Roland got one of the biggest thrills of all, he was allowed to go in the garage to view the 1949 four-door Ford Sedan that was James Dean's graduation present from his uncle Marcus in May of 1949.

What is interesting is the fact that so many claim that this was a car he "borrowed" to go to Prom. When in fact, the car was bought brand new by his uncle as a gift to James Dean for graduation, so this theory of him "borrowing" it for Prom doesn't make any sense.  As you can see by the photo, the car's original paint was green. To my knowledge this is the only photo posted online, that actually shows the car in it's original state (before they repainted it red and put white-wall tires on it).
'49 Ford (James Dean's)

While on the farm, Roland wandered around alone, just trying to put himself in Dean's place for a moment. He wondered how it felt for Dean when he came here for the first time at the age of 9. How it felt to grow up there, to learn to live without his mother, and where he might have spent his free time there on the farm. He walked on the grass, or on the dirt or bricks, wondering if that was a spot at one point in time that Dean had walked. A spot under a tree or on the porch where Dean once had sat and daydreamed. The experience was ethereal and unbelievable for him at such a young and influential age. Especially, being that James Dean was Roland's idol at the time, one can only imagine how this visit impacted him.

Dusty with Mrs. Winslow
 Roland went on to recall being outside with Marcus' wife and his family, just having a good time out in the yard. Roland's nephew "Dusty" (Dustin) was allowed to get up on the little red tractor in the yard, while Mrs. Winslow stood behind him, in a caring and motherly way watching over him. They ran around the yard and played, all the while Roland, calmly strutted in his smooth, James Dean-like manner down the dusty driveway, wearing his blue jeans (rolled at the cuffs), his white t-shirt and red jacket just taking it all in.

Mrs. Winslow, Dusty and Roland
"I was looking for places I saw in the photos, I was looking for landmarks. I went back to the big barn to see if the old basketball hoop was there. I had seen James Dean shooting hoops with someone in a photo and wanted to see if it was still there." Unfortunately, with time and the elements at work, all that was left of that basketball hoop was the old framework, rusty and dilapidated, and a mere fragment of what once was.

After they had spent a significant time at the Winslow Farm, Mrs. Winslow decided it was time to show the family where Dean was buried. So they all followed her in their station wagon up to the cemetery, but not before giving the family a few mementos, including a red Honda motorcycle helmet that she gave Roland's little nephew Dusty.
Roland at the grave of James Dean

Upon reaching the cemetery and going up to Dean's final resting place, it was obvious that something was wrong. "His headstone is gone! This is a regular occurrence, unfortunately," Mrs. Winslow remarked upon seeing that his headstone was stolen. 

Standing there, above the grave of his idol, Roland paid his respects and took it all in. The surroundings, the sounds, everything.  He saw where other relatives of James Dean were buried, including his uncle Marcus Winslow, Sr. After his trip to the cemetery, Mrs. Winslow then took them out to the place they had intended on visiting from the very beginning, the James Dean Museum.

Paying his respects, vandals had stolen Dean's headstone
While at the museum he met Adeline Nall, Dean's Drama Teacher from Fairmount High School. She was introduced to Roland and his family by Mrs. Winslow. As Patricia (Roland's mother) continued talking to Mrs. Winslow, Roland and his father walked around with Adeline, while she spoke of her memories of Jim (as she called him) and the story of when he gave her a painting of an orchid. She said that Dean had asked to borrow an orchid that he had given her as a gift, and that he later returned with a painting of the orchid he made for her. He had told her that he took the flower back so he could paint it.  He then told her,"now you can keep it forever." She spoke with such admiration and affection for Dean, as she walked along showing Roland and his father the museum. She mentioned to Roland towards the end of the visit that he reminded her of a young Marlon Brando, and that Dean had idolized Brando when he was younger.
Fairmount High School

When the trip to the Museum was over, they said their goodbyes to the Winslows and Mrs. Nall. They took some more photos around town, including this one of the front of Fairmount High School, where Dean attended. As they drove away from the small, quiet town of Fairmount, Indiana the Boulware family was left with a wonderful memory. The memory of stepping into Dean's old life, if only for a day. They walked where he walked, sat where he sat, spoke with the family he cared for so much and even chit-chatted with his teacher. They experienced something that millions of people across the world only wish they could do. And yet, the Boulwares did it, they took a trip down memory lane at the Winslow Farm,  a trip they will never forget.
Life Magazine, 1955 (Dennis Stock)

(Copyright- J'aime Rubio, September 29th, 2013)

Thank you Roland Boulware for the wonderful interview, sharing your special memories and for allowing me to use your family photographs. 

(Photos are copyright protected and are the property of Roland Boulware)

All other photos are from Public Domain or  LIFE Magazine, 1955 (Dennis Stock)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

On The Anniversary Of Paul Bern's Death

Paul Bern
Okay, so yesterday was the day Paul Bern died...well late last night anyways. Well, if you read my blogs "Dreaming Casually" or this one, "Hollywoodland Forever" you would know I am a mystery and history fanatic. So when I first read of Paul Bern's death many years ago, I was drawn to the enigma surrounding it. So many possibilities, so many suspects.....

A lot of times people want to just go and blame Dorothy Millette, the "estranged" wife or as many often refer to her as the "mental" or "crazy" ex-wife of Paul Bern. Honestly, I have yet to find one book or blog that can state as much information on Dorothy as I have in the past 3 years. What I always find so amazing is how NO ONE ever wants to even think for a second that Harlow could have committed the murder. Come on, "Baby" wasn't as innocent as she appeared. So why blame Dorothy? No one knows much about her and yet they are so quick to label her the murderer? We know Harlow's background, and it wasn't all that great.

Anyways, if you are really interested in knowing about Paul, Dorothy and both of their deaths, then I suggest you read both articles, "A Forgotten Wife, A Hollywood Homicide & An Unsolved Mystery," and also "Who Was Dorothy Millette."

Easton Drive Home
Being that it is the 81st anniversary of both Paul and Dorothy's deaths (her death being sometime between the 6th and 7th of September, his being September 4th), I thought I would throw out a scenario that has been running through my head for quite some time. After re-reading all the research and my own articles, going over and over the details, I noticed something no one else has mentioned before.

Just think about it...       

Paul and Jean
Paul Bern's body was found dead in his home on September 5, 1932. Some speculate he committed suicide, while others say he was murdered. Always they blame his first wife Dorothy for the murder, but let me ask you this.....If Paul was found naked with a bullet hole in his head, and the servants accounts stated that there were two empty wine glasses and a wet bathingsuit near the pool and a pool of blood behind the back of Paul's favorite lawn chair, (his body was so obviously moved after MGM's people got there)....that would mean he and another woman (which facts prove the bathing suit belonged to Dorothy) were naked, together. 
Is it possible that Jean Harlow found the two of them together, having sex and in a fit of rage due to the fact of her complaining of never "consummating" her marriage to Paul, then went to his coat, where she knew he kept his gun and shot him in the head?
Me @ Dorothy's grave
Dorothy, in shock, screams alerting the staff. Perhaps she grabs a robe or coat and runs to the limo that had been waiting outside. The servants said they saw her running and was in such a scared state that she left one of her shoes in the driveway...... Scared and not sure of what to do, Harlow runs over to Howard Hughes home and confesses and begs for his help. Whether he helps her or she ends up calling her step-father Marino Bello, someone was brought in to finish the job.
Somehow, someway....Dorothy ended up dead 2 days later. Drowned from falling off the Delta King riverboat in the Sacramento River....her death, written off as a suicide....but really, was it?'
Again, this is just a thought..... has anyone else contemplated this theory?
( J'aime Rubio - Copyright 2013)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Shroud of Mystery Behind Thomas Ince's Death- Part 2

Ince and his wife w/ kids
As previously mentioned in Part 1 of "A Shroud of Mystery Behind Thomas Ince's Death,"  I wrote about the possible scenarios that may have transpired the night that Ince fell "ill" aboard W.R. Hearst's yacht on November 16, 1924. Could it have been that Ince was shot by Hearst himself, while in a jealous rage after seeing Chaplin and Davies together? Could it have been that Hearst mistook Ince for Chaplin when he pulled the trigger?

What about a possible fight between Chaplin and Hearst? Could the gun have went off accidentally and the innocent bystander in the middle, Ince, was shot fatally? Or what about the whole theory that included Abigail Kinsolving and her illigitimate child that she claimed was the product of rape by none other than Ince, that very night? So many possible scenarios, so many possible motives.

Needless to say, most people believe Ince was shot that night, and that he did not die from heart failure brought on by indigestion from eating salted almonds and alcohol. But if Ince was shot, and the guests aboard the yacht were aware of this, how did Hearst manage to keep everyone quiet after all these years?

 "Give Her An Ince, She'll Take A Whole Column"- Louella Parsons

The First Lady of Hollywood, or so some writers say, Louella Parsons claimed to have invented "celebrity gossip" from the very beginning. Personally after looking into this woman, you can thank Louella Parsons for all the terrible tabloid writers out there today (ex; TMZ, National Enquirer, etc) for I am sure she is their God (or Goddess). Louella started working for Essenay Studios in Chicago  as a"scenario editor," and later she went on to write about stars and their movies at the Chicago Tribune.  When W.R. Hearst bought the Chicago Tribune, Louella was out of a job. So she moved to New York and began writing a small column in the New York Morning Telegraph, writing about celebrities and movies once again. She caught Hearst's eye when she wrote a very flattering piece about Marion Davies (then Hearst's mistress). There is no doubt in my mind that Louella knew what she was doing. It's obvious she knew about Marion being Hearst's mistress, and perhaps due to the fact the media did not seem to pick up on Davies talent in the press, Louella seized the opportunity of a lifetime, giving Davies publicity that she knew one person in particular would notice, Hearst!

Once Hearst saw that Parsons was overly gracious about building up the talent and beauty of Miss Davies, Hearst called her out to work for him. She first started a small article for one of Hearst's papers, The New York American in 1923. The weekend of Ince's death she had been invited to Hollywood on her very first trip to California. Isn't it interesting that upon her return to New York, after Ince's death, Louella Parsons had signed a lifetime contract with Hearst writing for the Los Angeles Examiner and basically had his backing on any and everything the wrote from that point on?

Knowing the "Chief" had her back, Louella started her infamous writing career as a "Celebrity Gossip Journalist"- becoming one of the most hated people in all of Hollywood, although it was said that her talent was lacking as a true journalist. In fact, her tenacity and drive to out scoop other writers with scandalous gossip seemed to be the force she used to stay ahead of the curve, because she was not an eloquent writer at all. It was obvious that Louella was certainly more about quantity (of readers) and less about the quality of her work.  Well known to over embellish stories to fit her needs, Louella could make a story much worse than it was by adding more fuel to the fire to ruin a reputation or two if she chose to.

On the other hand, if she liked someone, she would build them up in the public eye, making them owe her a favor. In turn she would later use them as informants to retrieve secret inside Hollywood gossip that no one else knew about. She could basically make or break someone's career in Hollywood at her own disposal which made crossing Parsons a very dangerous thing to do in Hollywood. After signing the lifetime contract with Hearst, Louella's articles went from appearing in a few newspapers to over six hundred newspapers the world over, with a readership of more than twenty-million people.

Anyone with any common sense can see that there was a dramatic change in Parsons' career after Ince's death. I find it also interesting that Davies denied that Parsons was aboard, although there were witnesses at the studio who stated they saw both Davies and Parsons together just before leaving to board the Oneida that weekend. Also, why did Parsons' deny having been to California at all, when she knew very well that people saw her in California? It's obvious that as long as Davies and Parsons obeyed whatever W.R. Hearst told them to say, he protected them and took care of them, financially of course.

The Grieving Widow- Elinor Ince 

And what about "Nell" or Elinor Ince, Thomas' wife? According to the many books and articles online, it states that Elinor was given a "trust fund" from Hearst soon after the death of her husband. Many also claim that Nell and her sons rushed to Europe right after the death of her husband to avoid the scandal or gossip that followed his death. They go on to say she never remarried and lived out her life in poverty after the Depression hit and all her money was gone. Other writers go on to add that Elinor ended up a taxi driver and died penniless. I have yet to see any proof of this, only writer after writer copying and pasting the same pathetic sentences. I mean, come on! Doesn't anyone actually do research anymore or what?!

Dias Dorados Estate
Soon after Ince's death, Elinor Ince DID NOT board a steam liner to Europe as many claim. Instead, Nell went immediately back to work at her husbands studio to make sure that contracts were kept and that everything remained on schedule all the way up until the Spring of 1925. It was then that she and her sons traveled to Europe for a much needed trip.

Hearst did help Nell financially, how much in the amount of money, it is unsure to say. In 1927, Nell sold her "Dias Dorados" home in Benedict Canyon (where Ince died) to Carl Laemmle for the amount of $650,000. (** Interesting note: Upon selling the home they discovered that Ince had secret passageways in the attic where he could peep into each guest room from the ceiling to spy on his guests). Nell then began the construction of the celebrity residential apartments known as The Villa Carlotta Apartments, that sat just across the street from her other home on Franklin Avenue.

Villa Carlotta Apartments
It was speculated that Hearst funded Nell for both the Villa Carlotta and the Chateau Elysee, an even more upscale luxury long-term residential hotel and apartment house for movie stars, that she built on top of the land where her home previously sat on Franklin Avenue. It is no secret that once the Villa Carlotta opened its doors that none other than Louella Parsons' moved right in and stayed one of the longest residents at the building. It was even said that Parsons got married in the lobby of the building. In it's heyday, the Chateau Elysee was famously known for housing stars like George Burns, Carole Lombard, Cary Grant, Bette Davis and Clark Gable.

Around 1930 Elinor ignored the will of her late husband when she married English actor, Holmes Herbert, forfeiting her share of her husbands estate. Instead, she was only subject to receive a share in the "interest" of the estate, while the remainder of the estate was divided between her three sons. It could have been at this time that Hearst stepped in and financially helped her, or perhaps she had so much money already from Hearst's help years prior that forfeiting her share in her late husband's estate was of no concern to her. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? By 1934, Nell had divorced, leaving her single once again, but she maintained busy running both the Chateau Elysee and Villa Carlotta.

Chateau Elysee
Elinor later sold the Chateau Elysee in 1942 and the Villa Carlotta in 1953 to Glen Wallich, co-founder of Capitol Records. By that time Elinor was 69 years of age. I am sure she was not in any position to work, nor did she really need to work if she had sold both properties. Elinor died at the age of 86 in her sleep after a series of minor strokes. She had lived a good life, she DID NOT die penniless like many writers claim.

The book, "Thomas Ince: Hollywood's Independent Pioneer" by Brian Taves writes that in Elinor's last years that Elinor was "active in preventive medicine, following an athletic regimen of swimming, horseback riding, and tennis that helped keep her healthy to almost the end of her life." Now I don't know about you, but do you really think a penniless taxi driver could afford to play tennis, go horseback riding or use preventive medicine to elongate her life?

The book goes on to mention that she was a very generous charitable contributor, although she always wished to remain anonymous in which charities she donated to. Towards the end, Elinor suffered from back deterioration but remained mentally active by reading regularly and keeping up with current events. And as noted above, Elinor died in her sleep on September 12, 1971.

 Hearst As White As A Ghost!

So will we ever know what transpired the night of November 16th, 1924? Probably not. We are only left to speculate based on the information that has been circulating all these years. It was said by D.W. Griffith years after Thomas Ince's death,All you have to do to make Hearst turn white as a ghost is mention Ince’s name. There’s plenty wrong there, but Hearst is too big to touch.
Hollywood knew that Hearst was the "Chief" with all the control of the media, so if he wanted something covered up, it would happen.  The movie Citizen Kane by Orson Welles seemed to be about the life of W.R. Hearst and some believe that it could possibly be a clue about many hidden things in the real life of Hearst himself. As most of us know, some of the biggest secrets are hidden in plain sight. And if you look into it, Hearst threatened the studio when he learned of the film, while his press henchman (or woman) Louella Parsons attacked Welles even worse after she realized that she had been tricked by Welles, after he assured her that the story was about a rich dead man. Believing Welles, Parsons praised Welles' directorial efforts and the movie itself prior to the movie coming out. But soon after learning the truth about the storyline of the film, Parsons realized the movie was too similar to her boss' life, she went on the war path after Orson Welles to the point the studio had to fight to even get the picture released. Could there have been a hidden clue in the movie that could tell us something about Ince's death? Or maybe other hidden secrets that Hearst would stop at nothing to keep hidden?

The Mystery Remains- Where Are Ince's Remains?

Thomas Ince will forever be remembered for the odd and mysterious way that he died, and sadly not remembered for the contributions he made to Hollywood. He was a Director, Screenwriter, Producer and even an silent film actor. He was the "Father of the Western," and pioneered in creating over 100 films, making him a movie studio mogul. He established the very first modern film studio naming it "Inceville."

The studio was the first of its kind, featuring offices, stages, labs, dressing rooms, commissaries, prop houses, and elaborate sets all in one convenient location. He also established  Triangle Studios based out of Culver City, wherein he set forth the precedent to combine production, distribution, and theater operations under one roof.

He died quite wealthy, with newspapers reporting that his fortune was worth somewhere between $1,600,000.00- $4,000,000.00 in 1924.

Ince's funeral was held there at the Chapel at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery on November 21st, 1924 and that soon after his body was cremated.  For years people have wondered where Ince's remains are, whether family kept them or if he was interred somewhere secretly.

There were rumors that Hollywood Memorial Cemetery had stored his remains in their vaults, keeping them forever hidden, but there is really no way to know for sure. Hollywood Memorial is now known as Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I had contacted Hollywood Forever Cemetery and spoke to Karie Bible (who works there.) Kare stated that Ince's remains were received by his family and remains in their possession. She also mentioned that not only was the funeral held for Ince at Hollywood Memorial but that the Egyptian Theater had a huge memorial service as well.

J'aime Rubio (copyright) 2013- Dreaming Casually via Hollywoodland Forever

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Shroud Of Mystery Behind Thomas Ince's Death- Part One

Thomas Ince
Not too many people know who Thomas Ince is, or was. Tragically his death overshadowed his legacy of being a true pioneer in the silent film industry. The few who are familiar with his story are usually at odds deciding on whether or not  his death was from "natural causes" or worse, if he was murdered. This story is one that is complex and filled with twists and turns at every corner. But for the truth seekers such as myself, it only added more fuel to the fire. The more I dug,the more I uncovered clues in regards to what really happened that night on the Oneida. After reading this story, I hope that you will put two and two together to see the story unravel right before your eyes. In the end, you will draw your own conclusions to this mystery and hopefully you will leave this page, satisfied with your opinions.

Birthday Invite Aboard W.R.'s Yacht!

Thomas Ince's name went down in history not for being a mogul the film industry, not for being the "Father of the Western" but rather for the fatal demise  that has been shrouded in mystery ever since he stepped foot on William Randolph Hearst's yacht, the Oneida, the weekend of November 15th, 1924. In fact, when the yacht left bound for San Diego from San Pedro that very day, Ince himself missed the initial departure and had to take a train to San Diego that following day, Sunday morning (the 16th) in order to board the yacht and enjoy the last day of the weekend with Hearst and his other companions on board.

Davies greeting Ince aboard the Oneida
"W.R." had invited Ince to share in the festivities of the weekend, even going so far as to plan a celebratory birthday dinner in honor of Ince on Sunday evening. Little is known about who actually was on board that evening. The guest list has changed a bit off an on over the years, but always the common denominators of the story remain:  William Randolph Hearst, Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, Louella Parsons, Thomas Ince, Margaret Livingston and of course Dr. Goodman always seem to be among those listed in every story.

According to the "official" records and reports, it states that the evening of Sunday, November 16th, that Thomas Ince grew ill from a bout of indigestion and had to be removed from the yacht in the night. According to Dr. Daniel Carson Goodman (a licensed though non-practicing physician) who was employed by Hearst as film production head, he claimed that he escorted Ince to San Diego where they boarded the train. By the time they hit Del Mar, Ince's condition had worsened so they got off the train and went to a hotel. Goodman contacted Ince's wife, Nell and told her to join them at the hotel where they called a doctor.  He eventually was moved to his Benedict Canyon home, (1051 Benedict Canyon Rd.) known as "Dias Dorados" where he eventually passed away on his wife's birthday, November 19th (which was a Wednesday, not a Tuesday as many claim). It is quite possible he died towards the early morning hours of November 19th, having had taken a turn for the worst Tuesday evening.  The idea that Thomas Ince fell ill to indigestion and later died from heart failure has always been scrutinized over the years. In fact, there are just too many conflicting reports in regards to that scenario, that it raises suspicion even more.

Other Theories:

Secret Affair & A Case Of Mistaken Identity

Swanson, Chaplin & Davies
The most popular of rumors was that Hearst invited Charlie Chaplin as one of his guests that weekend to observe Chaplin with Hearst's mistress, actress Marion Davies. The rival newspapers of Hearst's empire had published accounts just a week prior to the trip, stating that Davies and Chaplin were seen together in an inappropriate manner. Perhaps Hearst, wanting to see for himself, had invited Chaplin to find out if the rumors were true. He had to know if his beloved mistress Marion was being unfaithful or not.

As the rumor goes, Chaplin and Davies had been seen by Hearst below deck conversing, eventually Chaplin left his hat and retreated back to his stateroom for the night. In a jealous rage, Hearst went back to his stateroom and retrieved his diamond studded revolver (that he was most famously known for shooting down seagulls with) and went back to where Davies and Chaplin had been seated.

Somewhere during W.R.'s stroll to retrieve his gun, Ince had got up and found Davies alone. What they were talking about is unknown to this day, but the outcome proved to be fatal. Some rumors state Ince picked up Chaplin's hat and put it on as a joke to Davies as they sat there chatting. Mistaken for Chaplin, Hearst shot Ince in the back of the head. Feeling so overcome by guilt for shooting the wrong person, Hearst swore everyone on the yacht to secrecy (probably "buying them off") and covered the whole story over.

Another theory in regards to the whole Chaplin-Davies-Hearst love triangle was that there was a fight and that Hearst flat out shot at Chaplin and missed, while the bullet some say exited out of a porthole and struck Ince in the forehead while he was strolling on deck. Another says Ince was trying to break up the fight between Chaplin and Hearst while the gun went off, striking him in the head. No matter which theory you choose out of this category, Hearst remains the shooter in these scenarios.

The Incidence of Rape and Self Defense

Another quite messy scenario is that of an unknown character, Abigail Kinsolving. Miss Kinsolving happened to be Miss Davies Secretary, and from most stories she is not among those listed as being aboard the Oneida that night. However, apparently through the Hollywood gossip circuit, the story claims that Abigail was raped by Ince aboard Hearst's yacht and that she shot him in self defense or even quite possibly stabbed him in the head. Another report states that she only admitted to being raped by Ince, but never mentioned anything about how he died, or even if the death was related to her rape.

Margaret Livingston, Ince's mistress
Stories go on to state that Abigail became pregnant from that incident and gave birth to a daughter, Louise just months later. As you know, a pregnancy takes an entire nine months. So for her to give birth just a "few months" later sounds fishy to me. Also, the reports claim that Ince raped her on Saturday night, the 15th of November.

That is impossible, Ince didn't even board the Oneida until Sunday morning (the 16th) in San Diego because he had been busy at the premiere of  "The Mirage" and an ongoing production deal he was negotiating with Hearst's International Film Corporation. So if Abigail claimed to have been raped by Ince on the 15th aboard the Oneida, then that was a lie.

Now, if she wanted to claim that Ince was the father of her baby, whom I am now assuming that she was already "expecting" long before stepping foot on the Oneida that evening, perhaps she was enraged with jealousy when she saw that Hearst had invited Ince's mistress, Margaret Livingston. Was Abigail also one of Ince's mistresses? Given the circumstances, and her "delicate condition" I could imagine that she was beyond livid at that point.

As we all know the saying:

Heav'n has no rage like love to hatred turn'd
Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd.- 
(act III of William Congreve's The Mourning Bride, 1697)

There are so many possibilities to the scenarios behind the Abigail Kinsolving theory. If she was in fact having a sexual relationship with Ince prior to this yacht trip, she could have confided in him that she was pregnant with his child and he could have said it wasn't his, or that he wouldn't leave his wife for her. Perhaps she was just a "fling" to Ince, although it might have meant much more to her. Again, there really is no way to know if Ince was secretly seeing Abigail or not, but had she really been pregnant with his child and became so enraged at the sight of Ince with Livingston, or upset that Ince refused to acknowledge her pregnancy, perhaps she lost it that night and she shot him herself.

It would be very easy for her to claim rape to Hearst, given the fact he was quite the conservative and would have swept that whole thing under the rug for an innocent victim, and even more so for a woman. Also, think about this, Marion Davies was everything to Hearst. Abigail was Davies Secretary, she spent a lot of time with Davies, so she probably spent a lot of time with Hearst. He would have been well aware that a scandal of that magnitude would have ruined Davies' career and brought a never ending rainstorm of unflattering publicity to Hearst as well if it made the papers. 

Hearst would do anything for Davies, he created Cosmopolitan Pictures just for her, so that she could star in all the films. If he would do that for her, he would cover over anything if it meant protecting her image.
I also find it interesting that Abigail died shortly after giving birth to Louise. Her body was found among the wreckage of an auto accident near "La Cuesta Encantada"-- Hearst's Ranch in San Simeon. Allegedly, Hearst's bodyguards discovered her body, where they also found a suicide note.

Many speculated that the note was written by two different people, given the two distinct sets of handwriting on the note. Upon looking into this further, I have read that some people with "variable personalities" have been known to write with two distinct sets of handwriting. Some go from cursive to print, which is actually quite normal. While others can change styles completely which could mean something a little more complex. Could this have been a clue that Abigail had a split personality? Could she have been mentally ill? Did she really kill herself? Or was her death another unsolved mystery forever lurking in the shadows of W.R. Hearst? Unfortunately, we have no idea what the note said or what it looked like, as I am sure it was destroyed long ago. So there is no way to determine whether both sets of writing were from Abigail, or someone else. As the story goes, after Abigail died, Marion Davies quickly took Louise and placed her in an orphanage that Davies financially supported, making sure Louise would be taken care of.

Patricia Van Cleve (Hearst's daughter)
More proof of Hearst's capability to cover over or conceal secrets was one he held on to the grave. For many years Marion Davies claimed that the young blonde that would occasionally visit the Ranch in San Simeon was her "niece." However, as the years went on and secrets were whispered, this girl claimed to be the "love child" of Davies and Hearst. It is unknown when she was born, sometime between 1920-1923 but according to the Lake family, Marion gave the child to her sister Rose to raise after the loss of her own baby, while Hearst saw to it that she was financially cared for. On her death bed, Patricia Van Cleve Lake claimed that Marion Davies confided to her when she was 11 years old, and was told to keep her mouth shut about it. Even on her wedding day, six years after Davies had told her, Hearst  himself took her aside and told her that he was her real father and embraced her.

Patricia claimed that she had to pretend as if she didn't know, in order to make sure Hearst thought the secret had never been spoken prior to that day. Even after he admitted it to her, she knew that the charade was not over, in her entire life neither one of her biological parents could ever publicly acknowledge that she was their daughter, even if she knew they were her parents. Upon her deathbed, Patricia made sure that the world knew the real truth, she wanted to leave this world with the secret revealed. It makes you wonder, that if Hearst could hide a love child, what else could he hide?

Several historians have claimed to have dis-proven this theory by divorce records of  Rose and George, showing the constant animosity and fighting for custody of Patricia but there really is no way to know for sure who the girls parents were without DNA testing. Adoptive parents fight over their children all the time, plus the fact they had lost a child in death once, they may have been holding on to Patricia with all their might, regardless of whether she was biologically theirs or not. Whether it was George Van Cleeve and Rosemary Douras who parented her or Marion Davies and Hearst, the mystery will always remain.

No Autopsy

According to the papers, Wednesday morning's edition of the Los Angeles Times revealed a headline,
"MOVIE PRODUCER SHOT ON HEARST'S YACHT!"- but by the afternoon edition, that headline had been pulled, with any other information in regards to Ince's injuries.  One of Hearst's own papers published a headline reading "SPECIAL CAR RUSHES STRICKEN MAN HOME FROM RANCH."

Timeline of Events
In fact, at first Hearst wanted the public to think that Ince was actually at his Ranch in San Simeon, and that he was rushed home when he fell ill. When the rumors got out that people knew he had boarded the Oneida that Sunday morning, the papers had to backpedal there story and change it quickly. Then the story claimed that Ince fell ill due to ulcers and indigestion and later caused him a heart attack.

When Ince died at his home in Benedict Canyon, his personal Physician Dr. Glasgow signed the death certificate stating the cause of death was "heart failure." Ince was shot or became "ill" on Sunday evening (16th) and departed from the yacht early Monday the 17th. He died on the 19th and his funeral took place just two days later on Friday the 21st.  Upon those present were Marion Davies, Charlie Chaplin, Ince's brothers Ralph and John, accompanied by Elinor Ince and her three sons William, Thomas and Richard. Several other celebrities and family friends attended while services were done in the Chapel at the Hollywood Cemetery. Hearst himself was not present, which calls to mind that if Ince really had become ill on board of Hearst's yacht, why not pay Ince the respect of attending his funeral...that is, if it really wasn't any fault of W.R.'s in the first place. Right?

Ince's remains were cremated immediately after the ceremony, but records state that it was an open casket ceremony at the funeral. It is interesting to note that according to the book, "Thomas Ince- Hollywood's Independent Pioneer" written by Brian Taves, he states that the Chief of Homicide in Los Angeles dispatched two officers (J.B. Fox and William Bright) to Strother and Dayton's Mortuary in Hollywood, where Ince's body was being prepared for his funeral. According to the book, both officers along with the studio manager Reeve Houck witnessed as he states "Dr. Day" (whose name in actuality was Dr. Dayton not Day) turned the body of Thomas Ince over to reveal nothing. No mark, no wounds, nothing to indicate death occurred from anything besides natural causes. Could it be?  It is always likely that cops were paid off but it does make you stop and wonder, is it possible that Ince did die from natural causes after all? But then again, we are talking about Hollywood here, and Hollywood is very capable of  making people forget what they saw. Hollywood is also very good at using makeup, so it is possible that they cosmetically altered Ince's body or head to make the wound not visible.

What About The Witnesses?

Although many records state that Thomas Ince died Tuesday night, it was actually the early morning hours of Wednesday, as the records state he died on November 19th, which was in fact, a Wednesday. What is interesting about the witness accounts is that most on board of the Oneida either had no accounts or seemed to come down with a sudden bout of forgetfulness.

Marion Davies claimed that Nell Ince called her from the studio on Monday, letting her know Thomas had died. Well history shows this is impossible, being that Ince didn't die till the early hours of Wednesday.  Charlie Chaplin stated that he was never on board of the Oneida that weekend and that he, Hearst and Davies came to see Ince at his home a week after he became "ill". He also went on to state that Ince didn't die until two weeks after. Funny, because Chaplin was present at Ince's funeral that same week, so he knew very well that Ince died days, not weeks later.

Louella Parsons (who we will discuss in great detail in Part 2), claimed that she wasn't even in California at the time, and that she was all the way in New York when Ince became ill and died. Interestingly enough, Vera Burnett, a stand-in for Marion Davies at the studio, recalled seeing Louella with Marion at the studio the day of their planned weekend trip aboard Hearst's yacht, proving that Louella was in fact on the Oneida at the time.

Another witness that many have ignored over the years is the account of Chaplin's driver, Toraichi Kono, who claimed he actually saw Ince being transported by ambulance off the yacht. Kono confided the strange account to his wife that it appeared as if Ince's head was "bleeding from a bullet wound." Among the domestic workers in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, this rumor spread quickly. In a matter of days there were several calls to Los Angeles authorities as well as the authorities in San Diego, asking for them to investigate Ince's death, if not for murder, then for the illegal alcohol consumption which could have also led to his illness.  Because the public had doubts about the truth to Ince's death and many believed Hearst used his influence and control to cover it up, within three weeks San Diego District Attorney Chester C. Kempley was forced to look into the matter.

The odd part about the whole thing is that Kempley only questioned one person, Dr. Goodman, the man who accompanied Ince from the yacht, to the hotel and then onto Ince's Benedict Canyon home. The D.A. never questioned the guests who were on board the Oneida, nor did he even dare question Hearst. That to me, also sounds a little fishy. Of course the D.A. concluded that the matter was closed, being that Ince's death did not appear to be anything other than natural causes.

"I am satisfied that the death of Thomas H. Ince was caused by heart failure as a result of an attack of there is every reason to believe that the death of Ince was due to natural causes, there is no reason why an investigation should be made."- Chester C. Kempley, San Diego District Attorney.

As usual, the story was covered over and smoothed out by the Hearst papers, but there was far more to the story than just this. We are just scratching the surface.

J'aime Rubio- Dreaming Casually Publications/Hollywoodland Forever 
Copyright- 2013