Fatty Arbuckle was a star. He could act. He could sing. He could make an audience roar with laughter. By the 1910s, he was one of the highest paid actors, and among the most popular stars of silent films. It seemed like nothing could stop his shine. But then, following a weekend of partying at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, his friend Virginia Rappe died. It wasn’t immediately clear why Virginia died, but her friend supplied the answer: Virginia had been raped and killed by one of America’s most beloved stars.
Then Kristin tells us about the ultimate old-timey kidnapping. If your parents ever warned you about taking candy from strangers, this is why. On July 1, 1874, four-year-old Charley Ross and his six-year-old brother Walter were playing in their front yard when two men pulled up in a horse-drawn carriage. The men offered to buy the boys candy and fireworks. Naturally, the boys jumped at the chance. The men took the boys on a long, winding ride. They stopped at a store, and gave Walter 25 cents to buy fireworks. But after Walter made his purchase, he came back outside to find that the men were gone. They’d taken Charley with them.
And now for a note about our process. For each episode, Kristin reads a bunch of articles, then spits them back out in her very limited vocabulary. Brandi copies and pastes from the best sources on the web. And sometimes Wikipedia. (No shade, Wikipedia. We love you.) We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the real experts who covered these cases.
In this episode, Kristin pulled from:
“Charley Ross: Efforts to induce Westervelt to confess — he says, ‘search the Catholic Institutions,’” The Tennessean
“Among the missing: Charley Ross,” by Jay Robert Nash for The Tampa Tribune
“A notorious 19th century kidnapping in Brooklyn,” by Michael Pollak for The New York Times
“‘JonBenet’ case of its time — 1874,” by Jeff Gammage for The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Little Charley Ross,” The St. Albans Advertiser
“The story of Charley Ross,” ushistory.org
“The disappearance of Charley Ross,” by Steven Casale for The Lineup
In this episode, Brandi pulled from:
“Fatty Arbuckle and the Death of Virginia Rappe” by Denise Noe, The Crime Library
“The Skinny on the Fatty Arbuckle Trial” by Gilbert King, Smithsonian
“Roscoe Arbuckle” wikipedia.org