"From the Desert to the Sea, to All of Southern California." - Jerry Dunphy

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Van Nuys Drive-In

The other night Radio Rat called me and we got to talking about the old days, as old men are wont to do, and the topic naturally turned to old girlfriends. Specifically a girl he used to date back in the early 1980's. While the memories were fairly clear I was a little vague on the dates. So tonight I dug out my briefcase full of datebook/journals I have kept since about 1980. In going through the books I found what I was looking for but also happened across one item I had forgotten about.

Back in 1981 I went to Van Nuys Drive-in on Roscoe Blvd. (The one is the Blog heading) with my girlfriend. That night we saw two pictures I have no recollection of what so ever. "Graduation Day" and "Cheerleader Beach Party". Why we went to see those two pictures is a puzzle. My choice of movies was as stupid as I was back then. Now that I think about it, that was the last time I went to a movie at Van Nuys Drive-in. Sad that it was such an awful double bill. After that I recall going to the Winnetka drive-in complex in Northridge, and my last visit to a drive-in was to the Sepulveda drive-in back in 1994 where we saw "Stargate" and a Sly Stallone movie called "The Specialist". I do recall a bit of those movies, but again, one did not always go to a drive-in for the movie...it was the food, yeah that's it.

The first movie I ever recall seeing was "The Crowded Sky" which my parents took me to see at a drive-in in the Valley, but I don't recall which one. I think I'll switch on my iPod and go back in time for a little bit.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dr. Sam Sheppard

This is not a L.A. story but it does have an L.A. connection. Today is July 3rd and it is 9:45 PM. 56 years ago in the early hours of July 4, 1954 Marilyn Sheppard was brutally murdered in her Bay Village Ohio bedroom. Before there was O.J. and any number of other notorious murder cases, the Sheppard murder case was one of the biggest murder cases of the last half of the 20th century. In December of 1954 her husband Dr. Sam Sheppard was convicted of her murder and spent the next 10 years in jail. F. Lee Baily, then an aspiring lawyer took over his case and got Dr. Sheppard's initial conviction thrown out do to numerous violations to his constitutional rights at the trial. The State of Ohio decided to retry Sheppard and this time Baily represent Dr. Sheppard and got him acquitted of the charges. The murder of Marilyn Sheppard is still unsolved and opinions are so vast and numerous I won't even begin to cover them here.

Before Sam Sheppard and Marilyn Sheppard were married, Sam graduated from the Los Angeles Osteopathic School of Physicians in 1945. After graduation the couple were married and moved into an apartment on Sichel Street in Los Angeles. Sam went to work in Los Angeles at the County Hospital and for a doctor in private practice. Sheppard work in Los Angeles until 1951 when he moved back to Bay Village to join the medical practice of his father and two older brothers.

The murder happened 6 months before I was born. However, I remember hearing my parents and family members talk about the case throughout the 1960's. The Sheppard family had a hospital on Lake Road in Bay Village. Sam's parents lived in a house on the other side of the lot to the east of the home. It is here where Sam was arrested in 1954 for the murder of his wife. It is here where my Aunt later went to work for a doctor who years later had his practice in the old house. I still remember walking through the house with all those youthful memories swirling in my mind.

Dr. Sam's surviving son Sam Reese Sheppard and his cousin Janice have a new website devoted to the case and their cause to finally find who they believe the murderer to be, and to further clear the stain on Dr. Sheppard's name. The website is not free and does have a cost. here is the link:


There are numerous website with articles and histories of the case that are free and can give you a good overview of the case. So here I sit in my office on this July 3rd night when every year, like it or not my mind wanders back to that house on Lake Road in Bay Village, just a few miles from here, and the aftermath that affected so many lives.


I just found the old photo above of the Los Angeles Osteopath College on Facebook at Los Angeles Relics. I believe this might be the college where Sheppard attended. If not, it's still a great old picture.

After writing this post I came upon a very interesting analysis of Dr. Sheppard's statements to the police. Follow this link to read his statement and the running analysis: