Prologue [Editorial]

Alvaro Shoemaker

Seattle Union-Record/February 15, 1922

We ought to be glad this thing happened down in Los Angeles–that is, glad that it happened in Los Angeles instead of Seattle. It was a “big” murder, as the news boys put it, and–like all big things–we need the distance to give us a proper perspective.

We were just about to despair of the movies giving us any thrills other than those in the films themselves.

Fatty Arbuckle gave us a good show–while it lasted. [51] But he has gone through his second trial, and it drew so poorly that District Attorney Brady threatens positively to withdraw it after one more performance.

Things were slowing up badly. California was having a rotten winter. Tourists were leaving.

And then–

Action! Action!

William Desmond Taylor, world’s greatest movie director, British army captain, art connoisseur, traveler, dilettante, divorcee, bon vivant, occultist, et cetera, et cetera, as well as sole proprietor of the finest, best appointed, most frequently visited and most generously occupied love nest in the city of Los Angeles–William Desmond Taylor, Love Avalanche of Alvarado,  is found dead!

Once again Los Angeles triumphed over her ancient, jealous sister. San Francisco could claim the Arbuckle affair. It was small, sordid; did not offer the element of mystery; just a plain drunk, with a killing for a chaser. Bah!

In Los Angeles a real he-man bit the dust–a sure-enough lady killer, with more handkerchiefs, gloves, powder puffs and pale-and-thin lingerie in his trophy list than an Arbuckle could ever hope to bag with all the seeming advantage of superior booze and top weight.

And compare the women in the case. Fatty’s list of “those present” might be the register of the Home for Dessicated, Debilitated and Flatfooted Hashers. Who remembers them? Fatty had to bait with booze for his moths in order to get them to circulate around the formless, only partly combustible hunk of tallow that was Arbuckle, in the hope that one at least might get drunk enough to fall in.

Now look–if your eyes be not too dazzled–look, look at the lambent flame of Desmond Taylor. Mark that classy galaxy that moves in queenly strides around the central orb. Think you they are drawn and held by sordid things? Not so. S’love, s’love!

The Arbuckle setting was one of corks, empties, cigarette butts and katzenjammers.

Taylor died surrounded by incense, code love notes, monogramed hankies and pink teddy-bears.

The sauce piquante of the Taylor affair would be a fetching dressing to pour over even the classiest of chicken served up on the silver screen.