No one is innocent in episode 5, “Lights. Camera. Murder.”, of the Parcast Network podcast Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories. It seems everyone had a part to play in fueling the scandal surrounding the William Desmond Taylor case. These are thirteen thoughts I had while listening to the drama unfold:
1. Unsolved Murders podcast sound effects inspires thrills and chills. While they won’t give you nightmares, the sound effects really boost the storytelling and character dialogue and sets the tone of this classic Hollywood murder mystery.
2. Love the interplay between newspaper excerpts, character dialogue and podcast host narration and commentary. It really brings the historical case to life.
3. 1920s newspapers really had a flair for embellishment. Just take a look at this excerpt from the San Francisco Bulletin. It sounds like a line from an old-time movie.
“Police have been bribed, witnesses silenced, evidence suppressed, in a gigantic plot engineered from behind the scenes in filmland to defeat the ends of justice in the Taylor mystery…”
4. Taylor’s chauffeur Howard Fellows testimony can’t be trusted. I find it hard to believe that the timeline his testimony establishes is accurate. Only ten minutes for the killer to shoot Taylor and get away without anyone hearing or noticing anything, except for the one witness Fellow’s testimony dismisses? I think he was in the studios’s pocket.
5. How was EVERYONE and their mother at the crime scene before the police? Serious CSI face-palm.
6. Paramount Studios did some shady stuff back in the day. Corrupting crime scenes, tampering and destroying evidence. Possibly sending a crooked doctor over to the recently murdered Taylor’s apartment to delay the police and fabricating witness testimonies. Shady. Shady. Shady.
7. There’s more to the Edward Sands story. Remember the name Sands wrote on a pawn shop receipt and sent to William Desmond Taylor? It was the Hollywood star’s real name.
8. Abandoning your wife and child without a word is extra messed up. It wasn’t even an altruistic the-mob-is-after-me-I’m-doing-this-to-protect-you kind of thing. He just packed a bag and left, which leads to thought #9.
9. Taylor’s wife not having a grudge against him is bologna. He disappears one day without a trace and seven years later, she sees him on the big screen while she’s at the movies with their daughter. For all she knew until that point, he could have been dead. I know I couldn’t forgive him so easily, even after all that time.
10. ‘M’ is for Murder, Mabel, Margaret & Mary Miles Minter. Keeping all the ‘Ms” in William Desmond Taylor’s life straight is a struggle. Did he ever call anybody by the wrong name? I wonder if one of these actresses may have been the murderess. Mary Miles’s unpublished memoir...hmm.
11. Charlotte Shelby could have had her own reality TV show. Like Dance Moms or Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Lots of drama in the daily life of a mom-ager.
12. The Face-palm Academy awards Florabel Muir for best flop of the year. It’s not every day a journalist hires a mobster to pretend he’s William Desmond Taylor’s ghost and try to scare a confession out of a suspect...only to have said suspect laugh in their faces.
13. Unsolved Murders show host Wenndy Mackenzie has a thing for revealing surprise suspects at the end of a case. Just when you think you know “who dunnit” and the case is as good as closed, Wenndy surprises us with a new suspect not previously mentioned on the show. In the Axeman case it was Jake Bird. Here it’s Margaret Gibson. Time will tell if the pattern keeps up.
What did you think while listening to “Lights. Camera. Murder.” episode 5 of the Parcast podcast drama series Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories? Let us know. Go to www.facebook.com/parcast and https://twitter.com/ParcastNetwork or check us out at parcast.com.