Recap: E19 Georgette Bauerdorf

Born to a wealthy family of Nevada oil barons, twenty-year-old socialite Georgette Bauerdorf comes to Hollywood in 1944 to pursue an acting career. She is allured by the promise of fame, everlasting stardom and the dazzling glamour of the film industry.

At this point in time, the United States is three years into its World War II involvement. To keep the spirits of the men being shipped overseas high, the Hollywood Canteen in Los Angeles operates a dry nightclub for servicemen staffed entirely by volunteering celebrities and others connected to the film industry

Georgette is one of these volunteers. As a hostess, she talks and dances with their military patrons all night. She even gives rides to military hitchhikers and offers up her home to traveling soldiers who have no place to stay.

Unfortunately, Georgette’s unconditional trust and kindness towards others may have gotten her killed. Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories hosts Carter Roy and Wenndy Mackenzie open their own investigation.

 

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Georgette Bauerdorf is writing in her journal late at night when she hears a loud thumping noise. At first she thinks it’s her neighbors, but then there is a crash inside her apartment. Georgette screams.

The episode flashes back to a conversation Georgette has with her father about living in California by herself. Her father’s wariness does nothing to dampen her excitement – Georgette assures him that she will be alright with his secretary and her Hollywood Canteen co-worker and best friend June Ziegler to look after her.

At the Hollywood Canteen, two soldiers gush over seeing Rita Hayworth serving punch and one works up the courage to go talk to her. He stammers while admitting his admiration for her, but she just smiles and offers to dance with him later. It’s because of interactions like these that Army begins using the Hollywood Canteen as a recruiting chip.

Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories hosts Carter and Wenndy question her killer’s motives – was it jealousy or greed for her wealth?

Despite her lack of fame and celebrity, Georgette is well liked by the servicemen that pass through and, generous to a fault, brings soldiers back to her apartment for dinner and offers them a place to sleep if they have nowhere else to go. June worries one of the soldiers will take advantage of her friend’s selfless, innocent kindness.

On the night of her death, servicemen Cosmo Volpe relentlessly pursues Georgette at the Hollywood Canteen, dance after dance. June tells him to give her friend a break but he is insistent and Georgette does not have the heart to say no. She mentions her boyfriend, Private Jerome “Jerry” Brown, to Cosmo, and he becomes angry and storms off.

Backstage, two fellow hostesses gossip about Georgette’s wealth and popularity with the servicemen. Neither have fond feelings for the socialite and casually wish her ill will.

June and one of Georgette’s other co-workers later testify that she seemed anxious the day before she was murdered. She was seen knitting furiously in her car thirty minutes before a shift. That same day, Georgette also suggested having a girl’s night at June’s. Too tired, June suggests another day but worries something is wrong. She asks but Georgette assures her everything is fine.

Despite her anxiety, Georgette picks up hitchhiker Sergeant Gordon Aadland on the way home from the Hollywood Canteen. Heading for Union Station, Georgette offers to take Sergeant Aadland a few miles down Sunset. He accepts and they begin to talk. The sergeant notices that she keeps looking in her rearview mirror and asks her if she is being followed. Georgette says no and tells him her mind is just preoccupied.

Sergeant Aadland reads about her murder a day later in the Los Angeles Times while waiting for the train that will return him to his post in Alaska. His brother convinces him to get on the train and go to the police later. As soon as he arrives, Sergeant Aadland writes a letter to the Los Angeles police but never gets a call back. His is never questioned or considered a suspect in Georgette’s murder.

In another flashback, Georgette walks into her apartment singing a tune and gets ready for bed, waiting for her boyfriend Jerry to call. Meanwhile, her soon-to-be killer quietly waits in the shadows of her home. When the killer attacks, Georgette fights back but is ultimately strangled. Her murderer drags her body to the bathtub and turns on the water.

On October 12th, Georgette’s housekeeper finds her lying face down in her overflowing bathtub with a cloth shoved down her throat. The bottom half of her pajama set are torn and her hands are covered in bruises. Her car is also reported stolen.

On next week’s episode of Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories, Carter and Wenndy discuss the strange discoveries made at the crime scene and a possible link to another famous Los Angeles murder.