The Quick 9: What Nine Members of the Manson Family Are Doing Today

Big news yesterday: Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, Manson Family member and would-be assassin of Gerald Ford, has been paroled from prison after nearly 35 years of incarceration. Despite her fanatic membership in the infamous Manson Family, prosecutors were unable to pin anything on Squeaky until her attempt on the President's life, which is what eventually landed her in prison with a life sentence. Considering that during that time, she attacked a fellow inmate with the claw end of a hammer and escaped once in 1987 to try to meet up with Manson. I don't know what she's been up to in the 20 years since then, but I do know that if she moved in next door to me, I'd probably start house-hunting pretty quickly. In case you've been wondering if any of the other Family members are looking for real estate in your area, here are where 10 of them are today.

atkins1. Susan Atkins was incarcerated on October 1, 1969, for participating in eight killings during that summer, including the horrible Tate/LaBianca murders. No other female currently in the California penal system has been in jail longer than she, something that her family is extremely upset about. Atkins became a born-again Christian in 1974 and wrote a book about her life with Manson. In 2008, it was reported that she had terminal brain cancer and had less than six months to live, so she requested compassionate release from jail to live out the rest of her life (possibly in Laguna Beach, which is where she told reporters in 2002 that she wanted to settle down upon release). The request was unanimously denied. Since then, her condition has apparently worsened and she is said to be 85% paralyzed and has almost no speech capability. She's scheduled for a parole hearing on September 2.

2. Tex Watson has also been in prison for more than 30 years. He was convicted and sentenced to death on October 21, 1971, but managed to escape death because a 1972 court case made all death sentences issued before that year invalid. He also became a born-again Christian, got married in 1979 , and had four kids with his wife through conjugal visits. He says he has been "forgiven by God," but he has definitely not been forgiven by the court: Watson has been denied parole 13 times. His next parole hearing is in December 2011.

3. Bobby Beausoleil, who murdered Gary Hinman on July 27, 1969, is also still in prison. Like Watson, he was sentenced to death but benefited from the 1972 law about the death penalty. However, he seems to be enjoying a career while behind bars: in the late "˜80s, he composed and recorded the soundtrack to the movie Lucifer Rising, and in 2005, some of his artwork was displayed in the Clair Obscur Gallery. He was denied parole in 2008 and isn't scheduled for another hearing until 2013.

brunner4. Mary Brunner, who had a baby named Valentine with Manson, was definitely at the Hinman murder, although accounts of her level of participation have varied over the years. She wasn't convicted for it, though "“ she actually went to prison because of the 1971 Hawthorn Shootout. She and several other members of the Family took people hostage in a Hawthorn, California, Western surplus store. The grand plan was to hijack a Boeing 747 and kill a passenger every hour until Manson and all of the other incarcerated Family members were released. When police showed up, a huge shootout took place. Police gained the upper hand when Brunner and two others were injured. Brunner served a little over six years in jail for her role in the shootout, and when she was released in 1977, she took up an assumed name, got custody of her son with Manson, and moved somewhere to the Midwest (she could be my neighbor).

5. Patricia Krenwinkel was an active participant in the Tate/LaBianca murders. Like the others, she received a death sentence that was later changed to life in prison. She reportedly has a perfect prison record and has received a Bachelor's degree in Human Services. She also writes poetry and music, gives dance lessons, participates in a service dog-training program, and plays on the prison volleyball team. Sounds kind of like a yearbook list of your high school activities, doesn't it? Despite being a model prisoner, Krenwinkel has been denied parole 11 times.

6. Leslie Van Houten lost any sympathy the jurors may have had for her during her trial when she giggled through the descriptions of the deaths of the LaBiancas and Sharon Tate, which she had been a part of. In the late "˜70s, she received a retrial, claiming that her counsel hadn't accurately represented her the first time. She won it, but her lawyer disappeared in the middle of the trial. He was later found dead. She had a second trial, and a third, and was eventually sentenced to life in prison again. She married a man in 1981, and when it was discovered that he owned a uniform used by prison employees and apparently had plans to help Van Houten break out, she divorced him and said she had no knowledge of the matter. She has earned two college degrees and has had no notable incidents in prison, but hasn't yet received parole. She was most recently denied in 2007 (her 18th try) but can apply again this year. She and Patricia Krenwinkel are in the same prison.

KASABIAN7. Linda Kasabian testified against all of the other members of the Manson Family and is largely the reason they were all convicted. She never participated in the killings and served more as a lookout, and in fact tried to prevent a couple of murders. Because of her willingness to testify, Kasabian didn't serve any time. She moved back to New Hampshire to raise her kids, refusing to talk to the media unless she had to take the stand during various retrials. She later moved to Washington and has avoided publicity, except for a 1988 interview with A Current Affair. She recently told her story for a show that is scheduled to air on The History Channel this year, but does so somewhat anonymously "“ she didn't want her image used because she still isn't comfortable being recognized.

8. Sandra Good didn't participate in any murders (that she was convicted of, anyway), but she was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1976 for "conspiracy to send threatening letters through the mail." She had helped write and send death threats to nearly 200 executives of companies that Good decided were killing the earth. She was paroled in 1985 and still devoutly followed Manson. Upon her parole, she moved to Vermont and lived under the name of Sandra Collins. She later moved to California and lived very close to Corcoran State Prison, where Manson was (and is) being held. She started a Manson website in 1996. It has been down since 2001 and not much else has been heard from Sandra Good.

So there you have it. Five in jail and four roaming free (including Squeaky). What do you think about Squeaky Fromme's release?

Also, I'm out tomorrow and Monday and leave you in the capable hands of our guest blogger! I'll be Tweeting live (is there any other way to Tweet?) from Lollapalooza if you're interested in reading about various bands, Chicago sights and my first experience with a press pass. And I'll be back Tuesday full of news from the Windy City. See you then!

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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