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Charles Manson Update

At 74, Still Alive (Unfortunately) And Still Creepy

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Feast your eyes on a recent photo of one of Americas most infamous mass murderers. This gray, grizzled, 74-year-old is Charles Manson.
Charles Manson in 2009

Charles Manson in 2009

Courtesy Corcoran State Prison (Calif.)
Manson, of course, famously built a grimy "Helter Skelter" army of followers in the desserts of Southern California, near Topanga Canyon, where they were arming for the an apocalyptic race war.

To push things along (because, after all, who isn't eager for civilization to collapse?) Manson's crew went on a murderous rampage -- famously killing and defiling the body of pregnant actress Sharon Tate, among many others.

Manson was sentenced to death in 1971. But we now have the joy of watching Charlie grow old because the United Stated briefly outlawed the death penalty, and his sentence was commuted to life.

As a weird news history buff, I can only wonder what would have happened if Mr. Helter Skelter had been able to live out his other dream -- becoming a rock star.

It's purely a fairytale that Manson auditioned for the Monkees. He was in prison when they were putting that group together. And if not, they may have recorded, "Unpleasant Valley Sunday."

Nevertheless, Manson did write a song -- "Cease to Exist," which the Beach Boys recorded as "Never Learn Not to Love."

Indeed, Manson lived briefly at Beach Boy drummer Dennis Wilson's home, and Wilson introduced him to the '60s L.A. rock scene. Neil Young remembers seeing him.

It was Wilson who introduced Manson to Terry Melcher, the Columbia Records producer (and son of Doris Day). Melcher auditioned Manson, and considered recording him.

Melcher eventually passed, and later, Manson and company raided Melcher's home, which he had rented to Tate's husband, director Roman Polanski.

As horrible as Manson was, in one way, he was just another late '60s Jim Morrison wannabe, complete with beat-up guitar and slavishly devoted groupies -- only one of his was named "Squeaky" and tried to assassinate a president.

In his time in prison, Manson actually took guitar lessons from Al "Creepy Karpis" Karpowicz of the Barker Gang. Later on, one of Manson's songs, "Look At Your Game, Girl" appeared on the Guns N' Roses CD The Spaghetti Incident?.

One other thing to remember about Manson's horrible legacy: When you see interviews of him, he never blinks -- a eerie quality that Anthony Hopkins instilled in Hannibal Lecter.

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