In Cold Blood
Sometimes I’m reminded of how much people love “dark tourism” (or as we call it, tourism.) There are universities who offer courses and professors who specialize in the subject – taking all the fun out of it. People just want to see where things happened. There is nothing wrong with that, but I wish they wouldn’t try so hard to explain or define it. Seriously. No fun. I think deep down everyone has a touch of Death Hag in them, even if they’re not willing to admit it. The truth shall set you free.
Recently the news reported that the “In Cold Blood” house in Kansas has gone up for sale again. No, we’re not buying it. I swish. It does seem like a perfectly nice house, innocent bloodshed aside. But this house is fascinating for so many other reasons. The Clutter family were murdered there in 1959—60 years ago—and people still travel from all over the world to see it.
This house isn’t in a major city where it you can throw a rock in any direction and hit a crime location. The Clutter house is in rural Kansas. The property itself is surrounded by acres of land and the driveway is a quarter mile-long long. The house is not open to the public, so it takes a real effort to see the house. Plus, it’s illegal. You have to trespass onto private property. Imagine. And yet people do. People from all over the world. All the time. See where I’m going with this? Well, the farmhouse is now on the market.
Truth be told, the story of the Clutter family (and the inept low-level poo poo head criminals who murdered them) in cold blood (see?) would probably have faded into obscurity instead of infamy if it weren’t for a very talented writer/weirdo/Death Hag named Truman Capote. It was Truman who wrote the book “In Cold Blood,” which went on to become a literary classic and movie. I’m not knocking the book—it deserves its place in history. (Although some of the story has been uh, fudged a bit.) But it also propelled a very successful writing career into the stratosphere and made him the ultimate socialite in elite, upper crust circles that no one but other elite, upper crust people want anything to do with.
Thanks to being a Death Hag, Truman became popular on the social event circuit in a very snooty world of royalty, aristocracy, art moguls, celebrities and Studio 54 types. He was a fixture around the Bouvier sisters. (The word Hag comes to mind, but the other kind if you catch my drift.)
In addition to using the murders of an innocent family as an entre into a world that likes to exclude people, Truman Capote had the wonderfully good sense to actually fall in love with one of the killers, Perry Smith, during the trial. That’s right. He fell in love with one of the killers. (GAG)
The killers were hanged for the crime and shortly thereafter a movie was made, parts of which were filmed at the actual house. Oh, and get this: ROBERT BLAKE PLAYED PERRY SMITH IN THE MOVIE. Cue the music and sing “The Circle of Life.”
Eventually the party life caught up to Truman. He was in and out of rehab, lost his high-powered friends after gossiping about them, and had breakdowns, seizures and humiliating appearances. Truman wanted a change of scenery, he moved to Los Angeles (it’s what you do) and mooched off his best friend/hag, Joanne Carson, one of Johnny Carson’s ex-wives (there’s several). He died from Truman Capote-ness at the age of 59 in 1984. In what can only be called a victory lap, Truman’s bitter rival Gore Vidal said it was a “wise career move.” Even in death Truman Capote was a man about town. A portion of Truman’s ashes were given to Joanne and then stolen from her house during a Halloween party. They were anonymously returned (rumor is the thief rang her bell and ran, leaving Tru’s urn in a coiled up garden hose)… and then even more of Truman’s remains were auctioned off in 2016. They didn’t end up at the shop, but I am a positive thinker and still hold out hope. (Do you have Truman? Call me. We are a cemetery now. Findagrave says so!)
We remember Truman Capote as a Queen Death Hag who got an ending worthy of him.
Theatre in Los Angeles. It’s hosted by Jessica Jean Jardine and my fellow guests are a housewife Brandi Glanville and comedian Betsy Sodaro. It begins at 7:30 and tickets are a mere $12 for a ton of fabulousness. Join us!
Scott and the Dearly Departed Team