Chapter 3 ~ Aimless

“Hooray for Hollywood
That screwy ballyhooey Hollywood
Where any office boy or young mechanic
Can be a panic
With just a good looking pan
And any barmaid
Can be a star maid
If she dances with or without a fan”

~ Richard Whiting

On August 20, Gordon Fickling and his girl friend Elizabeth Short registered as husband and wife at the Brevoort Apartments on Lexington Avenue, near Vine Street in Hollywood. They lived there until August 27. After they split up, Elizabeth moved to the Hawthorne Hotel at 1611 North Orange Drive,  just behind the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood boulevard.

The Hawthorne would have been a step down from the Brevoort, which, after the war, rented rooms with a bath for $2 to $2.50 a day, or $12 to $15 a week. The Hawthorne rented singles and doubles, with rates starting at $1.25 a day.

* * *

Marjorie Graham, a friend from Boston was living at the Hawthorne with Lynn Martin, a 15 year old runaway from Long Beach. Lynn was passing herself off as a young woman in her twenties.  Apparently, no one knew the truth until after the murder. She was adopted as a child and ran away from home to pursue the Hollywood dream.

Margie Graham was from Cambridge, Massachusetts, but moved to Southern California and bumped into Beth Short around August 24 or 25, 1946. Beth stayed for a “night or so” at the Hawthorne with Margie before registering on August 28, according to Mrs. Ethel Richmond, the landlady..

Beth lived at the Hawthorne from August 28 until September 20. The three did not get along well, so Beth and Margie moved to another room at the Hawthorne and Lynn found a new roommate, Gloria Richards. Eventually, all four left the Hawthorne. While there, Beth, broke as usual, relied on friends and acquaintances to help her out. Neighbors Don Leyes, 22 and Harold Costa, 31 and others would treat her to meals. Eventually, Mrs. Richmond asked the three girls to leave.

At the time Lynn and Margie were living at the Hawthorne, another resident, Rosie Bone, and her boy friend,  Jack Crouch, learned from Lynn that she had been “cut” by Howard “Dutch” Darrin while he and his son, Bob, were out with her. Both father and son said they visited Lynn at the Hawthorne and met Elizabeth Short there. They said that several of the girls at the Hawthorne worked at the Palace Garden Barbecue, where Lynn was a waitress. Irene Grimes and Rosie Bone and Marjorie Graham all had worked at the Pig Stand at Sunset and Vermont, Beth Short was seen there, but was not an employee.

A year after the death of Elizabeth Short, the Hawthorne Hotel was “completely redecorated” and renamed the Langford Hotel and operated under new management. Time never stands still and Hollywood was slowly changing. It would eventually become almost unrecognizable to the Hawthorne Crowd that was already breaking up and going separate ways.

Alex Constance, a movie bit player and hair stylist knew Elizabeth Short, Lynn Martin and Marjorie Graham when the girls lived at the Hawthorne. He also knew Clarendon Kinney, a photographer known for taking lewd pictures of young women, including Lynn. Constance told his story to investigators at the Hollywood police station soon after the murder.

Police checked Kinney’s home, where they found “about 3” nude photos of Lynn Martin under his house. Constance’s property was examined by the Scientific Investigation Division for forensic evidence, as was the nearby home of suspect Glynn Wolfe. Results were negative

Over time, Lynn and Margie worked in different venues around town, often as waitresses. Lynn worked at the Tabu Club on Sunset Boulevard and at the Palace Gardens Barbecue at the top of Cahuenga Pass. She also worked at a movie theater on Hollywood Boulevard near Western Avenue.  Art Richman, a local boy, knew Lynn and Margie. He took Lynn to the beach for dinner and brought her back to the movie theater. He was surprised to learn her true age, he said later. Another acquaintance, George Bacos, dated Lynn and also told authorities he was surprised to learn her true age.

After the murder, Lynn’s true identify was revealed and she was returned to authorities in Long Beach. Lynn had another name, Norma Lee Myer. As was the case with so many people that crossed paths with Elizabeth Short, Lynn Martin disappeared from public view.

* * *

When she was interviewed after the murder, Margie Graham said that Beth planned to marry an Army Air Force lieutenant after he was released from the  hospital in Los Angeles.

“She said she was worried about the man and that she hoped he would get well and out of the hospital in time for a wedding they planned for November 1.”

Margie had already taken the train home to Massachusetts. She said, “I left the West Coast October 23 and came home to Cambridge.  I had one letter from her afterward.  Betty didn’t say whether or not the wedding had taken place.”

One Response to “Chapter 3 ~ Aimless”


    I found it strange that those old roommates complained about henna stains in the sink. I was wondering, did they have a tub????

Leave a Reply