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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Another Good Story Ruined -- The Black Dahlia

Mady Comfort I received a news alert the other day about an upcoming play titled “The Chanteuse and the Devil’s Muse” in which Daniele Watts will portray Mady Comfort, at left, purportedly “Elizabeth Short's best friend.”

I honestly don’t know how such nonsense gets started.

Mady Comfort was not Short’s “best friend.” There is nothing in any original newspaper accounts or in any official documents to show they ever met.  Comfort did nothing more than pose for photos for Dr. George Hodel, according to “Black Dahlia Avenger.”     Any attempt to link Comfort and Short is nothing but lunacy.
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Comments (6)

Does the play purport to be factual or a play? Like the one where Stalin met Hitler when they were students in Vienna. Fiction.

Can't tell by the quotes.

If it is a "what if", could be the playwright is using this other woman as a dramatic pov to the murkiness of Elizabeth's murder. Making well-raked-over ground a fertile source for yet more rumination.

That's true, they weren't best friends but there are several people, still living, who were very close to Mady who know that Mady and Elizabeth Short knew each other, met each other on several occasions and knew about each other...there is no lunacy to it at all.

Indeed, another good story ruined by the LA Times and Mr. Harnisch.

Lunacy is the only thing that seems to surround poor Elizabeth. Instead of making a more plausible story that they might have known each other, they make them "best friends." Why can't people let her rest in peace?

Two seconds on Google garners this gem from the play's official web page:

"With a running time of just under an hour, “The Chanteuse and the Devil’s Muse” presents theatre in a more accessible way, targeting a younger, hipper audience with a sitcom-length attention span."

It appears to be a reworking of the "Black Dahlia cycle" that David J wrote some time ago, which he has now attached to an avant garde "reimagining" of the Elizabeth Short case. The entire play is apparently about the police interrogation of Mady Comfort.

Various publicity articles say without a hint of any "reimagining" that Mady was Short's "best friend", and I found at least one article which claims that David J has offered a new theory on who killed Short, so I don't think publicity has been particularly honest that this is not fact.

It's become such a mythic story that everyone seems to go about it differently. I bet the murder is more of a springboard for the story. I don't know if you've seen the movie that David J originally created the music for which was also called "The Devil's Muse", but it may shed more light on this. That film was more of a mixture of surrealism and satire almost than anything else. For me it'll remain truly unsolved, and everything these people say or do is just inspired by the mystery ultimately. Sounds interesting though!

I'm afraid that this bit about Mady Comfort being the 'best friend' of Elizabeth Short is the result of an over enthusiastic publicist getting rather carried away! I was forwarded a draft of the press release and when I saw this description I immediately made contact with the person responsible and told him in no uncertain terms to remove it. How it ever came to your attention, I really can't say but knuckles have been rapped! The play revolves around a police interview with Mady ( an event which did take place ) in which it is suggested that she was the sometime paramour of prime suspect George Hodel. Using this as a springboard I have attempted to spin a yarn about the Black Dahlia case.


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