For more than a month, young star of the pictures, a beauty and a charming young thing, the “best-dressed girl in movies” who was beloved by all who knew her, has lain lifeless in the ground following the most horrible of deeds. One Virginia Rappé perished after attending a party hosted by a giant man whose greed and demand of instant gratification knows no bounds. The exact circumstances of her death remain shrouded in mystery, due to the reprehensible fact that this clown of the pictures fails to confess and atone as any decent American might, and instead claims an entirely different set of circumstances to those reported by the shattered friends who bore witness to the tragedy. What is known, is that over Labor Day weekend this year, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco in his brand new $25,000 Pierce-Arrow in order to host a debauched party at the Hotel St. Francis in that Bay City. Anyone who wondered at his choice to celebrate his new Paramount Contract so far from home had their questions swiftly answered; merely one day later, young actress Virginia Rappe, a guest of the giant comedian, died in agony in a sanatorium. Those are the facts that cannot be disputed, despite the protestations of the Hollywood community, ever closing in protection around one of their own.
If I were to share even half of the goings on at such parties as this one, your dear minds might never recover from the shock, so I shall spare you. You may rest assured though, that the Volstead Act1 was most certainly broken with relish, not to mention other even less savoury substances that were in attendance; altogether conspiring to create an atmosphere that rivals the worst of debauched Rome and Babylon in its excess. How might any decent citizen so much as imagine a party in which the host received guests in his pyjamas? Or one in which young ladies removed their tops so that they might dance free from the constraints of decency and clothing?
This week I spoke with bereaved Maude Delmont, a close friend of the victim, who did all she could to save her. Through her tears, Mrs Delmont did her best to tell me her story.
At a quarter to three in the morning, a time when no good can happen, this bright young starlet of impending fame, undoubtedly shocked at the behaviour she had been forced to witness, began to feel unwell, and retired to a quieter room to rest so that she might recover sufficiently to make her way home to her fiance who had been unavoidably prevented from accompanying her. Henry Lehman, another Keystone director, had entrusted the care of his dearest possession, his Virgina, to a dear friend of both Maude Delmont. Struggling to control her grief, Maude told me how she was powerless to protect her friend, when, moments later this “Fatty” Arbuckle followed Miss Rappe into her sanctuary, and announcing to guests that “this is the chance I’ve been waiting for for a long time,” he locked the door behind him. Concerned for the honour of her friend, but not wishing to insult the generous host of the festivities, Maude did nothing, a choice she will now have to live with for the rest of her natural days.
Even this degenerate party was halted in shock at the shrieks of terror that suddenly emanated from the bedroom in which lay the comedian and the starlet, and, following furious battering on the door by Virginia’s friends, Fatty emerged giggling. His torn pyjamas testament to Virgina’s desperation to defend herself, her hat perched at a crazy angle on his head testament to the humour this comedian finds in his own actions, even the detestable ones. Mr Arbuckle announced that Miss Rappe was making altogether too much noise and suggested that they might throw her out of the window, as her friends brushed past him.
The sight that greeted Maude Delmont and Alice Blake is too shocking to disturb the sensibilities of my dear readers with. Suffice to say that there was blood, lots of it, and a sobbing, terrified, dying girl who begged her friends not to allow the star to get away with what he had done to her.
“I am dying Maudie,” sobbed Virgina. “He did this. Fatty Arbuckle hurt me.”
Her prediction proved correct, when, two days later, Virginia indeed died in a San Francisco Sanatorium, her bladder ruptured by the terrible violence that she had endured.
Mr. Arbuckle’s trial begins next month. I beg the jury to fulfil this dear girl’ dying wish: don’t let him get away with it.