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  • John 7:22 am on February 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , michael woods, mike woods, ron launius   

    Horace “Big Mac” McKenna Featured On New TV Show 

    “Tell my mother I love her”.   –Big Mac’s last words to his chaffeur

    Horace “Big Mac” McKenna has been discussed here in the past. He was a former CHiP (highway patrol cop) and a strip club and night club owner in L.A. He was known to have been an associate or at least knew Ron Launius. The two possibly met while in jail in Southern California in either 1977 or 78, as Ron’s sentence was winding down after his transfer from McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary to a unit in SoCal. But that’s just my speculation, based on Ronnie’s timeline and discussions with members of this blog. Ron may have also known McKenna’s partner, Mike Woods, or Woods’ buddy and later business partner, a former bouncer named David Amos.

    Big Mac’s murder and the events that happened at the end of his life will be featured on a new Investigation Discovery crime show hosted by Jerry Springer. So far, the new series has received good reviews from viewer comments that I have read. This new show is called “Tabloid”. And Horace’s episode is titled “Ex-Cop X’ed!”. Check out the preview video here. I believe this episode will be featured next Thursday, Feb. 20 at 10pm eastern time. Check your local cable or satellite listings. Discovery ID/Investigation Discovery.

    A year or two before his murder in the mid 80s, the men who conspired to kill Horace also produced a few B-movies, or straight-to-video films, one of them titled “Flipping” had a similar plot and murder scene as Horace’s real-life demise. 

    The two (McKenna and Woods) quickly rose in the strip club universe and, within only three years, were owners of the “Valley Ball” in Van Nuys, and “Bare Elegance” and the “Jet Strip” in Los Angeles and were wealthy, powerful men.  –Carbon Canyon Chronicle

    There is also an episode from the series City Confidential about Horace, titled “Silenced Partner”. I have watched City Confidential before… but, I don’t know if that show is still aired regularly. Help me out if you find it, post a link. I have not seen “Silenced Partner”.

    Go to the Carbon Canyon Chronicle to read the entire McKenna story and to see reader comments, some of which claim to have known Big Mac or these other gents.

    A few photos from Big Mac’s funeral in 1989. It was a media circus.

     
    • localarts 11:43 am on February 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Will definitely watch it. They might have a different take on McKenna than City Confidential. Damn, I feel sorry for that horse.

    • Ray Johnson 5:04 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I was stationed with Big Mac (Hoss back then) in Guam 1961-62 and El Toro where he won the Mr El Toro contest in 1963. We trained for Vietnam but were never sent. I was Big Mac’s workout partner. We always backed each other up in many fights. He was a great friend – very loyal.

    • McKenna Vaughan 1:07 pm on March 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      @Ray, Yes Horace was Very Loyal! If he didn’t like you, you damned well knew it! And knew why.. Never in my life had I met anyone like Him!!!

  • John 11:18 am on November 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mcneil island prison, ron launius   

    McNeil Island Corrections Center 

    Of course, this is where Ron served his 3 year federal smuggling sentence. It’s near Seattle. There are all types of McNeil videos on YouTube, but this one was produced shortly after Ron’s release…and discusses the closure of the prison. Thus you get a better vibe for the era, along with some valuable imagery. You may read more posts about McNeil here.

    Ah yes, and I have requested Ron’s prison records via Federal Prisons in D.C. However, by the time I receive the records, I am certain that I will have forgotten that I even sent away for them. At a minimum, we will at least know the dates of his confinement. It all depends on how lazy the clerk is that day who opens the letter.

    Today’s vault presentation aired September 10, 1979, when the penitentiary was well on the way to being closed. We took a look at the history of the prison as well as its possible future.

     

     
    • localarts 2:14 pm on November 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “It all depends on how lazy the clerk is that day who opens the letter” In that case it may be never. You know, they could have made the prisoners swim to McNeil island if they were serious about reducing cost.

      • John 2:49 pm on November 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        What sucks is that post-1982, the basic profile records are online for federal inmates. Missed it by a few years!!

        • localarts 4:55 pm on November 26, 2013 Permalink

          Damn. Pre 82…microfiche? Just a guess.

    • Mark C 3:47 pm on November 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      John
      Little off subject but I do sometimes feel sorry for you. I bet trying keep all of us up to date with all the new – latest details of this crime, I bet sometimes you feel like you are a zoo keeper trying to feed a cage full of real hungry lions..
      Oh well you I think are one happy zoo keeper anyway.
      Just let you know some of us think about your feelings anyway and it got to be a tough job at times.
      But some of us really appreciate all your hard work.

      • John 7:42 am on November 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Localarts is right, Mark. And there are many positives to few negatives. Readers here are really nice compared to other boards. Also, a few cats with peripheral or direct knowledge sometimes send in cool stuff.! Like the post coming here in a minute! Thanks again.

    • localarts 6:42 pm on November 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I believe John would tell you it’s a labor of love.

    • jim ---Chicago 11:11 am on November 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I wonder if Ronnie was a bad ass without a gun did he call shots in his cell block he was kinda small
      I think around 165 lbs

    • localarts 7:08 pm on November 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I think Ronnie was actually closer to 140. I doubt it unless he had Bruce Lee type skills!

      • jim ---Chicago 10:24 am on November 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I assume he was more of a scrapper not the toughest not the weakest either but someone you should not turn your back on . His eyes are piercing and he probably got by on intimidation and reputation you know not afraid to shoot ,stab or go to jail . As for military service I think Holmes in the army had more training in hand to hand combat than Ronnie I mean he was in the air force I think Holmes was a lot bigger I cant see how he let Ronnie push him around I guess he did not want to screw up that connection but I guess size isnt everything ever see that movie from the late 70s or early 80s Scared Straight but Ronnie 140 lbs thats wild.

        • John W 4:09 pm on November 28, 2013 Permalink

          Indeed, Jim. A scrapper… And Ron’s size immediately reminds me of my older brother. Not a big man, but he has that look in his eye that persuades others not to test him.

      • criticextraordinaire 6:10 pm on November 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Ronnie was not huge but he was wiry. In prison he was no doubt in charge of his cell block. I’m thinking that the first guy to try anything with Ronnie served as the example as to why that would be a bad idea.

  • John 9:03 am on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , investigation, , massacre, , , ron launius,   

    Interview With NILS GREVILLIUS – The Lost Audio Is HERE 

    The complete audio files are hosted on SoundCloud. You DO NOT need an account and you may even download the mp3 files to your pc or device. I burned a cd… to listen to while driving around ;-)  You will need to crank the audio a bit on your end, but here is the full 36.5 minutes that was captured.

    All told, you get 15 more minutes today!

    As I mentioned, we spoke for 45 mins and sadly…. 8 minutes was completely lost when the recorder shut off after 20 minutes. The lost 8 was basically a general discussion about Launius (see comments below). A key moment from that lost audio was “Cherokee” (Larry Hershman) a buddy of Launius, calling the house non-stop during the videotaping of the crime scene by the cops. The phones were off the hook, but you can see a light blinking on the multi-line phone in Ron’s room… that was Cherokee. As things pop into my head, I’ll post them but the Cherokee thing stuck out and was the most important thing that I had not heard before.

    Hit the big PLAY button to play all 36 mins:

     
    • localarts 11:11 am on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Unbelievable!! I was completly wrong about Launius, he was an out and out killer! It would appear Paul Kelly was only looking for some “street credit” I know I read some where that Howard Cook was a major
      drug dealer at that time which now appears to be BS. John, Who was Cherokee?

      Once again, Bravo. That was beyond awesome.

      • John 11:34 am on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Cherokee was one of Ron’s guys. He is featured twice in the movie. Nils knows his real name but I forgot it. I’ll ask him.

        • Brandy 8:04 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink

          Where is Cherokee now, alive? It would be a miracle if any one from that episode were still alive & kicking.

        • John 8:10 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          Nils says “Lind called McCourt Titmouse Tracy. Cherokee’s real name was Larry Hershman”

        • Brandy 8:14 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          Oh yeah, I would have most definitely put the nickname “Cherokee” with Larry Hershman, haha. Holy crap, is he still kicking????? I’m sure he would speak up by now if he was still alive, no?

        • John 8:28 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          That name is too hard to search by, Brandy. He’s not currently in the California prison system. There’s a showbiz Hollywood agent guy with that name, but I doubt it’s him. Cherokee may be another lost soul in the Wonderland case, of which we know little about. I can check with Nils and see if he knows more.

        • Brandy 8:31 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          Yup already did the same search. You never know how people can turn themselves around but……. Let him remain in peace, if he’s alive he would have most likely been contacted for Wonderland , if he wanted.

        • criticextraordinaire 7:45 pm on October 29, 2013 Permalink

        • John 8:57 am on October 30, 2013 Permalink

          Selling drugs at the Traveler’s Inn… Sounds like some sweet digs!

        • John 9:51 am on October 30, 2013 Permalink

          The Traveler’s Inn in Vallejo. It looks pretty sweet. Present day photo:

          http://www.city-data.com/businesses/858521347-travelers-inn-vallejo-ca.html

          Here’s what a room looked like back then (from a scanned postcard), and there’s a partition as described where the accused and Cherokee’s girlfriend had a conversation, from the court document:

          Kentwig Lodge Vallejo CA

          Just sayin…

          “Shortly after entering the room and exchanging greetings, Hershman, appellant, Exxon and Hershman’s girlfriend, Cheryl Rickard, had a conversation in the rear of the room behind a partition. Exxon and Rickard were the first to emerge from behind the partition. Hershman followed and, holding a plastic bag which contained a white powdery substance, stated that he had just “scored a half ounce” and that they could consummate the sale when he found his “rig, kit,” necessary for packaging the drug.”

        • Brandy 8:38 am on October 30, 2013 Permalink

          Thank you criticextraordinaire, very cool!

      • John 11:51 am on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Oh! and Tracy was known around certain circles as “Titmouse Tracy”. Quite demeaning, but his persona and laid back attitude brought that on. That was either a nickname by people outside the Gang, or from Lind or somebody… “Titmouse Tracy” is what some guys called him, either to his face or behind his back. I’ll ask Nils that too.

      • John 12:17 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        And Ron did serve brig time for trying to smuggle back drugs from SE Asia. One article I saw after his death said 6 months. Again, more of the lost 8 minutes. Which I didn’t think would be so much awesome stuff from Nils…. but it’s proving to be. I got to everyone’s questions, except for Bobby’s. I neglected to check the blog in the final hour, as I was scrambling in the last hour to make the existing technology I had work without making a trip to Radio Shack.

        • localarts 3:55 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink

          I think I read the same article but the author wasn’t specific as to what crime Ronnie did.
          Thanks for getting those questions answered, really appreciate all the effort you put into this. I think a Ron Launius movie is doable. Charlie Sheen clould play Launius, Sheen is damn near crazy anyway he would only need to bleach his hair. It wouldn’t take much for him to get into character!

      • John 12:30 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        One more:

        A short while before the Nash hit…. from the lost 8 minutes on the Grevillius Tapes that I uploaded…after he talks about Ron allegedly doing a few killings…. there was a story about how Ron, Billy and Dave pulled a robbery on a rich businessman who had a nice house in the valley. I forgot the exact suburb… but the maid was the only one home at the time. This is where Ron got the antique guns. During the burglary, the maid was tied up and put into a bath tub. Ron wanted to shoot her, but Billy and Dave persuaded him not to. Nils found this out during his investigation. He never met Dave, but he talked extensively with his brother and with Dave’s best childhood buddy from that band, The Safaris. I guess they had the big hit “Wipeout” in the 60s. Dave must have told them a lot of good stuff.

        Those lost 8 minutes are killing me! But that is pretty much the entire story there. I think I remembered it quite well.

        • Brandy 12:08 pm on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          I just re-watched the UK documentary on John Holmes & the Wonderland murders & there’s a brief interview with Nils. Also in the very beginning is John’s brother David saying “all John wanted was cocaine, cocaine, Cocaine. Day & night, cocaine”.

        • Brandy 12:08 pm on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          That was a random, had nothing to do with anything comment, by the way.:)

      • John 12:35 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        One more I remembered from the lost 8 minutes…. Damn those 8 minutes!

        A detective from Sacramento when hearing that Ron Launius had been killed: “Well, it will be an easy funeral” to which the LA cop asked “Why is that?” “Because a trash can has two handles”. I’m not sure if that remark was from Sac-town cop, Beder Clifton, who coined Launius as “the coldest person I ever met”.

        • localarts 3:26 pm on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          Beder Clifton would be one to interview if he were still alive. I’m sure Clifton had a reason
          for calling Launius “the coldest person he ever met”.

        • John 9:00 am on October 30, 2013 Permalink

          In his obit, Clifton’s daughter said her dad was a no-nonsense kind of guy, with a dry wit and whatever. He told it how it was, and so people often got the wrong impression about him, even non-criminals. That was just dad. (aka he didn’t F around!) LOL

      • Adam 6:57 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        You ppl should really do your homework

        • John 8:25 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          Prior to Nils interview, Adam, I really did not believe that sensationalized stuff about Ron, nor did many people here. We get a bit carried away sometimes, and so I guess in the end, there’s still no direct evidence to place that label as a killer on Ron.

        • criticextraordinaire 9:09 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          I had done my research pretty thoroughly, and have felt for years that Ron was “the real deal”. Never had any doubt about that. Bring on that movie!!!!!

    • Brandy 11:13 am on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t wait to listen when I get home. The “Cherokee” part sure sparks my interest. His “character” was the one who brought David Lind to Ron at the party in the movie “Wonderland”. Why was he calling? Was he trying to confirm their death???

      • John 11:36 am on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        He had been calling all day, trying to score. Since someone was usually at the house, he was in panic mode. He may have been far away and without wheels to drive over there, who knows. But that was Cherokee calling and letting it ring and ring. I believe they had 2 lines at the house.

    • Brandy 1:21 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I love Michael Connelly lol!

    • Mark C 6:44 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Wow just listen tape’s, This blog just keep getting better and better.

      I wonder if Dave Lind ever Wipe Out on his mean motor bike listen to his friends song before? ..Just had to say that one.. LOL .. Dave come from his grave to hunt me up on that one if he could I bet..

    • criticextraordinaire 9:10 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      John, did you and Nils get to discuss if David Lind is really in the witness protection program?

      • John 9:40 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        No, that question was missed… but, Nils stated he’s dead and died in 1995. That said, my background check on Dave listed several addresses in NoCal and southern Oregon over the years before he died. His last address in Eureka, CA.

        • criticextraordinaire 11:56 am on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          Isn’t 1995 when the Feds started in earnest to build their RICO case?

    • localarts 2:06 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      After listening to the Nils Grevillius interview again I’m leaning more to the fact Launius may very well have been a contract killer without having any direct evidence to prove it. Horace McKenna was a very, very scary guy, more so than Nash. If Ron Launius was associating with McKenna it was either drug or murder related without a doubt! City Confidential ran a very good story about Mckenna a week ago.

    • Bonnie Brae 8:04 pm on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      This link never works for me. i think it’s my computer. Damn it all.

    • Dave 12:39 am on November 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting stuff. Would love to hear more about the digging Mr. Grevillius did with respect to Ron Launius and his interview(s) of Susan Launius, among other things. Thank you, John, for making this happen. And thanks to Mr. Grevillius for sharing his knowledge.

    • localarts 8:24 am on November 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Yes! With regards to Wonderland, this blog has gone where no other blog has gone before. If there was an award for blog of the year, I can’t think of anyone more deserving than John’s Wonderland Blog!!

    • floppa1 12:37 pm on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I second that. It is hard to find facts on this case these days but John has done a stellar job. Nils has a wealth of knowledge on it too. A film on Ron could be great!

    • LMNOP 6:35 am on December 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hi! I was wondering if you can clarify what really happened with Julia Densemore Oakly Negron. I didnt hear anything about it in the recording…..

      • John 10:45 am on December 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I just posted the Julia Negron info about 2 weeks ago. Go to the blog homepage and scroll down a bit. Also search her name in the search box. There’s more there too!

        • LMNOP 8:57 am on December 29, 2013 Permalink

          Thanks. I knew Chris Cox in 1990-95 and never thought of asking him about wonderland. I havent talked to him in a while but maybe I will in the future now that I found out where he is!

        • John 9:19 am on January 3, 2014 Permalink

          I had him slated for a phone interview, but never got around to it. Nils Grevillius knows him too.

  • John 8:02 pm on August 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , helen hennessy, , ron launius,   

    Thanks To You! 200,000 Page Views In 2 Years ;-) 

    I love you all.

    Thanks for stopping by and killing time with me, as we solve the mysteries of the past, and shed light on the future! There is nothing we cannot do!

    “As if you could kill time, and not injure eternity” –David Thoreau

    license_20130812175136_2351

     

     

     
    • localarts 8:42 pm on August 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Great tune! Very appropriate for 200k+ hits. Just remember us little people when you go on the talk show circuit.

    • Bobby 1:49 am on August 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Woohoo!!!

  • John 11:32 am on August 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ron launius,   

    The Holmes Residences & More Classic Photos 

    This address was in the 1970 city directory for a Mr. John C. Holmes, born Aug. 8, 1944.

    Linnington Avenue.

    Linnington Avenue. Source: Ancestry .com

    Hollywood Blvd. 1981

    Hollywood Blvd. 1981

    John & Sharon lived here on Sherman Way in 1967. The apartments are gone now. Sherman Oaks, CA. 1967.

    Present site of where John & Sharon lived on Sherman Way in 1967. The apartments are gone now. Sherman Oaks, CA.

    Seven Seas

    Seven Seas

    Heart chillin' with Robert Plant.

    Heart chillin’ with Robert Plant.

    The "Seven Sleaze"

    The “Seven Sleaze”

    Seven Seas

    Seven Seas

    RIP. I wonder how Ronnie's dad died? When it happened, Ron was 22 and in the service. Life would never be the same after this.

    RIP. I wonder how Ronnie’s dad died? When it happened, Ron was 20 and in the USAF. Life would never be the same after this.

     
  • John 11:22 am on August 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ron launius, ronald launius,   

    The American Dream – Ron Comes Home 

    Thanks to Anthony for helping with a few names~

    In 1956, the Launius family, Arlin and Betty, and their three boys lived in this house in Stockton, CA. Ron was oldest and about 12 years old. His father was a cabinet maker, and he died in 1964 in his mid-40s. Ron was 20 and serving in the USAF at the time.

    Arlin served in the military during WW2. He was in the Army Air Force for about 5 years.

    Near a few golf courses and country clubs. It's a nice area. In the 50s, it must have been a brand new development for young families.

    The house with the brown roof. It’s near a few golf courses and country clubs. It’s a nice area. In the 50s, it must have been a new suburban development for vets and their young families.

    It looks like Arlin was a small business owner and the proprietor of “Crescent Showcase & Fixture”, a store on the outskirts of Stockton. Before that he worked at or owned Valley Show Case. I wonder if Holmes and Ron talked about furniture and had that in common. I wonder if Ron was a handy man too like his dad? The movie had it different, but McCourt said Billy did not like Holmes, not Ronnie.

    Copperopolis Road. I don't know if it's a beer joint now or what.

    Copperopolis Road. I don’t know if it’s a beer joint now or what. There is nothing else around but an old house and this is the address listed. The family may have also lived in that house to the left. These old city directories & phone books were strange in that they even list the person’s occupation, i.e., “Joe Alvarez. Gardener”, “Mary Stuart. Cafeteria Worker”, etc.

    Anyway, you just got a nice glimpse into the Launius childhood! Ron went to high school in Nevada City, which is not very close to here, so by the early 60s they had moved up there.

     
    • localarts 9:18 pm on August 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I remember his mother saying Ronnie was a good kid and never got into any trouble. She always kept saying Vietnam destroyed her son. I sure would like to know what specifically what she was referring to.

      • John W 10:38 am on August 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I think that if his dad had lived, we may not be talking about this case.

        I have contact info and will put together a salutations communique’ to send to him. I will email you localarts to get some of your always good feedback and redlines. Things are heating up at Wonderland!

        • John W 10:41 am on August 3, 2013 Permalink

          To send to his brother Rick.

          Also my friend Jason runs a different murder case blog and has started video/audio podcasts, I’m checking on it because I would like to do some of that for WLand!

        • Bobby 5:18 am on August 4, 2013 Permalink

          A Wonderland themed podcast sounds like a great idea!

      • John 12:34 pm on August 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        In 1940, his dad was listed as “Laborer” on an older cousin’s farm in Missouri. He was listed as single, highest level of schooling was 5th grade. He worked 20 weeks that year and for Pay it read: “120” I guess that is total dollars earned. $6 a day? Towards the end of the depression, sounds about right. The census says he had no other income. He was 20 years old and enlisted in the Army Air Force the next year I guess.

        • John 8:31 am on August 8, 2013 Permalink

          Ron’s dad died in Stockton in 64. I guess his parents were divorced because Ron and brothers lived hours away in Grass Valley/Nevada City in early 60s. Betty was married to Marvin Bryson for a few years from 65-68 I think.

    • Anthony 5:38 am on August 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      McCourt’s testimony stated that the only reason Billy was friendly to John was because of Ron.

      • John W 5:15 pm on August 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Anthony, Bobby and localarts. Comments help keep the Wonderland ideas flowing!

        • Bobby 5:57 am on August 7, 2013 Permalink

          If you did decide to go with the podcast idea and managed to get some great guests to interview you could make it interactive by giving forum posters the opportunity to draft up some questions for you to ask along with your own. Just an idea. I’ve seen this ‘forum user questions’ format used on other podcasts and it works really well.

    • Anthony 6:19 am on August 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Arlin Launius: 06/23/1919 – 10/17/1964. Buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery (San Bruno, CA)

      http://www.interment.net/data/us/ca/sanmateo/ggate/l/golden_l04.htm

  • John 10:51 am on August 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: agent orange, ron launius, ,   

    Ronnie’s Vietnam War Illness …Continued 

    A veteran messaged the blog last night to relay this info. He was stationed at the same base as Ronnie in Ubon, Thailand. It is a very exotic, beautiful place, and Ron being over there makes the Wonderland tale that much more intriguing. Ron’s mom said he would be ill from time to time, with rashes, red marks, welps, etc. To see my other posts about Ronnie, his military awards and illnesses attributed to Ubon Air Base, go here!

    The veteran says:

    I served in the Army at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base with Detachment J of the 7th RRFS. We were located on the other side of the runway in a compound. After returning in 1974, I noticed growths on my back and side. I had them checked out by the surgeon on my ETS physical. Since then my wife had two miscarriages, two children with cancer one who died from a brain tumor. I am wondering if I was exposed to Agent Orange or something similar. I am now almost 61 years of age.

    To read more about Ubon and see some pics of the local town, go here to this excellent blog.

    Check out Bob Hope & Raquel Welch at Ubon in February, 1967. Ronnie was there at that time, and no doubt went to watch this show.

    Bob and Raquel Welch.

    Bob and Raquel Welch.

    A cool video slideshow of photos from a serviceman stationed at Ubon:

    Ubon flight crews in action!

     
    • localarts 2:37 pm on August 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I would say everybody stationed there was exposed to agent orange to some degree. For all we know Launius could have been physically suffering day to day from the effects of agent orange at the time of his death. I have to give big time kudos to Ronnie for his service to our country in a war that was very unpopular.

      • John W 5:30 pm on August 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Oh absolutely. In his few miltary records found online, a section reads: “Court Martial details not included in this file” or something like that. Thus, he was still honorably discharged. I wonder what his final rank would have been without this mark on his record? And he was STILL a Staff Sarge upon separation! My dad wanted to be a lifer in the Navy but he lasted 6 years. He was sick of it. I often wonder if Ronnie just Got sick of it!!??

    • localarts 7:31 pm on August 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Difficult to say. He may have been dating Susan shortly before deciding not to reenlist and wanting to get a fresh start. I don’t think there’s any question Ron Launius drug addiction was a direct result his military career during Vietnam. His mother said Ronnie ” suffered trauma” in Vietnam.

      Obviously, not all of Launius military records are available. All we know are at certain times he was involved inventory and various other record keeping. I’m sure there’s much more we don’t know about and probably never will.

      • John W 7:37 pm on August 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Amen, that’s pretty much the shizzle, localarts. Sad. I have had the WDs before from hard drugs. After Ron’s last few Military paychecks I imagine Ronnie, Susan, Carroll Sherrill, etc… trying to score H or ludes… All the while Ron’s post-military job was as shipping and receiving clerk at fucking CostCo!! Or Kmart.

      • John W 4:31 pm on August 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I have Rickey’s contact info. Contemplating on how to approach the situation. A news reporter contacting him is one thing, but a blog guy. Stalker, LOL.

    • localarts 9:09 pm on August 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      John, this would be incredible if you could persuade Rick to talk about Ronnie. Maybe you could explained to Rick Launius that the popularity of the Wonderland movie along with the miss information spread about Ronnie has created a lot of interest in his brother and you would just like for him to set the record straight.

    • Bobby 5:31 am on August 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, did anyone else notice in the second video that the word “Peace” along with a peace symbol had been graffitied onto some yellow siding near the runway? Looks like Private Joker from “Full Metal Jacket” had been there but was interrupted before he could finish writing “Born to Kill” under it!

    • phipson 1:50 pm on August 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Many veterans are searching for answers to their illnesses, I was stationed at Ubon, have significant health problems, so if anyone knows anything, especially (for me) the 73/74 time period, please contact me!

    • Philip Woods 4:12 pm on November 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I came to Ubon in late 1973 and returned to Nong sung because we closed Det J. I came back with cyst on my body. My wife had several miscarriages and my son died of a brain tumor and my daughter had ovarian cancer. I have been wondering if i was exposed because Det J was near the perimeter. I have more of these cyst and have now been diagnosed as a diabetic.

      • phipson 5:21 pm on November 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t know about cysts (I had two or three removed at Ubon) but certainly Type 2 Diabetes is an Agent Orange presumptive. There are several Facebook pages for Ubon/Thailand vets too, they have extensive information, maps, and photos.

    • David Clark 5:17 am on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Stationed Ubon 1965. Is there a correlation with diabetes and Agent Orange?/ Never heard of this until now. Was TDY from MacDill AFB Florida. I was Air Police and guarded F4″s, Radar site and bomb dump and intelligent building on flight line. New Indian Joes and the playboy club very well. Was 20 years old at the time.

    • mark c 4:32 pm on January 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I highly respect any servicemen or servicewoman, they serve our country.
      I am down right scare to ask my good friends wife where he serve at while in Vietnam. It would bring up too painful thoughts for her,
      He found out he had Agent Orange & like within 4 to 6 months he was gone. Healthy one day dead the next, He was pretty wild himself. I was more a calming factor with him. He like myself.
      I never did get to really set down & talk to him as he asked myself to do for him when he found out he was sick and that really hurt’s myself to this day. All he asked was I set down & drink few beers with him. He was gone before I had the chance. Stupid myself I thought we had more time. I was very wrong on that.
      I sure bet Ronnie would love this Holliday on 1st / 19th/

    • localarts 8:40 am on January 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Even if the murders had never taken place, I’m not sure Launius would have seen the 90″s. I think he was indeed sick.

    • localarts 6:25 pm on March 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      This week marks the 25th anniversary of the first trial of Eddie Nash / Dials. This trial, in my opinion, was a watershed moment in what we know now as the Wonderland Murders. This is where the general public would get it’s first look at most of the key players involved with the exception oh Holmes and two others. This trial should have been the end of it but when you have the kind resources that Eddie had at that time…

  • John 8:19 am on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ron launius   

    The Criminal History of Ron Launius – Part 3 

    This snippet is from the Jacobs book. It is dubious as to where this info comes from, or if it is even true at all… what do you think?

    The character for Who’ll Stop The Rain and Dog Soldiers was based on a friend of Jack Kerouac’s, a counter-culture guy named Neal Cassidy. Also, Jacobs says Ron was in the Army. Hogwash!

    Ron Launius was an interesting and compellingly dangerous man. The character of Ray Hicks in the film “Who’ll Stop The Rain?” (as well as the Robert Stone novel “Dog Soldiers” that the film is adapted from) is reportedly based on Launius. When he was serving in the Army during the Vietnam War in the 70s, Launius was arrested and served time for transporting heroin back to the States in the cadavers of fallen U.S. soldiers. Once he was released from the stockade, Launius returned home to Northern California where he immediately fell in with a biker gang. The bikers gave Launius a large sum of cash – some say it was $100,000 – to travel to Mexico to procure heroin. Ron Launius and his wife crossed the border and met with the drug contacts he had been referred to. Instead of handing over the heroin, the Mexican thugs grabbed Launius’ wife, kept the heroin, and demanded that he return with another $100,00 or they would kill his wife. At this point Launius drove back to Northern California, robbed two banks and an armored car to procure the ransom money, and returned to Mexico, at which time he handed over the cash and the Mexicans returned his wife. According to reports, Launius secured his wife in a motel in Calexico, crossed back across the border again and murdered the Mexicans. Upon returning to Northern California, Launius reportedly killed the bikers who arranged the set-up in the first place.

    "I don't remember doing all of that stuff"

    “I don’t remember doing all of that stuff”

     
    • Bobby 8:37 am on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hmm… So it’s fair to say that most posters on this blog have major problems with this ransom story? This sure brings into question the validity of Jacob’s book if this is in fact BS. I’d hate to throw out the baby with the bathwater but other than the trial testimonials in his book do we have to take everything else with a handful of salt? On the off chance that it’s true would Lind and his Aryan Brotherhood cohorts be the bikers that Launius “fell in with” or was he knocking about with other biker gangs?

    • Jenn 8:59 am on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I’m not sure I believe all that.

    • localarts 9:26 am on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Who’ll stop the rain was released in 1978, the same year Launius walked out of prison. Do the math folks because Jacobs certainly didn’t.

    • Jill C. Nelson 11:19 am on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      The Launius story was discussed and hotly contested often on the old Wonderland forum at imdb. As much as it makes for a compelling tale, there were/are not reliable sources to substantiate or support the theories/information relayed about Launius’ past. Similiar issues exist with John Gilmore’s “Bad Eddie” chapter on Holmes and the Wonderland murders except that Gilmore included a small disclaimer to cover himself.

    • localarts 2:29 pm on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      If anyone believes Jacobs accont of Ron Launius then you must also believe that Ronnie carpooled with Holmes on their way to class at UCLA.

      • John W 4:50 pm on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Ron, Greg and Holmes were also in the same Anatomy & Physiology class at night school. Greg rode shotgun in the Chevy Malibu.

    • localarts 9:28 pm on June 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Yep. Greg would reach in the glove compartment and pull out an 8 track of the Starland Vocal Band and before you know it, all three are singing Afternoon Delight……… Now that’s really f***ed up!!

  • John 8:14 am on May 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ron launius,   

    Wonderland Birthdays 

    happy-birthday

    Happy Birthdays go out this week!

    • Joy’s birthday is tomorrow, May 14. She would have been 77 years old.
    • Ron’s birthday is May 18. He would have been 68 this Saturday.
    • Susan’s birthday is May 30.

    I know that Ron and Joy were both born in Illinois and have close birthdays. I can imagine, after meeting each other, that this was enough for them to bond or whatever and become instant friends (besides the drugs). She let him move into her house. I know that when I meet someone who was born in the same state as me, then that is always an instant topic for conversation. Just sayin…

    Have a great week everyone.

    Keep the great posts and finds coming!

    7704_heading

    sm_wonderland_129

    images (7)

     
  • John 1:22 pm on May 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: certificate, marriage, ron launius,   

    April 4, 1971 – Ron Launius Gets Married to Susan 

    The Wonderland World just keeps getting better! Thanks to Jenn for finding the marriage cert. From it, I gleaned some things…

    Ron and Sue stood and exchanged vows at this altar. “Just Behind The Courthouse”. I bet a lot of Californians made that quick trip across the border to get married. The back of the postcard reads: “Where hundreds yearly solemnize their vows before a minister, etc… …the place where “She” would like to be married”. Yeah, she does…but good luck you dumb bastards. Get outta there, asap!

    1970 Era  Photo - Sunset Wedding Chapel, Carson City, NV.

    1970 Era Photo – Sunset Wedding Chapel, Carson City, NV. From an old postcard on eBay.

    Here’s what it looks like today. I could not find much, so it could be something else now:

    112 N. Curry, Carson City, NV.

    112 N. Curry, Carson City, NV.

    Bonus! Here is what it looked like back in the day…from a different angle:

    Sunset Wedding Chapel

    Sunset Wedding Chapel

     
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