Texas Drug Store Cowboys Celebrating 50 Years as Dancehall & Venue Legends

50th Anniversary will be on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022 at John T. Floores Country Store & Dance Hall in Helotes, Texas. 3-7 p.m.

Admired by fiercely loyal fans, The Drugstore Cowboys have brought their electric energy to venues throughout the US and Europe.

The south side of San Antonio, in the neighborhoods surrounding McCollum and Harlandale high schools, are the childhood homes of many notable people in Country, Funk, Soul and Tejano Music.

Legendary Country Music DJ Hall of Famer and everybody’s “Cousin” Jerry King went to Harlandale in the 1960s. I can remember when King, along with other DJs and musicians, played with the likes of Willie Nelson and George Jones at a charity basketball matchup at the McCollum gym in the late 1960s.

During the 1972-73 school year Nashville recording artist Johnny Bush played on stage at the McCollum Auditorium. Country.

Down on Harding Blvd., a talented local newspaper country music and entertainment writer, John Goodspeed, served as an early inspiration for me.

The late Emilio Navaira, from the McCollum Class of 1980, was a Mexican-American musician who performed country and Tejano music nationally. His classmate from the year ahead of him, Yolanda Saldívar, is the convicted murderer of Latin music superstar Selena, and is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison.

Especially in the late 70s and early 80s many of us would go watch Horizon perform. Southsiders Charlie, John, and Geoff Boggess joined classmate Freddy Carrillo and others (T-Bo Gonzalez, Bill Dudley, Larry Scott and Sahara Greer come to mind) and actually opened for the Commodores. The story goes they were offered to go on the road with Cool and the Gang but turned them down.

Through the years, southsider singers and musicians continued to play venues and dances as far away as Europe, on television and especially throughout the Lone Star State.

Some of the more enduring included Rex Allen McNeil, Walter “Tooter” Ripps, Ray Morris, Randy Potts, Lonnie Castleman, John Marsh, Leonard Wong, and the rockers, The Toman Brothers, Randy and Russell—and who could forget R

1972

In the fall of 1972, 17-year-old McCollum senior Dub Robinson had organized a country trio and began playing around a little bit. He went to go see Willie Nelson at the John T. Floore Country Store northwest of San Antonio in the foothills of the Hill Country town of Helotes.

Johnny Bush, Paul English, Willie Nelson

Nelson was to perform as a trio with drummer Paul English and Bee Spears on bass. The steel player didn’t show.

“I watched Willie play that gut string guitar and it didn’t lose anything,” Robinson remembers. Since age 12, Robinson had played professionally across South Texas, but on this night he was particularly inspired.

He called his drummer, Robert “Cotton” Payne, and his bassist, Tommy McKay the next day and proclaimed that if they could be a hundredth as good as Nelson was, they might have a chance.

They knew their taste in music was a blend of country, rock, and blues. McKay suggested the perfect name for their new band. It described the kind of “cowboy” who didn’t want to get his boots dirty.

I’ve followed Dub and other fellow McCollum Cowboys classmates over the years. He continues to be a favorite.

At a ten year class reunion in 1983 at the downtown El Tropicano Hotel Ballroom, Dub and his band honored his classmates as we danced in memories of “old times.” I was particularly honored. I knew the band was good, but when I was called over during a break, he asked me what Elvis song I was going to sing later that evening.

I suggested “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Hearbreak Hotel,” and “Hound Dog.”

He grinned, and with guitar in hand, said, “Okay. Let me hear you sing them.”

1983 McCollum 10 Yr Reunion. Dub (guitar) was the ultra-professional. What an honor for me.

I only had to belt out a sentence or a few words of each. He immediately knew what key and chords to play.

Later, when some of our classmates were literally pulling my pants off while singing, I looked back at Dub. He was grinning big time. He and his band never missed a lick. I tried my best not to also. It remains a fun and wonderful memory in my heart.

In 2011, while interviewing George Strait and Ray Benson at a fundraiser for wounded veterans at Tapatio Springs outside of Boerne, Texas, Strait said something that reminded me of Dub.

“When everyone thinks of Asleep at the Wheel, they think of Ray.”

That’s exactly how I feel about the Drug Store Cowboys. When I think of them, I think of Dub Robinson.

The Drugstore Cowboys with Gary Stewart: Dub Robinson (left), Stewart, Randy Toman and Robert "Cotton" Payne.
Dub Robinson on the left.

Dub just announced the band will be celebrating their 50th anniversary with a new CD. What are his thoughts?

In his own creative words, the songwriter, musician and singer posted:

Originally, McKay lasted about a year and a half and Randy Toman, (who now performs with his brother Russell), became the bassist for 13 years.

They became the touring band for country stars Gary Stewart and Stoney Edwards. The Drugstore Cowboys also backed Johnny Rodriguez, Freddy Fender, Johnny Bush and Gene Watson.

Other artists they shared the stage with or even backed up include Nelson, Merle Haggard, Mel Tillis, Frenchy Burke, Greg Allman, David Allen Cole, Charlie Daniels, the Mavericks, Jerry Jeff Walker, and even Asleep At The Wheel.

“They joined Stewart, who was known for such hits as “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles),” when his backing band could not make a gig at the old Kicker’s Palace,” Goodspeed once reported. “The owner told Stewart they knew all his songs and he gave them a try. Stewart hired them and they toured coast to coast. Robinson quit after four years.”

“I didn’t want to be somebody’s backup band the rest of my life,” he said. “I’m a songwriter first and wanted to do my own thing.”

In 50 years, at least that many musicians have played in The Drugstore Cowboys.

Some of the members went on to play for the Bellamy Brothers, Janie Fricke, Bill Anderson, and Judas Priest.

“I believe it’s all about the song. It’s a lot of work running a band, but I do it just to play my music the way I want to hear it,” Dub said.

In God We Trust

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Politics, Entertainment & History: Can You Identify Them by Their Mugshots?

Can you identify these historic, political and entertainment figures by their arrested mugshots and photographs?

Answers at the bottom.

POLITICS & HISTORY

Politics, News and History: John Hinkley, Shepherd Smith, Bill Gates, John Edwards, Bernard Madoff, Lee Harvey Oswald, Rod Blagojevich, Rosa Parks, Billy Carter, Roger Clinton, James Earl Ray, Jack Ruby, Charles Manson

Entertainment: Harvey Weinstein, Jane Fonda, O.J. Simpson, Nick Nolte, Heather Locklear, Jussie Smollett, Paul Reubens

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Are These the Most Evil and Notorious Serial Killers Who Were Ever Caught?

This article is part of CleverJourneys ongoing series exploring American history from a perspective that burrows deep into criminal profiles, the penal system, victim’s stories, crime prevention, forensic science, law enforcement and our justice system.

Perhaps these evil individuals were the most sick serial killers of modern times.

David Berkowitz

Also known as the Son of Sam, David Berkowitz performed a series of shootings in 1976. Using a .44 Bulldog revolver, Berkowitz shot 6 people and wounded 7 more. During his spree, he sent numerous letters to the police and press taunting them.

Edmund Kemper

Kemper was known as “The Co-ed Killer” for the brutal murders he carried out in the 1970’s. After murdering his grandparents when he was 15, Kemper killed and dismembered 6 female hitchhikers. He then murdered his mother and a friend of hers before turning himself in.

Larry Bittaker and Roy Norris

These two men were known as ‘The Tool Box Killers’. Between the two of them, they murdered 5 young women in 1979 across California. The two killers would lure their victims to their van before raping and torturing them with tools.

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley

Between 1963 and 1965, Northern England’s Ian Brady and Myra Hindley killed 5 children, aged between 10 and 17 years old. Their victims were sexually assaulted before being murdered. Three were discovered in graves on Saddleworth Moor, the last victims were discovered within their home.

Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Bueno

These two men, both cousins, were known as The Hillside Stranglers. Between late 1977 and early 1978, the two men kidnapped, raped, and killed 10 women, aged 12 to 28 years old. Each one was strangled in the hills above Los Angeles.

Arthur Shawcross

Shawcross was known as the Genesee River Killer. His first murder was in 1972, when he sexually assaulted and murdered a 10-year-old boy. He then raped and killed an eight-year-old girl. He was released from prison in 1988 after serving 14 years. He then killed 12 female prostitutes, aged 22 to 29 years old, before being captured once more.

Richard Ramirez

Between 1984 and 1985, Richard Ramirez terrorized Los Angeles. He became known as the Night Stalker, and broke into the homes of his victims to shoot, stab, and rape and mutilate them. His victims ranged from a 9-year-old girl to a married couple in their late sixties. He smeared pentagrams on the walls of each crime scene.

Jeffrey Dahmer

Dahmer is one of the most well-known serial killers of all time. In Milwaukee, Dahmer was convicted of raping, murdering, and dismembering 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Upon dismembering the bodies, Dahmer would then devour pieces of them. He was beaten to death by an inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution just two years into his sentence.

Gary Ridgway

Gary Ridgway was arrested in 2001 for 4 separate murders, but later confessed to killing at least 70 women in Washington within the 1980’s and 1990’s. He ultimately avoided the death sentence by leading police to his dumpsite for the bodies, five of which were within the Green River. He was convicted of 49 murders.

Dr. Harold Shipman

Dr. Harold Fredrick Shipman was an English doctor at one point in his life, then he became responsible for around 250 murders. He was respected within his community, but raised concerns when the death rate in the area became too high. He would inject fatal drugs into his patients, causing their deaths, then forge their wills to inherit massive amounts of money from his victims.

Ted Bundy

Bundy is one of the most prolific serial killers in the 20th century. He kidnapped and raped young women and girls in the 1970’s. He ended up decapitating at least 12 of his victims, keeping their heads in his apartment as a sort of trophy. He escaped from police and court houses on two separate occasions.

Charles Ng and Leonard Lake

Charles Ng and Leonard Lake together raped, tortured, and murdered anywhere between 11 and 25 victims in Calaveras County, California. The two were discovered when police searched Lake’s ranch, finding human remains within.

John Wayne Gacy

John Wayne Gacy sexually assaulted and killed 33 teenage boys and young men throughout Chicago between 1972 and 1978. He lured his victims to his own home with the promise of work or money before he strangled them with a tourniquet. He buried 26 of the bodies in the crawl space below his own house.

Tommy Lynn Sells

Sells claimed to have killed at least 70 people, and is considered one of the most dangerous men in Texas. ‘The Coast to Coast Killer” was convicted of numerous murders between 1985 and 1999, including the stabbing of a 13-year-old girl a total of sixteen times. He broke into the bedroom of a 10-year-old, stabbed her and left her for dead, and then was captured. The young girl survived, thankfully. He was executed at Huntsville prison in 2014.

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Remembering the First Men on the Moon

In 2006, Jack Dennis had the honor of interviewing the second man to walk on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin.

It’s been over half of a century that earth celebrated one of the most historical milestones in history as United States astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored the moon for 21 hours.  Many Baby Boomers and space enthusiasts today recall Armstrong’s first words as his boots touched the lunar surface: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Dr. Aldrin, (now 92 at this writing), was bestowed the nickname “Buzz” from his baby sister who could only say “Buzzer” instead of “brother” in their New Jersey home. 

Little did they know this would evolve into the recognizable inspiration for Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear’s name decades later.

Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. stepped on the moon at 03:15:16 Coordinated Universal Time on July 21, 1969. “Beautiful view,” Aldrin simply uttered the first words to describe what he was experiencing. “Magnificent desolation.”

Jack Dennis with Buzz Aldrin, 2006

New information previously not generally known by the public released by Aldrin recently, combined with the 2006 interview by Dennis, is revealed below: 

When probed about Armstrong and him sighting a UFO on their voyage to the moon, Aldrin beamed. “Yes, we saw something,” he clarified. “But you have to remember the times. We could not blare it out that we saw any UFO because everyone was listening and hanging on to every word we said.”

“Delicately, we asked Houston the location of the SIVB (booster rocket) and they told us something like it was 6,000 miles away,” Aldrin continued. “I remember we talked about it as being L-shaped.”

“Over the years, there have been many suppositions and misrepresentations, but we believe now it was a panel left over from the separation of the spacecraft,” winked Aldrin playfully.

The two were on the lunar surface for 21 hours and returned to earth with 46 pounds of moon rocks and specimens.

Did Aldrin feel any pressure to say or not say anything publicly while he was on the moon?

“Not censorship, if that is what you are implying,” he answered. “We knew what we were doing was unparalleled and extraordinary in human history so we took our choice of words into account as part of our responsibility.”

“Just a few minutes on the moon, I did make a statement of reflection asking everyone to give thanks for the moment,” Aldrin said. “And then, with the radio off, I read from the Scripture. Only Neil (Armstrong) heard me.”

Aldrin took a communion wafer and vial of wine from his minister to the surface of the moon.

“I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me,” wrote Aldrin years after the mission. “In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup.”

“Then I read the Scripture, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.. Apart from me you can do nothing,’” he wrote.

Aldrin continued, “It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin

It is also interesting to note that Aldrin was the first astronaut to earn a doctorate degree. His thesis was the foundation and idea for the docking procedures used in the Gemini and Apollo missions. He was the first astronaut to accomplish a successful spacewalk, while during the Gemini 12 mission of 1966, he was outside the capsule for 5 1/2 hours.

What are Aldrin’s ideas about climate change?

“I think the climate has been changing for billions of years. If it’s warming now, it may cool off later. I’m not in favor of just taking short-term isolated situations and depleting our resources to keep our climate just the way it is today. I’m not necessarily of the school that we are causing it all, I think the world is causing it.”

Moon germ worries.

Amid concerns over what germs the astronauts might have brought back with them from the moon, they were kept in quarantine for three weeks after their return to Earth before they could be reunited with their families. The quarantine experience “quickly became oppressive” according to a NASA history of the mission.

The astronauts had to wear “biological isolation garments” before they went into quarantine, where they had to keep themselves entertained with an exercise room, a ping pong table, television, reading material and phone calls to their families. The suits were to ensure that “the lunar dust we brought back wouldn’t give people on earth our moon germs,” Aldrin said.

“I always found it funny that the rags used to wipe us down that were covered with moon dust were dropped in the ocean,” he tweeted. “So the poor underwater creatures got our moon germs instead.”

Aldrin then suggested that the moon dust in the ocean could be “fodder for a Godzilla movie.”

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Biden’s America is Ripe for Islamic Attacks Within

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Former FBI Agent, Counter-Terrorism Instructor Forewarned of Islamic Attacks and Intrusion in U.S.

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One Year After the Horrific Biden Blunder in Afghanistan, America is in More Danger

A year after the Biden Administration abandoned as many as 9,000 (as revealed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) American citizens in Afghanistan following their botched withdrawal, America remains in far more danger than most citizens realize.

Within days of one of the darkest mishaps in American history, Biden officials directed federal agencies to quickly scrub their websites of official reports detailing the $82.9 billion in military equipment and training provided to the Afghan security forces since 2001.

The scrubbed audits and reports included detailed accounting of what the U.S. had provided to Afghan forces, down to the number of night vision devices, hand grenades, Black Hawk helicopters, and armored vehicles.

Reports showed there were:

🔹208 aircraft and helicopters

🔹75,000 war vehicles – including 22 Humvees, 50,000 tactical vehicles and nearly 1,000 mine resistant vehicles

🔹600,000 weapons – including 350,000 M4 and M16 rifles, 60,000 machine guns, and 25,000 grenade launchers.

While Joe Biden, as Vice President to Barack Obama, continues to obey his ex-boss, he blatantly ignores the deadly lessons of illegal immigration and ignoring hostile Muslims entering America.

As we approach the two million a year mark for illegal aliens entering the United States who are systematically dispersed by the Biden Regime on a daily basis, crime and terrorism grows in America.

The American Center for Law and Justice, a religious liberty watchdog, reports numerous cases in recent years where teaching of Islam has moved from general knowledge of the religion to indoctrination of school children.

On its website the ACLJ cites some assignments that have raised concern from parents, like:

🔹Middle-school children in Tennessee being told to write “Allah is the only God” and recite the Islamic conversion creed.

🔹An assignment in a Wisconsin public school told students to “Pretend you are Muslim.” 

🔹In Walton County, Georgia, which manifested itself in a hone parent found objectionable: “Allah is the  (fill in the blank)  worshiped by Jews & Christians

After the June, 2016 terrorist attack on an Orlando, FL nightclub left 49 dead, an ex-FBI instructor, John Guandolo, noted the Obama “FBI leadership has systematically refused to look at and teach Sharia to its agents because it is getting its advice on Islam from Muslims who are hostile to us and our system of government.”

Orlando casualties

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Guandolo blasted then FBI Director James Comey, “Fifty Americans are dead, the FBI had the killer in their sights and let him go, and the FBI director is okay with this.”

“Not knowing something that is a requirement of your profession—like an FBI director not understanding that Sharia is the key to understanding the entire global war—is unprofessional,” he said.

Donald J. Trump, then a candidate for the presidency, chimed in:

“We’re importing radical Islamic terrorism into the West through a failed immigration system and through an intelligence community held back by our president. Even our own FBI director has admitted that we cannot effectively check the backgrounds of people we’re letting into America.”

“They have put political correctness above common sense, above your safety, and above all else. I refuse to be politically correct,” Trump said.

“The Islamic movement has been focused, since prior to 9/11, on primarily the Islamic world,” said Guandolo, also a counter-terrorism instructor, and founder of UnderstandingTheThreat.com.

“They’ve been focused, as you’ve seen, in Syria, and in Libya, in eastern Africa, in the Middle East. They’ve been focused on getting Islamic countries to adhere to sharia and begin imposing sharia outside of its borders,” he explained, referring to the Islamic legal code.

“That’s the focus. What we’re watching right now is the turn toward the West,” he said, citing terrorist attacks popping up in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, which have all been “individual acts of jihad,” until now.

“What you’re gonna see is, multiply Orlando, and Beslan, and Mumbai – and, by the way, since they’re working with the Marxist-socialist collaborators like Black Lives Matter and others, many Soros-funded groups and other groups, you’re gonna see a national level, where the violence will raise significantly, and you’ll see things precipitated by other events,” Guandolo warned.

In 2016, when Steve Bannon asked Guandolo if a FBI counter-terrorist unit was “incompetent,” or “hamstrung” by political correctness, Guandolo said, “It’s a combination of both, actually. You’ve got the agents busting their butts on the street level, but you’ve got the leadership of the FBI who refuse to look at this strategically.”

“And it is because, on orders from the White House — I know even under Director Mueller’s tenure there, before Director Comey — they were forced to work with organizations like the Islamic Society of North America and others, Muslim Public Affairs Council, which are Hamas — Muslim Brotherhood organizations,” Guandolo continued.

He explained that Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a “Hamas group.”

“They were created by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, which was Hamas in the United States, “ Guandolo explained. “So they’re not merely a Muslim Brotherhood group. Hamas is an inherent part of the Muslim Brotherhood, and CAIR was the full Hamas organization created in the United States.”

He said the government has not “identified the larger threat,” which is that “the teaching these guys are getting is all from the Islamic centers.”

“The majority, eighty-plus percent of the Islamic centers’ mosques in the United States are teaching this,” he said. “All of the major Islamic organizations, per evidence in the largest terrorism financing and Hamas trial in American history, demonstrates clearly that these groups are jihadi organizations.”

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The Kelsey Smith Tragedy of Overland Park, Kansas

Kelsey Smith, just 18-years-old, went shopping at a Target store. at 97th and Quivira, behind the Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kansas. She bought a gift for a six-month anniversary of dating with her boyfriend. It was June 2, 2007, just nine days after high school graduation.

Target surveillance video later showed Smith in the store browsing, calling her mother by cellphone, and purchasing the present. She then exited the store at 7:07 p.m. and disappeared…

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Nearly four hours later, her car, a 1990 era Ford Crown Victoria, was found abandoned outside of Macy’s in Oak Park Mall’s parking lot across the street. Her purse, wallet, and the items she had bought were still in the car.

Target uses a large number of video cameras, inside and outside their stores. Footage can often be enhanced internally through their Target Forensic Services Division.

🔹The surveillance footage showed her parking her car and entering the store. It even showed where she was when she called her mother. She picked out the items that were later found in the car. She did not seem to talk to anyone there except the cashier. According to the cashier, she did not see or notice anything unusual in the store and not in Kelsey’s behavior.

🔹A preliminary scan of the Target video did not show anything unusual, but a careful look, once slowed down showed a flash in the screen in the direction of Kelsey and her car after she exited the store. The flash was consistent with someone running when the camera is placed at a distance.

🔹When reviewing more surveillance video, investigators saw strong evidence that Smith had been abducted in the parking lot.

🔹Footage revealed someone forcing Smith into her car.

🔹Across the street at Macy’s, their surveillance video showed her car had been left about two hours after Smith and her kidnapper left the Target lot. The time stamp read 9:17pm.

🔹A figure in white shirt and dark pants was seen leaving the vehicle and running toward the street, but initially it was too dark to determine if the figure was male or female.

🔹Target video of the parking lot about that time showed a suspicious 1970s-era Chevrolet truck leaving.

🔹Detectives reasoned that if she were deliberately singled out for abduction, then her stalker must have been in the store watching her.

🔹A close review of the security footage showed a white male, in his early twenties, seemed to be in every aisle and in almost every part of the footage showing Kelsey — but at a discreet distance.

🔹Investigators noted he was wearing a white shirt and dark shorts. When they looked at the video of her entering they saw him coming in about a thirty seconds later.

🔹He made no effort to talk to her or approach her in the store but left just as she went to the cashier. The surveillance showed a good picture of him leaving the store.

🔹While no crime was committed at that point, (after all he could claim he was just browsing), the fact that he was in almost every aisle she was in and seem to be looking at her, or at least in her direction, was too much of a coincidence for the police to ignore.

🔹The man, now appearing to be the suspect, was wearing similar clothing as the figure seen in the Macy’s video.

🔹When the video still of the man was released to the media, it generated hundreds of tips but they were too general to be useful.

🔹Police checked the car for forensic evidence fingerprint. Experts isolated all those who had legitimate reasons to be in the car such as Kelsey’s family, friends, and boyfriend. As a result, they found unidentified prints on the seat belt.

🔹When an investigator looked at the surveillance and expanded it, he saw that the Chevrolet pickup leaving was identical to the truck in earlier footage arriving just before Kelsey drove in.

🔹Bingo! The camera from the front of the store showed the driver clearly. They reasoned it was the subject and released that footage.

🔹There was good footage shared in local media and on America’s Most Wanted television show. One man who had seen the video of the subject joked it looked like a neighbor to the actual neighbor.

🔹The next day when he saw the information on the truck he stopped laughing and called in the tip.

🔹On the evening of June 6, 2007, police arrested 26-year-old Edwin Roy “Jack” Hall of Olathe, Kansas. Hall was in the process of leaving town with his wife and son, supposedly on vacation when the police arrived.

🔹Hall was charged on June 7, 2007 with premeditated first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.

🔹Hall had no adult criminal record, but had a juvenile record of assault. Hall, who had been adopted at age seven, had been returned to state custody at age 15 after threatening the family’s daughter with a knife.

🔹Hall also assaulted a boy by striking him in the head with a baseball bat, which may account for the juvenile record of assault.

🔹Police do not believe Hall knew Smith. At the time of his arrest, Hall was married and the father of a four-year-old son. Hall admitted to being there but claimed he never approached her but soon was caught in a lie when his fingerprints matched the ones on the seat belt.

🔹Kelsey’s cell phone last pinged in Grandview, Missouri, on June 2. Local law enforcement, the FBI, and technicians worked tirelessly until they discovered her remains. At 1:30 p.m. on June 6, 2007, Kelsey’s body was recovered from the woods near Longview Lake, about 20 miles away from where she was last seen alive.

🔹Hall, held on a $5 million bond, was indicted on the charges of murder, rape, and aggravated sodomy by a grand jury on August 1, 2007, making him eligible for the death penalty.

🔹On July 23, 2008, as part of a plea agreement to avoid execution, he pleaded guilty to all the charges against him, getting sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Today, he remains incarcerated at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility in Kansas.

Kelsey Ann Smith (May 3, 1989 – June 2, 2007). The story was featured in the international media, including television’s America’s Most Wanted, before her body was found near the lake.

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Jack Dennis, former private investigator, often reports on politics, crime, history, travel, nostalgia, entertainment, immigration, drugs, gang activities, and human trafficking. Please support our efforts to provide truth and news that corporate media will not. 🔹Dodie Dennis, retired RN and health instructor, writes about health, nutrition, Big Pharma, nature, travel and everyday hacks-tips-hints.

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The Horrific True Story of ‘The Dating Game Serial Killer’

“Not all serial killers are alike,” my father, Walter Dennis, a homicide detective on the San Antonio Police Department, told me. “There are many different types of serial killers, because behavior reflects personality, and not all serial killers kill the same, act the same, or are the same.”

Dad was good about teaching me such things and it helped immensely when years later I became a private investigator. Sometimes, if he was on duty, he would come check on me while I was performing surveillance for a case.

“Dad, what homicide cases bother you the most?” I asked one slow stormy night while we were listening to the police radio in his car.

“Besides children, I’d say serial killers bother me most,” he replied. “That Dating Game Killer was intriguing. Never could figure how they let him be on that show as a contestant.”

Dad was talking about Rodney Alcala, who was born as Rodrigo Jacques Alcala-Buquor in San Antonio on August 23, 1943. He moved to Mexico with his family when he was about 8 years old. His father abandoned them while they were in Mexico. Alcala, his siblings and mother later relocated to Los Angeles.

Here is a brief rundown of some of his known crimes and murders:

1968

In Hollywood, California Alcala was a 25-year-old UCLA student when he lured 8-year-old Tali Shapiro into his car. At first Shapiro responded with “I don’t talk to strangers.”

Alcala said that he knew her parents. Later, Shapiro said that “I really didn’t want to get into the car but I was raised to respect my elders,” and so she got into the car. Alcala drove her to his apartment and proceeded to rape and beat her with an iron bar.

Fortunately, a motorist had seen Alcala pick Shapiro up, and after following them, had called the police. When police arrived, they found Shapiro “in a large puddle of blood and not breathing.” They began to search for Alcala in the apartment, but when one of the officers realized that Shapiro was still alive and struggling to breathe, all their focus turned onto her, and Alcala managed to escape. He moved to the East Coast.

He attended New York University from 1968 to 1971, working as a security guard to pay for his tuition.

1969

Prior to his security guard work, Alcala found employment in the summer of 1969 as an arts counselor at a summer camp in Georges Mills, N.H. The director was so impressed with Alcala and how he “confidently demonstrated techniques of filmmaking and photography to the eager young campers,” that Alcala was invited to return the following year.

1970

Alcala worked at Georges Mills again in the summer of 1970.

1971

After graduating from NYU in June 1971, he returned for a third summer at Georges Mills after murdering 23-year-old Cornelia Michel Crilley. The case remained unsolved until 2011, when evidence linked Alcala to the murder.

In 1971 he was included on the FBI’s Most Wanted list when some girls at an arts camp recognized their counselor, who was using the name John Berger. They told the camp’s dean and Alcala was soon arrested, though he was able to plead to the lesser charge of child molestation and served just 34 months.

Note: It is often reported that Alcala studied film under Roman Polanski at NYU, but this highly unlikely since by 1968, Polanski had moved to Hollywood, Calif.

1975

After spending three years behind bars, he soon spent another two years in prison for assaulting a 13-year-old girl. But authorities had regrettably allowed Alcala to travel to New York to “visit relatives.” Investigators now believe that within seven days of his arrival there, he killed a college student named Elaine Hover who was the daughter of a popular Hollywood nightclub owner and goddaughter of both Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin.

Hover

1977

By now a legally registered sex offender, Alcala was hired to be a typesetter for The Los Angeles Times  in September 1977.

He brutally killed Ellen Hover from New York and Christine Thornton went missing during a road trip that year, her remains only discovered outside of Granger, Wyoming five years later by a rancher.

Thorton

1978

California police questioned Alcala in March 1978 as a potential suspect in the Hillside Strangler killings, another set of serial murders that occurred in California in the 1970s. Alcala was cleared of those crimes, and police did not realize they had actually spoken with a another serial killer.

Just four months later, on Wednesday, September 13, 1978, Jim Lange, the host of a popular television program, The Dating Game, introduced Alcala as “Bachelor Number One.” He was a contestant vying against two other men, all hidden behind a wall, for a date with bachelorette Cheryl Bradshaw.

Lange described Contestant #1 as “a successful photographer, who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed.”

When asked by Cheryl Bradshaw to describe what kind of meal he’d be, Alcala replied, “I’m called ‘The Banana’ and I look really good… Peel me.”

Bradshaw selected the man who would be known as “The Dating Game Killer.”

After their segment was completed, the two went backstage until they were called out at the end of the program to blow a farewell kiss to the audience.

When Acala offered her a date playing tennis and visiting Magic Mountain that she’d “never forget”, Bradshaw felt creeped out.

“I started to feel ill,” she explained years later. “He was acting really creepy. I turned down his offer. I didn’t want to see him again.”

1979

On June 20, 1979, 12-year-old Robin Samsoe disappeared from Huntington Beach, California on her way to ballet class. Her friends said that a stranger approached them on the beach and asked if they’d want to do a photoshoot. They declined and Samsoe left, borrowing a friend’s bike to hurriedly get to ballet. At some point between the beach and class, Samsoe disappeared. Nearly 12 days later, a park ranger found her animal-ravaged bones in a forested area near the Pasadena foothills of the Sierra Madre.

Upon questioning Samsoe’s friends, a police sketch artist drew up a composite and Alcala’s former parole officer recognized the face. Between the sketch, Alcala’s criminal past, and the discovery of Samsoe’s earrings in Alcala’s Seattle storage locker, police felt confident he was the beast they were looking for.

Soon, after his arrest, investigators discovered hundreds of photographs in a Seattle storage locker that was rented by Alcala. Some of these pictures were eventually helpful with identifying victims.

2010

One of the killer’s means for luring victims was telling them he wanted to photograph them.

Huntington Police decided to release the photos they found at the Seattle rented storage unit in 1979 to the public. Hopefully this could help identify the people pictured in an effort to identify more victims. It worked in the case of Christine Thornton, whose sister, Kathy had never stopped looking for her. She identified her sister in one of the photographs Alcala had kept in Seattle storage.

Alcala was ultimately charged with the killing, but prosecutors declined to extradite him from death row in California to stand trial in Wyoming. 


It took several years, but Rodney Alcala was finally convicted of killing Samsoe and four other women women — 18-year-old Jill Barcomb and 27-year-old Georgia Wixted, both in 1977; 32-year-old Charlotte Lamb in 1978; and 21-year-old Jill Parenteau in 1979. He was sentenced to death row in 2010.

Alcala repeatedly appealed his death sentences. During his third trial, he acted as his own defense attorney, he “laughed and talked throughout.” He began asking himself questions in a deep voice and referring to himself as ‘Mr. Alcala’ before answering in his natural tone.

Part of the case against him was a pair of gold earrings linked to Samsoe that had been found in his Seattle storage locker. Alcala played clips from The Dating Game that he said proved he was already wearing gold earrings in 1978.

During his sentencing, he decided to play “Alice’s Restaurant,” by Arlo Guthrie, for the courtroom, with the lyrics: “Eat dead, burnt bodies. I mean kill, kill, kill, kill!”

The jury found Alcala guilty of first-degree murder and he received the death penalty. However, the California Supreme court overturned this verdict due to the jury being prejudiced, they felt, by learning of Alcala’s past sex crimes. It took six years to put him back on trial.

2013

Alcala was convicted by New York courts of the brutal murders of two more women, Cornelia Crilley in 1971 and Ellen Jane Hover in 1977. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in 2013.

2019

Alcala’s execution in California had been postponed indefinitely due to a moratorium on the death penalty instituted by the state in 2019.

2021


Alcala, 77, died of natural causes at 1:43 a.m. Saturday July 23, 2021 at a hospital in the community near Corcoran State Prison, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.

While Alcala was convicted of seven murders, he is believed to have killed anywhere from 50 to 140 women according to the Star Tribune and The East Bay Times. At least one more of those has been identified.

His “signatures” were beating, biting, raping, and strangling (often choking victims until the point of unconsciousness), then once they came to, he’d start the process over again.

When the Huntington Beach Police Department released the cache of photos taken by Alcala in 2010, there intent has been to identify the individuals in them to determine whether they may have been victimized by him.

Some people were alive and came forward. The photos aided in identifying Christine Thornton as one of Alcala’s victims.

If you have information about the identities of the people in the photographs, please contact the Huntington Beach Police Department at (714) 536-5947. Below are some of those photos. To see additional pictures of this cache, CLICK HERE.

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Awesome Favorite Movie Lines We Can’t Forget

Some movies go down in history as such brilliant masterpieces that it seems as if they speak directly to you and turn the world as you know it upside down. The most powerful movies can accomplish this with just a couple of lines that you may never forget.

Here are some of ours. Which ones did we miss?

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Goettle HVAC and Plumbing services are located in Phoenix, Tucson, San Antonio, Austin, Las Vegas areas as well as regions in Southern California.

Kenny Rogers, His Best Lyrics Ever

Kenny Rogers, 81, died of natural causes on March 20, 2020.

Photo by Jack Dennis at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, Texas.

One of the best-selling artists of all time, Kenny Rogers encompassed many music genres with over 120 hit singles. In the U.S., he charted country, pop, and contemporary charts more than 200 separate weeks. Worldwide, he sold more than 112 million records over a span of seven decades.

The recipient of numerous awards, Rogers was honored with Grammys, American Music Association, Association of Country Music, and Country Music Association accolades. He was voted the “Favorite All-Time Singer of 1986.” In 2013, Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Country Music Association.

Rogers evolved with the music of his times, beginning with a rockabilly group dubbed The Scholars, progressing through stints with The Bobby Doyle Three, The New Christy Minstrels, The First Edition, all before he became a solo artist with mega-hits like “Lucille,” “Lady,” “Love Lifted Me,” “Coward of the Country,” and “The Gambler.”

He teamed up with Dottie West and Dolly Parton for such hits as “Every Time Two Fools Collide,”  “Anyone Who Isn’t Me Tonight,” “What Are We Doin’ in Love,” “All I Ever Need Is You,” and “Islands in the Stream.”

Following are the top five all-time best lyrics from Kenny Rogers:

5. ‘DECORATED MY LIFE’

Like a rhyme with no reason in an unfinished song
There was no harmony life meant nothin’ to me, until you cam along
And you brought out the colors, what a gentle surprise
Now I’m able to see all the things life can be shinin’ soft in your eyes

And you decorated my life, created a world where dreams are a part
And you decorated my life by paintin’ your love all over my heart

4. ‘SHE BELIEVES IN ME’

And she believes in me, I’ll never know just what she sees in me
I told her someday if she was my girl, I could change the world
With my little songs, I was wrong
But she has faith in me, and so I go on trying faithfully
And who knows maybe on some special night, if my song is right
I will find a way, while she waits… while she waits for me!

3. ‘COWARD OF THE COUNTRY’

“I promised you, Dad, not to do the things you done.
I walk away from trouble when I can.
Now please don’t think I’m weak, I didn’t turn the other cheek,
and Papa, I sure hope you understand:
Sometimes you gotta fight when you’re a man.”

2. LUCILLE

You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
With four hungry children and a crop in the field.
I’ve had some bad times,
I’ve lived through some sad times,
But this time the hurtin’ won’t heal.
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille.

1 ‘THE GAMBLER’

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away, know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

The Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton hit, Islands in the Stream, was written by The BeeGees

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Las Vegas Comic-Magician Amazing Jonathan Dead at 63

The bizzare and original comic-magician Amazing Johnathan died at his home in Las Vegas on Tuesday, 2-22-22.

Johnathan (AJ) whose legal name was Johnathan Szeles, passed away about 11:30 p.m. with his wife, the sideshow stunt artist Anastasia Synn, by his side.

Although I enjoyed his performances four times over the years at the Golden Nugget and Sahara, it was after a show at the Koval Theater at Miracle Mile Shops in 2007, I was able to interview him and meet his then sidekick, the kooky Psychic Tanya, Penny Wiggins.

Jack Dennis with the Amazing Johnathan and Psychic Tanya, Las Vegas, 2007.

“These shows take the breath out of me,” AJ, obviously tired, wisecracked as he apologized for cutting my time short “Maybe I will need to renegotiate my contract to have more time off.”

Little did he know at the time a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy was in his future. First diagnosed in 2009, as his heart muscle weakened and became more degenerative, doctors told AJ that he only had a year to live. In November 2014, he told an audience at an ENTSpeaks event at Inspire Theater in downtown Las Vegas the sobering news.

He stunned the crowd by stating, “The greatest time of my life was spent here. I made millions of dollars, I have two beautiful houses, and everything came crashing … down. And I was told I have a year to live.”

A single laugh came from the crowd, and A.J. said, “It’s not a joke…So. Um … I promised myself I wasn’t going to cry, but, it’s very scary,” his voice quivered. “My heart is failing. My wife says it failed long ago. But it is actually failing, for real.”

“The last thing I said to him was, ‘I love you, honey, I’ll be with you when you get up from your nap,’ ” his wife Anastasia Synn said almost midnight Tuesday night. “We were feeding him oranges and strawberries. He was so peaceful. He said, ‘Yay!’ He had the most pure and sweetest look on his face.”

Johnathan did not wake up from that nap.

“For the next 36 hours, he was unresponsive,” Synn said. “We spent that time snuggling with him.”

The Las Vegas Journal-Review reported “Synn, Magic Castle official and longtime family friend Erika Larsen, and caregiver Stephanie Castellone of the BurlyCares nonprofit medical assistance organization, were with him at the end. Castellone is herself a performance artist, a contortionist, and was in A.J. and Synn’s wedding in June 2014.”

Anastasia and Johnathan

“I did my best to keep his medicine in his system, clean his foot wounds, do everything a nurse would do and I’m not a nurse. But I loved him so much,” Synn said. “He wanted to pass at home. For the past six months I was begging him to go the hospital, but he absolutely hated going there.”

Born in Detroit on Sept. 9, 1958, Johnathan act was in line with my wicked sense of humor. Before many of his shows a camera would focus on audience members projecting putdowns, bizzare accusations and sick captions. These were definitely adults only performances.

AJ was hands on, inviting unsuspecting members of the audience on stage for saucy humor. If an innocent onlooker was reluctant, he would often go into the audience for a one-on-one routine. I’ve seen him appear to magically swallow his eyeball, skewer his tongue with a spike and take a swig of Windex.

Since the mid-1980s, AJ appeared on “Late Night With David Letterman” and Fox’s “Comic Strip Live.” He was extremely popular on Comedy Central and hosted his own variety specials.

In January 2016, he reunited for a final time with Wiggins, who played Psychic Tanya for more than 15 years, to host a midnight variety performance at Baobab Stage at Town Square.

AJ with Wiggins

At the top of the show, Wiggins greeted A.J. with a line he’d actually written, “Weren’t you supposed to be dead two years ago?”

Wiggins, an outstanding comic actress in her own right, cried late Tuesday remembering Johnathan as “the nicest man and one of the funniest people I knew.”

Mac King, currently performing at Excalibur and currently the longest-running headliner on the Strip, posted, “So sad to lose my friend Johnathan, absolutely one of the funniest guys in the world. Thanksgiving will never be the same.” A.J. was a frequent guest at King’s holiday party.

Johnathan is survived by his sisters, Nancy Rogers and Gail McGuire, and his first wife, Sandra Bowing. A.J. had been saddened over the recent death of his mother, Doreen Szeles.

“He was so loved,” his wife said. “I want him to have the biggest celebration, with everyone who loved him tell the stories of the pranks he played on people. There was nobody else like him.”

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Then and Now, Do You Remember?

From the 1960s through the 2000s these stars all made their mark on television, movies and/or on stage. Some were mere teenagers, and we enjoyed hours of their performances that give us wonderful and nostalgic memories now.

Do You Remember?

Then and Now!

Phoebe Cates
Tony Danza
Goldie Hawn
Sally Fields
Suzanne Somers
Kirk Cameron
Barbie Benton
Jonathon Taylor Young
Catherine Bach
Nancy McKeon
Amanda Bynes
Molly Ringwald

Who are your favorites?

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Top 10 Celebrities Whose Deaths Remain A Total Mystery


1. Princess Diana

As a “princess of the people,” Princess Diana was a globally-beloved woman. When she died in a car crash on August 31, 1997, the world was shocked. Paparazzi chased the car that she was in into Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, France. Her partner, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140 S-Class, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene. Their bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was seriously injured, but survived the crash. 

The condition of the drivers, the ruthlessness of the paparazzi, and potential motives from the royal family have all been called into question since her death.

2. Natalie Wood

The death of Natalie Wood is among the most famous cold cases of Hollywood. Wood fell off a boat near Santa Catalina Islsnd and drowned while onboard with her husband, Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken on November 29, 1981.

Her death was originally ruled an accident; however, the case was reopened after new testimony and mysterious bruises on her body were identified.

Nominated for three Academy Awards and starred in “West Side Story” and “Rebel Without a Cause,” Wood, with Wagner, Walken and the boat captain were celebrating Thanksgiving weekend. After a night of drinking, her body was found floating in the waters off Southern California’s Catalina Island. She was 43.

Years later, CBS News aired an interview with Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Corina, who said he doesn’t believe Wagner has told the whole story about what happened.

In 2013, investigators said Wagner had not been interviewed since their probe was reopened. They had tried at least 10 times to interview him but he refused.

3. Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe died of an overdose on Saturday, August 4, 1962, at her 12305 Fifth Helena Drive home in Los Angeles, California. Her body was discovered before dawn on Sunday, August 5.

Immediately the media reported she died of barbiturates overdose, but over the years her death is believed by many to have been a murder. The most popular conspiracy theory is that she was killed by the government due to her rumored affairs with John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy.

4. George Reeves

Star of The Adventures of Superman George Reeves was found dead with a gunshot wound in his head. Though his death was ruled a suicide, a few suspects were identified including an ex-lover. Read more about his death here.

5. Bob Crane

Bob Crane, the TV star known to millions as the wise-cracking title character on the 1960s sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, was found bludgeoned in his Scottsdale, AZ apartment at age 49 on June 29, 1978. The case has been cold since then.

All roads of the murder investigation led to John Henry Carpenter, a video-equipment salesperson from Sony—and a friend of Hogan’s Heroes cast member (and future Family Feud host) Richard Dawson. Carpenter helped Crane obtain gadgetry to watch and make erotic videos long before they were available to the public (Carpenter also sold similar equipment to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Elvis Presley).

“At the scene, there was blood everywhere,” former Scottsdale detective Vassall recalled. “There were some traces of blood on the back of the exit door, the front door, the doorknob. There was a red stain on the curtain. We found blood in [Carpenter’s] rental car and on the passenger door. It was Crane’s blood type. Nobody else who handled that car had the same blood type as Crane. It was type B blood, all of it.”

DNA testing wasn’t available in 1978, but other clues and evidence were presented to the local district attorney who rejected the case. Scottsdale detective Jim Raines uncovered a previously unseen crime-scene photo that showed a speck of brain tissue in Carpenter’s car. The actual tissue sample was long gone, but the image was ruled admissible by a judge, and Carpenter was eventually charged with Crane’s murder in 1992. Again the information was rejected by the county attorney’s office. He was acquitted in 1994 and died four years later.

6. Brian Jones

Rolling Stones founding member Brian Jones was found dead at the bottom of his pool on July 3, 1969, at the age of 27.

The coroner’s termed Jones death as a “misadventure” with traces of pep pills, sleeping pills, and alcohol in his system, as well as evidence of significant liver damage from drugs and alcohol.

At the time and over the years investigators speculated that he may have been the victim of a crime. Jones’s daughter, Barbara Marion, believed so as late as 2019.

7. Gianni Versace

Fashion icon Gianni Versace was returning home from his morning walk from the News Cafe in 1997 when Andrew Cunanan, 27, fatally shot him in the back of the head.

After shooting him on the steps of Versace’s home, eight days later, Cunanan, suspected of killing four other people in three states, killed himself on a houseboat in North Miami Beach.

The mansion was built in 1930, and Versace bought it in 1992. After his death, it was sold and became a hotel and event space. The day before the 24 year anniversary of Versace’s death, housekeeping staff at The Villa Casa Casuarina called police around 1:20 p.m. after discovering the bodies of two men, 30 and 31 years old, who were from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Police said it was a double suicide.

8. Brittany Murphy

Actress Brittany Murphy was found dead at age 32. Her official cause of death was a combination of pneumonia, iron deficiency, and drug overdose. As if her death wasn’t strange enough, her husband Simon Monjack died the same way five months later. Her father has called for investigations to see if his daughter and son-in-law were poisoned.

Director Cynthia Hill claimed Brittany was one of Simon’s “last victims.”

“He was a disturbed individual who was used to conning people and Brittany was one of his last victims,” Hill, who made a documentary for HBO, claimed. “There was a pattern of behavior that became very obvious the more research that we did.”

9. Brandon Lee

Bruce Lee with son Brandon

Brandon Lee, actor, and son of Bruce Lee died while filming The Crow. His gun was supposed to be filled with blanks, but the studio tried to make their own to save money. The homemade blank misfired and fatally wounded Brandon. This accident seemed to be a mistake, but conspirators are not so sure as his father also died mysteriously and there is said to be a curse of the family.

10. Tupac Shakur

In the midst of the East Coast vs. West Coast rap battle of the 1990s, Tupac Shakur was shot at a boxing event and died in the hospital a few days later. No suspects or even eyewitnesses have been identified

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.