The Black Dahlia Mystery.

Essay by courlove7 October 2003

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Ever since Hollywood became the capital of motion pictures, youngsters have left their hometowns seeking fame and fortune on the West Coast. Rags to riches stories are few and far between and most people find nothing more than broken dreams. In one case, however, the quest for recognition proved fatal.

Elizabeth Ann Short hailed from a small Massachusetts town where her mother introduced her to the movies at a young age. Betty, as she was known in those days, fell in love with this form of entertainment. She saw it as a way to escape her poverty and so she decided to head out west and become a movie star. The beautiful young woman sought out the father who abandoned her as a child in order to live with him. After a short while, their clashing personalities forced her to move out. She was a party girl who loved socializing.

She stayed with friends, living off their good graces, and started pursuing an acting career. From that point on, she called herself Beth. Friends who had connections took her to the Hollywood Canteen, a popular meeting ground for people in the film industry. Quite a few people were interested in her from those days; she was a seductive woman who knew how to wrap men around her little finger. But she kept just enough distance between her and the men who could jump-start her career. She was a born romantic who still longed for the fairy-tale ending.

During the war years, Los Angeles was crawling with men in uniform and Beth had a special attraction to servicemen. She fell in love with two different army pilots. The first relationship failed to develop when she apparently refused to take things to a more physical level. The second one was with Major...