TAC Table of Contents
|Rarely seen view of the back yard of George's house. If you watch the "Candid Reporter," an unfinished Kellogg's commercial George filmed, or look at the photos in Jan Alan Henderson's "Speeding Bullet" (Cult Movies Magazine #14, May 1995), you will notice that not much has changed there since the mid-fifties.
The house where George lived is fairly modest for the area, but the asking price in 1995 was $625,000. The first photo above looks into the living room from the backyard. To the left in the photo is a den. The windows above the living room are the windows to George's bedroom. (Many photos shown in various magazines in the past indicated that George's bedroom windows could be seen from the street. That is not the case. The guest bedroom faces the street.) The second photo shows the patio outside the kitchen/laundry area.
If you entered the house from the street side, you would walk into the living room. To the right would be the den. Through the living room to the left you would find the stairs leading to the guest room and adjoining bathroom which overlook the street. The stairs turn and continue upward to the bedroom where George slept. Those windows overlook the backyard. There is a garage under the guest bedroom.
See Lou Koz'a "blue print" of George's house.
In December, 2004, Paul Burgio, in the Yahoo! Message Group asked this question:
Just curious: Who in this group has
been in the area of Southern CA and seen George Reeves' home
on Benedict Canyon Drive? Any comments or information worth sharing
with the rest of us? Jim, I believe I remember reading that you
were there for
Here are responses from me, Lou Koza, and Michael Hayde:
A few weeks before Mike and I were there, Lou was there. Lou created a nice diagram of the house that you can see at http://www.jimnolt.com/1579bcd.htm
I don't like to use the word "awesome" too often, but being in that house was just that. The house is close to the road, and the interior is small. I think it is about 1700 sq. feet. The back yard is beautiful (but small as well). I remember walking up the stairs to George's bedroom and thinking at the time... these were the last step George ever took. I wonder what he was thinking. I also wonder who might have been up there waiting for him or who followed him up. I kept asking myself questions, but got no answers. Mike, what were you thinking that day?
In early 1995, I went to Irvine, California on a business trip for my company. It was a conference for a type of electronics component I was buying at the time, and I gave a presentation to my suppliers. After three days of this, I took a couple of extra days' vacation. After many business trips alone, my wife came along to take advantage of the California sun. While I attended my conferences she was out shopping and enjoying the beaches. Anyway, during the extra days, we did some sight seeing. It was my second trip to California and like the first and others to come since, a trip to California cannot go by without some George exploring. All my trips as Danny Fuchs took note, somehow become Superman field trips.
We were driving around Beverly Hills and although I already had a photo of George's house, I now had a wide angle lens camera which would allow me to get a pretty good picture. So I'm driving up Benedict Canyon Drive, finally making my way to Georges home. Unfortunately, in front of the house was a very large moving truck. "Oh krap." I said. "There's a moving truck in front of the house, how am I going to get a picture?" I pulled into the block just past George's house, I think it is Philbin. "What am I going to do? I don't want to come back later. You know what? I'm going to go talk to the owner." My wife responds, "You know what? Youre going by yourself." You see, my wife doesn't share my enthusiasm for this stuff, but will go along with me. "Go ahead, get it out of your system," she says. "Really, you'll wait?" I asked. With a smile and nod from her, I was on my way.
And so, I stood in the driveway waiting for someone to come out of the house. Before long a man, came out and asked me if I had lost my way. "No, I was wondering if you are the owner and how much is the house going (selling) for." He said he was just leasing the house and it belongs to a producer, "He did Sneakers, with Robert Redford. And the house is going for over X amount of dollars." I replied, "Oh, wow. Thats great. I might be interested." "Well, as you can see, we are moving out today. I wouldn't normally do this, but would you like a look inside?", he says. "If you don't mind, sure that would be great. I'm staying very calm, as I trailed behind, fast approaching the front steps and into the front door. But on the inside, I'm thinking to myself in my best Jackie Gleason way, "Oooh, BABY". (That's the part Noel likes). I will finally see the layout and and if all goes well, where the location of the living room and master bedroom are in relation to each other. I walk into the house and here is the living room. Immediately to the right is the den where George filmed part of "Candid Reporter" with the shelving behind him. We turn back to the living room and up the stairs to what will lead me to a small hallway and the room above the garage. Now it has always bothered me that television segments always described this or show the dormer windows as being George's room. The dormer windows have become symbolic of George's death. If this were right then the two other bullets that were fired into the master bedroom floor would have landed in the garage. But we know they landed in the livingroom. Obvious the dormer-window room is above the garage, so this can't be right. I peered into this room knowing exactly where I was. Then, I turned to follow the man up another set of stairs. This brought me to a room which was above the living room. No sooner did we get into the room, the man's wife calls him from downstairs and he says to me he will be right back. So now, I'm standing in this room, the room with the backyard view. This is George's bedroom. I'm standing in THE room, alone. It's a surreal feeling, but very real. About three four minutes later, the man came back and I asked him about the backyard. We looked out the window and I asked him why he would leave such I nice setting. He said they were moving into a larger home. I followed him down the stairs, all the time soaking in what I was experiencing. I clearly imagined George doing his "Candid Reporter" in the den, sitting in the far corner of the livingroom singing along with his guitar, eating breakfast in the kitchen, doing his tumbling exercises in the backyard, Sam his pooch jumping in bed with him in the newly discovered master bedroom. As I stood in the room, I could not control my thoughts of George's final moments. And Jack's own unhappy visit there with Toni.
As I made my way back in the living room, I was greeted by the man's wife. A lovely looking woman, Im certain I'd seen her before on television. Very Ivory Snow, the girl next door kind. She was very nice, but seemed intent that the house wouldn't be big enough for the family size I described to her. I thought it was odd, even after I said it's perfect. I haven't ruled out she was not telling me everything.
And so, the rest of the day, was a feeling of amazement. I was in George's house. And since, no one whos ever written about the inside of George's house, or described were the master bedroom is, I'm therefore the first of US to hold this distinction. The discovery of the master bedroom, beneath the roof, above the living room is key to holding this honor.
A couple of days later, I was home and an immediate phone call to Jim Nolt was in order. Several weeks later, Jim, along with his wife and Michael J. Hayde soon found their way as he describes in his Unsolved Mysteries experience at his website. Soon after my talk with Jim, I got a call from Jan Alan Henderson. Jan at the time was hot at the typewriter reworking his Cult Movies "George Reeves: The Man, The Myth, the Mystery", article into Speeding Bullet, The Life and Bizarre Death of George Reeves book and wanting of every detail. I described to an awe inspired Jan the whole experience and soon suggested he call the real estate company and ask for a tour. "Can I do that?" Jan asked, "Sure, just tell them youre interested in buying the home. Here is the phone number." Jan followed my advice. For it all, Jan gave me credit in his Speeding Bullet which, I'm very grateful for. But that's how Jan is; anyone else probably would have left it as their own discovery. So I appreciate Jan's honesty.
In 2002, I gave to Jim a three dimensional transparent image of George's house. He posted it on his website. I hope this would satisfy the curiosity seekers. Someday, I'd like to develop a virtual reality that would allow the user to walk freely about the house. With all the photos I have, I'd like to recreate it right down to the furniture. http://jimnolt.com/1579bcd.htm
And so, now it can be told for the very first time here this writing. "Oh BABY."
Jim and Gail Nolt had come out to L.A. for "Unsolved Mysteries," as had I. Since I'd lived in the city for 11 years, and had taken many a "Superman" tour, we tooled around in my rental car and visited studio sites, the first season Daily Planet buildings, and George's home. I'd been to the latter only once before - I happened to be attending a meeting in Beverly Hills the night the Gulf War started. Nothing much was accomplished; most of us spent the meeting time watching CNN. Feeling a bit depressed, I drove up Benedict Canyon and looked over the front of the house, which was occupied. At that time, I too believed that the two upstairs windows in front were of George's bedroom.
The day the three of us arrived, the interior of the house was being painted, and the front door and garage were wide open. I don't remember if we saw the backyard first - I think we did - and at some point Jim and I took pictures there. Encouraged that no one moved to stop us, we headed tentatively toward the front door.
Here we were, looking like typical tourists - two of us had cameras around our necks - and the guys on the ladders inside were looking us over, wondering if we were inspectors or something. Had we been asked, Jim and I might have been unable to even give our names - I know I was that nervous. (Lou's Gleason reaction was "Ooooh, BABY!" while mine was more like "Hamina, hamina, hamina....") But Gail just looks at the one of the painters and casually says, "It's okay - we knew the guy that used to live here." With that, they went back to their work and we had free reign to photograph every room.
I remember thinking that it was entirely possible that, if Leonore and who-knows-who-else had moved into the den to pour and consume drinks, someone could have slipped into the unlocked front door and quietly proceeded up the stairs without being noticed. (It was my understanding that George's "bar" was in that den.)
Heading up the stairs, we noticed the guest bedroom on the right, then the left turn toward an additional flight, to the master bedroom. Looking around, I, like Lou, immediately envisioned the "Candid Reporter" scenes shot there. I noticed the fireplace in the room, and realized that the newspapers stated only that the extra bullet holes went through the floor of George's bedroom and that the bullets were found "lodged in the wall above the fireplace." Did that refer to an upstairs or downstairs fireplace? The papers never specified. I'd assumed there was only one fireplace, downstairs; I then realized I could be wrong, and that the gun may have been fired from downstairs, as was eventually reported. I also noticed, as I had suspected, that the ceiling in George's room was sloped - his head did not have to be severely tilted for the fatal bullet to have lodged into the ceiling.
Thus, one day after stating my case for murder for the Unsolved Mysteries cameras, I had reason to question my hypothesis. I didn't speak about this, though. Neither Jim nor I spoke; we were both lost in our own thoughts, and taking pictures from perspectives we thought were significant.
After that, we headed over to where the UM crew were shooting the re-creation scenes and met the actors playing George and Leonore. We looked at the palatial mansion that they were using, as compared to the genuine house we'd just been through, and shook our heads over misconception that most viewers would get about the opulence of George's lifestyle. The producers explained that they couldn't use the actual house, as it was too small to accomodate cameras and crew. Of course, that didn't stop George himself when making "Candid Reporter," but that wasn't a network television, union-sanctioned shoot.
Quite a day. Lots of ups and downs, and not just from climbing stairs.