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  • John 9:34 pm on March 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , dawn schiller, , , , murderland, Oxygen,   

    UPDATE – The Oxygen special titled “Wonderland Murderland” airs this FRIDAY night primetime. Check local listings. Mysteries & Scandals.


    If you just watched or plan to watch the Oxygen special, Mysteries & Scandals, about Wonderland and you want to know more, or the entire story – you came to the right place!

    Join the maing list and subscribe – use the search box at right to narrow your query, or to look up posts about a certain character from this crazy, yet addictive & interesting story. Order Lange & Souza’s amazing new book below … read samples from my upcoming book if you like, also below. 80s crime noir is finally here!

    Wonderland put an end to the so-called fun loving 1970s, and kicked off the forever dark night…that was the 80s. So get a cup of tea, tuck the kids in – you could be here a while 😉

    View of L.A. from the top of Wonderland Ave…

    Photo by me.

    • localarts 11:28 am on April 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      From an intimidation and scare tactic standpoint, the 82 and 90 trial’s were a stark contrast in the demeanor of David Lind, thats for sure!


      • John 12:40 pm on April 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        David had two kids with his first wife in the 1960s. I was told he was estranged from both children, and they didn’t know them at all. In the early 90s with a different woman, his other son was born just after the Nash-Diles trials, and this kid was a toddler when his father died in ’95. I have seen a photo of him, and it looks like he is studying in school and making something of himself. Maybe Dave is looking down on him from that smoky, beer joint in the sky…

        If there’s a nice ending to this whole bloody mess, it’s that most of the relatives of the victims, near-victims and or perpetrators, have had remarkable and happy lives (from the ones I have met or talked to). I say “most”… I don’t know about all.

        (I haven’t forgotten about you, Kevin D., and will give you a shout soon so we can talk about your dad more. I am planning a month-long road trip out west this summer…. So Adam, please let your dad know I took a hiatus from the blog last year, but am now back and my book is a go!)



    • localarts 8:36 am on March 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      For someone who’s just discovering the story about Wonderland, I would recommend this show. It’s a good primer. The only mystery left is who swung the pipes.. We know Holmes, the Diles brothers; Greg & Danny or Samual were there. Speculation consist of Hovsep Mikaelian and members of the Russian mafia as the others. Weather or not Holmes murdered Launius is somewhat irrelevant. A far greater crime was John Holmes orchestrating the robbery of Ed Nash in the first place. That one single act changed so many peoples lives in a negative way. It was Devastating.


      • criticextraordinaire 1:04 pm on March 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        The one thing I saw in the show that I never knew before was Eddie showing up at John’s trial and sitting in the back. That had to have been sending John a MASSIVE signal to continue keeping his mouth shut. For all of John’s bad decisions, the one good decision he made was to keep his mouth shut re: Eddie, all the way to his grave.

        Well Holmes certainly deserves his charge of the blame for the robbery of Eddie Nash. But he dIdn’t hold a gun to Ronnie or David’s heads either. They bought on to the idea as a way to make a huge score, and probably as a big “FU” to a more established player in the drug business. If they had not been using as much dope as they sold, they (including Holmes) might have thought twice about the wisdom of robbing Eddie Nash and letting him live.

        One thing that I have always wondered about Eddie is why he never ordered a hit against the guy (Robert Garceau) who murdered his son (Telesforo Bautista). I would have thought that situation would have resulted in a retaliation that would make Wonderland look like a tea party.


        • localarts 4:04 pm on March 31, 2018 Permalink

          According to McCourts testimony, “everybody backed out” of the robbery at one point. Obviously, we don’t know what made them change their mind. I bet when Eddie walked in that court room, the lights flickered on & off, the clock on the wall stopped ticking & the moon passed in front of the sun. When the prince of darkness sends a message, he makes sure there’s no room for misinterpretation.


        • criticextraordinaire 4:17 pm on March 31, 2018 Permalink

          I think that Ron Coen would have wet his pants if he were ever confronted by Eddie.


        • John 10:33 am on April 1, 2018 Permalink

          When Eddie walked in to court, it was like that movie, Scanners, the DAs heads all exploded!


        • John 10:37 am on April 1, 2018 Permalink

          Ed showing up at the trial is mentioned in the Holmes bio INCHES by Jill Nelson and Jennifer Sugar. I believe they say Ed was there more than once! They have a great chapter on Wonderland. This business about Ed at Holmes trial has been posted on the blog before…btw.


    • criticextraordinaire 8:46 am on March 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      It’s too bad that Rodger Jacobs is not still alive to see this. He deserved boatloads of credit for keeping the interest going in this case. I wonder if Oxygen finally managed to get Susan to break her silence?


      • John 9:36 am on March 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        At the time, when Rodger’s health was failing and he was living at the Hotel Cecil, or whereever it was, I wanted to go rescue him from his strife, let him come live with me. I’ll never forget his story, probably around 1985, when he took his last six bucks to the package store, and was walking back to his apartment near some freeway in LA – a govt issue sedan pulled up, a secret service guy asked to look in his paper bag, made a comment that he too was ready for a Heineken. Then, President Reagan’s motorcade zoomed by.


        • criticextraordinaire 5:07 pm on March 30, 2018 Permalink

          Yeah I always wanted to help Rodger too, even though I was fairly sure that things would end kinda they way they did. I did manage to make contributions to him at his blog, and recruited a few others to do the same. Eyes open, I knew the score. But still he was a human being and you want to help.

          I once got similarly accosted by the Secret Service. O’bama was making an unannounced visit to town. Couldn’t get out until his campaign bus was long gone. The town’s name? Beaver PA. 😀


      • John 11:10 am on March 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Susan doesn’t remember anything, hardly remembered arriving at the house even. However, I’m like you, if only to hear her tell stories about Ronnie. But, I have interviewed three people who were close to him- hopefjlly a fourth, hopefully by this summer, and that is all in my book (I don’t post everything on the blog). If you have read Malice… Susan was traumatized by the Mexico business. It was bad. I have prayed for her and wish her well.


    • John 7:14 am on March 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Scott Thorson is not referred to by name in the Mysteries & Scandals episode. I just watched it. That is because, and like many of the surviving Manson family who aren’t in prison, feels he should be paid, as if his name and story, are a cashable commodity. They used to be, nobody gives a flip any longer. That Candelabra film was good, but did nothing to lessen his ego.

      The episode on Oxygen was a surface piece: no new photos, no talk of victims lives, peripheral motives, side characters, the subculture, the things my book digs into. Tom Lange looks, a bit older, and always wise. However, nobody knew Nash had died, but… we at the blog knew~ at least got whiffs back in 2014. At about the same time my friend was ringing Nash’s intercom buzzer at his Tarzana condo, only to hear the greeting play – it was a woman’s voice, with an accent – asking to please leave a message, and Eddie will get back to you. Little did we know, he was probably already gone. His last name means Victory of God in Arabic. The survivors and,the victors tell history’s story – and his will never properly be told, but I will try.

      Ten years ago, when asked about an interview to discuss Holmes life for the outstanding book “Inches”- the definitive story of John’s life – Nash said he would sleep on it over the weekend. The authors waited… Monday or Tuesday rolled around, and through his attorney, Nash, the one-time bit actor and stuntman and horseman… said, “No thanks.”


      • criticextraordinaire 7:00 pm on March 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I just hope that the Oxygen show does not turn into a one-dimensional character assassination of John Holmes. Seems to be a sport with some people, including those who were John Holmes “hangers on” while he lived, then stood in line to defame him after he died.

        If the show tells the story, the WHOLE story without devolving into a John Holmes bashfest, then OK.


        • criticextraordinaire 9:00 pm on March 30, 2018 Permalink

          Well Dawn seemed to take over a considerable piece of the show. You woulda thought she was one of the people at 8763. Even threw in a nice tear-jerker segment saying that Johnny Wadd was “no hero”. Thanks for the heads up.

          Ron Coen came across as a douche, as he did in the “Wadd” documentary. Bottom line he lost his case in court and Holmes was found innocent on all charges. Coen had one job to do and he didn’t get it done.

          Got a laugh where they kept showing a Mercedes Benz representing John making his various moves. What was it he was really driving? If I recall a Chevy Nova (or similar) that he and Dawn repainted with spray cans.

          No mention of Tracy McCourt. Bummer, he was the wheel-man for the Nash hit; you’d think he would get his due.

          The footage of Susan was the first I’ve ever seen. Nice. I just wish she would have done a bit for the show giving is background on Ronnie.

          A highlight was Soledad O’Brien as hostess. She’s as hot as ever.


      • John 11:22 am on April 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        The show was great though, overall. They touched on the lifestyle, music and what had become of the Canyon by 1981. But with 44 mins of running time, it’s a long case to discuss. I decided to grow a mustache since watching it, a prison stache though, so I can infiltrate Aryan Brotherhood on my Honda Gullwing with rainbow flag on the back waving in the breeze, find out more about David Lind. Tell them I used to run with Liberace, or Lee, as we called him!


        • criticextraordinaire 2:59 pm on April 1, 2018 Permalink

          If they think you were running with Lee, get ready for some SERIOUS jailyard abuse.


      • smauge 5:02 am on April 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I hope this show ends up on the internet at some point. I’m sure you’d post a link, John. Don’t think we’ll get it here in Australia. I’d love to see some vision of the mysterious Susan Launius!


        • John 8:59 am on April 5, 2018 Permalink

          You get to see and here her briefly on the witness stand. Very beautiful.


    • localarts 4:11 pm on March 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll probably watch it. However, I’m not sure the Oxygen network can reveal anything we don’t already know. As a matter of fact, I would be willing to bet that John and the collective members of this forum know more than they do! This blog is the equivalent of a “Wonderland Graduate Degree”. Once you’ve been here, theres really no need to search anywhere else…


  • John 11:41 am on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dawn schiller,   

    2010: Dawn Schiller Talks To Radio Show 

    Susan Murphy Milano (RIP) was a radio show host, blogger, activist and author for topics like violence towards women, stalking, child abuse. You can check out Dawn’s interview and discussion below. Susan Milano died two years ago, but thankfully she got this interview down in the books. (and no, Susan Milano is not Susan Launius, they just have the same maiden name)

    Susan and Dawn speak for about an hour, and topics are of course:  John Holmes, Dawn’s early childhood, her father, mother, human trafficking.

    Thrown into the waiting arms of adult film star and predator, John Holmes, Dawn Schiller survived years of abuse, substance addiction and human trafficking. Dawn survived the bloody and tragic “Wonderland” murders, and was victimized again when law enforcement claimed her as a wanted fugitive. We will discuss her journey for the entire hour and her work with the phenomena of “Throwaway Teens” and how to identify, recognize and save others before they become a statistic.


    • localarts 10:28 am on February 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      My thoughts exactly Jim. Although, I believe it was 1976.


    • Jim 9:49 am on February 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      What people need to remember is that when someone (and we all do this) is telling of an incident(s) they were involved in they always try to cast themselves in the best light. In Dawn’s case the “best light” is the role of complete victim. This is not to excuse Holmes. What he did to her in 1975 was terrible and illegal. However people need to realize that Dawn did not remain 15 years old from 1975 to 1981. She was making the same type of choices in 1975 that she was making in 1981. Keep in mind Dawn was 20 or 21 when she chose to return to LA from Oregon to go back to Holmes soon before the Wonderland incident.


    • Brandy 10:50 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      If Dawn needs money, Dawn will find material for another book.


    • jimmy---chicago 8:38 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      My mind was blown the other day . I looked on the sex offender list on line no matter where you live thet are everyware litterally .Type in your address its crazy


    • localarts 8:33 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Big Time! Guys are sent to prison for this kind of thing every day.


    • jimmy---chicago 5:49 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Dosent statutory rape come into play with those two at least in the beginning


      • John 8:02 am on February 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I guess in those days it was a slap on the wrist, but if Holmes were alive, they could still go after him maybe? The thing is, I think Dawn chased him just as much as he chased her. I’m reminded of my little sister. She was 16 in the 1980s, in love and chased after this 20 yr old douche-bag until he finally relented and went out with her. A few years later, with kid in tow, they broke up and she wanted the courts and judge to have him arrested for initially molesting her (because of her age). Divorce can be a hateful thing. The court did not see it her way. He’s actually a good man, and has always paid support and visited my niece. He’s just a regular dad.


      • Anon4now 12:23 am on September 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Statute of limitations comes into play. And, it appears that many dependants of Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans just don’t get to live with their parents, end of story and a reason why never to lose a war. As ridiculous as it seems for a seemingly stable couple to abandon their child to a porn star, it may have been simple in a way if Holmes really was a veteran. And that’s an “if.”

        Additionally, the California legal age of consent was lessened from 21 to 18 in 1971, if I remember right. The rationale was that if a person was old enough to get drafted and sent into war, that person should be old enough to behave as an adult. That was a rather broad statement; if I remember right, the legal drinking age was 21 (as it is now) and the same with smoking, both those remained unchanged, but I might be wrong on the latter point. And that was the problem: maybe some people didn’t know if they were legal or not at the time. I remember when the law got passed, and I didn’t think much about it then, but I don’t remember why not. I don’t remember my parents or anyone else’s parents talking about it, and actually very few of my school chums.

        But anyway, statutory rape statute of limitations has long since expired for any contact in that era (’70s and ’80s) that wasn’t between teen girls and Catholics, as we’ve been reading in the papers. Non-violent contact, maybe even with the parent’s knowledge if not their explicit consent, was sort of overlooked then. Not really condoned, I guess, but there goes all the hippie girls to the Grateful Dead concerts and coming home pregnant. Dead head for sure.

        And, if no criminal charges are ever timely filed, and if the statute of limitations has expired, constant mention of a subject like might actually be harassment and slander. Except in Holme’s case there’s photographic evidence, isn’t there?

        Personally, all the best wishes to Schiller. But working at an university in Oregon; is that the best employment for a woman with her experiences? Sex and drug registration laws are strictly enforced in California now, and if Holmes would ever have been prosecuted for his relationship with Schiller, he would have had to register as a sex offender for life. Registration laws here are no joke: Sex offender registration is for life, drug offender isn’t, as the first is Penal Code, the latter Health & Safety and simply expires after a certain time period. Holmes would have had to register as both had he not have been such a snitch when he was busted. But, that’s where the idiocy of the state’s citizenry comes into play, as the citizens who follow registration don’t know the difference in the laws, to them all is unending registration that a felon must endure for the rest of his (or her) life unless they tell.

        And that’s how important this Holmes trial was, how much impact it had on the state’s legislation. It really changed things; so many laws have been altered it’s hard to keep track of it all if you didn’t have a hint somewhere along the line. People watch this movie and read Schiller’s stories, and they say “Not again!” And that’s the end of casual contact with California women, sung about so much by the Beach Boys. Drug offender registration isn’t just for opiates (like Lind and Barbara are shown doing so much of. They’d be registered offenders, too), it’s for supplying pot to minors. Simple pot smokers don’t always escape the registration game even with the new legalization movement. This movie hits home on California legislation and court procedure in a vital time period: Shortly after the end of Vietnam, and less than a decade from the lessening of the state’s legal age of consent. Total confusion, and with all the money behind Holmes’ profession, and all the impact that Lind brought with him, the state got put into even more of a spin with this Wonderland trial. But that’s all part of the game, too.

        Why doesn’t Schiller work at a California university? And please post this, John. There’s nothing inflammatory in it and it touches on some important California issues that led to the confusion of the ’70s and later decades.


    • John 5:19 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Jill. I was going to comment on conflicting statements about Dawn’s time in Florida, post Wonderland… But I didn’t have my references handy. As discissed before on this blog, the selling of Dawn on the beach to Tricks and Big Marge “saving her” and the LA gumshoes tracking her tothe strip club. Too many versions of events floating around from Dawn.


      • criticextraordinaire 6:36 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I think that was Big Rosie and some dude named Joe from the snack shop at the Fountainhead. Now there would be a real score, if somebody could track them down to get their version of the happenings in Miami back then.

        I wonder if Dawn has enough material for another book?


        • John 5:37 pm on February 18, 2014 Permalink

          Yes, Joe and also the Cuban guy who was a male stripper who also stayed at Fountainhead. When John could not find steady work the stripper guy allegedly let Dawn clean his room a few times… Luckily cig’s and beer were cheap back then. Crazy times!!


      • Jill C. Nelson 10:46 am on February 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        “As discissed before on this blog, the selling of Dawn on the beach to Tricks and Big Marge “saving her” and the LA gumshoes tracking her tothe strip club. Too many versions of events floating around from Dawn.”

        Yes, and the story about “Louise the stripper.” I don’t doubt that a stripper named Louise factored into the events in Florida, but again the version in TRTW is not exactly how detectives Lange and Tomlinson described it to us.
        It’s always best to stick to one truthful account of a story, especially when there are people still alive who can attest otherwise.


    • Jill C. Nelson 4:31 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      “He was quite a romantic. He set it up at the beach, that it just so happened that my sister wasn’t there and he asked me to go camping by myself. It was like we both knew that it was the night.
      We went to Malibu, Zuma Beach and went to Leo Carrillo, a campsite there. It was a full moon, low in the sky. It was perfect and he was very quiet. I can remember just watching him as I walked along the beach, sat on the rocks and watched the moon. It was very magical. Without saying anything, he got down from that rock, took my hand and walked to the van. That was the night. He was extremely gentle and just awesome. I felt as if I was his newborn child or something — that’s how precious he treated me.” — Dawn Schiller, John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches © 2008, Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson (original dialogue and script text from WADD: The Life & Times of John C. Holmes, provided by Hustler Video.)

      No matter how anyone might feel about the action itself, I post this excerpt above simply as an illustration of the contrasting depictions (by Schiller) of this night shared between Schiller and Holmes in the interview she did for WADD, compared to TRTW. It seems that every time the story is described, it changes somewhat. The event itself and the emotions expressed between the WADD interview and TRTW are quite different. I remember when I read about this experience in Dawn’s book, how surprised I was by the way in which the episode and her reaction to it had been adjusted. It’s one of many events that have been tweaked. This is why Dawn did not want Sugar and I to use her WADD transcripts for our bio.


      • John 11:31 am on March 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        It’s interesting that Leo Carrillo beach came into play. Nash’s only showbiz credit was in Cisco Kid, in which the stereotyped sidekick, Pancho, who would be an outrage today, was portrayed by one Leo Carrillo! One of the only legit Hispanics on the show. I say “outrage” because Pancho is no less insultjng than the “Frito Bandito” guy in those old commercials.

        How are you Jill? What new book are you working on?



    • Brandy 11:42 am on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I think I’ve heard enough of Dawn Schiller for a lifetime.


  • John 8:19 pm on September 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: allan macdonell, dawn schiller, , , ,   

    “In Too Deep” By Allan MacDonell (2003 L.A. Weekly News) 

    Back in 2006, I was winding down and it was late at night. “Wonderland” was airing on the International Film Channel. Now I had heard of the Wonderland murders, but I really did not know much. I quickly hit the magic handle on the recliner and stretched out. Life would never be the same.

    Shortly after that lazy episode, I discovered a sweet article by Allan MacDonell of the LA Weekly News. It is controversial. Dawn even relates her teenage mindset to that of Elizabeth Smart, the girl who was kidnapped that time. The message is what… girls are malleable? I don’t get it here. I don’t understand the comparison. There’s more to the story than that though…

    The article is an elongated movie review on steroids and includes numerous quotes. In Too Deep also preceded the official release date of the movie by one day (the anniversary of the film is a few weeks away!). I have linked to this article before but I am now posting it in order to preserve it on the blog. This gem speaks for itself and contains lots of quotes. Thus, it’s an important part of the Wonderland debate.

    IN TOO DEEP is a 5,000 word article. Enjoy!




    Allan MacDonell | L.A. Weekly News | Thursday, Oct. 2, 2003

    In the summer of 1981, porn legend John Holmes stepped into an abyss of drugs, mayhem, and murder. Meet the wife and the girlfriend he almost took with him.

    Almost everything publicly known about porn king John Curtis Holmes is apocryphal, anecdotal, secondhand or informed by conjecture. Except for the cock. Thirteen inches long, as thick around as a man’s wrist, hard on demand, coming on cue: the appendage of the pathological braggart’s most outlandish boast — and it turns out to be true. At once raw footage and special effect, the fabled tool appeared in hundreds of XXX epics, creating the first — and possibly last — superhero of the blue screen, polyester-bad private detectiveJohnny Wadd.

    Before Johnny Wadd, though, there was the gangly hillbilly kid from Ohio, born in 1944, product of an impoverished childhood, a puking drunk of a father, followed by a violent drunk of a stepfather. A stint in the Army, hitched up to nurse Sharon Gebenini, a budding career as a forklift operator. Holmes’ special quality, so to speak, was discovered, in the late 1960s, by a skin photographer in a Gardena poker club men’s room. By the time the ’70s had shifted into high, Holmes’ monster of a penis had become the most recognizable and marketable prop in the history of porn.

    Later, as the ’80s dragged in, the Holmes hydraulics became unreliable and the bookings dropped off. The cult fell away. The film Wonderland focuses on a fateful two weeks during that period, at the end of which the actor left a palm print above a blood-soaked deathbed at the Wonderland Avenue scene of the notorious “Four on the Floor” murders of July 1, 1981. Four people bludgeoned to death, another left for dead. The film, directed by James Cox and starring Val Kilmer as Holmes, approaches the slayings from multiple viewpoints and attempts to clarify exactly what happened during that orgy of lead pipes and skull fragments.

    The gruesome murders were retribution for a home-invasion robbery, two days earlier, of underworld kingpin Eddie Nash. On the morning of June 29, four strung-out ex-convicts had sneaked through an unlatched sliding door into Nash’s ranch-style house in the hills above Studio City. The door had been left unlatched for the robbers by Holmes, whom Nash had often spoken of as a “brother.” Nash and his 300-pound bodyguard, Gregory DeWitt Diles, were rousted out of bed at gunpoint. A pistol went off, and Diles suffered a grazing flesh wound. Nash, the story goes, fell to his knees at the sound of the shot and begged for time to pray. The robbers absconded with cocaine, heroin, Quaaludes, money, weapons and jewelry, a haul that was valued by the U.S. Department of Justice at something like a million dollars. They left Nash and Diles humiliated and stewing inside the house.

    Eddie Nash. Real name Adel Gharib Nasrallah, an immigrant of Lebanese — or is it Palestinian? — parentage. In 1960, Nash set up a hot-dog stand on Hollywood Boulevard. By the late 1970s, if you were young, happening and in L.A., you could hardly spend a night on the town without putting money into Eddie Nash’s pocket. One count has Nash holding 36 liquor licenses, mostly in the Hollywood area. Gays dancing at the Paradise Ballroom. Straights doing the hustle at the Seven Seas. Pogo-happy punk rockers at the Starwood. Interracial funk fans at Soul’d Out. Horny loners at the Kit Kat strip clubs. The cover charges and bar receipts all led to Eddie. If you were a doper, chances are Nash was making some change off you there as well.

    Nash had evolved into a notorious, well-rounded crime lord and entrepreneur. The Wonderland Gang, in comparison, consisted of clumsy dope pushers who relied on crude rip-and-run robberies of lesser dealers to maintain their habits and inventory. Their hideout was a much-frequented stucco party house on Wonderland Avenue, leased to Joy Audrey Miller, a 46-year-old heroin addict and ex-wife of a Beverly Hills lawyer. Her live-in boyfriend was Billy DeVerell, 42, also addicted to junk. Ronald Launius — who, like DeVerell, honed his charisma in a prison yard — was the 37-year-old alpha dog of the pack. Along with overnight guest Barbara Richardson, 22, they all died as a direct result of knowing John Holmes and fucking with Eddie Nash.

    Veteran LAPD detectives, just 12 years after Helter Skelter, claimed they had never seen so much blood at one crime scene.

    Much of the movie focuses on determining the exact nature of Holmes’ complicity in the Laurel Canyon butchery. He was indebted both to Nash and to the Wonderland pushers. He was also the sole connection between the two camps. Beyond dispute is that Holmes effected the entry of the Wonderland Gang into Nash’s house, and that he later provided access to the Wonderland house for Nash’s agents. He is assumed to have been inside the residence to witness the murders, and to have somehow gotten himself “wet” doing so.

    There are two points of contention: Was the idea for the Nash robbery that of the Wonderland Gang, or did Holmes first suggest it? While inside the murder site, did Holmes, presumably under duress, actually swing one of the lead pipes used to smash the victims into nearly unrecognizable pulp? In Wonderland, the murder is approached from one viewpoint after another, time after time, relentlessly, predictably, with each rendering more explicit. There is virtually no suspense, no dramatic tension.

    And no cock. Relying on aviator shades as his signature prop, Val Kilmer’s John Holmes could be anybody — any old hustler, any old pimp, any old wannabe rock star who can’t remember where he pawned his guitar last night.

    The real John Holmes claimed to have had sex with 14,000 women during his career as a professional wad. Sharon Holmes and Dawn Schiller are among the tiny minority who were drawn into Holmes’ orbit despite the cock. Dawn met Holmes when she was 15. He was her first love. Sharon, married to John at the time, took Dawn in after she’d become his mistress and allowed her to live in the couple’s home. The two women formed a kind of mother-daughter relationship that has endured to this day. On a recent Sunday afternoon, they sit at an outdoor table at a Beverly Hills hotel doing publicity for Wonderland. Dawn is credited as an associate producer on the film. Sharon is listed as an adviser.

    Sharon is slight and sinewy, a tough bird with a soft center and a smoker’s drawl. She wears a black cap to cover a skull that is fuzzy like a freshly hatched chick’s: She has just finished chemotherapy after a modified radical mastectomy for cancer.

    “I am just a cast-iron maiden,” she says with a throaty laugh. “I’m going to get through it, no matter what it is. I do not roll over and play dead for anybody.”

    Dawn, at 15, was a strikingly attractive woman-child, her huge green eyes brimming over with fragile anticipation. You look at her picture, and you want to protect her. You hope no one will latch on to her and crush her spirit. Today, in her early 40s, Dawn wears a wide, sly smile under those huge green eyes, still brimming with anticipation and intelligent wonder. She has the calm assurance of someone who has been through hell, fought her way out, and has no plans to go back. She is finishing a book on her experiences, The Road Through Wonderland.

    “I have a daughter,” Dawn says when asked about the perils of putting her ordeal into print. “Do I want my daughter to hear the story in my own words? Or do I want her to hear somebody else’s version, whether I like it or not?”

    Sharon Gebenini met her husband-to-be in December of 1964, while she was a graduate nurse working at County USC Hospital. Holmes was barely 20. Less than a year later, they were married. He found work driving a forklift at a meatpacking plant. The couple had lived a conventional married life in Glendale for about three years when Sharon came home early from work one afternoon and walked in on John in the bathroom. He had an erection, and he was measuring it. He’d already done a few 8mm film loops and photo shoots for magazines.

    “He told me that this was going to be his life’s work, that this was going to make him famous,” remembers Sharon. “I looked at him like, What planet do you come from?

    John would never drive a forklift again. Sharon allowed her husband to remain in the home, to eat meals with her, to mingle their dirty laundry — together, they were on-site managers of a courtyard apartment complex in Glendale. But Sharon would never touch John intimately again.

    Soon after being caught out at home, Holmes met Hawaiian porn director Bob Chinn. Chinn initially dismissed Holmes as some “scruffy-looking guy who had this big Afro-looking hair.” Then John dropped his pants. That evening, Chinn wrote a script outline on the back of an envelope, and a few days later, he had shot, edited and shipped Johnny Wadd. Despite (or perhaps because of ) Holmes’ Alfalfa physique and goofy hangdog face, the big-dicked undercover crime fighter captured the imagination of the porn-going public.

    The detective persona also appealed to John’s own imagination. In the early 1970s, when the production of pornographic materials was still a felony in Los Angeles, Holmes was busted on a porn set and held on charges of pimping and pandering.

    “He called me from Ventura, wanting to be bailed out,” says Sharon. “I didn’t have that kind of money.”

    A few hours later, Holmes was driven up to the house in the car of an LAPD vice squad officer named Tom Blake. While pursuing his crown as the King of Porn, Holmes would carry on a highly productive parallel career of informing on the porn industry for the LAPD vice squad.

    “John enjoyed playing Dick Tracy,” recounts Blake in the excellent 1999 documentaryWadd: The Life and Times of John C. Holmes. “He loved that role of investigating and passing information along. John was absolute dynamite.”

    Sharon became very familiar with Blake’s voice on the phone. “John was giving him regular information, particularly on anybody that had done him dirty.”

    Enter Dawn.

    It’s 1976, and 15-year-old Dawn Schiller’s parents are divorcing. Rather than stick it out with Mom in Florida, Dawn elects to head west with her 14-year-old sister and her father, a Vietnam-vet hippie with hair down past his shoulders. The family stops for a hitchhiker at the Grand Canyon, thinking he might have a joint to share. He tells them that he sometimes stays with a girl who lives in an apartment in Glendale. He guesses it would be cool with her if the whole bunch of them crash on her floor.

    When the family arrives at the Glendale courtyard apartment, the girlfriend calls the complex’s manager to ask permission. The manager’s husband comes over to screen the guests, and Dawn Schiller comes under the scrutiny of John Holmes.

    At this time, John is 32, at the height of his XXX prowess. He has all the work he can handle, he picks his co-stars, he is paid top dollar. He has woven a legend around himself, wrapped so tightly in exaggerations and half-truths that he himself cannot see through the web of overlapping reality and fantasy. He claims to have lost his virginity at age 8 to the Swiss maid of a rich aunt who raised him in Paris and Florida. He awards himself various advanced degrees from UCLA and boasts authorship of several books. The hundreds of extremely rich women who pay for his services, to hear him tell it, form a vast, worldwide network of privilege and power. Twelve such women, he says, all married and with the approval of their husbands, are mothers of children he has sired, each for a large fee.

    John gives Dawn and her younger sister odd jobs around the apartments, “showing me different ways to be creative in the garage and redoing furniture,” says Dawn, “that kind of stuff.”

    Dawn doesn’t know about Holmes’ movie career. “We related on a really childlike level,” she says. “I didn’t know what business he was in. He’d do silly, cute, charming things around me. He liked my innocence, the fact that I had nothing to do with the porn industry” — an industry which, he would later tell her, he despised. Dawn likes John for John, but even here the penis intrudes. “He was very shy about it,” says Dawn in the Beverly Hills sun. “He gradually showed me who he was, that aspect of him. He was scared that I was going to be scared of it.”

    John often took Dawn and her sister on outings around town. Occasionally they would pass a Pussycat Theater. “I would see his name on the marquee and get paralyzed,” says Dawn. “I wouldn’t want to look at him. One day, he pulled up to a Pussycat and said, ‘C’mon.’”

    The girls followed him out of the car, he signed an autograph at the box office, and they were in. Dawn, still 15, and her sister, still 14, sat on either side of their chaperon. “We’re slumped down in our seats, and I’m covering my face, and my sister’s covering her face. People are walking by, trying to get John’s autograph, whispering, ‘Oh, my God. He’s here!’ My sister and I are hugely embarrassed.”

    The movie starts. Dawn looks. John walks into the frame dressed in a monk’s habit. “He opened his mouth and said something, and I immediately cracked up. He got a little upset and jabbed me in the ribs, but I couldn’t stop laughing. Then he started laughing, and we had to leave.”

    Soon after the Pussycat excursion, John takes Dawn on an outing, leaving the sister behind. Although they have not yet had sex, John has become increasingly possessive and controlling. “If I didn’t come from school on time because I was hanging out with some friends, John would be really angry,” she says. “He wouldn’t say anything, but he’d snub you. You knew he was pissed.”

    They drive to Zuma Beach, where John sits on the rocks, watching Dawn swim. They both sit silently as the sun melts into the liquid horizon. The 32-year-old man takes the 15-year-old girl’s hand and leads her to the back of his van.

    Many, many years later, the girl, all grown up, still seems in awe of the experience. “At the time, he was very sincere,” Dawn says. “I was very much in love with this guy, swept off my feet at 15 years old. Look at Elizabeth Smart. She was 15. That’s a 15-year-old’s brain space.”

    When Dawn’s father abruptly left Los Angeles to return to Florida, the vulnerable girl became more dependent on Holmes. For a while, Dawn moved in with John’s half-brother, David, and his wife in an apartment they shared in the court. But tensions ran high under that arrangement. Eventually, Sharon Holmes brought the girl into the home she shared with her husband. Sharon knew, by this time, of the relationship between John and Dawn.

    “It baffles everybody,” says Sharon of her bond with Dawn. “I hate to see injured people or dogs, and I just adopted her. I couldn’t see her staying outside with just a shift on. She became a daughter to me. I needed to tell her she had a brain. She didn’t need to accept what was going on.”

    A big part of what was going on was John’s increasing infatuation with drugs. A teetotaler before embarking on his porn adventure, Holmes had turned to Scotch whisky at first, packing a quart of J&B in his trademark briefcase. Next came pot. Then cocaine — as the 1970s peaked, great piles of the white powder seemed to be everywhere you went, especially if where you went was a porn set.

    John started bringing drugs home. Just before Christmas 1979, Holmes introduced lines of cocaine. He was always in control of the supply, and he parceled it out very specifically to Dawn. “He wanted to be sure I didn’t have too much, but enough for me to be with him still. Nobody else wanted to be with him after a while.

    “He brought freebase in once and had this huge premonition of how horrible it could get. He ritualistically took me out to the street, where we broke the pipe and swore never to bring it in.”

    Despite their pledge, base pipes and a torch were soon added to the cargo in John’s briefcase. Holmes’ base exploits eventually eclipsed his legend for cocksmanship, as his penis became less and less functional, on and off the set. His co-workers joked that the only way to ensure his arrival in front of the cameras was to leave a trail of cocaine rocks.

    By 1980, Holmes had taken to stealing — from parked cars, from airport luggage belts, from the homes of his friends — to support his habit. He began serving as a delivery boy for the only people who still tolerated his presence, his drug dealers. (Holmes’ daily paycheck came in the form of marbles of rock cocaine valued at around $1,000.) He mooched gas money. His only possessions were the clothes he wore, his wife’s Chevy Malibu and Dawn.

    Dawn started to accompany John on drug runs. She’d stay in the car while he did his deals and based himself into stupefaction. She’d sit sometimes for two days out in front of a dealer’s house, her only companion a Chihuahua named Thor. She became familiar with the outside of Eddie Nash’s house and that of the home on Wonderland Avenue. John wouldn’t take Dawn inside either house. Not that she wanted to come inside.

    “John told me that people had a way of disappearing from Eddie’s, and that you were lucky if you found their bones in the desert,” she says. “That was John’s way of telling me he was afraid of Eddie.”

    To pass the time, she would sleep. There were always blankets in the car, in case she had to hide. Sometimes John would leave a little bit of drugs. “It’s not a proud year of my life,” says Dawn, “but it’s what happened.”

    On the crash from coke, desperate for cash and more dope, John began beating Dawn and forcing her to turn tricks. After she brought back the money, he’d tell her she was dirty, then subject her to scalding baths, scrubbing her until she was again clean enough for him.

    On December 25, 1980, despite her apprehensions, Dawn found herself inside Eddie Nash’s house. John’s Christmas present to Dawn and his present to Eddie, it turned out, were one and the same. When Dawn returned to Holmes after fucking Nash for money, he smacked her in the face hard enough to pop her tooth through her lip. Nash had given them less coke than Holmes had anticipated. Four days later, on Dawn’s 20th birthday, he sent her back to Eddie.

    In January, John went psycho on the drugs. He put Dawn in the trunk of his car and delivered her to a woman named Michelle, who ran a brothel out of an apartment complex in the Valley. That period is among Dawn’s worst memories: “The two of them watched over me. I was basically trapped in this house for a couple of weeks.”

    One day Michelle was out, and John was visiting. He ordered Dawn to draw him a bath and fetch him a cup of coffee. While getting the coffee, she noticed that a sliding door, normally locked so as to prevent her escape, was ajar. She left her dog behind and ran.

    A stranger at a Denny’s gave Dawn enough money to call her mother in Oregon. Mom sent her a bus ticket. “It became this big ordeal, because John’s calling every bus station in town, telling them I’m his daughter, a runaway.”

    Following Dawn’s escape, John started calling her mother’s house, day after day. For the first few months, Dawn wouldn’t take the phone. She had been unable to tell her family the depth of her degradation. John begged Dawn’s mother to tell her that he loved her. He sent pictures of himself and of Thor to Dawn’s sister. He sent the sister five dollars and asked her to send back a picture of Dawn.

    Finally, Dawn broke down and talked to John on the phone. He apologized. He cried. He put the dog on the line. He promised that there would be no more prostitution and no more hitting. Dawn’s resolve crumbled. John was sounding like the old John, the goofy, childlike, paternal and protective John she had fallen in love with five years before, the John she had missed and had been hoping would return.

    John told her about how he had one more deal, a big one. Once he turned that, it would give them enough money to leave L.A. behind, to start somewhere new, to be like they used to be in the beginning, a family. Dawn felt herself sliding back in:

    “He sounded like that original person again on the phone. He was tapping into that strong connection that we shared originally, that was powerful enough to carry me into the bad times, hoping through those times that the good times would come back.”

    Dawn agreed to return to L.A. John’s one last big deal was the impending robbery of money, drugs and jewels from Eddie Nash.

    She flew in to Burbank Airport, and John picked her up. He also lifted luggage that didn’t belong to him off the conveyor belt. He was obviously high. Dawn protested, but John grabbed her arm and walked her to the car. He took her to a cheap motel and broke out the pipe. They did some drugs and spent a few days together. The vibe was painfully familiar to Dawn: “He kisses me and says, ‘Okay, baby, I’m off. This is it. I’m going to get the big one.’ And he doesn’t come back.”

    This is where the movie Wonderland begins.

     In the pre-dawn hours after the murders, John arrives at the home of Sharon Holmes, covered in blood and claiming to have been in an automobile accident. He wants a bath. “John has a habit,” says Sharon, “where if he has something unpalatable to pass off, he gets into the bathtub.”

    She allows him to come in and runs the water. He is scraped, but this can’t account for the profusion of blood. His clothing is soaked with it. The bath water turns red. That ain’t yourblood, thinks Sharon.

    As John sinks down, soaking in blood, he eventually reveals that he has just seen people killed. He tells her a little about when, where and who. i

    “These were people you knew,” said Sharon. “These were friends.”

    “They were scum. They deserved everything they got.”

    • * *

    John returns to Dawn just after sunrise. He immediately chokes down a handful of Valiumand goes to sleep. Dawn recognizes the Wonderland house on the news. John is having nightmares, moaning about blood. On the TV, Dawn watches as corpses are pulled out of the house in body bags. When John wakes up, she confronts him. John blows her off. She asks about the bloody nightmares. He’s out of money, out of drugs.

    “We watched the news a lot,” remembers Dawn. “I knew it was bad. I stayed really quiet. I didn’t know if he was going to flare.”

    Before John can formulate a plan, the LAPD kicks the door in and hauls them away. Dawn denies recognizing photos of Eddie Nash’s house, the Wonderland house or Eddie Nash. Dawn is released with nowhere to go but to Sharon, whom she has not seen in more than two years.

    The police install John in a luxury suite at the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown L.A., and later at the Biltmore. The homicide cops on the case get nowhere with him. Tom Blake, John’s longtime handler from Vice, is brought in. John attempts to cut a deal, angling to be moved into a witness-protection program while giving up no real incriminating information on Nash. Dawn and Sharon are brought to the hotel as well, for their own safety. Dawn is scared. “We were told that Eddie’s was only one of the contracts out on John. There were all these mysterious other people John was about to rat on. People were afraid he was going to inform.”

    But Holmes was either unwilling or incapable of telling the truth. The police, frustrated by John’s lack of concrete information, cut him loose. John and Dawn hit the highway, running for their lives.

    This is where the movie ends.

     “I’d dyed his hair black,” says Dawn. “We’d spray-painted the car.” The fugitives headed east until they could drive no farther. They ended up at the Fountainhead Inn, a transient hotel on Collins Avenue in North Miami Beach. There was an X-rated motel across the street. Holmes took work at a construction site. One night he snapped and raised his hand to hit Dawn. She ran. She made it down to the pool in front of the snack shop. The hotel’s manager and a group of regulars were sitting at the snack shop eating dinner.

    Dawn: “They watched him catch up to me and throw me to the ground and pummel me, then drag me back upstairs.”

    That night, John put Dawn out to work on a prostitution track by the beach. In the morning, when Holmes had left for work, the residents of the hotel packed Dawn up and whisked her away. She took John’s handgun and the Chihuahua Thor, and moved in with the daughter of one of the hotel’s residents. John made phone contact soon after and begged for Dawn to return.

    “I wanted to say yes so bad,” she says. “He was throwing that ‘I just want to hold you and love you and be with you again, and I’m sorry.’ But I told him, ‘You promised me. You said that was the last time.’ I couldn’t forget that anymore. And I had a safe place. I had other people there. It wasn’t like I felt trapped to say yes anymore. A lot of times I had felt trapped to say yes when I really wanted to leave.”

    Dawn contacted her family to let them know she was safe. At the urging of her brother, she told the police where to find John. He was watching a Gilligan’s Island rerun when the detectives knocked. He asked if they wanted some coffee . . .

    Back in L.A., Holmes stood trial and, in late June of 1982, was acquitted in the Wonderland murders. A grand jury had been convened to investigate the killings, but Holmes refused to answer their questions. He was found in contempt and jailed for 111 days — until Eddie Nash had been found guilty on a separate drug charge and sentenced to prison. With Nash gone, Holmes told the grand jury enough to get away. The judge ordered his release.

    Nash served only a fraction of his sentence. Nearly 20 years later, in 2001, he pled guilty to a laundry list of racketeering counts, including the Wonderland murders, and was sentenced to just over three years, of which he served approximately one year.

    In 1982, Holmes came out of jail a free man, in a sense — off dope, for the first time in years. But the cock remained his only resource, and it took him back to porn. A former business partner, Bill Amerson, of whose two children Holmes was a godparent, set up a production company and brought Holmes in as an executive. For a while, he was relatively drug free, halfway reliable, but the old patterns soon resurfaced. Holmes, Amerson contends, embezzled something like a quarter-million dollars from him.

    (Sharon Holmes is not surprised: “The moral [of Wonderland] for me is your choices and what you do with them. You dig down deep and find something. And John didn’t have anything to dig down and find anymore. That’s why he went back to the porn business. That’s why he went back to stealing.”)

    After Florida, Dawn reunited with her father in Thailand, where he ran a hotel. She spent seven years in Southeast Asia, far beyond the reach of Holmes, where she earned high-school and college degrees. She came back to the United States in 1988. “I remember coming back in the late part of February, intent on finding John to tell him, ‘Look. I turned out better than you.’” Instead, she read in a newspaper that Holmes, age 44, lay dying of AIDS in Room 101A of the Veteran’s Administration Hospital on Sepulveda. “I felt bad he was sick,” she says. “I was going to go to the hospital. I was all ready to. But I didn’t have the nerve.”

    After a press screening of Wonderland, a CNN journalist crept out of the projection room saying, “I feel like I need a shower.” And indeed, watching the movie is like being dunked in someone’s dirty bath water — John Holmes’, say, on the night of the murders — over and over again, for an hour and a half. You walk out of the theater thinking, What was the point of all this? Did anyone learn anything? Was anyone changed for the better? Not Holmes, anyway. Despite his complicity in so much death, and even after testing positive for HIV, he continued working in the XXX industry, knowingly exposing at least three blue-screen actresses to the virus.

    When Dawn Schiller, sitting over coffee at a Beverly Hills hotel, tells of Holmes’ nasty depths, of the repeated pimping and beatings, she also manages to communicate something of the flawed, destructive humanity of the guy. “My memories are that I loved him,” she says. “I want to say that. I loved him. I don’t want to say that that wasn’t real, or that that wasn’t okay. I want to say that it was real, and that it was good. The times that I despised him and feared him are the last times that I remember with him, but they aren’t the only times. Right now, today, I remember the whole. He lost the battle. He saw it coming with the breaking of the pipe, all the way back then. He tried to stop the freight train.”

    Sharon nods. “It was like putting a piece of chewing gum on the tracks,” she says.

    • Jill C. Nelson 7:46 am on September 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply



    • Jill C. Nelson 6:38 am on September 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “Yes, when I first started reading stuff about Wonderland that was one of the first things I came across. I thought that I needed to read more and maybe start a blog because that was very sensational. I doubted that a middle aged woman could kill a hit man career criminal any way.”

      That story raised a bright red flag. I think that’s one of the situations that arises when other parties speak on behalf of certain people in these kinds of personal accounts — knowing full well that a given story can’t be refuted or corraborated.

      You’re doing an amazing job, John. And I certainly believe that you have gathered enough information to do the entirety of the Wonderland story justice if you should ever decide to develop a book.


    • Beth 9:54 am on September 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Awesome website! You should totally write a book, I am currently reading the Dawn Schiller book but was really surprised there aren’t many other books out there about this???? Hard to find some info on some stuff as well, like for instance, is Dawn’s father still alive??? I can’t find any info on him. Also zero info on Susan Lainius or really any of the others (aside from Holmes) about their childhoods, past, etc. I find the whole both fascinating and sad, to see how drugs totally destroyed these people, Joy’s story especially is sad, what happened there???? Can’t wait to see what u post next! (and seriously, write that book dude!!!) 🙂


    • Jill C. Nelson 6:51 am on September 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “That whole BS story about some dead intruder at her house that the LAPD cop conveniently made disappear for her.”

      That is definitely one of the silliest stories I’d ever heard. Stranger still that, according to Dawn, Sharon swore her to secrecy about it and then the story appeared in TRTW. Bizarre all ’round.


      • John 10:32 am on September 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, when I first started reading stuff about Wonderland that was one of the first things I came across. I thought that I needed to read more and maybe start a blog because that was very sensational. I doubted that a middle aged woman could kill a hit man career criminal any way.


        • Tori 1:27 am on September 28, 2013 Permalink

          So was that story false?!


    • localarts 9:35 am on September 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      So was Greg Diles, and he was there too. The LAPD were fixated on Ed Nash. The prosecution of John Holmes was a result of Holmes refusal to cooperate. Why do you think the investigation drug on for the better part of 20 years? When Holmes died in 88, he took with him everything that will ever be known about the slayings. The time line, how he was able to gain entrance that night, his co conspirators, the sequence in which the victims were beaten to death.

      If the other killers are indeed walking the streets as free men today, they can thank John Holmes for that.
      As I have said before Sharon Holmes told James Cox in 2002 she believed her husband committed at least one of the murders himself. Why did she make that statement? Because she knew him better than anybody. Weather Holmes murdered anyone that night is really a mood point now.

      One has to wonder just how many more of his co workers would he have exposed to the HIV virus given the chance? More importantly, what kind of human being would do such at thing in the first place?


      • criticextraordinaire 7:20 pm on September 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        John kept his mouth shut in order to PROTECT his family. They were threatened if he said anything, so he wisely kept his mouth shut. “Snitches wear stiches” and that sort of thing. Besides, Sharon was not exactly the most credible of sources. That whole BS story about some dead intruder at her house that the LAPD cop conveniently made disappear for her. Yeah right. And a locker adorned in 24-carat gold leaf.

        If John were the cad that some people make him out to be, he woulda sang like a canary to get out of jail after he was found innocent.


    • localarts 11:40 am on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “Despite his complicity in so much death, and even after testing positive for HIV, he continued working in the XXX industry, knowingly exposing at least three blue-screen actresses to the virus.”

      And to think he still has adoring fans..


      • criticextraordinaire 5:21 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Of course. Who are we to judge The King. Yeah he did a couple of bad things in his day, but I like many prefer to focus on his good works and inimitable stage presence.


        • localarts 8:57 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink

          Wow! I can only hope none of the victims family members stumble across this stie and read that shit. I don’t know if you’re joking or not, because thats really,really,really fucked up.


        • criticextraordinaire 8:53 am on September 15, 2013 Permalink

          F-ed up? John was found innocent in the Wonderland Murders ; it was not even a close call. The prosecutor’s case was weak, with no evidence whatsoever, just the speculative testimony of David Lind, a convicted criminal who was nowhere near the murder scene and who was spending that night scoring drugs at a local hotel. Everybody in the investigation was so fixated on John that they forgot to find the real perps, who to this day walk as free men.


        • The Odyssey 10:43 pm on September 20, 2013 Permalink

          A couple of bad things? You’re sick. He was scum.


  • John 8:41 am on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dawn schiller,   

    Dawn’s Father Was A Door Gunner in Vietnam 

    Dawn described her father a lot more in an interview that I saw about good parenting on YouTube. He was a door gunner on a Huey in the Pleiku region of Vietnam, and he did 2 or 3 tours. Coincidentally, I did a post about Pleiku last year, and included some rare photos. It’s a beautiful place.

    When her dad left the service, he had the PTSDs really bad, and would disappear for months or years. He could not cope with basic civilian or family life. He had to keep moving and traveling, partying in order to deal with his trauma. It was a textbook Vietnam vet tragedy. The whole family suffered.

    Whatever happened, dad was always their hero, even though he was not around much and rarely sent money. I think that most kids feel that way about their dad.

    Excerpt from “The Other Hollywood” by Legs McNeil.

    DAWN SCHILLER: After they arrested John, they drove me back to Louise’s house—the stripper—and I stayed there until I heard from my father. He called after he opened the paper and read, “John Holmes was arrested in Miami Beach.”
    He called and asked, “Where are you?”
    I told him where I was, and he came and picked me up and took me back to his place—he had a nice house in Pompano with a pool. My dad just cracked open a beer, and we sat down, and I told him my long, emotional story. He would just sit there and nod, and every once in a while he’d reach into his pocket and break a Quaalude in half, and just hand me one, and open me another beer.
    When I was done with the story, I got the spins, and I’m like, “Dad, I have to puke.”
    He says, “It’s all right, babe.” He walked me down the hall to the bathroom, and he held my hair while I just heaved my guts up.
    It was like the nicest thing my dad ever did for me—holding my hair when I puked.


    • Jill C. Nelson 11:26 am on July 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, it was very good Frank was there. (One of the reasons it’s important that Frank is mentioned with respect to the Florida arrest is because in her book, Dawn wrote that Tom Lange and Tom Blake were the arresting officers in Florida which wasn’t the case. Blake was a vice cop, not a homicide detective.) As you’ll read, Frank was very instrumental in tracking Holmes down in Florida. Tomlinson hadn’t been involved in the L.A. part of the Wonderland investigation, but received permission to hunt John down after the case got cold and he was no where to be found. He started making a few phone calls and got the ball rolling and was able to track him in Florida. Indeed, Lange and Tomlinson made a very effective team.

      I’ll admit, “Inches” is a big book but it was tough to tell the Holmes story in anything less while allowing all of the participants to have a voice. 😉


    • Jill C. Nelson 4:15 pm on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Very. 🙂


      • John W 1:07 pm on July 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        And I knew Frank was there… From court tesimony. It’s great that he was there, at that moment. He and Det. Lange are old school gum shoes. I have your book Jill, but it’s size intimidates me… And I will read it soon… Have only looked at the photos. Its like 800 pages! LOL


    • Jill C. Nelson 1:29 pm on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “Tom Lange STILL had to track her down, Lange was non too happy about casing a strip joint and hanging out in the parking lot for 12 hours to find Dawn. This book is awesome!….”

      Dawn neglected to mention any of this story in her own book, but as you’ve read, it’s out there. In her own book Dawn claimed she babysat for “Louise” the stripper — no mention of stripping herself. She also neglected to mention how she supported herself for the large part of seven years while in Thailand which is also detailed in Leg’s McNeil’s book by Dawn.

      Tom Lange and Frank Tomlinson waited in the parking lot together and then Tomlinson went into the club to identify Dawn. He doesn’t drink alcohol so he ordered a soda at the bar. Once they were positive it was her, they followed her after she left the club.


      • John W 3:55 pm on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Jill. I was hoping you would chime in and help with this. I was getting the same conflicts in my head since I read her book. I had read parts of Other Hollywood but now I have the book. Enlightening!


    • localarts 1:13 pm on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thats sick. Vietman likley destroyed her dad’s mind but there is still a rational side as a parent that should kick in at some point.


    • localarts 10:12 am on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      That explains a lot. Did Schillers dad know John Holmes was screwing his 15 yo daughter?


      • John 11:30 am on July 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Yes. And when she needed cash to go to Thailand, she worked at an exotic gentlemen’s club. Her dad didn’t have enough to buy her a plane ticket. In The Other Hollywood, she did her audition dance at the club for the manager, and her dad was at the bar with a friend watching. I’m serious.

        “I’ve got to audition.”
        My dad’s like, “Okay.”
        I was scared to death. I did three straight shots of whiskey and just bit
        the bullet. I had this purple dress on—and that comes off—and I think a
        So I go up there and dance to “Start Me Up” and “Another One Bites
        the Dust.”

        As Shirley Q. Liquor would say, “dats jus nastyy”. Tom Lange STILL had to track her down, Lange was non too happy about casing a strip joint and hanging out in the parking lot for 12 hours to find Dawn. This book is awesome!….

        “When I finished dancing, I put my clothes on and went and talked to the owner. He goes, “You can start tomorrow. . . .” I wanted to leave but my dad says, “Come here a minute. I’ve got to shake your hand. There’s no fucking way in hell I would ever take my clothes off in front of a bunch of people. You’ve got balls.” “


  • John 10:02 am on July 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dawn schiller,   

    John & Dawn Featured On Discovery ID “Poisoned Passions” 

    I think that someone posted this link once, but I stumbled across it again. I have not seen the episode nor the show. There is a 3-minute preview and the dramatization is very cheesy (“Arggh So much blood!”).


    Nothing new, but I thought that I would share. Author Mike Sager chimes in… “the gang were a loose confederation of drug addicts”, etc.

    Not really.

    Not really.

  • John 8:10 am on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dawn schiller, dupars, ,   

    John Leaves Dawn At Dupar’s Restaurant 

    Mid-July, 1981.

    After being in protective custody and before John and Dawn fled Los Angeles, John wanted to see Eddie one more time to ask for money and/or drugs. Dupars is the diner where John dropped off Dawn and had her wait. He was supposed to be back in 30 minutes, but it took almost 2 hours. Allegedly, Eddie and Greg Diles held a gun to John’s head and made him beg for his life. John had the idea to say friends of his had letters to mail to authorities explaining everything, if he did not return soon. This is also when LAPD saw John at Eddie’s because his house was under surveillance. Quoting Tom Lange, “You can’t trust a person like this, when they talk out of both sides of their mouths.”

    After that ordeal and after coming back for Dawn here at Dupars Restaurant, they went back to Eddie’s and there was $500 in the mailbox, left by Eddie. I believe John had asked for $1500. He was dreamin’.

    12036 Ventura Blvd. Open 24 Hours.

    12036 Ventura Blvd. Open 24 Hours.

    Eddie’s house is just south off Laurel Canyon Blvd. – 1.5 miles away.

    5 minute drive.

    5 minute drive in Sharon’s Malibu.

    • Bonnie Brae 7:16 am on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      See that Dupars restaurant. It’s on Ventura Blvd. About 2 miles down on left is the 7/11 that Dawn and John had their big fight, on the night that horrible night she accepted a ride from that hitchhiker.


    • Bonnie Brae 9:07 pm on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I love the stuff you post John.


    • Bobby 10:01 am on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      He’s lucky he got anything at all.


    • localarts 9:38 am on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Holmes was the ultimate hustler, thats probably why he survived 1981-1982


  • John 11:51 am on April 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dawn schiller, ,   

    Dawn & Sharon Talk About John Holmes’ Abuse 

    In the second part of this NY Times article from right before the film release in 2003, we see Dawn and Sharon talking about John’s abuse, more than anything. There are lots of good quotes that I had not read in the past. For instance, when Dawn returned from overseas in 1988 and wanted to visit a sick John in the hospital with AIDS… Sharon told her, “He’s not worth it”. Karma’s a bitch, because if I remember correctly, he said the people at Wonderland deserved it, and that “they were dirt”.

    I gotta love a movie that opens on my birthday!

    I believe Sharon when she says that she warned John (for hitting her): “You have to go to sleep sometime, I’ll get you then”. Excellent! Case closed.

    Read on…


    “John Holmes’ Boogie Life”

    September 7, 2003 | Dana Kennedy | NY Times

    IN the summer of 1981, in one of the bloodier and more notorious murders in the annals of Los Angeles, four people connected to the legendary pornography star John C. Holmes were bludgeoned to death at 8763 Wonderland Avenue. The killings, which provided some of the inspiration for Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 film ”Boogie Nights,” are the focus of a new movie. ”Wonderland,” which opens on Oct. 3, is a fact-based film, almost documentary in style, that explores the twisted world of Holmes and the convoluted relationships that ultimately led the police to charge him, a nightclub owner named Eddie Nash and Mr. Nash’s bodyguard with the murders.

    Val Kilmer stars as Holmes, whose generous physical endowment had made him the most successful porn actor of his day. The best known of his more than 2,000 films are those in which he played a private detective named Johnny Wadd. But by the time of the murders, his career had been pretty much ended by a serious cocaine habit. And to complicate matters, he was at the center of a love triangle involving his wife and his teenage girlfriend.

    In the movie, Kate Bosworth plays the girlfriend, Dawn Schiller, and Lisa Kudrow the wife, Sharon Holmes. Their intertwined histories come to life in ”Rashomon”-style flashbacks that depict Holmes’s increasingly desperate involvement with a group of violent drug dealers. It’s after they rob Nash, who was also one of Holmes’s drug suppliers, that they end up dead in their drug den on Wonderland Avenue.

    To tell this seamy tale as accurately as possible, the movie’s director, James Cox, and one of its producers, Holly Wiersma, tracked down Sharon Holmes, now 60, and Dawn Schiller, now 42, and enlisted them as consultants. Holmes was not available to help — he died in 1988 of AIDS.

    Unbeknownst to the filmmakers, Ms. Holmes and Ms. Schiller had become close friends after Holmes’s death. Ms. Holmes says that she considers the younger woman a daughter and urged her to complete her high school education. ”I was a mentor to her when she was younger,” Ms. Holmes says. ”Nobody told her she had a brain until me. We talk on the phone at least once or twice a week.”

    Working on the movie, the two women spent time with Mr. Kilmer, Ms. Bosworth and Ms. Kudrow. They say Mr. Kilmer absorbed everything they told him and turned in what Ms. Holmes calls ”this incredibly eerie performance.”

    ”Val had all John’s mannerisms down,” she says. ”He was just like a sponge.”

    Ms. Schiller adds, ”I was on the set a lot, and it just creeped me out.”

    John Holmes was an ambulance driver when Sharon Gebenini, a nurse, married him in 1965. ”I was very much in love with him,” Ms. Holmes recalls by telephone. ”He was loving and overprotective.” Ms. Holmes says she stopped ”being intimate” with him when he began working in pornography and using drugs. But she continued to live with him and maintains that she was unaware that he had begun an affair with Ms. Schiller, who was just 15 at the time.

    Ms. Schiller now lives in Oregon with her husband and young daughter. She is finishing a book about her experience with Holmes that she has titled ”The Road Through Wonderland.” She says her relationship with John Holmes was an ”open secret” that his wife must have been aware of on some level.

    One thing the women agree on, however, is that Holmes was a different man before he got into pornography and drugs. ”He was beautiful, sweet, caring,” Ms. Schiller says. ”He did volunteer work for Greenpeace and he was really artistic. He did a lot of great sculptures in clay. He adored me.”

    But as he sank further into personal and financial ruin, Ms. Schiller says, he began beating her severely. At one point, she says, he kicked her in the ribs, breaking several. Ms. Holmes says she has no trouble believing that Ms. Schiller was beaten.

    Ms. Holmes recently underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments for breast cancer. But, she says, ”this is child’s play compared to what I went through with John.”

    Still, for all the chaos and trauma that Holmes brought into her life, Ms. Holmes says he never beat her: ”One time he raised a hand, and I said, ‘Don’t ever.’ I’m Italian. I told him he’d have to go to sleep sometime, and I’d get him. But Dawn wasn’t like me. She was much more innocent.”

    Nonetheless, it was Ms. Schiller who eventually turned him in to the police. ”It was the first time I said no to him,” she recalls.

    John Holmes was arrested for the Wonderland murders. Later, Mr. Nash and his bodyguard, Gregory Diles, who died in 1995, were also charged. Prosecutors said that Mr. Nash had discovered that Holmes was part of the plot to steal Mr. Nash’s property, and that Mr. Nash had forced Holmes to help Diles murder the culprits. But Holmes was acquitted in 1982; Diles and Mr. Nash, whose real name is Adel Nasrallah, were acquitted in 1991 after a mistrial in 1990. In 2001, as part of a plea bargain on racketeering charges, Mr. Nash conceded that he had given an underling instructions to go to 8763 Wonderland and do whatever was necessary to recover the $1 million in cash, drugs and jewelry that had been stolen from his house two days before. Mr. Nash, whose younger self is played in the film by Eric Bogosian, also admitted that he had given a juror at his 1990 murder trial, which ended in a hung jury, $50,000 to hold out. Mr. Nash was sentenced in 2001 to 37 months in jail.

    After the murders, Ms. Schiller went to live with her father in Thailand, where he owned a hotel. She came back in 1988, hoping to see Mr. Holmes, who was by then married to the porn star Misty Dawn. ”I wanted him to see how well I was doing,” she says. ”I wanted to show him how good he’d had it and that he was the one who blew it.”

    But before she could visit Mr. Holmes, who was dying, she reconnected with his first wife, who advised her not to see him, saying, ”He’s not worth it.”

    ”I felt a little cheated,” says Ms. Schiller. ”But I can still remember the love, and I honor that.”

    • Harry 7:31 pm on March 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hash so much wrong in what you said no evidence John killed anyone I do agree he should of got manslaughter as he indirectly got them all killed!

      John did not give anyone AIDS as far as we know certainly not in porn industry as no one 30 year’s later has come forward and said I got it of him. One he worked with did die in 1993 from AIDS however she last worked with him in 1979 so unlikely from him. Also considering she was a pornstar so exposed to it a lot!

      He could of cause given it too people he slept with privately in his prostitution,swinging general private life! I do agree John was a pretty bad man but I think severe drug addiction does this to people imo. He should of severed at least 5 year’s for manslaughter I think ironically this would of almost certainly saved his life!


    • Hash 5:51 am on February 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Dawn could of saved a lot of lives . Not only did John bash a guys head in at Wonderland . John also killed loads of people with his AIDS . Dawn knew John was a killer . So why didn’t Dawn tell the police. John gets life in prison. People don’t get AIDS from that Scumbag devil . John killed a lot of people not just at wonderland .


    • Jill E. 9:08 pm on November 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      You know, I helped take care of Sharon “Jebbi” in her last months and weeks. She was in a facility where I live. She would NEVER speak of any of it..and if I remember it correctly (and I do) Ms. Schiller NEVER came to see her, although Sharon asked about her alot. Interesting.


      • Lynn 1:29 pm on September 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        That makes me sad, because I remember when Dawn claimed to have had Sharon living with her when Sharon was dying; I assumed that Dawn had cared for her until her death.

        Liked by 1 person

    • MaryAnn 8:09 pm on October 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      While yes, Dawn made some bad choices, those accusing her of playing the abuse card (mostly men, which is interesting) obviously don’t know much about that time period, teenage girls, abusive relationships, or growing up in a dysfunctional, unloving family; maybe they don’t know about growing up in a close, loving family, for that matter, as if they did, they could see just how different a family life a Dawn had and why Holmes’s attention snared her so completely. Take a young girl, abandoned by the father she adored, left with a harsh mother, growing up in a tough area with little closeness and affection, then add in the reappearance of a not so great father, one who does drugs with his teenager, then takes he’d 3000 miles away and basically abandons her again, even while he’s physically still there. Any charming guy who comes along and pays attention to this kid is going to be irresistible to her. And after gaining her love and devotion, her own naivety and love are going to keep her there no matter what. The drugs didn’t help the situation either. Those who dismiss remaining in an abusive relationship as simply making bad choices or playing the abuse card obviously have no idea what an abusive relationship, physically and/or mentally, actually is, and they should count their blessings. But it’s those types of attitudes that have kept many women from leaving their abusers, reporting them, and testifying against them in court.


    • Jim 2:02 pm on May 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m sure Sharon would love to get a life seeing as how she’s been dead for over a year.
      Dawn, definitely likes to play the abuse card to absolve herself of all responsibility for her actions.
      People need to remember that at age 15 she was absolutely a victim but she didn’t stay 15 years old for the entire 6 years she and Holmes were together. She was making the same bad choices at age 21 that she made at age 15.


    • Bill 6:49 pm on May 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Both Sharon & Dawn need to get over it and quit trying to cash in on sympathy off Johns fame. Nobody would give a crap if it had not been John Holmes. These 2 old bags need to get a life.


    • scabiesoftherat 12:19 am on April 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      That is so odd. I just this same conversation with an old friend of mine just tonight. We had gone to a one-off Kim Carnes/Patty Smyth and Scandal/Lou Gramm concert in 2002. When Kim came on, he turned to me and said, “Do you think one of the requirements in regards to her dressing room refreshment situation is to have a bottle of Jack Daniels with a pack of Lucky Strikes attached to the bottle via a rubber-band? (Obviously referring to her somewhat trademark rasp)

      That was eleven years ago and he was stunned when I brought it up over dinner tonight. I remember it verbatim. He confirmed my words were. indeed, correct. It can be done. The dialogue just has to be memorable.


      • scabiesoftherat 12:38 am on April 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Hey John!!!!. I just accidentally tapped Entries RSS when I went to log out and a page came up that said wonderland1981 podcasts. Where are the podcasts, man? It says “0 podcasts”. You should make some podcasts and put them up there and you could use Terry Reid’s, “Faith To Arise” as your theme song. It also says “comments RSS”. I’m guessin’ we could reply via podcasts. If you got a tablet, that’s all you need man. Wow. What’s this world comin’ to? Can do all this shit on the internet and they STILL can’t come up with a cure for the common pothole!!! Give it a try for your fans! (so cool….)


      • John W 8:31 am on April 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Lou Gramm is one of my favorites! I’m glad to see he is doing better after his illness. The last time he performed closeby, still 1.5 hour drive, I couldnt find anyone to go with.

        I have flirted with the podcast idea. I would do them as narrated videos, so it’s visual and can show pics, videos and discuss. I need to research it more. Can you imagine “tonight’s guest is Ron Launius’ little brother, he is gonna talk about Ron and Sue!”

        Excellet idea!


        • scabiesoftherat 12:09 am on April 29, 2013 Permalink

          Hell, yes, it’s an excellent idea!

          Me and my one friend decided we were going to set up a tongue-in-cheek website in which it was all about conspiracy. (ala Alex Jones) I write the rants, he does the video magic with green screen and I post it all into the site. It’s great. I clack something out and just deliver it (with sunglasses)…under an assumed name, of course. It’s amazing what can be done. We also have a fake gift shoppe that looks real. The formula is simply this. Write an outline, right? Drink four Red Bulls in quick succession and deliver the 2 min monologue and make sure you get your point across. That’s it. Make this thing breathe, man. The technology is there. Use it. I case you haven’t noticed, your audience is growing exponentially.You are the man who is all things wonderland!


        • John 9:29 am on April 29, 2013 Permalink

          Alex Jones is classic.


    • Anthony 2:06 pm on April 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      These Wonderland posts are great but out of all of the characters involved, Ron Launius intrigues me the most. I’ve done some research and there really isn’t that much about him — this site has by far the most. You’d think someone he spent time with in the military or prison would speak out and give some details about him. Based on what’s written about him, he doesn’t strike me as the type a guy who’s easily forgotten.


      • John 9:33 am on April 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I know, my thoughts as well. Allegedly, his brother gave an interview with a California paper 6 or 8 years ago. He said he didn’t see much of Ronnie after he got out of prison in 77-78. I guess it would be hard to talk about. I’m still trying to track down said article! Stay tuned!


      • scabiesoftherat 11:25 pm on April 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Got to figure, though. The crime happened in 81. The web didn’t even get into full force until 93. Until the movie came out, what books were written about the crime except the ones by the cops? None as far as I can see. Plus, since he was a criminal, he no doubt kept a low profile. I remember the crime when it happened but it was never on par with Tate until Holmes became a suspect. Even then it still wasn’t really on par with Tate because nobody really cared about JCH. In 2003, when the movie came out, THAT was when people got intrigued. By then, people have largely disappeared. I remember July 1, 1981 like it was yesterday. That summer, I worked in a raquetball club. I worked every Monday and Wednesday. I would then, after work,…ummm,…imbibe in some stimulants with my girlfriend at the time,…who also worked with me. I narrowed down all four of my paydays that month. I was paid on Wed. I worked extra hours the last week in June and I remember I got a VERY good paycheck that day,…and I was also caught by the owner playing raquetball while on the clock that day. Very memorable Wed. for me. July 1st, 1981. Yup

        He wanted to fire me but my girlfriend turned on the waterworks and saved my job….for the moment. LOL. Also, the summer of 81. Luke and Laura were a couple on General Hospital. I watched that religiously

        What was the question I meant to try and answer?


        • John 9:08 am on April 30, 2013 Permalink

          I was 11, but I remember hearing about the brutality of the killings, and how they initially thought it was a random act of murder. We were just about to move out of state. My dad liked to watch the news while we ate dinner.

          A friend found Susan on FB. She is friends with Ron’s dad on there. His dad is like 100 now…but looks like he gets around ok. His brother Rickey is on FB too.


    • Bonnie Brae 1:21 pm on April 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t wait to read this and see how Dawn was victimized here!!!


      • Bonnie Brae 3:24 pm on April 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Yep! I was right. Her comment that “Sharon must have known on some level” implying Sharon therefore should have stopped her.
        God – get a life Dawn.


        • John W 7:21 pm on April 26, 2013 Permalink

          She was a know-it-all smartass teen girl. She blew her parents off to be with John. Then, when shit hit the fan, she fled John Holmes, only to reunite with him 2 months later, in time for his ultimate downfall being the Nash Robbery and Wonderland Murders. The Nash house and Wonderland Gang were victims too! of John’s twisted psyche.


        • John W 2:07 pm on April 27, 2013 Permalink

          I like how in her book, Dawn doesn’t have the actual letter Sharon wrote her, but goes by memory. A lot of the book is that way, especially the dialogue- how the hell can anyone remember the exact dialogue from a situation 20 yrs prior. Fuh-getta-bout it!!


        • Bonnie Brae 12:07 pm on April 28, 2013 Permalink

          She made a big stink about trying to forgive Sharon in the end of her book and trying to extract an apology out of her. Why are her parents granted immunity here? Her dad knew. Her mom knew. Her sister knew. Her brother knew. But she wants an apology from Sharon.


        • John W 2:56 pm on April 28, 2013 Permalink

          I can’t imagine leaving my teenage daughter and moving back to Florida or Oregon. That’s dumb.


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