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  • John 12:46 pm on July 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ron launius   

    Launius Birthplace Revealed 

    Ron was born in Shawneetown, Ill. This is not to be confused with Old Shawneetown, which got wiped out by the Flood of 1937. Old Shawnee is still around but has a scanty population and few businesses and fewer homes. The newer Shawneetown was set up about 3 miles NW of the old river town and far enough away from the unpredictable Ohio River.


    New Shawnee sports around one-thousand folks and it is your typical small Midwestern town, a lot smaller when Ron was born there though. Today there is a quik-mart, gas station, pizza joint and one complete neighborhood of mixed-size homes and few zoning laws. It is completely surrounded by farmland.

    For it was here in May, 1944 that Ron was born. His mother was about 17 or 18, and dad was in the US Army Air Corps, probably stationed at Scott AFB or one of the others nearby or off in a foreign land. Shawneetown is where Betty grew up in Gallatin County, Ill. She lived with her mom and stepdad and had two step-brothers, no blood-siblings that I could find. They may have lived on a farm.

    After having three boys together, Betty left Arlin for a forklift operator named Marvin Bryson. She fell in love with him in the early 60’s while she was working at a hospital; he was a patient there. But they were divorced in 1967. Arlin Launius died in 1964 in an alcohol-related car accident, allegedly after drinking at the “Stockton Club” bar near Betty’s house in Stockton. It was a bar at the end of a strip mall. The old Stockton Club location is now a Latino bar. Betty lived across the street. For it was at this house in 1973 that the FBI and cops went looking for Ron after the Mexico business, when he initially fled the country amidst smuggling charges. Betty was handcuffed, roughed up, the whole nine-yards. It is no wonder Ron was the coldest person that that one cop had ever met.

    This info comes from a friend who lived near the Launius family in the late 1950s/early 60s.

    • brian 12:01 pm on February 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I guess Ronnie wasn’t bigger than 5’6″ or so. Holmes was very light for his height, at least by today’s standards. I think Manson was about 5’2″.


    • jimmy chicago 1:49 pm on August 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      If Ronnie was the size of josh lucas mabe .Even billys son said that ronnie was a little shit that his father could smack him around.Ronnie is about the size of charles manson and manson had to come up with the psycho herky jerky thing in the joint swinging his arms and body around to ward off potential problems with other inmates.Holmes was bigger than ronnie and had more hand to hand combat training as a paratrooper in the army than ronnie in the air force as a supply clerk.I think Holmes was more afraid of David Lind and being cut off from the drugs. Ronnie was just a hardened junkie a scrapper not a real in your face fighter more like dont turn your back on him type thing.When I first saw wonderland I thought ronnie was a lot bigger but this blog really schooled me on ronnie and the rest of the gang


    • criticextraordinaire 6:33 pm on August 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Wow this is some good research John. You are nothing if not thorough.

      I make my way into the Midwest quite often. I’ll see if I can make it into Ronnie’s home town. ‘Twood be nice if at some time in the future, something is done to commemorate Ronnie in Shawneetown.

      I would not be surprised if Ronnie had tracked down the guys who disrespected his mother and gave them a colossal ass whipping.


  • John 10:15 am on July 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ron launius   

    The Return Of Ron Launius! 

    Not really. Just some small info to keep your fires burning…

    In June of 1957, David Lind applied for Social Security disability benefits but he was denied. Disability type was not listed. (document found via cross-reference of his mother’s name)

    After having reached the lawful minimum of living in the United States for five years, and with gainful employment, in 1956, Ed applied for his Naturalization in the USA via Milwaukee where he of course owned a restaurant called “Eat’n Time”. One of his female relatives owned or worked at Shamalie’s Dinnette restaurant. Even at this point, he was already living in a big brick home with his wife Maria from Milwaukee and his baby daughter. Seven dollars my ass! The Nash was smart: the old “marry a citizen and have an anchor baby” trick! …and then your newfound citizenship simply consists of filling out some paperwork. In 1956, Ed’s first child with Maria named Debra was born in Milwaukee. There is almost an entire chapter on Debra in my book.

    In the Olivehurst city directory, Ron Launius is seen living at this duplex in unit B with his first wife Fay. I’m guessing that second unit there, and these probably were much nicer back then. Of course, Ron is listed as “USAF” in the directory. In the 1970 directory, it’s the same but includes his old phone number. I guess that was so Cherokee could call him, and for other shady deals. Ron and Fay were divorced in 1970 so it’s a good guess that either Ron was long gone from this address by ’69 or that Fay moved back down to Atwater where she was from (probably the latter, since she filed in San Bernadino). Fay died in 1988 at 40 years old. At fifteen, she gave birth to another serviceman’s baby girl, which was quickly put up for adoption. She must have lived a troubled life til the end.

    You can’t find a good used old Blazer anymore… ‘cept in Olivehurst:

    • Patrick E 1:32 am on August 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      John are Maria and Debra Still alive and in Milwaukee? I’ll try and get pictures of his old restaurant. I need to find where it was located? Would would love to interview Debra? Is she In LA or Milwaukee? Thanks John!


      • John 11:19 am on August 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Debra lives in LA area, doing real estate I think. Her ex, who tried to steal from Ed in 1982, used to run strip clubs in DC, SF. To the best of my knowledge.


    • John 10:06 am on August 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on Wonderland1981 – The Wonderland Murders and commented:

      I’m still here.


    • criticextraordinaire 6:36 pm on August 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      That’s too bad about Fay. As I was reading along I was thinking “Hey, she could fill in some blanks about Ronnie.” But it’s not to be. ;-(

      I still would like to see a movie based on the life and times of Ronnie Launius. I think it could be a major hit.


    • jim 9:54 am on July 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent research!


      • Jenna 6:04 pm on September 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I need some sound advice guys…please tell me only true tales. 8763 Wonderland is up for a month to month lease…im really wanting to move in, but im scared. heard alot about voices at nite and doors slamming….


        • John 10:16 am on September 22, 2016 Permalink

          I only heard about these strange occurrences from the guys in the pop group, LMFAO, who posted videos on YouTube. However, whatever spirits to haunt the home may have only wanted them, their shitty music and big hair – the hell outta there! LOL


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

    Horace “Big Mac” McKenna Featured On New TV Show 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Toni Nixon 12:48 am on June 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      City confidential airs on The True crime network and aired the episode about Horace “big Mack”McKenna tonight 06-08-2021 at 1AM


    • Joe 1:09 pm on November 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I feel sorry what happened to that man and how he got killed, but David Paul Amos has not changed he’s planning Takeover part 2 by killing Diana Vin Habsburg daughter of Karl Von Habsburg , I guess Dave got out of jail and went straight to Italian/ American mafia , shocking that he still owes club that he help with murder of original owner


    • John Sheridan 6:26 pm on June 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Mike Woods definitely was a back stabber, and thanks very highly of himself. He was released from prison around June 2017.


    • Rhonda Lipsey 2:55 am on November 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I worked with Horace McKenna late 1988. He was one of a kind and at times could be very charming and always treated me well. But if he did not like you or was angry you would surely know. MIKE Woods was far from what Big Mac was ever like and at times treated people as if they were of a lower class.


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

    McNeil Island Corrections Center 

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

          Damn. Pre 82…microfiche? Just a guess.


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

    The Criminal History of Ron Launius – Part 3 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

      I’m not sure I believe all that.


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

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


  • John 12:19 pm on April 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ron launius,   

    What Happened The Night Of The Murders? 

    Another excerpt from the book “What Wild Ecstasy” by John Heidenry. You can read samples of it here.

    I wonder if the Gang had ordered food from Captain Pizza? That is the pizza joint that was mentioned in the movie. I guess whoever showed up at 3:45am did not care enough to save Susan. I have also been trying to find out what was on TV that night, but in the summertime it used to be all reruns of old shows on local TV. There were no network shows on during the summertime, besides the occasional made-for-TV movie.

    A few pages later, the author describes the Nash robbery, almost verbatim to Lind’s testimony. He did good research. The author does not seem to care much for Holmes. Oh well, he did his due diligence!

    The rest of the book is also excellent… and Heidenry touches on the early porn world, the business side, emerging technologies, the origins of professional porn businesses in Denmark and Germany, etc.


    What Wild Ecstasy by John Heidenry.

    What Wild Ecstasy by John Heidenry.

    • Char 12:13 pm on February 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      The movie American Gangster had pilot’s putting drugs into the corpses as Ron did if u seen that movie


    • Murmillo 12:10 pm on April 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply


      Do you know why Ron Launius changed that way? It seems that in the beginning he was living a conservative lifestyle. Didn’t he get along with his life in the military or did he get troubles after leaving the military?

      And is it true what internet sources say that he went to the Mexican border to deal drugs for bikers, then his girlfriend was kidnapped and when he got her back he wiped out all of the dealers?

      Is it known how many people he killed in total?


      • John 5:12 pm on April 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Not certain about the kidnapping stuff. I have not been able to confirm those stories. But… he had a good tour in the Air Force, serving almost 10 years with an honorable discharge from the service. I think that after the military and getting married, he just go disgruntled, worked a few dead end jobs and then go into drugs and easy money. He got busted smuggling drugs from Mexico and served his prison time. It was all downhill, so to speak, from there.


    • localarts 8:49 pm on April 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I truly wish Coen could have gotten a conviction. Holmes would have rolled over on Eddie for sure being the shit weasel that he was. I guess that was too much to ask for though.


      • John W 8:59 pm on April 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Me too. It’s a tough ride, Holmes would have rolled. You were right the whole time.. The gang also had Sac town obligations and court dates for petty crimes.


    • John 12:34 pm on April 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      During his trial, Holmes’ defense of being “the man in the middle” and under duress, would later be written in as a new defense in many law school textbooks. The same goes for the smuggling case of Ron Launius in 1974, but his case had to do with Double Jeopardy sentencing guidelines, etc. Ron’s case versus the US government has been cited by no less than 22 other legal cases over the years.


  • John 10:44 am on April 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: josh lucas, , ron launius   

    Well-Hanging Offense: Josh Lucas Talks About Ron Launius 

    This is a 2004 review from the Sydney Morning Herald. I guess this article is from when the DVD came out.

    I wonder which cop Josh Lucas talked to regarding “story after story” of Ron Launius. I wonder if it was Sacramento cop Beder Clifton, or one of the L.A. cops. I wonder what exaggerated stories he was told? Or, were they true stories?

    Also, it looks like they made the movie in a few weeks. Lucas was only there filming for 8 days.


    Well-hanging offence

    Val Kilmer had big pants to fill when playing porn star John Holmes in his darkest days, reports Sacha Molitorisz.

    Director James Cox
    Stars Val Kilmer, Josh Lucas, Lisa Kudrow, Kate Bosworth, Tim Blake Nelson
    Rated MA | Screening Now

    Actor Josh Lucas has never been on a film shoot as intense as Wonderland. In the drama, based on a true story, Lucas’s character is a low-life crook with an appetite for cocaine and violence.

    “This was a very difficult film for me, even though I was only involved for eight days,” says the Hulk star and Salma Hayek squeeze. “It was the only time I ever felt haunted. The character I played was so dark.

    “Actually, I was finding it hard to get a handle on him, so I sat down with a cop who knew him quite well, and he told me story after story. So then I got a real sense, and from then on I was haunted.

    “It was eight days of nastiness, in which I was discovering the head space of someone that high and violent and dangerous.”

    Lucas’s character is Ron Launius, a pistol-wielding, drug-snorting psycho who was not the sort of bloke you’d bring home to meet your mother. Unless you wanted your mum’s legs broken.

    A ringleader of a drug-dealing gang that took up residence in a house on Wonderland Avenue, Los Angeles, Launius died as violently as he had lived. In 1981, Launius and three of his pals were murdered in a crime that remains unsolved. Like the Sharon Tate bloodbath, it has become a defining moment in US criminal history.

    “We all saw the crime scene footage,” says Lucas. “This was the first time the LAPD used video cameras at a crime scene, and we saw it. It’s like the worst movie you could ever see.”

    Director James Cox hasn’t sugar-coated the brutality of the film, shot in only 21 days with a limited budget of reportedly $US5 million ($6.5 million), although Lucas puts the figure closer to $US2 million.

    Instead, Cox has made a clever film, a nod to the Kurosawa classic Rashomonthat takes in several perspectives of the crime and culminates with the slayings.

    “I’m gonna be straight with you,” says Lucas. “I love this movie, but there’s a level of violence there that’s not for everyone, and it captures the drug use and malevolence and nastiness with an extraordinary honesty. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s up there with Taxi Driver in many ways.

    “And one of the things that fascinated me is it captures the transition from the playful free-love, free-drug element of the ’70s to the nasty greed-is-good, cocaine element of the ’80s.

    “I think that crime really was the beginning of the shift. Cocaine was a horrific drug, and these people were some of the main suppliers at that point. The murders showed just how evil that edge can be.

    “So I think this movie is very hard-core.”

    Hard-core is a good description, especially as one of the most intriguing aspects of the murders is the involvement of John Holmes, aka Johnny Wadd, aka the man with the imposing appendage, who starred in hundreds of porn films and bedded thousands of women.

    By the time of the Wonderland Avenue murders, Holmes had stopped making porn and dived into drugs. And before the blood had dried, rumours started circulating that Holmes was somehow involved in the murders, if not an active participant.

    Accordingly, six months after the killings, he was arrested in Florida and charged. Soon after, he was acquitted. The crime was still unsolved when Holmes died of AIDS in 1988.

    “Holmes is obviously one of the great Shakespearean characters,” says Lucas. “He was a pedophile, a rapist, a thief, a murderer, a porn star – and he was cocky and playful to boot.”

    So is Lucas convinced Holmes was involved?

    “In a way, the film might have solved the crime,” he says. “The filmmakers got Sharon [Holmes’s wife, played by Lisa Kudrow] to admit that John had showed up at her house covered in blood. After all these years of research and talking, they’re the first to ever really tie this crime to John.”

    Whatever happened, Wonderland is a superior crime film. The retro soundtrack and aesthetic are exceptional, the script is clever and engaging and the performances are excellent. Lucas, for one, is brilliant.

    Still, the central performance of the film belongs to Val Kilmer, as John Holmes. Kilmer manages to be cheeky, arrogant, dissembling, obnoxious and awful, and yet still charismatic.

    Kilmer, like Russell Crowe, has a reputation for being prickly on set.

    Lucas has now worked with both men, having co-starred with Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. How did Lucas find Kilmer, and how did he find Crowe?

    “Actually, I experienced the same thing with Val as I did with Russell,” says Lucas. “When an actor is extremely dedicated to a character and a film, they will often be destructive towards anything they feel gets in the way of that.

    “Val brought that to this film, and he asked that of the rest of us. So now he’s one of my favourite people to work with, because this film was a terrific collaboration.

    “He was so deeply committed to creating his character, and in that process I developed a high respect for him. And the same is true of Russell.”

    • John W 10:37 am on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      On the DVD’s Bonus Features, the main actors briefly discuss their characters. The best of course are Bogosian and Lucas. Josh says Ron probably knew his life would be cut short, and although he may have tried to clean up and go straight, the dirty lifestyle was too easy, making it hard to walk away from it.

      Bogosian says Eddie was the smartest guy in the room, and that he knew the key to any lifestyle was survival. He also says Eddie was a baaaad man!!


    • scabiesoftherat 1:08 am on April 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Lucas owned that film. The second he said, “Davey”, he ruled that movie. He shoulda gotten an Academy Award for that film. Too bad he didn’t. Kilmer just went down after that. I watched “Kill The Irishman” with the wife and she didn’t even recognize Kilmer. Had no idea that THAT guy played Jim Morrison. LOL. IMO, Lucas was Wonderland on film. Him and Eric Bogosian


  • John 8:30 am on March 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ron launius,   

    Wonderland Murders: Rap Sheets & Ron Fled to Mexico 

    Joy Miller had a record of six arrests, while her fiance Billy Deverell had a baker’s dozen… also, Ron fled to Mexico after his 1973 smuggling arrest. What is also interesting is that initially, the cops thought it was a random axe murder or Manson type of killing. Read more below. Oh, and Bill Vlick had a long arrest record and was also a pimp…

    Sarasota-Herald Tribune, July 5, 1981.

    I wish that the folks who run the Wonderland Wikipedia page would clean up their erroneous phony baloney!

    I wish that the folks who run the Wonderland Wikipedia page would clean up their erroneous phony baloney!

    Source: Press-Courier, July 3, 1981

    Source: Press-Courier, July 3, 1981

    • pixie 2:46 pm on March 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Vlick sounds like a winner (rolls eyes). He also wasn’t too smart in telling the police that he got the money at a pyramid party.


      • John 2:54 pm on March 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        When I made that post, I had to look up pyramid party LOL, since they aren’t so popular anymore… Never heard of this:

        As I understood it, you would get invited to one of the pyramid parties, go to it and give somebody some money then you would throw a party, and people would come to your party and they would give you a bunch of money. And then the people you invited would throw their own parties and make money, so on and so forth.


  • John 10:21 am on October 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ron launius, thailand,   

    Ron Launius – His Tour Of Duty In Thailand 

    During the Vietnam War, Ron Launius did a tour in Thailand supporting the 8th Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base. This could have been where he picked up some of his drug habits. His military awards are also listed at the bottom of this post, with images. Enjoy!

    Ubon RTAFB

    The USA was granted use of this base under a “gentleman’s agreement”. The base was guarded by Thai forces while unarmed American security personnel patrolled the base in cahoots with the Thai military police.

    Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base. Photo Credit: Unknown

    The 8th Fighter Wing is composed of four groups each with specific functions. The Operations Group controls all flying and airfield operations. The Maintenance Group performs Aircraft and Aircraft support equipment maintenance.

    The Mission Support Group has a wide range of responsibilities with a few of its functions being Security, Civil Engineering, Communications, Personnel Management, Logistics, Services and Contracting support. The Medical Group provides medical and dental care.

    Ron’s military records show him stationed at Ubon from 66-67. He was primarily working in Logistics while in Thailand, and so he must have been part of the 8th LRS unit within the Mission Support Group of the 8th Fighter Wing:

    Ron’s unit was awarded a medal for their service at Ubon during wartime operations. The rest of his service was stateside at bases beginning in Texas and then California. He was also awarded several other prestigious military decorations. If you have any info on these medals, please post in the comments.

    Thank you for visiting my blog. It is a labor of fascination and interest!

    Aerial View. Ron’s Old Stomping Ground!

    Most of Ron Launius’ military awards and ribbons from his 10 years of service in the US Air Force:


    Ron Launius Military Records

    Wikipedia (for the military medals, Ubon, and Air Force info)

    • James Czechalski 1:17 am on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      There was a pic of ron in the military I saw on this site but cant find it anymore, has it been removed? Also I thought he was discharged honorably but I keep finding stories that say he wasn’t. I thought those stories were debunked.


      • John 7:35 pm on July 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Ron got an honorable discharge. His mother stated so.


  • John 9:14 am on September 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: funeral, lodi, ron launius,   

    The Funeral for Ron Launius 

    Held at Rocha’s Mortuary in Lodi, California.

    Ronnie’s funeral was closed casket. He was survived by his brother, father, mother and his wife, Susan.

    • JadedJules 10:45 am on September 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I love all these little tid bits you find and post. Great blog!


      • John 6:29 pm on September 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. Yes, I just figured that there is a “bit more” to lend to this affair. LOL. It’s a labor of curiosity! Take care…


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