The sex scandal of 1936
By R. Marc Kantrowitz
Massachusetts Lawyer’s Weekly
March 22, 2018
A rather ordinary-looking man with a fear of germs, he did possess a great head of hair. As an added bonus, he stood over 6 feet tall. Most alluring, though, was the fact that he was one of America’s foremost playwrights.
A virgin when he married in his later 20s, his timing was off. Most sow their wild oats in anticipation of marriage. He decided to do so after. Some friends and fellow wits quickly dubbed him “Public Lover #1,” while others tagged him a male nymphomaniac.
George S. Kaufman, when not regaling people as a member of the renowned Algonquin Round Table, was dazzling audiences with a string of Broadway hits.
Meanwhile, 3,000 miles away in Hollywood, Mary Astor was making her mark in the movies. On husband number two, she, too, strayed — and unwisely recounted her numerous conquests in a diary. Shortly, the world would eagerly lap up what she wrote. READ MORE.
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“Murder and mystery, society, sex and suspense were combined in this case in such a manner as to intrigue and captivate the public fancy to a degree perhaps unparalleled in recent annals.” Ohio vs. Sheppard, 165 Ohio St. 293, 294 (1956).
While this should no longer occur in a criminal trial, it can in a book. And this is the book in which it does.
Here, some of the most notorious legal cases in American history are explored. What they have in common is that they titillated, if not repulsed, the entire nation when they first occurred. What they still have in common is that, for the most part, they are today nearly totally forgotten.
From the unfair framing for murder of America’s most famous comedian, to America’s first capital case involving an older woman and her much younger lover murdering her husband, to Mad Harry Thaw, the wealthy and mad son of a steel magnate, killing America’s foremost architect over a beautiful woman, all come to life in gripping detail and drama. And meet the real Norman Bates of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, whose mother fixation and real life gruesome crimes far outmatched those of any fictional character.
This book brings to life these notorious characters and many more from the rich pages of history.
Read: "A New Chapter"
“Who’s the No. 1 comedian working today?” Appeals Court Judge R. Marc Kantrowitz asks more than a dozen wide-eyed, mostly young law clerks seated around a long conference-room table. A few moments of tense silence follow. This, after all, is a bit less serious of a query than a judge might typically pose to a student clerk, so it takes a few seconds to warm to the task. Read more.