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Dave Smith and the L.A. Times

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Tahoe27
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4/27/12

Dave Smith wrote the vast majority of the Zodiac articles in the L.A. Times.

In his first Zodiac article he wrote what I am sure many of you have read before:

"He could be old Mrs. So-and-so’s boy, who never says boo and still lives at home. Or that bachelor who keeps to himself and never seems to have any fun. Or that poor guy who works so hard at that lousy job and never complains and never lets on that his marriage is miserable, that his wife is a slut or a shrew…"

***

A long time ago when I first read that above paragraph, it reminded me of the "Confession Letter".

A couple of interesting things said in regards to Dave Smith:

"A complex man–sensitive and vulnerable with a nervous disposition, who also could be extravagantly ebullient and witty.."

"From then on, Smith was assigned to a number of high-profile stories and become known for his work on mass murder cases, including the Zodiac killings. An adept daily deadline writer, Smith would pound out stories with incredible speed when the gods of creativity were with him. But his strongest work came in the longer story form, where he could use his keen observations to paint fascinating word pictures."

"A strong voice in the paper through the mid-1970s, his creativity was later hampered by abrupt mood swings and other inner demons. He returned to the Tucson area after his retirement and lived a quiet life, collecting regional art and antiques and participating in some choral singing."..

…"Despite his penchant for dark subjectsin his most productive years, Smith could also write with sly humor…"

It goes on to talk about LaVey:
http://articles.latimes.com/2002/mar/02/local/me-smith2

He died in 2002 at the age of 64.

A few things actually jump out at me in regards to his and Zodiac’s writing style. Zodiac could have been influenced by him…or maybe this guy was Zodiac :suspect: ;) . Funny he mentions "the boy who never says boo" and later in the Halloween Card, "boo" is handwritten. Also, his use of "Or" in beginning a sentence.


…they may be dealing with one or more ersatz Zodiacs–other psychotics eager to get into the act, or perhaps even other murderers eager to lay their crimes at the real Zodiac’s doorstep. L.A. Times, 1969

 
Posted : April 2, 2013 6:13 am
Tahoe27
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4/27/12

David Smith, Los Angeles Times reporter, in 1973


…they may be dealing with one or more ersatz Zodiacs–other psychotics eager to get into the act, or perhaps even other murderers eager to lay their crimes at the real Zodiac’s doorstep. L.A. Times, 1969

 
Posted : April 2, 2013 6:15 am
Tahoe27
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4/27/12

I in no way mean to accuse this man of being the Zodiac killer. Just found him interesting and thought I would share and felt it relevant since he wrote almost all of the LA Times Zodiac articles.Although…he does have a droopy left eye. I wonder if he walks with a shuffling loap? :lol: :roll:

He was the Paul Avery of the LA Times


…they may be dealing with one or more ersatz Zodiacs–other psychotics eager to get into the act, or perhaps even other murderers eager to lay their crimes at the real Zodiac’s doorstep. L.A. Times, 1969

 
Posted : April 2, 2013 6:17 am
Tahoe27
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4/28/12

Interesting find Tahoe.

It’s got me wondering if that style of writing has any significance. Could it have been a style of journalistic prose common in that era and as such perhaps shared and/or adopted by some journalists at the time. If so could that suggest that the similarity between the style and the confession letter is, at least, a hint that the writer of it had some journalistic exposure?

Hadn’t thought of that angle.

I also read somewhere that the papers Zodiac used for some of his letters were odd sized and might be related to the publishing industry.

Whether this means anything I don’t know. :D

It’s called Monarch or Executive size paper patinky, 7.25" x 10.5".

I’d be curious to know what size envelopes Zodiac used, since there was a size that fit that paper, as opposed to the more common 8.5" wide envelope that most people would stuff a Monarch size letter in. Probably an image out there with a ruler next to it, don’t have time to look today. If he did use the smaller envelopes I think it would be an indication he used that paper in more instances than his Z missives.


…they may be dealing with one or more ersatz Zodiacs–other psychotics eager to get into the act, or perhaps even other murderers eager to lay their crimes at the real Zodiac’s doorstep. L.A. Times, 1969

 
Posted : April 2, 2013 6:20 am
Tahoe27
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9/30/12

"He could be old Mrs. So-and-so’s boy, who never says boo and still lives at home. Or that bachelor who keeps to himself and never seems to have any fun. Or that poor guy who works so hard at that lousy job and never complains and never lets on that his marriage is miserable, that his wife is a slut or a shrew…"

A long time ago when I first read that above paragraph, it reminded me of the "Confession Letter".

Me too. I suspect this is a literary technique that they used to teach at Journalists college in the 1960’s. I need to buy a book about it, or something.


…they may be dealing with one or more ersatz Zodiacs–other psychotics eager to get into the act, or perhaps even other murderers eager to lay their crimes at the real Zodiac’s doorstep. L.A. Times, 1969

 
Posted : April 2, 2013 7:33 am
Tahoe27
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I forgot Rembrandt posted this @ Zodiackiller.com.

The same article written by Dave Smith…with a little cartoon added in the St. Petersburg Times – 10/18/69:


…they may be dealing with one or more ersatz Zodiacs–other psychotics eager to get into the act, or perhaps even other murderers eager to lay their crimes at the real Zodiac’s doorstep. L.A. Times, 1969

 
Posted : June 13, 2013 5:20 am
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Hmm, this is new. Up until now, I was under the impression that Paul Avery was responsible for the ‘never says boo’ line (whose meaning I’m still not sure about).

 
Posted : June 16, 2013 12:13 am
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