January 31, 2018

Greystone Mansion Murder and Madness Mystery Thriller


27067005_10159706227410417_4189649830206514972_n“One of my favorite DayTripper tours,” is what I always tell my guests when they ask about this tour, and this year’s trip was no exception.  With a sold out motor coach on a beautiful day, we headed for posh Beverly Hills and the fabulous Greystone Mansion.

Our ‘on own’ lunch stop was at L.A.’s famous Farmers Market, home to more than 100 restaurants, grocers and tourist shops.  It is a favorite of “foodies” with its tremendous variety of restaurants and foods.  It’s not really a farmers market in the traditional sense, more like a food court with many unique eateries. Situated next to CBS Television City in Hollywood, it is a favorite lunch and shopping spot of workers, including celebrities and soap opera stars. The Farmers Market is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Los Angeles, visited by over 40,000 people a day during the peak summer season.

It’s clock tower (and market) is now considered a historic landmark.  In fact, it’s been said that Walt Disney drew up the plans for Disneyland during the many breakfasts he had at the Farmer’s Market, and James Dean was last seen alive, having breakfast before his fatal automobile accident at Dupar’s Restaurant.

27459065_10159706229410417_2523228838877102014_nThe history of the market, like most things, was quite happen chance. In 1870, Arthur Gilmore purchased two ranches in the Los Angeles vicinity and moved from Illinois. By the turn of the century, Gilmore created a successful dairy farm however, while drilling for water for his herd of dairy cows, he hit oil. By 1905, the dairy was gone and the Gilmore Oil Company was born. In 1934 Gilmore allowed (a dozen) farmers to come in to sell fresh fruits and vegetables from the back of their trucks to workers who were on his property who were drilling for oil.  This was the start of the farmers market. Eventually it involved into wooden stalls, and farmers were charged 50¢ per day rent a stall

Some of my favorite sit-down restaurants at the market which I always suggest to my guests include: Ulysses Voyage Greek Restaurant (very fresh and healthy food, with a nice patio) and Mr. Marcel Pain Vin Et Fromage, a typical French Bistro which I understand was completely disassembled in Paris and reassembled inside the Farmer’s Market.  They offer typical French fare such as Beef Bourguignon, cheese, wines, etc.  In terms of more casual, take away food, I enjoy the Gumbo Pot (try beignets and gumbo, jambalaya, etc.) and Pampas Grill (Brazilian) for some of the most succulent spit roasted beef you’ll ever taste.   Lastly, Bob’s Donuts has THE MOST DELECTABLE and award-winning cinnamon rolls, and you also must try one of the many unusual flavors at Bennett’s Ice Cream (all homemade) such as their very popular cabernet sauvignon sorbet.

LivingRoomview2The Grove, located next to the Farmer’s Market is yet another option for lunch.  Built in 2002, this upscale shopping center includes Nordstrom’s and 50 upscale shops and restaurants. It is a very different experience than the Farmers Market.  Mario Lopez used to broadcast live from The Grove on the TV Show Extra, but has since moved to Universal Studios CityWalk

The Grove’s movie theaters are popular with celebrities, and contain a special private screening room just for them.  A couple of movies that have premiered here include “Elf” (Will Farrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart) and “I Heart Huckabees” (Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Jude Law, Mark Wahlberg)

W1siZiIsInVwbG9hZHMvcGxhY2VfaW1hZ2VzLzVmZTRjOTBmMjJiMDViMGFiMF84NjkxNjM0NDkwX2ViNzlhZDE3NWRfay5qcGciXSxbInAiLCJ0aHVtYiIsIngzOTA-Il0sWyJwIiwiY29udmVydCIsIi1xdWFsaXR5IDgxIC1hdXRvLW9yaWVudCJdXQFollowing lunch and shopping, we headed for nearby Beverly Hills to the fabulous Greystone Mansion to see a murder mystery play, a reenactment of the tragic events that actually took place here. (Names were changed due to privacy issues) The play, entitled “The Manor” is in its 16th year and takes place in different rooms of the mansion. Butler James, housekeeper Ursula, and mute maid Ellie led us around from room to room to witness different scenes from a very fateful day in the house.  The play ends in very dramatic fashion and one could help but moved emotionally.

The history surrounding how this mansion came to be, is fascinating.  Edward Doheny came out to Los Angeles from Wisconsin in 1856 and bought land here.  In 1892, Doheny and his friend Charles A. Canfield, were the first to strike oil in Los Angeles.  They later discovered large oil deposits in Mexico which made them the largest producers of oil in the world at that time.

1-Jean-Zinner-GreystoneEdward Doheny had this mansion built for his only son Edward “Ned” Laurence Doheny, Jr. as a wedding present to him and his new wife Lucy.  The 55-room, Tudor-style (46,000 sq ft) sits on 16 acres of land. Ned, his wife Lucy, and their five children moved into the residence in September 1928, and the estate took three years to complete at a cost of over $3 million. This was an unimaginable sum in real estate at the time and it was the most expensive home built in California up to that point.

On the night of February 16, 1929 only five months after the family had moved in, Ned Doheny was found shot to death inside the home at the age of 35.  He was victim of an apparent murder-suicide perpetrated by his longtime personal friend and aid Hugh Plunkett. The official story indicated Plunket murdered Ned either because of a “nervous disorder” or inflamed with anger over not receiving a raise.

5-Stephen-Tomar-Stuart-Lamfert-GreystoneNed’s widow Lucy remarried and lived in the house until 1955, at which time she sold the mansion and its grounds.

In 1965, Beverly Hills stopped the demolition by purchasing the mansion for $1.3 million, and today, the entire 18.3-acre site, including its centerpiece Greystone Mansion, is used as a public park by the City of Beverly Hills.

The house and grounds are often used in film and television. The house’s descending staircase is one of the most famous sets in Hollywood.  Some of the movies and tv shows filmed here include;

  • Death Becomes Her starring Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep
  • Austin Powers
  • The Bodyguard starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner
  • Dark Shadows
  • Dynasty
  • Ghost Busters
  • Murder She Wrote
  • Spider Man
  • Star Trek

25348410_10159504586350417_2822144666949076192_nMark Jacobson
DayTripper Tour Director

Tour: Murder & Madness Mystery Thriller at the Greystone Mansion
Date: January 27, 2018


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