The Horror Honeys: Tragical History: Dearly Departed Tours LA

Tragical History: Dearly Departed Tours LA

A Head Honey and Revenge Honey Adventure!

Dearly Departed Tours - The Tragical History Tour

It's not that I'm not a tour person...actually, I'm really not.  I've always been one of those snotty little bitches who took one museum tour when I was younger and knew more about the artifacts than the tour guide did, and it ruined me for tours for the rest of my life.  My aunt is also an avid tour taker, preferring to sit in an air conditioned bus and let someone else do the traveling for her.  Add to that, living in a tourist town, I loathe busses full of bloated tourists and it really grosses me out to think of spending hours in a bus ooing and aahing at whatever landmarks are pointed out like a bunch of traveling sheep.  Revenge Honey feels the same way about tours as I do...preferring instead to get lost and do the touring on her own terms.

Flash forward to last month when I was watching a documentary on Netflix called "Six Degrees of Helter Skelter". As obsessed as I am with this case (I wouldn't be True Crime Honey if I wasn't) initially, I wasn't enthused...the narrator's delivery was a little hard to process but when I realized that the reason I was having trouble following it was because the narrator (the owner of Dearly Departed, Scott Michaels) was SO PASSIONATE about the subject he was talking about that he couldn't control his fact vomiting. Once I figured that out...I was hooked.  Vintage recordings of Charles Manson's musical styling?  HEEBIE JEEBIES FOR DAYS.  I live tweeted the fuck out of the entire documentary and stalked Scott's business on twitter, threatening him with a visit when I was in town for Son of Monsterpalooza.  As usually happens when I twitter stalk people - nothing happened.  But that's cool...I was determined.  I purchased tickets for myself and Revenge Honey to take the Tragical History Tour, a climate controlled tour through Hollyweird's seedy underbelly of murder, suicide, and celebrity nastiness.

Poor Peggy Entwistle

Skip ahead to Friday, October 11th, 2013 - Revenge Honey and I show up on Sunset Boulevard really not knowing what we were in for.  Much to my extreme delight...we were expected.  I'm not gonna lie, I was fucking thrilled.

The Dearly Departed HQ itself is a mini-museum of death and Hollywood remembrance.  From fireplace rock of Sharon Tate's Cielo Drive home, to Divine's "death door" (I may have squealed a bit) and other amazing pieces of Hollywood's "dead history" (Rock Hudson's bed post!), I could have spent hours poring over all of the little pieces contained in the multitude of cabinets and displays...but we had a tour to get to!

Revenge Honey's favorite thing - Natalie Wood's prescription bottle (Revenge Honey also strongly believes that Robert Wagner's current wife Jill St John pushed Natalie Wood off the boat and to her watery death)

Head Honey/True Crime Honey's favourite thing - Masonry from the ruins of Jeffery Dahmer's Milwaukee, WI apartment building.

Piling into the "climate controlled tour bus", I jumped at the chance to sit up front next to our tour guide Brian Donnelly...mostly because I wanted to be as close to the action as possible and he seemed like a nice dude to sit next to.  With Revenge Honey at the back of the bus and me in the front, we were all set to dominate this tour.  Aaaaand we kinda did.  Those poor German people didn't stand a chance (sorry not sorry).
Head Honey and Revenge Honey with Dearly Departed owner
Scott Michaels and our tour guide Brian Donnelly! <3

Long story short (too late!), our tour guide, Brian, was a trip and a half.  If I thought Scott was a fact vomiter,  Brian was a fire hydrant - spewing amazing history and insight faster than most people could keep up with, I was stoked to be his co-pilot on our journey.  It felt like a private tour just for me, and that was fucking rad. Brian's obvious passion for the history of Hollywood was amazing...I'd be stoked to take a tour of his personal favorite places without the restrictions of a time limit.

Now, this tour isn't for the faint of heart, the delicate of stomach, or the uptight of personality.  If you can't handle the slightest bit of fuckery, a) get off my website, and b) this isn't the tour for you...Disneyland is that way...

We were treated to not only the ADHD style commentary of our wonderful guide, but to crime scene photos, archival recordings of actual 911 calls, and police reports from the crimes and deaths themselves.  These little touches make my True Crime Honey bone tingle.

Honey Highlights:

Head Honey  
Black Dahlia - A lifetime obsession with true crime, and especially unsolved crime made this part of the tour an extra special treat for me.  Hearing readings of coroner's reports that I hadn't seen before was a great start to the tour.  I have some books to read and review on this subject now.  #stoked

John Belushi - a personal twinge for Head Honey, seeing the theatre where the "Palace Hotel Ballroom" scene from Blues Brothers was filmed (the Pantages Theatre) and the drive around the famous Chateau Marmont where Belushi died was too much for me (sunglasses ON).

The Menendez house now...
awkwardly washing multiple Mercedes'
Menendez Murders - Listening to the 911 call and a follow up interview with Lyle Menendez made me hate this case even more than I already did.  Driving through a neighborhood filled with houses boasting values in the multiple millions made their crime even more heinous.

Bugsy Siegel Murder - my fascination with visionary gangster Bugsy Siegel was thoroughly satisfied on this tour...vintage crime scene photos paired with a stop at the site of his murder was extremely thrilling.  Despite his gangland connections, Siegel was a stone cold business man who was lightyears ahead of his time, and like so many other historical visionaries, he wound up dead.

Revenge Honey

This stop on the tour hit both Honeys right in the Feels.
The Viper Room - Unable to get out of the bus to take her own photos, Revenge Honey was overwhelmed at this stop on the tour.  River Pheonix's death was the first celebrity death that touched her in a personal way.  Hearing Joaquin Pheonix's voice in the 911 call broke her heart (sunglasses ON).

Bela Lugosi - A stop at the nondescript apartment building where Bela Lugosi died was a special treat for Revenge Honey who has a very large place in her heart for his work with Ed Wood in Glen or Glenda, and Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Rebecca Schaeffer - her tragic death sparked
key changes in privacy laws
Black Dahlia - This true crime case was the first one that Revenge Honey was infatuated with.  The graphic representation of the decadence of that era and how everything could go so utterly wrong.  Creepy bonus points for the pause at the house of the "possible murderer".

Rebecca Schaeffer - Loving the show "My Sister Sam" very early in life made the loss of this actress another personal touch on this tour.  The changes to privacy laws that resulted from this case are both infuriating and heartbreaking.

To keep from giving away some of the more intriguing parts of the tour, your intrepid Honey's were subjected to all kinds of unique inside information into the dark heart of Hollywood, some touching, some humorous, but all respectfully and wonderfully presented. Definitely things we never would have found on our own.  This isn't a tour for those looking for a sensationalist star tour.  Dearly Departed is for the true history buff who appreciates a little irreverence, tangentry (dem wigs tho), and a lot of personal investment from the tour guides and from Scott Michaels himself.   This tour is a GEM of a find, and I'm so glad that I found it so randomly.

Dearly Departed Tours - HIGHLY recommended.  If you think you know your Hollywood history, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Next time I'm in LA - I'll be on the Helter Skelter Tour - see you there.

We traded stickers and buttons, we're bro's now.

FYI - The Horror Honeys are now in possession of Johnny Depp's Hollywood address...and no, we're not telling you what it is.