Article by William Weston and Peter Heitmann
Two curious episodes from the life of Robert Linkletter foreshadowed his emergence as the Zodiac Killer. 1) an argument with a boy next door when Robert was seven years old, 2) the recording of a song called “Big Jack.”
Robert’s father and mother, Art and Lois Linkletter, moved to San Francisco in 1937, where Art became an announcer for KYA radio. Their first son Arthur Jack was born on November 20, 1937, and their daughter Dawn was born on December 1, 1939. In 1942 Art went to Hollywood, where he met with radio producer John Gueldel to work on a pioneering concept – a show that employed audience participation, contests and gags. Leaving his family in San Francisco, Art moved to Hollywood to become the emcee of the radio show People are Funny. It was a huge success and quickly served as the prototype for more game shows both on radio and television. On January 15, 1945, Art Linkletter started a daytime variety/talk show called House Party, which became another huge success.
Shortly after Robert was born in San Francisco on October 15, 1944, the Linkletter family moved to Los Angeles. Their home was located in Holmby Hills, part of the “Platinum Triangle” along with Beverly Hills and Bel Air. Two more children were born to the Linkletters: Sharon on August 8, 1946 and Diane on October 31, 1948.
The Linkletters lived at 219 S. Mapleton Drive, across the street from the home of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Other celebrities in the neighborhood included Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Lana Turner, and Walt Disney.
Art Linkletter and his wife in front of their home posing with their newly bought 1960 Imperial.
Living next door to the Linkletters was Sammy Cahn, his wife Gloria, and their two children, Laurie and Steve. Born of Jewish immigrants in the Lower East Side of New York City, Sammy was a musical prodigy as a youngster. Changing his name from Samuel Cohen to Sammy Cahn, he became famous for composing romantic lyrics for Broadway plays and Hollywood films.
His son Steve, born April 28, 1947, also achieved fame as a musician, first by playing drums for a surf music band called the Chantays in 1961 and later by playing the guitar for bands like Steely Dan, the Breaker Brothers, and Billy Joel. He might be the “little Sammy” mentioned on page 70 in Art Linkletter’s book Kids Say the Darndest Things (published in 1957, illustrated by cartoonist Charles Schultz with a foreword by Bill Cosby). Beginning his anecdote about his son Robert, author Art Linkletter writes:
Children are most apt to be most direct with other children. No namby-pamby talk is heard when forthright opinions are indicated. My own seven year old Robert was no exception to the rule, as overheard in the opening conversation with a brand new neighbor through our connecting fence.
“I think I’ll climb over and play with your wagon,” announced little Sammy as the opening gambit.
“Oh, yeah,” replied Robert quietly. “Just come over and you’ll see what happens.”
“Oh yeah!” sneered Sammy. “So what’ll happen?”
“I’ll cut you up in little round pieces, stuff you down our toilet. And then,” in a triumphant crescendo, “I’ll flush you away!”
His father, who was on the porch, overheard what Robert said and immediately went over to his son to give him a “stern lecture.”
“How many times have I told you?” I remonstrated. “Never, never, never, stuff anything down that toilet! Plumbers cost money!”
Adults can say the darndest things too.
Although father and son were just having a joke at the expense of the little boy next door, we see in this exchange an early propensity to speak casually of the most hideous forms of violence and murder.
More about Robert was revealed in an article about the Linkletter family in TV Radio Mirror February 1956. Art said:
Robert is the only one in the family with any mechanical ability. He is always fooling around with engines and motors. He’s always taking things apart. The family has to keep an eagle eye on alarm clocks. Robert loves to act, too. More than anyone else in the family, he is the most artistic and sensitive. It’s quite a contrast with his mechanical ability. He’s going to be a great producer. He’s already put together costume plays, magic sets and living-room circuses.
Mechanical ingenuity is clearly evident in the so-called “Bus Bomb” letter, mailed November 9, 1969, in which the Zodiac provided three handwritten pages detailing an intricate hillside device he planned to use against a school bus full of children. The trigger was a photoelectric switch that detonated the bomb when the shadow of a bus, which has a taller profile than other vehicles on the road, passed over it.
Robert received his education at the Black Foxe Military Academy located in Hollywood next to the Wilshire Country Club. A lot of sons of celebrities went to this school. Robert got together with other boys who could play instruments to form a band. Eventually the band became an orchestra. A brief notice in a Ventura newspaper said that Black Foxe student Mel Lee Kirkman would be playing the piano for “Bob Linkletter’s orchestra” at the Hollywood Bowl on October 21, 1961.
One particular instrument Robert wanted to play was the electric guitar. When his father refused to buy him one, he ingeniously constructed his own. An interesting comment about the guitar comes from a terrascope.com interview of Peter Lewis, founding member of the rock band Moby Grape.
My first year at Loyola high school I met up with the son of one of the guys from the original, radio version of Amos ’n’ Andy, Charlie Correll — same name as his dad. . . . he took me over on a Saturday night to where he was playing with (television game host) Art Linkletter’s son, Bob. And it was Bob who got me into the electric guitar. Bob died later in a car accident. . . .
I was just learning how to play the guitar, and Link (Bob) showed me some stuff. He had built his own electric guitar. He was very inventive. It had a shitty action, but he let me play it. Then we got some of their friends – guys who also went to Black Fox Military Academy. Jim O’Keefe on tenor sax and Tom Crumplar on bass, and we had a band. Somehow we learned enough stuff so we could go play, like at schools. We must have played every weekend for four years. Back then you could do that if you wanted. . . .
The band was originally called the Tornadoes, but later they changed the name to Cornells. Peter Lewis continues:
We had a manager, Steve Jahns, and he took care of that deal. He was also the one who came up with the name, the Cornells. We’d always make fun of ourselves, and we wanted a corny name. We made up those song titles on the album as we went (laughs) —”Stompin’ After Five.” Nobody paid any attention to that. When it was time to do the next song, we’d just think it up right there and do it. It was all done in three days. Nobody sang. There were lots of bands in those days where nobody sang. When the British Invasion stuff hit the next year, it was like going from silent movies to talkies.
According to a Cash Box article May 4, 1963, members of the Cornells were: guitarist Peter Lewis (son of movie actress Loretta Young); rhythm guitar Bob Linkletter (son of Art Linkletter); saxist Jim O’Keefe (son of Dennis O’Keefe, a famous football player and movie actor); singer Charles Correll (son of Charles Correll, Sr, who was Amos for the comedy team “Amos and Andy”); and bass guitarist Tom Crumplar (the only one who was not the son of a celebrity).
The Cornells. From left to right: Lewis, Linkletter, Correll, Crumplar, and O’Keefe. Unknown person at the keyboard.
On May 27, 1963, the band played “Caravan” on a game show called I’ve Got a Secret. Their secret was that they were all the sons of celebrities.
Robert Linkletter graduated from Black Foxe in May 1962. A picture of him wearing his uniform, sitting on a bench next to his mother, appeared in the May 27, 1962 edition of the Los Angeles Times.
About a month prior to his graduation, Art and Lois Linkletter, along with their three children, Robert, Sharon, and Diane, went to Washington DC along with Charles Correll, Sr., his wife, and two children, Charlie and Richard, to visit J. Edgar Hoover at FBI headquarters. Below is an excerpt from the FBI report:
In the fall of 1962, Bob Linkletter was enrolled as a student at Santa Monica City College. At the same time he was playing guitar for the Cornells, he was also taking drama classes at the college. A college newspaper, the Santa Monica Corsair, April 24, 1963, had an article about Linkletter and another student named Mike Jarvis. Both were actors in a college stage production called “a Drone on the Throne.” The play was a children’s musical comedy with actors and actresses all dressed up as various kinds of insects. Robert had a minor role playing a bee. According to the article, Linkletter was doing television commercials and had plans to become a theater arts major at University of Southern California. This interest in musical comedies would be reflected later in references to the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera Mikado in Zodiac letters.
After the spring semester ended, Linkletter continued to perform with the Cornells. They produced an album called Beach Bound, which included such songs as Beach Bound, Malibu Surf, Agua Caliente, Night Train, Stomping after Five, Surfer’s Stomp, and Lone Star Stomp. On August 31, 1963 the Cornells played at the Los Angeles Sports Arena along with the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Marvin Gaye, the Righteous Brothers, and others. On October 19 they appeared at the Hollywood Bowl along with the Beach Boys, the Challengers, the Mixtures, and others. In December 1963 they made another record with “Do the Slauson” on one side and “Surf Fever” on the other.
The Cornells often played at a Sunset Strip club called Gazzari’s, which Lewis described as “definitely the uncoolest club on the Strip. It was mostly people there with sharkskin suits and their hair slicked back.” Unlike other clubs such as Whiskey-a-Go-Go and the Trip, Gazzari’s had more than its fair share of “sub-mobsters” and “local enforcers,” who oftentimes would bounce anyone with long hair.
The Cornells made an appearance on the Les Crane show which aired on January 11, 1965. From the Peter Lewis interview:
Then we did The Les Crane Show. By this time (1964) we were actually singing. I sang lead on “Sweets For My Sweet” and “Every Time You Walk In The Room.” We had just got into the English thing. I was about to go to Purdue (University) because they had a professional pilots’ program there.
So Les Crane asked me after we did our songs, “Are you gonna do this for a living?” And I said, “No, I’m gonna go to school and be a pilot.” Bob (Linkletter) got really pissed off at me for sayin’ that. We were supposed to play Bob’s dad’s show the next week, The Art Linkletter Show, but after Bob got mad at me I don’t know if they played it or not. He was really pissed off. I know that this book came out listing personnel for surf bands, and I’m not listed as one of those guys….
The year 1964 was transitional for Robert, as his taste in music diverged from his father and brother Jack. While Robert was experimenting with garage rock or acid rock, his father and brother were busy promoting new forms of the folk music genre. Jack had a show called Hootenanny which featured such pop-oriented folk singers and bands as Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Cass Elliot, Carly Simon, the New Christy Minstrels, the Smothers Brothers, the Journeymen, and the Limeliters.
An article on January 6, 1966 said that Art Linkletter was searching for musical acts to appear on his new show Hollywood’s Talent Scouts. Regarding his second-born son, it said:
The chances of a young pro named Robert Linkletter [appearing on the show] look dark. Says Art: “My older son, Jack and I really think alike. And though I love Robert dearly, I sometimes wonder where he came from.” (This is accompanied by the famed Linkletter leer.) “I most certainly do approve though of the principle of what he’s doing. With encouragement from John Conte’s wife he’s on tour protesting the protest songs. But his music? Not on my show!”
In 1964, Bob Linkletter, using the name Bob Preston (Preston being his middle name), recorded a song called “The Letter” for a 45 rpm record under Anthony J. Hilder’s Impact Records label.
Hilder was a prolific producer of records in the surf music genre. He was also a right-wing conservative who in 1964 supported Barry Goldwater’s campaign to be president. Hilder put together a record album called Stars for Barry.
Four years later, on the morning of June 5, as Senator Robert Kennedy lay dying in Good Samaritan Hospital from gunshot wounds received during the night before, Hilder and fellow conservative John Steinbacher managed, with surprising alacrity, to organize a press conference to give their point of view. As stated by William Turner and Jonn Christian in their book The Assassination of Robert Kennedy:
While Yorty was holding forth downtown on the morning of June 5, a group calling itself American United called a press conference in Westwood, near the UCLA campus. American United was the two-man show of John Steinbacher, a John Birch Society propagandist and part-time reporter for the Anaheim Bulletin in Orange County, and Anthony J. Hilder, a firebrand activist. Both were proteges of the well-known anti-Semite Myron J. Fagan, a leader of the Hollywood blacklisting clique during the McCarthy era.
In fact, Hilder and a gaggle of followers had been at the Ambassador Hotel the previous night trying to race-bait RFK by handing out buttons and pamphlets depicting him and black Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., of New York on the same ticket. After the shooting the Hilder group created considerable confusion by alleging the assailant was a Eugene McCarthy supporter.
For the June 5 press conference, Steinbacher and Hilder had prepared a press kit crammed with their prolific output of ultraright polemics. They made the claim that RFK was struck down by the “Illuminati-Communist” conspiracy, using Sirhan as a pawn.
The picture below from the Bakersfield Californian, April 29, 1969, shows Anthony J. Hilder on the left and John Steinbacher in the center speaking to the chairwoman of Mothers Organized for Responsible Education at the Bakersfield High School. Steinbacher was the speaker for a meeting of MORE on the subject of “Anaheim, Sex Education Center USA.”
In a taped interview made on May 3, 1970, Hilder told Jonn Christian:
I predicted Bobby Kennedy would be shot . . . then he was shot. I predicted [Dr. Martin Luther] King would be shot . . . and he was shot! . . . Right now they have to have another killing . . . preferably a so-called Conservative . . . maybe Nixon. . . . But it would be wonderful to have one-two-three [Kennedy] brothers. [ellipses and brackets in the original text]
Hilder in 1967 raised money for Mafioso murderer Edgar Eugene Bradley with a PO Box in Woodland Hills that was also a PO Box for American United recordings. Bradley at the time was fighting extradition to New Orleans for Jim Garrison’s trial of Clay Shaw. As it turned out he did not go to New Orleans. He came under suspicion principally because he was in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Shortly after the shooting of President Kennedy, he was seen on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository falsely posing as a Secret Service agent.
At some point during this period Robert Linkletter joined the Air Force Reserve. According to various articles, Robert was on a six month tour of duty in Texas, particularly Sheppard Air Force Base near Wichita Falls. In the spring of 1965 Air Force Reserve units were being sent to Vietnam, where the war there was beginning in earnest, and also to the Dominican Republic, where political unrest was threatening to become a revolution. Probably Linkletter’s unit was on standby status, until such time it was determined whether or not to deploy them overseas.
Apparently Linkletter’s six month stint in Texas did not limit his freedom to travel off base from time to time to pursue recreational interests. A short item in the gossip column of the Daily News by Ed Sullivan July 2, 1965 said “Bob Linkletter dating Donna Loren.”
A singer and actress, Loren first became known as the “Dr. Pepper Girl” doing commercials for the soft drink Dr. Pepper. She was an actress in beach party movies, released six singles with Challenge Records and an album with Capitol Records in 1965 called Beach Blanket Bingo, and appeared in various television shows. At the time she was dating Bob, she was a regular performer on the television show Shindig!
Upon his discharge from the Air Force in October 1965, Linkletter had his debut singing and playing his guitar on the Les Crane show. He had written a song called “The Out Crowd.” The song was on a 45 rpm disc released by Chattahoochee Records of Hollywood. On the flip side was another song he wrote called “The Final Season.” Chattahoochee Records was a label headed by Ruth Conte, wife of actor Richard Conte.
Both Richard and Ruth acted on stage, television, and screen. The best film Ruth appeared in was In Cold Blood (1967) in which she played Bonnie Clutter, the mother of the Clutter family that was murdered by two drifters in Holcomb, Kansas. After that film, she retired from acting. Ruth divorced her husband in 1962 and went to UCLA where she got a master’s degree in social welfare. After the Watts riot in 1965 she helped organize community rebuilding projects. Later she became a psychotherapist and co-founder of the Center for Human Problems in the Los Angeles area. In her private practice she worked with many people from the entertainment industry.
After his appearance on the Les Crane show, Linkletter went on tour around the country to sing his songs. In interviews he gave to newspaper reporters, he freely expressed his political views.
The Detroit Free Press, November 26, 1965
At present Bob’s a singer with an eye on an acting career. When Bob was in the Air Force, he saw the reaction of his buddies to the current crop of “down beat” records like “Eve of Destruction.” It made him mad enough to write an answer, a hopeful upbeat look at life and the future. He put it on records – “The Out Crowd” and “The Final Season” – and now he’s touring the country to talk about the songs.
Hartford Courant, December 3, 1965
“In essence,” Linkletter says, “‘The Final Season’ takes a swing at the ‘Get out of Viet Nam’ people. ‘The Out Crowd,’” he continues, “says rock ’n’ roll people have to lose their masculine identity to be ‘in’ – and I’d rather be ‘out.’” Linkletter says he got the idea for the record a few months ago, while he was on a six month tour of duty with the Air Force in Texas. “There was a possibility they’d ship us to Viet Nam, and at that time Barry McGuire’s ‘Eve of Destruction’ came out. This record really depressed some of the guys, and it kind of annoyed me.”
Linkletter came back to civilian life about six weeks ago, and wandered into a recording section and looked over the list of top records in the folk-rock field. “Here were all these records of the protest movement, and records which attacked this country’s ideals and morals. I said, ‘Man, this has gotta stop.’”
The music of Linkletter’s record is standard “roll” beat – the difference is in the lyrics, which tell of society’s contempt of “a man who’s afraid to fight.” Continuing his attack on “negative, distressing stuff,” Linkletter says he feels the Watts riot in Los Angeles was caused, in part, by the “Radical, nut music.”
“These radical, nut groups are taking up 85 to 90 percent of our air time, and they’re getting their points across,” he says. “We’re saying 85 per cent of the people – including those in college – don’t go along with this.”
Boston Globe, December 5, 1965
“Bob Linkletter’s Goal: Accentuate the Positive”
“What I’m really pushing,” he said, with all the clarity of diction that has won his father fortune, “is positive music as opposed to negative music, healthy music as opposed to sick music, delight rather than doom-crying.”
What set him off was “The Eve of Destruction,” the Barry McGuire plaint that all is dust and ashes or will be soon.
“I was down at Shepherd Air Base in Texas,” he recounts, “when that record came out, and I tell you, it had a depressing effect on the men there that heard it.”
The lyrics of his “The Final Season,” fight back so to speak.
“We’re reaching the change of the season
When all young men will learn to be a man
But you can’t be a man unless you stand and fight
No, you can’t be a man until you know what’s right …”
“We’ve had so much anti-American rock and rot from Bob Dylan, Pete Seegar and the others, that I know there’s an audience for some positive music. Billy Carr’s doing it, and Bobby Bare.”
Bob has appeared on his father’s show, but has sworn off future appearances. This trip is on his own; and so is the record promotion. He made the record on his return from Australia, where he was running one of his father’s huge ranches.
Star Tribune (Minneapolis), November 19, 1965
“The Beatles started the whole thing,” he went on, “and then the whole crowd of long-haired freaks came running after them. They’re weak shells of men. The whole business came from England, and I wonder why we have to pattern our society on that one.”
Star Tribune (Minneapolis), December 31, 1965
They’d Rather Be Right
Somehow I can’t let the year end without taking note in this space of the passing-through-town of Bob Linkletter, whom I can describe only as right-wing rock ’n’ roller.
Linkletter’s visit occurred weeks ago, long before the holidays started, when he was on a promotional tour for a new record of his called “The Out Crowd.” I put away the notes and the record, with the intention of using the material if and when the recording made some splash on the rock circuit. I haven’t heard of it since, but still I can’t bear to throw away the notes.
Linkletter, 21, whose older brother, Jack, and whose father, Art, have gained some notoriety as television masters of ceremonies, has been playing guitar and singing for some nine years.
Lately, he said, he has been bugged by The In Crowd to the point of doing something about it.
“The In Crowd!” he snorted. “Long hair, lace, next month dresses. It’s a sick crowd. Walk down Sunset Blvd., it’s like a zoo. The English influence? Why, any society would like to pattern theirs against degenerate English, I can’t understand.”
He put all of his pent-up feelings into a rock ’n’ roll song, “The Out Crowd,” and he quoted some lines from the song to show how he felt. He gave me a copy of the sheet music, and his permission to quote some sample lyrics:
I don’t look like the others all look … I won’t dress like the others all do …
Well, my hair ain’t long, yea, I keep it combed …
Among this jungle of long-haired freaks, you found a guy who stands up and speaks …
Like, a girl, I don’t dig those gutless kind …
Linkletter said he was singing to protest today’s singer of protest songs.
“Except that I’m not being negative, I’m being positive,” he said.
He was being positive, he said, in opposition to such negativists as Bob Dylan, Mary Ann Faithfull, and Sonny and Cher.
“Dylan’s presenting the world to the kids from out of the sewer,” said Linkletter. “A lot of the problems we have today, the protestors are making them like worse. They’re singing about free love and perversion and junkyism, and it’s become a thing the kids to accept dirty, filthy, perverted degenerate groups …
“This is not just a record, this is a cause that we’re promoting to defend the principles that this country was founded on.”
Many performers have affected using the editorio-conversational “we” as a substitute for the first-person singular, but this was not the case with Linkletter. When he said “we” he included his partner, songwriting collaborator, Tony Hiller, who operates recording and song-publishing companies and a public-relations firm called American United.
Besides all the things the protesting, degenerate performers are doing overtly in their songs and recordings, said Hiller, there’s an even more insidious thing happening in the music trade.
He then went on to describe a technique which he called audible-subliminal voice tracks, which he said are the audio equivalent of the barely perceptible visual messages, designed to affect only the subconscious, which were the subject of much investigation and publicity a few years back.
“The Communists are using this in records,” said Hiller. “Our pop records are carrying subversive audio-subliminal messages to the kids.”
“Can you give me an example?” I said.
“Well, it’s like you have a recording of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb,’ and then about 17 decibels under it there’s a voice saying, ‘The United States must be destroyed … Marx is right.’”
I pressed him for a current example from the pop recording field.
“It’s very hard to isolate, even with the equipment I have available to me in the recording business,” he said, “but I know it can be done, I know how it works, and I know it’s there.”
Hiller and Linkletter also had with them copies of a record called “Jolly Red Giant,” not sung by Linkletter but by a group called Bob ’n’ Robyn, and issued on one of Hiller’s labels, about the jolly Red menace who is ho-ho-hoing away in our midst.
These tunes, plus another Linkletter tune called “Down That Road,” were but the beginning of a campaign to combat Dylan and his crowd on their own ground.
“We’ve got plenty more,” said Linkletter. “Songs like this to build up the younger generation, like moralitywise.”
The Hiller in the article is a misspelling of Hilder, as in Anthony J. Hilder.
Bob Linkletter’s tour eventually fizzled out, probably due to a lack of interest.
On March 18, 1966 the Los Angeles Evening Citizen News had the following notice:
The undersigned do certify they are conducting a business at 8816 Harratt, Los Angeles, California, under the fictitious firm name of BOSH! RECORDS and BOSHMAN ENTERPRISES and HARRATT MUSIC and that said firm is composed of the following persons, whose names in full and places of residence are as follows: Robert J Hafner, 480 Galsworthy St., Thousand Oaks, California, and Robert P. Linkletter, 865 Comstock Ave., Los Angeles, California.
The word “bosh” is an English slang word meaning nonsense or foolish talk. The word appears below in the lyrics of a song that has a character identifying himself as the serial killer Jack the Ripper.
Linkletter’s partner, Robert J. Hafner, was a record producer and song writer who along with Tony Hilder was responsible for many of the surf records that came out in the 1960s including “Vesuvius” and “Intoxica” by The Revels. One of the worst songs of the surf music genre, written by Hafner and Hilder, was “Surfin Tragedy,” about a surfer riding a wave who dies when he smashes into the pilings of a pier. Hafner also contributed to the music for the film The Exiles.
In March of 1966, “Bob and Michele” recorded a two-minute song called “Big Jack” for Bosh! Records, credited to R. J. Hafner. The duet was Bob Linkletter and Playboy Bunny Michele Martin Dawn. The song was produced by Anthony Music Corporation, which is one of Anthony J. Hilder’s labels.
The lyrics of the song are given below with Bob’s voice in italics:
I had a little girl with little golden curls, and I loved her tenderly
And then one night we had a fight, and this she said to me:
Big Jack, you’re all whack and I am a rich man’s dream.
If you don’t leave this house right now, I’m afraid I am going to scream. Eeek!
Well then I told my girl with her little golden curls, I said to her that night… don’t let us part, don’t let us fight – OR I might act in spite.
Big Jack, don’t come back, don’t ask me out again, for I’m in love with another man and I’m afraid this is the end!
Then she said, then she said….
Big Jack? Oh diddly-wack, you’re an overrated ego-flated cad.
Who’s that ratta-tatta-tat at your door?
He’s my boyfriend, he’s due at four!
“Boyfriend? BOYFRIEND??!!” So, I grabbed my little girl with her little golden curls and I held her tenderly – THEN I CUT HER THROAT FROM EAR TO EAR, I’m JACK the RIPPER you see!
The song ends with a crazy killer laugh followed by a circus clown horn as the last note. The song can be heard at the link below:
A publicity photo of Bob and Michele appears in the link below:
The Big Jack record was a promo and was never released to the public for sale. It foreshadows the murder of Cheri Jo Bates, killed by the Zodiac Killer on October 31, 1966 in Riverside, California. Following the murder, the Zodiac sent the so-called “Confession” letter to the Riverside Police and the Riverside Press-Enterprise. Similarities of the song to the letter include: anger at the woman’s attempts to end the relationship (“Only one thing was on my mind, making her pay for the brush offs that she had given me during the years prior”); the tender embrace (“She went very willingly, her breast felt warm and very firm under my hands”); the cutting of the throat (“I then finished the job by cutting her throat.”). Notable is the fact that the Cheri Jo Bates, like the victim in the song, had blonde hair.
The following year Robert and Kim Carnes, a New Christy Minstrel singer, performed a duet for a song called “Mystic Winds of Nowhere,” written by Robert Hafner. Looking back to the time when the song was released to the public, Carnes said, “Needless to say, it went nowhere.” Carnes would later become famous for her 1981 hit song “Bette Davis’s Eyes.”
An article written for the Montgomery Journal (Alabama) February 12, 1969 shows that music was still one of many pursuits of Bob Linkletter,
“Is One Man Show”
by Bob Stockton
Bob Linkletter, an average-appearing young man, spoke of unaverage things Tuesday during a brief stopover in Montgomery.
The soft-spoken son of show business personality Art Linkletter said he writes his own songs, produces his own records and is thinking of appointing himself sheriff of his own county.
The wisecrack could be true. The Linkletter family owns all 900,000 acres of Lida County, Nev., complete with cattle ranch and three ghost towns.
The bit about writing songs and producing records was no boast – just shop talk. Bob sang nine years with a band, then spent the past two years producing records of other groups. Four months ago, he returned to writing and singing.
Bob said his singing peak was five or six years ago when he produced “Busting Surfboards.” He expected “better success possibility” at this stage of his career due to his two years purely business experience.
With a voice he describes as a “sort of tenor baritone,” Bob specializes in rock “or any beat in four-four time.” Instrumentation varies with the production, ranging from a five-piece group to a full orchestra. Producing one’s own records allows greater freedom than tying oneself to a record company, but it’s also more of a gamble, Bob said. His own records are costing “about a grand a side,” he said. “Producing a money-making record,” he said, is “a flip of the coin.”
Luckily, the recording business is not his only interest. “I like diversity,” he said. “I like to have my hands in lots of pots.” The Linkletter empire provides a variety.
Using Los Angeles as a base of operation, Bob travels frequently on family business. His manager, A. J. Boykin, said Bob is “gradually catching up with his father’s average half-million miles a year.”
Bob recently spent four months “chasing sheep and cattle” on the family ranch in Australia, and each Spring and Fall participates in cattle roundups on the Nevada ranch.
He is currently touring the Southeast promoting a new supermarket sweepstakes inspired by his father’s “House Party” television program.
He took time out Tuesday to tour Whitfield Pickle Co. at which his host, Frank Whitfield Jr., is executive vice president.
Montgomery and the South, he said, have an unhurried way of life which the North lacks. “The people are friendly and I like Southern girls,” he said.
As an afterthought, he said he is a bachelor, but not “up for grabs.”
Perhaps Robert’s final foray in the music business was when he teamed up with his old bandmate James O’Keefe to form Oak-Link Productions and Trans World Records, according to an article in the April 7, 1969 edition of Hollywood Citizen News. This was almost four months from the Zodiac murder of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen on December 20, 1968 and three months prior to the murder of Darlene Ferrin on July 4. As can be seen from the Montgomery Journal, Robert Linkletter was a man of the world, wealthy, sophisticated, and popular. His close association with such creepy, racist, anti-Semitic characters as Hafner and Hilder shows that he was a right-wing extremist.
This lines up with what Marie Vigil declared in one of her letters that Robert Linkletter was part of an organization of fascist, white supremacists called the International White Guard. It might be the same cabal of right-wing Hollywood and military intelligence figures, who “did terrible things to black people,” according to Little Joe, a barber in Jay Sebring’s hair salon, speaking to Tom O’Neill, author of a recent book on the Manson murders.