- In Sacramento, one of the girls who stood vigil outside a Los Angeles courtroom waiting for her “father to be released” in 1969 makes headlines again six years later. Charles Manson follower Lynette Fromme attempts to assassinate President Gerald Ford in a gesture that she claims is in defense of the Redwood Forest.
“I stood up and waved a gun (at Ford) for a reason,” Fromme says. “I was so relieved not to have to shoot it, but, in truth, I came to get life. Not just my life but clean air, healthy water and respect for creatures and creation.”
Does Fromme know that in Carbon Canyon Regional Park two hundred Redwood trees have been planted? A Redwood forest right there in Orange County!
- Orange County is best known throughout the world as the home of the original Disneyland (built over what were once orange groves and, before that, desert). In 1975 the theme park celebrates its twentieth anniversary, and in this year, as in the year before and the one after, miles and miles of Super 8 footage are shot in Disneyland, home movies that will later find a larger retro-hungry audience in future YouTube posts. During this year, the park will see its first gang-related violence when three teens are shot. All escape without serious injury.
- This is also the year that Mark Frechette, famous for his role in the 1970 film Zabriskie Point, dies in a prison yard when a barbell with 150 pounds on it falls on his neck. No foul play is suspected, though friends attest that the former actor was suffering severe depression.
- At the premiere of Zabriskie Point, Frechette and his costar Daria Halprin expressed their disappointment: “Antonioni missed it completely,” Mark said. “What comes over on the screen is a revolutionary Disneyland. Antonioni has given us a lot of pretty pictures, but otherwise it’s a void—there’s no context, no feeling.” Daria added, “I’m sure Antonioni believed in what he was doing, but he just doesn’t understand people—he didn’t give the characters enough room to be human.”
- Frechette’s story, especially his connections with the Fort Hill Commune, is one of many that will preoccupy painter Kaye Donachie. Headed by the charismatic Mel Lyman, Fort Hill was perhaps the first of such Manson-style personality cults short on dogma but strong on discipline and introspection. Frechette and two other members of the commune attempted to rob a bank in 1973, which was how he wound up in the prison in Norfolk, Massachusetts, where his life would end.
- Some of the Manson Girls (Fromme included) will also find their way into Donachie’s paintings, bathed in yellow light and smiles.