The Red Phantom
There are still questions about whether or not this communication was actually from the Zodiac.
There have been various theories about the reason the writer of this communication signed it as "the Red Phantom".
The Phantom of the Opera
In the 1986 book "Zodiac", Robert Graysmith suggested the possibility that the Red Phantom may have been related to the 1925 silent film "The Phantom of the Opera", starring Lon Chaney.
"The Phantom of the Opera" was directed by Rupert Julian.
This movie was originally released in the United States on November 15, 1925.
"The Phantom of the Opera" (1925) New York General Release Print (original 1925 film)http://archive.org/details/ThePhantomOfTheOpera1925NewYorkGeneralReleasePrint_620
"The Phantom of the Opera" (1929) (more widely distributed version of the original 1925 film)
There was a sound version of this movie which was released
on February 16, 1930, and has been lost for many years.)
The Masque of the Red Death
The Red Phantom may have been a reference to the scenes in the movie in which the Phantom is shown wearing a red cape, disguised as the Red Death (from the 1842 short story by Edgar Allen Poe) to appear at a costume ball. (These scenes in the movie were colorized.)
Le Spectre Rouge / El Espectro Rojo / The Red Spectre
Robert Graysmith explained in the 1986 book "Zodiac" that the Red Phantom could be related to another silent film which had been rediscovered circa 1974.
This film was titled "Le Spectre Rouge" which was translated as "El Espectro Rojo" and "The Red Spectre".
It was conceivable that "Le Spectre Rouge" could also be interpreted to be "the Red Phantom".
"Le Spectre Rouge" was directed by Segundo de Chomón and Ferdinand Zecca
This movie was originally released in the United States on August 17, 1907.
"Le Spectre Rouge"
Richard Marshall, Richard Gaikowski, and Bob Vaughn
Richard Marshall was called "Donald Jeff Andrews" in the Robert Graysmith's 1986 book, "Zodiac".
Robert Graysmith described how Richard Marshall, one of the known suspects in the Zodiac case, was connected to silent films.
On October 6, 2010, Tom Voigt (who is the administrator of the website www.zodiackiller.com) announced that a copy of a film schedule for April, 1974, had been obtained which proved that "The Phantom of the Opera" and "El Espectro Rojo" were both shown at The Port in Mill Valley on April 27, 1974, and April 28, 1974.
Tom Voigt explained that Richard Marshall worked at The Port in Mill Valley when these films were shown.
The communication from the Red Phantom was mailed a few months later from San Rafael which is several miles north of Mill Valley.
There had been a possible victim of the Zodiac who was attacked in Tamalpais Valley near Mill Valley on April 7, 1972.
Additionally, Tom Voigt explained that Richard Gaikowski worked at a small theater at the time and could have gone to The Port to see these films.
Tom Voigt raised questions about the possibility that Richard Marshall and Richard Gaikowski could have been acquainted because they both probably knew Bob Vaughn who played the organ during silent films at many theaters, including The Port (where Richard Marshall worked in 1974) and the Roxie Theater (where Richard Gaikowski worked years later).
Other Possible Origins of the Reference to the Red Phantom
Researchers have examined other other possible origins of the reference to the Red Phantom which may or may not have any significance.
For example, Starless (who is the administrator of the internet forum www.coldcaseexaminer.com and www.officialcoldcaseinvestigations.com) has posted several possibilities.
Some of these possibilities have also been suggested by other people at other internet forums.
The Red Phantom / The Red Ghost circa 1927
The 1927 Red Phantom was a reference to bolshevist propaganda in Latin America.
The Red Phantom / The Crimson Phantom circa 1930
The 1930 Red Phantom was Max Lubers who drove a red sedan and attempted to murder pedestrians.
The Red Phantom circa 1937
The 1937 Red Phantom was the name used by several masked wrestlers, including Pat O’Shocker, Bill Shaw, and Slim Zimbleman.
Note: Bill Shaw was a 30 year old resident of San Francisco who had been born in Illinois.
The Red Phantom circa 1946
The 1946 Red Phantom was a wrestler named Stocky Kneilson.
The Red Phantom circa 1947
The 1947 Red Phantom was discovered to be a boy who was nine years old who sent notes attached to bamboo spears to his neighbor. The notes said "Keep your cat away from the house with the skylark flag." and "Beware. Three clues will follow."
The Red Phantom circa 1948
The 1948 Red Phantom was Tom Rice of San Francisco, a wrestler who wore a red hood.
The Red Phantom circa 1950
The 1950 Red Phantom was reported in the news media in connection with the arsonist named Robert Dale Segee who was 21 years old and lived in Circleville, Ohio. Robert Dale Segee said that he set fires because he was influenced by a nightmare in which an Indian riding on a flaming horse appeared as a red phantom.
The Red Phantom circa 1962
This clue would appear to be the most relevant because it directly connects the Red Phantom with Count Marco in 1962, over 11 years before the 1974 communication.
On June 26, 2010, Chris Yarbrough (who is the administrator of the internet forum www.crimeshadowsnews.com and www.zodiackillertruth.com) tweeted that there was a Count Marco column from October, 1962, which mentioned the Red Phantom.
An anonymous writer wrote:
"Dear Count Marco: Instead of sneaking up on women like a red phantom with black paint, you should work openly and usefully to help this free and generous country which feeds your nasty face. - Chicago"
Count Marco replied:
"Red Phantom?! I’ll have you know I wear gold Chinese silk or gold Italian raw silk evening jackets, and I don’t sneak. I go about town in them openly so you will be sure to see me. In fact, I’ll be in Chicago on December 5 to give you a personal look at me, so be prepared."
This column was printed in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 2, 1962. (It was published in other newspapers on different dates.)
The fact that this message pertains to Chicago is important because, in a separate report, Project MK-ZODIAC examined other clues which may link the Zodiac to the Chicago region.
It is possible that this anonymous writer was referring to the Phantom of the Opera ("like a red phantom with black paint").
There are still questions because this column does not clarify the reason for the reference to the Red Phantom.
The Red Phantom circa 1939
Now there is another possible clue which may be linked to the origin of reference to the Red Phantom.
For more information, read the report about the 1939 play "The Red Phantom" by Eloise Keeler.
To read the introduction to "The Red Phantom" by Eloise Keeler,
The Red Phantom circa 1999
In 1999, there was an anonymous person known as "The Red Phantom" in Oshkosh, Wisconsin who sent letters to the editor of the Washington Avenue Times, a weekly neighborhood newspaper which had approximately 30 readers.
information in this report has been obtained from various sources.
be aware that sections from the Preliminary Report on Project MK-ZODIAC
are available only on this website.
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