Last month the Oregonian online newspaper reported that imprisoned Manson Family associate Bobby Beausoleil had created an animated short for Oregon Corrections Enterprises in partnership with the Parenting Inside Out organization. It described the filmmaker thusly:
He’s a dad, and a granddad, serving life in an Oregon prison for a notorious murder in California.
Beausoleil was convicted and sentenced to death—later commuted to life—for the murder of Gary Hinman on July, 27th 1969. Bobby initially went to Hinman’s home to settle a drug debt. Then at Manson’s request, and with the help of Susan Atkins and Mary Brunner, he tortured and killed him. He was discovered by police a few days later while in the dead man’s car and was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
This was the murder that touched off the Family’s killing spree that included Sharon Tate. A popular theory among those who’ve studied the case is that the murders that followed Hinman’s were done to throw police off Beausoleil’s trail and secure his release. The phrase “Political Piggy” and a paw print were scrawled in Hinman’s blood at the murder scene in an attempt to make it look as though it was committed by the Black Panthers. This tactic was also later used at the Tate-LaBianca murder scenes.
This isn’t the first time R.K. Beausoleil has worked in film. He earned his nickname “Cupid” for his brief appearance in Mondo Hollywood. His most well-known film work is the score he wrote and recorded while incarcerated in a California penitentiary for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising. Some footage of a pre-Family Bobby appears in Anger’s Invocation of My Demon Brother, which was released shortly after Beausoleil’s 1969 arrest to capitalize on his notoriety. He was also in a porno movie titled The Ramrodder that was filmed at Spahn Ranch—the Manson Family’s home at the time.
In this latest endeavor, Beausoleil has created an animated social-guidance film for children of parents in the penal system. As a way to help answer questions children may have about an incarcerated parent, he has created the character of Professor Proponderus (who knows everything) and a young boy named Jeeter. Jeeter comes to the Professor wondering if his imprisoned father is one of “the bad guys.” Proponderus explains that “Some people in the world do bad things” because they are “confused or get sick in the head and forget who they are.” He then explains that rule-breakers face consequences, but just because a person makes a wrong choice doesn’t mean they are bad.
This seems like a genuine attempt at explaining a difficult subject, putting it in a context that a child could understand. I wonder if it will be helpful to anybody.