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November 22, 2010 Updated Jan 8, 2013
A registered sex-offender, Rodney Alcala got his 15-minutes of fame as a successful contestant on "The Dating Game" in 1978. Before that appearance, he had already been convicted of raping an 8-year-old girl and had murdered four women. He would go on to murder a 13-year-old girl.
Update: On death row at San Quentin since 1979, Rodney Alcala, now 69, was sentenced in New York Supreme Court on January 7, 2012 to two concurrent 25 years to life in prison sentences for raping and murdering two women in New York in the 1970s. In 1971, Cornelia M. Crilley, a 23-year-old TWA flight attendant, was raped and strangled in her Upper East Side apartment. Seven years later, the body of Ellen Jane Hover, 23, an aspiring orchestra conductor, was found at the Rockefeller estate in Westchester County. Alcala pled guilty to the two murders on December 14. He will now be returned to death row at San Quentin. Since 2006, there has been a court-ordered moratorium on executions in California over the lethal-injection controversy.
By Denise Noe
Bachelor Number One
Airing in the 1960s and 1970s, “The Dating Game” was a popular show about singles finding romance. Usually, a young woman would be on one side of a partition asking a series of quirky and often sexually suggestive questions of a trio of bachelors on the other side of it. Without seeing them, and not being allowed to ask their names, occupations, ages, or incomes, she would think over their answers during a commercial break and then select one of the three for a date.
Occasionally, the roles were reversed and a man would do the selecting from a group of three “bachelorettes.” The show did not use the term “spinsters” for its unmarried female guests probably because that word, so strongly associated with starched gingham and hair-in-a-bun prudishness, would have been out of place in the time period.
“The Dating Game” was hosted by Jim Lange who began every episode by stepping through a flower-speckled partition that suggested the “flower power” that would become a cliché in that hippie era.
In 1978, a program aired in which Lange introduced “Bachelor Number One” as “a successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13 – fully developed.” Lange paused while the audience laughed appreciatively at the double entendre. Then the host continued, “Between takes you might find him skydiving or motorcycling. Please welcome Rodney Alcala.”
The audience saw Bachelor Number One, a handsome, dark-haired young man with a ready smile.