THE LABOR DAY PARTY
The St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco, CA (c.1921)
On September 5, 1921, a party was held in the 12th floor
suite in which Roscoe Arbuckle was staying in. The party was held in Room
1220, with adjoining bedrooms in 1219 and 1221.
One of the guests at the party was an actress named Virginia Rappé
(RAP-PAY), a 28-year old clothing designer and model, who had had a minor
acting career in films.
Along with Rappé came 'Bambina' Maude Delmont, against whom California
police had filed at least 50 counts of extortion, bigamy, fraud and racketeering.
Delmont was also known as a 'professional co-respondent,' for blackmailers.
Neither Rappé nor Delmont were invited by Arbuckle to the party.
In fact, Arbuckle didn't invite anyone, since he wasn't the host. Arbuckle's
roommate, a Mr. Fred Fischbach, was.
At 3:00 p.m., Roscoe Arbuckle decided to leave the party. He entered his
bedroom in 1219 to change clothes, and use the bathroom. When he tried to
enter his adjoining bathroom, he found Virginia Rappé passed out
on the bathroom floor. Arbuckle picked up Rappé, and placed her on
the bed. She asked for a glass of water, which he gave her. Rosoce then
went into the bathroom to dress. At 3:10 p.m., Arbuckle exited the bathroon
in his tuxedo, to discover Rappe had fallen out of the bed, Arbuckle put
her back in bed, then went to Room 1220 to get help. When he returned with
others, they found Virginia Rappé, tearing at her clothes and screaming
Maude Delmont, after belting down 10 shots of hard liquor,
staggered into Room 1219.
After lots of confusion, and failed home remedies, everyone agreed that
Rappé was seriously ill. The hotel management was called, and Virginia
was carried, by Roscoe, to nearby Room 1227. Maude Delmont followed, and
passed out on a nearby bed near Virginia. After a doctor arrived, Arbuckle,
seeing his duty done, left the party to go sightseeing with a friend.
Virginia Rappé died of peritonitis four days later,
after a lengthy delay by Delmont -- against medical advice -- to get her
to a hospital.
But Maude Delmont claimed a very different reason for Virginia's death:
She went to the San Francisco Police, and filed charges that Roscoe Arbuckle
had raped and caused the death of Rappé.
Around midnight, September 11, 1921 -- "The Day the Laughter Stopped"
-- Roscoe Arbuckle was arrested for murder.