True Crime Cleveland, Part Deux

Beverly Potts, 1947 - age 6

Another satisfying screening, thanks to the 40-45 folks that came to see Dusk & Shadow – The Mystery of Beverly Potts at the Lakewood Library tonight. These folks were up on their Beverly lore, positing a host of perceptive questions and lucid theories. One gentleman was at the Halloran Park performance that fateful August 1951 night. The library auditorium is comfortable and intimate – I want to take it home and keep it.

Happy to report that the true expert on Beverly’s disappearance – Jim Badal – agreed to tear away from his ongoing research on Tremont restaurants to help field some Q&A after the show. Dusk & Shadow would not exist without the Good Doctor’s classic true crime history of the case, Twilight of Innocence, so I brought him in to lend credence to my own reputation. Thanks, Bro! Seriously, pick up Twilight – it doubles as a rich, dense cultural history of Cleveland in the early 1950s, done up in a blunt, masterful style. Jim’s Dusk & Shadow interview, one attendee said, was like a narrative thread.  Exactly!

Our take on what happened to Beverly? We are both pretty tight with retired CPD detective Bob Wolfe’s theory: Beverly very likely left before the end of the show, and inadvertently found herself isolated on a very dark residential street, hurrying her way home. Known to be shy, with men especially, she was either overpowered without making a sound and spirited somewhere, or was lured into a car by an authority figure she trusted and whisked away. Linnet Avenue porches were common respites on warm summer nights; so no one heard a thing? Were they all inside watching or listening to a Indians-Yankee game?

All we can do, almost 60 years after the fact, is come up with a scenario in Occam’s Razor style, based on what was probable. Wish we could do more to find out what happened to your little sister, Anita, but you probably know by now.

Maybe we have the how figured out, no way to really be sure. But I still want to know: Who stole Beverly Potts?


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