The Ken and Barbie Killers & the Cocoanut Grove Fire

Sep 02, 11:30 AM
In the early 1940s, Boston’s Cocoanut Grove nightclub was *the* place to see and be seen. The club owner, Barnet “Barney” Welansky, was a sharp businessman. He ensured that the club was beautifully decorated with blue satin hanging from the ceilings, heavy drapes, and support columns that were made to look like palm trees. He also kept a watchful eye on the finances by ensuring that no one left without paying. He locked almost every exit and covered windows with draperies. On November 28, 1942, the Cocoanut Grove gained the horrific distinction of becoming the deadliest nightclub fire in American history.

Then Brandi brings in her sister, Kaci, to tell us about Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, aka, the Ken and Barbie Killers. In the late 80s, the people of Scarborough, Ontario, were on edge. There’d been a string of rapes in their community, and all anyone seemed to know about the rapist was that he was blonde and in his twenties. On little more than hunches, two women called the police to report that they suspected Paul Bernardo as the perpetrator. The women were right, but it’d be years before Paul faced justice. 

And now for a note about our process. For each episode, Kristin reads a bunch of articles, then spits them back out in her very limited vocabulary. Brandi copies and pastes from the best sources on the web. And sometimes Wikipedia. (No shade, Wikipedia. We love you.) We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the real experts who covered these cases.

In this episode, Kristin pulled from:
The documentary “Six locked doors: the legacy of Cocoanut grove” 
 “The Cocoanut Grove Inferno” by Jack Thomas for the Boston Globe
“Grove Owner Starts 12-15 Year Sentence,” The Boston Globe
“Court Upholds Prison Term in Night Club Fire,” Universal Press
“Night Club Owner Guilty In Boston,” The New York Times
“The Cocoanut Grove Fire,” BostonFireHistory.org

In this episode, Kaci pulled from:
An episode of Autopsy from HBO “Autopsy 8: Dead Giveaway”
“Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka” by Marilyn Bardsley, The Crime Library
“Karla Leanne Homolka,” Murderpedia.org
“Paul Kenneth Bernardo,” Murderpedia.org
“Karla Homolka,” Wikipedia.org
“Paul Bernardo,” Wikipedia.org