Audio Archives: Rudolf Weber, December 29, 1969 interviewed by Sgt. Robert Calkins

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Mar. 10 – For this installment of the Audio Archives, we travel back to Monday, December 29, 1969 and listen to Sgt. Robert Calkins interview Rudolf Weber.

Rudolf Weber was awoken by the sound of running water around 1 a.m. on Saturday, August 9, 1969. Expecting to find a burst pipe, Weber instead found Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Linda Kasabian, and Charles “Tex” Watson using his water hose just minutes after the group had committed the Tate murders less than two miles down the canyon.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Mr. Weber, we now have a tape recorder running and uh, we’re on tape and, we’re here with Jim Rabe, the uh – our reporter. My name is Sergant Calkins, to identify myself. You’re name is Rudy Weber –

RUDOLF WEBER: Rudolf Weber, yes.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: – is that correct? And uh, could you tell me Mr. Weber your home address and your business address?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, I live at 9870 Portola Drive, Beverly Hills – that’s post office Beverly Hills.

And I work as Stewart at Brentwood Country Club, 590 South Burlingame, West L.A., 49

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright, now your house I believe you say has a mailing address of Beverly Hills, it’s actually in the city of Los Angeles.

RUDOLF WEBER: It’s actually West L.A.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: West L.A., right, ok.

Now…Your residence on Portola Drive, I believe that street’s a dead end street; is that correct?

RUDOLF WEBER: It’s just a dead end street.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Your house is uh, on the south side of the street, about, what about two or three hundred yards from Benedict Canyon?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, I would say that —

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: approximately.

RUDOLF WEBER: – about three hundred feet.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Your house is uh, somewhat of a hillside house –

RUDOLF WEBER: It is, yes.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: – where the lot runs up behind the house —

RUDOLF WEBER: It is.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: – very steeply to the south.

RUDOLF WEBER: It is.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Now, on – in the early morning hours of August, the ninth, 1969…uh, an incident occurred at your house that, we’re interested in.

Would you go back to the time, that you went to bed – or approximately the time you went to bed, and relate to us, as best you can, everything that happened as far as you know?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, to the best of my recollection…we went to bed around 9 o’clock which is our usual bed time –

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Who…Who is we? excuse me.

RUDOLF WEBER: My wife and I.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Would you identify your wife, please?

RUDOLF WEBER: Her name in Mila(?)

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright, thank you.

RUDOLF WEBER: We, uh – ‘cause I have to be at work at 6 o’clock in the morning. So, about – it must’ve been about 1 o’clock, I heard the uh, the sound of, running water. So uh, I jumped out of bed, and grabbed the flashlight, and I went downstairs, under the basement, opened the garage door; thinking that something had gone wrong with the plumbing.

Uh, there was nothing wrong with it. I couldn’t see any water of any kind. And then I heard voices…on the street, outside.

So I went over, and here were four people standing. And of course you know the exact place.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Yes.

RUDOLF WEBER: Around the corner there.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: That’s actually in the street.

RUDOLF WEBER: In the street, uh. And uh, I put the flashlight on them. And I said, ‘Just what do you think you’re doing?’

And the man says – he looked to me like – they all looked to me like teenagers. And this one man, the only man, of course – a rather tall fellow, just looked at me and says, “Hi”.

He says, “We’re just getting a drink of water…and we’re sorry we disturbed you.”

And looking over, the people, I figured well, they’re just teenagers out on a Friday night.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Would you describe the people, each one if you can?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, I cannot describe the people except the man – the boy – was rather tall, the girls I hardly saw, except I knew one of them was rather, short stature.

So, uh —

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Were they all caucasian? Or were they negro? Or did you make that determination?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, that I couldn’t say, but from what I would guess, they were all caucasian.

So, uh, I went back and turned the water hose off – turned the water off. And in the meanwhile, the girls did not say anything, he’s the only one who spoke.

The girls started walking down, and then I – then I look down the street and see a car parked, facing west; towards the main canyon, Benedict Canyon. Uh, which looked to me unusual because all around, residences on the street, nobody parks on the street. We all have a parking space.

So I said, “Is that your car?”

“No it’s not, we’re walking.”

Uh, so they started to precede to go down the street toward the car…in front of me, and I followed them. And when they got to the car…he I believe opened the back door, to the, to the back seat. And the girls got in. And the dome light was on and I happened to look inside the car and it was all messed up and dirty and so on and so forth, and uh, things on the floor.

He closed the door and he got into the driver’s seat. So, in order to uh, scare ‘em, I acted as if I was going to reach for the keys. And that minute he stepped on the starter and took off before he closed the door – down the street.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Did you notice which way they turned, uh, when —

RUDOLF WEBER: That, I couldn’t say —

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: — they got to the canyon.

RUDOLF WEBER: — after they – they took off like that, I walked back up again and we went back to bed again.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Ok now, just a couple of things – you said it was 1 o’clock, or approximately 1 o’clock when you uh, heard water running. Was that A.M. or P.M.?

RUDOLF WEBER: A.M.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright, now —

RUDOLF WEBER: It would be Saturday morning A.M.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: The plumbing underneath your house is exposed from the garage is that correct, most of it?

RUDOLF WEBER: Ah —

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Is that the reason you ran into the garage?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, the plumbing is all underneath the house —

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Right.

RUDOLF WEBER: — but you can see every single pipe, and uh, connect with everything else.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: I see.

Now, just – let me describe the front of your house and see if you agree with me. Uh, you come down a rather steep few steps, from the east side of the house. And uh, at the base of the steps, uh, against the house is where the hose is connected.

RUDOLF WEBER: Right.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And you keep your hose in that general area, and so it runs out into the street and to the right, and up into uh, a sort of a planter area, that you water.

RUDOLF WEBER: Right.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And so it would be visible, very readily from the street, is that correct?

RUDOLF WEBER: That’s right. Anybody that would go down the street would see it.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And it’s there most of the time, and it was there that night?

RUDOLF WEBER: It’s there most of the time because the hose connection is so hard, to connect, for some reason. That’s – we just leave it on, and uh, the hose (inaudible) stay in that area. Water there and then take the hose and water the other part of it.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: At the night – the night we’re talking about – about – or the very early morning hours, the hose was out there so it could be seen from the street?

RUDOLF WEBER: Could be seen from the street.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Now there’s no curbs, and there’s no sidewalks in front of your house, is that correct?

RUDOLF WEBER: No curbs, no sidewalks and no street lights.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: So, it’s quite a dark area, is that correct?

RUDOLF WEBER: Yes, it is.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright, now, there – where the car that was parked there, that these people got into and left, that’s an illegal parking area, is that correct?

RUDOLF WEBER: That’s right, it’s right next to the sign that says no parking at anytime.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright. You had a flashlight with you, correct?

RUDOLF WEBER: I had, yes.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Was it in pretty good working there?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, I’ll say yeah.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright. Now, at the time you followed these people down to the car, did any of them make any statements at all except the man?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, after they started towards the car, nobody said anything.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: I see. Then what was the only statement the man made?

RUDOLF WEBER: Uh, he only said “Hi” and uh, “We’re just getting a drink of water, sorry to disturb you” and when I asked him, “Is that your car down the street?” he said, “No, we’re walking.”

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And that’s all that was said.

RUDOLF WEBER: That was all – all that was said that I can remember.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Now, at the time you walked down towards the car, your wife was with you, is that correct?

RUDOLF WEBER: No, she was staying behind. I was actually behind (inaudible)

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: I see.

RUDOLF WEBER: — (inaudible) about three or four feet.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: As you approach the car, did you take notice of the license plate?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well I (inaudible) I pointed the flashlight on the license plate.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: On the rear license plate?

RUDOLF WEBER: On the rear license plate, yes.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And did you memorize that number?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, I memorized it at the time, but later on I wrote it on – when I got back home again I put it on a piece of paper. And, uh, kept it there for awhile. But then I remembered the number so I through the paper away.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: I see. So what is the number that you memorized?

RUDOLF WEBER: G-Y-Y 4-3-5.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And that was a California license?

RUDOLF WEBER: A black background with yellow letters.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Ok. Do you know what kind of car, uh?

RUDOLF WEBER: No, it was an old car, and the paint on it wasn’t – it wasn’t shiny anymore; it was all – what do you call it?

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Oxidized?

RUDOLF WEBER: Oxidized and to me it seemed to be a Beige, color or that type – Tan or Beige.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: It was a fairly light car, anyway.

RUDOLF WEBER: It was a light car and to it was – I couldn’t tell you, it might’ve been a Ford or Chevrolet, I just didn’t know.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: It was a rather older model, anyway.

RUDOLF WEBER: It was an old car, yes.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Is there anything else about the car that you remember? Was there any fenders dented?

RUDOLF WEBER: That I couldn’t say, because once the girls get in and he got in the car and then he took off.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Did they turn their lights on as they took off or do you remember?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, that I don’t remember.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Do you remember seeing any tail lights as they drove off?

RUDOLF WEBER: I’m not sure of that.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Ok. Now, you said you saw some of the material or something on the floor of the car when the dome light was on, when they opened the door. Did you determine if it was clothing or do you have any recollection of any of it?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, I don’t think it was clothing. It looked to me like blankets or something like that.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Ok, Did you determine whether it was dark or light?

RUDOLF WEBER: It was not dark, it was uh, – well, uh – it was definitely not dark.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: I see.

RUDOLF WEBER: But I only saw a hint of it, because as soon as they got in he slammed the door.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Sure.

Now, uh – in the past, have you had trouble with uh, hippies, or uh, young individuals up in the canyon, or up at your house? Have you had cause for concern?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, yes we’ve had. Uh, because uh, quite a few houses are for rent. As a matter of fact there’s not too many people that actually own their house – most of them are rentals.

Well, a bunch of hippies would come in, perhaps one person would rent the house. And – any house were awful high rental, rent was high. And the first thing, three or four or five or more would move in. And then they stayed for awhile and then they move out again and others come in. Uh, I mean we’ve – other unsavory types of, like this. Like – I don’t know – you might say, marijuana smokers, stuff like this. And so the neighborhood has been plagued by these uh, (inaudible) . Uh, we have some vacant houses across the street that haven’t been lived in for a year. And somehow, it seems to have an attraction to all these hippie type people. They come along and they can sense that this house is not occupied. So they park and they snoop around, and go behind the house, and uh, in other words, they do something they’re not supposed to do.

So we’re all concerned with something happening on the street. And that was my only concern, that, uh, I took all that trouble with these people, to see what the car was, what the license number was. In case something might’ve happened in that particular street. So later on I could say that this particular car and these people had been in the street. But then, nothing had happened so uh, I didn’t pay much attention to any of it.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Right.

RUDOLF WEBER: (inaudible) I said well, they’re a bunch of teenagers out on a Friday night and they’re (inaudible) around. And I thought, if I do call the police, and tell them about that, I’m afraid possibly I wouldn’t get much response because they say uh, “well, it’s a bunch of teenagers using your water, so what?”

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: But this was part of the fact that you have an unoccupied house across the street and that it is a fairly lonesome area up there. This is, this is one of things that was in your mind when you went out and saw these people.

RUDOLF WEBER: It is, yeah. Just (inaudible) the street to see if anything had happened?

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Right.

RUDOLF WEBER: And as I pointed out before, when this story broke, uh, it never occurred to me to connect the two of them together.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: What’s the address of the unoccupied house across the street from you?

RUDOLF WEBER: 9863 Portola.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Alright, thank you.

Now, we were out there today uh, yourself, and Mr. Bugliosi of the D.A.’s office, and myself and a photographer from the police department. And we photographed, the front of your house and the area in which this incident occurred. And, that this time, that area is substantially the same as it was the night of the incident, except of course for the darkness.

RUDOLF WEBER: Exactly the same.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: And the hose is in the same position.

RUDOLF WEBER: The hose is stuck in the same position.

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Fine.

I can’t think of anything else. Do you have anything else that you can think of?

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, now, what about this girl that lives two houses up?

SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Well, we’ll take care of that later, we won’t put that on this now.

I think that’s about it.

JIM RABE: Mr. Weber give me that license number again to make sure I get it right.

RUDOLF WEBER: Well, G as in George, Y-Y 4-35.

JIM RABE: 435, and your address, how do you spell that? P-O-R?

RUDOLF WEBER: P-O-R T-O-L-A

JIM RABE: And the number again was?

RUDOLF WEBER: 9-8-7-0

JIM RABE: Just wanted to make sure I got those too.

Ok, thank you.

RUDOLF WEBER: I don’t see how you can make that stuff out again.

JIM RABE: (laughs) Sometimes you can’t, then you’re in trouble.

Thank you very much.

RUDOLF WEBER: No, thank you.

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18 Responses to Audio Archives: Rudolf Weber, December 29, 1969 interviewed by Sgt. Robert Calkins

  1. Silentseason says:

    Looking forward to hearing this; I don’t know how long of duration the interview will run but interested in what Vince called one of his best witnesses.

  2. KentuckyMark says:

    Should be very interesting. Like going back in time.

  3. dianne says:

    This should be great!! I hope we can hear it 🙂

  4. johnnyseattle says:

    thanks CD!
    just another great audio edition to the TLB world.

  5. gus goiania says:

    very interesting, the first and maybe unique witness to have seen the murderers running away, just minutes after the slaughter…and Rudolf or anyone else could never have guessed what they had just done, not a clue about it

  6. Johnnyseattle says:

    “SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Fine.
    I can’t think of anything else. Do you have anything else that you can think of?
    RUDOLF WEBER: Well, now, what about this girl that lives two houses up?
    SGT. ROBERT CALKINS: Well, we’ll take care of that later, we won’t put that on this now.
    I think that’s about it.”

    Thank you CD, a wonderful offering by you yet again. The tape is first rate.

    I am very curious about what that exchange meant. ‘…we wont put that on this now.’ Probably it was totally unrelated to what happened with Tex/Girls and they didn’t want to muddy things up.

    But just an amazing brush with death and Mr Weber should be commended for coming forward and retaining that license information. Mr and Mrs Weber must have told that story for years to come among family and friends. ‘Go ahead Rudy, tell the Nelsons about the time you came up against the Manson Gang…’

    And I bet for the rest of his life up on Portola that anytime he heard a strange sound in the midnight hours he must have thought about the night he met Tex/Girls.

  7. Mr Poirot says:

    So they had to have left Cielo at approx 12:55 a.m. Rudy does not say they were wearing dark clothing. So they still had weapons. This is odd Rudy doesn’t mention dark clothing. I thought they had dumped their clothing before reaching Benedict Canyon Rd.

    Tex is rather calm for just having gone psycho. So he still had his wits about him. Rudy did not meet a bunch of drug crazed Hippies. The murders were committed by killers in possesion of their faculties.

  8. Silentseason says:

    This is one instance where the witness was essentially how I pictured him to be. Weber sounds very stern with his Germanic accent. I am left wondering who the girl who lived two houses up was. Thanks again for posting Cielo.

  9. xfirehurricane says:

    Interesting that Portola is a dead end street with no street lighting ,yet they were able to spot the hose.
    Rudy says that some of the houses were for Rental, high rents at that and that hippie types had been Renting in that Area.
    Makes you wonder if the “Family” was familiar with that street too.
    Also the car was pointing downhill , away from dead end.
    Did they drive up and Turn (Noisy at that time of morning)
    Or reverse up (Weird)
    More questions than answers as usual.
    Great stuff CD.

    • cielodrive.com says:

      On top of all that, Portola is one of those narrow canyon streets, that at times feels like you’re on a one way road.

  10. xfirehurricane says:

    CD you aint joking about how narrow these streets are, just checked it on Google Streetview.

    Another strange coincidence or what.
    Portola Drive is only 1 street up from Easton Drive.
    Jay Sebring lived on Easton Drive.
    Is it possible that they were looking for Easton Drive and took a wrong turn.
    No street lights on Portola maybe the same on Easton.
    Rudy lived at 9870 Portola……Jay at 9860 Easton.
    Just another coincidence in TLB land.

  11. xfirehurricane says:

    Also Caulkins was interested to know which way they turned at the bottom of Portola.

    Left takes you south on Benedict Canyon Drive passing the Turning to Cielo Drive.

    Right takes you North on Benedict Canyon Drive to the Junction with Mullholland Drive.

  12. johnnyseattle says:

    just an observation. if you google map cielo dr house and spahn ranch you pretty much see that easton -and by definition portola- is on the way. there are not many streets on your right once you get on to benedict canyon and head to spahn.
    put yourself in the driver’s place. it’s dark. you are exhausted. you have a car full of people yammering about what happened and you are looking for a turn off. it would be darn easy to miss easton and go past it to portola.

    the theory of tex wanting to go to sebring’s house has been out there for awhile and discussed on some of the forums.
    in the 2011 shreck book he details same.
    just consider this. amos russell, jay sebring’s houseman, just may have escaped a rude surprise by tex stopping at portola.
    thanks again CD for putting these wonderful audio archives out to the public.

    • ena D says:

      Had they indeed taken the wrong turnoff to end up at Portola they would have immediately realized it and (notwithstanding the encounter with Mr. Webber) subsequently gone to Easton – providing they had been bent on going there. They did not do that, which makes the theory highly improbable.

  13. Revatron says:

    Another great tape. I love when he says, “when this story broke, uh, it never occurred to me to connect the two of them together.” I’ve been waiting to hear that for a long time.
    And I like the half cocked theory of Tex and the group going for Jay’s, making a wrong turn, and settling for a garden hose!

  14. Bob says:

    What a nice house Mr. Weber had. Small, but rustic and beautiful (you can see it on Street View). You can also see where the hose connects at the base of the steep stairs he talked about. Looks like whomever lives there now keeps the hose the same way Weber did.

  15. Deej says:

    Hey, this is really something. Thanks for making this available. I have an addition for you. At about the 6 minute mark Rudy says something that is transcribed as “(inaudible)”. I’m 99% certain he says “and so on and so forth”. I didn’t know if that was the original police transcription or your own. Is there a download link to this audio file? Thanks.

    • cielodrive.com says:

      Thanks Deej, I think you’re right. Although I have a few LAPD transcriptions, this one I did myself. I’ve listened to some of these recordings so many times, at so many varying speeds during the transcription process and yet sometimes I can’t seem to make out what maybe clear as day to another set of ears. I appreciate the feedback.

      Also since you mentioned the original LAPD transcripts, I did find those particularly interesting because the ones I do have at times differ a bit from the actual audio. The difference aren’t anything major. The gist of what is said is there, but the wording is often not word for word.

      I haven’t made these available for download, perhaps I will in the future.

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