Richard Marshall interview below.
Although no hard facts tie Rick Marshall to any of the crimes, there is again food for thought with various coincidences.
Richard R Marshall was born in Texas (04.07.1928 - 09.08.2008), which makes him the correct age range as testified to by surviving eyewitnesses of between 35-45 years, during the confirmed four attacks and five Zodiac murders.
He lived in the key areas during the majority of the attacks, residing in Riverside, nearby the murder scene of Cheri Jo Bates in 1966 and in a basement residence in Scott Street,San Francisco, just a few miles from Washington and Cherry Street where taxi driver Paul Stine was killed with a single shot to the head.
The killer requisitioned the cab at the corner of Mason and Geary Street, also in close proximity to the Scott Street residence. See distance on Google maps.
Rick Marshall lived in San Francisco for 20 years, between 1969 and 1989.
Formed in 1961 the Lyric Photoplay Film Society were dedicated individuals on a mission to preserve the great silent movies of yesteryear, which often degraded with the passage of time and having been filmed on cellulose nitrate were extremely combustible. Inspired by a big Wurlitzer pipe organ, its first members included Edward Millington Stout III, Vernon Gregory and Richard Marshall, but it was Gregory who found the Wurlitzer in Chicago. It was originally built to play for the Chicago State Lake Theatre, but was transported back to the Bay Area of San Francisco, destined for Gregory's Piedmont residence, however on account of its size, it was reconsidered for the Portrero Hill Theater, but because of building code restrictions, it finally ended up at the San Francisco Avenue Theatre, with the help of Rick Marshall. It is here it would delight the audiences of the day, accompanying many of the classic silent films, before the Avenue Theatre, hampered by neighborhood conditions, closed for the final time on December 22nd 1984. Rick Marshall would give an insight on his thoughts, "The people who made these movies were people out to hustle and make a buck. They had no idea they were creating the only truly modern art form. It all came about quite accidentally. But it is no less meaningful and valuable because of it"
At the time Rick Marshall was employed as an engineer for KTIM, a Bay Area radio station and ran the Avenue Movie Theatre, including projectionist work, which specialized in silent movies, one of his favorite films being the 'Red Phantom', highlighted in potential Zodiac correspondence, when the Red Phantom Letter arrived at the San Francisco Chronicle on July 8th 1974. Running the theater was not easy, engaging the use of volunteer juvenile offenders to assist in its daily running. The theater funded the running of old movies on Tuesday and Wednesday, by showing more contemporary productions for the rest of the week. The Avenue Theater, at 2650 San Bruno Avenue, San Francisco, opened its doors to the paying public on July 27th 1927, was situated approximately 4.5 miles from the Mason and Geary Street intersection in the Theater District, where Paul Stine fatefully picked up the Zodiac Killer on October 11th 1969. See on Google Maps.
View movie poster handwritten by Rick Marshall for two upcoming Charlie Chaplin shows at the Avenue Theatre, Caught in a Cabaret (1914) and The Property Man (1914). On the Zodiac Killer Site forum Rick Marshall's handwriting is analyzed alongside the October 13th 1969 Paul Stine Letter, the November 9th 1969 Bus Bomb Letter and SLA Letter mailed on February 14th 1974. To view this interesting thread visit here.
November 29th 1966, graphically describing the repeated stabbing and murder of Cheri Jo Bates on October 30th 1966 outside the Riverside City College Library.
The Exorcist Letter, widely believed to be the final contact from the Zodiac Killer, was mailed on January 29th 1974, after a three year drought of correspondence by the killer, but would sign off with yet another veiled message that included strange oriental style symbols at the foot of the correspondence, said to marry up closely with ones used on KTIM call letters.
Robert Graysmith, who spent ten years researching for his book Zodiac, has ultimately confirmed he visited the home of a man who knew Rick Marshall, ending up in the homeowners basement, where he described hearing footsteps in the above room which unsettled him, as the owner had reassured him they were alone. This man was Bob Vaughn (see below), a professional organist, who played in silent movie theaters, turning up at the San Bruno Avenue Theatre in 1968, as well as playing at the Port Theater, in which Rick Marshall worked in 1974, along with the Roxie Theater in San Francisco and was depicted in the 2007 David Fincher Zodiac film, to be the person responsible for the handwriting on the movie theater posters. However, he would have been too old to be the Zodiac Killer based on eyewitness testimony and was never regarded as a suspect by law enforcement.
Speculation circulated in certain quarters that Rick Marshall may have had an accomplice in the Zodiac crimes, which included Richard Gaikowski because of his love of classic films also, and his running of the Roxie Theatre in the Bay area.
Rick Marshall was an engineer, had a knowledge of electrics and was an avid ham radio enthusiast. It has been speculated that his familiarity with electrical diagrams, would have enabled him to construct such material as the Bus Bomb diagram, mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle on April 20th 1970. As a ham radio operator or amateur radio enthusiast he would have took to the airwaves for private recreation on a non-commercial basis. See here.
Ken Narlow one of the lead Zodiac investigators, studied Rick Marshall on account of the apparent fascination the Zodiac Killer had with the Mikado and the silent movie connection, but ultimately concluded that Rick Marshall was not a viable suspect. If we believe the many fingerprints held on file are the actual prints of the killer, then we have to exclude Rick Marshall as the Zodiac Killer, as his fingerprints provided no match.
See also the Rick Marshall extracts from the film Zodiac here.
Rick Marshall was investigated by the Napa County Police Department, but nothing tangible emerged and Marshall was in later years cleared from ongoing investigations, shortly before his death in Marin County in 2008.
He was also subject to an FBI investigation, but his records were expunged in 1993 and no files remain.
Robert Graysmith was a political cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle when the Zodiac Killer story broke becoming obsessed with the unfolding mystery, an obsession that would eventually cost him his marriage. His fascination with the case, along with detailed information he had collected down the years led him to write his first Zodiac book, released in 1986, following this up with Zodiac Unmasked in 2002. In the 1986 book Graysmith would refer to Richard Marshall as Donald Jeff Andrews.
Charles Fleischer (Bob Vaughn) "This tip is how you got it in your head that Rick is the Zodiac".
Jake Gyllenhaal (Robert Graysmith) "That and the poster"
CF; "The poster"
JG; "The poster that Rick drew, the handwriting is the closest that we have ever come to a match".
CF; "Rick didn't draw any posters".
JG; "No, he drew this one"
CF; "Mr Graysmith, I do the posters myself".
This was the unnerving moment in the 2007 film Zodiac that Robert Graysmith played by actor Jake Gyllenhaal realizes the uncomfortable possibility that he may actually be sitting in the home of the Zodiac Killer, but what is the truth. Robert Graysmith claims this encounter with Bob Vaughn took place.
Bob Vaughn, born in 1911 was a theater organist from an early age, having played at many venues including the Avenue Theatre at 2650 San Bruno Avenue, San Francisco, situated just off US Route 101 approximately 4 miles south of Mason and Geary Street and a 7 mile drive to the Washington and Cherry Street intersection. He was the accompaniment to many movies in the silent film era, dating back as early as 1927, before the work dried up, accentuated by the inevitable arrival of the 'talking film'. He was forced into a career change, working for the Immigration and Naturalization Service which dealt with checking and evaluating people at an official port of entry, as well as assessing applications for permanent residency, however in the early years of 1960 he moved back to San Francisco and worked alongside Rick Marshall, who worked as a projectionist at the Avenue Theatre. Opening on July 20th 1927 it funded the running of old movies on Tuesday and Wednesday, by showing more contemporary productions for the rest of the week and this is where Bob Vaughn excelled as a pipe organist.
Bob Vaughn died in 2002, aged 90, however his legacy remains, that of an exemplary musician, thrilling the captive audiences of a bygone era, but certainly not the Zodiac Killer as the sequence in the 2007 David Fincher film would want us to believe, even for just a minute.
When the first murders on December 20th 1968 at Lake Herman Road occurred, Bob Vaughn was 57 years old and although his name has cropped up in many Zodiac discussion boards by association with Rick Marshall, that is about as far as it can be taken. As for the Avenue Theatre, which closed its doors on December 22nd 1984, the nearest it came to the Zodiac case, other than Rick Marshall, is quite possibly when Paul Stine passed nearby on US Route 101 at approximately 9.35 pm on October 11th 1969, his likely route from San Francisco International Airport towards the Mason and Geary Theater district after dropping off his final fare on that fateful night.