Everybody knows the Blue Meanies connection from Yellow Submarine, a fictional army of beings who allegorically represent all the bad people in the world. The author of the 1971 letter used this to represent the police. People's Park in Berkeley, California is a park located off Telegraph Avenue, bounded by Haste and Bowditch streets and Dwight Way, near the University of California, Berkeley. The park was created during the radical political activism of the late 1960s. The local Southside neighborhood was the scene of a major confrontation between student protesters and police on May 15th 1969. Reinforcements were called in from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, who arrived carrying shotguns and shells of buckshot. They wore pale blue jumpsuits and were quickly nicknamed the Blue Meanies. The author of the 1971 letter used the term "Blue Meannies", but notably, the letter was mailed from Alameda County rather than San Francisco. Was the author of the letter integral to the People's Park uprising, or just somebody who remembered it from the news?
One other notable event at Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley at the same time period, has often been touted as a potential Zodiac occurrence. In the latter half of 1968 in Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, two girls were offered a lift by a brown-haired man, estimated at 30-40 years of age, yet despite politely declining his offer, indicating their Volkswagen was parked up on the nearby avenue, it appeared he was determined to lure the girls into his vehicle. After declining his offer they proceeded to a local snack bar, where they remained chatting for approximately 45 minutes. After leaving the snack bar they headed back to their vehicle only to discover they were unable to start the Volkswagen, when the man they had encountered earlier promptly reappeared to offer his assistance once more. The man helped the girls push the vehicle along the road, when a second man came along to assist in their plight, but this only seemed to infuriate the initial 'good Samaritan', who then, apparently annoyed by a perceived intrusion, got back in his car and made a hasty exit from the scene. Some time later it was discovered that their car had been tampered with - the distributor cap having been torn from the engine, similar in fashion to Cheri Jo Bates' Volkswagen Beetle. Was the Zodiac Killer somehow integral to Berkeley during 1968 and 1969, and the March 13th 1971 Los Angeles letter was drawing from this experience? Or was the Los Angeles letter fashioned by yet another political activist piggybacking off the Zodiac crimes?
The film itself features Kowalski driving a 1970 Dodge Challenger to San Francisco. Through flashbacks and the police reading of his record, we learn that Kowalski is a Medal of Honor Vietnam War veteran, former racecar driver, and motorcycle racer. He is also a former police officer who was quickly promoted to detective, likely for preventing the rape of a young female suspect by his partner in the back of their patrol car. We learn that he was dishonorably discharged from the force, and although the record is classified, other flashbacks hint at the cause. During what was supposed to be an investigation and apprehension of a beautiful woman, Kowalski "goes native" and falls for the lovely blonde Vera. Rather than arrest her, he allows her to "surf off into the sunset" on a cold winter day, once again showing that he understands the people he is charged to deal with as fellow humans rather than just criminals. A newspaper later claims her as his girlfriend, emphasizing that the classified nature of the case was never revealed. Driving west across Colorado, Kowalski is pursued by two motorcycle police officers who try to stop him for speeding. Recalling his days as a motorcycle racer, he forces one officer off the road and eludes the other officer by jumping across a dry creek bed. Later, the driver of a Jaguar E-Type roadster pulls up alongside Kowalski and challenges him to a race. After the Jaguar driver nearly runs him off the road, Kowalski overtakes him and beats the Jaguar to a one-lane bridge, causing the Jaguar to crash into the river. Kowalski checks to see if the driver is okay, then takes off, with police cars in pursuit. Wikipedia.
Here is some of the wording from the trailer: "They want to get him and put him away, but there'll have to catch him first".
The author of the Los Angeles letter stated "If the Blue Meannies are evere going to catch me, they had best get off their fat asses + do something". The trailer of the film continued with a radio host from KOW reporting the chase "And there goes the Challenger being chased by the Blue, Blue Meanies on wheels". So, was the Vanishing Point trailer the inspiration for the March 13th 1971 Los Angeles letter, with its mailing date deliberately manufactured to marry up with the release date of the film?
Zodiac Killer Message Board on Vanishing Point (1971)