John Buntin’s L.A. Noir bus tour

WHAT:  Third edition of Esotouric’s special guest hosted “John Buntin’s L.A. Noir” bus and walking tour, which debuted in a sold-out September 2009 run
WHEN:  Saturday October 16, 12pm-4pm, departing from Clifton’s Cafeteria, 648 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014
COST:  $62/person including snack
MORE INFO:  visit or call 323-223-2767
RELATED TOURS:  Esotouric’s October noir series also “The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain’s Southern California Nightmare” (10/9, info at and their debut CSULA crime lab tour event (10/24, sold out, info at

LOS ANGELES, CA– Other cities have histories. Los Angeles has legends. For more than sixty years, writers and directors from Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder to Roman Polanski and James Ellroy have explored L.A.’s origins, its underbelly, and (yes) its blondes in fiction and films like “The Big Sleep,” “Double Indemnity,” “Chinatown,” and “L.A. Confidential.” Yet this preoccupation with a mythic past has obscured something important — the true history of noir Los Angeles.

Now John Buntin, the author of “L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City” (Random House), and Esotouric, L.A.’s most eclectic bus adventure company, have teamed up to explore the forgotten haunts, hits, and harems of underworld L.A. and the rivalry between the two men who shaped it — one L.A.’s most notorious gangster, the other its most controversial police chief. The tour debuted in a sold out run in September 2009, with a repeat engagement in April 2010.

Featherweight boxer Mickey Cohen left the ring for the rackets, first as mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel’s enforcer, then as his protégé and successor. Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum, and Sammy Davis Jr. palled around with him; TV journalist Mike Wallace wanted his stories; evangelist Billy Graham sought his soul.

William H. Parker was the proud son of a pioneering law enforcement family from the fabled frontier town of Deadwood. As a rookie patrolman in the Roaring Twenties, he discovered that L.A. was ruled by a shadowy “Combination” of tycoons, politicians and underworld bosses. His life mission became to topple it — and to create a police force that would never answer to elected officials again. In the process, he created the Dragnet-era LAPD, unwittingly paving the way for the Watts riots and creating a culture that LAPD police chief Charlie Beck continues to struggle with even today.

Novelist Michael Connelly calls “L.A. Noir” “fascinating, flat out entertaining.” “[I]mportant and wonderfully enjoyable,” says Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times. Kirkus Reviews raves, “A roller coaster ride… Gripping social history and a feast for aficionados of cops-and-robbers stories, both real and imagined,” and USC historian Kevin Starr says the book is “a tour de force of non-fiction narrative.” Together, Buntin and Esotouric take you on a journey to the sites where Hollywood madam Brenda Allen played and where Mickey’s enforcers killed to enforce his will.

From Clifton’s redwood-themed Brookdale Cafeteria downtown, L.A. Noir passengers will proceed on foot to the movie palace where 17-year-old Bill Parker worked as an usher — and fell into a disastrous love affair — as well as the site of 9-year-old Mickey Cohen’s first holdup. Boarding a luxurious coach class bus, the tour will visit Mickey Cohen’s childhood haunts in the old Jewish neighborhood Boyle Heights, as well as the site of one of L.A.’s most notorious attempted assassinations, en route to significant spots in LAPD and mob history. We’ll stop by “the glass house,” visit one of fashion plate madam Brenda Allen former haunts, visit an eerie mob body dump site on the edge of Vernon, stop by Cohen’s old commission office, hear a first-hand account of how Mickey operated, tour the Los Angeles Police Academy and visit the old Lincoln Heights jail, site of the brutal Christmas 1951 events that inspired the opening of James Ellroy’s “L.A. Confidential.”

With Kim Cooper, the creator of Esotouric’s true crime tours and creator of the new L.A. time travel blog In SRO Land ( riding shotgun, there will also be plenty of surprises. So get on the bus as the whole filthy truth is spread out before you, as only the Esotouric crew and special guest stars like John Buntin can do.

ABOUT ESOTOURIC: Founded in 2007 by newlyweds Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, the company quickly cornered the market on offbeat true crime history tours and highbrow literary and architectural explorations. From their “The Real Black Dahlia” tour (“an L.A. classic” — Los Angeles Times) to “Raymond Chandler’s L.A.,” sold-out personal history tours guest hosted by James Ellroy to alternative neighborhood guides like “Pasadena Confidential,” Esotouric’s weekly bus adventure has become a must for locals seeking to know their city better, and a lucky find for savvy travelers.

Upcoming Esotouric bus tour and special event schedule
Sat Sept 11 – Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice crime bus tour
Sat Sept 18 – Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour
Sat Sept 25 – The Real Black Dahlia crime bus tour
Sat Oct 9 – The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain’s So. Cal Nightmare
Sat Oct 16 – John Buntin’s L.A. Noir
Sun Oct 24 – CSULA crime lab tour (info at
Sat Nov 6 – Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles
Sun Nov 7 – CSULA crime lab tour (info at
Sat Nov 13 – Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski’s L.A.
Sat Dec 4  – Pasadena Confidential with Crimebo the Clown
Sat Dec 11 – Eastside Babylon crime bus tour