When the first version of Helter Skelter
(1976), based on prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's 1974 account of the Manson murders and trials, aired the 1960s were a fresh wound and Manson twinkie Squeaky Fromme
had just picked off the scab, resurfacing in 1975 with a pistol pointed at then-President Gerald Ford
's torso. The two-part film, which started with the Hollywood murders of Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Voytek Frykowski, Abigail Folger and Steve Parent, who had the misfortune to be visiting the Tate-house caretaker, was an extended courtroom drama. Though freighted with a squarer-than-square, Dragnet
-style voice over, it nevertheless crackled...