How the serial killer ended up on a dating show in the middle of a killing spree and won a blind date

Rodney Alcala was identified by the boyfriend of one of his victims on a TV show and was in prison awaiting execution for murdering five women when he died

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Rodney Alcala appears in The Dating Game in 1978

When Rodney Alcala appeared as the smiling Bachelor One on a popular TV dating show, he was hiding a dark and devastating secret that eventually earned him the death sentence.

Seen by viewers in the US in 1978, the confident contestant was actually embroiled in a brutal two-year murder spree.

Somehow, the 29-year-old, now known as one of the world’s worst serial killers, managed to make his way onto The Dating Game despite serving a prison sentence on child molestation charges after viciously raping an eight-year-old girl in 1972.

Moderator Jim Lange introduced Alcala as a “successful photographer”.

It was later revealed that he had photographed dozens of mostly young and female victims in grotesque poses after choking and killing them.

Rodney Alcala smiled on The Dating Game Show in 1978



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With collar-length dark hair and a sleek brown suit, the sleek and calm California native sat behind a screen alongside two other contestants and told Bachelorette Cheryl Bradshaw, “We’re going to have a great time together, Cheryl.”

Alcala won her over by answering her series of questions.

In hindsight, his suggestive answers seem downright creepy — something Cheryl luckily picked up on later.

Rodney Alcala in the 1970s


MediaNews Group)

12-year-old Robin Samsoe was killed by Alcala in 1979, a year after his brazen television appearance


Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

She asked, “What’s your best time?” and Alcala replied, “The best time is at night.

“This is the only time there is. [Morning and afternoon] are ok but it gets really good at night.”

When asked what his name would be if he were a Essen, he said: “My name is ‘The Banana’ and I’m really good looking. peel me.”

Alcala had his arm around Cheryl before they left the screen to “get to know each other better” and look forward to their prize date with tennis lessons and a visit to Magic Mountain.

Murder victim Georgia Wixted, killed by Alcala in 1977 at her Malibu home


Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Rodney James Alcala


MediaNews group)

But Cheryl said his off-stage behavior was becoming increasingly troubling and she decided not to go with him.

“I started feeling sick. He was acting really creepy,” she said.

“I declined his offer. I didn’t want to see him again.”

In a twist of fate, it was this television appearance that finally nailed Alcala for the murder of Robin Samsoe Rolling Stone .

Cornelia Crilley, left, and Ellen Hoover murdered by Rodney Alcala in New York



The 12-year-old from Huntington Beach, Orange County, was abducted in June 1979 while she was cycling to ballet practice. Her body was found dumped a few days later.

One of the police officers investigating Robin’s death saw a rerun of that year-long episode of The Dating Game on television and thought one of the contestants resembled a sketch provided by Bridget, a friend of the victim.

Alcala’s sacrifice


Corbis via Getty Images)

The witness was shown a recording of the show and immediately recognized Alcala.

She told a 20/20 special Documentary team: “And when I saw the three candidates, I said, ‘That’s him!’ That’s him.

“No question. This is the man. And when I heard his voice, there was no doubt that he was.”

He was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1980, but the sentence was overturned twice before the 2010 death penalty was upheld for the murders of Robin and four other women – Jill Barcomb, Georgia Wixted, Charlotte Lamb and Jill Parenteau – between 1977 and 2010 1979, after damning DNA evidence.

Rodney Alcala in court in 2010


MediaNews Group via Getty Images)

Alacala following his death sentence in the Santa Ana courtroom in 2010


MediaNews Group via Getty Images)

In 2013, Alcala pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the 1971 New York City murders of Cornelia Crilley and Ellen Hover in 1977.

In 2016, he was also charged with the 1977 murder of Christine Ruth Thornton in Wyoming but never stood trial.

Alcala was still awaiting execution at California State Prison in Corcoran when he died in July last year at the age of 77.

Investigators now believe his onslaught began in Hollywood as early as 1968 and his casualty count could range from 50 to 130.

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