Locked up for love? The Dating Game (Serial) Killer Appearance

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In 1978, a mysterious man sat on the other side of the wall hoping to be chosen as contestant Cheryl Bradshaw’s lucky suitor. Introduced to the crowd as “Bachelor Number One, a successful photographer”, his charm, wit and somewhat sexy responses won over the audience, which of course in turn wowed the producers. What the show didn’t know, however, was that Bachelor Number One had a criminal record and that Ms. Bradshaw could be in serious danger.

His name was Rodney Alcala, and even his audition for the show was controversial. Mike and Ellen Metzger, soon-to-be-married producers interviewed Alcala for its great Game of seduction start. Ellen recalls finding his mannerisms and looks very attractive — something women watching the show would likely opt for. Her future husband, however, disagreed, saying Alcala had a “strange personality”. And he wasn’t the only one to think so. One of the other contestants on the aired episode, AKA Bachelor Number Two, also described Alcala as “scary” and said that before the show started backstage, Alcala told him, “I always get my daughter”.

An all-too-familiar story

Doesn’t the story sound a little too familiar to you? If you follow your streaming services, you’ve probably listened to shows like You – where a man falls so deeply in love with a woman that he ends up stalking her and removing any obstacle that stands in the way of their relationship. Or maybe even Ted Bundy’s crime drama, Extremely Wicked, Incredibly Evil and Vilewhere dreamer Zac Efron plays the notorious serial killer.

It’s almost cruel that the producers put out such a desirable and appealing track only to portray them doing unspeakable and morbid things. And even though we see that these “characters” (and in some cases, real people) are or have been guilty of doing the unspeakable, for some there’s still that twinge of attraction. This is called “hybristophilia”.

Hybristophilia is a condition that exists to account for those who get aroused by the wrongdoing object of their affection and is also known as “Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome”.

This condition has been examined by scholars, writers, and authors, drawing examples from real-life relationships such as Charles Manson and Adolf Hitler. However, perhaps the most well-known example of hybristophilia in today’s media is that of Ted Bundy.

Ted Bundy Mugshot

Bundy was responsible for the rape and murder of more than 30 young women – and yet he received fan mail from women around the world. According to Stephen Michaud, co-author of Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer, Bundy received countless letters containing marriage proposals and photographs; he even had “groupies” in the courtroom during his trials dressed similarly to his victims. To make the story even weirder, while he was still on trial in 1980, Ted Bundy actually married one of his admirers!

The lack of security and the plethora of evidence

In an age without background check technology, the Game of seduction the team didn’t have much to do when casting their show. Unaware of his criminal history – including attempted murder – they allowed Alcala to participate.

In the end, Cheryl decided to go with Alcala, that is, until she saw her true colors the next day. Producer Ellen Metzger got a call from the bachelorette. She said, “Ellen, I can’t go out with that guy. There are weird vibes coming out of him. It is very strange. I do not feel comfortable. Is this going to be a problem? And of course, Ellen noted“No.”

A blessing of good judgment from Cheryl and the support of The dating game the team to forgo their date with the inexplicably odd Alcala may have really saved his life. After his appearance on the show, an investigation was underway and Alcala was found guilty of murdering 12-year-old Robin Samsoe.

After a treasure trove of evidence belonging to victims was found in a Seattle storage locker, three trials and thirty years after his first conviction, Rodney Alcala was sentenced to death, although he ended up dying of causes in July 2021. Overall, Alcala was found to be responsible for the disappearance and murder of 7 women during the 1970s – one of whom was found just months before the appearance of Alcala on The dating game. A truly twisted and tragic story.

Rodney Alcala Mugshot

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to science, psychology, reasoning, and love for a “bad boy” or a dangerous relationship. For all the true listeners and crime lovers out there, take our word for it when we say this is just the beginning of the story. And honestly, if you hop on Netflix for more of the Ted Bundy, we’re going to bet it’s just Zac Efron making you feel some kind of way, rather than the serial killer tale or the hybristophilia.


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