Introduced by the host as “a successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed,” Alcala cooed from behind the partition: “We’re gonna have a great time together, Cheryl.” Alcala won Bradshaw over with pick-up lines like “Nighttime’s the best time…when things really get going,” and “I’m called ‘The Banana’ and I look really good…
The year of his graduation, 1968, was also the year of his first known act of sexual violence — the brutal rape and beating of 8-year-old Tali Shapiro.
In 1968, when Alcala took Tali Shapiro to his apartment and beat her nearly to death, police in pursuit made the choice to save the girl instead of running after Alcala, and he made a lucky break for it.
He served only 34 months of this sentence before being released, after he showed psychologists evidence of his rehabilitation.
Within two months, another encounter with an underage girl sent him back to jail, where he served a two year stint before being released again.
You know a true crime tale is genuinely intriguing when it is constantly evolving and new evidence is being uncovered, even after the focal point of the story has been in prison for decades.
That is certainly what’s happened in the case of serial killer Rodney Alcala, also known as the “Dating Game Killer.” Alcala has been behind bars in California since 1979, but, as recently as September 2016, the sordid story of his crimes was still unfolding.
Born in Texas in 1943, Rodney Alcala relocated to Los Angeles at the age of 12.
He studied fine art at UCLA after being discharged from the Army for a personality disorder.
With a warrant out for his arrest, he fled to the east coast and assumed a fake name.
In a morbidly appropriate twist of fate, he studied film under Roman Polanski at NYU, where he discovered his passion for fashion photography.
Between his appearance on the show and his arrest the next year, he killed at least three more women.