Listening to the 9-1-1 call, you can hear the panic of 18-year-old Joaquin Phoenix’s voice as he called for help from a pay phone for his older brother, who was suffering from drug-induced convulsions outside the Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard.
Phoenix, an actor who will soon turn 40, tragically lost his brother that day.
The pay phone is still on Sunset, an unusual object with such a dark history, on one of the most colorful and lively streets in Los Angeles.
Whether you are an L.A. tourist or resident, you could be standing in front of a beautiful West Hollywood home or eating at a trendy restaurant without realizing it is the site of where a famous person died or had their last meal.
You can get a crash course in this morbid wealth of knowledge by taking the Dearly Departed Tragical History Tour.
The tour freakishly puts you in the scene of famous deaths and murders by visiting the locations via bus while listening to emergency calls and at times viewing photographs that are not for the squeamish.
Don’t worry. Looking at the photos is optional.
It’s definitely not your average Hollywood tour and may sound depressing, but Brian Donnelly, one of the tour guides, makes it an interesting and enjoyable experience with his encyclopedic knowledge, quirky sense of humor and personal stories.
After finishing this tour you will feel as if you have a secret key to the city. It’s like being exposed to a hidden past world and you may never see L.A. the same.