Rodney Alcala is one of the most notorious serial killers in US history, but extraordinarily he once appeared on national TV mid-spree.
Dubbed The Dating Game Killer, the Texas-born criminal had already murdered four people when he turned up on a 70s ABC show called, you guessed it, The Dating Game.
That show, incidentally, was devised by Chuck Barris, the man played by Sam Rockwell in George Clooney’s directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
What’s crazy about Alcala’s Dating Game appearance is the fact that he was already a convicted rapist and registered sex offender when he appeared on the show.
Alcala had spent 34 months in jail on a charge of child molestation, paroled when his victim’s parents refused to let her testify in court.
“The best time is at night. That’s the only time there is.”
He was accepted as ‘Bachelor Number One’ on the dating game in 1978, at a time when he’d also killed two women in California and another two in New York.
In his intro host Jim Lange called Alcala a “successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed. Between takes you might find him skydiving or motorcycling.”
Shockingly, Alcala won the contest and bagged a date with Cheryl Bradshaw, who later refused to go out with him on account of his odd behaviour.
Fellow contestant Jed Mills later described him as “creepy”, telling CNN: “I remember it quite clearly. He was creepy. Definitely creepy.”
The clues were in Alcala’s answers. When asked what his favourite time was, he shot back: “The best time is at night. That’s the only time there is. [Morning and afternoon] are okay, but nighttime is when it really gets good.”
The police finally caught up with him in July 1979, apprehending him to bring to an end an eight-year killing spree that may have seen him kill as many as 130 victims.
He’s twice had a death sentence overturned, but that was re-instated in 2010 on five counts of first-degree murder.