As we all know, Charles Manson died in prison this weekend at age 83, where he was serving time for the murder of nine people, including actress Sharon Tate, back in the late 60s. But what we didn’t know, is that Bryan Cranston (aka the world’s greatest actor, Hal in Malcolm In The Middle and Wallace White in Bad Breaks or something) had a brief run-in with the psychopath in 1969.
Speaking on Twitter, Cranston said:
“Hearing Charles Manson is dead, I shuddered. I was within his grasp just one year before he committed brutal murder in 1969. Luck was with me when a cousin and I went horseback riding at the Spahn Ranch, and saw the little man with crazy eyes whom the other hippies called Charlie.”
This encounter was elaborated on in an interview with the Hudson Union in 2016, in which he went into further detail about the close-shave. He’d been riding through the ranch when he was only 12-years-old, and while he and his cousin were looking at horses, they heard someone shout “Charlie’s on the hill!”
“Everybody looked around, and there was this frantic nervous energy going on, and they all jumped on horses and away they went. We asked the old guy [Spahn] what was going on, and he said, ‘Oh, it’s nothing. It’s happened before.’ We thought, ‘Well, Charlie must be someone important.’
“There were about eight or so people, and there was a man in the middle on a horse, but he wasn’t holding his own reins - there was someone on the horse in front holding the reins - and Charlie, I guessed, was this comatose, bearded, long-haired guy with big eyes riding as if he’s just stuck to the back of a horse. Totally zoned out. You couldn’t take your eyes off him.
“My cousin turned back to me and said, ‘Wow, that guy’s weird.’ When we passed him and their whole group, she turned around again and said, ‘That must be Charlie,’ and I said, ‘Yeah … and Charlie’s freaky!’ We didn’t think anything of it.”
He then recalls what happened when he saw the news of the murders:
“I saw his face on the news, and my jaw dropped. My cousin called me first and said, ‘Can you believe this?’ The picture of Charlie Manson was the guy on the back of this horse. And we thought for a second, oh my god, what if? It was very freaky, to say the least.”
A lucky escape, or simply a chance encounter? Bit of both, maybe - all that matters is that neither Cranston nor his cousin were harmed, because if I hadn’t have had my beloved Malcolm In The Middle then I don’t know what I would do. GENUINELY WHAT WOULD I DO? TELL ME WHAT I WOULD DO.