- Joined Nov 22, 2002
Convicted serial killer won on 'Dating Game'By Gabriel Falcon
(CNN) -- Before he was a convicted serial killer, Rodney Alcala was a winning bachelor on "The Dating Game."
"Ohyeah, I remember it quite clearly," said Jed Mills, the game-showcontestant who sat next to Alcala in 1978. "He was creepy. Definitelycreepy."
Found guilty in February of murdering four women and achild, Alcala, 66, is acting as his own attorney in the penalty phaseof the trial. He is hoping to persuade the jury in Santa Ana,California, to spare his life.
The crimes Alcala committed dateto the late 1970s. Nobody at the time knew the man with the wavy longhair and toothy grin was an apparent psychopath -- an unstable,antisocial personality.
That includes Mills, a veterantelevision and film actor, whose only encounter with Alcala was whenboth of them appeared on "The Dating Game."
"That's when I became part of a nightmare, and I didn't realize it was a nightmare until 32 years later," Mills said.
Alcala,who already had been convicted for the 1968 rape of an 8-year-old girl,was the first contestant to be introduced in the game-show episode.
"BachelorNo. 1 is a successful photographer who got his start when his fatherfound him in the dark room at the age of 13, fully developed," host JimLange said. "Between takes you might find him skydiving ormotor-cycling. Please welcome Rodney Alcala."
After the threebachelors were announced, the young woman who would choose one of themfor a date began asking questions. She posed her first one to Alcala.
"What's your best time?" she said.
"The best time is at night," Alcala answered with a wide smile. "Nighttime."
Mills,who was bachelor No. 2, said he had an almost immediate aversion toAlcala. "Something about him, I could not be near him," Mills recalled."I am kind of bending toward the other guy to get away from him, and Idon't know if I did that consciously. But thinking back on that, Iprobably did."
Alcala was able to charm Cheryl Bradshaw from the other side of the "Dating Game" wall.
"Whowill it be?" the host asked her at the end of the show. "I'll take One[bachelor No. 1]," Bradshaw said, and out strolled Alcala.
IfAlcala appeared likable to viewers at home, Mills said he was thecomplete opposite when they sat together in the show's green room,where the show's contestants waited before going on air.
"He was quiet, but at the same time he would interrupt and imposewhen he felt like it," Mills said. "And he was very obnoxious andcreepy -- he became very unlikable and rude and imposing as though hewas trying to intimidate. I wound up not only not liking this guy ...not wanting to be near him ... he got creepier and more negative. Hewas a standout creepy guy in my life."
Within months of his "Dating Game" appearance, Alcala would become a killer, prosecutors said, abducting and murderinga 12-year-old girl in 1979. Before the decade was over, Alcala wouldclaim four more victims, according to testimony at his trial.
CNN asked noted crime profiler Pat Brown to analyze Alcala's appearance on "The Dating Game."
"Hewas aware that he could say things that were considered sexy and funnyand the girl would like that," Brown told CNN. "He watched the game andhe gave those answers and he won, so he learned some tricks. But apsychopath's true nature comes seeping through.
"When you goback and look, what's most fascinating is that he had already committeda crime," Brown said, "Raped a little girl. Here is a man portrayinghimself as a desirable young man when he is a violent sexual predatorof children."
Alcala's real identity revealed itself off the stage when he was with the other bachelors, Brown believes.
"Heis showing his psychopathic personality in the green room," she said."He wasn't acting at that time. Those were his enemies, and he had tobeat them to get the girl and he wanted to win.
"This guyprobably literally hated them. This guy was going on the show to provehow special and wonderful he was. And his ego was riding on it."
ThoughBradshaw chose Alcala as her date, she refused to go out with him,according to published reports. Being rejected can have a profoundimpact on serial killers, Brown suggested.
"Onewonders what that did in his mind," Brown said. "That is something hewould not take too well. They don't understand the rejection. Theythink that something is wrong with that girl: 'She played me. Sheplayed hard to get.' "
Mills said he still has a difficult time discussing Alcala.
"Themore time has gone by, the creepier it gets," he said, "because it kindof sinks in slowly. What this guy did, it's hard to express. He kind ofhaunts me a bit.
"Just talking about it, I get a tightness in my stomach."