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Wisteria Regale – “Mystery at the Banning Mansion”

March 25, 2017 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

IN CELEBRATION OF THE WISTERIA REGALE returning to the Banning Mansion, join us in playing the classic detective game, CLUE, with a Banning twist. In addition to solving the “Mystery at the Banning Mansion” you will also enjoy an elegant dinner, hosted bar, live music and a silent auction. The annual Wisteria Regale Scholarships provided by Friends of Banning Museum and
California Sulphur, Inc. will be presented to Banning High School’s finest students.

All proceeds benefit Friends of Banning Museum’s mission to continue the legacy of Phineas Banning through educational and programming and historical preservation.

Mystery at the Banning Mansion

The Setting
The year was 1867 – controversy swirls around the local financial approval and construction of the first railroad in Southern California that would connect Los Angeles with the port area of Wilmington and San Pedro. Emotions are heated on both sides of the issue. News stories present both sides and this reporting adds fuel to flaring tempers. Star reporter of the Los Angeles News, Hollister Boddy, is hot on the trail of several breaking news stories including the railroad story. He will stop at nothing to get the news, while others might do anything to stop him. He has followed his stories to the Banning Mansion as a weekend guest to the annual Wisteria Regale festivities hosted by Phineas and Rebecca Banning.

The Mystery
Mr. Hollister Boddy has disappeared. He arrived Friday along with the other guests to enjoy lunch and planned activities – including croquet, horseshoes, carriage rides, garden walks, afternoon tea on the front porch and swimming in the reservoir – before filing his latest newspaper stories by the 5 PM deadline. But Hollister never filed those stories and in fact, no one can find him. Some fear foul play, he was not the most popular fellow. Others wonder if Hollister’s love of champagne might have been his downfall that afternoon.

The Suspects
Lord and Lady MacPherson – A Scottish Lord and his Lady who travel the world while collecting unusual and exotic artifacts. Angus MacPherson is sometimes willing to part with pieces from of his various collections – for the right price – particularly pieces from his rather large ivory scrimshaw collection. Rumors have been whispered that some pieces of this fabulous collection might not be made with real of ivory. Hollister Boddy has been nosing around this potentially ruinous story. Angus might do anything to stop Boddy.

Mr. Brent White – A prominent local rancher who vehemently opposes the railroad project as he fears ruinous property taxes to pay for the new railroad and monopoly freight charges to get his product to market. He is desperate to be sure that Hollister Boddy’s pending news story does not push voters to approve the railroad funding. He might do anything to stop Boddy.

Miss Periwinkle Lowber – Phineas’ grand-niece and quite the belle of the ball with many suitors chasing after her. But she has a scandalous secret that she thinks Hollister Boddy may have discovered and that he is preparing a related news story. If the secret gets out her reputation could be ruined. She might do anything to stop Boddy.

Colonel Drum Plum– A civil war hero returning home to Los Angeles to lever his fame into a prosperous future. Hollister Boddy interviewed the Colonel, asking probing questions about his battle exploits. The Colonel knows his war stories may not stand up to this reporter’s scrutiny. He might do anything to stop Boddy.

Doctor Turner Green – Producer and purveyor of the Green Elixir, a popular cure-all tonic. The good doctor is nervous about questions from Hollister Boddy for a breaking story on the Tonic’s true effectiveness and the bottle’s contents labeling. He might do anything to stop Boddy.

Madame Feather Peacock – Famous European Opera star touring the United States. Madame Feather is a very emotional, sensitive and sometimes volatile artist. Bad newspaper reviews of past performances have been extremely upsetting. She fears Hollister Boddy is not her fan and is considering a less than stellar review of her last performance. She might do anything to stop Boddy.

Mrs. Scarlett Cabrillo – Recently widowed, she is left to manage the family’s large rancho. The rancho is the primary supplier of feed for the 200 head of horses and mules at the Banning homestead and for the competitions livestock. The proposed railroad would eliminate the need for most of the livestock used to pull freight wagons and passenger coaches from the Wilmington waterfront to Los Angeles and beyond. Mrs. Cabrillo is against all support of the railroad, including any Hollister Boddy’s newspaper story. She might do anything to stop Boddy

Professor Clara Mustard – Noted Harvard historian, Professor Mustard is visiting Southern California to gather local history for her definitive work on California. While working with Hollister to understand the local issues, she became infatuated with this long time confirmed bachelor reporter. She might do anything to catch Boddy.

Ruby Herring – Star reporter for the Wilmington Journal, amateur detective, former member of the 1850’s vigilante group, the Los Angeles Rangers and fierce competitor of Hollister Boddy. Each reporter always fighting to scoop the other on every breaking news story. These two journalists are particularly focused on the railroad story. Ruby might do anything to scoop Boddy.

The Weapons
Phineas’s Colt Revolver, Sword from Boys’ Bedroom, Candelabra, Fireplace Poker, Poison, Hay Fork, Large Iron Horseshoe, Croquet Mallet, Chamber Pot, Escaped Boa Constrictor

Search for the CLUES –
1. The suspects are guests at the Wisteria Regale and as they meet other guests in the house, the back lawn reception and the barn, they are eager to defend themselves, share exonerating facts – CLUES – and point the finger of guilt at other suspects.
2. There are also written CLUES “hidden” in the silent auction area that guests can discover as they consider bidding on many enticing items. Other CLUES may be hidden in plain sight, so be vigilant.

3. Guests also have the opportunity to procure the exclusive Wisteria Cocktail in a lovely keepsake glowing glass. Each beverage comes with a CLUE and is served with or without alcohol.

Check back to see if more mystery information becomes available!


March 25, 2017
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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