The Sunshine Place

The Sunshine Place

Once called “the miracle on the beach,” Synanon began in the 1960s as an experimental rehab facility in Santa Monica, California with a radical claim: It could cure heroin addiction. Before long, it would make an even bolder claim: It could cure any of your problems. All you had to do was move in. What started in a house on the beach, soon spread to compounds across the country. The man who made the miracle happen, Charles E. Dederich, aka “Chuck,” would be the one to destroy it all, along with the lives of many of his followers and millions of dollars in assets. The Sunshine Place tells the mind-blowing, true-story of Synanon - one of America’s most cutting edge social experiments, turned into one of its most dangerous and violent cults - as it’s never been told before: by the people who lived it. Executive Produced by Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey, and Emily Barclay Ford for Team Downey and C13Originals, together with Josh McLaughlin for Wink Pictures and written, produced, and directed by Peabody-nominated C13Originals, a Cadence13 Studio.

Episodes

July 26, 2022 4 min

Once called “the miracle on the beach,” Synanon began in the 1960s as an experimental rehab facility in Santa Monica, California with a radical claim: It could cure heroin addiction. Before long, it would make an even bolder claim: It could cure any of your problems. All you had to do was move in. What started in a house on the beach, soon spread to compounds across the country. The man who made the miracle happen, Charles E. Deder...

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Welcome to Synanon. If you're wondering what Synanon is, then you're asking the same question as Celena and Mike, whose lives change forever the moment they arrive. It's the 1970s, and Synanon is a community, a utopia, a cautionary tale, and a cult. But more than anything else, it's a person, the founder of Synanon, a man named Charles E. Dederich, who most people call, Chuck. 

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August 10, 2022 47 min

Chuck Dederich hits rock bottom as an alcoholic in the beachside slums of Los Angeles. It's 1958, and he's got nothing but an idea, but it's one that would save countless lives. He calls it Synanon. Others call it the Miracle on the Beach. Through sheer force of will, Chuck's idea becomes national news, and Synanon becomes a household word. 

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August 17, 2022 50 min

Legend, ritual, religion, LSD. Chuck experiments with all of it on his followers in Synanon.

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August 24, 2022 49 min

Chuck breaks one of his two rules for Synanon, no violence, beginning with his youngest followers.

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August 31, 2022 50 min

Chuck declares that there will be no more children born in Synanon, and he goes to great lengths to make sure of it.

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September 7, 2022 57 min

After Chuck's wife Betty passes away, he quickly finds a new partner, and he instructs his followers to find new ones too, whether they want to or not. 

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September 14, 2022 54 min

Chuck is consumed by paranoia and Synanon erupts in violence.

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September 21, 2022 73 min

Chuck Dederich's story reaches its conclusion. Whether or not Synanon does is up for debate. 

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On the surface, there was nothing remarkable about Larry Lavin. He lived in a quiet neighborhood with his wife and family, drove a Volvo, and practiced dentistry in Philadelphia. But, from 1978 to 1984, Dr. Lavin moonlighted as one of the largest cocaine kingpins on the Eastern Seaboard.

Through the voices and perspectives of law enforcement, drug runners, friends, business associates and Larry Lavin himself, Wolves Among Us, Season...

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