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Royal Idiots

July 21, 1985

It is really surprising to find someone of Ray Bradbury's erudition confusing a "Mad Otto" with Ludwig II of Bavaria ("Memories of Walt's Place," July 14).

There was indeed a "Mad Otto"--he was Ludwig's idiot younger brother, who became Otto I after the death of the demented Ludwig in 1886. Through a succession of regents, he ruled (if you want to call it that) until deposed in 1913.

The builder of Neuschwanstein castle (to which Bradbury apparently refers as the model for Disney's enchanted castle) was assuredly "Mad Ludwig," not idiot Otto. Otto was kept under lock and key for most of his life, while Ludwig ran loose, building castles and befriending Richard Wagner, until the good Bavarians clamped down and declared him legally insane in 1886. A week later he drowned himself, and his doctor, in the lake adjoining Neuschwanstein.

If you think this all sounds like "Dynasty" or "Dallas" on a better-than-average night, you should look into the fracas that developed in the 1860s, when Ludwig was throwing money every which way to please Wagner, whilst Cosima von Bulow, Wagner's mistress (still married to conductor Hans von Bulow) waited jealously in the wings as Bavarian tongues wagged furiously about the homosexual Ludwig and the middle-age, money-mad Lothario, Wagner.

I do hope this lurid tale won't result in a flood of Ludwig II look-alikes.

MYRNA HOOD

Canoga Park

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