Harry Bordon was a former police detective turned crime lord after he went on the take. He was the owner of the popular Dunwich Room in Los Angeles, and also managed numerous singers, including Connie Stone, who was also his moll. A ruthless employer, Bordon, an accomplished sorcerer in his own right, would punish his singers for trying to back out of contracts by casting a spell to make them talk backwards, ruining their careers, and he used zombies for henchmen because they didn't need to be paid and would always be told what to do. When he as a detective, he had been partners with H. Phillip Lovecraft, and Bordon's turn to crime had been the end of the pair's friendship.
In 1948, Bordon learned that Amos Hackshaw had found the Necronomicon. He constructed a housing project called Vista Bonita to the ancient tome's known specifications, to create a summoning ground for the Great Old Ones to bring them back into the world so he could become a human god. To this end, he hired Mickey Locksteader who got his boyfriend Larry Willis into the Hackshaw household as a chauffeur, to steal the Necronomicon. However Locksteader and Willis betrayed Bordon, giving him a fake version of the Necronomicon with blank pages.
An enraged Bordon ordered his henchman Tugwell and his zombie bodyguard to kill them. However Tugwell killed Locksteader before learning where Willis was or where they had hidden the real Necronomicon. Bordon was forced to join forces with the book's original owner in order to make everything work out as a result, and had his zombie kill Tugwell for his poor performance. As a reward for his assistance, Hackshaw promised Bordon he'd get to be ruler of the world when the Old Ones returned.
To get the Necronomicon, Bordon decided to let Lovecraft, who Hackshaw had hired, do the dirty work for him, telling Connie Stone to pretend to help him. The ruse worked and soon Bordon and Connie had the book and Lovecraft. They drove to Vista Bonita to meet Hackshaw and his daughter. As the ritual was about to begin, Connie, who wanted to be ruler of the world and not forever Harry Bordon's "pet," shot and killed her erstwhile lover whilst kissing him "for luck."