Welcome to the new home of the L.A. Daily Mirror, examining Los Angeles history one day at a time.

52 Responses to About

  1. Doug says:

    I liked you blog on latimes.com I already booked mark the site on my computer so I continue to follow the history of Los Angeles.

  2. larry, i am also bookmarked on your new site and no longer require daily e mails. thank you herb

  3. Barry says:

    Congrats on your new home!
    Now please Please PLEASE bring back page 1 click to reads

  4. Mike F says:

    I also loved the site when it was on the latimes.com site, and now I have this site bookmarked. I am a radio and Tv history buff so I enjoyed seeing the items related to Southern California’s radio and TV stations. I’ve never lived in California, but I listen to L.A. radio quite a bit.
    Please keep up the good work.


  5. MiG15 says:

    Like your new site.

  6. Glad to see you are still up and running. I can’t get through the day without my daily dose of The Daily Mirror.

  7. John Piggott says:

    LA’s been part of my life ever since I can remember – which is kind of odd, since I’m a middle-aged Australian who has never set foot in the city. Your town never fails to fascinate me, Larry. I guess it’s the same all over the world. Keep the great stories coming.

  8. Pingback: Hollywood Heights – Studio City Nightlife « Film Works L.A.

  9. Pingback: Hollywood Heights – Studio City Nightlife

  10. Jerry Cronin says:

    Just wanted to let you know that your work is appreciated. Thanks for continuing your blog.

  11. Gary Martin says:

    I came across this in Artinfo …and on-line gallery guide to art stuff in NYC.Lots of nice articles , etc. There is also a west coast trove
    best regards…gary

  12. NewToSeattle says:

    What happened to your efforts to vet the writings of Morrow Mayo? And is there a way of searching your site by key word?

    • lmharnisch says:

      @William: That’s a good question. Mayo’s book, as you may know, has become extremely influential. Most people researching Los Angeles history begin with him and never examine earlier accounts.

      Digging into even a few pages of his treatment of the Marion Parker case was illuminating: He made numerous mistakes — so many that it would be a life’s work to go through the entire book. Frankly, the facts were so mangled in a few pages that at this point I wouldn’t trust anything in it.

      George Morrow Mayo was an interesting character, but unfortunately, little is known about him. He was a pillar of the H.L. Mencken school, but although he wrote with a sharp edge, he lacked the more careful insight of Louis Adamic, another Mencken disciple. Where Mayo is merely shrill, Adamic is equally caustic, but illuminating.

      Mayo certainly had his critics, notably W.W. Robinson, who argued strongly against his version of the Owens Valley story, which I have stashed somewhere in the archives. (Robinson, one of my favorite L.A. writers, also faulted Carey McWilliams, but that’s another saga).

  13. NewToSeattle says:

    For a book I am writing, I have had occasion to research both the interesting history of Morrow Mayo–Louisville, Ky native, AP newsman, magazine writer, social critic and poet who died in the 1970s–and the bona fides of his one book, “Los Angeles”. I agree that very little in the book can be taken as fact without a third-party verification. Like you, I have run into any number of factual mistakes, including, in my judgment, his account of the Owens Valley water deal. Mayo had a tremendous ability to turn a phrase–in the aftermath of Aimee Semple McPherson, it was hard to top, “Los Angeles leads the world in all the healing sciences, except perhaps medicine and surgery.” But I think part of the enduring influence of “Los Angeles” stems from a chain of circumstances somewhat beyond his control. The brief passage in Carey McWilliams’ “Southern California Country” describing Owens Valley was largely sourced–in the text itself, no less–to Morrow Mayo and “Los Angeles.” And that passage, in turn, was the inspiration for Robert Towne’s Academy Award-winning screenplay for the 1974 movie “Chinatown,” which twisted the story even more (not to mention putting it 30 or so years later). My friends don’t believe me when I say that the only historically accurate thing in the movie (aside, perhaps, from the fleeting reference to the 1928 collapse of the St. Francis Dam) was the notion that tycoons tried to profit from water in the San Fernando Valley.

    • lmharnisch says:

      @William: I recall reading that Towne said “Chinatown” was influenced by Carey McWilliams and some pictorial layouts of vintage L.A. in West magazine, which was published by The Times. As Thom Andersen notes in “Los Angeles Plays Itself” the Hollis Mulwray character is actually against the water project in “Chinatown” while William Mulholland was for it.

    • lmharnisch says:

      @William: W.W. Robinson wrote a critique of Mayo on Owens Valley. Let me see if I can find it. Ah. Here it is: http://bit.ly/omJUQp

  14. NewToSeattle says:

    Anyway, with fact-checking all the rage in the presidential campaign, you should re-start your efforts to go through “Los Angeles.”

  15. NewToSeattle says:

    I have read W.W. Robinson’s essay (as well as his terrific 1949 book, “Land in California”). The biggest problem with the Mayo theory about Owens Valley is the notion of conspiracy. I would call it more insider trading–still not great, but not nearly as evil.

  16. Riley says:

    Larry, Did you catch this? http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-south-la-park-20120210,0,1839556.story

    The old LARY South Park Shops (and carbarns), now lake and open space – here’s an old photo – http://www.flickr.com/photos/metrolibraryarchive/3174842231/

  17. Jonathan King says:

    Larry – just stumbled across an interesting eBay item — a menu from old Fisch’s deli on Fairfax, which looks like it predated my own arrival in that nabe circa 1963. (I live up north now…) I don’t remember the joint, anyway. An L.A. Times piece about the nabe says that Fisch was partners with Ben Canter (of those Canters) in a deli up the street from the current Canters location. Nice scans, too.

    Here are the relevant URLs:



    The auction times out tomorrow, Sunday, so maybe it doesn’t meet your criteria for inclusion … but I just thought it was a terrific item your readers might want to know about anyway.

    Jonathan King

  18. Charles Seims says:

    Larry–I haven’t yet checked for myself but I have heard that Thicker ‘n Thieves has been reprinted in paperback and is available through Amazon. This is must reading for noir LA crime fans.

    • lmharnisch says:

      @Charles: I have several copies of “Thieves,” (one is autographed — I got it for $10 way back when). I view it in the same light as “Billion-Dollar Blackjack” and Vince Carter’s book on the LAPD: self-published rants by disgruntled authors. None of these books should be given any credence whatsoever except as curiosities.

  19. kitchenmudge says:

    I admire your work on the Black Dahlia case, and you’re probably sick of hearing this question, but I must ask: When can we expect your long-promised, definitive book on the subject?

  20. Eric V says:

    Larry-Love your column. I have a good question for you or your readers. I was at the site dedicated to Peggy Lee and they have a biographical timeline about her pre-fame years and there are two photos of The Jade Lounge-a “legendary nightspot” at Hollywood Blvd and Cherokee that have really intrigued me. The building is a non-descript two story affair but the pictures show a huge box-looks like a 1980s computer-on the roof. I am wondering what on earth it might be. Since you (and your readers) are my go-to for old Hollywood info I put it to you. Check it out, about a third of the way down the page:

  21. dear Larry,
    thanks for yr column. i am interested on your post on Dashiell Hammett’s death (a little old). In particular I am interested in the article form the L.A. Times that you attach. Any change you have or know how to get a file with bigger resolution? it would be nice to include it in a paper i am working on, and it would need to have enough quality for a a small but easily readable print. thanks whatsoever

  22. BOB SILER says:

    Hello – I’m 56 and have been interested in the death of Ted Healy for many years. I enjoyed your
    article on his death, but have a question. In the final piece, Part 15, you write that Ted got into three separate fights at the Troc, but only one is mention, where he punched Broccali. Wallace Beery his also briefly mentioned, but never Pat Di Cicco. Can you enlighten me on the Healy – Beery and Healy – Di Cicco brawls? Seeing that mob lawyer Di Cicco was good at knocking around women, a drunk Healy was an easy target.
    Love this site.

  23. Benito says:

    FYI, today’s Drudge Report included an article from CBS News about Steve Hodel’s recent speech in Pasadena disclosing artistic evidence that his father committed the Black Dahlia murder. Now everyone will want to look at that Man Ray photo.

  24. lray987 says:

    Hi Larry,
    I came across this “LA then and now” page, and I naturally thought of you:


    Lots of liquor stores and pawn shops in downtown LA.


  25. Riley says:

    I saw this Pacific Electric page on facebook, and went to its website. It’s not just PE but all LA electric and cable railways. There are many photos of all lines. It is filled with local photos I’ve never seen. http://www.pacificelectric.org/

  26. Chinmaya says:

    A quick introduction from my end-Iam Chinmaya from Bangalore,India. The reason for my mail is that I understand that the “sons of the desert” are having their next convention at Hollywood and would want to know if you are attending it. You may check this for more details- http://www.laurelandhardywood.com/ .
    Incase you or anyone whom you know are,please let me know as there are somethings that i want to discuss regarding the same.My id is-chimayaprakash@gmail.com Else,you may ignore this.

    Regards and best wishes,

  27. Benito says:

    The L.A. Times finally started to do what you already do so well: http://www.latimes.com/nation/shareitnow/la-sh-lizard-people-throwback-thursday-20140123,0,2482313.story#axzz2rHc0TXqy You posted this story awhile back.

  28. joe abreu says:

    Larry, I like all the old movie ads from the Times that are on here. Pretty cool. Is there any way to go through the ads without having to go from article to article that are in the archives. Thank you for a great website.

  29. Martin P. says:

    Larry, two questions that I periodically ask people, places, organizations, librarians and the like about a couple Los Angeles things. So, I’ll ask you:

    1.) Do you know of any color photos of the mural that was inside the NBC Radio Building at Sunset and Vine and do you know if it was saved or not? No one can come up with a color photo as yet and someone MUST have taken one. I can’t believe that no one did. I have people on both sides of the saved or did not save question, but no definitive answer.

    LAPL photo for reference: http://jpg2.lapl.org/pics06/00012858.jpg

    2.) The following links are two photos from Bruce Torrence’s Hollywood Photographs collection idnetified as the Jade Restaurant (also The Virginia apartments and Bradley’s Five & Ten shown) on Hollywood Blvd. and dated 1937. No one I’ve asked has been able to come up with the answer to this question: What is that on the roof?

    Thank you.

    • lmharnisch says:

      Interesting question and I know nothing about it. But I’ll see what I can find out. Do you have any idea who the artist was?

      • Martin P. says:

        The mural was painted by Ed Trumbull, while in his fifties, and it appears he painted many other murals in public buildings in San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia, among others, including the mural on the ceiling of the iconic Chrysler Building in New York City. (It was painted on canvas and cemented to the ceiling!) There are also many photos of those murals, in color, too, but probably because most are still around. I have seen the mural referred to as The Power of Radio and The Genie of Radio, but do not know of the official title if there is one. Thank you.

      • lmharnisch says:

        Great that’s a help. Thanks.

    • lmharnisch says:

      This is one thing that drives me crazy about websites like this one — and especially skyscraper — that swipe, steal, pilfer and filch pictures from all over the Internet without credit or attribution. Including mine, which is why I now watermark everything. I recently spent an hour on behalf of a certain book publisher tracking down a photo of the Main Street Gym from one of these photo theft sites, which a writer had found and wanted to use for his book cover.

      • Martin P. says:

        Larry, I did identify the source of the photos in my initial post. What should I have done differently?
        Thank you.

      • lmharnisch says:

        I’m sorry for the rant.

        Unidentified and unattributed historic photos of Los Angeles have become a sore point with me; 999 times out of 1,000, these photos have been taken from an online archive such as the Los Angeles Public Library, USC, or occasionally from my blog, and then reposted on skyscraperpage.com with minimal credit (i.e. “LAT,” “Pinterest,” etc.), and then spread all over the Internet without attribution. The inevitable reposting on skyscraperpage.com has forced me to watermark all my photos, sometimes quite obnoxiously. Any photos I post about the Black Dahlia are always swiped by everyone, so I rarely put them online.

        Understand, then, that it is extremely frustrating to get a question like yours when odds are good that there was once identifying information (a.k.a. “metadata”) that has been lost as the image was reposted and reposted around the Internet. (And yes, this image appears on skyscraperpage.com and Peggylee.com). I notice that your photos are from Hollywoodphotographs.com, but again, this is operated by a collector who is vague about the origin of the images. There is one image for sale of Hollywood Boulevard and Cherokee that also appears in the Dick Whittington collection at USC. (Ahem).

        As for the box on top of the Jade Cafe at 6619 Hollywood Blvd. I’m not entirely sure yet. The Jade appears to have been in business from about 1939 to about 1949-1950, so the images must date from that period. Beyond that, I haven’t found the answer yet. I’m going to guess it’s a projection booth but that’s only speculation.

        Again, sorry from the rant, but as you can tell, you hit nerve. Thanks for reading and I will get an answer for you — eventually.

      • Martin P. says:

        Larry, no need to apologize, I thoroughly understand your position and frustration about that.

  30. Mark Subel says:

    Hello Larry,

    I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your wonderful blog about Los Angeles history. Interesting posts! I thought you might enjoy our recent post “These Famous Immigrants Changed Their Names After Arriving in America” includes a list of famous celebrities from yesteryear like Bob Hope, Stan Laurel and even Cary Grant. http://crestleaf.com/blog/famous-immigrants-changed-names-arriving-america/

    We thought this would be a post you might like to share on your site. Let me know if you do!

    About Us: Crestleaf.com is a free online family tree builder that has been used by tens of thousands of people to document their family history. Along with the family tree tool, we provide free access to 90 Million+ historical records.

    Kind Regards,
    Mark Subel
    Chief Digital Officer
    Twitter: @Crestleaf
    Our Blog: Crestleaf.com/Blog

  31. Pingback: Hollywood Heights – Studio City Nightlife ‹ FilmL.A. eNews | FilmL.A., Inc.

  32. Gary G. Yerkey says:

    Nice blog. Good stuff re: Tom Treanor, the LA Times reporter killed in France in ’44. For more, check out my biography of him, just published … “Dying for the News: Honoring Tom Treanor and the Other Reporters Killed Covering World War II.” There’s a chapter in it, too, on his businessman father John G. Treanor, a powerhouse in the building of L.A. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc. … Gary Yerkey.

  33. I tried to respond about the Zoot Suit but it’s easier getting into Fort Knox than their site. Whut I want to know is how do they know that item is a Zoot Suit and not a Drape Shape? History has been gutted and people seem think since the Zoot was in the headlines it is the only garment of that type that existed.

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