Taking a Sabbatical in 2015

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A lesson about time: Laura Hunt’s antique clock has an unfortunate encounter with Waldo Lydecker’s shotgun in “Laura.”


As I have said here before: So many stories, only one Larry Harnisch.

In September, I put aside a long series of posts on the making of the 1944 film “Laura” to examine the Georgette Bauerdorf killing, also from 1944.

With the conclusion of the Bauerdorf project, I will be resuming the posts on “Laura,” but there is a catch.
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Posted in 1944, 1947, Black Dahlia, Film, Hollywood, LAPD | Tagged , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Shopping Guide

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In 1982, Jim Romenesko, then a young reporter, compiled coroners’ reports on unusual deaths. Jim now runs the JimRomenesko.com blog and notes that he still has a few copies of his self-published book. He is selling them for $15, including shipping. Here’s his Etsy page. I haven’t seen the book, but I ordered a copy because it seems highly relevant to the L.A. Daily Mirror.

Posted in 1982, Books and Authors, Crime and Courts | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Mayor Garcetti: Where’s the Lindbergh Beacon?!

Dec. 29, 2006, Lindbergh Beacon
A not great photo by me showing the Lindbergh beacon in December 2006.


Update: Mayor Eric Garcetti says: Checking on it right now–I love the beacon and will be sure it gets lit if it hasn’t been.

Dec. 9, 2014: As of last night, the Lindbergh beacon was still dark. We will be waiting with our fingers crossed.

Dec. 11, 2014: Still no Lindbergh beacon.

Dec. 18, 2014: Nope, nothing.

I was downtown Saturday night and noticed that the Lindbergh beacon had not been lit again this year. The decorations in Grand Park are nice — but they are no replacement for firing up the beacon on top of City Hall.

Come on, Mayor Garcetti. You always say you are big on L.A. history and traditions. This is a big one.

 

Posted in 2006, City Hall | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

 

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Don’t these Art Deco kitty bookends look somewhat familiar from some other movie title?

Obviously this movie is “Green Mansions” (MGM 1959).  No, it’s “Little Women” (RKO 1933).  OK, it’s “Man of Two Worlds” (RKO 1934). Or how about “Of Human Bondage?” (RKO 1934).

Dec. 13, 2014, Mystery Photo
No, it’s actually “Ann Vickers.”

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Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 57 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Erich von Stroheim’s ‘Paprika’

paprika
A copy of Erich von Stroheim’s “Paprika” inscribed to Hugo Ballin has been listed on EBay as Buy It Now for $875.


Note: This is a post that originally appeared in 2012.

Famed director/actor Erich von Stroheim faced financial disaster in the mid-1930s. After directing such visual powerhouses as “Foolish Wives,” “Greed,” “The Merry Widow,” “The Wedding March,” and “Queen Kelly” in the 1920s, as well as others, and sometimes stealing films in which he co-starred, the Austrian auteur couldn’t land a job. Fox had savagely re-cut and remade his 1932 film “Walking Down Broadway” and changed the title to “Hello, Sister!” Directing opportunities vanished. Von Stroheim found acting roles in low-budget/poverty row films, but found himself frozen out of big budget studio films.

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Posted in 1935, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Firsthand History Lesson on Pearl Harbor

Rene Humbert, 1964 Note: This is a repost from 2011.

In 1962, I was a seventh-grader at Washington Junior High School in Naperville, Ill. On Dec. 7, Mr. Humbert, our social studies teacher, put aside the regular curriculum to give his young pupils a firsthand account of Pearl Harbor.

Many years later, I contacted Mr. Humbert. He didn’t remember me (I was not a stellar student) but he was thrilled to get a phone call from one of his former charges who wanted to hear once more about Pearl Harbor.

Rene P. Humbert died in 2002 at the age of 81. I was his student in a much more formal era of American life. Male teachers wore coats and ties, and didn’t share much about their personal lives. I don’t even remember him mentioning that his brother’s fighter plane had been shot down in June 1944 over France.

What I learned many years later was that Mr. Humbert joined the Navy at 19, went through all of World War II and was called back for the Korean War. Perhaps one reason he was a little hard on us Baby Boomers in the wealthy suburbs of Chicago was because he didn’t graduate from high school, but got a GED and started college at the age of 31 under the G.I. Bill

Mr. Humbert was on the San Francisco, a heavy cruiser, during the Pearl Harbor attack and the ship was untouched except for shrapnel because the Japanese were concentrating on the larger ships. He was also in the Battles of the Coral Sea, Midway and  Guadalcanal. In one battle, Rear Adm. Dan Callaghan and Capt. Cassin Young were killed by a 14-inch shell that hit the San Francisco’s bridge.

What follows is his account. I have edited his brief biography very lightly after scanning a typewritten copy with my optical character recognition software. And I have incorporated portions of his Pearl Harbor account from the Pearl Harbor Survivors website.

Photo 1: Rene Humbert, Washington Junior High, 1964.

Photo 2: Rene Humbert, no date.

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Posted in 1941, Education, History, World War II | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

1944 on the Radio — Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge

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Dec. 6, 1944: Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge. Courtesy of otronmp3.com.

Posted in 1944, Music, Radio | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Shopping Guide

Los Angeles in Maps

Note: This is a repost from 2013.

Glen Creason’s book on maps of Los Angeles shows the many ways people have viewed the city over the years. I interviewed him for The Times in 2012 and fortunately for all concerned, the column was seen by a real estate agent who was getting ready to sell off a rather curious home in Mt. Washington that had been owned by a man who had a mania for maps. The result was the discovery of the “map house,” one of the great (and strange) stories of Los Angeles.

“Los Angeles in Maps,” published in 2010, is in many local bookstores and available online.

Posted in 2010, Books and Authors, Libraries | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights – Campo de Cahuenga, California’s Birthplace

Campo de Cahuenga

The 2014 luminaria festival will be held at Campo de Cahuenga Dec. 7 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.


Note: This is a repost from 2012. This year’s luminaria festival will be held Sunday.

Driving south down Lankershim Boulevard from Toluca Lake into Universal City, it’s hard to miss the skyscrapers, soundstages, and flashing billboard of Universal Studios on the south side of the street. On the north side of the street in Studio City, surrounded by the MTA Universal City subway station parking lot and hard to see, sits a small Spanish building called the Campo de Cahuenga. At this location on Jan. 13, 1847, Col. John C. Fremont signed a treaty with Andreas Pico, ceding California to the United States. Here, California’s Spanish past merged with America’s western expansion to help eventually create our bustling state.

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Posted in 1847, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, San Fernando Valley | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming Attractions: Hollywood Time Machine

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I will be among the guests on Saturday’s broadcast of “Hollywood Time Machine” with Alicia Mayer. The program will air live at www.LATalkRadio.com (channel 2) at 6 p.m. EST and will available later as a podcast. I’m one of several guests, so the segment should be relatively brief.

Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, LAPD | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Great TCM Experiment

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A portion of the bounty from the Great TCM Experiment of 2014.


From mid-August to early November, I conducted the “Great TCM Experiment,” in which I recorded everything on TCM.

Yes, everything as in everything.

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Posted in Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Shopping Guide

Chavez Ravine, 1949

Note: This is a repost from 2013.

You might have to hunt a bit for Don Normark’s 1999 book “Chavez Ravine, 1949,” but your search will be rewarded. The photos are terrific and the residents’ recollections make the book even better. Copies can be found via bookfinder.com.

Posted in 1949, Books and Authors | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 31

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Georgette Bauerdorf, National Police Gazette, August 1946.


At long last, we finish our examination of the Georgette Bauerdorf case with many questions unanswered. Without more information, we can only speculate about many aspects of the killing. For that matter, we can merely guess about what Georgette’s life might have been like had she not been killed.

I undertook this little project primarily to demonstrate the differences between Georgette’s case and the 1947 killing of Elizabeth Short. Following the lead of some of the more sensational newspaper coverage of the era, several crime books have attempted to link the cases to more murders of the era to show that there was a serial killer at work in Los Angeles. But a close and careful examination of the Bauerdorf and Short cases shows that there was no relationship.

Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26 | Part 27 | Part 28 | Part 29 | Part 30 | Part 31

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Posted in 1944, 1947, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, Crime and Courts, Hollywood, LAPD | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Coming Attractions: Afternoon With the Authors

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Hollywood Heritage Museum, 2100 N. Highland Ave., will be hosting an Afternoon With the Authors on Saturday, Dec. 6, from noon to 4 p.m.

Scheduled guests include:

Julia Adams, John Bengtson, Bob Birchard, Jon Boorstin, Angela Cartwright and Tom McClaren, Ken LaZebnik, Rosemary Lord, Mary Mallory, Hugh O’Brian, Rocky Lang, Mike Oldham, Manny Pacheco, Christina Rice, Darrell Rooney, Bryan Taves, Mark Vieira, Marc Wanamaker and Dawn Wells.

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Posted in Books and Authors, Coming Attractions, Film, Hollywood, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Shopping Guide

Nuestro Pueblo

Note: This is a repost from 2013.

Whenever I’m asked about my favorite books on Los Angeles, my first recommendation is “Nuestro Pueblo,” a selection of features by Times artist Charles Owens and writer Joseph Seewerker that appeared in The Times. I went through all of them when the blog was at latimes.com, so I won’t repeat them now, but if you’re a fan of Rediscovering Los Angeles, which was illustrated by Owens with commentary by Timothy Turner, you may enjoy “Nuestro Pueblo.”  Unfortunately, Rediscovering Los Angeles was never published in book form and has languished in obscurity.

“Nuestro Pueblo” is long out of print and the prices have gone up since I started writing about it, with some dealers asking more than $100 for a copy. A patient shopper can still find a copy for less than $20, however. One of my favorite tools for finding out of print books is bookfinder.com, which shows wide price range on copies of “Nuestro Pueblo.”

And what are your gift recommendations for this holiday season?

Posted in Art & Artists, Books and Authors, Nuestro Pueblo | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 30

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Oct. 21, 1944: Fred Atwood, left, Los Angeles Times.


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Lulu Atwood, in a photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.


In this series of posts on the Georgette Bauerdorf case, we have looked at the history of El Palacio Apartments, crime in West Hollywood, the history of the Hollywood Canteen, Georgette’s movements before the killing, how the killing might have occurred, the killer’s behavior afterward – even what type of car she was driving and the neighborhood where it was abandoned.

Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26 | Part 27 | Part 28 | Part 29 | Part 30 | Part 31

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Posted in 1944, Cold Cases, Crime and Courts, Hollywood, Homicide | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

1944 on the Radio — NBC Symphony Orchestra

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Dec. 3, 1944: Arturo Toscanini conducts the NBC Symphony Orchestra in three movements of the Beethoven Septet in E flat and the Symphony No. 2. Courtesy of otronmp3.com.

Posted in 1944, Music, Radio | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Shopping Guide

Mary Mallory, Hollywoodland

Note: This is a repost from 2013.

If you enjoy Mary Mallory’s columns (and our survey shows that readers do) you might like this anthology of Hollywood Heights called “Hollywoodland: Tales Lost and Found.” It’s available for the Kindle, but don’t forget that Amazon has a free app so you can read it on a PC or on an iPad.

Posted in Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 29

Georgette Bauerdorf, Oakland Tribune, Oct. 15, 1944

Oct. 15, 1944, Oakland Tribune

Oct. 15, 1944: A handout photo of Georgette Bauerdorf, Oakland Tribune.


We have been examining the behavior of Georgette Bauerdorf’s killer to see if we could distill something about him, going from least speculative to most speculative rather than chronological order. Previous posts have looked at signs of his “undoing” the crime after the killing; the actual murder; and his actions after leaving the crime scene, in which he dumped the Bauerdorf car about 10 miles away.

Now we come to the most speculative part of the inquiry: How Georgette and the killer met.

Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26 | Part 27 | Part 28 | Part 29 | Part 30 | Part 31

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Posted in 1944, Cold Cases, Crime and Courts, Hollywood, Homicide | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Shopping Guide

Sept. 16, 1957, Parker T-Ball Jotter

Note: This is a repost from 2013. True style never goes out of date, after all.

We are being bombarded by stories about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with videos of long lines at stores and the attendant consumer frenzy.

The L.A. Daily Mirror prefers a more subdued approach to buying gifts during the holiday season. Here’s proof that an ideal retro gift can be practical and inexpensive. It’s the Parker T-Ball jotter, which has changed very little since this 1957 ad.

You can pick one up at most office supply stores for about $8. We like ours with the gel refill, medium point. Perfect for doing the New York Times crossword puzzle.

What’s on your shopping list? If you have a good gift idea, share it with us.

Posted in 1957, Art & Artists, Books and Authors | Tagged , , | Leave a comment