1944 in Print — Hollywood Gossip by Louella Parsons, April 10, 1944

April 10, 1944, Ted Gale

Here’s another political cartoon by Edmund Waller “Ted” Gale, formerly of The Times, who moved to the Examiner. “There’s a Burma Girl a-Settin’ ” refers to the poem “Mandalay” by Rudyard Kipling.

April 10, 1944, Louella Parsons

April 10, 1944

JUST THE DAY BEFORE JOAN BLONDELL signed her contract to play Aunt Sissy in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” she took her two children, Norman and Ellen, to the beach and got a terrific sunburn. I talked with her Friday and she was applying every known remedy to her face to try to get it in shape before she starts at 20th. Joan and her suit for divorce against Dick Powell will be filed this week. I understand she will ask for custody of the children, although that is only hearsay. Dick is still living in the house, but there is no chance of a reconciliation.

From the Milwaukee Sentinel.

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1944 in Print — Hollywood by Sidney Skolsky, April 9, 1944


April 9, 1944

Sidney Skolsky says: In “Objective Burma,” there is a soldier named Cesar Negulesco who is described as being “very concerned about his lack of experience with women,” which is a rib directed at wolf Jean Negulesco.

From the Miami News.

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1944 in Print — Hollywood Gossip by Louella Parsons, April 9, 1944

April9, 1944, Louella Parsons


April 9, 1944

“A man is downstairs with a black eye,” announced Collins, my butler, who in the nine years he has been with me has seen many stars come through that front door.

From the Milwaukee Sentinel.

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LAPD Scrapbook: Rodger Young Village

Rodger Young Village

I stumbled across this photo in going through the LAPD scrapbooks at the city archives. This is Rodger Young Village, built for returning veterans due to the acute housing shortage in Los Angeles. This site is now occupied by the Autry museum.

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LAPD Scrapbook: L.A. Crime Wave, March 8, 1946

March 8, 1946, L.A. Crime Wave

I recently visited the city archives and thanks to archivist Michael Holland, I learned that the LAPD kept scrapbooks in the 1940s.

This is an editorial from the California Grocers Journal, which says: At one time police brutality was common and the need for reform existed. Now the pendulum has swung too far the other way. The criminal, with the support of sob sisters and radical political groups, is winning public sympathy.

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1944 in Print — Hollywood Gossip by Louella Parsons, April 8, 1944


Why look! It’s our old friend cartoonist Edmund Waller “Ted” Gale, who left The Times to go to the Los Angeles Examiner. In 1944, April 8 was Holy Saturday and the papers are full of stories and ads for Easter. This was, of course, in the days when many papers (including The Times) published Bible quotations every day.


April 8, 1944

HOLLYWOOD, April 7 — The official choice of Joan Blondell to play Aunt Sissy in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” is an inspiration. Who, better than Joan, can play these goodhearted gals whose mistakes in life are often more on the comic than the tragic side. Aunt Sissy is a wonderful character and Joan will play her to the nth degree.

As is Darryl Zanuck’s custom when he hands out a surefire role, he signs the player on a long term contract. Joan, therefore, becomes today a 20th star with a grand array of movies planned for her. Alice Faye, who was to have played Aunt Sissy, has told her company she can not report for work before June or July. Her baby is due any moment.

From the Milwaukee Sentinel.

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LAPD Parker Center Cop Shop Files

1957 Phone Book
In 2013, I was given a box of material that was cleaned out of the old press room at the LAPD’s Parker Center headquarters, sometimes called “the cop shop.” The box was a jumble of press releases, photographs, artists’ sketches and other items dating from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.

This is one of the oldest items in the cop shop files: Two pages from a 1957 phone directory for the municipal courts, which no longer exist.  Notice the telephone exchanges: AT lantic, CU mberland, OL eander, OL ympia, TH ornwall, VI ctoria, etc. Notice Judge Ralph C. Dills (d. 2002), who was also an assemblyman and a state senator.

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Mickey Rooney: Death Claims Andy Hardy

As readers remember (some fondly, others not so much) the late Mickey Rooney, here’s a post I wrote about the fifth Mrs. Mickey Rooney (Barbara Thomason) in 2008.

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Movieland Mystery Photo ( Updated + + + + )

This is “While the City Sleeps,” and although we did Lon Chaney’s “Mr. Wu” recently, I thought it was worth looking at “While the City Sleeps” because a rooftop shootout and another scene provide early glimpses of Los Angeles City Hall, even though the movie is set in New York.

While the City Sleeps
Here’s Lon Chaney climbing up to the roof of a building with City Hall in the background. A production still on Page 10 of “Location Filming in Los Angeles” also shows the Hall of Records in the background, so we know this was filmed on the Main Street side of the building.


Here’s a detail of a vintage postcard showing a similar angle of the Main Street side of City Hall. I’m not John Bengtson, but it seems likely that the scene was shot from a rooftop somewhere in the lower part of this image.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights — The Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood Party Central

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, courtesy of Mary Mallory.

nce movie studios moved into Hollywood, life changed in the sleepy, little farming community. Easygoing small town life gave way to the jazzy bustle of a moviemaking metropolis. Office towers, theaters and hotels replaced churches, small businesses and bungalows. Nightlife and nightclubs exploded. Small town went uptown.

Accommodations also experienced a dramatic shift. The relaxing, quaint Hollywood Hotel gave way to the modern, up-to-date Christie, Hollywood Plaza and Knickerbocker hotels. In 1927, the stylish Roosevelt Hotel opened, this time as a central gateway to the entertainment district surrounding it. It served as the ultimate Hollywood party location.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywoodland: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

The TCM Classic Film Festival at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.


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1944 on the Radio — ‘The Lone Ranger’


April 5, 1944: Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear! “The Lone Ranger.” Courtesy of otronmp3.com.

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Black Dahlia: Bevo Means Did Not Name the Black Dahlia Case

I recently heard from someone who had taken a bus tour of Los Angeles and wondered why the tour guide said that Bevo Means had named the Black Dahlia case.

The answer, of course, is no, if the tour guide said that, then the tour guide was wrong.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights — Ramona Shines a Light On Early California

Ramona Film Program
A poster for “Ramona” featured on the program for the premiere of the restored film.

nly 86 years after it originally opened in Los Angeles, the newly restored motion picture “Ramona” premiered March 29, 2014 at UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theatre. Long thought lost, the film’s survival is as inspiring as the original “Ramona” tale itself.

Author Helen Hunt Jackson’s wildly popular novel “Ramona” appeared in 1884, saluting Mexican cultural life. Jackson aimed to raise awareness about the plight of California’s Native Americans while telling an entertaining story. The story revolved around the mixed-race orphan girl, Ramona, who endures discrimination and hardship. With the way the story glamorized Mexico’s native born or those of mixed blood, it could be described as perhaps America’s first romance novel. Readers fell in love with the soaring visuals as much as the romantic myth. Many readers loved the story so much that they considered the characters real.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywoodland: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.


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1944 in Print — Hollywood by Sidney Skolsky, April 4, 1944

April 4, 1944, Lana Turner

April 4, 1944, Sidney Skolsky

April 4, 1944

Billy Wilder’s handwriting, though it looks neat, is almost undecipherable. He sent a memo on “Double Indemnity” to Buddy De Silva which was returned because it was too difficult to read. Wilder answered, “I know what I think on this subject but cannot tell what I wrote.”

From the Miami News.

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1944 in Print — Hollywood Gossip by Louella Parsons, April 4, 1944



April 4, 1944

A day after Lana Turner told Louella Parsons that she and Stephen Crane weren’t separating, Crane says they are.

From the Milwaukee Sentinel.

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Children Pray for Safety of Dad Lost in Pacific



April 4, 1944

The original caption reads:  Mrs. Edward Healy and her eight children kneel in St. Mary’s church, Des Plaines, Iowa, to pray for the safety of their husband and father, an aerial gunner reported missing in the Pacific. Healy, who participated in 45 missions, was scheduled for an Easter furlough. He volunteered for the Navy in 1942. Left to right the children are Frances, 9; Nancy 10; two sets of twins, Tom and Tim, 4; John and Joel, 5; Michael 11, and Edward 12.

In 2010, Healy’s dog tag was returned to the family after being found next to a World War II airstrip on New Georgia, an island in the Solomons. According to a 2010 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, many of the children were sent to an orphanage when Healy enlisted. Some returned home while the older children remained at the orphanage, St. Mary Training School, until joining the service.

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Black Dahlia: Not for Young Readers

True Crime - The Black Dahlia Shattered Dreams by Brenda Haugen

Imagine my surprise to find this little gem floating around on the Internet, and I see that I’m a couple of years late.

According to Amazon, it’s a 2011 account of the Black Dahlia case for middle school students, although there is conflicting information saying that the target audience is grades 4-8. It lists for around $30, which makes it one of the most expensive Dahlia books on the market.

Who is the author, Brenda Haugen? Her online biography isn’t terribly useful, saying that she’s a former reporter and likes dogs. She appears to be a prolific author of children’s books on such core academic subjects as the Founding Fathers (Franklin, Hamilton), presidents (Lincoln, Roosevelt), dictators (Hitler, Stalin), women (Amelia Earhart,  Annie Oakley) and other familiar core academic figures (Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes and Cesar Chavez).

And then we find a couple of crime books on the Great Train Robbery, Zodiac and the Black Dahlia.

If you do a little digging, you can find portions of the Black Dahlia book online.

And if you rummage around in what’s posted online you will see that Haugen has relied on “Severed,” which is 25% mistakes and 50% fiction; the notoriously bad  “Black Dahlia Files” by Donald Wolfe;  Steve Hodel’s “Black Dahlia Avenger”;  the heavily censored FBI files and possibly Will Fowler’s “Reporters.” Apparently she didn’t use Janice Knowlton’s “Daddy Was the Black Dahlia Killer.” And no, there’s no reference to me, which is fine.

There are many mistakes in “Severed,” but one particular error is search engine DNA. All I have to do is search for this particular error and I know the author has either taken it from “Severed” or from another author who got it there. Sure enough, it’s in “Shattered Dreams.”

As I have said repeatedly, the Black Dahlia case is absolutely inappropriate for young readers and I’m horrified to discover that this book is actually featured on the library’s page at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Omaha, Neb. I won’t even discuss the case with high school students who ask me for help on their term papers because they aren’t mature enough for some of the details, no matter how worldly they think they are.

“Shattered Dreams” is ranked 617,322 on Amazon sales, behind other books dealing with the case such as “The Badge” (77,569), James Ellroy’s “The Black Dahlia” (104,326), “Severed” (149,863),  “Black Dahlia Files” (360,058), “Black Dahlia Avenger” (431,766), and ahead of “Daddy Was the Black Dahlia Killer” (1,363,542).

And no, it won’t be coming to stay at the Daily Mirror H.Q.

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1944 in Print — Erskine Johnson

April 3, 1944, Erskine Johnson

April 3, 1944

And here’s a little feature from Erskine Johnson on a singer named Yvette (Elsa Harris)or is she Elsie Silvers?

From the Miami News.

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1944 in Print — Life Magazine, April 3, 1944

Life Magazine, April 3, 1944

April 3, 1944

A dog is this week’s cover photo for a story which says that city dogs are just as healthy and happy as country dogs.

The movie feature story is child star Margaret O’Brien.

Courtesy of Google Books.

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It Was a Kinder, Simpler Time, April 3, 1944


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