Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Dec. 8, 2018, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie was the 1949 Warner Bros. film “Colorado Territory,” with Joel McCrea, Virginia Mayo, Dorothy Malone, Henry Hull, John Archer, James Mitchell, Morris Ankrum, Basil Ruysdael, Frank Puglia, Ian Wolfe, Harry Woods and Houseley Stevenson. Written by John Twist and Edmund H. North, photography by Sid Hickox, art direction by Ted Smith, dialogue direction by Eugene Busch, wardrobe by Leah Rhodes, special effects by William McGann and H.F. Koenekamp, makeup by Perc Westmore, set decoration by Fred M. MacLean, orchestration by Maurice de Packh and music by David Buttolph. Produced by Anthony Veiller, directed by Raoul Walsh.

“Colorado Territory” is available on DVD from Warner Archive. And, yes, it’s another remake of “High Sierra.”

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December 1947: Forget-Me-Nots for the Rose Queens of Yesteryear


L.A. Times, 1947 Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.

What has become of the Rose Queens of yesteryear?

What has happened to the girls who in the past have ruled over the glamour, excitement and pageantry of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses?

Did that cherished title start them on the road to fame and fortune or did it leave them just happy memories, a scrapbook and a pressed red rose?


In 1979, The Times surveyed former Rose Queens, finding that many of them lived in Orange County. One of the women interviewed by Lael Morgan was Patricia Auman, the Rose Queen for 1946, who selected an education at Stanford over pursuing a film career.

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Dec. 8, 1907: Jewish Refugees, Fleeing Russian Persecution, Come to L.A.

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

Dec. 8, 1907
Los Angeles

I’ll apologize now, for this is an account with more questions than answers; a story of heartbreak and hope without an ending.

The Times features three members of the Schiffman family who are Jewish refugees from Baku, Russia (now part of Azerbaijan): Sigmund, the father; Benjamin, the 15-year-old son, and Emella [or Emelia], the 10-year-old daughter. The Schiffmans have been brought to Los Angeles as part of the Galveston Plan, in which Jews were taken to Galveston, Texas, for dispersal throughout the West because New York was overcrowded.

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday 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

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Dec, 7, 2006: Note to "Dahlia Avenger" Fans

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

Here’s a publicity still of “Maddy” Comfort from “Kiss Me Deadly” for sale on EBay. Her name is also spelled “Mattie” and “Mady.”

Comfort is referred to in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s files on George Hodel. Investigators checking on his possible involvement in the Black Dahlia murder discovered two photos of her, one by herself in which she is nude and another in which she and George Hodel are holding a cat.


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Posted in 1947, 2006, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, Cold Cases, Crime and Courts, Found on EBay, Homicide, LAPD, Streetcars | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

December 1947: Police Bullets End Bull’s Run for Freedom

L.A. Times, 1947

Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.

Ferdinand is dead. He ran five miles in his flight for freedom before police bullets cut him down. He escaped at 3811 S. Soto, and lurched through traffic, pursued by three police cars and Officer R.S. Saveley on a three-wheeled motorcycle…

As he ran through downtown, he shoved Neda Feathersone against a building at 8th Street and South Spring. She was taken to the Georgia Street Receiving Hospital for treatment.

He went up Spring Street to 1st Street, by The Times Building, then turned right on 1st to Main and over to Alameda. Near Union Station, he hit William F. Willaims, who was treated by an ambulance crew.

Finally, police cornered Ferdinand on West Ann Street, north of downtown.

The 1,000-pound bull charged officers and Saveley shot him to death.


Quote of the day: “Christmas carols with reference to the nativity may not be sung nor any decorations include religions symbols of any faith.”

Letter sent out to schools in Brooklyn, N.Y., prompting protests in which the Board of Education left holiday celebrations up to the principals of individual schools. Of the 30,000 students in the Brooklyn schools, 20,000 are Jewish, The Times notes.

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Dec. 7, 1907: Morris Buck Hanged for Killing Mrs. Canfield, Former Employer

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

Dec. 7, 1907
Los Angeles

“I asked if she received the letter. She said she had. I asked her if she would loan me a sum of money to be paid back monthly and I was going to open a bakeshop.

“She said that she had so many—several calls for money, that she didn’t see how she could loan me any and she says: ‘Why can’t you work?’


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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday 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 , , , | 1 Comment

December 1947: Powerful Blast Destroys House, Injures Fumigation Crew, Kills Neighbor

L.A. Times, 1947

Before the introduction of Vikane, also known as Sulfuryl Fluoride, pesticide companies relied on hydrocyanic gas, a compound used to exterminate termites—and in California’s lethal gas chamber.

That’s what a crew from Guarantee Fumigating Co. was pumping into the home at 2002 Virginia Road. They told arson investigators that they had turned off the electricity and gas so they had no explanation for the spectacular explosion that reduced the home to tiny bits, caused heavy damage to the surrounding homes and shattered windows for a block in every direction.

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L.A. Mirror Retro Holiday Shopping Guide

Holly. Cel. Holidays Cover hollywood_at_play_cover
hollywoodland_mallory_cover living_with_grace_cover

Note: This is an encore post from 2017.

Mary Mallory’s posts are one of the L.A. Daily Mirror’s most popular features, so we are happy to recommend “Hollywoodland”; “Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays,” written with Karie Bible; “Hollywood at Play,” written with Donovan Brandt and Stephen X. Sylvester; and “Living With Grace.”

The books are available at Vroman’s in Pasadena and Book Soup in West Hollywood. “Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays” and “Hollywood at Play” are also available from Amazon.

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Shout Out to Nathan

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December 1947: It’s Curtains, Rocky! MPAA Bans Gangster Pictures

L.A. Times, 1947

L.A. Times, 1947

Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.

NEW YORK, Dec. 3. (AP)—The board of directors of the Motion Picture Association of America today voted to cease distribution of new and old pictures glorifying gangster names and criminal practices.

The association, which includes all of the nation’s leading film producers, also banned the use of salacious and obscene titles.

Eric Johnston, chairman of the board, who recommended the changes in the association’s codes, announced the film companies had agreed to drop immediately 25 titles deemed objectionable, adding that distribution of films produced with these titles will be stopped.

In some cases the banned titles were for films not yet produced.

Titles of already produced films whose further distribution is banned include:

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Dec. 5, 1907: Man Accused of Scheme in Selling Daughter to Gypsies

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

Dec. 5, 1907
St. Louis

A Los Angeles couple have a novel way of making money: Antonio Thompson and his wife sell their daughter Marie to the Gypsies, then go to court to get her back. According to statements taken in St. Louis, Marie has been sold off several times as a Gypsy princess.

The girl’s father obtained a writ of habeas corpus to get custody of Marie, 16, who was living with “King” Peter Adams, 17, in a local Gypsy encampment, The Times said. Thompson claimed that a Gypsy named Leon Lehan eloped with Marie when she was 12 and sold her to man named Elihi. The father says that as soon as Marie eloped, he and his wife set out after her and have traveled thousands of miles trying to get her back.

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday 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, 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, which shows wide price range on copies of “Nuestro Pueblo.”

And what are your gift recommendations for this holiday season?

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Black L.A. 1947: This Week’s Jukebox Hits

Dec. 4, 1947: The jukebox hits of the week, from the Los Angeles Sentinel.

L.A. Sentinel, 1947

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December 1947: Youths, Bored With Hunting Squirrels, Shot at Each Other – Then One of Them Died


L.A. Times, 1947

L.A. Times, 1947 Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and original appeared on the 1947project.

Facing a possible accusation of involuntary manslaughter, Jack L. Modisett, 17, of 1717 N. Avenue 53, was removed to Ventura on an open charge yesterday after a coroner’s jury inquest into the death of Julius Lubowitzky, 22, of 2423 Malabar St., the victim of a mock war..

Lubowitzky died at the White Memorial Hospital here on Nov. 30 from a gunshot wound received earlier that day when he and Modisett, companions on a hunting trip, sought to see how close they could fire at each other without scoring hits.

Harold E. Stone, 18, of 928 El Paso Drive, a third member of the hunting party, was the chief witness. He related that Lubowitzky and Modisett began shooting at each other when they tired of hunting squirrels and rabbits. In the midst of the mimic fight, Lubowitzky fell, wounded.

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Dec. 4, 1907: Shooting on Baldwin Ranch Raises Tensions Between Chinese, Latino Workers

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

Dec. 4, 1907

Charley Chew, the water superintendent on the Lucky Baldwin ranch, had fired two Mexican workers several months ago and one dark night near the Unruh residence, they ambushed him, shooting him in the back. Chew drew his pistol and shot Francisco Ramirez and Miguel Palamoratz in the stomach, then fled.

Badly wounded, Ramirez and Palamoratz struggled to walk about a mile to a friend’s house in a small settlement near the Baldwin store in Santa Anita, leaving a trail of blood along the railway tracks through Baldwin’s vineyard.

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday 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 $16.49. 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.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Mary Pickford Dances Into Screen Adulthood in ‘Rosita’

Above, a clip of “Restoring a Lost Silent Film: How to See “Rosita” by Dave Kehr from the Museum of Modern Art.

This is an encore post from May.

In 1922, legendary German film director Ernst Lubitsch and “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford searched for new challenges in developing their careers. Lubitsch yearned to conquer America, the world’s leader in film production, proving he could create successful and moving pictures on both sides of the Atlantic. Pickford hungered to break free from the sweet young girl roles she successfully portrayed and play real women full of meat, passion, and power. “Rosita,” the story of a peasant gypsy singer who pines for a nobleman but instead gains the obsessed attentions of the lecherous king, brought them together.

In the late 1910s and early 1920s, the German film industry dominated the world’s screens with its artistry and technical wizardry, with such striking films as “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920), “Destiny” (1921), “Nosferatu” (1922), and “Hamlet” (1921) displaying remarkable camerawork and skill. Director Lubitsch, king of German film directors, exhibited great versatility, turning out visually stunning epics as well as comic farces, including “Carmen” (1918), “The Doll” (1919), “Madame DuBarry” (1919), and “The Loves of Pharaoh” (1922).

The Egyptian Theatre is presenting “Rosita” on Friday with a 30-piece orchestra conducted by composer Gillian Anderson, who has orchestrated the original score composed for the production. Tickets are $20 and $25 in advance, $30 at the door.


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December 1947: Son Uses Coin Telescope at Point Fermin to Spot Body of Missing Father

L.A. Times, 1947


Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.

Herbert’s mother phoned him on Monday because his father, Fritz, was missing from their home at 3703 W. Bluff Place in San Pedro.

Herbert told police he contacted the Coast Guard after he went to Point Fermin, dropped a dime in one of the telescopes pointed out to sea and saw his father’s body floating in the water.

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