Jan. 21, 1947: ‘Model Prisoners’ Slip From Custody at Night to Commit Burglaries

Jan. 21, 1947, Comics

Note: This is a post I did in 2006 for the 1947project.

Marley Griggs and his sidekick Oliver Gebhart had the perfect alibi for the burglary of a market on Western Avenue—they were already in custody 60 miles away.

The men were model prisoners at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Road Camp No. 5, where Griggs was serving time for forgery and Gebhart was sentenced for burglary of a safe.

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Jan. 21, 1907: L.A. Hosts First Car Show on the West Coast

Jan. 21, 1907
Los Angeles

Mayor Arthur C. Harper addressed the crowd for a moment, reminiscing about a teacher who used to tell his pupils that someday, long after he was gone, people would get around Los Angeles in self-propelled vehicles.

And with that, Harper threw the switch, illuminating 10,000 electric lights at Morley’s Skating Ring on Grand between 9th and 10th Streets and beginning the insanity, formally unveiling the automobile in the first car show not only in Los Angeles, but on the West Coast.

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Jan. 20, 1947: Virginia Mayo Disappears!

Jan. 10, 1947, Comics

Note: This is a post I wrote in 2006 for the 1947project.

With the city in the grips of the Black Dahlia murder, Los Angeles wonders, where is Virginia Mayo? Or at least some publicist worries enough to feed the item to Louella Parsons at the Examiner. Without knowing for certain, the second story looks like a Times rewrite of the gossip column, which provides juicy details about Mayo’s poisoned dog, her exact address and the implications that she’s a home-wrecker, but is very thin on any real news. Basically, Mayo and her mother went on a trip. End of story.

Bonus factoid: Mayo and O’Shea got married July 2, 1947. He lived at 14633 Magnolia in Van Nuys. O’Shea, who starred in “Mr. District Attorney” and “Underworld Story,” died of a heart attack in Dallas in 1973 while getting ready to join a touring company of “40 Carats,” starring Mayo.

Second bonus factoid: Mayo’s apartment was 1.3 miles from the home of Dr. George Hodel at 5121 Franklin Ave.

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Jan. 20, 1907: Architectural Ramblings

A Brainerd home at 1158 E. 41st St., Photograph by Larry Harnisch/LADailyMirror.com

Note: This is an encore post from 2007.
Los Angeles
Jan. 20, 2007

What we do know about H.J. Brainerd is that he built a fair number of “portable homes.” What we don’t know, except in one case, is exactly where he put them.

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Jan. 19, 1947: Watch Out for His Left Jab!

Jan, 19, 1947, Tarzan
Note: This is an encore post I wrote in 2006 for the 1947project.

Reluctant holdup
victim finds
left jab useful

Sometimes even the boys in the legal beak-busting business don’t fare so well when they run up against the unorthodox style of a southpaw.

Clinton W. White, 2641 Rose View Ave., a Southern Pacific conductor, was thankful today that he was a lefthander when a couple of strong-arm lads tried to rob him, he told police.

One tried to pin White with a half-Nelson of the right arm, he said. So he swung a sharp left and floored his opponent. While the other man fled, White once more called on his left to retire his attacker.

Booked on suspicion of robbery was a man who gave his name as Clarence W. Hartnett, 47. The attack took place at Avenue 64 and Pasadena Avenue, the conductor said.

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Jan. 19, 1907: A Conductor Throws Caution to the Winds

Note: This is an encore post from 2007.

Jan. 19, 1907
Los Angeles

Despite his ill health, Harley Hamilton drove himself to conduct a concert by the Los Angeles Symphony because he believed so much in bringing the music of Tchaikovsky (or in those days, Tschaikowsky) to the public. The concert at hand is West Coast premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

“Harley Hamilton, too ill to leave his house, is just finishing his arrangements for the work of the symphony orchestra,” The Times says of his labors on the concert series.

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Jan. 18, 1947: L.A. Examiner’s Front Page ‘Crime Box’

Jan. 18, 1947, Comics

Note: This is a post I wrote in 2006 for the 1947project.

163 Crimes in 24 Hrs. Here;
86 of Them Thefts
In the last 24 hours, 163 crimes were committed in Los Angeles. They were:
86 thefts
42 burglaries
10 robberies
7 assaults with deadly weapon
3 morals cases
15 automobiles stolen

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Jan. 18, 1907: California’s Racial Bans in Public Schools

Note: This is an encore post from 2007.

Jan. 18, 1907
San Francisco

In what is surely an embarrassing and awkward oversight, the California Constitution only prevents “Mongolian” children from attending white public schools when separate campuses have been created. The problem, legislators have discovered, is that the Japanese aren’t Mongolians and feel they somehow have the right to go to school with everyone else.

The case before the Legislature and San Francisco officials involves 10-year-old Keikeiki Aoki, who has been barred from the Redding public schools by Principal Mary A. Deane. In a unanimous ruling, the California Supreme Court has issued a writ ordering Deane to show cause as to why she should not admit Keikeiki to school.
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Found on EBay: Souvenir of Club Mecca, Site of Deadly 1957 Firebombing


Mecca Bombing, 1957.

A vendor has listed a cocktail napkin advertising four Los Angeles night spots, including the Mecca Cafe at 5841 S. Normandie Ave. Six people were killed when a man who had been thrown out of the club threw a five-gallon bucket of gas into into the Mecca and set it on fire. Bidding starts at $9.99.

Here’s my 2007 post on the Club Mecca bombing.

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Jan. 17, 1947: Big Bill Tilden Gets Jail for Morals Case Involving Teenage Boy

Jan. 17, 1947, Li'l Abner

Jan. 17, 1947, Bill Tilden

Note: This is a post I wrote in 2006 for the 1947project.

Jan. 17, 1947: William (Big Bill) Tilden, 54-year-old internationally known tennis star, yesterday was sentenced to serve nine months in the County Jail with a road gang recommendation by Juvenile Judge A.A. Scott for contributing to the delinquency of a 14-year-old boy.

Judge Scott excoriated Tilden for his actions, declaring: “You have been the idol of youngsters all over the world. It has been a great shock to sports fans to read about your troubles.

“I am going to make this an object lesson, no only to other persons tempted to do similar things, but also to parents who are too busy to concern themselves in determining what type of persons their youngsters are associating with,” Judge Scott commented.

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Jan. 17, 1907: The Changing Face of the City

Note: This is an encore post from 2007.

Jan. 17, 1907
Los Angeles

On a trip from Utah to visit his daughter, H.E. Gibson keeps getting lost as he wanders around Los Angeles. No, it’s not because Gibson is 80, for his mind is still sharp. It’s because he hasn’t been back since 1848 and things have changed just a bit.

Even the old familiar landmark of Ft. Hill is covered with homes, he says. About the only spot in town he recognizes is the Plaza, where he keeps returning to get his bearings.

Gibson came to California with the “Flash Emigrant Colony” to establish Mormon settlements. The group couldn’t raise the money to buy Rancho Cucamonga, so they bought a parcel of land in San Bernardino, The Times says.

Land was “dirt cheap” in 1848, with entire blocks selling for $500 to $1,000, ($9,910.34-$19,820.69 USD 2005), Gibson said. But instead of becoming a real estate speculator, he left for Utah to bring the news (published in a New York newspaper that came around the Horn) proclaiming that Brigham Young had been appointed governor of the Utah Territory.

Note: Today presented a difficult decision, but I passed on some incredibly offensive caricatures of an African American who had been arrested, accompanied by quotes in dialect: “Ah dunno nothin’ about no stolen chickens” indeed.

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Jan. 16, 1947: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Driver’s License Revoked!

Jan. 16, 1947, Abbie an' Slats

Note: This is a post I wrote in 2006 for the 1947project.

I never cease to be amazed at the placement of this story on Page 1 of The Times. While the major competing newspapers—the Examiner, Herald-Express and Daily News—are leading with the Jan. 15 murder of Elizabeth Short, The Times plays the story inside, proving once again that it considered itself the city’s family paper.

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Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, Crime and Courts, LAPD, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jan. 16, 1947: Teachers Call ‘Song of the South’ Racist Propaganda

Jan. 16, 1947: Chef Tubbs is opening a restaurant at 1305-7 E. Olympic Blvd.

Olympic and Central, Google Street View

Olympic Boulevard and Central Avenue, via Google Street View.

Jan. 16, 1947, Los Angeles Sentinel

Jan. 16: Local 27 of the American Federation of Teachers, meeting in Washington, called the Disney feature film “Song of the South” “insidious and subtle propaganda against the Negro.”

According to Paul Cooke, head of Local 27, actor James Baskett was “hampered by having to portray the fixed conception of the Negro — a lazy, hat-in-hand, spiritual-singing inferior ‘old rascal.’ ” Cooke also criticized the film for the theme of “the Negro in service to white people, the Negro apparently whose only thought is to help solve the problems of white people.”


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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Oscar Apfel, Paramount’s Forgotten Man


Oscar Apfel in Motion Picture News.

Multi-talented, smart, ambitious, hard-working, Oscar Apfel rose to the top of the early movie industry only to see evolving business practices, lack of luck, and bad choices push him down the ladder into just a small supporting part of the profession he helped create. A man whose contributions to the 1914 film “The Squaw Man” helped create the studio behemoth Paramount is virtually forgotten today, like so many early film pioneers.

Born January 17, 1879 in Cleveland, Ohio to German immigrant parents, young Oscar Carl Apfel applied himself both to education and work, looking for a way to earn a good solid living. The September 13, 1917 Albuquerque Morning Journal reported that he worked as a bank clerk in Ohio while performing as an amateur actor. Yearning for the more exciting life on stage, Apfel quit after he gained a role in the play “The American Girl,” traveling the country performing for 47 weeks in one night stands.

Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.

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Union Rescue Mission

Note: This is an encore post from 2007.

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Black Dahlia: Today Is Jan. 15 — Trim Your Roses

Today is Jan. 15, and the Daily Mirror marks the anniversary of Elizabeth Short’s death by pruning back the roses.

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Meet Victor Segno — L.A. Mystic and Con Man

Note: This is an encore post from 2007.

Jan. 15, 2007
Los Angeles

While making my daily check of EBay, I found another envelope from 1907, this one addressed to A. Victor Segno, 701 N. Belmont.

A brief check of Proquest reveals—what’s this? A major scam artist, self-help author and wife-stealer.

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Posted in 1907, 1908, 1911, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, Education, Found on EBay, LAPD, Streetcars | Leave a comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Jan. 20, 2018, The Reckless Moment
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1949 Columbia film “The Reckless Moment,” with James Mason, Joan Bennett, Geraldine Brooks, Henry O’Neill, Shepperd Strudwick, David Bair and Roy Roberts. The screenplay was by Henry Garson and Robert W. Sodeberg, adapted by Mel Dinelli and Robert E. Kent, from a Ladies Home Journal story “The Blank Wall” by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. The photography was by Burnett Guffey, art direction by Cary Odell, set decoration by Frank Tuttle, gowns by Jean Louis, musical score by Hans Salter and musical direction by Morris Stoloff. The producer was Walter Wanger and the director was Max Opuls (Ophuls).

“The Reckless Moment” is available on DVD from Amazon, but you will need an all-region player to watch it.

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At the Del

Note: This is an encore post from 2007.

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Not in My Back Yard

Note: This is an encore post from 2007.

Jan. 13, 1907
Los Angeles

The Times takes a light, humorous look at the destructive wanderings of Eaton Wash: a docile stream, if not entirely dry, most of the year, turned into a churning monster by heavy rains.

“The little river that makes so much trouble lives somewhere in the fastness of Eaton’s Canyon during the summer months,” The Times says. “In the rainy season it always comes prowling out for a wild outing.

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