Black Dahlia: 6 Reasons Dr. George Hodel Didn’t Kill Elizabeth Short — No. 6 No Connection

Elizabeth Short contrasted with the unidentified woman found in George Hodel’s photo album. Not at all the same.

Here are six reasons Dr. George Hodel did not kill Elizabeth Short that you will need to know before watching the TNT mini-series “I Am the Night” or listening to the eight-part podcast accompanying the production.

Reason No. 6: Dr. George Hodel had no connection to Elizabeth Short.


Reason No 1: George Hodel was never “a prime suspect” in the Black Dahlia case.

Reason No. 2: George Hodel was found not guilty of morals charges.

Reason No. 3: George Hodel was not pals with Man Ray.

Reason No. 4: George Hodel served the poor blacks of Bronzeville.

Reason No. 5: George Hodel had no surgical practice in Los Angeles.

Also: Why George Hodel didn’t kill his secretary.


Continue reading

Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, Cold Cases, Crime and Courts, Homicide, LAPD, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + +)

Jan. 20, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery lad and a mystery doll. I can already tell that outwitting Google image search will be a challenge this week. This time, it is I who do not approve of such goings-on.

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hollywood Athletic Club Trains Filmdom’s Elite

The Hollywood Athletic Club, Photoplay, 1924.

Note: This is an encore post from 2015.

In the 1910s and 1920s, social clubs were all the rage in Los Angeles and surrounding communities. Many people immigrated to Southern California’s sunny shores pursuing new adventures. Most arrived friendless and eager to make new connections. Some joined clubs organized around the cities or states from which they had come, or single sex groups like women’s clubs or men only clubs. Others searched out social organizations, cultural opportunities, or sports leagues with more open policies.

The little farming community of Hollywood, founded around solid virtues and churchgoing, organized groups creating strong minds as well as strong bodies. Many offered educational, cultural, and social opportunities while providing community service. As the city grew and more artistic types arrived, cultural groups grew more diverse, like the Masquers or Lambs’ Clubs.

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

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Dahlia: Trim Your Roses on Jan. 15 to Remember Elizabeth Short

Today is Jan. 15, the anniversary of Elizabeth Short’s death. As is the custom, the Daily Mirror will be dark.

Trim your roses in her memory.

Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, Crime and Courts, Homicide, LAPD | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Dahlia: BlackDahliaSolution.Org Is Utter Nonsense

Jan. 14, 2020, Jack Pico comment

I usually don’t publish the crackpot comments I get about the Black Dahlia case, but the anniversary of the killing (Jan. 15) is bringing out more than the usual amount of crazy stuff. So I’ll make an exception for this message, which I received today. was the work of John Frederick “Jack” Kohne Jr., who died in 2016 at the age of 83. And please note that I have a folder several inches thick of his material, as he wrote to me frequently using the fake name Jack Pico and the return address of the now-vacant Mailboxes, Etc. in San Diego’s Clairemont Square Mall.

Continue reading

Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Chicago, Cold Cases, Homicide, LAPD | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Leesa Jo Shaner – Back in the News

Leesa Jo Shaner, No Date

Photo: Leesa Jo Shaner

Note: This is an encore post from 2011. Paula Zahn’s new piece on the case has renewed interest in the killing.  William Floyd Zamastil was convicted in 2011 in the killing.

An attempt to resolve one of the nation’s most baffling unsolved crimes is quietly unfolding in federal court in Tucson: The mystery of Leesa Jo Shaner, who vanished May 29, 1973,  on her way to the local airport, where she had gone to pick up her husband, Gary, a newly discharged serviceman returning from Okinawa.

Shaner’s father, James Miller, was an FBI agent in Tucson and the bureau quickly took over jurisdiction from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. But despite years of investigation, little progress has been made since her remains were found Sept. 16, 1973, buried on the grounds of Ft. Huachuca, Ariz., a remote military base more than an hour’s drive from the airport, through miles and miles of unoccupied desert.

Continue reading

Posted in 1973, Cold Cases, Homicide | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Mack Sennett, Theater Owner

Woodley Theatre Motography 7-14-17
The Woodley Theatre, from Motography, July 14, 1917.

Comedy king Mack Sennett recognized the self-promotion power of owning his own movie theater long before film studios owned theater chains or Netflix looked to acquire the Egyptian Theatre. In 1917, savvy Sennett purchased downtown Los Angeles’ Woodley Theatre to premiere and plug his product, adding a touch of prestige to slapstick and burlesque comedy.

Selling his Optic Theatre at 533 S. Main, veteran theatre owner Robert W. Woodley purchased 836-840 S. Broadway in 1913 to upscale his trade as moving pictures blossomed into big business. He hired architects Train and Williams to design a 900-seat theater costing $22,500 in April 1913, opening for business September 27, 1913.

Mary Mallory’s “Living With Grace” is now on sale.

Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Downtown, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Theaters | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)


This week’s mystery movie was the 1940 Republic film “Dark Command,” with Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Walter Pidgeon, Roy Rogers, George Hayes, Porter Hall, Marjorie Main, Raymond Walburn, Joseph Sawyer, Helen MacKellar, J. Farrell MacDonald and Trevor Bardette.

Screenplay by Grover Jones, Lionel Houser and F. Hugh Herbert, based on the novel by W.R. Burnett. Adaptation by Jan Fortune. Production manager Al Wilson, photography by Jack Marta, supervising editor Murray Seldeen, edited by William Morgan, art direction by John Victor MacKay and costumes by Adele Palmer.

Associate Producer Sol C. Siegel, musical score by Victor Young. Directed by Raoul Walsh.

“Dark Command” is available on DVD from TCM. The film is in public domain and readily available online, though quality may be awful. The 1947 John Wayne-Gail Russell movie “The Angel and the Badman,” another Republic film in public domain, was on TCM recently and I was shocked the lousy quality of the print.

Continue reading

Posted in 1940, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Mary Astor’s Lost Film ‘New Year’s Eve’

Since TCM is featuring Mary Astor, here’s a brief post on her lost movie “New Year’s Eve.” (A tip of the hat to Lou Lumenick, who tweeted about the movie on — New Year’s Eve.) I also uploaded a version of this post to IMDB, in case you see it there.

Fox originally announced the film under the title “Strong Arm,” based on the story “$100” by Richard Connell, published in the August 1928 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine. The film was supposed to star Lois Moran and George O’Brien in the leads, under the direction of J.G. Blystone. Fox initially planned the movie as a talkie, but released it as “New Year’s Eve,” a silent directed by Henry Lehrman with sound effects and music, designated “sound on film.”

Continue reading

Posted in 1929, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Scandal: The Trial of Mary Astor’ Premieres on TCM


Alexa Foreman Note: “Scandal: The Trial of Mary Astor” will air at 8 p.m. Monday on TCM. This is a post from 2018.

Alexa Foreman, who was TCM’s head researcher for many years, will be featured in a Q&A session on her new movie, “Scandal: The Trial of Mary Astor,” at Larry Edmunds Bookshop, 6644 Hollywood Blvd., on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

The movie deals with Astor’s sensational 1936 trial to regain custody of her 5-year-old daughter, Marilyn, following Astor’s divorce from Dr. Franklyn Thorpe. Seeking to show that Astor was an unfit mother, Thorpe’s attorneys released portions of the actress’ diary containing hundreds of pages of what the Los Angeles Times called  “intimate secrets concerning Miss Astor’s private life, written painstakingly in lavender ink.”

In 1952, the diary was burned page by page in a county-owned incinerator under the observation of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stanley N. Barnes, who ordered its destruction. Astor later claimed that the diary was a forgery.

The film is narrated by Lee Grant. It features interviews with Astor’s daughter, Marilyn; David Wyler, son of William Wyler, who was directing the actress in “Dodsworth” at the time of the trial; former Los Angeles Times film critic Kevin Thomas; and film historians Molly Haskell and Leonard Maltin.

It will be premiered during the TCM Classic Film Festival at 8 p.m. Friday at Club TCM at the Hollywood Roosevelt.

Posted in 2018, Coming Attractions, Film | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Jan. 11, 2020, Black Hand

This week’s mystery movie was the 1950 MGM picture “Black Hand,” with Gene Kelly, J. Carrol Naish, Teresa Celli, Marc Lawrence, Barry Kelley, Frank Puglia and Mario Siletti.

Screenplay by Luther Davis from a story by Leo Townsend.

Photography by Paul C. Vogel, art direction by Cedric Gibbons and Gabriel Scognamillo, edited by Irving Warburton, musical score by Alberto Colombo, recording by Douglas Shearer, set decorations by Edwin B. Willis and Charles de Crof, special effects by Warren Newcombe, costumes by Walter Plunkett, hairstyles by Sydney Guilaroff and makeup by Jack Dawn.

Produced by William H. Wright. Directed by Richard Thorpe.

“Black Hand” is available on DVD from Warner Archive. I try to avoid movies that have just aired on TCM, but I see that it was on TCM last month.

Continue reading

Posted in 1950, Crime and Courts, Film, Hollywood, Immigration, Mystery Photo, New York | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Teddy the Dog, Mack Sennett’s Best Friend

Teddy the Dog and Bath Beauty
Teddy the dog with a Mack Sennett bathing beauty, courtesy of Mary Mallory.

Note: This is an encore post from 2015.

Guide, guard, and constant companion, the friendly dog is man’s best friend. Unswervingly loyal and supportive, canines give much needed love and help when times are tough. Their sloppy kisses and wiggly tails bring oodles of smiles and a kick in the step to their human pals.

This same boundless energy and enthusiasm has also entranced decades of film fans at local movie palaces, where they have been entertained by portrayals of dogs’ friendly personalities and mischievous quirks. Natural hams, dogs easily upstage their fellow two-legged actors through their unpredictability and high spirits.

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

Continue reading

Posted in Animals, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mystery Movies for 2019 — Arranged by Studio

State Fair
“State Fair” was one of the mystery movies from Fox – and not commercially available, unfortunately.

And here’s a breakdown of 2019’s mystery movies by studio. This is the first time I have analyzed the studios behind the mystery movies and it’s not terribly surprising, though regrettable, that Warner Bros. and MGM are somewhat over-represented and Paramount is underrepresented. Including two Fox films gives Twentieth Century-Fox a slight edge. Otherwise, it would be below WB and MGM. Most of the films in the Daily Mirror archive are from TCM, which has the RKO, MGM and WB libraries, which explains why they predominate. I also like to run films and their remakes, and WB was the king of remakes.

The complete breakdown is on the jump.

As always, I am open to requests, if the film is in the Daily Mirror archive or available from a local library.



Twentieth Century-Fox (including two from Fox)












United Artists












Allied Artists


Continue reading

Posted in 2019, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Mystery Movies for 2019 — Arranged by Year

Mary Astory in 'Two Arabian Knights'
Mary Astor in “Two Arabian Knights,” one of four mystery movies from the 1920s.

I thought it would be fun to analyze last year’s mystery movies to see if I accomplished my goal of providing variety. I generally go from week to week in picking mystery movies, so I only have a general idea of how I am doing.

Here’s how the decades stacked up:

Decade Movies
1910s 1
1920s 4
1930s 13
1940s 14
1950s 16
1960s 3
1970s 2

I did better than I expected. Silents are terra incognita to many people (though one of the 1920s films — “The Last of Mrs. Cheyney” — was a talkie that was also released in a silent version), and I use an arbitrary cutoff date of 1960, though I snuck in five from 1960s and 1970s. The earliest movie was “Hell’s Hinges” (1916) and the most recent was “Zulu Dawn” (1979).  You may have noticed there were 53 mystery movies, since I carried over “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers from Dec. 31, 2018.

The 1940s and 1950s tended toward film noir while the 1930s was heavy on the Pre-Codes.

Next, I’ll take a look at the mystery studios.

Continue reading

Posted in 2019, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Rose Parade Encounter Leads to Killing of Arcadia Woman

Aug. 9, 1963, Comics

Aug. 9, 1963, Buddhist Hunger Strike

Note: This is an encore post from 2013

Aug. 9, 1963: “In Saigon, 400 miles to the south, police geared for trouble as a young, unidentified monk announced plans to burn himself to death in the continuing Buddhist struggle for what they consider their civil rights and religious liberty,” The Times says.

In the theaters: “55 Days at Peking,” “Cleopatra,” “Flipper,”  “Lawrence of Arabia” and “The Thrill of It All!”

Born 5 1/2 weeks premature, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, the son of President Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, dies at Children’s Medical Center in Boston.

Pershing Square, known as a haven for “off-beat characters” and “undesirables” will undergo a $100,000 “beautification program” in which “most of the square’s interior walkways” will be eliminated.

Rancho Road, Arcadia, Calif.
The 1000 block of Rancho Road in Arcadia via Google’s Street View.

On the afternoon of Jan. 9, 1963, Arcadia liquor store owner Jack Doctors, a former LAPD detective, found his wife, Jean, 37, partially undressed on the kitchen floor of their home at 1049 Rancho Road, Arcadia. She had been stabbed 39 times in the neck, chest and left arm with a hunting knife found in the kitchen, and was “criminally attacked,” The Times said.

Dr. Harold Kade of the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said Jean “put up a terrific struggle for her life,” noting that both hands were slashed from trying to grab the murder weapon.

Continue reading

Posted in 1963, Art & Artists, Comics, Crime and Courts, Downtown, Film, Hollywood, Homicide, Religion, Vietnam | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

War Cancels Rose Parade, Dec. 14, 1941

Dec. 14, 1941, Tournament of Roses
Dec. 14, 1941, Comics

Dec. 14, 1941, Comics Dec. 14, 1941, Comics

Note: This is a post from 2011.

Dec. 14, 1941: The Rose Parade is canceled and the Rose Bowl – between Duke and Oregon State – is moved to Durham, N.C. The streets of Pasadena were oddly quiet on New Year’s Day as millions reviewed memories of previous parades in all their glory, The Times said.

Continue reading

Posted in 1941, Art & Artists, Columnists, Comics, Film, Hollywood, Jimmie Fidler, Tom Treanor, World War II | Leave a comment

Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – Mack Sennett’s Rose Parade Gag

Sleuths at the Floral Parade
Photo: “The Sleuths at the Floral Parade.” Credit: Mary Mallory, the Collections of the Margaret Herrick Library.

Note: This is an encore post from 2011.

The Tournament of Roses Parade is going on its 122th year, and grows more elaborate and beautiful every year.  Bands, floats, cars, horses, and even celebrities take part in this festive annual event.  This year, Paramount Pictures is even entering a float celebrating its 100th anniversary, honoring “Titanic” and “Wings,” the first feature film awarded the Best Picture Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927/1928.

Continue reading

Posted in 1913, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Photography | Leave a comment

L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Drinking Guide — Pisco Punch

New York Sun, April 23, 1934

Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

Just in time for New Year’s, we’ll take a look at a “lost drink,” making a brief inquiry into San Francisco’s Pisco Punch, made famous by Bank Exchange saloon owner Duncan Nicol (often spelled Nichol or Nicoll), who  died in 1926 without revealing the recipe.

Continue reading

Posted in 1915, 1934, 1939, Food and Drink, San Francisco | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Drinking Guide – The Queens Cocktail

Note: This is an encore post from 2017.

Joe Vogel asks if there was a Queens Cocktail. The answer is yes.

According to the Jamaica Long Island Daily Press, Jan. 24, 1935, the Queens Cocktail debuted at the Hotel Commodore in a toast to President Roosevelt. Via

(No word yet on the Staten Island Cocktail — and boy that sounds like a straight line).

Continue reading

Posted in 1935, 1937, Food and Drink | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Jan. 4, 2020, A Child Is Born
This week’s mystery movie was the 1939 Warner Bros. film “A Child Is Born” (working title “Give Me a Child,”) with Geraldine Fitzgerald, Jeffrey Lynn, Gladys George, Gale Page, Spring Byington, Johnnie Davis, Henry O’Neill and John Litel.

Screenplay by Robert Rossen based on the play by Mary McDougal Axelson.

Dialogue direction by Jo Graham, photography by Charles Rosher, edited by Jack Killifer, sound by Charles Lang, art direction by John Hughes, makeup by Perc Westmore, gowns by Milo Anderson. Technical advisors Dr. Leo Schulman and Evelyn Shepherd, R.N., music by H. Roemheld, orchestral arrangements by Hugo Friedhofer, musical direction by Leo F. Forbstein.

Directed by Lloyd Bacon. Executive producer Hal B. Wallis, associate producer Samuel Bischoff.

Jack L. Warner in charge of production.

“A Child Is Born” has never been commercially released on VHS or DVD, although gray market copies may be found on the Internet. Since the movie is not readily available, except for occasional airings on TCM, I’ll go into more detail than usual.

Continue reading

Posted in 1939, Film, Hollywood, Medicine, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Pickford Headlines 1933 Rose Parade

Mary Pickford, Rose Parade
Photo: Mary Pickford in the 1933 Rose Parade. Courtesy of Mary Mallory

Note: This is a 2012 post with a slight update. The 131st Rose Parade is on Wednesday.

Tomorrow sees the 124th annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena,  welcoming the new year with magnificent garlands of fresh flowers. It also acts as the 80th anniversary of Mary Pickford serving as the first female grand marshal of the parade.

Begun by the Valley Hunt Club in 1890, the Rose Parade saluted the area’s wonderful weather and flowering paradise.Soon, the Tournament of Roses Assn. took over what they now call “America’s New Year Celebration, greeting the world on the first day of the year….”

Continue reading

Posted in 1933, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Pasadena | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments