Black Dahlia: Larry Harnisch–Ask Me Anything!

Here’s my first Ask Me Anything. Also on my YouTube channel! (

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Movieland Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a lad of mystery.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hollywoodland Opens March 31, 1923

Hollywoodland Ad 10-23 Hollywood Citizen
An ad for Hollywoodland, October 1923.

Note: This is an encore post from 2022.

On March 31, 1923, owners of a new hillside development in the Hollywood Hills called Hollywoodland announced the opening of their elaborate new tract in stories run in Los Angeles and Hollywood newspapers. For all the syndicate partners, it represented the pinnacle of their real estate careers in hyperbole as well as class, the first tract to sell a lifestyle of glamour and success. Hollywoodland would be as much about selling ambition and making it as it would be in promoting a humble family home location.

Hollywoodland perfectly encapsulated the lives and careers of its five owners, men who had risen from modest means to achieve wealth and power. Savvy in real estate and business promotion, all were as shrewd in crafting career personas to build their empires. Behind the scenes, these dreamers and schemers plotted their rise up the ladders of success, achieving renown and respect from other hard-nosed businessmen.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title. Temptation, letters over artwork of a tree
This week’s mystery movie was the 1946 International Pictures film Temptation, with Merle Oberon, George Brent, Charles Korvin, Paul Lukas, Leonore Ulric, Arnold Moss, Robert Capa, Aubrey Mather, Ludwig Stossel, Andre Charlot, Suzanne Cloutier and Gloria Lloyd.
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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 2178 High Tower Drive, L.A.’s First Community Elevator

The Tower appeared in the March 24, 1939, installment of Nuestro Pueblo by Joseph Seewerker and Charles Owens of the Los Angeles Times.

Note: This is an encore post from 2020.

Both marketing gimmick and necessity, the elevator shaft that gave the name High Tower Drive to a street in the Hollywood Highland Avenue Tract is now an icon in Los Angeles. Almost 100 years old, the tower represents the can-do spirit of Los Angeles and its residents.

In 1901, Los Angeles investors H.J. Whitley, F.H. Rindge, Griffith J. Griffith, M.H. Sherman, and E.P. Clark organized the Los Angeles Pacific Boulevard and Development Company to purchase land for development north of Prospect Boulevard in Hollywood. Sherman and Clark, brothers-in-law from Arizona, owned the streetcar line around the city adjacent to land they purchased for later sale as residential lots. Their trolley line ran down Prospect Boulevard and up Highland Avenue as well. The November 18 Los Angeles Evening Press stated “the purpose of this corporation is to boom Hollywood, to make it an attractive suburban town.”

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

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title. White letters over a building at night -- in the rain.
This week’s mystery movie was the 1946 Twentieth Century-Fox movie Shock, with Vincent Price, Lynn Bari, Frank Latimore, Anabel Shaw, Michael Dunne, Reed Hadley, Renee Carson and Charles Trowbridge. Continue reading

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Peggy Hamilton, Hollywood Fashion Influencer

Peggy Hamilton in an RKO publicity photo by Bachrach, 1931.

Besotted with fashion from a young age, Peggy Hamilton turned her passion into a career in 1920s Los Angeles, becoming Hollywood’s first fashion influencer. The first to promote Hollywood and Southern California as style leaders, Hamilton informed others how to look and feel their best, even promoting facial work and surgery, all while befriending movie stars and meeting royalty.

Born December 31, 1888 in Denver, Colorado as Mae Bedloe Armstrong, the young girl quickly fell in love with fashion before her family moved to Los Angeles. At the age of six, she took some of her mother’s handkerchiefs and made a dress for her younger sister, and later employed some of her father’s evening shirts to make doll clothes. Once in Southern California, the family took an active part in society and their community. Young May sang at church and Salvation Army recitals, learning how to ingratiate herself with others and work a crowd. By the time she was a teen, she assisted her mother in hosting tea for their society friends, with her photo even published in the Los Angeles Times. Continue reading

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights – 1938 Floods Wreak Havoc on Los Angeles Area

 North Hollywood Flood House Collapse

Flooding in North Hollywood, courtesy of Mary Mallory.

Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

Seventy-five years ago, a deluge of rain hit Los Angeles and the surrounding area, leading to massive floods and causing millions of dollars in damage and a devastating loss of life. Many factors led to this destruction: too much rain, inadequate construction of bridges and roads, and homes and businesses located in flood-prone areas. One of the unfortunate consequences of the floods was the eventual concreting of the Los Angeles River, ruining its beauty.

Although other areas of the country suffered through droughts and dust storms in the 1930s, Los Angeles and Southern California endured large amounts of rainfall. Most years saw higher than normal annual rain levels. 1937 saw 17.85 inches fall by March 1, while 1934 saw the largest amount of rain since the 1860s.

1938 started out with heavy rains, growing worse through February. Small patches of flooding caused concerns throughout the city. On Feb. 28, a severe storm hit the area, leading to five days of disaster.

The March 1, 1938, Los Angeles Times noted that gale winds hit the coast, and more than 2.5 inches of rain fell on Feb. 28. Seasonal rain totals reached 14.43 inches, more than 4 inches above average.

Mary Mallory will present “Washed Away:  The Great 1938 Flood and Its Effects on Studio City” at 3:30 p.m. on March 24 at the Studio City branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, 12511 Moorpark St. Admission is free.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie was the 1948 Twentieth Century-Fox film Deep Waters, with Dana Andrews, Jean Peters, Cesar Romero, Dean Stockwell, Anne Revere and Ed Begley.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Master of Electric Lights Had Hollywoodland Sign Beaming

Unknown today, Paul D. Howse was a pioneer in early entertainment and ballyhoo promotional methods. Thanks to his company’s domination of the electrical sign market and his prowess with promotion, Howse would help electrify the Hollywoodland Sign in 1923, helping turn it into a potent advertising weapon on its way to being a world-famous icon.

Born February 2, 1874, in Champaign, Illinois, Howse sought out opportunity and attention at a young age. As a student, Howse enjoyed entertainment and performing. While in high school, he sang Italian arias in concerts and recitals, getting the taste for the limelight and learning what attracted audiences. Understanding and selling amusement would remain in his blood the rest of his life.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + + +)

Main Title: Lettering over trees.
This week’s mystery movie was the 1932 MGM picture Strange Interlude, with Norma Shearer, Clark Gable, Alexander Kirkland, Ralph Morgan, Robert Young, May Robson, Maureen O’Sullivan, Henry B. Walthall, Mary Alden and Tad Alexander.
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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Rose McClendon, First Lady of Black Theater

Rose McClendon, standing next to her reflection in a mirror
Rose McClendon, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, via the New York Public Library.

The first lady of the early Black stage, largely forgotten today, Rose McClendon set a blazing example of how talent could offer opportunity, even in difficult, discriminatory times. Her outstanding work made even white theater critics take notice. She brought dignity and grace to every performance, a forerunner of Sidney Poitier.

Born as Rosalie Virginia Scott in Greenville, South Carolina, August 27, 1884, McClendon began performing in and directing church plays as a teenager after the family moved to New York City, where her parents worked as domestics. At the age of 20, she married Dr. Henry Pruden McClendon, a chiropractor who worked as a Pullman porter. After winning a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Art, she became a professional actress in her thirties. McClendon made her stage debut in Justice in 1919. She gained strength and determination during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title. White block letters on a black background.
This week’s mystery movie was the 1957 film Time Limit, with Richard Widmark, Richard Basehart, Dolores Michaels, June Lockhart, Carl Benton Reid, Martin Balsam, Rip Torn, Yale Wexler, Alan Dexter, Kaie Deei, Manning Ross and Joe Di Rida. Continue reading

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Black Dahlia: Steve Hodel vs. His Mom – Dorothy Hodel Interview Exposes Son’s Lies

I, in the persona of NOT Dr. Alan Campbell with “Boxy,” posted a brief video on Dorothy Hodel’s statement to Dist. Atty’s Lt. Frank Jemison. For those who aren’t up for my dramatic reading, here are a few key points and the actual interview:

  • Dorothy Hodel says that Dr. George Hodel never practiced surgery. His specialty was VD and administrative medicine.

  • Dorothy Hodel says that she and George Hodel obtained an interlocutory divorce in 1944 (when Steve Hodel was about age 3) and final divorce decree in 1945 (when Steve Hodel was about 4).

  • Dorothy Hodel says that she was living with her brother – not at the Franklin House — when Elizabeth Short was killed.

  • Dorothy Hodel says that George Hodel was never interested in earning money, only in medicine.

  • Dorothy Hodel says she is a housewife, not a writer; that she has worked as a writer but not at the present time (1950).

  • Dorothy Hodel says that Lillian Lenorak was a “mental case.” Lenorak was the woman who said George Hodel “dated” Elizabeth Short and was the only person to say so. Everyone else Jemison interviewed said there was no connection between George Hodel and Elizabeth Short.

If you have been paying attention, Steve Hodel has been claiming the opposite of all this: That his father was a prominent surgeon (sorry, no); he and his brothers were “princes” in the Sowden House; that they were living there in 1947, when Elizabeth Short was killed – though conveniently away that time;  that George Hodel was rich and powerful; that his mother was a screenwriter; and that Lillian Lenorak (though never identified by name) clinches that George Hodel “dated” Elizabeth Short. Continue reading

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie was the 1933 Universal picture Secret of the Blue Room, with Lionel Atwill, Gloria Stuart, Paul Lukas, Edward Arnold, Onslow Stevens, William Janney, Robert Barrat, Muriel Kirkland, Russell Hopton and Elizabeth Patterson.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: ‘Crazylegs’ Salutes Elroy Hirsch and the Los Angeles Rams

An image of Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch, scanned from a negative listed on EBay at $24.99.

Note: This is an encore post from 2016.

Los Angeles is currently experiencing the second coming of its professional football team, the Los Angeles Rams, who first arrived in town in 1946 and also played at Memorial Coliseum. The team achieved some special firsts: such as being the first to be televised as well as the first to play themselves onscreen in the 1953 film “Crazylegs,” based on the life of its talented receiver/running back, Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch.

From 1949-1957, Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch excelled as one of the team’s top offensive players, earning All-Pro status in the National Football League for his top receiving/running skills. A potent ground gaining weapon, Hirsch’s odd twisted running style gained him his nickname. Hirsch’s remarkable background led writer/director Hall Bartlett to create a film about him, one that featured the team as well as its historic playing field, the Coliseum, a longtime film location.

“Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays” by Karie Bible and Mary Mallory is available at Amazon and at local bookstores.

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Gustavo Dudamel: Tinseltown’s Gift to New York

Headline in The New York Times.

I am celebrating the announced departure of Gustavo Dudamel (though not until 2026) – without the jubilation of New Yorkers, but certainly not in mourning as Los Angeles may be. If I were more versed in baseball, I would compare Dudamel’s move to the New York Philharmonic as a popular but lackluster coach being hired away to another team.

To New Yorkers: Congratulations on your new acquisition. To Los Angeles: You’ll get along without him just fine. Continue reading

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: May Whitney Emerson, Founded Women’s Film Company

May Whitney Emerson. She looks in 3/4 profile toward the camera, a scarf partially covering her head. A feminist ahead of her time, author May Whitney Emerson advocated equal opportunities and rights for women in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Brash, fearless, and determined, she blazed a trail through the arts and journalism as she traveled the world. Sometimes embroidering her own life story to make it as colorful and exciting as any novel, Emerson advanced the strength and determination of women in her writing, and in 1916, formed the American Woman Film Company to make films by and about women.

While she listed her birth as1865 in post-1900 census records, she probably was born almost 20 years earlier as May Whitney in Eagle Harbor, New York, per a researcher of her letters to Cora Bush. Exposed to the arts at a young age, she displayed great skill for writing, drawing, composing music, and painting, often illustrating her own stories. In a biographical sketch in the 1900 issue of West Coast magazine, she stated her first poem, “The Outcast,” was published in the Independent magazine when she was nine. Continue reading

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title. Lettering in the style of old type over a covered wagon.
This week’s mystery movie was the 1940 Twentieth Century-Fox picture Brigham Young, by Louis Bromfield. With Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Brian Donlevy, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Mary Astor, Vincent Price, Jean Rogers, Ann Todd and Dean Jagger as Brigham Young.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title over MGM lion
This week’s mystery movie was the 1940 MGM picture The Earl of Chicago, with Robert Montgomery, Edward Arnold, Reginald Owen, Edmund Gwenn, E.E. Clive, Ronald Sinclair, Norma Varden, Halliwell Hobbes, Ian Wulf, Peter Godfrey and Billy Bevan.
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