Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated)

Jan. 22, 2018, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery woman.

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Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Jan. 23, 1947: Four Held for Trial in ‘Red Hibiscus Murder’

Jan. 23, 1947, Comics

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


Four held for Trial in
‘Hibiscus’ Slaying

After a weeklong preliminary hearing, four of five youths arrested in the Lincoln Park “hibiscus” murder case were today held to answer to Superior Court by Municipal Judge Arthur Guerin.

Freed after the hearing was Ephrem “Baby Face” Olivas, 18, who was named by the four others as the slayer of Naomi Tullis Cook, 52, whose beaten body was found under a clump of hibiscus bushes in the park near the men’s restroom.

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Jan. 23, 1907: Felix Chavarino — Lemon Fiend

Note: This is an encore post from 2007.
Jan. 23, 1907
Los Angeles

Pity, for a moment, Felix Chavarino, caught in the grips, not of opium, morphine or heroin, but of citrus, for he is a “lemon fiend.”

He was arrested after begging for food in a small restaurant. Chavarino didn’t want anything else on the menu, pleading for a “le-mon,” a “le-mon.”

“Gaunt, unkempt and weird looking, he crouched there, disdaining all offers,” The Times says.

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Black Dahlia: D.A.’s Final Report Says Elizabeth Short Was Never at Aster Motel

Aster Motel
The Aster Motel, 2901 S. Flower, via Google Street View. Elizabeth Short was never here, according to the district attorney’s files, regardless of claims made in Piu Eatwell’s “Black Dahlia, Red Rose.” 

Frank Jemison, Final Report Frank Jemison, Final Report.

In response to continuing questions about the Aster Motel prompted by Piu Eatwell’s “Black Dahlia, Red Rose,” here’s a quote from the final report filed in 1950 by Los Angeles County district attorney’s investigator Frank Jemison. Jemison states, speaking of Elizabeth Short: “Evidence indicates that victim was never at 2901 South Flower Street,” the address of the Aster Motel.

And just to repeat: Leslie Dillon was absolutely, positively in San Francisco when Elizabeth Short was killed. Which is why he was released by the LAPD, rather than allegations of a police conspiracy and coverup.


Five Reasons Leslie Dillon Didn’t Kill Elizabeth Short

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Jan. 22, 1947: Police Hunt ‘Large Nose Bandit’

Jan. 22, 1947, comics

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

‘Large Nose’
Seek Bandit in $28,000
L.A. Bank Holdup

“Large Nose,” a bandit who claims “heroes die young,” was sought by police today for the $28,000 robbery of the Bronson-Olympic branch of the Security-First National Bank.

Armed, the robber forced 19-year-old Dolores Huss, safety deposit box attendant, to open the vault and allow him to scoop up handfuls of money held as surplus cash.

The bandit handed the girl a list of instructions:

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Jan. 22, 1907: The Bible Explained — for $1,000

Note: This is an encore post from 2007.
Jan. 22, 1907
Los Angeles

Since his teens, James Lauer has been studying the Bible. Where others have struggled to parse its meanings, he has found clarity. He wants to write a book that will explain it all. The only thing he needs is $1,000 ($20,523.57 USD 2005).

During his studies of the Bible, Lauer has apparently never encountered anything prohibiting extortion, so to get the money, he has been writing notes to Mrs. Joseph Maier Sr. One was not enough, so Lauer wrote a series of letters demanding money and threatening her life if she didn’t pay.

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Posted in 1907, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, LAPD, Streetcars | 2 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Charlie Chaplin Comes to Hollywood

Oct. 16, 1917, Chaplin Studios
Oct. 16, 1917: An architect’s rendering of Chaplin’s studios in The Times

Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

Ninety-five years ago, comedian Charlie Chaplin constructed the first beautiful studio lot in Hollywood, the first to offer style to filmmaking. What had been merely an industry housed in utilitarian structures soon blossomed into one that featured elegance in its buildings.

 Filmmaking was exploding around Los Angeles in the 1910s as filmmakers moved west for the sunlight, varied landscape and freedom from patents. Early studios were merely converted buildings; Nestor Film Co. converted the former Blondeau Tavern into a working studio in 1911 and in late December 1913, Lasky Feature Play Co. rented a little barn at Selma Avenue and Vine Street as their filmmaking site.

Soon, film companies began building their own plants, mostly plain, functional buildings. Actor/comedian Charlie Chaplin decided to join the building boom in 1917 and constructed his own studio in Hollywood. His would evoke class and beauty.

The Oct. 16, 1917, Los Angeles Times reported that Chaplin would construct his own studio where “the plant will be at once a workshop and a home for the movie idol….” Chaplin and his brother Syd acquired the R. S. McClellan estate at Sunset Boulevard and La Brea Avenue as the site for their facility. The estate, constructed in 1914, consisted of five acres of lemon and orange trees and the “sightly ten-room colonial house set in the midst of lawn and gardens.” This house would become their home, while the lower acreage would house the studio.

Architects Meyer and Holler’s plans, featured in the paper, presented a picturesque little English Tudor village of buildings lining La Brea Avenue, to be constructed by Milwaukee Building Co. for approximately $100,000. Meyer and Holler were recognized as one of the top architectural teams in Los Angeles, designing Ince and Goldwyn Studios, and later designing Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, the Montmartre Cafe and the Hollywood Athletic Club.

Per the newspaper, obstructionists originally mistakenly believed the studio would be erected adjacent to and behind Hollywood High School, disrupting students from learning. Businessmen spoke out to the City Council supporting construction. Banker Marco H. Hellman and other businessmen spoke out forcefully in favor of the project, noting the importance of the film industry in providing jobs to Los Angeles. He also stated, “Mr. Chaplin has done more in the way of advertising Los Angeles than probably any other man.” The council voted 8 to 1 in favor of construction proceeding.

The Jan. 20, 1918, Times noted that the new lot opened for business on Tuesday, Jan. 15. Writer Grace Kingsley described the special tour a happy and jolly Chaplin himself gave her of the new facility. Chaplin told her, “See, here’s a lemon orchard back of the stage. Think lemons must be my lucky fruit – can’t escape ‘em – had a lemon orchard back of us at Essanay and one at the Lone Star – hope they keep the lemons in the orchards, though.” Chaplin stated that “the fellow that couldn’t be happy here would be the fellow that would write a want ad in heaven.”

Kingsley found the comedian charming, especially in his description of his uniform of baggy old clothes as his “salary.” She understood the exacting nature of his work. “Charlie’s comedy seems entirely spontaneous – that’s its wonderful charm. But beneath it all he has the mathematics of merriment, the logarithms of laughter, at his finger’s ends.”

Chaplin spent many happy years making films at 1416 N. La Brea Ave., before being denied reentry to the United States in 1952.  The studio stayed busy, however, appearing in the film Hollywood Story in 1951, and acting as the home for many filmmakers. Stanley Kramer employed the location in 1954, American International in 1960, Red Skelton in 1962, and A & M Records in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, Henson Productions occupies the site, and a giant Kermit the Frog adorns the roof, clad in oversized clothes and bowler hat, an homage to the Little Tramp.

Posted in 1917, Architecture, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

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/

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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