Barbershop bombed



June 8, 1957
Los Angeles

Someday a sociologist at USC (you know who you are) will make a study
of the fad of bombing Los Angeles barbershops, which began about 1952
and ended about 1971 with the advent of long hair.

The bombings occurred across Los Angeles in an apparent attempt to
force barbers to adopt union prices. W.H. Siebert, whose Compton
barbershop was destroyed in 1954 by a bombing, said:

"At one time three guys who said they were from the union visited me
and told me, ‘You’ll either get up to our prices or else.’  On another
occasion I was picketed for eight weeks. Then they used to park 20 cars
bumper to bumper in front of my place and that was stopped when the
area was rezoned to one-hour parking." Siebert charged 95 cents ($6.92
USD 2006) for a haircut instead of the union price of $1.50.

Union officials said they picketed Seibert’s shop in 1953,
but denied any knowledge of a bombing. "We do not countenance that sort
of action in any form," the union’s Frank LeCain said.

Richard A. Mills, whose Sherman Oaks shop was bombed in 1954, said he
originally tried to charge union scale, but that he couldn’t get
customers so he cut his price to $1. "They said I’d better get back up
to the $1.50 price," Mills said of the union. "They kept reminding me
of what happened to ‘that fellow up the street,’ " apparently referring
to a shop at 4824 Van Nuys Blvd., that was bombed in 1952.

In the June 1957 bombing, barbers Gene Franks and his father, Artie, were charging $1.25, a quarter less than the union price.

After an 11-year gap, the attacks resumed, with an unidentified bomber
setting his arm on fire as gasoline spilled from the Molotov cocktail
he threw into a barbershop at 10855 Magnolia Blvd., in North Hollywood.

The last documented bombing occurred in Azusa at an address published
in The Times as 323 N. Seninoke Ave., which does not exist.

In the following years, the advent of long hair put many barbershops out of business and the bombings ceased.

Here’s a map.

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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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