Amazing Predictions for 1961!


  Dec. 31, 1930, New Year's  

dropcap_w_1934hile the rest of the news business spends the final days of December looking back at the major events of the year, the Daily Mirror is peering forward, and for us at least, the future is clear: 1961 brings the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs invasion. “The Apartment” will win the Academy Award as best picture. Gary Cooper will die of cancer and Ernest Hemingway will kill himself.   

We are also looking ahead to the last full year of the evening Los Angeles Mirror and the morning Los Angeles Examiner, both of which folded in January 1962, giving The Times supremacy in the morning market. The reconstituted Herald Examiner (d. 1989) struggled for survival as a feisty, sensational afternoon paper,  racked by labor problems and increasingly irrelevant to Americans’ changing lifestyles and preference for TV news.

What else can we see? 1921 is the year of the Fatty Arbuckle case and 1941 brings us the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into World War II. And in 1981, we have the dawn of the Ronald Reagan era.

As I often say, “so many stories and only one Larry Harnisch.” Where shall we go and what shall we do in the coming year?

Mystery photos? Of course, they’re one of my favorite parts of the blog. Paul Coates and Matt Weinstock? Yes. And Tom Treanor. I’ll try to do more with some other Times columnists who have only appeared fleetingly in the Daily Mirror: Lee Shippey and Timothy Turner, for example. And perhaps the mysterious 1930s film columnist Tip-Off.

The Daily Mirror has evolved quite a bit since I began the blog nearly four years ago. There’s more on Hollywood and film, and a bit less on crime. Part of the reason is my need for variety and part of the reason is what I find – or don’t find — in the old papers. The crimes of the 1950s are fascinating and 1957 was a great year, but by mid- to late 1959, The Times’ coverage seemed to shift away from detailed reporting on the police blotter, a trend that continued into 1960. Perhaps the crimes weren’t as interesting to The Times editors as they were in the 1940s and early '50s, or The Times was devoting more of its resources to subjects like politics.

One thing I hope to explore in the coming year is a theme I touched on in a series of posts I called “Another Good Story Ruined.” Why is Los Angeles history so hard to get right and so easy to get wrong? I sometimes think the books on Los Angeles are nothing but a catalog of errors.  It might be worthwhile to examine some of the more common mistakes and myths about our past and see if I can find the origins. Authors of books about Los Angeles can expect the Daily Mirror to do a bit random fact-checking, which should fun and, I hope, illuminating.

I do need to pick my shots carefully. Extended coverage like Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Los Angeles or the 1960 Democratic National Convention is labor-intensive and such projects seem to hold little interest for Daily Mirror readers. I’m not sure why, as they are significant events in local history, but they tend to be a lot of work for very little return.

And now it’s request time.

Daily Mirror readers are a loyal bunch. In fact, statistics show they spend an amazing amount of time on the blog. What would you like to see in the year ahead?

ps. Only four years to the Watts Riots.

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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1930, 1960, 1980, Another Good Story Ruined, Countdown to Watts, Crime and Courts, Film, Hollywood, Matt Weinstock, Paul Coates, Thelma Todd, Tom Treanor, Weblogs. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Amazing Predictions for 1961!

  1. Kim Cooper says:

    Yes, please, to more Timothy Turner. His is a wonderful Los Angeles voice. Happy new (old) year(s), Larry!


  2. Jose says:

    The columns and history are the high points. The film business right behind.
    Some look at what was going on in LA in the run up to WW2 would be interesting.


  3. Native Angeleno says:

    I for one (the one and only?) very much enjoyed, if that’s the word, the fascinating excerpts of the ’60 Dem convention in LA, the coverage of the Nixon-Kennedy race, the Kruschev visit etc ETC. Looking for’d to continued political coverage, particularly the Kennedy admin as it progressed—including, i hope, the occasional glimpse in the news of the extremist rightwing tide in the OC and around the country that first reared its pretty head attacking JFK for being, among other things, an N-word lover, traitor, etc, that ended as it did in Dallas.


  4. Mary Mallory says:

    I enjoy the movie material as well as the history material. More of that would be great, examining what was considered “new” and “life changing” technology earlier in the century, social issues that continue to bedevil us, political issues (which sometimes make the best drama in Los Angeles), such things as the Zoot Suit Riots, the treatment of the Japanese, Chinese, Latinos, etc.
    I think there is often a lot of little factual errors in history in that people find one citation and decide to go with, rather than checking if it’s correct, or trying to find at least 1 other source to back it up. I’ve run into that lately. Tipoff sounds fun too. We have probably missed the Olive Thomas death, but Arbuckle, Wallace Reid’s death and his wife’s production of HUMAN WRECKAGE (I think that’s 1922-1923), bomb threats by union projectionists, etc. would also be interesting.


  5. LilySweet says:

    I love The Daily Mirror but I would like to see some stories about events along Central Avenue aka Brown Broadway. The nightclubs, restaurants, the people, the Hollywood movie stars who came down to “slum”.


  6. Don says:

    I believe Otis Chandler was named publisher of the Times in 1960. So for the next few years, we may see some changes in the paper as it becomes less provincial and more national and global in its outlook.
    It would be nice if you could choose 1961 articles that point out “last gasps” of the old order and the “green shoots” of the new. This might be apparent in following how the Times covers stories with racial aspects.


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