Pages of History – Morrow Mayo’s ‘Los Angeles’

  Los Angeles, Morrow Mayo  

Morrow Mayo didn’t do terribly well in the first page of his chapter on the 1927  Marion Parker case (“Strange Interlude”) in “Los Angeles.” Let’s see if the next page is any better.

We find that once again, Mayo has trouble quoting documents accurately. This is his version of William Edward Hickman’s telegram to Parker’s father:

  Morrow Mayo, Los Angeles, Page 294  

In comparing this text with a photo of the telegram from the Los Angeles Evening Express, Dec. 19, 1927, we find that he dropped a few words and he misspelled Marion as Marian. The text actually reads:

[Marian] Marion secure. [Use good judgment.] Interference with my plans dangerous.

[Marian] Marion Parker

George Fox

[I apologize for the poor quality of the scan. It was a challenging day with the microfilm reader.]

Keep reading for a photo of a letter Hickman sent to Marion’s father compared with Mayo’s purported text of the letter. And I have to say that while Mayo’s transcription makes Hickman sound somewhat rational, seeing the actual letter, with its crazy quilt of cursive writing and printing, conveys some of Hickman’s lunacy. 

  Hickman Telegram  


Fact-Checking ‘Los Angeles’ – Part 1

Fact-Checking ‘Los Angeles’ – Part 2


  Morrow Mayo, Los Angeles, Page 294  

A newsman (and Mayo was a reporter and editor) should be able to copy what’s in front of him. But he finds this terribly challenging. Here’s Mayo’s purported text of Hickman’s letter to Marion’s father and a photo of the actual letter, which appeared in the Los Angeles Evening Express on Dec. 20, 1927.  

  Hickman Letter  

And here’s a textual comparison with [missing words in bold] and wrong words noted out.


[P.M. Parker:

[Use good judgment. You are the loser. Do this.] Secure 75 [–] $20 gold certificates [–] U.S. currency [–] [1500  dollars] $1500 at once. Keep [them] this on your person. Go about your [daily] business as usual. Leave [out] police and detectives. Make no public notice. Keep this affair strictly private. Make no search.

[fullfilling] Fulfilling [these] those terms [with the] and transfer of the currency will secure the return of the girl.

Failure to comply with [these] those requests [means] will mean no one will ever see the girl again. Except the angels in heaven.

The affair must end one way or [the other] another within 3 days. 72 [hrs.] hours.

You will receive further notice,

But the terms remain the same.


If you want aid against me ask God not man[.]

Now remember, this is one of the classic books about Los Angeles – but would you accept this kind of work from a high school student?

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1927, Another Good Story Ruined, books, Marion Parker, Pages of History. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Pages of History – Morrow Mayo’s ‘Los Angeles’

  1. Eve says:

    I’d always see her name as spelled “Marian.” Maybe, like Marian Nixon, it got switched back and forth a lot?


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