‘Full Service’: Fun With Fact-Checking, Part 19

"Full Service" Cover

In case you just tuned in, I’m doing a little fact-checking as I go through Scotty Bowers’ “Full Service.” This will be fairly tedious except to a research drudge.

I am still on the trail of the mysterious Mr. Jacob/Jack/Jacques Potts, who purportedly took part in Scotty Bowers’ first Hollywood tryst in a home on Benedict Canyon Drive in Beverly Hills in 1946. I have spent some time trying to determine the outlines of Potts’ life. And it hasn’t been easy.

For one thing, I haven’t been able to discover his birth and death dates, although we do know he retired from business in 1947, the year after his encounter with Bowers, so I suppose it’s safe to assume he might not have been at the peak of his manhood.

Fact-Checking “Full Service”: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18

The fees charged for access to the Chicago Tribune’s archives are beyond the budget of the Daily Mirror, but Google’s news archives is a handy index to them. And we find several promising leads on someone who referred to himself as “Jacques of Chicago.”

Miss Vera Stock to Be Presented to Society Today

Chicago Tribune – Dec 12, 1923
With Mrs. Joseph Fish were Mir. and Mrs. Jacques Potts, John Charles Thomas, Dr. Charles R. Corsant, and William Jananshek. Mrs. NV. G. Jer rems, Miss …

Dearborn Seminary to Hold 43d Annual Meeting Today

Chicago Tribune – Jan 16, 1924
Joseph Fish, Mr. and Mrs! Frederick C. Letts, Mr. and Ars. Edward I. Fifleld, and Mrs. Jacques Potts. The ball will be given In the First Regiment armory, the music …

Yale Club Concert Gets New Year Eve Interest of Society

Chicago Tribune – Dec 31, 1924
Airs Jacob Baur and Mrs. Jacques Potts head the corn- . Mir. and Mrs. Arthur 0. Leonard Jr. of 4646 East 73d street, are receiving congratulations on the birth of …

Secrecy and Mystery Enshroud Plans for Pagan Ball Tonight

Chicago Tribune – Jan 9, 1925
Mrs. Charles King Corsant is in charge of tickets and invitations, Mrs. Edward ‘ Is bead of the supper committee, and Mrs. Jacques Potts and Mrs. Wal- ter S.


Chicago Tribune – Jan 24, 1925
Mrs. Jacques Potts, and Mrs. Charles King Corsant. All of the boxes and tables have been sold, but tickets may be obtained at the door for the affair


Chicago Tribune – Nov 29, 1925
The Aed, White &nd Blue ban at the new ballroom of the Hotel Sher- man last night was as brilliant and , an affair as Its gay color scheme . Gaudy balloons of …


Chicago Tribune – Apr 27, 1928
BY AL CHASE. Upper Boul Mich 1s to have n new and distinctive addition to Its rapidly developing shopping row-a six story stone and granite structure, at No.

Social Life at Arizona Resort Is Highly Casual

Chicago Tribune – Dec 31, 1933
Mr. and Mrs. Jacques Potts, who arrived this week at the Arizona Bilt- more, are among those just sitting in the sun. Mrs. DA Crawford, an- other newcomer, …

Games of Long Ago Rage with Resort Crowd

Chicago Tribune – Jan 7, 1934
[Special.]–Perhaps it’s the good old days back again that makes some of the good old fashioned forms of entertainment so increasingly popular. At any rate both …

Edith Mason’s Plump Figure Principal Issue in Law Suit

Chicago Tribune – Jan 12, 1934
The opera singer had been sum- into court by Jacques, Inc., dressmakers at 545 … waist lines might change In slavish obedience to fashion, but hers never!

Display Ad 34 — No Title

Chicago Tribune – Sep 6, 1936
… clothes of piquant charm and true … clothes personally selected by IMVir. and Mrs. Jacques Potts, who have returned from Paris 545 3!i1 AVEN1U E NORTH.

Merchants Hail Tribune’s Show as Trail Blazer

Chicago Tribune – Oct 5, 1940
Others who made glowing com. ments yesterday are Mrs. Jacques Potts of Jacques, Inc.; Thomas Con- , president of John T. Shayne; Harry Auster, Chicago …

Classified Ad 6 — No Title

Chicago Tribune – Oct 13, 1942
Apply Jacques, Inc., 545 N. Michigan. FUR FINISHERS: EXPERIENCED. SOL A. SILVEY. 5124 W. Madison-st. GIRLS, 18-45 Light .: pack, cosmetics. Exper, not …

Hm. More digging seems to indicate that while he was in Los Angeles, Potts continued to operate a shop in Chicago, at 545 N. Michigan Ave.

Little buildings deserve big names

Chicago Tribune – Jun 10, 1990
… took over the marketing effort for the former Jacques store and headquarters at 545 N. Michigan Ave. The renovated 18500-square-foot, five-story building has …

Ah: Here’s the story, on the Tribune’s website.

545 N. Michican Ave, Chicago, Ill

Aha. And here we have 545 N. Michigan Ave., via Google’s Street View, built in 1928.

And then, rather curiously, we have a reference to a Mrs. Jacques Potts in the Dec. 11, 1969, issue of the Modesto Bee.

And that’s all the time we have for today. But what’s emerging is a picture of the mysterious Mr. Potts as a fellow who was fairly well to do, but presumably somewhat advanced in years by the time of the alleged encounter with Bowers in 1946. Pidgeon, born Sept. 23, 1897, would have been 48. Potts would most likely have been somewhat older.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1928, 1946, Another Good Story Ruined, Architecture, Books and Authors, Chicago, Fashion, Film, Hollywood and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to ‘Full Service’: Fun With Fact-Checking, Part 19

  1. Lee Rivas says:

    It just hit me, from your previous post showing a bargain sale because Mr. Potts was “retiring.”

    I’m sorry, but to me a “retirement sale” is right up there with “estate, bankruptcy or going-out-of-business sales.

    A solid business is either sold or taken over by a family member.

    Maybe old Jacques was in financial distress occasioned by (fill in blank).

    Maybe a search of Bankruptcy filings etc. could yield further information as to his personal data, dates and connections?


  2. Dick Morris says:

    Research drudge. Hurrumph

    Below is what I was able to dig up, mostly using Ancestry.com. But some using Familysearch.org. Findagrave often reveals information I can’t find anywhere else, but not luck with it today. Despite the inconsistencies in birth date and place and first name I think there is enough other information in each record that I included to validate that they are for Jacques Potts and his wife. Sorry about the lousy typing.

    Note that in the Modesto article, Mrs. Jacques Potts is identified as a relative of the former Melinda Fisher.

    1930 Chicago Census – address 545 (no street given). They apparently lived above the store.
    Potts, Jacob S, Head, Rents, 54 YO, married, 24 at first marriage, born Pennsylvania, both parents born in Germany, Retail Merchant, Women’s Wear, not a veteran
    Wife Effie H, 52 YO, born Maryland, father born Germany, mother born Maryland, Sales Director, Women’s Wear

    1920 Chicago Census, address 442 Oakdale Avenue
    Potts, Jacob S, 43 YO, Born NS, parents born in Russia, Owner, Importer Ladies Garments
    Potts, Effie, 40 YO, Born NS, parents born in Germany, no occupation

    1910 Chicago Census, address 5215 Cornell Ave. This looks like a multi-family (about four) residence.
    Potts, Jack S, 32 YO, married 7 years, born Pennsylvania, parents born Germany, Merchant, Millinery
    Potts, Dffie H, 32 YO, married 7 years, born Maryland, parents born Germany, Milliner with husband

    1900 Census Baltimore Maryland. 1628 McCullock St.
    Hecht, Abram, head, born Oct 1834, 65 YO, he and parents born in Germany, immigrated 1849, naturalized, no occupation
    Hecht, Lena, wife, born Oct 1848, 51 YO, married 28 years, 3 children 2 living, she and parents born in Germany, immigrated 1849, naturalized, no occupation
    Hecht, Melvile A., son, born Dec 1874, 25 YO, born Maryland, Salesman Jewelry
    Hecht, Effie, daughter, born July 1876, 23 YO, born Maryland, Millinery Store
    Friedberg, Ida, sister-in-law, born Apr 1870, 30 YO, single, born Maryland, parents born Germany, no occupation

    WWII draft registration
    Jacob Samuel Potts, residence 545 No Michigan Ave, Chicago Illinois, born Nov 8 1877 Harrisburg, Penn, person who will always know his address Mrs. Effie H. Potts same address. Self employed, 545 No. Michigan Ave Chicago Illinois.

    WWI draft registration
    Jacob Samuel Potts, 440 Oakdale, Chicago, Ill, born Nov 11 1876, Manufacturer, self employed. Two business addresses are given – 612 Michigan Ave and 25 E. Washington St, both Chicago. Nearest Relative was Mrs. Effie Hecht Potts.

    There was a Jacob S. Potts, clk, 318 Market, h 414 State in an 1894 Harrisburg directory. At the same address are Louis Potts and A.G Potts & Co., picture frames. A.G. Potts appears to be Abraham G. Potts who lives at another address.

    A July 3, 1920 passport application filed in Chicago for Jacob S Potts and his wife Effie F. Potts gives his birth date as November 11, 1876 in Harrisburg. Father Louis Potts, born in Russia and now dead. His father emigrated around 1873. He will depart from New York, NY for France and England and the purpose of the trip is to purchase merchandise. he is described as 43 years old, medium mouth, 5 foot 7 inches, round chin, high forehead, brown and gray hair, brown eyes, ruddy complexion, straight nose, oval face, with no distinguishing marks.

    SS Death Index
    Jacob Potts, 320-01-3428, last residence 21208 Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, born 11 Nov 1876, died June 1970, SSN issued in Illinois before 1951. There is a good chance that this is him. the location the SS number matches, the birth date matches the date in some of the other records, and his wife was born in Baltimore.

    A July 2, 1925 passport application adds that Effie H. was born in Baltimore, Md on July 28, 1879 and they were married July 8, 1902.

    A May 12 1912 passport application for Jacob S Potts and his wife (no name) gives his birth date as November 8, 1876 in Harrisburg. His father was naturalized, he lived in Chicago, and was a merchant. The passport was to be mailed in care of H. ??????????? Co., 107 N Dearborn St., Chicago.

    SS Death Index
    Jacob Potts, 320-01-3428, last residence 21208 Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, born 11 Nov 1876, died June 1870, SSN issued in Illinois before 1951. This may be our Jacob/Jack/Jacques. The location the SS number was issued matches, the birth date matches the date in some of the other records, and his wife was born in Baltimore. (See her obit, below.)

    Effie Potts, 320-01-3425, born 28 Jul 1876, died Jun 1965, SSN issued Illinois, before 1951.

    L.A. Times obit 10 Jun 1965
    Potts, Effie Hecht, beloved wife of Jacob S. Potts, of 7913 Ivy Lane, Baltimore Md. Services and interment in Baltimore, Md.

    Westwood-Brentwood-Bel-Air (1956-57 City Directory)
    Potts, J S (Effie H) h161 S Woodburn av — GR 26053

    Beverly Hills City and Telephone Directory 1943
    Potts Joseph S (Effie H) h720 Alpine — CR 51858

    I found several a number of travel records for Jacques Potts and Jack Potts that all appear to be the same person, despite inconsistencies in birth date and place.

    Jacques S. Pots, 44 YO, male, married, born 6/11/88, Chicago, Ill., address 545 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill., departed Cherbourg Feb 10, 1933, arrived New York, N.Y. Feb 15 1933 on the S.S. Europa

    Jacques S. Pots, 44 YO, male, married, born 6/11/88, Chicago, Ill., address 545 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill., departed Cherbourg Feb 10, 1933, arrived New York, N.Y. Feb 15 1933 on the S.S. Europa

    Jack and Effie Potts, left Cherbourg, France 11 Aug 1923 and arrived in New York 17 Aug 1923. Residence Melrose Apts, Chicago. S.S. Aquitania.

    Jack and Effie Potts, left Southhampton 13 August 1921, arrived New York 20 Aug 1921. S.S. Aquitania.

    Jack Potts, left Cherbourg France Feb 8, 1931, arrived New York Feb 14, 1931. S.S. Europa.

    Jack and Effie Pottsleft Cherbourg France Feb 17 1926 arrived New York Feb 24 1926. address Ambassador Hotel Chicago. S.S. Olympic

    Jacques and Effie Potts left Los Angeles 28 May 1938 for Honolulu and arrived 2 Jun 1938. No address given. S.S. Lurline.

    Jacques and Effie Potts left Honolulu June 11 1938 bound for Los Angeles. No address given. S.S. Matsonia.

    There were several other voyages, but I got tired of typing.


  3. Dick Morris says:

    By the way, there are photos in the passport applications.


    • Lee Rivas says:

      @Dick…..Wow. You and Larry are making this sleuthing fun. I wonder if old Scotty is somehow following this post and would like to put in his two cents. The New York Times review had him, at 88, “…in the Hollywood Hills, where he lives in a cluttered bungalow with his wife of 27 years, Lois.”


  4. Dick Morris says:

    I had interpreted the Modesto Bee article to say there was a family relationship between Melinda A. Fisher and Effie Potts. I tried to find one but now I’m pretty confident that none existed. Melinda’s mother was Mildred Catherine (Cooper) Fisher. There was a very detailed obituary for Mildred in the Modesto Bee, October 29, 2011. It gave names for siblings, children, and grand and great grandchildren, and a cousin, but I didn’t see any names shared with the Potts nor any link that might tie her many community activities to the Potts.

    The Wilkinson/Fisher marriage that Effie Potts attended didn’t last long. Melinda and Charles D. Wilkinson (this is the name given in the records, not D. Charles) were married September 20, 1969 in Reno. Divorced June, 1971 in San Diego.

    Sometimes the only way to rule something out is to take a trip down a rabbit trail.


  5. Dick Morris says:

    Obit, L.A. Times, June 28, 1970
    Potts, Jacob S., husband of the late Effie Hecht Potts. Service 3 p.m., Monday, June 29, 1970, Sol Levinson & Brothers Home, 6010 Reisterstown Rd, Baltimore, Md, directors.


Comments are closed.