July 31, 1943: Los Angeles — and that is Los Angeles before air conditioning — bakes in a heat wave, temperatures so hot that it’s the reason for murder.
“I had a sudden impulse; it must have been the heat,” according to Edna McCabe, who was sitting at breakfast with her aunt Rovena when she grabbed the head of a tomahawk and struck her aunt on the skull. According to the original investigators, Rovena collapsed on the floor of their apartment at 1328 S. Bronson Ave. and bled to death.
1328 S. Bronson Ave., via Google Street View.
Edna, meanwhile, took a knife and went into the bathroom, where she stabbed herself in the left breast and slashed her left wrist and elbow. When she didn’t die, Edna went to bed until evening, then called a doctor, who found Rovena’s body and called police.
The neighbors told police that they heard a scream and checked to see if anything was wrong. “No, nothing is wrong,” came the reply.
Further investigation showed that instead of being a daughter as originally reported, Edna McCabe was a niece whom Rovena had adopted and that Rovena had died — not from the blows to the head — but from a heart attack due to the stress of the assault. Edna was found to be insane and committed to Mendocino State Hospital.
6624 Whitley Terrace, the wedding HQ of Josef von Sternberg, via Google Street View.
Josef von Sternberg marries his former secretary Annette McBride at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Hans Schiff, 6624 Whitley Terrace.
In the theaters: “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man” and “Captive Wild Woman.”