Nov. 8, 1933: Los Angeles history is so rich that all you need to strike gold is to poke a stick in the ground, and today is a perfect example.
We have the story of Jack Bodin Sr., 41, who was estranged from his wife, and Bodin’s girlfriend, Barbara Muller, either 21 or 22 depending on news reports. Bodin, who was variously identified as a salesman, advertising executive and “cafe man” and Muller had a daughter, Audrey Louise Muller Bodin, on Aug. 1, 1932, but abandoned her in a downtown movie theater at 5th and Broadway on Oct. 3.
The couple apparently decided to commit suicide by booking passage on the steamer ship Yale, sailing from Los Angeles to San Diego and then jumping from the ship on its return to Los Angeles.
In The Theaters: “Footlight Parade” premieres at Warner Bros. Hollywood.
Then the story becomes complicated. Bodin’s body washed ashore near Newport Beach and an autopsy showed that he died of blows to the head rather than drowning. Muller’s body was never found.
And there was the matter of Muller’s will. Muller’s mother had left her a large sum of money – reported as $40,000 to $50,000 at the time – and shortly before the apparent suicide, Muller had written a will giving the money to Bodin’s teenage son.
Muller’s family contested the will and the matter was fought in court for several years. The last story I can find about the incident dates from 1936, when Audrey Louise was 4 and was being adopted.