May 23, 1947: Lloyd Osbourne Dies; Inspired Stepfather Robert Louis Stevenson to Write ‘Treasure Island’


May 23, 1947, L.A. Times

Note: This is an encore post from 2005 that originally appeared on the 1947project.

The May 23-24 papers are full of great, crazy stories. It’s hard to choose just one:

Is it Britain about to partition India, which got buried on an inside page?

The Nebraska picnic, or the goat that had quintuplets? You could be serious and talk about the cost of living being at an all-time high. But then again, you’ve got two Irish setters being served with summonses because their late master, Carleton R. Bainbridge, left most of his $30,000 estate for their support.

Maybe it’s film composer Franz Waxman being reviewed (positively) as a symphony conductor. Or J. Robert Oppenheimer giving a talk at Caltech.

Even the ads for crackpot religions are great.

The Rosicrucians, 940 S. Figueroa: “Hear the astonishing but scientific truth about dream states, intuition, telepathy, clairvoyance, psychometry and projections. Are psychic powers capable of development by all men and women? Hear facts—not theories—or speculation!”

Or psychic/seer Criswell, of “Plan Nine From Outer Space” fame, in his establishment at 7021 Hollywood Blvd., now the site of the Knitting Factory?

I especially like the story of William R. Jeffries, 56, marrying his stepmother, Marguerite, 49. And yes, those are the ages as reported in the paper; the house at 486 S. Oakland in Pasadena must have been quite a love nest. But the new bride could apparently handle herself. She told The Times: “All this publicity is distasteful—I haven’t anything to say.”

But my favorite is the brief obituary on Lloyd Osbourne, who passed away May 22 at a sanitarium in Glendale at the age of 79. When he was 12, Osbourne became sick and as he lay in bed, he asked his stepfather to tell him a story. His stepfather began a tale of adventure and pirates on the high seas.

Of course, since Osbourne’s stepfather was author Robert Louis Stevenson, he told quite a story. In fact, we know it today as “Treasure Island.”

Osbourne and Stevenson collaborated on several books, including the very peculiar comic novel “The Wrong Box,” the basis for an equally peculiar 1966 comedy starring Michael Caine.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Books and Authors, Obituaries and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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