Hazel Glab’s mug shot.
Note: This is an encore post from 2015.
This story arises from Linda Hammonds asking for further information regarding a 1920s Spanish home that sits at 12744 Ventura Blvd. on the Facebook page SoCal Historic Architecture. While I found virtually no information on the house itself, the story about what happened there proves that truth is stranger than fiction.
Pretty, blonde Hazel Belford was born in Oklahoma circa 1900, becoming orphaned at the age of 4. Her early life was full of adventure: friends with cowboys and Indians on the plains, and befriended by Al Jennings, bank robber. She dreamed of fame and fortune for herself, which many felt possible, with her delicate frame and long blonde hair.
“Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays” by Karie Bible and Mary Mallory is now available at Amazon and at local bookstores.
The Glab case, Oakland Tribune June 20, 1928.
At a young age, she married salesman Mr. Vendig, but soon divorced him after moving to Los Angeles to seek glory in the film industry. Never becoming a star, Hazel landed only a few extra parts, She returned to Oklahoma in style. Miss Belford met and quickly married cab driver Fred Garland. Life as a boring cabbie’s wife wasn’t all it seemed to ambitious Ms. Belford, and she accused another young girl of theft. Hazel divorced him as well and moved to Chicago for plastic surgery in her search of excitement and adventure as a flamboyant flapper.
Ms. Belford soon discovered it all right, occasionally indulging in the bootlegging trade, especially after meeting a wealthy Cicero, Illinois druggist and reported rum runner by the name of John Glab in 1925. He earned huge sums on the side by selling alcohol for “medicinal purposes” to many of his clients. The druggist and Belford enjoyed each other’s company for a short time, before Hazel once again returned to bright lights, big city Hollywood. Though seeming to land few parts, Hazel Belford dressed stylishly and walked around in high heels that clicked as she pounded the pavement. Glab soon immigrated to the city, joining her to reside in the same structure before tiring of Southern California and eventually returned East.
Moving to a different location, Miss Belford lived in another boarding house with former Los Angeles cop W. D. McIntyre after a passionate affair. In January 1927, Belford was accused of shooting and wounding McIntyre in the cheek when he returned to the establishment in a drunken state, threatening and insulting her. Miss Belford pled self-defense, with the police soon dropping charges against her. Hazel happily returned to the frantic life of a madcap flapper.
Hazel Glab is questioned and booked, Oakland Tribune, June 21, 1928.
Missing her terribly, John Glab moved to Reno, Nevada, in order to gain a quickie divorce from his first wife, Martha. Upon gaining his freedom, Glab and Hazel married just five months later, setting up residence in the City of Angels. Glab purchased a large but elegant Spanish home at 12744 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, a luxurious love nest for the supposedly happy couple. Leaving his gangster friends behind, John Glab “retired” from his druggist duties at the age of 36, spending his time playing cards and enjoying splurging on his young wife.
Unfortunately, the Glabs’ endured a stormy relationship, with the two engaging in frequent arguments over the use of money, which was observed and overheard by many. They appeared to have little in common, with the druggist more serious and somber and Hazel Glab the life of the party.
On the night of June 18, 1928, Hazel and her niece, 17-year-old Ethyl Kaser, were playing cards with Mr. Glab, while listening to the radio. Hazel finished her favorite cigarettes, asking her husband if he could run to the store and buy her favorite brand of cigarettes.
Mr. Glab walked out to the parked car a little after 9 p.m. to drive to the local supermarket. Neighbors heard two sharp reports, rushing outside to discover the source of the noise.The June 19, 1928 Van Nuys News reported that Tom Harris of 4010 Fairway Drive heard shots, looked outside his window and noticed Glab lying on the ground beside the opened door of his car.
Mrs. J. Goodrich heard the shot and Glab’s call for help. Running to the window, she noticed “a woman in a light dress run from the parked car to the Glab house.” She heard clicking noises running away from the scene of the crime.
Goodrich and Harris called police, ran over and forcefully knocked on the Glab door to ask if everyone was OK. Both Hazel Glab and Miss Kaser claimed they heard nothing over the din of the blaring radio. At the same time, Mrs. Glab wore a light tan dress, with her blonde hair tied in a long bob.
An ambulance rushed John Glab to the Van Nuys Receiving Hospital, as he stammered “Mona” to emergency workers in his semi-conscious state. Though police sped to his side, Glab fell into a coma and died on the operating table before revealing the name of his killer. Dr. O. F. Twomey stated that Glab’s death was due to an internal hemorrhage in his right chest.
Million-Dollar Murder Mystery in the Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 2, 1928.
The September 2, 1928, Philadelphia Inquirer stated that police discovered interesting information after interviewing members of the household. Mrs. Esther Wilson, the maid, and her husband, M. A. Wilson, the gardener, informed investigators that the couple often engaged in violent quarrels, with young Glab threatening to kill her husband for not spending enough money on her. The neighbors mentioned hearing shots and seeing a woman run away from the scene of the crime. Detectives also discovered that Glab hired a private dick to shadow his wife just days before his death, after feeling threatened by both her and ex-cop McIntyre, who did possess an alibi.
Detectives W. G. Marr and F. A. Murphy and Sgt. C. C. Johnson searched the house and discovered a .38 caliber revolver under the pillow in Wilson’s room, freshly cleaned and loaded, along with a British pistol in a drawer. Officers quickly arrested both Mrs. Glab and her niece as well as the 27-year-old chauffeur Merritt Wilson as they searched for the murder weapon and clews to the motive. Grilled for hours at the Van Nuys Police Station, the three were eventually transported downtown, where none would talk.
The coroner’s inquest began on June 20, with the Oakland Tribune reporting that Hazel Glab dissolved into hysterics upon first being grilled by police, but when she saw her late husband’s body outside the hearing room, she remained unmoved and unfeeling. She and the others were cleared of his death on June 26, 1928, after the murder charges were dropped for lack of evidence, since the police lacked the murder weapon. The case faded into the “limbo of unsolved mysteries,” as a later article in the LA Times declared on June 21, 1931.
The Freeport Daily Review on June 27, 1928 called her a former extra girl and recorded her statement after the hearing. “I knew we would be freed without having to stand trial.” Giving a grand performance, she somewhat hysterically and triumphantly said, “The charge was ridiculous in the first place. I had no reason to kill my husband.”
Hazel was desperate for her husband’s supposed wealth, thought to run into the millions, battling in court to fight against her husband’s will which left everything to his first wife Margaret and their eight-year-old daughter. Her attorney Louis G. Campbell claimed that $15,000 in bonds and other securities were missing a month later as they probed John Glab’s assets, finding only $10,000 so far. The Philadelphia Inquirer on September 2, 1928 called the 29-year-old the “beautiful, child-like, closemouthed little wife” looking only what was rightly due her.
In February 1930, Los Angeles police reopened the case into John Glab’s death, after arresting Russell Frank as a material witness. They staged a reenactment of the murder at the house, attempting to nail down details and witnesses as they continued to search for the murder weapon. Neighbors once again testified to hearing gunshots, acknowledged by the niece but still denied by Hazel. After further investigation came up empty, police again dropped the case.
Needing cash, Hazel brought suit against John Glab’s estate on April 25, 1930 in Chicago federal court, alleging relatives and others with hiding half of his $500,000 estate, thereby reducing her share. There is no follow up to this article, but it appears she failed to prevail in this item.
While Hazel claimed to desire fame as an actress, only notoriety appeared to follow her. She received a black eye on December 25, 1929 in a brawl at an apartment located at 1348 Ingraham Street and continued out on the street, where Herbert Franzelle beat her with the butt of a pistol. Upset with Franzelle, Glab attempted to shoot him and cried out, “I’ve killed one man and I’m about to kill another!” After an off-duty officer at the party disarmed her, she ran and took a revolver hidden under a cushion before this too was pulled from her hand. She threw her fur coat out the window and stood nude except for stockings and shoes.
On October 20, 1930, a free-for-all fight broke out at 12744 Ventura Blvd. at an all-night party when uninvited guests showed up and began throwing bottles, but no one pressed charges, per the Van Nuys newspaper. Later, on June 20, 1931, Mrs. Glab, under the alias Sue Bell, earned a black eye when trying to defend her friend Mrs. Ayers from the the blows of her husband.
By 1930, Hazel was forced to sell the luxuriously furnished Spanish bungalow above Ventura Boulevard at auction, with a November 1, 1930 advertisement noting that furnishings and furniture would be sold. “Magnificent furnishings” included Persian and Chinese Oriental rugs including one costing over $7,200. Elegant walnut case piano, Renaissance walnut living room suite, a nine-piece carved Teak bedroom suite, statues, and bronzes were among the items to be sold.
Hazel Glab disappeared from the scene until tragedy once again brought her name into newspaper headlines in 1935.
To be continued…..