Category Archives: 1953

In Memoriam — Johnny Fox | Sword Swallower (1953 — 2017)

We were saddened to read an obituary in the New York Times this week about sword swallower Johnny Fox, who died of cancer in Maryland at the age of 64. We snapped this picture of Fox, about to swallow a … Continue reading

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Steve ‘Broken Nose’ Murphy Slays Them in the Movies

  Steve “Broken Nose” Murphy” in “Sherlock Jr.”       Some people succeed in films because of great notoriety, talent, or beauty. Others flourish because of unusual skill or looks, such as Steve “Broken Nose” Murphy. A stand out … Continue reading

Posted in 1953, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Sports | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Christmas on the Radio — ‘Fibber McGee and Molly’

A photo of Fibber McGee (Jim Jordan) and Molly (Marian Jordan) listed on EBay at $9.99. While we are twirling the radio dial looking for Christmas shows, here are some episodes from “Fibber McGee and Molly.” From 1941 (Dec. 16, … Continue reading

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‘I Took the Gun and Shot Him Once in the Leg, Just for Fun’

Maybe it was murder. Maybe it never happened at all. Was she telling the truth or was it all a lie? Early on the morning of Nov. 20, 1953, acting on a tip, LAPD Detectives John Olsen and P.R. Brooks … Continue reading

Posted in 1953, Art & Artists, Comics, Crime and Courts, Downtown, Homicide, LAPD, Main Street | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Barbara Graham Gets Death Sentence

Sept. 23, 1953: Barbara Graham, John A. Santo and Emmett Perkins are convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Mabel Monahan. The jury returned the verdict without a recommendation of life in prison. “Mrs. Graham didn’t bat an eye,” … Continue reading

Posted in 1953, Crime and Courts, Homicide | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Sex Talk in Pasadena Canceled Due to Lack of Interest

Sept. 12, 1953: Angry San Fernando Valley residents picket Lockheed’s plant in Van Nuys after a jet trainer crashed, killing Phyllis O’Kray, 16504 Chase St., Sepulveda. Lockheed executive Courtland S. Gross expressed regret over O’Kray’s death and noted that the … Continue reading

Posted in 1953, Aviation, Books and Authors, Crime and Courts, Film, Hollywood, San Fernando Valley | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Barbara Graham Defense Wins Delay After Prosecution Bombshell

Aug. 30, 1953: Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charles W. Fricke grants attorneys for Barbara Graham a slight delay in opening their defense after the prosecution closes with a “bombshell”: A transcript of a recorded conversation between Graham and … Continue reading

Posted in 1953, Art & Artists, Columnists, Comics, Crime and Courts, Film, Hollywood, Paul Coates | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Rocket Builder Steals Truckload of Equipment From Caltech

Aug. 22, 1953: Fred Frank Wildemuth kills his wife because he didn’t want her to catch carbon monoxide poisoning from him. “I, the Jury” in 3-D at the Paramount theaters in Hollywood and downtown. A brilliant — and unidentified — … Continue reading

Posted in 1953, Comics, Crime and Courts, Film, Hollywood, Homicide, Music, Suicide | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Man Held in Killing of Ex-Marine — Part 2

As strange as the tale of Michael Timothy Cavanaugh had been, the case became even more bizarre once he was arrested. After several days of denying that he knew ex-Marine Ralph Welch, even though he was driving Welch’s car and … Continue reading

Posted in 1953, 1956, Crime and Courts, Homicide | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Man Held in Killing of Ex-Marine

On the afternoon of July 23, 1953, Michael Timothy Cavanaugh was drinking beer at Thompson’s Cafe in Chula Vista. Earlier that year, he had himself committed to Patton State Hospital, claiming that he suffered “blackouts” in which he wrote fraudulent … Continue reading

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L.A. Welcomes Harbor Freeway Extension With Four-Block Traffic Jam

Aug. 8, 1953: An extension of the Harbor Freeway carrying traffic into downtown Los Angeles opens — and is jammed immediately. Traffic engineers say the backup was caused by the timing of the signals at 6th Street and Figueroa. Movie … Continue reading

Posted in 1953, African Americans, Comics, Film, Freeways, Hollywood, LAPD, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Mysterious Objects’ in Skies Over L.A.

Comics characters of the 1950s got to drive MGs! Edward Irving Foote was born June 29, 1861, in Michigan. Someone by that name attended the University of Michigan at Lansing, class of 1877-78, and was described as a “farmer, miner, … Continue reading

Posted in 1953, Art & Artists, Comics, Downtown, Homicide, LAPD, Obituaries, Suicide | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vice Cop Kills Robber in Botched Holdup at the Roost

June 26, 1953: A big, screamer headline in The Times. Glenn Elbert Kingsbury, shot in the chest by an LAPD vice officer, staggered backward into the Roost Cafe, which he had just robbed, and collapsed on the floor, moaning: “Oh … Continue reading

Posted in 1937, 1953, Crime and Courts, LAPD, Nightclubs | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo

Dick Powell admires his books, back in the days when all authors smoked pipes. I caught the 1952 film “The Bad and the Beautiful” the other night and was struck by this window display showing copies of “The Proud Land.”

Posted in 1952, 1953, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo, Photography | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Lugosi to Appear as Weird Scientist

        Feb. 17, 1953: This is how I got here. I started researching the Lionel Atwill sex scandal of 1941 and discovered that before his career was derailed, Atwill planned to produce a film of the novel … Continue reading

Posted in #gays and lesbians, 1953, Crime and Courts, Film, Hollywood | 1 Comment