L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Drinking Guide — The Bronx Cocktail

Dec. 20, 1934, Holiday Cocktails

Dec. 20 1934, Holiday Drinks

Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

Dec. 20, 1934: In case you doubted me (but you wouldn’t, would you?), here’s a recipe for the Bronx Cocktail, from the Amsterdam Evening Recorder, courtesy of FultonHistory.com.

In case you plan to mix one up, a Bronx Cocktail is one part Italian vermouth, three parts brandy and a dash of orange bitters. Shake well!

Notice that there are also three variations of the Manhattan.

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Drinking Guide — The Brooklyn Cocktail

March 5, 1937, Brooklyn Cocktail

March 7, 1937, Brooklyn Cocktail

Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

Yes, the Manhattan cocktail once had competition from drinks named for the other boroughs. Here’s a recipe for the Brooklyn Cocktail, from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 7, 1937. The Brooklyn Cocktail as made by Brad Dewey consisted of

Two parts Jamaica rum
One part lime juice
Dash of grenadine

We won’t be toasting the new year with the Brooklyn Cocktail (we’re working) but if someone is brave enough to try one, let us know how it is.

And in case you are wondering, research shows that there was also a Bronx Cocktail. Evidently it, too, has fallen out of favor.

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Drinking Guide: The Harvey Wallbanger

Harvey Wallbagner

A vintage 1972 iron-on transfer of Harvey Wallbanger himself, on EBay for $12.

Note: This is a repost from 2013.

We have been looking at some historic drinks for this holiday season. To the millennials in the audience: This is what mom and dad used to drink (along with the Tequila Sunrise) when they went out in the 1970s.

Return with us now to the thrilling days of yesteryear:

1 ounce of vodka
4 ounces of orange juice
half an ounce of Galliano.

Poured over ice in a highball glass.

Cue Grand Funk Railroad’s “Gimme Shelter” or Carole King’s “It’s Too Late.”

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Drinking Guide: A Brief History of the Tom and Jerry


A recipe for the Tom and Jerry from the San Francisco Call, June 30, 1912.

Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

Over on Facebook, Christopher McPherson asked whether the Tom and Jerry was named for the MGM cartoon characters. I said I suspected the opposite was true, rather like Disney’s Chip ‘n’ Dale being named for Chippendale furniture.

All the old newspaper stories give credit for the drink to bartender Jerry Thomas, who according to one account was born in New Haven, Conn., in 1825 (or Watertown, N.Y., in 1830).

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Christmas 1966: No Bad News at the Tucson Citizen

Dec. 24, 1966, Tucson Citizen

I finally tracked down the front page from the Tucson Citizen for Dec. 24, 1966, in which it followed the tradition of no bad news on Page 1.

And a sample of the Citizen’s weather poem.

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Al Martinez, a Dying Boy and Some Peaches — A (Non) Christmas Story

Jim Romenesko

Note: This is an encore post from 2015.

Jim Romenesko, for those who aren’t in the news business, runs an essential blog that serves as a clearing house for information, gossip, bad headlines and assorted gaffes.

A Jan. 6 post dealt with former Times columnist Al Martinez, who died Monday, and the occasional columns Al wrote over the years about a dying boy who craved peaches.

John Russell of the Indianapolis Star wrote to Romenesko in hopes that some reader would verify Al’s story, saying: “After months of digging, I still can’t find any evidence of the original story, and too many questions to ignore.”

Russell elaborated on his skepticism in “Why I Have Trouble Believing the ‘Get the Kid His Peaches’ Christmas story,” noting that he had written to Al for help in finding the original.

We have some answers — and the story — with a not-so-gentle reminder for reporters: DON’T write from memory or bad things can happen. Use the clips. It’s what they are for.  Memory can compress time and erase crucial details, as we will see with Al’s story.

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Dec. 23, 1947: Baby Girl Abandoned at Downtown Restaurant With Christmas Card Pinned to Blanket

L.A. Times, 1947

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

The young mother asked the waitress at the cafe in the Subway Terminal Building to hold her baby for just a moment—and then she was gone.

Four-month-old Nancy Joyce Morris, with light blue eyes and blond hair, was wrapped in a purple quilt and a pink blanket to which her young mother had pinned a Christmas card: To Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lane, 1711 N. Alexandria, with a return address of C.H. Wagoner, 4256 Troost Ave., in North Hollywood. It was signed Bonnie.

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Los Angeles Celebrates Christmas, 1913

Dec. 25, 1913, Christmas in Los Angeles

Dec. 25, 1913, Christmas

Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

Dec. 25, 1913:
The Times carries a biblical passage across the nameplate (notice the artwork of the new and old Times buildings) and a Page 1 cartoon by Edmund Waller “Ted” Gale. “Cartoonist Gale” frequently drew a character known as Miss Los Angeles, but I don’t recall seeing “Mr. Wad” before. Gale was an institution at The Times for many years, but finally quit in a dispute and went to the Los Angeles Examiner.

One way Los Angeles celebrated Christmas 100 years ago was dinner at the Cafe Bristol, Spring and 4th streets.  The 50-cent luncheon deluxe would be $11.80 today.

Or one could take a refreshing, invigorating bath at Melrose Avenue and Gower Street, location of the Radium Sulphur Springs, which advertises: Drink the most radioactive natural curative mineral water.

And there’s a poem by Britain’s poet laureate, Robert Bridges, which you may recognize because John Denver turned it into a song, “Christmas Eve, 1913.”

Best wishes from the Los Angeles Daily Mirror.

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Dec. 25, 1947: The Times Christmas Poem

L.A. Times, 1947

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

The Times’ front-page Christmas and Easter poems are as forgotten today as their author, James M. Warnack. I’ll leave it to my theological betters to parse the significance of a Christmas poem that’s mostly about the crucifixion, but Warnack was just as contradictory as his work.

He called himself the Foothill Philosopher and was nicknamed around the office as “the Bishop” because of his angular features and long, white hair. An actor in his early life, he appeared in D.W. Griffith’s silent movies, portrayed a priest in the “Mission Play” and Judas in the first “Pilgrimage Play.”

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Dec. 24, 1907: Merry Christmas, Gen. Otis as Times Celebrates Record Year

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

Dec. 24, 1907
Los Angeles

Last-minute shopping, crowded post offices, trees decorated in hotel lobbies and toys given by Santa to the neediest children of the city; it was a Christmas season very much like today. And at Levy’s, 310 Times employees gathered to celebrate the most prosperous year in the newspaper’s history.

Of course, as The Times noted, not everyone could attend because “the news must needs be collected and the wheels kept going.”

Between courses of the Christmas dinner, speakers made humorous comments, following the motto: “Spare not the gaff, but live to laugh.”

Harry Chandler received a set of doll triplets and Gen. Otis was presented with a tin sword. The employees also put together a comic eight-page paper, “The Timeslet,” full of jokes, satirical ads and cartoons. Among the most notable speakers was George W. Burton, “known around the office as ‘The Bishop,’ who gave “a jolly and entertaining talk, full of humorous thrusts at the managing editor and others.”


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Dec. 14, 1907: L.A. Schools Ban Mention of Christ at Christmas (Uh-Oh)

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

Dec. 14, 1907
Los Angeles

The madman who calls himself the superintendent of the Los Angeles schools has touched off an absolute firestorm of anger by ordering teachers not to mention Christ during Christmas pageants or other festivities.

“The town was agog with it yesterday,” The Times said. “It was the talk among both ministers and laymen of the 200 and more churches in Los Angeles.”

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Posted in 1907, Education, Music, Religion | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Dec. 28, 2019, The Horn Blows at Midnight
This week’s mystery movie was the 1945 Warner Bros. film “The Horn Blows at Midnight” with Jack Benny, Alexis Smith, Dolores Moran, Allyn Joslyn, Reginald Gardiner, Guy Kibbee, John Alexander, Franklin Pangborn, Margaret Dumont, “Bobby” Blake, Ethel Griffies, Paul Harvey, Mike Mazurki and Truman Bradley.

Screenplay by Sam Hellman and James V. Kern, from an idea by Aubrey Wisberg. Photography by Sid Hickox, edited by Irene Morra, dialogue director Hugh Cummings, art direction by Hugh Reticker, sound by Stanley Jones, special effects by Lawrence Butler. Set decorations by Clarence Steensen, gowns by Milo Anderson, makeup by Perc Westmore, orchestral arrangements by Leonid Raab, musical direction by Leo F. Forbstein.

Music by Franz Waxman, produced by Mark Hellinger, directed by Raoul Walsh.

“The Horn Blows at Midnight” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.

Jack Benny was responsible for the universal belief that “The Horn Blows at Midnight” was a flop. It made money.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Christmas House Offers Simple Family Joys of Holiday Season

Christmas House
The Christmas House in Boyle Heights, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Long before the inauguration of Instagram and trying to win social media by posting the most elaborate or flashy photo, George G. Skinner designed a homespun holiday light installation in the late 1930s meant as a simple opportunity to enjoy happy times and pleasures with friends and family. A popular holiday destination in Los Angeles similar to Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena, the Christmas House at 919 S. Mathews St. perhaps inspired later fancy holiday light displays throughout Southern California.

Born in Canada in 1912, George Skinner found himself in Los Angeles when his father Albert abandoned the family and took his son with him to sunny Southern California in 1920. The teenager developed a strong bond with his father, enjoying camping and beach trips. Though he yearned for his family, he remained with his dad, who told George that the warm weather better suited his health.

Mary Mallory’s “Living With Grace” is now on sale.

“Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays” by Karie Bible and Mary Mallory is available at Amazon and at local bookstores.

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Posted in 1938, Architecture, Film, Fire Department, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Nuestro Pueblo | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Dahlia: Fox News Unearths Leslie Dillon Fiasco in the Black Dahlia Case


And Fox News gets it wrong on the Black Dahlia case in this story by Stephanie Nolasco.

Let’s go over this once more.

The so-called Gangster Squad conducted a rogue, off-the-books and unsanctioned investigation of the Black Dahlia case that infringed on the LAPD Homicide Division’s inquiry into the killing of Elizabeth Short. The Gangster Squad’s rogue operation was led by Dr. Joseph Paul De River under the theory that Leslie Dillon had a split personality and – under this split personality – killed Elizabeth Short.

The Gangster Squad’s unauthorized interference in the case and the resulting Leslie Dillon fiasco triggered a grand jury investigation.

Dillon was cleared when it was established – after a long, thorough investigation – that he was in San Francisco at the time of the killing.

End of story.

Five Reasons Leslie Dillon Didn’t Kill Elizabeth Short

The Black Dahlia: Leslie Dillon, Paul De River and the LAPD: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, books, Cold Cases, Homicide | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday Shopping Guide

Down These Mean Streets

Note: This is an encore post from 2017.

Virtually everyone who writes about Raymond Chandler cites this book by Philip Durham, but very few people seem to have read it.

Writing in 1963, four years after Chandler’s death, Durham produced a biography of Chandler as a writer rather than examining the whole fabric of his life. Durham also made what is probably the earliest systematic analysis of Chandler’s output, tracing Chandler’s extensive self-borrowing from earlier short stories into his novels. It’s a relatively brief book that includes a checklist of Chandler’s writing, a selected list of reviews and a bibliography.

We recently found a nice copy on EBay and thought we should add it to our holiday shopping suggestions. Bookfinder (and really that is the best way to locate a vintage book) lists quite a few copies, starting with a fairly low price for a less than perfect book up to ridiculously overpriced.

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday Shopping Guide


Note: This is an encore post from 2014.

In February, I ran a series of posts by James Curtis about producer David Lewis. This isn’t a new book but I found it remarkably insightful. “The Creative Producer” can be found via Bookfinder.com, with copies starting as low as $19.99 in somewhat bedraggled condition.

James Curtis: L.A. Voices – David Lewis, Part 1
James Curtis: L.A. Voices – David Lewis, Part 2
James Curtis: L.A. Voices – David Lewis, Part 3

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday Shopping Guide

Los Angeles Book.

Note: This is an encore post from 2014.

“The Los Angeles Book,” with text by Lee Shippey and photos by Max Yavno is one of my favorite books on Los Angeles – but only for Yavno’s photographs. The text is forgettable and, in fact, Yavno said he paid no attention to it when he took his pictures. There are many famous images here, including Muscle Beach, the opening of “The Heiress” at the Carthay Circle Theatre (RIP), etc. Copies can be located on Bookfinder.com starting at $17.

Here’s my 2011 post on “The Los Angeles Book.”

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday Shopping Guide

“Angel’s Flight” by Leo Politi.

Note: This is an encore post from 2014.

Another of my favorite books about Los Angeles is Leo Politi’s “Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Reminiscences of Bygone Days,” published in 1964. Copies are listed on Bookfinder in the $30-$40 range. This painting shows Angels Flight as it was in the 1930s and ‘40s, when it was next to the 3rd Street Tunnel. It was moved to its current location, across from Grand Central Market, as part of a 1980s redevelopment project after years of being in storage.

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Movieland Mystery Bonus Photo

Library of Congress Mystery Woman

Tucson Barbara sends along this mystery photo, part of gallery of unidentified people at the Library of Congress. You may recall a post about another woman on the list that appeared in 2018. Any ideas?

Barbara says: It’s not Barbara Parkins, Pam Dawber, Marlo Thomas, Stephanie Zimbalist, Sherry Jackson, Linda Harrison, Nancy Roth, Shelley Fabares, Carla Borelli, Bonnie Bedelia, Diana Canova (despite what one website says), Lucie Arnaz, Sigourney Weaver, Michele Carey, Stefanie Powers, Jeanne Rainer, Jane Merrow, Tina Sinatra, Dana Delany, Lynn Loring, Evie Sands, Sheila Larken, Katharine Ross, Kim Darby, Susan Saint James, Sherry Bain, Ann Prentiss, Gail Hire, Gloria Dell, Linda Marsh, Myrna Fahey, Melinda Fee, Brenda Scott, Juanin Clay, Annabelle Garth, Lori Martin, Joan Prather, Lisa James, Lynn McRee, or Linda Peck.

Posted in Film, Mystery Photo | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Beyond Tomorrow
This week’s mystery movie was the 1940 film “Beyond Tomorrow” with Charles Winninger, Richard Carlson, Maria Ouspenskaya, Jean Parker, Helen Vinson, C. Aubrey Smith, Harry Carey, Alex Melesh, Rod La Rocque, J. Anthony Hughes, Robert Homans, Virginia McMullen, James Bush and William Bakewell.

Screenplay by Adele Comandini, associate producer; original story by Mildred Cram and Adele Comandini.

Music by Frank Tours, production manager Joseph H. Nadel, edited by Otto Ludwig. Song “It’s Raining Dreams” by Harold Spina and Charles Newman, art direction by Stephen Goosson, photography by Lester White, sound by William Wilmarth.

Interior decorations by Babs Johnstone, assistant director Robert Stillman, casting director Jack Murton, gowns by Edwina, publicity by Hal Hall, chief electrician James Potevin, special effects by Ned Mann and Jack Cosgrove, montage by Howard Anderson.

Produced by Lee Garmes. Directed by A. Edward Sutherland.

“Beyond Tomorrow” has lapsed into public domain and prints are available from a number of vendors, including TCM and Amazon (which even has a colorized version!), as well as online at Archive.org and YouTube. It will also air on TCM on Dec. 24.
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Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments