May 15, 1907: Police Raid Ladies-Only Gambling Parlor

Los Angeles
May 15, 1907

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

Curious neighbors noticed recently that a large number of well-dressed women have been taking the streetcar to the end of the line at 54th Street and South Central Avenue while still others are arriving in automobiles. Upon investigation, Patrolmen Walsh and Murphy discovered that the women are gambling on horse races at a bookie joint set up next to the Ascot Park billiard parlor in a vacant lot surrounded by a high board fence.

Owners J.W. Carr and W.J. Murphy restricted the clientele to women, so police had a difficult time obtaining evidence, but finally officers raided the place and found 50 stylishly dressed women playing the ponies.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights — Marion Davies’ Santa Monica Beachside Cottage

Marion Davies Beach House

Marion Davies’ beach house, courtesy of Mary Mallory.

Note: This is an encore post from 2014.

Newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst inherited and erected lavish estates for himself around California like Wyntoon, his Northern California retreat, and Hearst Castle, his main residence on the Central Coast, but in 1926 he constructed a mammoth Georgian Colonial home on Santa Monica’s Gold Coast as a present for his companion, Marion Davies. A Hollywood version of a Newport Beach, Rhode Island, “cottage,” Davies’ mansion dwarfed those of fellow film industry notables like Douglas Fairbanks, Harold Lloyd, Harry Warner, and Constance and Norma Talmadge. Davies’ beach house represents the perfect combination of Hollywood excess and elegant architecture.

Marion Davies’ life was never the same after meeting business magnate Hearst. A Ziegfeld Follies girl, Davies’ charming, endearing personality attracted the much older, shyer man. By 1918, the pair were a twosome, though Hearst was married to Millicent, a former showgirl herself. The couple moved permanently to California in the mid-1920s to further Davies’ film career at MGM, and to distance themselves from his wife.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywoodland: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

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1947: When History Shouldn’t Be Segregated

Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and is one of my first comments on the 1947project blog, begun by Kim Cooper and Nathan Marsak. At that point, the Sentinel was not online.

Where are the black people?

I realize your project is devoted to savoring the “found objects” of history, so I went down to the city archives at Piper Tech and pulled the LAPD annual report for 1947.

Here’s a few numbers:

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

May 19, 2018, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1932 Paramount picture “Million Dollar Legs,” with Jack Oakie, W.C. Fields, Andy Clyde, Lyda Roberti, Susan Fleming, Ben Turpin, Hugh Herbert, George Barbier and Dickie Moore. By Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Henry Myers, photographed by Arthur Todd. Directed by Edward Cline.

“Million Dollar Legs” is available on DVD from TCM.

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Black Dahlia: ‘It Was Him’ and Edward Wayne Edwards — No Way

It Was Him

Before you watch Episode 5 of “It Was Him,” (airing Monday at 9 p.m. on Paramount Net), which attempts to link Edward Wayne Edwards to the Black Dahlia case…

Keep in mind: Edward Wayne Edwards was born June 14, 1933.

Elizabeth Short was killed Jan. 15, 1947.

Which means Edward Wayne Edwards was 13 years, 7 months and 2 days old when he supposedly killed her. It also means he was 12 years, 6 months and 25 days old when he supposedly killed Suzanne Degnan in Chicago in 1946.


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May 12, 1947: Laura Trelstad Raped, Strangled, Left in Long Beach Oil Field

Note: This is one of my first posts – as a comment – on the 1947Project. An encore from 2005.

This is a reply to Mother of Three Choked to Death; Body Flung in Signal Hill Oil Field.

This is, of course, one of the many killings attributed by “Black Dahlia Avenger” to George “Evil Genius” Hodel, who in addition to committing every unsolved murder in Los Angeles (with stops in Chicago, Cleveland and elsewhere) from 1900 to 1975, designed the 1958 Edsel, developed New Coke and treated Rin-Tin-Tin for a bad case of STD from Lassie. He also introduced John Lennon to Yoko Ono, gave Bob Dylan his first electric guitar and taught Nancy Ling Perry (then a Barry Goldwater Republican) to play blackjack.

Note the incredible similarities between the Black Dahlia and Trelstad cases:

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History Deals a Deadly Hand

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

May 12, 1907

We’ve been having fun all week with the Shriners, parading around in their costumes, engaging in peculiar rites and pondering silly questions like “What Makes the Wildcat Wild?” Then in a moment, a train wreck at Honda north of Point Conception transforms everything.

The engineer, Fred Champlain, ran three-quarters of a mile to the nearest ranch house for help even though he had a broken arm from being throw 40 feet from the wreck.

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Black L.A. 1947: Thomas R. LeBlanc, Influential Figure in Los Angeles Music

May 8, 1947, LeBlanc's Creole Band

LeBlanc’s Creole Band in an undated photo, via the Sentinel.

May 8, 1947: I went down the research rabbit hole on the story of Thomas R. LeBlanc, who was featured in the Sentinel. This is a story that deserves more time than I have at the moment, but it’s also too good to ignore. So here’s what I have:

On May 1 and May 8, the paper published the first two parts of a three-part series on LeBlanc by Wendell Green, the paper’s theatrical editor, but I cannot locate the final installment.

Bette Yarbrough Cox’s “Central Avenue – Its Rise and Fall” includes LeBlanc among the founders of Local 747, the black chapter of the musicians union in Los Angeles (Local 47), but not much more than that. He isn’t mentioned again in the Sentinel. He’s mentioned once in passing in the Los Angeles Times (a Sept. 24, 1929, article says he conducted the Colored Elks Band) and he can’t be found in the California Digital Newspaper Collection.

Although the Sentinel says he was born in New Orleans in 1871, I can only find a Thomas Rosemon LeBlanc who was born in Louisiana on Aug. 2, 1875, according to his World War I draft registration. According to census records and voter registration, he lived at 1549 E. 21st St. from about 1930 to about 1954.

He may or may not be the Thomas R. LeBlanc who listed in the California Death Index as being born in Louisiana on Oct. 2, 1888, and dying in Pasadena on Sept. 24, 1961.

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May 10, 1907: A Murderous Sweep

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

All K. Tanimura wanted to do was clean the carpets at the Hotel Angelus at 407-411 S. Spring St. The sweeper, however, was broken so he sought help from the hotel’s carpenter, S.E. Thomas.

Thomas was busy and told Tanimura (also rendered in The Times as Taki Mura and Tani Mura) to use another one instead. The men argued and began fighting.

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Black L.A. 1947: John Thomas Trains at Main Street Gym for Bout With Enrique Bolanos at Wrigley Field

John Thomas, 1947
May 8, 1947: John Thomas begins training at the Main Street Gym for the California State lightweight championship match at Wrigley Field on June 3.

Before being drafted into the Army, Thomas was an impressive young fighter and was scheduled for a lightweight championship bout with Juan Zurita when he went into the service.

Thomas was the 5-6 favorite for the 1947 match, but Enrique Bolanos scored a TKO in the seventh round, the first knockout of Thomas’ career. In a rematch Sept. 30, 1947, at the Olympic, Bolanos knocked out Thomas in the fourth round. It was Thomas’ last fight.

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May 9, 1907: Shriners Present a Colorful Array

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

What, you might ask yourself, did Shriners do before the advent of those little cars and Harley-Davidson Electra Glides? The elaborately costumed men staged precision, close-order drills accompanied by marching bands.

The effect, according to The Times, was stunning, inspiring the unidentified author to summon forth his (or possibly her) own gaudiest prose.

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Black L.A., 1947: Racial Tensions at Fremont High Boost Homeowners’ Efforts to Keep Neighborhood White

March 20, 1947, Fremont High
March 1947: Students who walked out of classes at Fremont High School to protest the presence of six African American students stand next to a figure labeled “No Negroes” hung from a lamp post at 77th and San Pedro streets.

77th and San Pedro
San Pedro and 77th streets via Google Street View.

March 20, 1947, Fremont High
A figure reading “No Negroes Wanted” hangs from a building near Fremont High.



May 8, 1947: With a background of racial tensions at Fremont High, the Sentinel reports on a meeting at 416 E. 60th St. seeking ways to keep the neighborhood white.

In March, the Sentinel reported: “The rowdies congregated shortly before school opened and attempted to persuade other students to join them. With good-natured bantering, however, the bulk of the students braved the provocations and jeers of the demonstrators and refused to have any part in the disgraceful affair….

“One of the colored students told a Sentinel reporter that a large number of the white youngsters who were attending classes came up to her and to the other Negroes and apologized for the insulting actions of the hoodlum elements.”

After school, teachers accompanied the black students to their homes to make sure they weren’t attacked, the Sentinel said.


As shown on a Google map, the area affected by the attempt to fight integration was bounded by Main Street, Slauson Avenue, Long Beach Boulevard and Manchester Avenue, the Sentinel said.

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Kissing, the Old-Fashioned Way

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 23rd San Francisco Silent Film Festival Salutes World Cinema


sfsff_Man Who Laughs.AGILE
“The Man Who Laughs” will screen May 30 at the Castro Theatre as part of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Image courtesy of the SFSFF.

Bigger and better than ever, the 23rd Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival extends an extra day this year to celebrate new restorations as well as the best of world cinema. Covering five days from May 30 through June 3, 2018, and held at the elegant Castro Theatre, the festival features a variety of wonderful live accompaniment giving voice to the films. Renowned historian Kevin Brownlow will be honored on his birthday and respected historians and author David Stenn and preservationist Serge Bromberg will introduce programs.

This year’s festival introduces a wide variety of films long unavailable or incomplete. One of the most intriguing films screening at this year’s festival is newly discovered footage of post-1906 earthquake San Francisco shot by the Miles Brothers, replicating footage they shot just before the great quake for the film “A Trip Down Market Street.” Funded by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and preserved by Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum historian David Kiehn, the short reveals the city’s devastation by quake and fire. The newly restored Harry Carey film “Soft Shoes” reveals the story of small town sheriff Pat Halahan who inherits a large sum and comes to San Francisco to collect, but finds himself fighting crime, courting a girl, and saving the day. Film restoration was funded by a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation and additional funding by the SFSFF Film Preservation Fund.

An all-festival pass is $300, $270 for members.

Individual tickets are also available.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

May 12, 2018, Jolly Fellows
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1934 Soviet film “Jolly Fellows,” also known as “Moscow Laughs.” I chose it because it was shown last Sunday at the George Eastman Museum as part of its Nitrate Picture Show.

“Jolly Fellows” was directed by Grigoriy Aleksandrov, with Leonid Utyosov, Lyubov Orlova, Mariya Strelkova, Elena Tyapkina, Fyodor Kurikhin, Arnold Arnold, Robert Erdman,  Marya Ivanovna, and Emmanuil Geller.

It’s on YouTube.

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May 8, 1947: Mixed Marriage Was Illegal, Louisiana Court Rules, Ordering Woman to Vacate Home for New Owner

May 8, 1947, Girl Wins Bike

Daisy Lee Wade, 14, shows off a bike she won in a contest to name a bicycle. Her winning entry: A Master Chaser.

Court voids mixed marriage

May 8, 1947: Tony Rice and Azelia Barthelmy (sometimes Berthlemy) were married by the Catholic Church of St. Charles Parish, La., on Jan. 8, 1914. They had seven children before he deserted her in 1931.

The couple bought a home in 1919 and Azelia remained there for 28 years.  On Feb. 28, 1937, she declared that the property on Lot 5 of the Gilbert Darensbourg’s Place at Killona, St. Charles Parish was “a family home.” But on Oct. 7, 1946, Tony sold the property to Helen Ryan.

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May 7, 1907: A Poem for La Fiesta de los Flores

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

John Steven McGroarty, The Times columnist and staff poet, offered this tribute to the annual La Fiesta de los Flores, which coincided with the national Shriners convention.

The fiesta featured four parades of vehicles decorated with electric lights. The Times described one of them as “the first presentation of the electrical Turkish and Moorish pageant. Magnificent floats, escorted by 15,000 Shriners, including the imperial officers, the Arab and Bedouin patrols.”

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May 4-6, 1907: Barney Oldfield’s Green Dragon Blazes Through Los Angeles

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

What is it about Angelenos that as soon as you put them behind the wheel of a car, they want to see how fast it will go?

But it’s true. Great-grandpa was, in all likelihood, a speed demon and the old touring cars and horseless carriages that sputter down the street once a year in our Fourth of July parades seeming like frail survivors of the past were subjected to incredible punishment in what has to be the prenatal era of motor sports.

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May 5, 1907: The Shriners Ban Water Except for Bathing

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

Singing loud praises to Allah that strike a curious note in 2006, the special train of Shriners is flying across the Nevada desert brimming with Freemasons and their families pondering the ancient mystery: “What Makes the Wildcat Wild?”

The official communique from the Imperial Potentate reads:

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May 4, 1907: Author’s Hardest Sentence — 4 Months in Jail Over ‘Research’

Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

In grappling with a novel about life in prison, writer Ernest Filer of Chicago decided that he should experience imprisonment for himself , thus he hatched the idea of breaking a window so he would be sent to jail.

He selected a small pane of glass at a cigar store and heaved a rock through it, assuming that he would be let off with a reprimand, a day or so in jail and an order to pay the cost of replacement.
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