The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: 1941

Army Clears Strikers at North American Aviation





  image  

  June 10, 1941, Comics  


  June 10, 1941, North American Strike  

June 10, 1941: Bill Henry files a color story on soldiers using rifles with bayonets to herd strikers away from the North American Aviation plant. Unfortunately, my new optical character recognition software can’t handle these old clips, so I have to post the images of the stories. Henry’s story is worth reading.

Also on the jump, Ethel Waters stars in “Cabin in the Sky.”
 
Jimmie Fidler says: On the newsstands this month is a magazine which features an astrological analysis of Cary Grant's present status and future prospects... The birthday used in preparing Grant's chart was 1909, a date given out in a studio publicity department biography. Cary's real birth year was 1904!

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North American Aviation Strike





  June 6, 1941, North American Aviation Strike  
  Photograph by the Los Angeles Times  

Labor activists picket the North American Aviation plant in a photo published June 6, 1941.


  April 17, 1941, Reds  

June 7, 1941, Industrial Freedom One of the first challenges in studying the 1941 North American Aviation strike is using The Times as source material.

The newspaper had been a vocal opponent of organized labor since the 19th century and became even more strident after the 1910 bombing of The Times Building by union activists. The motto “True Industrial Freedom” appeared on the nameplate for years and “TRVE INDVSTRIAL FREEDOM” is carved into the building.  

April 17, 1941, Reds Given its other pronouncements, I wouldn’t expect The Times editorial page to be impartial, but news stories ought to be a different matter. Here’s what I consider an example of dubious reporting. This April 17, 1941, Times story leads with the statement that a UAW contract proposed for North American Aviation workers would forbid "barring of Communist Party members."

Further down, the story quotes the precise wording of the contract, which is a far broader statement forbidding discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, political affiliations “or nativity of his parents or ancestors.”  Notice that it doesn’t mention anything about gender. In this era, of course, loyalty oaths were supposed to weed out subversives – but that’s another story. 

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'Hunchback Killer' Arrested, June 8, 1941




 
 
 
image 
 

  June 8, 1941, Hunchback Killer  

 

June 8, 1941: For some time, I have been coming across stories about Alfred Horace Wells in going through the 1941 clips -- “hunchback killer” is not a nickname that’s easy to forget. But I haven’t done anything on him until now because the story is strange and complicated. Here’s a hint: It was so lurid that during Wells’ trial, the courtroom was cleared of minors because it involved what The Times demurely described as “an unnatural relationship.” It’s not quite in Ma Duncan territory, but what is?


Jimmie Fidler says: If you are posted on Hollywood doings, you know that every studio is now staging an intense, high-pressure production drive.... Why all this rush? ... It looks to me as if the studios are concentrating production now with the intention of shutting down for three or four months next fall.
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Police Chief on His Way Out




 
 
  June 6, 1941, Hohmann  

  June 6, 1941, Comics  

June 6, 1941: Police Chief Arthur Hohmann and Deputy Chief C.B. “Jack” Horrall are about to trade jobs. 

Horrall will remain chief through World War II and into the postwar period, finally retiring during the Brenda Allen scandal – as did Assistant Chief Joe Reed. It should be emphasized that Horrall was chief during an especially difficult time in Los Angeles history. The LAPD lost hundreds of men to the armed forces and had to relax its hiring standards to get enough replacements. Afterward, the “war emergency” officers had to make way when the LAPD’s regular police returned to duty. Some WE officers (their serial numbers included the letters WE to indicate their special status) remained with the LAPD but many others lost their jobs.

At the same time, remember that under Chief James Davis, Horrall headed the Police Department’s “bum blockade” of 1936, in which LAPD officers were sworn into local departments to prevent Okies and other transients from coming into California during the Depression.  Horrall later headed the vice squad.


After all these years, 9 out of 10 Hollywoodites still pass Harold Lloyd without recognizing him, Jimmie Fidler says.
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Senator Demands Probe of Lewd 'Soundies'





  Oct. 21, 1941, Soundies  


July 2, 1941: Sam Coslow announces a deal with Mills Novelty Co. to produce 208 "soundies"  and plans to make 20 of them in the next month, directed by Josef Berne. The acts include Gale Page, Martha Tilton, Cliff Nazarro, Buddy Rogers and his orchestra, Mary Healy, the King's Men, Benny Rubin, Johnny Downs and the Duncan Sisters, The Times says.

Oct. 21, 1941: Sen. Burton K. Wheeler (D-Mont.) denounces soundies, saying that some of the films are "lewd and lascivious."

"I hope these pictures are not going to be shown in the camps to the soldier boys," Wheeler said. "Many of these young boys are now being subject to enough temptations in some of these camps as it is."

 

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Burbank Man Invents Death Ray!





  June 4, 1941, Death Ray  

  June 4, 1941, Comics  


June 4, 1941: I’ll admit I’m a sucker for stories about death rays. Evidently The Times’ editors were too since they put this item on Page 1. Promoter Kurt Van Zuyle credited L.E. Riley of Burbank as the inventor. It was a fake (surprise!) but before being caught, Van Zuyle got $10,000 from a government agent who was investigating the scheme.

There’s a picture of the infernal device on the jump! 

Jimmie Fidler says: Wotziz about Patti McCarty being very foolish because of frustrated love for Glenn Ford?

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Yankee Legend Lou Gehrig Dies at 37





  June 3, 1941, Lou Gehrig  

   June 4, 1941, Lou Gehrig  
  June 4, 1941, Lou Gehrig
June 4 1941, Lou Gehrig
 

J.T. Sheward, Oct. 30, 1894 une 3, 1941: Until he lapsed into a coma, New York Yankee first baseman Lou Gehrig, the “Iron Horse” of baseball, was sure he would win against the rare disease that was slowly killing him. The Yankees announced that his locker and his number – 4 – would never be used again. In 14 years, he had played in 2,130 regularly scheduled games without a miss. Then he took himself out of the lineup May 1, 1939.  He remained with the Yankees the rest of the season, but sat in the far corner of the dugout and occasionally limped to home plate to give the umpire the lineup. He never played again.

In the years that followed, Gehrig took treatments and worked for the New York City Parole Commission until a month before his death, when he decided to remain at home to conserve his strength. He spent his final days sitting in a chair by a window in his room, looking out at the street.

"I never knew a fellow who lived a cleaner life. He was a clean-living boy, a good baseball player, a great hustler. I think the boy hustled too much for his own good. He just wanted to win all the time. His death was a great loss to baseball."

-- Babe Ruth




 

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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, June 2, 1941




 
 
  June 2, 1941, Dolly Sister,  

  June 2, 1941, Comics  

June 2, 1941: The pajama-clad body of Hungarian-born danseuse Jenny Dolly, who with her sister Rosie was the toast of two continents two decades ago, was found dangling from a wrought-iron curtain rod in her luxurious Hollywood apartment, 1735 N. Wilcox Ave., The Times says. 

TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX AT A GLANCE: Granite-eyed gatemen relaxing into big grins as Jane Withers drives past, Jimmie Fidler says.
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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, June 1, 1941




 
 
  June 1, 1941, Iraq Conquered by British Troops  

  image June 1, 1941, Streetcar  
  June 1, 1941, Streetcar
June 1, 1941, Streetcar
 


  image  


June 1, 1941: LONDON, May 31. (AP)-- German airmen who went belatedly to Iraq to bolster the Axis-inspired war against Britain were reported fleeing the country tonight as Iraqi resistance collapsed. British imperial advance forces entered the disorderly capital of Bagdad.

Lee Shippey says the  argument in the Seymour house always begins in May: Should we turn off the furnace? 

Probably you've seen some of the new jukebox "soundies" and formed your own opinion of them. I've just previewed 24 at one sitting, all produced by composer Sam Coslow, and I'm convinced that big movie moguls, instead of regarding them with contempt, should give them special attention, Jimmie Fidler says.
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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, May 31, 1941





  May 31, 1941, Arthur Hohmann's Son Dies  

  May 31, 1941, Comics  

May 31, 1941 – Arthur Hohmann, the LAPD’s reform police chief, will step down in June, citing the deaths of his son and his mother. He was replaced by Clemence C.B. “Jack” Horrall, who served as chief during World War II and retired in 1949 during the Brenda Allen scandal.

Lee Shippey says: It is strange how masterminds disagree as to whether the president's speech last Tuesday means war. So I think I should clear up the matter for my readers.

The speech does not necessarily mean war. All it means is that we must fight or the Nazis must surrender. I'm not joking. I do not think it impossible that the Nazis will surrender.


Also on the jump:  The Times opposes gasoline conservation, Daylight Saving Time and other measures as the country moves toward  wartime stringency measures. Typically, The Times says that the real way to prepare for war is to forbid strikes by unions!

And yes, The Times’ editorial page featured a Bible quote every day for many years.

HOLLYWOOD AFTER DARK: Carole Lombard grinning apologetically at the Hollywood and Vine traffic cop as her car rolls too far into the intersection, Jimmie Fidler says.

Also From The Times’ Editorial Page:

Don’t Recall Mayor Frank Shaw, 1938
Don’t Change Immigration Quotas for Jewish Refugees Fleeing Hitler, 1938
We Don’t Need a Federal Anti-Lynching Law, 1938
U.S. Shouldn’t Recognize Red China, 1959
Times Endorses Nixon, 1960

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Memorial Day, 1941





  May 31, 1941, Memorial Day  
  May 31, 1941, Memorial Day
May 31, 1941, Memorial Day
 


  May 31, 1941, Spanish American War Veterans  
  May 31, 1941, Spanish American War  

  May 31, 1941, Civil War  

  May 31, 1941, Memorial Day  

Memorial Day, 1941: “The crowd rose to its feet in acclaim to two troops of Boy Scouts marching along behind their unit banners and the national ensign.

“The boys were all Japanese.

“But none carried themselves more proudly than these boys of Los Angeles Scout Troops 197 and 379.

“And who could say that he was a better American than 16-year-old Yoneo Nakashima, color-bearer of Troop 197?”
 
History will provide an ugly answer to that question in a few months.

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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, May 28, 1941





  May 28, 1941, President Declares Emergency  

  May 28, 1941, Comics  

May 28, 1941: LONDON, May 27 (AP) -- The 35,000-ton German battleship Bismarck, one of the newest and most powerful in the world, was smashed and sunk today by British warships and aerial bombers on the fifth morning of as coldly implacable a chase as sea warfare has ever known.

Jimmie Fidler says: Tucked away in a corner of the Los Angeles Times the other day was an item that left me cold with rage.... The item to which I refer digested down to this: "The Hollywood Guild may have to close its doors and cease aiding unfortunate members of the film industry because the drain of foreign charities has cut so deeply into the guild's income as to threaten its existence.”

FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! How can American-born actors and executives of the movie industry be so blind? How can they continue to pour thousands of dollars into foreign relief funds, meanwhile ignoring the pitiful cry of indigents right here at home?

Also on the jump: A map of the Bismarck’s demise by Times artist Charles Owens.

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