The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: 1942

Found on EBay – Los Angeles Examiner

Hearst Marksmanship Trophy

A rather elaborate (OK, expensive and ugly) Citizen Marksmanship Competition lamp/trophy sponsored by the Los Angeles Examiner has been listed on EBay. Bidding on the trophy begins at $2,450.
1942_0109_marksmanship

"These charming Milwaukee girls were the first all-woman team to enroll in the citizen's rifle instruction course now being sponsored by the Wisconsin Rifle association and the Milwaukee Sentinel in conjunction with the William Randolph Hearst Citizen's Marksmanship contests,” from the Milwaukee Sentinel, Jan. 9, 1942.

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 7





  Feb. 26, 1942, Searchlights  

  Feb. 26, 1942, Copy Negative  

These days, many of The Times photos and negatives are held at UCLA. Here’s one of two negatives that Scott Harrison of our photo department got from the archives. As I said at the beginning, the searchlight photo has been heavily retouched, but it is authentic to some extent.

ALSO

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 1

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 2


Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 3

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 4

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 5

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 6

Another Good Story Ruined: The Battle of Los Angeles

 

Continue reading »

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 6





  Feb. 26, 1942, Searchlights  

  July 8, 1947, Flying Disk  

July 8, 1947: The first links between the searchlight photo, the Battle of Los Angeles and flying saucers seem to have emerged in the late 1940s.  A Times editorial dismissing UFOs compared them to the mystery object targeted during the 1942 air raid. “…antiaircraft bursts caught in searchlight beams were magnified into 27 twin-engined Japanese bombers, majestically flying in formation," The Times said. 

In 1952, Times columnist Bill Henry  referred to "the Battle of Los Angeles of 1942 in which something resembling a flying saucer -- it was really an errant weather balloon -- touched off the gosh-durndest artillery barrage that our community has witnessed before or since."
 
Today, an Internet search reveals a vast number of websites devoted to the searchlight photo and UFOs.

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 1

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 2


Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 3

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 4

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 5

Another Good Story Ruined: The Battle of Los Angeles

Continue reading »

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 5 [Updated]





  Feb. 25, 1962. Battle of L.A.  

[Update: The Times published this photo with a story about the Battle of Los Angeles, but the photo was actually taken another time and used in error, according to Scott Harrison, who researched it for The Times'  Framework blog.] 

  Feb. 25, 1962  

Feb. 25, 1962: As the years passed, the Battle of Los Angeles became a local curiosity. For the 20th anniversary, The Times attempted to unravel the incident, but only uncovered confusion and chaos.

Quoting a military report, The Times said: “At 3:06 a.m., an object resembling a balloon was sighted over Santa Monica and four units were ordered to fire.

"Thereafter, the official records are so confused and contradictory -- and the subsequent testimony of eyewitnesses, both civilian and military, complicates, rather than clarifies them -- that it seems impossible to reconstruct accurately the story of the next few hours."


Jack Smith wrote about the incident for the 1967 anniversary and Donna Scheibe  revisited the incident in 1979.
 
ALSO

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 1

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 2


Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 3

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 4

Another Good Story Ruined: The Battle of Los Angeles

Continue reading »

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 4





  Oct. 29, 1945, Battle of Los Angeles  

  Oct. 29, 1945, Battle of Los Angeles  

Oct. 29, 1945: The Times publishes the searchlight photo to accompany a story about the Air Force account of the incident.



Almost as soon as the shooting stopped, people began arguing over whether the 1942 air raid was a genuine sighting.  Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson insisted that 15 planes had been seen over the city while Secretary of the Navy William Franklin Knox dismissed the incident as a false alarm.

After the war, the military was more forthcoming with information and in preparing its official history, the 4th Air Force stated that there were unidentified airplanes, possibly Japanese, over Los Angeles that night. However, a Japanese Navy official dismissed the account, saying that no Japanese aircraft were involved.


ALSO

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 1

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 2


Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 3

Another Good Story Ruined: The Battle of Los Angeles

 

Continue reading »

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 3





   Feb. 26, 1942, Print  
  Photographs by Larry Harnisch/Los Angeles Times  

The original 1942 print of searchlights over Los Angeles.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Photo, reverse  

The back of the print, showing editors’ notations and the publication date Feb. 26, 1942.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Chilly Throng Watches Shells Bursting in Sky  


1942_0226_cover Feb. 26, 1942: Marvin Miles, The Times aviation correspondent for many years, files a color story on the night of the air raid:

“Explosions stabbing the darkness like tiny busting stars. ... Searchlight beams poking long crisscross fingers across the night sky.... But the objects in the sky slowly moved on, caught in the center of the lights like the hub of a bicycle wheel surrounded by gleaming spokes.”

“Like lethal firecrackers, the antiaircraft blasted above, below and seemingly right on the target in the tenacious beams. Other shots fell short, exploding halfway up the long climb. Tracers sparked upward like Roman candles.”


“…The target inched along high overhead, flanked by the cherry-red bursts. And the householders shivered in their robes, their faces set, watching the awesome scene.”


 

ALSO

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 1

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 2

Another Good Story Ruined: The Battle of Los Angeles
Continue reading »

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 2



 


  Feb. 24, 1942, Submarine Shells Southland Oil Field  


  Feb. 25, 1942, Coast Alert for New Raids  

 
Feb. 25, 1942, L.A. on Alert Feb. 24-25, 1942: Two days before the so-called Battle of Los Angeles, a Japanese submarine shelled the Elwood oil fields,  12 miles north of Santa Barbara, according to The Times, which added that the attack came halfway through President Roosevelt’s weekly “fireside chat.”

The only damage was rigging and pump equipment a quarter of a mile from the beach, The Times said, but Southern California residents were warned to be extremely vigilant in case of another attack the next night.

"Particularly heavy reinforcements were reported assigned to guard the huge oil tank farm area of El Segundo, a few miles southwest of Los Angeles, from which all alien Japanese have been ousted for the duration of the war," The Times said on Feb. 25.

ALSO

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 1

Another Good Story Ruined: The Battle of Los Angeles 

Continue reading »

Another Good Story Ruined -- Saucers Over L.A.!





  Feb. 26, 1942, Battle of L.A.  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

I have been working with The Times’ historic photos for years and I know how the newspaper’s art department used to retouch pictures, so the moment I saw this image last week while doing the “Battle: Los Angeles” post I knew it had been heavily retouched.

My first question was whether we still had the original print.

We do, but it took a few days to get it. 

I’ll be writing more about the picture next week. 

ALSO

Another Good Story Ruined – The Battle of Los Angeles

Another Good Story Ruined -- The Battle of Los Angeles





  Feb. 26, 1942, Spotlights.  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

   



I haven’t talked to a movie publicist since Brian De Palma’s ghastly “The Black Dahlia” came out, but I was recently bombarded with pitches to do some sort of story about the rather comical February 1942 “Battle of Los Angeles” to hype the upcoming science fiction shoot ’em up “Battle: Los Angeles.”  And frankly, if the publicity campaign wanted to establish UFO research as nothing but lies and fakery, it couldn't have done a better job.

In case you don’t know, every year about this time, someone revisits a rather ridiculous episode of wartime hysteria that occurred shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor in which more than 1,000 rounds were fired at strange objects in the sky over Los Angeles. The objects were later suspected to be weather balloons – although  nobody was ever really sure. In later years, the reporters who lived through the Battle of Los Angeles treated the whole thing as a big joke. And if the incident sounds familiar, that’s because it inspired the movie “1941.”

ALSO

Battle of Los Angeles on the Daily Mirror 2008

Battle of Los Angeles on the Daily Mirror 2009

Continue reading »
Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...



Recent Posts
The Daily Mirror Is Moving |  June 16, 2011, 2:42 am »
Movieland Mystery Photo |  June 11, 2011, 9:26 am »
Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated] |  June 11, 2011, 8:06 am »
Found on EBay 1909 Mayor's Race |  June 9, 2011, 2:33 pm »


Categories


Archives