Mickey Cohen arrested
Sept. 26, 1957
Alas, the old Redwood at 234 W. 1st St. was demolished before my arrival at The Times, although it lives on in newsroom lore. One incident I'd never heard about was the arrest of Mickey Cohen at 2:30 p.m. as he was having breakfast -- that will give you an idea of what the Redwood was like.
Cohen, accompanied by bail bondsman Abe Phillips, was having his ham and eggs when an officer arrested him on charges of failing to register in Beverly Hills as an ex-convict.
Cohen was, as always, the model of decorum and diplomacy while in custody. Actually, "the fiery-tempered little ex-mobster [was] screaming protests and hurling epithets at arresting officers and Chief Clinton H. Anderson to such an extent that the chief angrily ordered him re-booked on charges of disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct," The Times said.
After being arrested at the Redwood, Cohen was booked at the Beverly Hills jail and bailed out, then became so profane and disruptive that Anderson arrested him again. (Among other things, Cohen yelled at Anderson: "I'll have you out of this town in 24 hours!") This time, Phillips didn't have the money to bail Cohen out of jail, so they borrowed money from a Beverly Hills clothier.
Earlier that day, Cohen had filed a reply to a $1.5-million defamation suit brought by Police Chief William H. Parker and Capt. James E. Hamilton over comments on "The Mike Wallace Interview." Cohen maintained that his comments were true and that his largely unprintable remarks were "fair comment and criticism of public officials."
He also noted that his real name was Michael, not "Mickey," as used in the police officials' lawsuit.
The old Redwood, which was featured in the Billy Wilder version of "The Front Page," lives on at 316 W. 2nd St. I'm told by people who should know that the layout is much the same as the old watering hole. In its latest reincarnation, it has a pirate theme.
Here's an ad from the Redwood's grand reopening in 1960: