Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
A trip to the archives clears up the mystery about what became of the Hippodrome. As I suspected, the back of the theater was demolished, but the facade was saved.
Notice that the Main Street Gym doesn't seem to have set up business yet (the sign over the door reads "Here Television," although a 1984 article says that the gym moved to 318 1/2 S. Main in 1951 after its old building across the street burned down). There's a cafe at 318 S. Main, which was replaced with Mexico Luggage and a barbershop by 1984.
Notice that the building was also called the Adolphus Theatre. This is another mystery. According to The Times, the Adolphus opened on Main Street "across from the Belasco" (335 S. Main St). on Nov. 27, 1911. It vanished from the clips after July 14, 1912. The Hippodrome opened Aug. 31, 1913. A one-year gap would allow for construction of another theater (the Hippodrome seated 3,000 while the Adolphus seated 1,450), but I can't find anything in the clips. Stay tuned...
And here's the demolition of the Hippodrome's proscenium, Oct. 26, 1952.
Brian Hanrahan, one of my friends at the website, asks if there are any historic pictures of the Coliseum at the Daily Mirror HQ.
The answer is "of course." In fact, here's a photo showing Los Angeles police officers at the Coliseum.
Here are Mayor Porter (in the white suit) and Police Chief Steckel inspecting LAPD officers on May 23, 1933.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Beaty and Sheriff's Capt. Cannon inspect new Harley-Davidson motorcycles (with an amazing innovation: front-wheel brakes) at the Coliseum, Jan. 12, 1928.
And here are some images of the Coliseum from the Olympics. No, not the 1984 Olympics, the 1932 Olympics! These photos are from a large series of pictures published in Germany in the 1930s.
And another view
- Avery Brundage? Interesting guess. But no.
- Gov. James "Sunny Jim" Rolph Jr.? Very interesting guess. (But no).
I dug out the old photos of the Main Street Gym and fired up the scanner at the Daily Mirror HQ.
Then I took a closer look at this picture from 1976.
Hm. What's this?
And what's this?
Why that looks like an old theater.
Hm. Look at this architectural detail.
The Main Street Gym was at 318 1/2 S. Main St. What theater would have been next door at 320 S. Main St.?
Aha, it's our old pal the Hippodrome!
But the Hippodrome was supposedly torn down in 1952 for a parking lot. I started wondering if the facade was saved for offices.
Then I noticed this about the interior of the Main Street Gym in another 1976 photo:
What's in the background? It looks like a small proscenium.
Here's a detail. Look at the light sockets in the archway.
I wonder if the Main Street Gym was in some upstairs dance hall at what used to be the Hippodrome. If anyone can shed light on this little mystery, let me know...
Here's how news editors (now they're called "page designers") used to crop feature pictures down to a one-column mug.
The original portrait. Here's hoping the poor AP photographer never saw how it got butchered.
First, rotate the picture so the person's head is "straight."
Now cut it down to one column and paint out the background.
Voila! A Nancy Valentine mug shot. Newspaper design as it was practiced in 1950. (And no, The Times doesn't do this anymore. Thank heavens).
Nov. 28, 1957
The last bad decision in James B. Burton's 42 years of bad decisions was to light a cigarette.
Because to light the cigarette, he had to put down his gun.
Of course he had been drinking, which is not necessarily a bad decision, but it is a poor choice if you've taken a woman and her teenage daughter hostage and are threatening to kill them as you wait for the husband to get home so you can rob him.
Maybe Burton didn't think he needed to worry because Zenobia Maddox, 32, and her daughter Tony, 15, were tied up. And because his partner was outside the home at 4715 S. Gramercy Place waiting to ambush Thomas Maddox, a real estate agent.
James Bedford Burton was an old, seasoned criminal who had served time in Kentucky, Nevada, Utah and California and had a record going back to 1935. He and his partner forced their way into the Maddox home by trying to collect on what they said was a bad check.
The men tied up the two women and while his partner waited outside, Burton ransacked the home, threatening to kill the family if they didn't find any money. As he rummaged through the house, he drank from a liquor bottle and continued threatening the Maddoxes.
In the meantime, Zenobia managed to work free of her restraints and when Burton put down the gun to light a cigarette, she grabbed the pistol.
Burton told her that the gun wasn't loaded, but she proved him wrong--five times.
Then she got a lamp and beat him with it.
Then she got another lamp and beat him with it.
Then she got a third lamp and beat him with it.
After being shot five times and beaten with three different lamps, James Bedford Burton was not feeling too well. In fact, he was pretty much dead. And his partner was long gone, having run off when he heard the gunshots.
Zenobia A. Maddox died May 6, 2002, according to the Social Security Death Index. Nice work, ma'am.