The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Trick or Treat murder



Nov. 13-14, 1957
Los Angeles

1957_1113_rabel_4 Just as I suspected.

Although The Times was too squeamish to even allude to homosexuality in the Trick or Treat murder of Peter Fabiano, the Mirror was a bit more brave.

A bit.

It's fairly evident that the Mirror expected people to read between the lines and figure out this story:

"Strange and unpredictable passions were probably responsible for the trick or treat murder of a Sun Valley beauty shop owner on Halloween, police said today.

"This cryptic comment was all that came from Valley Detective Sgts. Pat Kealy and Charles Stewart after they booked a 40-year-old woman freelance photographer on suspicion of murder."

The Mirror helpfully provides a few more facts about Rabel: She was a Lithuanian immigrant, had a police record for burglary and violating liquor laws, and she had been divorced for a year.

Let the record show that the word "lesbian" appeared only once in a Times news story in 1957 and that was in a direct quote from a prosecution brief against L. Ewing Scott, referring to his fabricated excuses for his wife's disappearance.

ProQuest shows that the word "lesbian" also appeared twice in classified ads, but I suspect these are "false positives" that sometimes confuse the software's search engine.

Stay tuned and I'll go over the ads to see if I can find out what's up.

Email me


But why should I have all the fun? Click below to see two pages of Times classified ads that ProQuest says contain the word "lesbian."

June 9, 1957


Nov. 3, 1957



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Comments (1)

How fascinatingly appalling. Especially the ads like "File clerk Age to 44." What happened if a woman--excuse me, GIRL--got hired at 43? Did she have to quit the following year? Was she put out to pasture?


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