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Mystery photo

December 13, 2007 |  6:02 am



Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

Who is the brunette with Mayor Poulson? And what are they doing?

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  • Nancy Olson, the script girl in "Sunset Boulevard?" No.
  • Marthe Errolle? Interesting guess. But no.
  • Taina Elg? (Several people). Absolutely. I received this terrific message:

The lady is Tania [Taina] Elg and she's probably promoting the musical film "Les Girls" which came out in 1957. A friend of mine and I took a couple of young ladies to see an industry screening of this film in '57 and sat right behind Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. The young ladies were very impressed. That, of course, was when the world was young.

That's exactly right. Taina Elg and Mayor Norris Poulson were photographed for a Dec. 13, 1957, Times story about the installation of a plaque at 7th Street and Main honoring it as the place where the first motion picture was shot in Los Angeles. (Exterior scenes for "The Count of Monte Cristo"). Was it really? Is the plaque still there? I'm going on a field trip to find out.

Stay tuned. This story is much more complicated that it sounds.

Want another clue, eh? Very well then:

Los Angeles Times file photo

Here's our mystery woman, ready for Christmas, 1955


Los Angeles Times file photo

Here she is in a publicity photo for a staged version of "Irma La Douce," 1962


 Los Angeles Times file photo

Finally, here's the mystery woman with Lionel Barrymore in 1954 at MGM. Take a look at the head shots on the wall behind them: Clark Gable, Gene Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor... They had faces then.