The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: May 6, 2007 - May 12, 2007

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For sale on EBay

Here's something fun: a can of smog from 1957


These were apparently sold in the Fun Shop at Farmers Market and produced by Carlton (or Carleton) Young's Los Angeles Smog Corp.  Hal Tamblin was listed as a vice president, according to a 1962 item in The Times. Art Ryon, author of The Times "Ham on Ryon" column claimed to be an executive of this whimsical outfit.

I found it on EBay

Ed, she shot me



May 12, 1957
Redondo Beach

After a night of drinking, Mabel N. Donnells returned home about 2:30 a.m. Her husband, Robert, who had also gone out drinking--but not with her--came home about the same time and they began arguing.

Robert accused her of going out with other men, hit her and pushed her into their house at 2217 Nelson Lane, Redondo Beach.

Two weeks earlier, Robert bought a .22-caliber rifle for Mabel to protect herself against a peeping Tom who was roaming the neighborhood. Mabel got the rifle and shot Robert above the left hip, severing a major artery.

He staggered next door to the home of Edmund A. Laney and gasped: "Ed, she shot me...." He died en route to Harbor General Hospital.

The Times failed to follow up on this story, so we don't know what became of Mabel except that she was held on suspicion of murder.

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Like gonesville


Little Richard, "Lucille"

Little Richard, "Whole Lot of Shaking Going On"

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Neumann on the Mideast, Part 8

Note: In early 1957, The Times sent UCLA professor Robert G. Neumann on a six-week tour of the Middle East. Neumann, who was later the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Morocco, wrote these stories upon his return. His son, Ronald, is U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

Part 8, March 15, 1957



No story here. I just like the ad. This is now the site of the Jackie Robinson VFW.





May 11, 1957
Los Angeles

Felicitas Sena, born Dec. 19, 1936, in Texas, died May 10, 1957, as the result of septic poisoning from an illegal abortion.

In a deathbed interview at General Hospital with Sheriff's Detectives Charles W. McGowan and Claude Everly, Sena, of 1908 1/2 E. 1st St., implicated Pauline Castaneda Delgado, 25, 4521 E. Gleason.

Delgado, who was in custody in County Jail on murder charges, told the Mirror she had merely tried to help Sena, who had attempted to perform an abortion on herself.

As far as I can tell, The Times never reported this story.

According to the LAPD annual statistics for 1957, police received reports of three women dying of self-induced abortions and one dying in some other manner related to an abortion.

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Neumann on the Mideast, Part 7

Note: In early 1957, The Times sent UCLA professor Robert G. Neumann on a six-week tour of the Middle East. Neumann, who was later the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Morocco, wrote these stories upon his return. His son, Ronald, is U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

Part 7, March 14, 1957


Out of the past



Alpine Street between Figueroa and Bunker Hill, about 1952.

Back row, from left: Dickie V., Richie Trevino

Front row, from left: Gilbert Ortiz, Eddie Ortiz, Rachel Razo.

Photo courtesy of Gilbert Ortiz.

Matt Weinstock

Matt_weinstockd May 10, 1957

At the rate landmarks are disappearing, a person could easily make a career of chasing down outmoded civic scenery under some such title as "What Happened to (Insert Name Here)?"

I don't know what happened to Insert Name Here, but Jan Meadoff of Bakerfield inquires:

"Can you tell me where Magnetic Hill used to be in Hollywood? I remember coasting up the hill in an automobile as a child."

Yes, "coasting up." Others may remember it too.

With the help of Norm Stanley of the Chamber of Commerce, I can explain what happened to Magnetic Hill. It was "demagnetized" in 1928.

Prior to 1928, Magnetic Hill was a short street named Villa Drive, located up the hill from Sunset Boulevard, just west of Doheny Drive. Driving along it, motorists got the astounding sensation that they were coasting uphill while they were actually descending it--or vice versa. It was an optical illusion created by the odd terrain.

In 1928, the property was regraded and, as they saying goes, "improved," wiping out both the hill and the illusion. The street is now named St. Ives Drive. [Note: St. Ives is east of Doheny. The mystery continues--lrh].


It used to be quite the thing to direct an innocent newcomer to Magnetic Hill and let him experience the incredible sensation.

Now everything's Disneyland, Marineland and tours of movie stars' homes.

Speaking of things that used to be, Bob King is enchanted by a sign exposed a few days ago by wreckers demolishing a building formerly occupied by a pawnshop on Main Street near 6th Street. The faded sign, on the south side of the Burbank Theater, states:

"Morosco's Burbank Theater. The Best Players and the Best Plays in America for the Money."

Thomas A. Farrell, Sun Valley, is fond of the anachronistic sign on the former entrance to the long since removed Pacific Electric tunnel at Sunset Boulevard and Hill Street stating:

"Above All See Mt. Lowe. Round Trip $1.50. Trains Leave at Convenient Hours From Main Street Station."

Been a long time since one did.

I didn't mean to kill him



1957_0510_quinnMay 10, 1957

Four years after his father was killed by a madman,  USC premed student Patrick Quinn died during what had been a playful gunfight with the younger brother of his girlfriend when they went to shoot tin cans in hills above Malibu.

Police said that Barbara Joyce, 18, had pleaded with Quinn, 19, and her brother William P. Joyce, 13, not to play with the guns, but they laughed at her and told her to get out of the way. The two youths stood behind trees 30 feet apart and shot at each other, but Quinn looked around the tree to see why the shooting had stopped and was struck in the head.

"I didn't mean to kill him," William Joyce said. "He was my friend."

On May 10, 1957, a coroner's jury ruled that the April 13, 1957, killing was excusable homicide. Quinn, of 424 Landfair, was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery. He was survived by his mother; brother Michael; and sisters Mrs. Mary Jane Gibson and Mrs. Elizabeth Stalder.

It was the second gun tragedy for the family. On Nov. 7, 1952, Dr. Joseph Vincent Quinn was killed while stopped for a light at Wilshire and Harvard boulevards. World War II veteran Richard D. Holbrook, who said he was being continually shot in the stomach with imaginary machine gun rounds, explained: "I don't like expensive automobiles."

There is no further word in The Times about William, who lived at 218 N. Elm Drive in Beverly Hills. California death records list a William Peter Joyce, who died in Orange County in 1986, at the age of 42. It's unclear if this is the same man.

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Nancy Drew convention



Fans of fictional teenage detective Nancy Drew will gather (presumably in blue convertibles) in Los Angeles for their annual convention,  June 15-16

Scheduled speakers include Penny Warner, author of "The Official Nancy Drew Handbook," and Jennifer Fisher, author of "Clues for Real Life: The Wit and Wisdom of Nancy Drew."

I just hope someone's there on behalf of the River Heights Bugle, perhaps Ned Nickerson himself!

Read about it here.

Arson in Norwalk




1957_0510_stoner May 10, 1957

First comes love, then comes marriage, then come two children and lots and lots of diapers for Nancy Joyce Stoner, 20, and her husband, Eugene, 31.

Married at 16 after graduating from La Puente High School and a mother at 18, Nancy was living at 12702 Crossdale in Norwalk, when she snapped. "I don't know--I've been so upset since the baby was born--I just had to do something--it was diapers, diapers, diapers all the time," she said.

"Also, the baby hasn't been well--she has to be fed intravenously two or three times a week. I'm so worried about her and the bills for her," she said.

She and Eugene had separated after their first child, Deborah (or Debra) was born two years earlier. She enjoyed working in a cafeteria, she said, but relatives got her and Eugene back together. Then DiAnna (or Deanna) was born.

"My husband provides a good home," Nancy said, "but he comes home and has a can of beer, has supper and watches TV until he goes to bed. That's all--no appreciation when he gets home. And I do diapers all day before he gets home."

So one morning before heading to see an Anaheim doctor who was treating her for her nerves, Nancy piled seven loads of diapers and dirty clothes in the living room and set them on fire, causing $3,000 damage ($21,495.85 USD 2006).

"The doctor told me I needed a vacation," Nancy said. "But I couldn't afford it."

"I just got tired of the monotony of my life," she said. "Nothing but dishes and diapers... I just got desperate."

Shortly after the fire, the Stoner family moved to Pomona, where The Times photographed Nancy hanging up laundry. She pleaded guilty to attempted arson and was to be sentenced July 30, 1957, but The Times apparently never covered the hearing.

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