The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: May 6, 2007 - May 12, 2007

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Neumann on the Mideast, Part 6

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 6, March 13, 1957
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Neumann on the Mideast, Part 5

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 5, March 12, 1957
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No blacks allowed

 

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1957_0509_dido_pix May 9, 1957
Austin, Texas

Texas State Rep. Joe Chapman is no opera lover, especially when the cast includes an African American in the lead. He wants soprano Barbara Louise Smith out of the university production of Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" immediately and has threatened to cut campus funds if officials don't comply.

According to Smith, Dean E.W. Doty said University President Logan Wilson decided to ask her to step down "to ensure my well-being... and... there was a possibility my appearance would precipitate a cut in the university's appropriation by the Legislature."

Although stunned by the action, Smith said: "I began to realize that the ultimate success of integration at the university was more important than my appearance at the opera."

Campus officials generously said they would allow Smith to attend the performance even if she couldn't be in it.

The university's action provoked immediate protests from the Student Council, the Young Democrats and the Young Republicans. And showing that hate doesn't discriminate, Chapman, Smith and State Rep. Jerry Sadler were all hung in effigy in the state Capitol, the Mirror said.

More important, eight Texas legislators signed a letter of apology and Henry Belafonte called Smith to express support, not only from himself but from Sidney Poitier and Mahalia Jackson.

Smith ultimately adopted the stage name of Barbara Conrad and her singing career included appearances at the Metropolitan Opera.

Read an interview of her here.

And read about the incident here.

This is the city of Austin's website on the incident.

As for Texas Rep. Joe Chapman of Sulphur Springs, Texas?  He apparently vanished into the mists of history.

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Drivers' Ed Theatre

Last Date, 1949

"Dear Margo, they finally released me from the hospital.  And now I'm home again.  But  in a way I almost wished I had died in there.... I've had my last date."

With Dick York

Liberace sues Confidential

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1957_confidential_liberaceMay 8, 1957
Los Angeles

Promising nothing less than the destruction of Confidential magazine, Liberace filed a $20-million libel suit over an article in the July issue titled "Why Liberace's Theme Song Should be 'Mad About the Boy.' "

The article under the byline of Horton Streete, reprinted below, deals with an anonymous public relations man who claimed that Liberace mauled him on several occasions. It is a shocking story today, mostly because it's apparently based on a single, anonymous source (although nothing in the story is attributed to anyone) and there's no attempt to check with Liberace for comment.

In other words, this article was a ticket to the courtroom.

Liberace told KTTV's George Putnam: "George, this story is a damn lie and I'm damned mad. If it takes every nickel I've got I'll guarantee it will never happen to anyone else as long as I live.

"All of us take a certain amount of kidding about ourselves and our work, but when they come out in print and tell such lies, I'm going to move. It's real heartbreak to see your life's work destroyed so viciously by a magazine in an article of this kind. It's a lie. It's trash."

To be continued...

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Page 1: "Kandelarbra Kid."

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Page 2: "Mad about the boy."

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Page 3: "Who do you love?"

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Page 4: "A coo of delight."

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Page 5: "Handsome young guy."

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Page 6: "Gee, you're cute when you're mad."

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Page 7: "I'm your man."

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Page 8: "We've been playing."

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Gay party raided

 

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May 7, 1957
Tijuana

Dear parents of Los Angeles,

Some of you will be hearing from your sons today. It seems that there was a get-together of young men at a watering hole between Tijuana and Ensenada called the Halfway House (or Half-Way House).

The Mexican authorities took rather a dim view of what the Mirror called: "a wild party at which many allegedly were attired in women's clothing." The Times noted: "Photographs of many of the male celebrants attired in women's dresses and wearing cosmetics were reportedly were taken by Mexican police."

According to three youths, more than 100 people were arrested. "They refused to tell us what the charge was and just muttered something about 'a big raid' nearby," one of them said.

Tijuana police and the State Judicial Police of Baja California said they arrested 41 people, using ambulances to take them to Tijuana, where they were booked on morals charges. Those who could afford it posted $24 bail ($171.97 USD 2006) while the rest called their parents.

About 150 others fled during the raid and escaped in their cars, The Times says.

According to one youth who was arrested, everybody was celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

Read about a 1920 raid on a party at the home of former Los Angeles Mayor Arthur C. Harper.

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Neumann on the Mideast, Part 4

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 4, March 11, 1957

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Neumann on the Mideast, Part 3

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 3, March 8, 1957

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Paul V. Coates--Confidential File

Paul_coates May 6, 1957
Los Angeles

SUBJECT'S NAME: Sandra Brandner
SUBJECT'S DESCRIPTION: Age 16. Height, 5 feet, 5 inches. Weight, about 135 pounds. Light brown hair. Brown eyes.

The subject was last seen in El Segundo in July 1954. Any person with information concerning her whereabouts should contact Capt. l.W. Maxwell of the El Segundo Police Department.

There is a mist of gaiety and glamor which hangs low over the grounds of circuses and carnivals.

For many adults it fades in a clouded, vague memory.

But for youngsters it's something real and vibrant. And it can, with little effort, cast a spell.

In July of 1954, the carnival came to El Segundo.

And Sandra Brander went to see it.

1957_ad_vandekampShe was a mature girl for her 14 years.

She was also a lonely girl, to a certain extent. Her parents were separated and her mother was unable to devote to her daughter the time that a mother should.

At the carnival, Sandra met a man. Police say his name was Ben Allan Benson. He was 31 years old.

Two weeks after they met, Benson, an electrical technician, quit the carnival and Sandra reportedly disappeared with him.

For Sandra's mother and her grandmother, the last three years have not been easy ones.

They've received a couple of letters and a couple of phone calls, but now, after a year and eight months of silence, they're beginning to get strange feelings.

I talked recently with Sandra's grandmother, to probe out possible clues to the girl's whereabouts.

Here's what I learned:

Sandra was separated from her mother for two moths before she disappeared. She was living with a friend of the family in El Segundo and had just graduated from junior high school.

Only days before the girl left Mrs. Brandner had promised her daughter that they would soon be able to be together, permanently.

But then the carnival came to town and Sandra went.

There followed five months of silence and search, broken finally three days before Christmas, 1954, by a greeting card.

It was in a man's writing and signed: "Ben and Sandra."

Then a few weeks later Sandra called her grandmother.

She promised to visit her family but never did.

Next, this time a few months later, came a letter from Sandra.

I'm fine and very happy," she wrote, "and we've got a home now."

It was postmarked "Los Angeles."

Final contact came that September. A man called Sandra's grandmother with the following message:

Ben and Sandra were parents of a 1-week-old daughter named Sharon Ann. They were living in the East and Sandra was very happy. She had two television sets and all the comforts.

"But," the man continued, "she'd like to see her family again. Except that she's afraid she might not be welcome after running away like she did."

The girl's grandmother assured the caller that Sandra was not only welcome but needed by her mother, who was quite ill.

"Just a visit would help," the grandmother explained.

The man promised to do what he could.

But there were no more calls or letters. And Sandra Brandner hasn't been heard from since then.

S.S. Rex

Speaking of Santa Monica, here's an ad for Tony Cornero's gambling ship, the Rex. Only 25 cents by water taxi.

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Drug raid

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May 6, 1957
Los Angeles

1957_0506_bust_2 Saundra died Jan. 11, 1978, 40 years after she dazzled concert-goers as a child prodigy on the violin, like her mother, Frances. In her lifetime, she performed at the Hollywood Bowl with Leopold Stokowski and had roles in "Captain Tugboat Annie" and "An Old Fashioned Girl."

In 1938, when she was 5, Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Otto Klemperer said: "Unbelievable! Simply amazing! I have never heard a child play that way!" She made her New York debut at the age of 7, and continued studying and performing, and was a member of the Girl Scouts the Junior Red Cross.

Reviewing her performance of the Wiewiawski Violin Concerto No. 2, The Times said of the 11-year-old: "The child will go far. She plays with a remarkable maturity and she has developed a personal magnetism that will do much to make her a success. The test will come when she broadens her repertoire to include the deeper and less showy music, classical and contemporary."

The concerts continued into the early 1950s. And then something happened. The stories about concerts disappear. Instead, The Times reports Saundra's arrest in a drug raid. And to make research a challenge, the paper mangled her last name. Sometimes it refers to her as Mzaelle and other times as Mazelle. Only once or twice does The Times get her name right: Maazel. And yes, she was the cousin of New York Philharmonic conductor Lorin Maazel. In fact, they shared the concert stage when they were young, in that performance at the Hollywood Bowl with Leopold Stokowski.

 

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Saundra was arrested May 5, 1957, at 1345 N. Hayworth in Hollywood, one of more than 100 people picked up in a series of drug raids. One of Saundra's companions, Tyra Leal, told police: "I've been smoking marijuana for 23 years and you finally caught up with me."

After the charges against her were dismissed, Saundra, who was then 27, said she planned to get back to performing on the violin. Apparently she never did. Public records give her last name as Macaulay, so she was evidently married. The Times, which once wrote of her tremendous promise, did not note her passing.

Frances Berkova Maazel died Oct. 9, 1982. Pianist Marvin Maazel died Jan. 16, 1989.

 

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Neumann on the Mideast , Part 2

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 2, March 7, 1957

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