The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: June 10, 2007 - June 16, 2007

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Literary diversions

Erle Stanley Gardner, Feb. 2, 1958
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Weird wheels

 

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1957_0616_smogJune 16, 1957
Los Angeles

Hi, my name is Larry, and I owned a DKW.

Hi Larry!

Seriously. Induced by a crazy college friend, I bought one of these things in the early 1970s for about $30 and it was the strangest car I ever owned. The DKW had a three-cylinder, two-cycle engine, so you mixed oil in the gasoline--just like a leaf blower, and about as powerful. It was a real smog machine. The joke, of course, is that I bought it from a guy who had three of them.

No, I never got it running, much to the relief of Tucson's motorists, who are about the worst drivers in the nation. I finally sold it to a neighbor who owned a gas station. He wanted to park it at his business to make it look like he actually had some customers.

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A name to remember

June 15, 1957

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Matt Weinstock

Matt_weinstockd June 15, 1957

It can now be revealed that a dark plot against the Stanfords by the Uclans--an offshoot of the feuding between the two universities as a result of PCC [Pacific Coast Conference] penalties--has been inadvertently thwarted.

Not long ago, Bob Kennedy, a Stanford alumnus in the floor covering business in Westwood, was commissioned to supply carpeting for the Stanford office at 621 S. Hope St., where the university's president, trustees and fundraisers meet.

A number of samples were shown, but for price and quality a beautiful job which could be dyed any color was outstanding.

However, the conservative Indians [Note: Stanford's former mascot, abandoned in the 1970s--lrh] decided it was too lush and selected a slightly cheaper pattern, thereby innocently averting future embarrassment.

It seems that Kennedy's business partners are UCLA grads and they'd planned to treat the white rug in the dyeing process so that in about six months the letters UCLA would appear right in the middle.

ONLY IN PURE L.A. -- A cabby told it to reporter Frank Laro:

Two men got into his cab and asked if he could take them to a place where there were some women. (By the way, this is a frequent request and one fraught with peril).

The cabby cagily drove them to Hollywood Cemetery, handed them the fat taxi tab and said:

"There they are, boys, dig 'em up."

He'd recognized them as vice squad officers.

Zombie Plymouth!

Tulsa, Okla., unearths the buried 1957 Plymouth.

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Photo by KOTV.com

Watch KOTV's video here
.

Policewomen graduate

 

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June 15, 1957
Los Angeles

Chief William H. Parker welcomed 12 new policewomen in commencement exercises at the Police Academy. The Times reports that most of the new officers will be assigned to the juvenile detail or work as jail matrons.

The women will carry .38-caliber snub-nosed revolvers.

Starting pay for policewomen is $440 to $516  ($3,152,72-$3,697.29 USD 2006) a month, The Times says, adding that the department is seeking more officers.

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Pot pad raided

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1957_0615_tunnel June 15, 1957
Los Angeles

Deputies arrested 13 people after finding them hiding in tunnels dug beneath at house at 12117 Jersey Ave., Norwalk, apparently intended as a bomb shelter.

Investigators found 22 marijuana cigarettes in the house and 22 more on the suspects, police said, adding that the home was used for dealing drugs.

The house had been rented two weeks earlier by Gary Smith, 18, Jerrold R. Rose, 18,  and their wives, and Conrad E. Castro, 21, the newspapers said.

Six months later, one of the suspects, Joseph L. Pickle, 19, was in the news in a bizarre incident in Tijuana. On Christmas Day, the body of Gilbert Byron Sharp, 21, was found on the Tecate Highway near the local jail. Pickle said Sharp was electrocuted after climbing a utility pole in a plan to cut electricity to the jail and free a drug suspect.

According to The Times, Sharp and another man were arrested on drug charges in Tijuana in September. Sharp was freed but his companion was still in custody.

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Future shock

 

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1907_0127b June 14, 1957
Los Angeles

Sometimes predictions for the future are simply painful to read. The people living in 1957 were prolific in sketching out hopeful plans. Some of them were foolish (I think we can safely eliminate the atomic-powered monorails) but others sound terribly familiar: Like one-way streets and restricted bus lanes on the freeways.

All I can say is this: We have been ignoring our transportation problems for a century. (Above, a downtown traffic jam in 1907).
 

Proposals from 1957:

  • Make Figueroa and Flower one-way streets from downtown to the Coliseum.   
  • Make Olive and Hill one-way streets between 1st Street and 23rd Street.
  • 200-mph monorails that run from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach.
  • Light-rail routes from San Bernardino and Santa Ana to downtown.   
  • An elevated train in downtown Los Angeles.   
  • Subways.

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Name the Dodgers!

What should we call our new team? Hey I know! 1957_0614_dodgers

Prowler terrorizes L.A.

 

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1957_0614_prowler_pix_2 June 14, 1957
Los Angeles


As Marjorie Hipperson was laid to rest, raw terror swept over Los Angeles and reports of attacks rained down on the police. Women fought off intruders and in senseless, unreasoning fright, men fired shots at the shadows at their doorsteps, killing a neighbor's dog and wounding an unfortunate stranger.

A police artist drew a sketch based on a victim's description of the attacker and the newspapers ran advice to women on being safe.  Suspects were photographed in handcuffs, cleared and released.

Esther Esparza, 30, 1633 Lucille Ave., frightened off an intruder who pushed her to the floor after she came inside from burning papers in the backyard. In a few minutes, the phone calls began: "I'm going to come back and this time I'll kill you," a man said. She described him as 30 years old, 5-feet-10, 190 pounds, with blond hair, blue eyes and a pimply face.

Gail Donavin, 21, who shared an upstairs apartment at 3966 Clinton St., said she slept with a sorority paddle because she was so frightened, but when she found a man sitting on her bed at 4 a.m. she was afraid to use it. "Don't move or say anything or I'll kill you!" he said, according to The Times. "I was afraid I would really be in trouble if I hit him and didn't knock him out," she said of the paddle.

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Margie M. Purdue, 32, 327 New Hampshire Ave., also reported awakening to find a man sitting on the edge of her bed and told police that he fled when she screamed. Officers J.L. Conrad and R.D. Brodbeck arrested Harold E. Bond, 23, at New Hampshire and Oakwood and although Purdue was unable to identify him, she said his clothing matched the intruder's.

Bonnie Rambo, 28, 529 N. Berendo, said a man burst in by breaking the chain on her door and began forcing her to the floor, but he fled when she struggled toward the telephone.

Wanda Wilson, 20, of Wilmington reported fighting off a man who was only wearing a T-shirt by choking him with his rosary beads.

Edith Clouse, 26, 2516 Kent St., said she was coming home at 4 a.m. from her job at an aircraft plant when a man ran from the shadows and grabbed her by the shoulders.

Margaret Cruikshank, 41, 3510 1/2 Bellevue Ave., reported that after she returned from a date with Jim Rhode, 27, she heard a noise in the living room and found a blond, pimply faced young man crawling through a window. Rhode tried to capture the intruder, but he escaped, The Times said.

The arrests followed quickly.

Mario J. Sanchez, 1244 S. Lake St., was arrested on charges of making lewd phone calls after his victim, Judy Jackson 25, 639 N. Parkman Ave., made a date with him.

1957_0614_drawingTommy Sciandra, 34, a man with a criminal record in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, was arrested in a Sunset Boulevard cafe after employees told police that he was talking about the recent attacks. Blaming most of the troubles in his life on women, he said: "They'll lie about you every time."

Darrell W. Morgan, 19, was arrested then released after proving that he was at a Navy recruiting station when Esparza was attacked. Esparza identified him in a lineup, then fainted. When she recovered, she said she was mistaken.

John James Johnson, 22,  1926 Vista Del Mar, was arrested on charges of peeping in the window of Ann Collins, 1931 N. Argyle Ave.

At 12931 Calvert St., Van Nuys, Eli Sterling heard a suspicious noise and went to investigate. Seeing something in the shadows, he fired his .38 revolver, killing his neighbor's wire-haired terrier with one shot.

Michael L. Bergen, 40, was shot in the arm while checking on the home he had bought at 17018 Los Alimos St., Granada Hills. According to police, Robert Hobday, 65, had been leasing the home and had been unable to move out. When Bergen knocked, Hobday fired four shots through the door with a .38.

Former USC football player Donald F. Bahrman, 26, was shot to death by William Pottorff, 1217 W. 187th St., an off-duty traffic officer. Pottorff's wife, Yvonne, came home from her job at a Gardena club and told her husband she'd been followed. In a few minutes, they heard someone cutting the screen on a bedroom window.

The man fled when Pottorff went outside to investigate. Pottorff shouted and fired two warning shots into the air, then aimed for the intruder.  He found Bahrman , a former all-city football star, dying behind a nearby house.

To be continued....

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Kill crazy

 

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1957_0614_joyce_barlow
June 14, 1957
Los Angeles


Charles Hilbert Dodd was eager to kill someone. If he couldn't find his estranged wife, Dolores, then he'd shoot whomever he could get.

Armed with a 16-gauge shotgun, Dodd, 47, of 6415 Balcom Ave., Reseda, showed up at the home of a casual acquaintance, Charles A. Barlow, 35, 13005 Chandler Blvd.   "You've got to make a telephone  call ... got to help me find my wife," Dodd said.

When Barlow told Dodd that he couldn't come in the house until he put down his shotgun, Dodd fired, hitting Barlow in the hand, then barged into the living room and fired twice more, shooting Barlow in both legs.

Dodd waved the shotgun and told Barlow and his wife, Joyce, 23, "drive me somewhere and be quick about it." Dodd pushed the couple outside, but let Joyce go back into the house to get the car keys. As Dodd forced Barlow to walk to the corner where Dodd's car was parked, Joyce called the police. [Note: I know none of this makes sense, but the man was out of his mind--lrh]

In the meantime, Barlow got a cane out of Dodd's car and began hitting him with it. Joyce Barlow returned and began wrestling with Dodd over the shotgun, but he pushed her away and shot her husband in the abdomen.

Then he shot himself in the head.

Joyce, a recent immigrant from England, told police that although they didn't know the Dodds well, Dolores Dodd had briefly been to their home shortly before Dodd arrived. Police said Charles Dodd had been charged with domestic abuse and on June 4 was sentenced to a year's probation.

What became of Joyce Barlow and Dolores Dodd? No further information is available.

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You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

June 13, 1957

 



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