The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: July 29, 2007 - August 4, 2007

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Mickey Cohen--author


1958_cohen_sep_01 Aug. 4, 1957

Box 7, Folders 216-229 of the Ben Hecht archives at the Newberry Library in Chicago appear to contain whatever was produced during the time Hecht worked with gangster Mickey Cohen on the story of the mobster's life.

"It might be the basis for a top book," Hecht said. "It's exciting, unusual, frank and startling."

The men began work in 1956 on a film to be produced by United Artists under the title "The Mickey Cohen Story" or "The Poison Has Left Me," according to The Times, which noted that Hecht was working on "A Farewell to Arms" and had obligations to write two pictures for British film companies. 

By the summer of 1957, Cohen had produced a 150-page manuscript that he showed to Hecht, who was staying in Oceanside.

Noting that Cohen had apparently dictated the manuscript, Hecht said: "He must have done it himself. No one but Mickey uses words that way. It's a goldmine of facts--I haven't seen so many facts since I was a newspaper reporter. It has Mickey's indelible stamp."

Hecht dismissed any speculation on the project, saying: "Mickey brought it to me and asked me to read it and tell him what I thought of it. I don't know of any plans he may have for it."

In truth, Hecht and Cohen worked on the manuscript with some diligence. "I spent four days in Oceanside with him and we got a lot done," Cohen said. There were so many interruptions that Hecht suggested the two of them retreat to his villa in Rome, but the federal government took a dim view of the former mobster going to Italy, home of Lucky Luciano, Joe Adonis and other deported gangsters.

"They seem to think maybe I'm going over there for something other than the reason I'm really going," Cohen said.

In January 1958, Cohen went to Chicago to work with Hecht on the book. Earlier that day, Cohen allegedly roughed up a waiter who spilled coffee on him during an early morning gathering at the Villa Capri, 6735 Yucca St., as Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum and several others were celebrating Sammy Davis Jr.'s opening appearance at the Moulin Rouge.

The next month, Cohen said he had given up his flower shop to spend all of his time with Hecht writing the movie version of his life.

The book was nearly finished by March and was due out in the fall of 1958, at least according to Cohen. "It'll knock the blocks off people," Cohen said as he left Los Angeles for Los Cocos Hotel in La Paz,  Mexico, to spend a week with Hecht on the project.

George Bieber, Cohen's attorney, said a studio had offered $200,000 ($1,433,056.75 USD 2006) and 80% of the profits but that Cohen wanted $200,000 and 20% of the gross. Bieber also said the book would bring Cohen about $500,000 to $750,000 and that 50,000 copies had already been ordered.

And then everything went off the rails, as happens so often in Hollywood.

In September 1958, the Saturday Evening Post began a four-part series titled "Mickey Cohen: The Private Life of a Hood" by freelance writer Dean Jennings. In October 1958, Cohen sued Curtis Publishing, the parent company of the Saturday Evening Post, saying that the series ruined any possibility of publishing his book, but he dropped the suit in December 1958.

It's clear from testimony in Cohen's 1961 tax evasion trial that he was selling interest in the book. Nightclub owner Bernard "Happy" Koomer said he gave Cohen $15,000 in May 1957 for a 10% share. Koomer testified that he stopped payment on several checks and that when he met Cohen, the gangster tore up the checks, threw the pieces in Koomer's face and seized a diamond ring given to Koomer as security. It is interesting to speculate that the book may have been far more profitable if it remained unpublished--rather like "The Producers."

Apparently whatever remains of the Cohen project is in the 94 cubic feet of material in the Hecht archives in Chicago. There's a good dissertation in there for some historian, I guarantee you.

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Literary diversions

I.A.L. Diamond, Nov. 6, 1966


Never returned

I found this in the archives. Poor thing, only 19. She never got to see her daughter grow up.

Judith Ann Dull June 23, 1938-Aug. 1, 1957





Photo shoot



1957_0803_dull_crop Aug. 3, 1957
Los Angeles

In June 1957, about the time she turned 19, Judy, at right, met Betty at a Hollywood photographer's studio. They were both young and hoping for modeling careers, so Betty, 19, asked Judy to move into the apartment at 1302 N. Sweetzer Ave., which she shared with a third aspiring model, Lynn, 22.

In late July, Judy complained to her roommates that she felt she was being followed, but assumed it had to do with legal action brought by her estranged husband, Robert, over custody of their 1-year-old daughter, Susan.

She filed for divorce June 7 and was awarded custody of the girl, but Robert took Susan back three weeks later. He said Judy "kept the baby's home and person 'in a filthy state' " and neglected the girl "to associate with other men." A custody hearing was scheduled for Aug. 9 and Judy was hoping to find a job to show that she was a good mother.

"Judy was not the Hollywood type at all," Betty said. "She and I were like sisters. She was going to get a job in a dime store to prove she was worthy of her child."

Judith Ann (Vanhorn) Dull never made that custody hearing. On the afternoon of July 29, 1957, a photographer named Johnny Glinn came to the apartment and asked for Lynn. She wasn't home, but Glinn noticed some of Judy's pictures and asked about hiring her instead. Glinn made an appointment to pick up Judy at 2 p.m. on Aug. 1, 1957, offering to pay $40 ($286.61 USD 2006) for two hours of modeling.

Betty thought Glinn was creepy for following Judy around the apartment the day they left on the photo shoot. "I knew there was something odd about the man," she said. "He said he wanted to shoot pinup pictures. Yet he told her to bring a selection of street outfits, which she did."

She became worried when Judy didn't return and called Glinn's phone number, and was even more concerned when it turned out to be a machine shop (he actually lived at 5924 Melrose). The next day, she reported Judy's disappearance to deputies at the West Hollywood sheriff's station.

But by then Judy was dead and buried in a shallow grave 4 1/2 miles west of Indio, 100 feet off Highway 60/70. Glinn eventually took detectives to the site. His real name: Harvey Murray Glatman.

To be continued.

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Preservation notes

Bukowski_apts Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, my friends at the 1947project, note that the apartments at 5124 De Longpre Ave in Hollywood where Charles Bukowski produced "Post Office" is on Craigslist:

Approximately a 12,500 square foot lot – currently holds a completely vacant apartment building (bungalow style). It is a REAL INVESTMENT, perfect for builders, investors, contractors, etc. You can easily tear down the old building and do new construction! This is a rare-find in a high-demand area; Hollywood - close to restaurants, studios, shopping centers, etc. The dimensions of the lot are 53 ft by 230 ft.

Kim says: "L.A. sure knows how to take care of its literary landmarks!"
Photograph courtesy of Richard Schave, Esotouric

'I Hate Cops!'



1957_0802_linden Aug. 2, 1957
Los Angeles

It was St. Patrick's Day, 1957, and a few customers got rowdy in a bar at Pico Boulevard and Figueroa Street. Police Officer Leo Wise separated a couple of men who were fighting and ordered them to leave. But instead of going home, Marion James Linden, 43, went to his car and got a gun.

Wise saw Linden lingering outside and tried to arrest him. Instead, Linden shot him to death.

In his last moments, Wise struggled to get to the police call box. Angel Gutierrez Sahaguez and three others ran to help Wise, but he told them to follow Linden's car. Wise's dying words: "Take the number of those plates and call police!"

The men followed the killer and flagged down motorcycle Officers Charles Sturtevant and Lloyd Nelson, who arrested Linden at 11th Street and Alvarado.

1957_0802_leo_wise "I hate cops!" Linden yelled. "I shot one of them and I hope he's dead and wish I'd got some more."

When newsmen saw Linden the next day, he had a bandage over one eye and there were marks on his face, The Times said. Detective Sgts. Vance Brasher and Pat Murphy "explained that he threw a 'whing-ding' Sunday in the police homicide office and struck his face on a desk," The Times said.

On Aug. 1, 1957, Linden was sentenced to death in the gas chamber. He filed several appeals, including charges that a "fraudulent tape recording of a confession" was used in his trial. A judge postponed Linden's execution in 1959 and the U.S. Court of Appeals granted him another stay of execution in 1960.

But on July 12, 1961, Marion James Linden, who had served eight years in Colorado for killing his wife, was executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin. It took him six minutes to die, The Times said.

Leo Wise, 34, left a widow, two sons and two daughters, ages 2 to 9. He joined the police force Jan. 5, 1948.

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Countdown to Watts



Aug. 1-7, 1957
Los Angeles

A search through The Times for early August reveals several stories about Chief William H. Parker being honored for 30 years service with the Los Angeles Police Department. In a luncheon at the Biltmore Bowl hosted by actor George Murphy, 800 business and community leaders paid tribute to Parker.

There was also a story about the California Supreme Court reversing a decision that upheld Parker's use of listening devices in surveillance. "It is elementary that public officials must themselves obey the law," the Supreme Court said.

But oddly enough, there is not a word about the NAACP brutality suits against Parker and the Police Department.

We must turn to the California Eagle, a weekly serving the African American community, for news that Parker had been subpoenaed in the case. The Eagle noted that the class-action suits seeking $500,000 in damages had been given "the 'blackout' treatment" by the daily press, radio and TV. The NAACP was weighing whether to buy air time on radio stations to publicize the case, the Eagle said.

Attorney George L. Vaughn Jr., head of the local NAACP's Legal Redress Committee, added two more plaintiffs, for a total of 10, the Eagle said.

According to the Eagle, two hod carriers, Thomas Jefferson, 22, 2180 E. 101st St., and Joe Thompson, 24, 4051 S. Halldale, were arrested April 28 during what was apparently a traffic stop.

"When they complained about the handcuffs being too tight, they state that Officers Graham and Dent of the 77th Street police station began beating them with their nightsticks, insulting them with obscene epithets and telling them that 'We're going to show you how we treat niggers in Louisiana!' " the Eagle said.

When Jefferson and Thompson asked to see a sergeant at the 77th Street station, they were beaten again, charged with grand theft, held overnight and released, the Eagle said.

The white media's conspiracy of silence continued.

Interesting note: According to the State Bar of California, George Louis Vaughn Jr. graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., and Washington University Law School in St. Louis, Mo. He was admitted to the bar in 1955 and suspended in 1960. He received public reprovals in 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1980. He was disbarred in 1985.

In 1970, he was apparently appointed as a lawyer for attorney Paul Fitzgerald, who was representing Patricia Krenwinkel in the Manson family trial.

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Spanish blood



1957_0801_rabies Aug. 1, 1957
Los Angeles

Maybe it's heat, maybe it's the smog (what would be a Stage 3 alert today), but The Times is full of odd crime news.

A rabid 2-year-old fox terrier mix went on a rampage starting at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue, biting five people before a police officer shot it to death.

Stanley Papin, 49, a painter living at 9620 Anza Ave., Inglewood, followed the dog after being bitten on his right hand until Officer George Audet killed the animal.

Papin and four others were treated for dog bites at Central Receiving Hospital, including Ray Ratliff, 18, who left before being told that the dog was rabid so he didn't know he would need to undergo the Pasteur treatment.

Ratliff began hitchhiking to Sacramento, but returned to San Pedro after being  picked up by a driver, a Good Samaritan who told him he should return to Los Angeles for treatment.

Speaking of Good Samaritans, three people were in custody after 11-year-old Wayne Halford, a Times paperboy living at 3425 Military Ave., noticed them burglarizing a house and drew a picture of their car--including the license number: HCW 864. Police arrested Keith Nelson, 19; Johnny Godinez, 22; and Barbara A. Pope, 18, and recovered $2,000 in stolen jewelry.

Market owner Paul Gertz was not so fortunate during a holdup of his store at 436 S. Atlantic. Gertz told police that four customers were so distracted by a gorgeous woman shopping at the store that they didn't notice the robbery and couldn't provide descriptions to police.

Bonus fact: The first rabies case in California was reported in Los Angeles in 1898.

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Matt Weinstock

Matt_weinstockd July 31, 1957

The whole thing started many months ago when Sparks Stringer poured out his chagrin here at being unable to find any farkleberries in L.A. He had in mind whipping up a farkleberry pie like his mother used to make down South.

Clearly there's something unlikely and contagious about the word farkleberry. Publicist Joe Weston was so enchanted by it he named his frisky Siamese cat Farkleberry. Others thought it was a gag. It isn't. A farkleberry, I'm told, is somewhere between a huckleberry and a gooseberry.

Comes now a letter from Capt. M.R. Flehinger, who used to sell the Daily News at Beverly Boulevard and Normandie and is now with the Air Force in Japan.

"After asking in vain for farkleberry pie in Hong Kong, Bangkok and most of the larger cities in Japan," he writes, "I though I'd scored in a Tokyo restaurant. But it was only the accommodating manager and the language barrier working against me. What I got was a plain berry pie, I think. Of course, it might have been farkleberry but how can you be sure?"

1957_0731_grant The search goes on.

ALTHOUGH Mrs. Alex Mayer of North Hollywood has been making regular purchases on her charge account at a department store, she has received no bill for three months. The other day, she phoned the store and inquired about it.

A girl looked up the account and reported, "The reason you haven't received a bill is that you moved and the mail we sent to your new address has been coming back."

Mrs. Mayer, puzzled, said they hadn't moved, they still lived on Bonfield Street.

"Well," said the girl, "on the last payment we had from you your address was a post office box--PO 50042--and our statements have been returned from there."

So Mrs. Mayer explained that PO 5-0042 is her telephone number--PO as in POplar. And now, lucky girl, she will be able to pay her bill.*

Oh, I can tell you, life can be complicated.

AROUND TOWN--As an added fillip to its lavish party for the movie "Omar Khayyam," Paramount operatives scoured the city's tobacconists for Omar cigarettes. Mostly the tobacco boys said they hadn't seen any in 25 years. But guess where the Paramounters found an unlimited supply--Rexall's.

* In the dark ages, phone numbers had a two-letter prefix. Common ones in Los Angeles were AT lantic, AX minster, CI trus, HO llywood, MA dison, OX ford, RI chmond, etc.--lrh

Women attacked



1957_0731_mirror_front_2July 31, 1957
Los Angeles

In the continuing assaults across the city, a North Hollywood housewife fought off an intruder while a 60-year-old Hollywood woman was saved from strangling by the staff of her Hollywood apartment building after she was grabbed from behind in the hallway, gagged and raped.

Mildred Chastain, 40, 11228 1/2 Emelita St., said she was watching TV about 1 a.m. on July 31, 1957, as she waited for her husband, Robert, to get home from his job at a liquor store. She heard scratching at the screen door and thought it was the cat trying to get in. Chastain opened the door and a masked gunman barged into the house.

"I guess I was foolish to take the chance, but the next thing I knew I was scratching at his face and trying to knock the gun out of his hand," she said. "He grabbed me with his free hand but I had him off balance. I knocked him against the washing machine. Then I screamed like crazy."

According to the Mirror, 30 LAPD officers joined by six officers from the Burbank Police Department made a house-to-house search for the attacker, who had been prowling the neighborhood for two months.

In Hollywood, an unidentified woman told police she was going into her 12th-floor apartment at 1811 N. Whitley on the afternoon of July 30 when she was grabbed from behind. She said she never got a look at the rapist who blindfolded her, tied her wrists with a silk stocking and gagged her.

Although she was tied up, the woman knocked the receiver off her telephone to summon help. The desk clerk and the janitor found her nearly dead from "a knotted garment in her mouth," The Times said.

Police Chief William H. Parker said the Hollywood attack was like the stranglings of Marjorie Hipperson and Ruth Goldsmith.

To be continued.

In the meantime, read more about 1811 N. Whitley. Search for Oct. 12, 1947, entry at the 1947project. 

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No deal



1957_0730_meade July 30, 1957
Los Angeles

The state prosecutor and the defense had reached an agreement on most points in the conspiracy trial involving Confidential and Whisper magazines.

According to the proposed accord, Confidential and Whisper would:

  1. Abandon their present format, would stop printing smear stories and publicize the change in newspaper ads.
  3. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Herbert V. Walker would decide the case based on grand jury transcripts.
  5. Charges against Fred and Marjorie Meade (the alleged sources of the magazines' stories) would be dropped because "they are out of business the minute the format of the magazine is changed," according to Chief Assistant Atty. Gen. Clarence Linn.

Defense attorney Arthur J. Crowley agreed to everything except Linn's insistence that guilty verdicts against the corporations--Whisper Inc., Confidential Inc., Hollywood Research Inc. and Publishers Distributing Corp--could not be appealed.

Linn told the judge that the agreement would suppress the magazines and Crowley noted that the deal would avoid a long trial that would threaten the reputations of Hollywood celebrities.

To which Walker said: No. "I don't think a good reason has been given here for the dismissal of the indictments against the individuals."

The Mirror said there was little scandal in the 143-page grand jury transcript, noting that it mostly dealt with testimony by 20 witnesses that publisher Robert Harrison's objective was to print "as much shocking material as he could obtain by wiretaps, by using prostitutes as witnesses or by any other means."

Ronnie Quillan testified:

"Harrison stressed the point that he primarily was just interested in the sexual activities of the stars and celebrities and whether they were homosexuals or weren't, in other words, the most lurid phases of their lives that he could expose."

To be continued.

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Bill Walsh in The Times

Bob Oates on Bill Walsh rebuilding the 49ers, Oct. 1, 1980; and Jim Murray on Bill Walsh, Jan. 10, 1982:

Bob Oates, Part 1


Bob Oates, Part 2


Bob Oates, Part 3


Jim Murray, Part 1


Jim Murray, Part 2



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