The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: August 26, 2007 - September 1, 2007

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Literary diversions

The Times pans "On the Road," Oct. 4, 1957. "The Deadbeat Generation?" Ouch.

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Back to school

 

1957_0828_fashion

Aug. 28, 1957
Los Angeles

It's almost time for school to open, parents, so here's some tips in shopping for new clothes. And there's lots to cheer about!

"Boys are turning their backs on the sloppy, bizarre clothing fads that once had parents and teachers alike in a state of shock," says Bill Holzhauser, men's fashion editor at the Mirror. "This year, when they answer the school bell, most of them will be dressing right in neater and more handsome outfits."

 

1957_0828_boys_fashions_2

What's in for boys? Think Ivy League. The lads have come to their senses and are starting to abandon those awful, scruffy blue jeans, thank heavens, in favor of neat, trim Ivy League trousers--at least for school. "Cavalry twill trousers styled in the Ivy fashion" are selling well, stores report.

And if your boys are hard on their clothes (aren't they all?) try the miracle Klondike cloth. It's the toughest fabric known to mankind and was developed for the Army, which knows a few things about back to school wear, especially in Little Rock, Ark.!

Shirts go Ivy as well, in plaids and checks with button-down collars, and complete the look with a bulky, shapeless cardigan sweater!

This year's fashion crime for boys: Long coats are in. The Eisenhower jacket is as dead as Mussolini!


 

1957_0828_girls_fashions

For girls, think Chanel, says Jean Gallagher, the Mirror's fashion editor:

"Dresses with complementary Orlon or wool sweaters (often trimmed with appliques of the dress fabric) should be popular with the littlest set. So should plaid cotton dresses and jumpers of all types.

"With high school girls, the influence is that of the easy, casual attitude initiated by French designer Chanel. This means jackets with square shoulders worn open over blouses or sweaters... pleated skirts...brass buttons and gobs of golden chain jewelry."

And moms, don't forget "Gimmick belts with all kinds of dangles, sloppy Joe Shetland sweaters, pop-it pearls that are dyed to match sweater colors and anything nautical."

 

1957_0926_little_rock

Above, what the smartly dressed teens of Little Rock, Ark.'s Central High are wearing back to school.

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Paul V. Coates--Confidential File

Aug. 30, 1957

Paul_coates By sundown today, condemned killer Billy Rupp may find his life saved by the same jurors who, five years ago, ordered his death.

In a move unprecedented in penal annals, five of the Rupp case jury members have signed affidavits in a last-ditch attempt to spare him from San Quentin's gas chamber next Friday.

Four more are expected to join them by nightfall.

Their affidavits state:

"I would not have voted for the death penalty had it been known to me that there was a method whereby William Francis Rupp could be incarcerated for life without possibility of parole."

The statements are to be given to Gov. Goodwin Knight, the last man between the 23-year-old Yorba Linda beekeeper and death.

The appeal of the jurors is not one outlined in the state law books.

It is, rather, a moral plea by persons who didn't want Rupp, the slayer of Ruby Ann Payne, 15-year-old babysitter, to walk the streets of society again, but who were offered no choice other than a death verdict to prevent him from doing so.

California statutes do not permit a jury to sentence a person to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.

1952_0809_payne So, without this choice, the eight women and four men who heard Rupp's case took the only course they felt would protect society.

And, in August of 1952, they found him guilty of first-degree murder. Their silent, automatic verdict was death.

At the time, Rupp was declared legally sane.

But testimony by private psychiatrists and physicians that the youth was organically and mentally deranged was not allowed into the court record because of the wide breech between legal and medical definitions of insanity.

Six time since his first execution date was set, Rupp has won stays on appeals through the courts. One of them came only 15 minutes before he was due to die.

But one by one, all avenues of appeal were blocked off.

His final chance--a petition for a writ of certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court--is expected to be turned down within a few days.

It leaves only Gov. Knight between Billy Rupp and death.

And it was this realization which, just two days ago, sparked a dramatic search for the 12 jurors who five years ago doomed an 18-year-old boy with a brain damaged in infancy to death.

The search was started by Santa Ana attorneys George Chula and James C. Monroe, two of the four volunteer defense lawyers now working the case.

With the aid of Pat Michaels, news editor of the Santa Ana Radio Station KWIZ, they located nearly all of the jurors. Michaels put out hourly appeals for the jurors to contact the attorneys.

Then Chula, with his firm's special investigator, Jim Burton, talked to those contacted.

"Once we had explained the situation," Chula told me, "the jurors were more than happy to sign the affidavits."

Among the first to sign was Mrs. Lucille Lanford of Santa Ana, who five years ago held out against a death verdict for 28 1/2 hours before giving in "to fatigue and other pressures."

"At the time," she told Chula yesterday, "I believed that in certain cases the death penalty was all right. With Rupp, our choice was either to kill him or leave it to chance that he might be turned free again in the future.

"But now," she added, "this whole case has me so mixed up, I don't think I even believe in capital punishment any more."

Juror Thomas O'Brien of Buena Park stated:

"I'm doing it purely in the interests of justice. I hope it will do some good."

1952_0813_rupp


Chula, who interrupted his vacation in the East to return to the case, stated that all of the former jurors who signed affidavits said they knew that Rupp, discharged from a mental institution at the age of 14, was "not normal."

It's something that psychiatrists, physicians and the boy's own father, William Francis Rupp Sr., had insisted long before the boy committed his almost inevitable crime.

Dr. Samuel Marcus, an L.A. psychiatrist called in to treat the boy when he was 14, had predicted that Rupp, if not taken out of society, would commit a major crime.


How to Get--and Keep--a Husband

1957_0830_constance
Aug. 30, 1957
Los Angeles

If it's true that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle, then author Kate Constance wants every salmon to have a Schwinn. She's written a book on the subject, "How to Get and Keep a Husband," which is being serialized in the Mirror.

In Part 5, Constance tells the aspiring fish how to snare a bicycle without arousing his delicate suspicions. And she also advises the fish on preparing herself for marriage--especially if she is forced to keep working!

For the fact is, dear fish, that the bicycle is, by nature, a hunter and hates to feel hunted by a fish intent on marriage. Nothing is more likely to chase away a prospective bike than a wily, scheming fish, Constance writes.

1957_0830_recipe "Men are usually afraid of the wary-eyed matrimonial huntress," Constance writes.  "Marrying should be right at the top of a woman's thought processes, but she had better not let the man know it!" she says.

Consider this comment from a wary but eligible bicycle: "I am not keen about making new female friends. Ninety-nine out of 100 start putting their claws into a man and try to hold him fiercely to the path toward marriage if he so much as asks them out to dinner or a dance now and then. It would be so refreshing if women treated new men friends as intelligent beings and not just dumb brutes standing around waiting to be taken into marriage."

First, Constance gives a few don'ts:

1. Don't use your bicycle as a convenient escort or errand boy.

2. Don't use your bicycle as a meal ticket or way out of a crummy job.

And a few do's to prepare the fish for married life:

1. A married fish must be prepared to give more than she receives.

    "With that realistic outlook, she will not be disillusioned by the demands that necessarily come with a wedding ring. She never should expect marriage to solve any financial, emotional or social problems," Constance writes.

2. If the fish must continue to work after marriage, she must be gracious.

    "Brutal but true is the fact that many working wives sadistically enjoy needling their husbands over the fact that they are 'forced' to work outside the home," Constance writes.

    "If the bride decides to continue working, she should do it graciously, never reminding her husband that her paycheck is necessary for many of the luxuries or near-luxuries she craves. Even if she has to work for the basic necessities, she should keep her mouth shut on the subject if she wants a successful marriage."

[Note: In case there is any doubt, let me add: As with the horoscopes, this is for entertainment purposes only.--lrh]

Fried Rice

 

1957_0829_rice

Aug. 29-30, 1957
Los Angeles

1957_0829_rice_mug The poor thing died as hardboiled as she had lived: Renting a junky room in an old house that had been cut up into apartments. The landlord said she'd been sick for the last week. He was another writer, like her, and I wonder if he took her in because he felt sorry for her.

She got her long line of names from a long line of husbands: Georgiana Ann Randolph Fallows Ferguson Lipton De Mott Bishop. She met the last one, another writer, on her second trip to Camarillo, where her daughter put her to see if they could boil her out.

Everybody knew her as Craig Rice, author of "Having a Wonderful Crime," "Trial by Fury" and "The Lucky Stiff." Sometimes she used another pen name, Daphne Sanders.

The landlord of the house at 457 S. Serrano, R. DeWitt Miller, said she had been sick in bed for about a week and had taken a bad fall earlier in the day. She told him she was having an attack of malaria and asked him to get some quinine from the drugstore. He told her she should call a doctor, but she refused.

Two tenants found her sprawled across the bed and frothing at the mouth. James McNamara, a news editor at a radio station, and Richard Terry, an ad man, said they tried to revive her after calling an ambulance but she was dead when it arrived.

The whole place was strewn with cigarette butts and burned-out kitchen matches, and her purse was in a wicker hamper near the door, spattered with blood, The Times said. A globe of the world had fallen to the floor along with a open book: "A Family Treasury of Children's Stories."

Her pink eyeglasses were lying on a copy of her latest book, "Knocked for a Loop," next to her portable typewriter on a desk cluttered with more junk: A stuffed rabbit, Madonna and Child, and an empty vodka bottle. Beneath her ashtray were two bad checks, one for $60, the other for $410, returned for insufficient funds.

There was a wobbly pile of books on her nightstand and a painting of her mother on the wall, hanging above a fake mantel. "A somber oil portrait of a lovely woman of another era," The Times said.

She showed an early flair for drama, having been born in a carriage at Michigan Avenue and 12th Street in Chicago. She began writing poetry when she was 9 and got her first newspaper job when she was 18. Along the way, she wrote songs, publicity, a gardening column (she won a prize for her petunias), movie scenarios and had three children.

1957_0830_rice_desk

Dr. Frederick Newbarr, the medical examiner, said more tests were needed to determine the cause of death. The Times never reported on the results.

Georgiana Ann Randolph Fallows Ferguson Lipton De Mott Bishop, author of "My Kingdom for a Hearse," was 49.

Bonus fact: Earl Derr Biggers, the author of the Charlie Chan mysteries, lived at 2000 E. California Blvd., San Marino.

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Remedy for road rage

Aug. 29, 1957
Los Angeles

So that's why we have platinum spark plugs....

1957_0829_platinum

True confessions

Florabel_muir02

Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles reporter and columnist Forabel Muir with a copy of her book, "Headline Happy."


Aug. 30, 1957
Los Angeles

What's with all these marriage quizzes? How about some blood and gore?

Believe it or not, I'm no crime fan and it's draining to dig through the details of a gruesome case like the Judith Mae Andersen killing. I needed some comic relief.

But since you asked, here's some stories we're following:

  • The Confidential magazine trial. Most of the scandal magazine's dirt comes prostitutes, ex-lovers and  other lowlifes. But film director Michael Todd, the husband of Elizabeth Taylor? Actually, yes. But he can explain.
  • The fatal beating of San Pedro attorney Milo S. Smith, who was found bound and bloody and was "kneed or kicked to death," The Times says.
  • A hearing for James Merkouris, who was once confined to a soundproof box because of his courtroom outbursts. The proceedings were conducted while he was spread-eagled on his back with five deputies holding him down.
  • The Dodgers aren't satisfied with 200 acres in Chavez Ravine. They want 350 acres, but the city doesn't own all that land.

Stay tuned.....

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How to Get--and Keep--a Husband

1957_0829_constance

Aug. 29, 1957
Los Angeles

If it's true that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle, then author Kate Constance wants every salmon to have a Schwinn. She's written a book on the subject, "How to Get and Keep a Husband," which is being serialized in the Mirror.

Part 4 is the installment I've been waiting for, because Constance finally addresses the male part of the equation. It's not pretty, dear fish, because now that you're ready for a bicycle, the task is to pick the right one. And, between us salmon, it's not easy. There are lots of bad bicycles out there!

This is what to look for so that you get a 10-speed and not some clunker, because if you're wasting time with that old beater bike, some nice beach cruiser is getting away!

Or as Constance says: "Many lovely girls have suffered damaging emotional upset because of long and fruitless romances with men who selfishly monopolize their social time, driving away other possible suitors, yet never get around to proposing. The effect upon a woman's ego can be pitiful."

"Remember -- there are thousands of single male delinquents in our country who are shams foisting their spurious attentions upon women whom they have no intention of marrying." [Ouch!! It hurt my fingers just to type that--lrh].

How do you pick a bicycle? Ask yourself: Is he fish-worthy?

1957_0829_beck021. Is he a cheapskate? We're not talking about Mr. Constance, who "practically popped with gratitude" when Constance suggested an economical night on the town. No, Mr. Tightwad asks you out for a late date so he doesn't have to spring for dinner. Ice cream and a drive are more his speed. Even worse: "He never sends flowers or candy or a book but borrows good literature and even the evening paper!"

2. Does he blow his dough? Mr. Easy Come, Easy Go is just as bad as Mr. Tightwad, Constance says. He can't be cured, "and the woman who ties her destiny to him is taking a very long chance!"

3. Is he a boudoir bum? You know what I mean, dear fish. This is the bicycle that will take and take and take and never come across with an engagement ring. Mr. BB doesn't want love, he doesn't want marriage and he most certainly does not want children, Constance says. Mr. BB always has "some hopeful female on the string to give him all the sexual attention he wants. She yields to him in the hope that their physical relationship will foster enough love to induce him to propose.

"Poor, foolish female!"

4. Is he a perfectionist? Mr. Perfect is always frustrated because nothing else in life--especially you, dear fish--is perfect. Is the furniture a bit dusty? A sin! Is the seam on your stocking crooked? Even worse! Does he correct you when you mispronounce words? Run like the wind!

5. Is he, errrrrr, uhhhhh, ummmm gay? Of course, this is 1957, so Constance phrases the question a bit differently. Is he "abnormal?" "A type sometimes harder to recognize than you may believe," Constance says. "Some are highly social and give the outward appearance of being good marriage prospects, but never carry a romance forward toward marriage. They like to escort pretty women in public as a social shield.

"Men of this type are selfish cheats taking up a woman's valuable time and arousing false hopes in her heart.

"How can a woman discern the truth in a situation of this kind? If such a suspicion enters her mind, she might enlist the services of another, trusted man friend. Usually men can recognize telltale characteristics forever hidden from a woman's perception."

6. Is he Jack Daniels' best friend?
Maybe you can work a miracle but why handicap yourself, because Mr. JDBF is going to have lots of other problems to go with the drinking.

Here's some bikes worth riding:

1. New and not broken in yet. If you're a young fish, getting a young and inexperienced bicycle is the best, "so you can grow and build together"

2. The old, carefully maintained bike. You may need to be patient, dear fish: "Even if they have become set in their ways, a woman's love and patient guidance eventually can lead them into the broadening path of family life."

Sometimes the older bike is good because he's already housebroken, Constance says, at least if he's a widower. But the man who has been divorced several times, "is not a matrimonial prize."

Some final thoughts: "A woman must overlook age, physical appearance and small faults in favor of character, dependability and kindness."

[Note: In case there is any doubt, let me add: As with the horoscopes, this is for entertainment purposes only.--lrh]

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Paul V. Coates--Confidential File

Paul_coates_2 Aug. 29, 1957

Lynn Stuart didn't fall into a terror machine.

She jumped in, voluntarily.

When she did so, she was living in an outwardly quiet and clean Santa Ana community. She was married to a truck driver. She was raising two infant sons.

The neighbors liked her. The police didn't even known she existed. And those who operated in the dark corners of her town just plain ignored her.

But, almost overnight, all of that changed.

She took a job as a waitress in a small cafe not far from her home. She met and mixed with a bad crowd.

She learned the "language" they spoke. And shortly afterward she began dealing in the products.

She started making "buys"--of pills and marijuana and heroin.

What her new associates thought of her is hard to say.

But the feelings of her neighbors and friends, and of the police, were not hidden.

The police began staking out on her home, shaking her down when she left work. A few times, they threw her in jail on suspicion.

1957_0829_powers The neighbors and friends were more subtle. They just stopped talking to her.

To this point, Lynn Stuart's story differs little from the stories of dozens of others who became involved with narcotics.

But there is a major difference.

Lynn Stuart became entangled in the horror-web of dope out of a feeling of civic duty.

She was neither an addict nor a pusher.

She was, instead, an undercover narcotics agent.

Her nonpaying job began in 1951. She appeared at the sheriff's narcotics investigation bureau and stated, innocently, that she had heard about the seriousness of the problem and wanted to do something about it.

She had two infant sons, she explained, who might someday be affected.

The sheriffs checked her background, warned her of the dangers and put her to work. Assignment No. 1 was to become a waitress in her neighborhood cafe--a suspected hangout.

At the time, she didn't know marijuana from dried cabbage, but her ignorance worked beautifully to her advantage.

Who would suspect you of being a narco agent if you couldn't even use the jargon?

Everything worked almost too well, in fact.

Because Lynn Stuart became so successful, so deeply involved, that she practically cut off any personal retreat.

She made all the parties. She took trips to Tijuana with "friends" who'd tie 50-pound sacks of marijuana under their cars, or hide a few ounces of "H" in a secret stash compartment under the dashboard.

She attended the big weekend parties in Balboa and Newport. (Both communities were loaded with narcotics, she told me).

And she continued making "buys" up to $300.

Lynn Stuart's husband was the only outsider who knew of her job. He wasn't enthusiastic about it, but he didn't try to convince her to quit. He trusted the sheriffs, who gave her every protection possible.

The Stuart's house was ransacked a few times after she had made some substantial "buys"--to disprove rather plainly the old bit about honor among thieves.

But while Lynn Stuart minimizes the dangers to herself and her family, it's obvious that they were always there.

Because during her six years of undercover work, she supplied information to catch and convict nearly 30 pushers.

That's not easy to do without arousing heavy suspicions.

I talked to Lynn Stuart (a pseudonym) yesterday. She's through now--just a plain housewife, bringing up two sons.

Her experiences were pretty terrifying, she admits. But she wouldn't trade them.

"When I was in a tight situation," she told me, "I was afraid till I got out of it. Then it was over.

"But what used to send me home crying was watching the kids--the teenagers--get hooked.

"They could have been my kids in a few more years.

"Helping put some vicious people out of circulation--I guess that's what made it so worthwhile."

Paul V. Coates--Confidential File

Paul_coates Aug. 27, 1957

SUBJECTS' NAMES: Trudy, 6, Terry, 9, and Kim, 11, Ingram.

SUBJECTS' DESCRIPTIONS: All have blue eyes, light brown hair. Trudy and Terry, stocky build. Kim, slender.

Anyone with information as to their whereabouts is asked to contact Harvey Ingram, 1132 S. Holt Ave., Phone, WE bster 1-1501

Harvey Ingram's three children disappeared 14 months ago.

Today, he doesn't even know if they're dead or alive.

But in police language, they're not "missing persons." They aren't, because they disappeared with their mother.

To the police, Harvey Ingram's problem is (or was, until recently) a domestic one. If he ever wants to see them again, it's up to him to find them.

That's the official attitude of our law enforcement bodies.

It's a harsh one, but, in a way, it's a very necessary one. Because if the police found themselves dragged into every domestic entanglement in which participants sought their aid, they'd have little time for anything else.

The problem faced by Harvey Ingram is not unlike that of dozens of other husbands who emerge from California's divorce courts.

With rare exception, the mother--if at all fit--gets custody of the children. And from there, she has little difficulty slipping out of sight and leaving her ex-husband with two unpleasant surprises.

He can conduct an often expensive personal search and if he locates them, return to court (more expense) to request that his visitation privileges be absolutely enforced.

Or he can wait with the unlikely hope that someday they'll reappear.

Harvey Ingram selected the first.

1957_0827_coates

And so far, his reward has been only additional expenses.

Ingram, a food distributor, and his wive, Vivian, were married in 1945. They separated eight years later and received their interlocutory decree in November of 1955.

It was a clean divorce. No scandal.

And Ingram, who didn't contest his wife's suit, came out of it better than most men do. He had been a good provider, and a clergyman testified that he'd never seen a stronger relationship between father and children.

The court psychologist recommended maximum visitation rights.

And the judge awarded him alternate weekends, certain holidays, plus half of the summer. Ingram was to pay $120 a month child support. His wife's alimony request was denied.

But then, according to Ingram, the trouble started. He says that on several occasions his wife wouldn't live up to the visitation order.

He adds: "I would have to have been a millionaire to go back to court on each violation." He, of course, was stuck with both attorneys' fees.

Then, on June 24 of last year, his wife and three children disappeared.

Immediately, Ingram sought help. He was turned down by the police and sheriff's office. It was a month before he could get the court to issue a subpoena on his wife. A deputy tried to serve it at her last known address. Naturally, she wasn't there.

It couldn't be served through her attorney, either, because she had withdrawn her papers.

When it became evident that the only way the subpoena could be served was if Ingram personally located his wife, he began a painstaking search.

He traced her and the children to Tucson, Ariz., lost the trail, picked it up again. But he never found her. He checked with city and county schools here. He checked with the state motor vehicle department. He checked lots of places.

Finally, last month, he got the court to issue a bench warrant for her arrest.

But it's just a piece of paper until the police accidentally stumble across her, or his continued search finally pays a dividend.

Ingram talks like a man who's very devoted to his children.

He talks like a man who won't quit searching till he finds them.

And maybe, someday, he will, in spite of some California divorce laws which almost make the state a party to his misfortune.

 

How to Get--and Keep--a Husband

 

1957_0828_constance

Aug. 28, 1957
Los Angeles

If it's true that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle, then author Kate Constance wants every salmon to have a Schwinn. She's written a book on the subject, "How to Get and Keep a Husband," which is being serialized in the Mirror.

In Part 3, she asks: Are you made for marriage? And she cautions fish on the difference between getting a marriage proposal--and being propositioned.

Constance is blunt: "If you are 30 years old and aren't married, something is wrong. That something is not necessarily wrong with you. Perhaps it is in your environment or circumstances.

1957_0828_constance_pix "But very likely it is you--your attitudes, your personality, your objectives or your appearance."

Because for every fish that's ready for marriage, there is a bicycle waiting to be ridden, she says. But are you ready? Here's the Made for Marriage quiz:

1. Are you over 30? Are you having a pity party because you aren't married? Are you "drowning your disappointment in work, reading, all-girl activities and family interests?"

2. Do you have physical deficiencies? "If you are burdened with a deformity or defect, do you almost hate yourself for it and envy those who are happily married?"

3. Not have an education? Does your lack of learning keep you in a bad job and exclude you from situations where you might meet eligible men? Or do you avoid social situations because you are afraid you'll say something stupid?

4. Are you broke? Do you think that money will solve all your problems and do you envy people who have more than you?

5. Are you homely? "Is your face or your figure so unbecoming that you cringe when you look in the mirror?" Worse yet, do you think men make fun of your looks?

6. Are you a 5 in a world of 10s? Are you so fed up with trying to look good, feel good and be good that you want to give up and become a slob?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not a fish who is ready for a bicycle!

Because many of the things you want so much don't matter to men, Constance says.

To be sure, she says, money, youth and a good figure get male attention. But more often than not, the fish won't get a marriage proposal--she'll get propositioned!

Constance warns: "Too many women, finding it difficult to win a husband, resort to every available physical means to arouse and satisfy the males they attract. In so doing, they destroy the very codes and standards they would prefer to live by." Or as Charlie Chan might say: "Girl who do everything under sun get everything sunburned."

And Constance says looks are less important than you imagine. Because regardless of what you think, a bicycle will ask a beautiful fish up to his apartment, but not down the aisle.

"Men shy from married life with a woman who is too good-looking, fearing that she may overshadow him, that she will prove to be selfish and spoiled, and that she may be unfaithful," Constance says.

"The sad truth is that a beautiful woman too often feels that character and personality are unnecessary, and that she has all she needs to get by--until age creeps up and takes her most precious asset."

And age is truly unimportant, Constance says. The problem is that some fish have an inferiority complex because they are over 30.

What do bicycles want from fish? "Emotional maturity, poise, considerateness, intellectual stimulation and efficient homemaking." None of which have anything to do with money, looks or age!

Her final advice: Be your better self.

[Note: In case there is any doubt, let me add: As with the horoscopes, this is for entertainment purposes only.--lrh]

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Not on Netflix

1957_0828_colossal

Aug. 28, 1957
Los Angeles

Incredibly enough, The Times failed to review this double feature from American International Pictures. Take my word for it, though: Bad things happen.

How did AIP come up with such classics? In 1958, The Times' Philip K. Scheuer interviewed James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff to find out. Nicholson and Arkoff said the typical AIP feature was shot in eight to 10 days for about $150,000 ($1,074,792.57 USD 2006). In a reverse of conventional thinking (drawing a wide audience with two diverse films) they released double bills that would appeal to the same audience, a lesson Nicholson learned in reissuing "Grapes of Wrath" and "Tobacco Road."

Here's some tips for the next Tarantino.

Nicholson:

"Our pictures are made primarily for the 8-to-21 groups. Science fiction and horror, about 50%; war films also; teenage stories.

"We do our planning backwards: Get what sounds like a title that will arouse interest [Think: "Dragstrip Girl" and "Night of the Blood Beast"], then a monster or gimmick; then figure what our advertising is going to consist of.

"Then we bring in a writer to provide a script to fit the title and concept.

"Now we bring in the producer--though he may have been in during the writing of the script earlier. Four of our producers are also writers and one, [Roger] Corman is also a director."

Arkoff:

"In the whole organization, many double in jobs. Basically we're merchandisers, so it's easier when we work with fewer people, the ones we know can match the concept we have in mind."

Nicholson:

"The titles are simple and don't leave any doubt what the picture is about." [Think: "Attack of the Puppet People."]

Arkoff:

"Titles, monsters and gimmicks are the stars. If these can't attract, we have missed the merchandising boat."

Nicholson:

"But we must keep coming up with different ideas than heretofore."

Nicholson and Arkoff like science fiction because "there is no other form of storytelling for which you can call upon your imagination."

But their favorite double bill so far?

"Machine Gun Kelly" and "The Bonnie Parker Story."

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