See if you can identify this gentleman from The Times photo archives.
(Hint: He's not Arnold Stang. He's also not Telly Savalas, Mickey Cohen, Sammy Cahn, Billy Wilder, Mel Blanc, Neil Simon or Jack Dragna).
Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
See if you can identify this gentleman from The Times photo archives.
Sept. 5, 1957
An Altadena family took off recently on a trip to Europe. The other day, the next-door neighbor, Ed Murray, was advised by his youngster that a skunk was trapped in the cement crawl hole at the side of the vacant house.
Now here was a pretty good dilemma. How do you lure a skunk out of a 3-foot well without, uh, retaliation? There was also the possibility that the skunk might let go with its defense mechanism through the screen and under the house, where the memory would linger.
First, Ed decided, you feed it. El skunko cagily ate the lettuce and bread he provided.
Then, while the skunk cowered menacingly in a corner, Ed cautiously slipped a plank down the well and against the side so it could climb out. Unfortunately, the skunk refused to walk the plank to freedom. Apparently it was too steep.
Ed delicately dropped several 2x4s into the well and set the plank on them to decrease the grade. Next morning, 24 hours later, the skunk was gone.
Ed will never know if he is the neighborhood benefactor or if the skunk was someone's pet--deodorized.
ONLY IN L.A.--An
elderly woman on a streetcar was reading a homemade scrapbook of
biblical quotations and religious clippings and Mildred Scott of
Bellflower, sitting next to her, feared she was momentarily in for an
And then, furtively, the woman turned the last page and opened a copy of Confidential concealed under the back cover.
Mildred reports sadly that the old gal focused more intently on paradise lost than she had on paradise gained.
A GENTLEMAN who wished to talk to an editor was intercepted by an office boy, J. Norman Bollerup, who later wrote in a memo, "He is an exceptional citizen and was kind enough to explain to me how he stopped the Korean war."
A MAJOR speculation once Labor Day is passed is what kind of winter it will be and weather-conscious folk look for signs and portents in such things as chipmunks walking bowlegged and cows mooing in B-flat.
This is to report that Ernie Maxwell of Idyllwild anticipates it will be wet and cold. Something about the way the ants are holding their mouths, he explains.
MISCELLANY--Lt. Lee Jones is counting the days until Sept. 14, when he will retire from the LAPD after 28 years, 21 of them in the crime lab, which he helped make outstanding nationally. Lee is the fellow who can establish culpability by studying bits of broken headlight glass or a cloth imprint on a fender after a hit-run accident or tiny twigs in a suspect's trouser cuff after a burglary. He plans to teach scientific investigation at L.A. State.
Jim Bassett saw a sign on a sports car, "Made in Las Vegas--The Hard Way."
[Note: Leeland "Lee" Jones was at the Black Dahlia crime scene and worked many other cases in conjunction with the crime lab's Ray Pinker. Jones also wrote a book on forensics. Here's one of his cases:]
They were sent to me by former county patients following my recent reports--both in this column and on television--of some frightening conditions which existed, and still exist, in the institution.
I believe that the letters were written by sincere people. But I'm not going to print them.
I'm not, because I don't think it would benefit anyone.
Instead, I'm going to print excerpts from a letter written by a doctor currently employed at General Hospital.
For obvious reasons, I'm not mentioning his name.
"The morning following your latest report," the doctor writes, "there was quite a buzz in the hospital halls.
"The consensus of opinion among the doctors was that the conditions which you presented are essentially true.
"Of course, there are the usual number of cranks who are unhappy even when they receive the best of charity, but it is true that many patients here are neglected.
"The Civil Service bureaucracy is to a great extent the cause.
"Complex as it is, I will attempt to analyze the problem.
"The following, I believe, are the reasons and contributing factors for poor patient care at the hospital:
"1--Attitude of the employees toward the patients.
"It is no secret that many employees are actually aggressive toward patients. Remarks and conversations can be heard daily, on every floor of the building, which are resentful of the patients being there.
"2--Not enough help in certain key locations where the patient load is always heavy.
"The admitting room is always crowded and help is insufficient. The X-ray department is another bottleneck.
"3--The hospital facilities are many times overburdened with ineligible patients who seek free medical care.
"Perhaps these patients are considered eligible by the Social Service Department, but any outsider who knew their true circumstances would say 'No' to their receiving free medical care.
"This should also include those able to work, but too lazy. Why should they work when charity is so easy to obtain?
"It brings to mind the actual case of a bum who lived by drifting from charity hospital to charity hospital.
"He had learned to malinger by describing certain symptoms which experience had taught him would prompt the doctor to keep him in the hospital for observation.
"He could tell you how the service was in New Orleans, how the food was in Chicago, and so forth.
"4--The type of personnel which applies for Civil Service jobs.
"Time killers often find a good place to kill time in Civil Service. Many employees are putting in time waiting for retirement.
"It's difficult to fire a poor employee. This would require close watching to prove incompetence. The close watching would of necessity be done by a superior--an older employee who was even closer to retirement, and perhaps an even better time killer with more experienced years of loafing behind him.
"A situation like this naturally tends to drive the more competent help away from the hospital.
"5--Poor supervision of employees by superiors.
"Laxity in duties goes uncorrected.
"The chain of authority in many departments is so broken up that it just doesn't exist in an effective form.
"In summing up, I should say that while the problem at the hospital is not new, it seems to be getting worse, rather than better.
"Much of the careless attitude of the lazy employee is learned by other employees and so the contagion spreads unabated."
The doctor's views aren't completely shared, of course, by County General Hospital's administrators.
Tomorrow I'll report the hospital's faults, problems and needed corrective measures as seen by the men in charge.
See if you can identify this gentleman from The Times photo archives.
(Hint: He's not Arnold Stang).
Guesses so far: Telly Savalas.
Sept. 4, 1957
Its terrorists are kids--the children of its adults.
With knives and guns and razors they have sliced and blasted open the heart of the biggest metropolis in the United States.
The terror was a long time coming.
And the cure is probably a long and expensive time away.
It scares me. Even though New York is 3,000 miles away, it scares me.
Partly because I read this week about the juvenile gang murder of an 18-year-old girl on L.A.'s South Side.
Partly because I know our juvenile problem is not lessening.
And partly because I know that we--as a city and a county--are headed 100% in the wrong direction in taking any precautions. And we don't seem to care.
Recently, the County Probation Department was the victim of an unfortunate budget slash, apparently inspired by us, the people.
We gave them less money to operate. We granted them no new staff.
And then we told them to take over Juvenile Hall. We tossed them an extra forestry camp to staff and operate. And we pulled all juvenile traffic cases away from police agencies and shoved them into their lap.
The added load, of course, makes efficiency a near-impossibility.
But the tragedy is born in what the Probation Department is going to have to do to meet it, to stretch its already strained staff.
It is going to wipe out its only section focused strictly on prevention.
The section is (by the end of the month, we can use the past tense) known as Group Guidance. It includes 11 deputy probation officers who move into juvenile trouble areas and work with the groups of kids we distastefully refer to as "gangs" and "rat packs."
Recommended case load per officer is two areas. Some officers carry three or four.
Their approach is a broad and intelligent one. They don't move into an area with a "meet me here and we'll start a club" attitude. They're pros--highly skilled, highly educated, highly trained.
They work with individual kids as individuals--trying to change the leaders, to break up the "group-mind" which germinates in gangs.
They also work with community organizations and leaders to get them to shoulder some of the responsibility and to change their often aloof and disdainful attitudes toward juvenile troublemakers.
And, though they don't admit it, they've been directly responsible for breaking down hate barriers between numerous police officers and the kids.
That, possibly, is the most ticklish and important job of all.
Kids with no respect for police have no respect for law or for society. And too often our "officers of peace" prefer to employ rousting and harassing techniques rather than try to find a meeting ground built on a little understanding.
I have, over the years, watched Group Guidance officers in action.
I've considered some of their accomplishments plain miracles.
They work doctors' hours. They get into the homes. They help the kids' parents fill out income tax forms. They find jobs for the kids. They loan them money. They help them out of some embarrassing scrapes.
Yet, all the time they're working to instill social responsibility into them, to give them confidence, as individuals and as a group--and to channel it constructively.
But I'd hate to tell you how much they're getting paid for their sweat.
Instead, I'll just say that if they can save just two kids a year from one-year jail terms they are more than repaying us taxpayers their salary.
When a Group Guidance officer moves into a new area, he usually finds that between 50-100% of the kids are on probation and parole.
The duration of his stay is determined by the drop in the percentage.
I remember one officer, Al Collier, who stepped into a rough section where 75% of juveniles were on probation and parole a few years ago.
When he was pulled out to enter another area, the percentage was down to 10.
Logic dictates that the man not only saved money for our community but also saved some people from very personal grief.
But, when penny pinching's involved, logic often gets tossed out the window.
Besides, we'll be needing the money to build bigger and better prisons.
Sept. 4, 1957
On a field trip to Grauman's Chinese Theater so that the court could visit the notorious Row 35, where Maureen O'Hara's alleged tryst occurred, jurors discovered that it was really Row 40. Aisle C.
Upon being shown to the seats, La Guerre Drouet, the juror whose request prompted the trip, tried to reenact O'Hara's alleged encounter with a Mexican lover, cuddling and writhing with an imaginary companion. "For several moments, the juror turned and tried various poses as he recalled defense testimony as to what allegedly happened," The Times said.
Back in court, wearing a blue-striped white cotton dress, turned-up white straw hat and "90-cent pearl earrings," O'Hara made her entrance, vowing "Up the Irish!" On the stand, she insisted that the incident never occurred, noting that she was out of the country when the alleged encounter took place.
Defense Attorney Arthur J. Crowley attacked her testimony on several fronts. He first tried to show that O'Hara had been out on the town with Mexican millionaire Enrique Parra. Crowley displayed a news photograph of the two of them at a nightclub and when O'Hara said she couldn't recall where it was taken, Crowley attempted to demonstrate that her memory was unclear on where the two of them had gone.
When Judge Herbert V. Walker barred that line of questioning, Crowley examined whether O'Hara had ever been to the Chinese Theater. O'Hara said she had only gone to the theater for several premieres ("The Robe," September 1953; "Prince Valiant," April 1954), and was always accompanied by a relative.
When a series of questions establishing Parra's identity concluded in whether they had ever been to Grauman's Chinese Theater, O'Hara replied: "Never!"
Crowley's final effort was to show that publicity from the Confidential article and the resulting trial had been good for her career. O'Hara said she hadn't been offered a job since the story was published (her next movie was "Our Man in Havana," released in 1959) and described her daughter Bronwyn crying herself to sleep because children at school were talking about the scandal.
Dorothy Dandridge also testified, disputing a purported incident described in the Confidential story "What Dorothy Dandridge Did in the Woods," involving white band leader Daniel Terry that supposedly occurred when she was appearing at Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe placed so many restrictions on African Americans that she spent most of her time in her suite, Dandridge said. "I worked nights and slept in the afternoon," she said.
When asked if she had ever ridden in a car with Terry, Dandridge replied: "I couldn't have been seen with Mr. Terry in a prejudiced place like Lake Tahoe."
Fashion note: Dandridge wore a beige linen suit with a white artificial corsage at her shoulder, The Times said.
SUBJECT'S DESCRIPTION: Age, 14. Height, 5 feet, 3 inches. Weight, 110 pounds. Blue eyes. Fair hair. Subject has mole on left cheek and scar under left eyebrow.
Anyone with information as to subject's whereabouts is requested to contact her mother, Mrs. Pat Morrell, 10515 Haines Cayon, Ave., Tujunga, FL orida 3-6564.
There are women who enjoy crying in front of strangers.
And there are women who don't.
And it's my personal, biased estimate that 80% of those who break down in front of reporters do so for reasons other than misery or suffering.
For centuries, women have neither underestimated nor underplayed the power of their tears.
But there's also the 20%. The minority who try to hold back so hard that you find yourself wishing they'd cry, before they explode.
It's this category in which I put Mrs. Patricia Morrell.
She came in a few days ago to tell me about Linda Lee.
With controlled calm, she explained that maybe a story in the paper might help locate her daughter.
"It's over 14 weeks now she's been gone," she told me.
"It was May 23, a Thursday. I got up as usual--to go to work at 6. That is, I leave home at 6.
"Like every day, I woke her up just a little bit. I said 'Goodbye, honey. Be a good girl.'
"And she said, 'All right, Mommy. I'll see you this afternoon.' "
Mrs. Morrell blinked.
"I always picked her up after school," she explained.
"But I got there after work and didn't see her. Then one of the girls came up to me. 'Are you looking for Linda?' she asked me.
"I said I was and she said, 'She didn't show up today, Mrs. Morrell.'
Mrs. Morrell reached into her handbag while describing her search. Then suddenly, she was talking about the night before.
"Linda was making some drapes for a friend of mine at work. I mentioned to her, 'Why don't you call Daddy?'
"He's in Texas. We've been divorced nine years.
"So she said, 'That's an idea.' You see, we were going to take a vacation in June and she was going to visit him. She called and had a nice talk and worked some more on the drapes.
"She's a very good housekeeper. She cooks and irons and she's getting to be a very good seamstress. She's better than I am at things like that."
A handkerchief was in Mrs. Morrell's hand now, and her eyes were blinking regularly.
"We did so many things together--almost like we were sisters. Swimming, skating, going to church, going to dances.
"There was really nothing you'd call family quarrels. Very seldom I'd have to scold her. Sometimes I'd get scolded, too."
I turned my head and Mrs. Morrell made a quick motion to her eyes.
"I suppose I should tell you that another girl left the same day. But she was in a fight.
"They told me that Linda was at the fight, too, but she didn't actually fight. Just two other girls. So I learned she had started to school, anyway, because the fight was right by the school.
"I don't know what to think. I know she's all right, but if she is, why doesn't she call me?
"I'm her mother and we're so... Maybe, do you suppose she's scared?"
On the word "scared" Mrs. Morrell's voice broke. And the tears came.
She looked at me and asked:
"Why should a girl be scared of her mother?"
[Note: The Times reported that Linda might have left Los Angeles with Carol Curl, 13, but never followed up on the story of the missing girls--lrh.]
Aug, 31-Sept. 3, 1957
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 Parts 6 and 7, Constance tells the fish where to meet bicycles and how to get dates!
How to meet a bicycle? Well, dear fish, the first challenge is to meet the right one, for there are many bad bicycles out there!
The good news is that you needn't move to another city just to find a fresh crop of bikes. In fact, many fish make the mistake of moving around the country prospecting for the lode of marriage prospects. Constance says: Stop it! And here's why:
"Many women who have gone to strange cities have confided in me that their only means of meeting men is by pickups. These easy-come, easy-go encounters usually result in futile, unhappy associations.
"The practice of the pickup has become increasingly prevalent in this country, even tried by 'nice' girls who are desperate for companionship. Almost any man who smiles at them across a bar or opens his car door at the corner is acceptable. The prestige of women generally has been lowered in the eyes of men by this practice.
"Frankly confused by the behavior of the opposite sex, men are often at a loss about what women want and expect in standards of conduct, for while they expect the treatment due a lady they nevertheless behave like immoral women."
(At right, a courtship ritual of the 1950s: wearing a girdle and playing the castanets).
So how does the fish meet a nice bicycle? You might try selling swank shirts in your spare time. We know one fish who did that and met a marvelous bike. Another fish sold pipes in her spare time and in no time was married to a wealthy tobacco grower. Still another used her vacation time volunteering in politics and is now married to the mayor! Two sisters volunteered with the local opera company. One of the fish bagged an operatic tenor, the other went on tour and netted an European nobleman!
You might also take up a trade that puts you in contact with lots of nice, eligible bikes, Constance says. You could be a manicurist, drugstore clerk or elevator operator. There's also secretarial work, bookkeeping and clerking.
Don't forget, dear fish, that it's the responsibility of married fish to help their single sisters. It's quite likely that you may become friends with a nice couple who will introduce you to one of their single bike friends.
One word of warning, dear fish: Do NOT flirt with your girlfriends' husbands or bad things will happen.
"No matter how trivial or how much in jest, abstain from familiarities of word or action with your friend's husband. There should be nothing to suggest even the slightest interest in the husband beyond what you might evince toward a business acquaintance in your office.
"I have seen single women after taking a couple of drinks make fools of themselves with silly, although perhaps meaningless, passes at the husbands of their friends. As a result, they were ostracized from those circles."
Now that you have met an eligible bicycle, how do you get him to ask you out? Certainly not with a pickup!
The secret, dear fish, is that bicycles crave the spotlight. If you put a bike at center stage he's already where you want him! Just don't let him know he's being hunted.
Here's a case study:
Over six months, a fish rode the elevator with an attractive bicycle. One rainy morning, when the two of them had the elevator to themselves, she noticed he was wearing a bright red tie and said: "Every man could brighten up these rainy days if he wore a good-looking tie like that. I'll bet your wife suggested that one."
This was a two-step process in which the shrewd fish could be cheerful and find out if the bicycle was married.
"Oh, I've got a jillion," said the unsuspecting bicycle. "A jillion ties and no wife. I have ties from many parts of the world. Sort of a hobby."
"Where did that one come from?" asked the fish. "Let me guess."
"Think about it," he suggested. "I'll see if you guess right when I come out for coffee at 10:30."
So at 10:30 he came by. They went to coffee and she made several guesses (wrong every time, can you believe it?).
OK, so they didn't get married but they had some nice dates and she eventually married his brother, who presumably didn't have a neckwear fetish.
Here are some of Constance's do's and don'ts for dating:
1. Use "sweet feminine mystery." Constance invokes the "Mona Lisa": "I dare you to come hither--but don't touch!"
2. Use moderation. Expensive looks and lavish talk frighten a bicycle.
3. Be nice, be reserved, be classy. Don't be a smart-mouthed fish and don't be too talkative or he'll think you're dumb or foolish.
4. Be gracious. Don't be a snob or he'll think you're judging him, too.
5. Look good. Femininity is more than classic features and expensive clothes, Constance says. "She who is womanly, dainty and clean and elegantly fragrant sums up the basic feminine appeal."
Hints for getting beyond the first date:
And what about the bedroom?
Constance has some very 1957 advice for the fish:
"Any realistic view of the problem recognizes the element of sex. This stimulates and elevates the relationship if retained in proper proportion. But it cheapens and more often destroys the meaningful part of a friendship if allowed to get out of control.
" 'Sexual satisfaction' is omitted from this list because a man of good standards does not include free love in his dating requisites."
And what if a bicycle expects sex after several dates? Drop him and don't lose a bit of sleep over it, Constance says! Why? Because, dear fish, that's your marriage bait, she says.
"She should lure him with a certain amount of physical attractiveness but withhold all sexual compliance as the logical reward of marriage."
[Note: In case there is any doubt, let me add: As with the horoscopes, this is for entertainment purposes only.--lrh]