The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: November 18, 2007 - November 24, 2007

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Brenda Allen

 

 

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Photograph by Al Humphreys / Los Angeles Times

Someone asked: Who was Brenda Allen? I imagine you've read something about her or more likely you have at least heard of her. This is Brenda (she also used the name Marie Mitchell) with her attorney, Max Solomon, on May 19, 1948. Vice officers arrested her during a prostitution raid at 8436 Harold Way and seized a file card box full of prominent names. But that was only the beginning.

I'm going to start posting some pictures of her so maybe you'll get an idea of what she was like. She is wearing sunglasses in every single photo. I'll fill in some details along the way.

Best sellers

Nov. 24, 1957

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Nov. 24, 1957

 

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Hidden wealth

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Nov. 23, 1957
Los Angeles

1957_1123_schlosser Julius L. Schlosser was a successful, wealthy auto executive who owned Chevrolet dealerships at 1015 S. Western Ave. and 4403 W. Adams. He built a fine Glendale home in 1925 designed by Paul R. Williams before moving to an even larger home at 449 S. Plymouth Blvd.*

But this story has nothing to do with him. It's about what became of all his money and all his belongings after he died in 1948, leaving a widow, Laura, and an adopted teenage daughter, Patricia.

By 1957, Schlosser's 17-room Hancock Park mansion was lonely and forlorn, as the hand-carved grandfather clock ticked off the passing hours for the musty furnishings.

There were antique urns, statues and figurines everywhere, and the floors were covered with big Persian rugs. Someone must have once played the Louis XVI Steinway grand or one of the other two pianos--or maybe they fooled around on the harpsichord.

The 117-piece Steuben glassware set and the 96-piece Flora Danica Royal Copenhagen were mute testimony to the grand meals once served on the 13-piece custom dining ensemble.  Maybe someone passed the time on the Brunswick Balke pool table in the game room, where the walls were covered with polo mallets, spears, swords, daggers and a gun collection: Flintlocks, an 1873 Winchester and an 1864 Springfield.

Now there was just the two women that old place. Laura, 70, ailing and maybe disoriented, and Patricia, 25.

Under Laura's bed, there was a suitcase that supposedly contained $500,000 in cash. In the cedar chest, there was a cardboard box covered with tinfoil that held all the diamonds.

When the complicated case ended up in court, Patricia testified that Laura hit her in the eye and clawed her face. Laura yelled "Lies! Lies!"

We don't which is true, but either way, Patricia moved out July 12, 1957, after hiding about $15,000 under some boards in the bathtub of the unused bathroom off the game room. She took two fur coats and a gun.

While she was gone, she began withdrawing money on the bank accounts held jointly with her mother, claiming joint tenancy. There were bills to pay, she said, and extensive real estate holdings, including a Hollywood apartment house, to be attended to.

1961_0112_auction_2When she came back in August after what she called a short vacation, Patricia found that Laura's doctor, Vivagene A. Loop, had arranged for Arthwell C. Hayton to be appointed as Laura's guardian. Instead of anything like $500,000, there was nothing in the suitcase under the bed except a couple of hairbrushes. The box containing the jewelry was gone, as was the money hidden in the bathtub.

Patricia began court proceedings to remove Hayton as Laura's guardian. According to the testimony, Patricia, private detective Roderick Wilson and Dr. Richard Barton broke into the home and took Laura to a hospital, saying that she was unable to care for herself. Three hours later, Hayton had Laura moved to a Glendale facility.

The case became more complex. There were charges that Patricia was merely added to Laura's bank accounts for convenience, denying her claims on half the money. Testimony also revealed that most of the Schlossers' financial interests were handled by Edward Wong, who used to run a Chinese restaurant.

Other business matters were allocated to Flora M. Carter, the landlady of the Hollywood apartment house, who had been paroled after serving a sentence at the California Institution for Women in Corona for grand theft.

The court eventually convened a session at the Schlosser mansion. Laura sat on a lounge in the downstairs library while reporters prowled the home. In the end, the judge rejected Patricia's plea to remove Hayton as her mother's guardian.

And then the case evaporated. Laura died in 1961, survived by Patricia L. Schell and two grandchildren. Her obituary noted: "Guardians were appointed but suits for recovery of the funds never came to trial."

The contents of the mansion were auctioned off by order of the Superior Court, Jan. 12, 1964.

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*A Chevrolet dealer who lived on Plymouth? Only in L.A.





Random shot

 



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Photograph by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times
Here's a recent photo of the new LAPD headquarters under construction, Nov. 7, 2007.

Nov. 23, 1957

 


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Grid irony

Nov. 22, 1957
Los Angeles

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Santa Claus Lane

Stroll with the Daily Mirror down Santa Claus Lane on Hollywood Boulevard.

 

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Photograph by Clay Willcockson / Los Angeles Times
Hollywood Boulevard, Nov. 22, 1950

Click below for more photos

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Continue reading »

Nov. 22, 1957

 

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Nov. 22, 1963

 

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Santa Claus Lane

Here's Joe E. Brown to officially open Santa Claus Lane on Hollywood Boulevard, Nov. 20, 1938. (More photos to come!)

 

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Photograph by Cliff / Hollywood Citizen-News
The Times published this photo, although the back credits a photographer from a competing paper.

Wife shoots husband

 

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Nov. 21, 1957
Los Angeles

1954_1127_kober You remember that 35-year-old woman out in the Valley who hooked up with her daughter's 16-year-old boyfriend three years ago? Well, she shot him. Accident.

Jimmy and Dee Dee got married in 1957 and were living in Van Nuys. It was about 1 a.m. and he was teaching her how to strip and clean a .25-caliber semiautomatic.

"It was an accident," she said. "There must have been a bullet in the chamber. Jimmy had just shown me how to break the gun down and put it together again. He walked in front of it while I was dry-firing it."

Her younger daughter, who had just finished taking a shower, called police. Did I mention that this was 1 in the morning? Did I mention that the daughter (not daughter who was the ex-girlfriend, but the younger daughter) was 15 and had two kids?

OK, I won't make fun of these people. They have enough problems.

James Frederick Kober was 16 when he landed in the newspapers in November 1954 for the botched robbery of a North Hollywood liquor store, 10543 Victory Blvd. James fled from the store when owner Alfonse Schwartz took away his gun, but was arrested after police traced the weapon to the home of Dorothy (Dee Dee) C. Snow, 7328 Cartwright Ave., Sun Valley.

1957_1121_deedee_2The youth told officers that he had originally been going with Dee Dee's oldest daughter, Nancy, 14, but that he and the mother had fallen in love and he had moved in with them six weeks ago. Dee Dee, who divorced her first husband, William H. Railing, in 1945, and was separated from her second husband, Robert L. Snow, insisted that the relationship was platonic even though officers found love letters and pinup photos she had given to Jimmy.

It's unclear what became of the robbery case, but Dee Dee was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In the meantime, an 18-year-old neighbor, Larry Carter, 7438 Cartwright St., was accused of molesting Dee Dee's younger daughter, Sharon, 12, who was placed in protective custody.

  Prosecutors dropped the charges against her involving Jimmy then accused Dee Dee of contributing to the delinquency of Sharon. In 1955, given the choice of imprisonment or two years in Minnesota with her mother, Dee Dee chose 120 days in jail.

The next two years were apparently quiet in the Kober household. Dee Dee and James married in June 1957. By now they were living at 13417 Vanowen with her daughter Sharon Ann Auxier, 15, and Sharon's two children.

Then Dee Dee shot him. James was reported in fair condition at General Hospital after surgery to remove the bullet from his abdomen.

Held in jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, Dee Dee showed no concern about her legal problems, but asked about Jimmy. "How is he? Is he going to live?"

Unfortunately, as was often the case, The Times never followed up on this story. We can only hope that these people untangled their lives.

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ps. You may be wondering how Jimmy went from being 16 in a story published Nov. 24, 1954, to being 20 in a story published Nov. 21, 1957, instead of 19. Apparently this question didn't arise at the time.

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