Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
Feb. 29, 1968
Some evil person asked me to run a "Dear Abby," so here it is. How will this poor woman's daughter ever marry a doctor and get into the country club if she doesn't learn to sort laundry? Who on earth would want a steak dinner at a restaurant instead of a home-cooked meal? And Percy, aren't you a caution, dumping your date and dancing with a waitress--and a married one at that! America is tearing itself apart over the war in Vietnam, the sexual revolution is underway, and Abby is writing about sorting laundry. No wonder we used to talk about whether things were "relevant."
Update: I'm so upset by this I may have to make a spot of tea.
The new police headquarters under construction at Spring and 2nd streets, Feb. 28, 2008.
Faye Dunaway talks with Kevin Thomas about life since "Bonnie and Clyde" ... Romney drops out of the presidential race--doesn't that sound familiar? ... According to reports, President Johnson is preparing to mobilize Marine reservists and National Guard troops to expand the war in Vietnam ... The secretary of Defense (Robert S. McNamara) steps down ... Let me check the date. Is this really 1968? More Faye Dunaway on the jump.
Quote of the day: "Sometimes I think the only responsibility art has is honesty and it's not John Wayne coming over the hill victoriously." --Faye Dunaway
Above, the Stoddard-Dayton ($58,265.68 USD 2007). Drivers prepare for the annual Pasadena-Altadena Hill Climb, an important event in motor sports in early 20th century Los Angeles. The race course started at Orange Grove and went up Los Robles, took a turn to Santa Rosa and ended at Lake Avenue. Unfortunately, the route changed slightly over the years and today's maps and the vague descriptions in The Times make it a bit difficult to determine the precise route. One account noted that dozens of bungalows had sprouted up near the finish line, hampering the drivers--and the new streetcar tracks had become an annoying hazard ... A mining engineer shoots a wealthy widow after she allegedly threw a cup of sulfuric acid in his face.
Feb. 28, 1958
There's a widespread belief among cynics that civilization hangs by a gossamer thread and if it ever falls it will be because of a trivial miscue somewhere, not, as others think, from a covey of guided missiles.
This is to report another near miss.
It has to do with the printed cards sent residents of North Hollywood giving the year's dates for the collection of noncombustible rubbish by the city bureau of sanitation.
There it is, unmistakably printed on the cards, Feb. 29--tomorrow.
NOW, IF you're not sure, a quick look at the calendar will reveal there is no Feb. 29. Not this year, anyway.
Clearly, somewhere around City Hall there lurks a printer who doesn't trust calendars, almanacs, soothsayers or North Hollywood. Or perhaps he has been disappointed in love and disapproves of leap year sneaking up on innocent people every four years.
However, he played it safe. He made it Feb. 29-March 1.
Hugh G. Kelley Sr. of North Hollywood, who was momentarily shaken by the date on his card, would like the bureau of sanitation to know that he is putting out his trash March 1, not. Feb. 29.
THAT PIXIE who likes to create consternation in crowded elevators is at it again. He remarked casually to a companion in a Spring Street lift, "I was chatting with a lady wino of my acquaintance--oh never mind, I'll tell you about it later."
THE TWO-HORSE parlay of the year was perpetrated last Friday.
Naturally, the lucky guy insists on anonymity because of snooping revenuers.
He gave $10 to a friend who was going to Santa Anita and told him to put it on the nose of Wish U Well in the second race and parlay the winnings, if any, to Money Maker in the fourth.
Both won. Wish U Well paying $110.50 and Money Maker $54.10--returning more than $14,000.
But let all horse players offer a moment of silence for the resolution of the proxy bettor in putting the $552.50 he collected on the first horse on the second, a 26-1 shot. Chances are if the winner had been there he'd have let it go at that or blown it on some favorite.
LIFE HASN'T BEEN quite the same for Edward D. Mitchell, 68, L.A. insurance executive, since he received a National Urban League award for his policy of hiring persons regardless of race.
The story went out on AP and Mitchell has been receiving a deluge of mail from all over asking for money, guidance and, in one instance, if he would finance a divorce.
The topper came the other day from a man who wished to become his chauffeur--as soon as he got out of prison in Oklahoma.
AT RANDOM -- A Wilshire district housewife engaged a new cleaning lady who said her name was Patience, although it didn't sound like that when she said it. The housewife asked her to spell it and she did: P-a-s-h-i-o-n ... Recommended reading: Clifton Fadiman's essay in Holiday on writers. It includes this provocative sentence: "For most men life is a search for the proper manila folder in which to get themselves filed" ... When Beverly Hills High School students who are going steady break up they say they're "getting a divorce" ... Walter Winchell inquired in print if the LAPD intelligence bureau hasn't the lowdown on the Marie McDonald kidnapping and if it doesn't involve a former Detroit hoodlum now in legitimate business. Hmmmm ... That pretty young woman you see at Union Station guiding the confused is Mabel Sue Richardson. Her title: passenger director.
Feb. 28, 1958
Because, in all sincerity, I think women are necessary.
They serve a purpose.
Just like trees and oceans and poison ivy, they're part of the scheme of things.
In fact, they're one of the more attractive parts of the scheme of things. They're nice. I like them.
But they bother me.
Of all the female species, they're the most sensitive, defensive irrational people I know.
Basically, they're a miserable, unhappy lot.
But suggest to them that they themselves might be partially responsible for their uncomfortable, awkward position in American society, and you'll be attacked by an avalanche.
I did it, last week, indirectly. I ran an interview with a man whose platform was to put the American woman back in the home.
He even intimated that it might be an idea to take the Levi's and motorcycle boots off of her.
This, maybe, is being a little severe.
It's attacking--or at least it sounds like it is--all women for the actions of a few.
They have moved into pants, into bars, into cuss-down contests and into the dominant figure in too many American homes. They've invaded the most stenchy corners of the male domain.
Today, there's nothing a man can't do bad that a woman--with a little effort and encouragement--can't do worse.
I, for one, am quite willing to admit that the male is as responsible, if not more responsible, for the evolution.
We botched. We didn't live up to the obligations and duties of our sex.
We allowed the woman to move in and take over our responsibilities, and then we treated her with a crude lack of deference.
Most men are willing to admit this.
The man I interviewed last week was.
But ask a woman?
I'd guess that 90% of the calls and correspondence I received following last week's column was from two women who felt the male was 100% to blame.
There were no maybes, no ifs.
Even women who claimed perfect husbands, perfect homes, perfect adjustment, came to the aid of their less fortunate, more masculine sisters.
It's all man's fault, they told me.
I'm afraid that so long as we men go on playing willing scapegoats for the abnormal behavior of women, they can rationalize their invasion of our responsibilities and vulgarities.
And they can go right on recruiting their sisters.
MIDNIGHT MEMOS: Miyoshi Umeki (you heard me, what I said) opened at Mocambo the other night.
The young Japanese film star, who has won an Academy nomination for her performance in "Sayonara," has all the necessary ingredients for a top nightclub act. She is lovely looking, has a warm, husky voice quality and a charming sense of humor.
If there was any lack on opening night, it was that her selection of numbers was not too well chosen. A little advice on what a good, strong closing song means would help her considerably.
Her costar is baritone Johnny O'Neill, who has been here before, but fared considerably better this time out.
Ringsiders included the Harry Jamesons, Claudette Colbert, Dr. Joel Pressman and the Bill Goetzes. There were others, but it was too dark to see.
Regular reader Callbox Sam passes along a photo showing the Pacific Electric building on Hill Street. Hmm. This doesn't look like the drawing in the Feb. 28, 1908, Times. Aha! Note that the story says the 1908 station is only going to be a temporary facility until another terminal is built on the site of the Masonic Temple -- shown in this picture. So I would assume this station is just to the north of the current Subway Terminal Building.
Studio executive Harry Cohn dies ... On the jump, the rest of the Cohn obituary ... A man commits suicide by jumping from the Subway Terminal Building ... Pilot whale Bubbles "celebrates" a year in captivity ... The Fire Department rescues a boy who was trying to trap pigeons beneath the 4th Street bridge over the Los Angeles River ... And Gene Sherman's column.
Paul Wright, found not guilty of killing his wife and best friend while they were doing something that couldn't be printed in The Times, walks out of jail and hopes to be a forgotten man ... World War I hero Gen John "Black Jack" Pershing lingers near death ... Note the lead story from Graz, Austria, where forces are trying to block a Nazi march to Vienna. As a reader pointed out, the police chief of Graz in this era was a fellow named Gustav Schwarzenegger.
Now this is interesting: Plans for a new Pacific Electric depot on the west side of Hill Street between 4th and 5th. Hm. Isn't the Subway Terminal Building on Hill Street between 4th and 5th? Sure is ... Powdered eggs ... A man commits suicide by stepping in front of a switch engine ... A court ruling may affect the sentence of Michael Meskil in the slaying of a Officer Patrick Lyons ... And an adopted child tries to find his biological parents ...
Feb. 27, 1958
As Mrs. Cusic came out of a utilities office on Spadra Street, her husband picked up a plastic pistol on the seat, pointed it playfully at her and snarled in accepted gangster fashion, "Come on, get in!" Their daughter plays Annie Oakley with the pistol.
They drove off and stopped at several more places to pay bills, unaware that two teenage boys on bicycles had seen the pistol-pointing and excitedly reported it and the car's license number to police.
AS THEY stopped at a doctor's office they noticed a police car behind them but thought nothing of it.
And then suddenly outside a market they were surrounded by three police cars and five motorcycle officers. Red lights flashed and an officer with his real gun drawn ordered them out of the car. He saw quickly that the pistol was a toy, of course, and after a few questions the tension dissipated.
But it proved a fine dry run for the gendarmes and a lesson for everyone. The Cusics were "apprehended" 17 minutes after an APB went out on the "kidnapping."
Hereafter they're keeping the plastic pistol at home.
A bon vivant named Tom ordered some canapes (it's easier to spell than hors d'oeuvres) in an elegant Palm Springs spa and a lady named Ann, a member of the party, dipped what she thought was an Oriental tidbit into the hot sauce and began chewing. Turned out to be a tiny Turkish towel, pre-soaked in warm water, for wiping the hands after eating the real canapes.
THE WAY George Q. Ibid heard it, a Frenchman went into a wine shop and asked for his favorite Bordeaux. He found it only in small bottles and asked if it were available in larger sizes. "Oh yes," said the clerk, "we have the bigger bottles in the cellar."
"Eh bien," beamed the Frenchman, "take me to your liter."
AND IF THAT doesn't shake you up, Bill Graydon has been speculating on a possible aftermath to the AP story from Hong Kong stating the Chinese Communists have banned such degenerate, reactionary juke box tunes as "Love for Sale" in favor of numbers like "I Want to Cooperate With My Commissar."
As Bill sees it, this harsh crackdown doubtless will cause the Peiping sideburn set to reminisce about the good old days when their favorite was "Give Me That Old Soft Chou."
AIRY NONSENSE -- Lee Goodman reports that when he boarded a plane in S.F. on what is advertised as a "red carpet" flight to L.A. the stuff he walked on was definitely linoleum ... And while on a nonstop flight from S.F. to Chicago, Jimmy Baker, producer of "Stars of Jazz" got to talking with an elderly lady who thought she was going to L.A. Wrong plane, proving it can happen.
AROUND TOWN -- The driver of a mail truck misjudged the distance as he stopped for a pickup at Wilshire and Westlake Avenue and rammed the mailbox. Yep, Jean Gelber said it: "The mail must go through!" ... Bob Keeshan, who portrays the 60-year-old Capt. Kangaroo on KNXT at 7 a.m. is only 30. Incidentally, he used to be the Clarabelle of the Howdy Doody children's show ... A bar on Pico Boulevard near Hoover which is getting a face lift has a large sign in front, "Open During Altercations." But all was peaceful as Bill Biggers drove by ... A knight in armor is picketing the Old Curiosity Shop, 8629 Melrose Ave., carrying a sign stating the place is "Unfair to Other Antique Dealers" because its prices are so low. Only in L.A.