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Matt Weinstock

February 27, 2008 |  5:11 pm

Feb. 27, 1958

Matt_weinstockd_2 John Cusic, 25, a Northrop Aircraft worker, his wife, Irma, and their daughter, Pamela, 5, drove to the downtown district of Fullerton one day recently to pay some bills.

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.


THE SOCIETY to Discourage Dimly Lit Restaurants will come to order.

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.