The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: March 2008

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Matt Weinstock


Paul Coates


Dodger parking


By Keith Thursby
Times Staff Writer

There’s a long line of people willing and able to criticize the Dodgers for the traffic mess at the Coliseum Saturday. But what could people have expected?

Unless you’ve been under a rock for a few days, you know that more than 115,000 people crammed in and around the Coliseum to see the Dodgers play the Red Sox. The Dodgers provided free shuttle service to the Coliseum and back from Dodger Stadium and depending on the newspaper or blogger, it was a disaster or worse.

We did fine.

I left my home in Irvine on Saturday with my two teenage sons at about noon. The plan was to have lunch and get to Dodger Stadium by 2. We arrived right on time to find few people and several buses waiting for baseball fans.

Yes, it was ridiculously early for a 7 p.m. game. But we had 115,000 reasons for getting there so early.

We got to the Coliseum about 3 and waded through the thousands already there. Clearly we weren’t the only people arriving early. We got into the stadium a little after 4 and saw the real baseball highlight of the night, batting practice.

We cheered Vin Scully, ate overpriced junk food and had a good time with our friends. But we couldn’t help but notice all the late-comers. We started hearing stories all around us about people delayed by the long lines at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles Examiner Negatives Collection in the the Regional History Collection of USC Libraries

The Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants on opening day at the Coliseum, April 18, 1958, from "Mobsters, Molls, and Mayhem: A Year in the Life of Los Angeles" at the Doheny Library.

So we decided the easiest thing to do was abandon ship. We lasted five innings, enough to soak in the weirdness of baseball at the Coliseum and the drunks and the near-fights and the knuckleheads throwing peanuts at every Red Sox fan who walked by.

We got to the bus line at 9 and nearly an hour later we were on the way back to Dodger Stadium. It wasn’t pretty or efficient but for a crowd that big, it was pretty peaceful. We were back in Irvine before midnight.

We didn’t want to leave the game early, but figured it was our only option. And we weren’t complaining. This was free parking and transportation, after all, even if it was messy.

I don’t have any baseball memories of the Coliseum. My memories are the 1984 Olympics, the Rams and Notre Dame or UCLA against USC. But we wanted to experience Saturday’s event.

So it was beyond crowded. Too many lines and too little baseball (can’t remember the last time we left anything early). But my kids and I knew it wouldn’t be perfect, just something we can say we did.

Bunker Hill project

My friends over the 1947project have done a soft launch of their new site. Instead of selecting another year for daily entries, my longtime crime buddies (and some new authors) have chosen a vanished neighborhood: Bunker Hill. The blog is titled "On Bunker Hill, a Lost Neighborhood Found."

Kim Cooper writes:

Bunker_hill_logo_2 With this project, we intend to shine a light on a community that was displaced by a well intentioned but misguided slum clearance plan that tore the heart out of L.A.'s downtown, a blow the city still staggers from. As downtown struggles to be reborn as a city center, we need a history more than ever before. Visit On Bunker Hill this year and share in our discoveries, or join us and contribute your own.

This is an inspired project. Years ago, my former wife and I were involved in a somewhat similar effort in Tucson exploring a historic downtown neighborhood that was wiped clean for urban renewal. The project was a wonderful way to make amends and ease some of the bad feelings among the Latinos who were displaced from that area.

I wish Kim Cooper, Nathan Marsak, Mary McCoy, John Toomey, Ed Fuentes (author of View From a Loft), Joan Renner, Christina Rice and Joni E. Johnston  the best of luck and I'm looking forward to their updates.

Happy Foot!

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March 31, 1958


Above, Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster in "Run Silent, Run Deep," directed by Robert Wise. Below, fighting in the Middle East ... For the first time in its history, the Legislature adjourns without a budget. The governor calls legislators back into a special session ... A fight breaks out at Los Angeles Speedway when a NASCAR race is canceled because of poor ticket sales and there are no refunds because the money has been seized by the courts ... And a contretemps among the royals.


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March 31, 1938


Above, film novice Charlie McCarthy blows his top. Below, vegetable peddler George Sakalis, a key witness in the Earle Kynette case, gets additional protection after complaining that he is being followed by private detectives ... The head of the VFW calls for assistance in the form of jobs or pensions for the "Lost Generation" of World War I ...  Dogs are under a state quarantine because of rabies ... And Harold "Bud" Marshall hopes to regain the use of his legs after being paralyzed when he was shot in the spine during a robbery.


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Pegleg horse


I stumbled across this item while researching the previous post. It's one of the strangest stories I've ever seen: Not only does a horse have a wooden leg, but it caught fire when the animal was standing too close to burning rubbish.

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March 31, 1908


Above, the city introduces the concept of a traveling blacksmith who shoes all of the Fire Department's horses rather than take them to the nearest blacksmith. The Times says the blacksmith (for some reason, we didn't use his name) shoes about 150 horses on a monthly rotation. But the new program didn't last long.  In July 1908, The Times reported that the department was planning to convert to motorized vehicles. In September 1911, The Times said the Fire Department was expecting to receive five Seagrave motorized chemical hose wagons, one motorized service truck and one motorized aerial truck. Blackie, the last surviving Fire Department horse, was sent to live at Griffith Park after being retired in 1921 and died in 1939 at the age of 37. His skeleton was apparently presented to the Los Angeles County Museum.

Quote of the Day: "The faithful horse will soon be a thing of the past." --Assistant Fire Chief George H. O'Donnell, Sept. 2, 1910


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March 30, 1958


Above, Ernie Bushmiller, a feminist? Who knew? Below, with less than 48 hours remaining before its sessions ends, the state Legislature is unable to agree on a budget--shocking, I know ... The Times promotes an upcoming series on the Strategic Air Command, which historians may some day credit for stopping the spread of Communism ... Landslides block Malibu Canyon Road ... And the Soviet Union protests U.S. atomic tests in the Marshall Islands.


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March 30, 1938


Above, The Times editorial page opposes allowing wholesale immigration of German and Austrian Jews to America. The Times notes that they would be penniless and that many of them would either go on welfare or take jobs from Americans. Instead, The Times says, let them go to South America ... if the South American nations want them. Unfortunately, the anonymous authors are not available to atone for this piece. Below, Earle Kynette claims he conferred with anti-vice crusader Clifford Clinton and his attorney over a possible defense. Alas, we did not contact Clinton for a comment. Bonus fact: Kynette is being held in the same cell block as convicted killer Robert "Rattlesnake" James, who was the last man to be executed by hanging in California.


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March 30, 1908


Above, a look at the Great White Fleet in Magdalena Bay. Below, the federal government interviews prisoners and mental patients in Los Angeles in a campaign to deport immigrant radicals. Recall that The Times bombing will occur Oct. 1, 1910.

Quote of the Day: "In short, about every man locked up in Los Angeles who has a taint of Red in his brain the authorities at Washington intend to know.... It has come to the point where it is absolutely imperative to adopt some system of espionage for such murderous swine." --Los Angeles Times, on federal inspection of immigrant prisoners and mental patients.


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March 29, 1958



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