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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: November 2008

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Movie star mystery photo




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Los Angeles Times file photo

Our mystery guest on the left (Arthur Shields--or is it?) has more than 80 credits on imdb and more than 20 credits on on ibdb. The mystery woman (Maureen Delany) has less than 25 credits on imdb and more than 20 credits on ibdb.


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Los Angeles Times file photo

Here's our mystery guest, but in a trick shot. This is from a play rather than one of his many films. The mystery woman, alas, is unidentified on the back of the photo, but I've narrowed her identity down to just a few actresses. Update: I suspect this is Eileen Crowe, but I'm not positive.
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Los Angeles Times file photo

Yet another shot of our mystery guest. Several have guessed his identity: Alexa Foreman, Rance Ryan, Richard Heft and Michael Ryerson. Congratulations!  This photo is from a production of Sean O'Casey's "The Plough and the Stars."
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Los Angeles Times file photo

More folks have guessed our mystery guest: Herb Nichols, Claire Lockhart and redheaded555. This is Shields with Radha in "The River."
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Yes, as nearly everyone has guessed (including Arye Michael Bender), this is Arthur Shields. Several folks wondered whether the top photo is actually Shields.

Here's what I know. When we published the photo in 1938, we said it was Shields and Maureen Delany. The information written on the back of the photo in pencil says: "Maureen Delany Arthur Shields The Far Off Hills Abbey Theatre. Biltmore Theatre Ends Apr. 9th."

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Here's the 1938 cast list of "The Far Off Hills." If this fellow isn't Shields, he must be someone else in this list. Any ideas?


Found on EBay --Batchelder tile


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Here's a stamped Batchelder tile on EBay with bidding that started at $9.99.  I am certainly no expert, but I wouldn't waste a dime on anything that isn't marked Batchelder just because some EBay vendor says it's genuine. As with anything on EBay, do your homework before you bid and take anything the vendor says with a grain of salt. 

Thanksgiving, 1980


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Lida and Thomas Warne of Whittier celebrate their 74th wedding anniversary, 1980. According to California death records, Thomas George Warne died in 1981 at the age of 100. Lida Warne died in 1987 at the age of 100. And a Google search turns up an oral history interview with the Warnes in 1963.

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O.J. Simpson wins Heisman, November 27, 1968



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1968_1127_simpson02 O.J. Simpson won the Heisman Trophy as the best college football player of 1968 after a remarkable two-year USC career.

Dwight Chapin's story in The Times portrayed the lack of suspense--even Simpson said he was "pretty confident." Who could blame him? After all, he set NCAA records in 1968 for yards gained and carries and scored 21 touchdowns.

Looking back on any Simpson story has its weird elements. Chapin's story recounted a friendly exchange between Simpson and LAPD Chief Tom Reddin who said at one point, "I'm so happy for you. I'm a hero worshiper and you're the greatest."

And there's a quote from Simpson about his former surroundings: "I go home to my old area and some of my friends actually hide from me. I guess maybe it's that I'm different now. They're doing the same things I used to do but they're still doing them. I'm not."

Where Simpson would play next year was a hot topic in The Times with lots of twists and turns. Here are a few examples:


USC-UCLA, 1967
--Oct.  26: The Eagles and Steelers will play in the Simpson Bowl, with the winner being the loser. Both teams were winless, so the theory was the losing team would have the best chance to draft O.J.

--Nov. 13: The Rams had three first-round draft picks in the upcoming college draft, but owner Dan Reeves told Bob Oates that the team won't trade them all for the rights to Simpson. The Rams eventually drafted running back Larry Smith, wide receiver Jim Seymour and tight end Bob Klein.

--Nov. 14: Simpson was offered a $1 million contract from a San Antonio man who wanted to start a new team or his own league, Chapin reported. A copy of the offer was wired to The Times, Chapin wrote. The paper received it before Simpson did.

--Nov. 27: The Eagles will draft Simpson and there's a 50-50 chance that Vince Lomardi "will be with him too," Bob Oates reported.

--Nov. 30: The Buffalo Bills might not draft Simpson if they get the chance, Mal Florence wrote.

--Keith Thursby



Poison gas kills Disney's mother, November 27, 1938



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Above, Walt Disney gave his parents a home at 4605 Placidia Ave., Toluca Lake, for their golden wedding anniversary. According to The Times, a faulty furnace connection let carbon monoxide into the house. Disney's father, Elias, was found unconscious but survived, The Times said. 

Wildfires cross Mulholland and head for Encino, a mile from the homes of Al Jolson, Joel McCrea, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Phil Harris, The Times says.

The federal debt sets a record: $38 billion.

At left, the Nazis ban jazz, effective Jan. 1, 1939, saying that it is only fit for Jews and Negroes.
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Nazi "pawnshops" to buy Jewish goods. 
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Stanford wins over Dartmouth, 23-13.
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Above, The Times explains some of the special effects used by Roy Seawright in "Topper."

Some films in production or to start soon:

Warners: "Juarez," "Dodge City," "Oklahoma Kid," "Dark Victory," "Sea Hawk" and "Each Dawn I Die."

RKO: "Gunga Din."

Paramount: "Union Pacific."

MGM: "Northwest Passage," "Wizard of Oz," "Ninotchka."

David O. Selznick plans to start work in January on "Gone With the Wind." 

And Walter Wanger is making "Stagecoach."


Found on EBay -- From Haggarty's



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Here's a blue straw hat from Haggarty's, an upscale women's shop that once operated in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Beverly Hills and other Southern California locations before going out of business in 1970. Bidding starts at $9.99

LAPD honors dead officer's heroism, November 26, 1958



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1958_1022_nash_2 Police Sgt. Gene T. Nash died after a shootout with robbery suspects in an apartment house on Budlong just south of Adams. In a televised ceremony, Police Chief William H. Parker presented his widow, Cynthia, with her husband's Medal of Valor.

But that's only the beginning of the story. Unfortunately, many pieces of the puzzle are missing from The Times, so the picture is incomplete. This is what we know:

Nash, 32, and Sgt. W.F. Bitterolf of the Robbery Division, accompanied by Sgts. S.O. Eastenson and C.E. Leonard, went to the apartment house at 2723 S. Budlong Ave. to investigate whether members of a crime ring were hiding there. According to The Times, a group of robbers had been holding up crap games, taking $7 to $140.


The Times says Eastenson and Leonard waited outside while Nash and Bitterolf forced their way into the apartment. They found Virgil Lee, 24; Herman Cosby, 35, Rebecca Turner Bly, 29; and Geraldine Brown, 24, who told them that the only other person in the apartment was her 6-year-old son, who was asleep in a back bedroom.

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Nash found the first bedroom locked. As he went through the bathroom into the second bedroom, he was shot three times in the chest, once in the right arm and once in the left hand. He dropped by the bed where the boy was sleeping. Despite his wounds, Nash drew his revolver and shot Bennie Will Meyes, 31, once in the leg and once in the hand that was holding the gun.

Meyes fell and then jumped out a window while Nash shot William Douglas, 29, in the back as he was hiding in a closet, leaving him in critical condition.

Bitterolf rushed into the bedroom and told Nash that an ambulance was coming. "He said 'I don't think it will do any good. I don't think I'll make it,' " Bitterolf told The Times.

Outside the apartment, Eastenson and Leonard heard the shots, saw Meyes jump out the window and caught him after chasing him for a block. And somehow, Bly's 6-year-old boy slept through the entire incident, The Times said.

All three men were evidently taken to Central Receiving Hospital and before he died, Nash identified Meyes as the gunman. Meyes denied shooting Nash while Douglas admitted owning the gun but said he had given it to Meyes.

In the ensuing investigation, police arrested another apartment resident, Walter Payne, 35, at Century and Sepulveda boulevards; Olivia Chapman, 25, identified as Meyes' girlfriend; James Williams, 23; Betty Logan, 23; and Willie M. Davis, 23, 1024 E. 75th St., just off Florence and Central.

The case was presented to the Los Angeles County Grand Jury, The Times said, and Meyes and Douglas were indicted on charges of murder.

Hundreds of officers attended Nash's funeral and he was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park.  In addition to his wife, Nash was survived by a 2-year-old daughter.

His widow was presented with his Medal of Valor. And then silence. As far as I can determine, The Times never wrote a word about the trial or sentencing.

But that's the not the end of the story.

For reasons that aren't clear, Douglas and Meyes weren't charged with murder. Instead, they were accused of robbery, assault with intent to commit murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

According to legal documents, Meyes and Douglas were given a public defender. But at the opening of the trial, the lawyer asked for a continuance, saying that he hadn't time to prepare the case. It was complicated, he had too many other cases, and Meyes and Douglas wanted separate attorneys, he said. 

Meyes and Douglas fired their attorney because he was unprepared, asked for a continuance and filed a request for separate defense lawyers. These motions were denied and the men were convicted. Meyes was judged a habitual criminal and given a life sentence. Douglas was sentenced to five years to life.

They first appealed to California courts, and because they had no money, asked for a lawyer to be appointed for them. The state Court of Appeal upheld their convictions without appointing an attorney for them, saying that "no good whatever could be served by appointment of counsel." The California Supreme Court denied their petitions for a review without giving them a hearing.

In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a new hearing for the men, who were represented by Marvin M. Mitchelson, (yes he's the "palimony" lawyer) and Burton Marks. It's interesting to see two familiar names on the men's legal team: Fred Okrand and A.L. Wirin, who often worked with the ACLU, although it's not clear if this was an ACLU case.   

Justice William O. Douglas wrote for the majority: "Where the merits of the one and only appeal an indigent has as of right are decided without benefit of counsel in a state criminal case, there has been a discrimination between the rich and the poor which violates the 14th Amendment."

On June 20, 1964, The Times reported that Meyes and Douglas had been granted new trials. Unfortunately, The Times apparently never followed up on whether the men were retried.

I have one hunch about why The Times largely ignored this case, but it's only a hunch. Notice that we never ran pictures of Meyes or Douglas. Notice that the robbers were preying on crap games. Notice that one individual lived near Central and Florence. If either of the suspects were African American, it might explain The Times' lack of coverage. Stay tuned and I'll see what I can find out.

Read the Supreme Court decision >>>






Thanksgiving with a microwave, 1975


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The Times offers recipes for a complete  Thanksgiving dinner you can make with your new microwave.
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WARNING: These recipes have not been through the Daily Mirror test kitchen and are for entertainment value only.

Rams win over Giants, November 25, 1968



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The Rams pulled out a 24-21 victory over the New York Giants with some old and new tricks.

Bruce Gossett's field goal with only four seconds left kept the Rams (9-1-1) within striking distance of the division leading Baltimore Colts. It was the third time this season Gossett had been called on late to tie or win a game.

The new wrinkle was a 60-yard bomb from Roman Gabriel to Wendell Tyler, making his first career start. How significant was the play? The Times published a drawing of it, with analysis by Coach George Allen.

--Keith Thursby

Note: Wendell Tyler did not play for the Rams in 1968. He didn't debut with the Rams until 1977. I should have written Wendell Tucker. At least I didn't call him Wendell Wilkie. --Keith




Southern California in flames, November 25, 1938


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This photograph is 70 years old but it could have been taken last week.

 
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The Times' L.D. Hotchkiss takes on Pulitzer-winning columnist Westbrook Pegler.


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Fire damage

--10,000 acres in Topanga and Rustic canyons
--4,000 acres in San Bernardino County.
--2,000 acres in San Diego County.
--1,000 acres in Ventura County.
--300 acres in Santa Barbara County


On the front page, wildfires burn across Southern California, The Times says. Hundreds of mountain and beach cabins were destroyed in the fires.

The Nazis plan a new requirement that Aryans married to Jews must divorce or be considered Jews ... Britain and France agree to share their air forces in an attempt to match Germany and Italy. France, meanwhile, prepares to sign a peace pledge with Germany similar to one signed by Britain.


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Adolf Hitler honors Stanford professor William Alpha Cooper. It's a bit unclear as to why.
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Movie censorship ... and Mary Boland needs a police escort!


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USC wins over UCLA, 42-7 and heads for the 1939 Rose Bowl.



Thanksgiving, 1968


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"A new dish for this year's feast can add excitement, too, especially if you stick to the Thanksgiving cliches."
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Note: These recipes have not been through the Daily Mirror test kitchen and are for entertainment value only.

Colts win over Rams, 34-7, November 24, 1958


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The Rams fumbled away their season in a 34-7 loss to the Baltimore Colts. Los Angeles fumbled six times, including twice near the Baltimore goal line, and had four passes intercepted.

Del Shofner dropped a pass at the Baltimore 1-yard line and Tom Wilson fumbled at the 2. Both mistakes were brutal since the Colts only blew open the game in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Rams 21-0.

--Keith Thursby


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