Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
Jan. 1, 1958
As final hours of 1957 ticked away, the officers were called to an apartment at 443 S. Alexandria Ave., where 21-year-old Carol Stoos had slashed her wrists. Stoos was taken to the Central Receiving Station and treated.
With the incident closed, Neville and Potter were returning to the Wilshire Division station when they saw a car carrying two men and two women speeding on Wilshire near Serrano Avenue. They stopped the driver, Marine Cpl. John Serino, 19, at 6th Street and Manhattan Place and in checking the license plates, found that he was driving a stolen car.
Neville tried to put his handcuffs on Serino, but the El Toro Marine drew a revolver from a shoulder holster and fired five times at Neville and once at his partner, missing all six times.
The two officers killed Serino, firing 15 shots, The Times said. Serino was hit four times, leaving us to wonder what became of the other 11 bullets. Fortunately, although a total of 21 shots were fired, neither of the officers, nor Serino hit the other three people in the car: Marine Pfc. Noel Land, 18; Theresa Richaurd, 20; or Irene Marsalek, 29, who happened to be Stoos' roommate.*
Serino's three companions were arrested on charges of murder (this may not make sense at first, but yes, it is a point of law). Richaurd told police that Serino had forced her to take the .38-caliber revolver they found in her purse.
The Times never followed up on this story, so we don't know what became of any of these people. But we do know that they all began the new year with a second chance.
Feb. 11, 1917
The Times published a map of the Silver Lake Parkway, intended as a beautification project for something called the Bimini Slough. The article notes that Westlake (MacArthur) and Sunset (Lafayette) parks were also built from reclaimed "sump holes."
Bimini Slough, in case you want to trace the path of what The Times called unreclaimable swampland, ran from 6th and Alexandria, east along 6th Street to Vermont Avenue, followed Vermont north past the "Bimini Baths" to 1st Street, then went in a diagonal to Silver Lake Reservoir. The slough was a notorious civic eyesore, having been used as an informal dumping ground for years, The Times says. The slough was filled and graded in 1931, making way for a major realignment of 3rd Street that opened in 1932.
The reason? To ease badly congested traffic on 6th and 8th streets. It may be difficult to believe that Los Angeles had bad traffic 76 years ago--but we did.
Note: Three Border Patrol agents crawling through brush found Roberta Elizabeth Donovan the next day, asleep in a clump of mesquite. Also note ABC's settlement with Police Chief William Parker over remarks by Mickey Cohen in an interview with Mike Wallace. That's $317,976.76 USD 2006.
Speaking of City Hall,
here's a frame grab from "Chinatown," with the fabulous cinematography
of John Alonzo. I was quite fortunate to hear him discuss the making of
"Chinatown" at a presentation many years ago. If you live in Los Angeles and have never seen "Chinatown," go out immediately and rent it. Today.
Hollis Mulwray (Darrell Zwerling) announces that he will not approve the Alto Vallejo Dam and Reservoir, which would be at risk of failing like the Van der Lip Dam (based on the St. Francis Dam disaster).
"It won't hold. I won't build it. It's that simple. I'm not going to make the same mistake twice."
Photographs by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times
Jan. 2, 1958
Edward Weston, after receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1937, when he was living at 4166 Brunswick Ave., Los Angeles.*
One of the greatest photographers of the 20th century receives a one-paragraph obituary in The Times. This is almost beyond belief. The next month, in a feature about a memorial exhibit at Barnsdall Park, Times art editor Arthur Millier offered a tribute to Weston:
I believe he taught two generations to see. Perhaps what I really mean is that he taught me to see. An exhibition of his photographs in 1924 staged by the local Japanese photographers opened my eyes. Everything his eyes saw had its special beauty.
The last time I saw Edward Weston, four years ago, he was shaking with Parkinson's disease. He could no longer work in his darkroom. He had finally yielded to the requests of the Eastman Co. to try out their newest color film. Film--and this went against his Thoreaulike grain--that he could not himself develop.
These color prints are not included in the Barnsdall Park show. But they are the finest color photographs ever made. He proved that photography is not just a matter of snapping a button. To be good, there must be an artist behind the lens.
Louis Clyde Stoumen made a motion picture designed to show people the world of Edward Weston. It's title: "The Naked Eye." This film, which should be shown soon, is the finest tribute yet given to the greatest artist I have known--Edward Weston.
Here's the photographer in his own words from 1928. Given his comments about the purity of photography and the evils of manipulating the negative or the print, I suspect he would have detested Photoshop.
* This is so weird. Weston lived a mile from Caryl Chessman, 3280 Larga Ave.
Update: Although The Times reported at least twice that Weston lived at 4166 Brunswick Ave., finding this home is a bit of a challenge. The online Los Angeles street directory for 1938 lists him as living at 4102 Verdant, a block from Brunswick. Further research is clearly in order.
|Los Angeles Police Department
|Larceny (Except Auto Theft)
This is only a sample of the extensive annual crime statistics compiled by the Los Angeles Police Department. The summary notes that 1957 "was the highest year on record for reported crimes and attempts."
The highest crime areas were: Central Division, 10,426 crimes per 100,000 population; and Newton Street Division, 10,169 crimes per 100,000 population. The safest areas were the West Valley Division, 2,774 per 100,000 population; and West Los Angeles Division, 2,907 crimes per 100,000 population.
|1957 Homicides by LAPD Division
|77th Street Division
|Highland Park Division
|West Valley Division
|West Los Angeles Division
Source: Los Angeles Police Department, annual report for 1957
Ready for the 1958 Rose Parade? Let's step off.
"Summer Time," See's Candy Shops
"Hawaiian Paradise," City of Glendale.
"New Worlds to Conquer," City and County of San Diego.
The Los Angeles Times, Jan. 1, 1958.
You can sure tell it's the era of the TV Westerns: Guy Madison and Andy Devine from "The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok," Richard Boone from "Have Gun -- Will Travel" and William Boyd of "Hopalong Cassidy." Also note: Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz and--of course--Montie Montana.
Happy New Year from the Daily Mirror! (Hey, it's Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians! They're playing "Auld Lang Syne.")