The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: March 23, 2008 - March 29, 2008

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March 26, 1938

Immigration, by the numbers, March 1938, according to The Times:

260,000 Jews in Austria.

25,957 annual quota of Germans eligible to immigrate to the U.S.

8,000 annual quota of Jews allowed to immigrate to Palestine under Britain.

1,413   annual quota of Austrians eligible to immigrate to the U.S.

[Note: U.S. quotas for Germany and Austria were combined after the union of the two countries--lrh]


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March 26, 1908


Above, with the Great White Fleet on its way to Los Angeles, the PE promotes pleasure excursions to see ships in Venice ... Below, 14 socially prominent women patients who have undergone face peels testify on behalf of J.T. Harris, 1818 Lennox St., who is charged with practicing medicine without a license. The women wore heavy veils to protect their sensitive skin from the elements, The Times says, and they looked like boiled lobsters ... More problems with vagrants ... and in fact a look back at California history shows that the unemployed and the homeless were an early problem.

Quote of the Day: "It is wonderful, wonderful. My face was awful in its hundreds of wrinkles and now look at me, just look at me.... I am very happy. I am going to be beautiful again. I have found the fountain of youth. Once more I shall have the world at my feet. Did it hurt when they skinned my face? I should say not." --Woman speaking to a reporter on behalf of J.T. Harris


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Art Aragon, RIP

Feb. 18, 1949
Los Angeles


1950_0215_aragon 1951_0509_aragon 1952_1121_aragon 1953_1204_aragon 1956_0504_aragon 1956_0830_aragon 1956_0901_aragon 1956_1221_aragon 1957_0116_aragon 1957_0222_aragon 1958_0316_aragon

Paul Coates

March 24, 1958

Paul_coates I've been accused of making some uncomplimentary remarks about Elvis Presley in the past.

I've been accused of saying that he struck me as the kind of child that other children are traditionally "not allowed to play with."

I've been accused of making the comment that his abdominal gyrations give me the same queasy feeling that I get watching somebody get sick in public.

I've also been accused of hinting that Elvis was unkempt looking, that he committed perpetual murder on the English language and that he needed a haircut.

1958_0325_elvis_2 In fact, some people have gone so far as to accuse me of making the flat statement that I didn't like Elvis Presley.

The only reason I stand accused on all of these points is because, at one time or another, I said all those things about Elvis.

But that's all in my past now. I've said them. I can't deny them. Everyone makes rash judgments now and then.

I only hope now that it's not too late to patch things up a little bit.

You see, because of what happened yesterday I'd like to retract them. No. Not exactly retract them.

I'd just like to sort of rearrange my attitude toward Elvis.

I'd like to say that Elvis is really--

No. That's not quite it, either.

What I'd like to make clear is that, after all, Elvis is joining a very patriotic organization.

There's nothing subversive about this boy.

I'd like to add that now, for the first time, I've found a soft spot in my heart for him.

In fact, I feel downright sorry for him.

Because he's not going in like the rest of us went in--quietly, with a few tears from Mom, a slap on the back from Dad, and a modestly inebriated farewell party.

When Elvis reported to his Memphis induction center yesterday, his activities were documented and photographed for an entire world.

And as any man who has been through an induction center before knows, this definitely constitutes a certain invasion of privacy.

There are some traditional Army inspections which are nobody else's business, save the inductee, the doctor and the men standing fore and aft.

But I've got to hand it to Elvis. Judging from the front-page pictures I saw, he took it all in stride.

I just hope that Elvis stands up under the pressures of his double life for the next two years as well as he did on opening day.

Because it's obvious that he'll be hounded by cameramen as well as sergeants until the hour he's discharged.

There will be the stock shots of his first time amid greasy pots and pans on KP, a ritual called latrine duty, and more flashbulbs popping when he receives his initial $78 ($568.44 USD 2007) monthly paycheck.

Then, guard duty, inspection, target practice, bivouacs, barracks poker games, marches and Elvis gyrating prone through the infiltration course.

Of course, there'll be the great day when Presley completes basic training and the greater day when photographers catch him sewing on his corporal stripes.

He may not emerge the biggest hero the Army ever had, but already he's a sure thing for the most shot-at.

My lone worry is, he may turn out to be such a good soldier that he'll outrank Col. Parker.


Dodger parking

By Keith Thursby
Times Staff Writer

1958_0304_buick_2The Dodgers’ one-night return to the Coliseum has the team wrestling with a familiar problem—parking.

The Dodgers are offering round-trip shuttles from the Dodger Stadium parking lot to the Coliseum for their March 29 exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox. That wasn’t an option in 1958 before the Dodgers’ first game in Los Angeles.

The Times reported on April 8 about a press conference involving local police and transportation officials who cautioned baseball fans to take advantage of mass transit, which in 1958 meant buses. The officials warned that drivers would face traffic jams and increased neighborhood parking fees. There had been talk of local lawn and backyard lots charging up to $6 a car for certain games.

The officials said the Coliseum parking lot would continue to charge $1 a car.

Meanwhile, at least one high-ranking baseball official didn’t think much of the Dodgers’ decision to start their Los Angeles years in the Coliseum.

Phil Wrigley, owner of the Chicago Cubs and referred to in an April 10 Associated Press story as the man who opened the West Coast to the Dodgers, said the Coliseum "just isn’t suited for baseball."

"When people go to a baseball game, they expect to see it played in a baseball park," said Wrigley, who sold his Pacific Coast League franchise in Los Angeles to Brooklyn.

Of course, Wrigley had an idea where they should have played—the cozier Wrigley Field.

That eventually became the first home of the Los Angeles Angels, who played there before sharing Dodger Stadium with the Dodgers until their own new stadium was built in Anaheim.

*Update: A reader notes that there were more options available than buses. What I was referring to was the press conference, in which the officials said buses should be the mode of transportation for mass transit. But point taken.

March 25, 1958

Navy welcome

Above, a Navy officer is welcomed home by his family after a Westpac cruise. Below, Jack Smith visits Pershing Square and his column shows that it hasn't changed much from today--except for the landscaping. Art Buchwald writes about the Amazing Randi, who fails to amaze Parisian jailers.

Jack Smith

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March 25, 1938

Yiddle With His Fiddle

Above, "Yiddle With His Fiddle." The Times apparently erred in calling it the first talking picture in Yiddish. ... Below, the U.S. can take 1,400 Austrian immigrants and in the last 48 hours, more than 3,000 people have applied at the U.S. Embassy ... How to get a rough estimate of tax receipts: Have tax collectors kick the mailbags to guess their weight ...

Quote of the Day: "They are treated with magnanimity considering what the Jews did to the Austrian people." --Josef Buerckel, Reich commissioner for the Saar.


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March 25, 1908

lawn mower

Above, time to get ready for barbering the lawn ... Below, the Korean community voices strong criticism of Durham W. Stevens, an American adviser to Japan, who was assassinated in San Francisco.  Feelings against Stevens are so strong among local Koreans that he might have faced a similar attack here, The Times says ... The city is quickly building a stockade to house homeless men ... Advocates who want to keep flies out of schools run into objections from the Board of Education, which notes that the problem is not so bad unless the schools are next to a stable or a corral ... And Ben, the seal from Westlake Park, is having trouble fitting in with his fellow creatures on Santa Catalina Island.

Quote of the Day: "Stevens must be shot and killed. He is not only an enemy to my poor country; he's an enemy to the civilized world. I am a Christian boy. My religion commands me not to kill. My pastor teaches me the lessons of forbearance. Yet I do not believe God would forbid me to kill this wretched scoundrel." --P. Cynn, Korean student at USC, on the shooting of Durham W. Stevens by a Korean youth.

March 25, 1908

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Here's a Korean American view of the Stevens assassination.

Recalling Michael Todd


Here's Cecil Smith's two-part series on Michael Todd, published in The Times in May 1957. David Niven called him, "The best thing to ever hit Hollywood." John Farrow, fired as the director of "Around the World in 80 Days," said: "Mr. Todd and I had our differences but I consider him a splendid showman."

1957_0512_todd02 1957_0519_todd01 1957_0519_todd02

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Matt Weinstock

March 24, 1958

Matt_weinstockd A Beverly Hills lady named Eve is willing to stipulate that--at the moment at least--it's a very temporary world, particularly for those who aspire to the drama.

A few mornings ago she was visited by a tax assessor who confided after a few minutes' chat that he wasn't regularly a tax assessor. He was really an actor but things had been a little slow.

That afternoon Eve went to the hospital for an operation. She was lying in bed, reading Variety, when a man came into take a blood test.

Seeing what she was reading, he asked if she was in the entertainment business. No, she said, but her husband was.

"I'm an actor," he said, "but things have been a little slow and you know how it is, a fellow has to make a living."

YOU KNOW HOW cold and efficient and merciless Boris Karloff is when he plays the part of a mad scientist or a zombie?

1958_0324_ads Well, there he was in a market at Sunset and Laurel Canyon boulevards the other day, tugging mildly at a shopping cart telescoped into a whole batch of them, trying in vain to get it loose. A magnificent study in quiet desperation.

Finally, reports writer John D. Weaver, a woman at the check stand finished with her cart and Boris, in great relief, appropriated it to do his shopping.

AN ENGINEER from Northrop Aircraft Inc., gave a talk the other night at which films of the development of the Snark missile were shown.

A spy who was there reports the engineer commented wryly, "You've all read about the trouble the Navy had getting the Vanguard into orbit after so many of them plopped into the sea. Well when we were testing our missile at Cape Canaveral we used to refer to the Atlantic Ocean as 'the Snark-infested waters.' "

AND THIS profound but devious reflection came in a letter Mack Tuesley received from his mother: "Glad the Navy finally got its grapefruit into orbit, although it is a little difficult for me to understand why they went to all that trouble and spent all that money, never knowing what these experiments will discover. I suppose it's a case of not knowing what we can't get along without until we have one. Like my new dishwashing machine."

ONLY IN L.A. -- If anyone has wondered what all those people are looking at in the store window at 837 N. Fairfax Ave., they're gazing at the 7x5-foot oil painting titled "Oscarama," by artist Ted Gilien, whose studio it is. He brought it out in front to commemorate the Academy Awards Wednesday.

It's a brutally satiric study of movie types, men and women, at the "moment of truth" when they receive their statues. And in the background center, just for the heck of it, Ted painted himself and his wife with three-count 'em--three Oscars in front of him.

AT RANDOM -- Heather Lowe, 2, got into the aspirin and was rushed to Santa Monica Emergency Hospital. After a pump job she came out beaming, holding a lollipop and balloon. Turned out these are budgeted items at the hospital, kept on hand for just such cases. Very nice ... Pat Buttram, CBS radio funnyman, bought a new home in Northridge with swimming pool, push-button garage door and other luxuries--but you know what impressed him most? A gold-plated weather vane on the roof ... The Manchester Guardian reports a famous inn near London had a notice in superbly appropriate orthography: "Whet Paynte." Which is about as quaint as you can get ... A reader who is sensitive about such things reports that he heard Gen. Gruenther say on a TV program that "over-all-wise" the Red Cross campaign was doing very well.


Paul Coates

March 24, 1958

Paul_coates In the movies, they make it out like reporters aren't averse to drinking one too many. That they'd trade their mothers' wedding bands for an exclusive expose. And that when they're on a hot crime story, they take it as a personal insult if the police butt in and solve it first.

That's what these guys who make movies would have you believe.

But it's not really like that. I've never known a reporter yet who violently objected to a little aid from the cops in solving a good murder.

Take, for example, the case of Frank.

Not too long ago, when he was a reporter for one of the morning papers in town, he got a call from a man who refused to identify himself.

"I'm the guy who shot the gas station attendant a couple hours ago. On Santa Monica Boulevard," the caller told him. "I gotta talk to you. It's important."

It was an hour before midnight and the story of the holdup and shooting was headlines in both morning papers. So rather than bother the police, Frank figured he might as well go out and capture the man himself.

His city editor agreed that it would be a nice news beat and told Frank to take a photographer along.

He did. The pair arrived at the bar where the caller said he'd wait--and sure enough, he was there. They sat down uneasily, one on each side of the man, wondering where the gun was that he'd used in the shooting.

The man was big, broad-shouldered. His hard face had "thug" written all over it. But he spoke gently, almost like a kid.

1958_0324_movies_2 "I'm sorry," he told them. "I'm sorry I did it. But I can't go straight to the police. I want you guys to turn me in so I'll get a fair shake."

"You've come to the right guys," said Frank. He pulled out a buck and bought the man a drink. Then he listened as the man unwound the story of his life.

It was a long story, frequently punctuated by straight shots of whiskey.

The man, who gave his name as Jack, kept setting them up for the trio as he talked. "How's the attendant? The guy I shot."

"Gonna make it," slurred Frank. He checked his watch. "Getting near deadline," he addressed the photographer. "Better take a picture or two of Jack here surrendering to me."

There was no one else in the place. So the photog identified himself to the bartender, stepped behind the bar and popped a few flashbulbs.

Then, with Jack in tow, they drove back to the city room. There, Frank knocked out his story about the surrender while copy boys poured coffee down Jack to sober him up a bit.

But just as Frank finished, the city editor got a call from the police. "We got a tip that you guys are holding the man who pulled the Santa Monica Boulevard shooting," the officer said.

"Absurd," replied the city editor, hanging up. Then he called Frank over.

"Does the guy still have his gun?" he asked.

"No," said Frank. "He threw it away."

"Good," said the editor. "Then get him out of here. I think the bartender must have tipped off the cops. And DON'T turn him in to the police for another hour yet--till deadline's past. This is our exclusive."

Frank hustled his prisoner out the back door, taking a couple of other reporters along to make sure the man didn't escape. They drove around aimlessly for 10 or 15 minutes before the three reporters and Jack concluded that a farewell drink would be in order.

They found a quiet bar and stopped.

"It's my farewell," insisted the prisoner. "So I'm buying."

At closing time, the foursome walked out, climbed into their car and drove to the nearest police station. Frank surrendered his prisoner. By now, Frank's paper was on the streets with a detailed account of the story. On the front page was the picture of Frank and Jack at the first bar, shot glasses lined up in front of them.

The police, to say the least, weren't pleased.

While one was searching the prisoner, another was quoting Frank a law about "harboring a criminal" and "obstructing justice."

"I caught him for you, didn't I?" growled Frank.

It was about then that the first officer announced that the suspect had less than a dollar in his pockets. "What happened to the $37 you took from the gas station?" he demanded of Jack.

The prisoner pointed to Frank and the other reporters.

"Why," he said grandly, "I bought my friends here some drinks with it."

The Queens Arms


As I was contemplating our Easter dinner last week, I thought of the Kings Arms and Queens Arms restaurants in L.A.

They used to have the best orange sauce for ham. It was the best sauce I have ever tasted and I have never been able to duplicate it. It was what I always wanted when my parents took us there in the 1950s. I took my wife to the Queens Arms after we married in 1969.

I know I go way back, but it was fun to remember some of the old places like the "Tail of the Cock," the "Pump Room" and the "Samoa House" (I can remember when it was still on Van Nuys Boulevard.)

I guess it shows us how old we are although, if my memory is correct, the recipe for the barbecue sauce from the Samoa House was bought by Pitts & Chris and is still available.

Ken Gott

--Thanks for sharing! How about it? Anybody got the Kings Arms' recipe for orange sauce?

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