The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: January 6, 2008 - January 12, 2008

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Location sleuth



Photograph by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times

I set out for Bukowski Square to check on Craby Joe's (more about that later) and discovered Main Street was blocked for filming. Coming to a theater near you will be this scene from a film set in Indianapolis. The record will show that it was filmed using the Farmers and Merchants Bank at 4th Street and Main on Jan. 12, 2008.

Ps. I know I have some readers who are in law enforcement. Anybody care to critique the way this intersection has been secured? I realize it's Hollywood, but....




A map of the 1997 North Hollywood shootout. Note the difference.

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Here's shootout site on Laurel Canyon from Google Earth.



Photograph by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times


This is a detail of the slabs being installed on the new Los Angeles Police Department headquarters on Spring Street. I hope, I'm wrong but the idea of a big downtown building that looks like this isn't terribly appealing.

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110 revisited



 Photograph by Larry Harnisch / The Los Angeles Times

And what have we here? It looks like there's an abandoned freeway ramp behind this chain-link fence. Hm. Wouldn't it be fun to get a closer look? Stay tuned.

Carl Karcher

Jan. 11, 1968


Whites only

Jan. 12, 1958


Jan. 12, 1958



Streetcar holdup

Jan. 12, 1908
Los Angeles

Streetcars robberies, although not everyday occurrences, were a regular risk 100 years ago on our sainted mass-transit system. In this instance, a passenger grabbed the bandit as he was holding two guns to the conductor's head and the fare collector killed him. I love reading these old papers; most people have no idea just how wild Los Angeles was.


Continue reading »

Jan. 12, 1908

A feud between millionaire James Irvine and his neighbors involving access to land ends up in court ... a dispute over the harbor... political influence and graft ... and a man recovering at home from brain surgery to remove a bullet.



Matt Weinstock

Jan. 11, 1958

Matt_weinstockd This is to report that progress has whacked away another footnote in the American credo, this time the Tom Sawyer-Huck Finn division.

Ralph Hopkins, who spends his weekends fixing up his desert hideaway, tried to buy some plain old whitewash all over Antelope Valley, with discouraging reactions.

When he asked for 10 pounds of it in one store, the young clerk looked at him blankly, as if he were a doddering old fool speaking poor English, and said, "You mean white paint!" Ralph said, "No, whitewash," but he didn't get through.

IN ANOTHER PLACE the clerk, aged about 30, had heard of the stuff, then cagily asked what he wanted it for. To lighten the inside of a 20x20 barn, replied Ralph. Oh," said the clerk, "then what you really want is Goosefuddles Synthetic Wonder Paint." Among other things, it injected vitamins into the wood by osmosis, smelled of heliotrope and, according to the clerk's mathematics, would cost him only $52.40 plus tax for his barn.

In the next couple of places, Ralph changed his tactics. He asked for calcimine, a mistake. The clerks recoiled as if he'd said a bad world.

Finally there was the old-timer who admitted he didn't stock whitewash anymore and suggested substitutes. At length, Ralph wheedled him into selling a sack of lime which he slaked in an old keg. For $1.25 made enough whitewash to administer several coats--without any aid whatsoever from the world of synthetics, but with considerable sadness.

1958_0115_ads_2 AS PRESIDENT of Chaos Unltd., I feel it is my duty to add what confusion I can to that which already exists.

Now and then at breakfast the pre-teenager in my keeping advises me of her dream during the night. Usually she is being pursued by a witch or a dragon or the villain in a horror movie. The other day she came up with something more original.

"We all went downtown and there was this submarine base," she began. [She didn't know exactly where, except it was next door to a large dime store].

"We tried to get aboard but the man said we had to wait two years. So we waited. Finally we got in and the submarine flew to Santa Monica, where it landed in the water, which was full of big fish."

Now this makes sense to me in a prophetic symbolic way. I've been wondering what those deep excavations downtown were for. A submarine base, of course. And that two-year wait--well, the parking lot situation is critical. As for a submarine that can fly like a guided missile, maybe that's what this country needs--more imagination.

Meanwhile, no more lobster bisque for Jane for dinner.

ARMCHAIR sailors everywhere will appreciate a classic incident reported by the Manchester Guardian in reviewing the recent disbanding of the royal naval volunteer reserve, known as the "wavy navy."

One time during WWII a corvette in mid-Atlantic plaintively requested a sister ship to indicate its approximate position. Came the radio reply, "Sorry, I'm a stranger here myself."

AS A BARTENDER, Joseph Gianguili of Pacoima is always bugged by the saloon scene in westerns in which the grim stranger buys a drink, fishes a coin out of his vest pocket and tosses it on the bar. What bugs Joe is that he never gets any change, whether it's for a shot of red-eye or he's setting up the house. Furthermore, he never looks to see if it's a quarter or a $20 gold piece.

Maybe this is the reason for so many high-budget westerns.

FOOTNOTES--Leo Shaw asks, "Have you noticed the falsies on the bumpers of the 1958 Cadillacs?" ... Had your redundancy today? Doris Hellman asks how about the license plate slogan, "Colorful Colorado"? ... James Reardon, blind multiple sclerosis victim, will be buried in Valhalla Cemetery after a funeral service at Jones & Hamrock, 731 W. Washington Blvd., at 1 p.m. today. Friends will contribute the costs.


Landlord slain


Jan. 11-12, 1958
Los Angeles

So it's right before Christmas, Dec. 7, and our guy is a week late with the rent. Not working, no money. The landlord comes around; he's a machinist at Douglas who owns these four apartments in Hawthorne.

They fight. Our guy stabs the landlord in the back of the neck with a hunting knife.

Wraps the body in a blanket, puts it in the trunk of the landlord's car and heads for Riverside. Car breaks down near Mt. Rubidoux.

So.... He calls a friend, says come get me. The friend tows the car back to L.A., 11400 Felton Ave. Our guy rents a car, puts the landlord in the trunk--remember it's been a couple days by now--and goes out to Lytle Creek, eight miles out of San Bernardino. Up a dirt road for a mile and then up a firebreak trail half a mile. Digs a grave and buries him.

It's nine days later and the landlord's cousin reports him missing. Police investigate, find our guy driving the landlord's car. Says the landlord loaned it to him, doesn't know where he is.

This is January now. They take him in on a GTA and start questioning him. He's got a record back to '49: Forgery, burglary and mail theft. Been in McNeil Island and the County Jail. But he doesn't know anything about the landlord.

They get the wife to tell them he did it. "Buried him out in the woods." So.... They keep working on him. Put him on the polygraph. Doesn't know anything about the landlord, just borrowed the car.

Finally, he cracks. Says the landlord was after his wife. He came over to the apartment. They fought. The landlord got a hunting knife off a shelf. He dropped it. Our guy picked it up and stabbed him.

Hertel and Rambeau * take him back out there with Al Edsel from the Sheriff's Department. Dark ... late at night. Just a couple of flashlights and the spots on the cars. They find the grave under heavy brush and dig him up.

Our guy tells the papers: "I'm glad it's all over with.... I haven't really slept since it happened."

The Times never followed up on this story. According to California death records, Harold Kelly Middlekauff died May 5, 1980, at the age of 58. There's no listing for his wife, Eleanor. Beryl Creech, the landlord, was 44.

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* Police Capt Arthur Hertel and Lt. Earl Rambeau.




 Photograph by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times

I saw the drab concrete facade being installed on the LAPD's new headquarters yesterday and thought: "East Germany, 1962." This promises to be an interesting contrast to what Nathan Marsak calls "The Borg Cube," otherwise known as the Caltrans Building.

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Jan. 11, 1958



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