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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: May 11, 2008 - May 17, 2008

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Photograph by Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times

I had so much fun going through Ronald Reagan's pictures I decided to post another one. Who is she?

  • City Councilwoman Rosalind "Roz" Wyman? (Ken Odessky). Absolutely right. Very good!

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May 13, 1958


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Above, President Eisenhower tells African Americans to be patient about gaining civil rights ... Below, Dr. Lawrence Michael Dillon, formerly Dr. Laura Maude Dillon, who was apparently the world's first trangendered man, is interviewed in Philadelphia. In 1945, Dillon began a series of operations to change his sex, The Times said. Dillon was a member of the British nobility and his change was noticed by readers of books on British peerage. According to the Gender Centre website, Dillon fled after his operation was revealed and eventually became a Tibetan monk in Bengal, taking the name Lobzang Jivaka.


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May 13, 1938


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Above, Albert "Baby" Arizmendi vs. Wally Hally at the Olympic. Arizmendi died in 1963 at the age of 48 after a long illness ... Below, George Sakalis, a key witness in the trial of Police Capt. Earle Kynette, is cleared of charges that were trumped up in Arizona in an attempt to keep him from testifying in the Harry Raymond bombing ... The city of Los Angeles prepares for summer by opening the swimming pool at the Exposition playground and the "Griffith plunge" ... A vice crackdown continues with 11 men arrested at 4104 Long Beach Blvd. for shooting dice and two investigations of the gambling ship Rex, anchored three miles off Santa Monica. 

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May 13, 1908


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Above, two suspects are arrested on charges of trying to rob a man at a streetcar stop in Santa Monica ... Below, pay careful attention to the story about renewed efforts to excavate a tunnel on Hill Street. This is important because the hill--like the one on Broadway--no longer exists and because the account is further proof that traffic problems are nothing new: Los Angeles has been struggling with its congested streets for more than a century ... Speaking of transportation, note that local auto dealers are planning to have fairs in surrounding rural towns to give farmers rides in fancy machines and emphasize the need for better roads ... And there's a banana war among produce wholesalers  (3 1/2 cents a pound is 77 cents a pound USD 2007). Retailers aren't passing the savings on to customers, The Times says, but are keeping the profits.

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Paul Coates


May 12, 1958


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Matt Weinstock


May 12, 1958


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Mystery photo

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Los Angeles Times file photo

OK, who are they?

2008_0512_mystery_detail Notice Reagan's clenched right hand as he puts his arm around Mystery Woman No. 1 -- no fooling around with this boy.
  • Everybody recognizes Ronald Reagan. The two women are more problematic.
  • Lucille Barkley and Diana Lynn (not Wanda Hendrix)?  (Michael Goosman). Excellent guess. Mystery woman No. 1 is Lucille "Arizona Manhunt" Barkley. The photo, dated June 27, 1950, was taken of a parade for the Pasadena premiere of an unidentified movie. According to caption information on the back of the photo, the woman on the right is Wanda Hendrix.


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May 12, 1958

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Above, a landmark we actually saved -- sort of. I'm still waiting for the Sinai and Olivet to be reinstalled ... Below, celebrity journalism, 1950s style: Peter Lawford gets clipped by a hit-and-run driver and Gen. Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic is mighty generous with the ladies: A car and a chinchilla coat to Zsa Zsa and an $8,400 ($61,216.70 USD 2007) Mercedes for Kim Novak ...  And Red Skelton's son Richard dies of leukemia in the heartbreaking conclusion of a tragic story.

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Mystery photo countdown

May 12, 1938

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It's fun to imagine the first crowds going into the movie palaces for the premiere of "Robin Hood" with nobody to say "Oh, I saw that on TV as a kid" or "Isn't Basil Rathbone a great villain"?" and no CD compilation of Erich Korngold's film scores. I suppose it's a bit like those of us who are old enough to remember the opening day of "Star Wars" when it was all new and undiscovered. Below, in the trial of Police Capt. Earle Kynette, another expert testifies about the pipe bomb that nearly killed Harry Raymond. William Harper says detonator wire found at the crime scene was cut from a roll found in Kynette's garage ... A woman hitchhiking from New York to California is found strangled next to a road in Lawrence, Kan. Her diary gives her name as Marlene O'Brien ...

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May 12, 1908

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1907_0816_christ_kid Above, a gruesome story from Stanford is Page 1 news ... Below, a cross-section of what The Times often called "Life's Seamy Side" ... The print isn't terribly legible, but reading the stories is worth the effort. Pay special attention to the engineer who calls a balloon ascension in the Arctic a total fraud ... I'm particularly fond of the story about the "Christ Kid," a criminal who posed as a preacher to the homeless when the police were looking for him.
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May 11, 1958


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Above, a look back at Anna Jarvis, who died in seclusion after inaugurating an annual tribute to mothers (especially her own) only to have it turned into a commercialized holiday hijacked by merchants. Below, one woman's view of Mother's Day ... Robert G. Neumann's thoughts on Algeria and the Mideast, especially the role of Muslim women ... And every last word of the contract for Dodger Stadium, as a present to all the moms who are Dodger fans.

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