Jan. 16, 1968
Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
A courtroom crowded with people hoping to hear juicy details in a murder trial... Animal cruelty in the Antelope Valley ... Complaints about the mails ... A pioneer returns to find Los Angeles greatly changed in his absence ... And a man is hit by a streetcar in Bukowski Square. Note that the illustration was done by a Japanese artist, M. Kosai.
When George Watkins first encountered them they were eating hot dogs and waiting their turn at a table set up by a deputy registrar of voters outside a drugstore.
Realizing the processing was slower than anticipated, the more determined of the pair said, "Let's register after we go into the drugstore." The other said OK.
THEY CAME OUT a few minutes later, eating ice cream cones, and the first said, "What are you, a Republican or a Democrat?"
"I don't know," was the reply, "what are you?"
"I don't know either," said the first. Then she said, "I got an idea." She plucked a coin from her purse and said, "If it's heads, you be a Republican and I'll be a Democrat. If it's tails, I'll be a Republican and you be a Democrat."
The other said that would be fine and the coin was flipped.
Cringing slightly, George moved out of hearing range. He couldn't take any more.
NO MATTER what you hear to the contrary, it's still a practical world. Louise Kay Thompson, who operates an antique shop on South Sepulveda Boulevard, reports that she has recently consummated the following sales: A wooden potato masher to tamp garbage down the disposer. A tin trunk for a dog bed. A big wooden salad bowl for a cat bed (so it won't sharpen its claws on the furniture). A tobacco cutter for chopping off fish heads on a fishing boat. A workman's lunch pail for a handbag. A large China cookie jar for a bathroom wastebasket.
THE KIDS are at it again. A young Rolling Hills mother says, "My 3-year-old girl keeps running around, saying, 'I'm a mashed potato.' " How do I convince her she isn't?" ... And Harry Cimring reports his 5-year-old returned from kindergarten singing, "Joshua hit the bottle of Geritol, Geritol, Geritol. Joshua hit the bottle of Geritol and the walls came tumbling down."
BILLY PEARSON, the jockey who won all that money answering questions about art on TV quiz shows, has opened his own gallery in La Jolla, where he now lives. However, a reporter trying to reach him by phone was told by the operator there was no listing for him. The reporter finally got the number from the Chamber of Commerce. And what is the name of the gallery? Bill Pearson's Fine Arts. Such is fame.
AVIATION WEEK has an item datelined San Diego about the driver of a huge truck hauling an Atlas ICBM from the Convair plant to Cape Canaveral, Fla., being stopped and cited by a California Highway patrolman. The charge--illegally using flashing red lights. So the driver kept them off until he came to the Arizona state line, then turned them on.
We not only can't (always) get our missiles off the ground, we can't get them out of traffic.
AT RANDOM--Ruth Anderson of San Bernardino doesn't like the new dress styles either. As she puts it, "Who's the bag in the sack?" ... Sudden irrelevant thought: Wonder if Public Relations Consultants, 9235 W. 3rd St., ever consult, seek counsel or communicate with Communications Counselors of Inc. 8720 Sunset Blvd. Or vice versa ... It must have occurred to Walter O'Malley that we've got a pretty smart team of dodgers here already ... Anonymous message left on my typewriter: "Only one thing was missing from Jayne Mansfield's quiet little wedding--Elvis singing 'O Promise Me.' "
Jan. 14, 1968
UCLA's Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) injures his eye in a game against Cal. Will he be ready for the Game of the Century on Jan. 20, 1968, against Houston in the Astrodome?
Jan. 15, 1958
I talk to a lot of men who are fresh out of prison. I do because each one has a story--usually each is in bad need of someone to listen.
So I do.
I listen as each one alternately curses and praises society and curses and praises himself.
Ninety-nine times out of 100 I don't go to them. They come to me.
But yesterday was the 100th time--the exception.
I made the initial contact.
I did, because I heard the man's story when he was released and I felt at the time that it was one worth hearing firsthand.
At my request, the man came to my office. He sat in the chair across my desk. And we started at the beginning.
"When was it," I asked, "that you were picked up?"
"June 15, 1953," he said.
"And the charge?"
"Well, they told me I had illegally concealed some land deeds."
He smiled, like he knew the whole thing was trumped up.
"But it wasn't true?" I asked.
The man shook his head. "No. It wasn't. They found some land deeds in my room. But they were expired. Worthless. Certainly, there was nothing illegal about them."
"There were some others picked up at the same time, weren't there?" I asked.
He nodded. "Yes," he answered. "Some of them are still in prison."
"Were they held on the same charges?"
"No," was the answer. "We were charged with various crimes." The man moved uncomfortably in his seat. "Do you mind if I smoke?" he asked.
I lit his cigarette for him.
"What happened at your trial?" I said.
"My trial--if you can call it that--didn't come up until more than two years after I was arrested. When the guard led me into the courtroom, he said, 'You've come to receive your sentence.' I was given four years."
"You never admitted that you were guilty of anything though?"
"No," he said, "I didn't."
He paused in thought, and began again:
"Actually, I guess I did. I agreed with them that I had broken the law on some money affairs. You understand how it is. They have ways of making you say things."
"You mean," I said, "brutality?"
"Oh, no. I wouldn't accuse the guards or officers who interrogated me of brutality. All the time I was in prison I was only hit--struck physically--once. A guard did it but he was excited. It was during a questioning session when everybody was pretty excited."
"Then how about the treatment generally?"
"It was a strenuous routine," he answered. "There were times when other prisoners and I were forced to sit up against the cell wall for hours. We couldn't talk. We couldn't move--even to change positions slightly--except with permission from the guards.
"Sometimes," he continued, "as punishment they'd make us sit straight up in the middle of a room. I had a slipped spinal disk and had to be taken to the hospital because of it. They'd do other things, too, if you weren't co-operating--like putting cinders in your food."
"How about the treatment just before you were released?" I said.
"Better. Much better. They want you to leave with pleasant memories, I guess. In honesty, they're nothing but dedicated liars."
I asked my visitor, now that he was a free man, what he planned to do.
"I hope to eventually go back there," he said, "to go back and work in Red China once again."
And then my guest, Missionary Father Alexander Houle, stood up. We shook hands and he left.
Jan. 15, 1958
This is the incident Paul Coates wrote about in a recent column.
George M. Cohan's "45 Minutes From Broadway" ... R.F. Outcault at performances of "Buster Brown" ... Victor Herbert's "The Tattooed Man" ... At least 167 die when the Rhodes Opera House burns in Boyertown, Pa. in what will be deemed the ninth-deadliest fire in U.S. history.