Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
View Larger Map
August 23, 1958
We're parked outside the home at 322 Arbolada Drive, Arcadia. It's early morning and everything is quiet. Nice place, isn't it? Built in 1951. You'd never guess, but one spring day a few years ago, a college girl up the street killed herself over her boyfriend while her parents were on vacation. Very sad.
Ready? Let's go. Keep your hands in your pockets. Don't touch anything and don't move anything.
They're over here in the swimming pool. In a few hours, a man from the maintenance company is going to find them.
The man floating face-down is named is Reginald J. Koster. He's 69 years old,* a retired businessman. Reginald was staying here by himself while his daughter and son-in-law were on a trip to Washington, D.C. According to an in-law, he was not a good swimmer.
The woman is Lucille Marceline Barry, 43, an auditor for Manor Market, 2526 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. She lived at 101 S. Fremont in Alhambra with her mother, who says Lucille wasn't a good swimmer.
Apparently they met for drinks at Eaton's restaurant, 1150 W. Colorado Blvd., Arcadia. That's the one with the windmill on the roof. Witnesses say Reginald and Lucille had a few cocktails and took a cab back here. Reginald changed into his trunks in one room and Lucille changed into a swimsuit in another room. Here's their cocktail glasses: empty.
Police will figure they drowned when one of them began having trouble in the deep end and the other tried to help.
Reginald was widowed or divorced and survived by three married daughters. He might have been a lab assistant to a New York inventor named Fred E. Bright, or maybe that was another Reginald J. Koster.
Judging by California death records, Lucille had never been married. The Times wrote about several women named Lucille Barry, but it's unclear whether any of them were the same woman. One of them was a model who posed for pictures promoting the County Fair.
We better get going, the pool man will be here soon.
* According to California death records.
| e at the Daily Mirror have been taken to task by an anonymous commenter (an SBC Global subscriber ISP 22.214.171.124) for focusing on "crap" rather than more intellectually stimulating fare. Anon@yahoo.com (I tend to suspect this is a pseudonym, though I could be wrong) bemoans the demise of the book review section in published editions of The Times and the brevity of published theater listings.
Although I am unable to do anything about either situation, I hope you will enjoy Robert R. Kirsch's 50-year-old review of Frank Freidel's "The Splendid Little War." I trust you will find this more to your liking, Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms. 126.96.36.199. Please note that "Splendid Little War" has been reissued and is ranked 1,160,900 in Amazon sales. With luck, this post may give it a nice little bump.
And now back to the regularly scheduled mayhem....
Los Angeles Times file photo
May 6, 1962: Bo Belinsky of the Angels fires a fast ball at the Baltimore Orioles during his historic no-hitter.
By Keith Thursby
Bo Belinsky would have been something in the era of YouTube. A left-handed pitcher who loved the limelight, he'd probably even have his own blog.
Belinsky had a short, wild career that was filled with potential and problems. He pitched the first no-hitter in Los Angeles major league history for the Angels in 1962 and started his rookie season 5-0.
Ross Newhan, The Times' longtime baseball writer, wrote in 2001 about his first encounter with Belinsky in Palm Springs in 1962.
"There he was sitting by the Desert Inn pool, wearing shades to deflect the sun, a drink in his hand, perfectly at ease in the sparkling environment, as if he was already the toast of the town and this was just one more introductory news conference."
But the bright lights were too much for Belinsky, who dated actresses and got lots of publicity, little of which apparently had to do with his ability to throw a baseball. His photo file in The Times' library has as many shots of nightclubs, press conferences and publicity appearances as pictures of Bo actually pitching. After starting 5-0, he finished 10-11 in 1962. In 1964, he knocked out Braven Dyer, the Times' baseball writer who was 64 at the time, and the Angels had seen enough. They suspended and ultimately traded him to Philadelphia.
Left-handers with potential get plenty of opportunities, and Belinsky made a few more stops before his career ended in 1970. The Angels even purchased his contract in 1969 but soon sold him to the Pirates.
Belinsky died in 2001 at the age of 64 after battling bladder cancer for years. He had struggled with alcohol and drugs but had found peace in his last years, becoming active in a Las Vegas church.
The Times' Chris Foster reported that Belinsky, ever the colorful quote, said of his religious conversion: "Can you imagine? I had to come to Las Vegas to discover Jesus Christ."
Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" is boring and unintelligible, the critics say.
Los Angeles Times file photo
|OK, who is this foursome on the golf course? (Sorry about the crack in the emulsion. The Times' library used to fold the big prints in half before putting them in envelopes -- verrry annoying). |
Second from left, Mickey Rooney (Alexa Foreman). Absolutely. Let's see how people do with the other three....
Here's a hint: Rooney is the only actor in the foursome. The other three are golfers, all of them covered by The Times in the 1940s and '50s.
Update: Because it's Friday and this isn't a golf blog, I'll tell you one of the names. The man to the left of Mickey Rooney is Bob Unthank.
Update 2: Because it's Saturday and this isn't a golf blog, I'll tell you another name. The man on the right is Foster McMullen, who competed in local tournaments in the 1940s and '50s.
Update 3: Because it's Sunday and this isn't a golf blog, I'll tell you the last name. The man to the right of Mickey Rooney is Bob Rosburg.
|August 18, 1958|
Ralph Atkinson, 28-year-old upholsterer of 6609 Beeman Ave., North Hollywood, left home early Sunday to buy a newspaper. On the way back, he decided to stop at a bar and have a drink. Or two. Or three.
Charlotte Atkinson, 33-year-old housewife with a 7-month-old son and two daughters from one of her two previous marriages, went looking for him. She found her husband of 18 months at a bar in the early afternoon. They had a few drinks and returned home.
Charlotte went to the grocery store, but when she got back, Ralph had chained the door so it wouldn't open. She beat on the door until the chain gave way, The Times said.
According to testimony by her two daughters, Ralph began beating Charlotte and dragged her by the hair. She went into the den and picked up his 16-gauge shotgun.
"I got the gun just to scare him. I didn't know it was loaded," she said. "He'd beaten me before and he was starting to again when I got the gun."
Ralph Atkinson died at Hollywood Receiving Hospital after being shot in the stomach. Charlotte was charged with murder, but the case was dismissed at her preliminary hearing. She never again appeared in the pages of The Times.