The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: October 5, 2008 - October 11, 2008

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Football coach Sid Gillman

Photograph by Ken Dare / Los Angeles Times

Chargers Coach Sid Gillman with Jack Kemp in a photo published Nov. 7, 1961
By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer

His team on the way to face the defending NFL champion Detroit Lions, Sid Gillman was rewarded with a new contract to continue coaching the Rams. He must have felt on top of the world, working for a franchise on the move.

The Rams, after all, had hired Gillman in 1955 and he led them to that season's NFL championship game, where they lost to the Cleveland Browns. His 1958 Rams were high-powered and talented and headed for an 8-4 finish. And he obviously had the support of the Rams' young general manager, Pete Rozelle.

Funny how things worked out.


Los Angeles Times file photograph

Rams coach Sid Gillman with Mrs. Paul Schwegler, left, and Mrs. Lloyd Frederick in a publicity shot for the Rams-Redskins Times charity football game, Aug. 14, 1957.

The Rams suffered through a 2-10 season in 1959 and in 1960 Rozelle became the surprise choice as NFL commissioner. By 1960, Gillman was still in L.A. but coaching the AFL's Chargers in their first and only season in the Coliseum.

Gillman became an institution in San Diego, coaching the Chargers until 1971. He won an AFL title with the Chargers in 1963 and is remembered for his sophisticated approach to offensive football.

Photograph by Ben Olender and Larry Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
Rams coach Sid Gillman with a "triple threat punch" of Jon Arnett, Ollie Matson and Tom Wilson, July 25, 1959.
"He took football to another level, the technical aspects of it," Hall of Fame Coach Bill Walsh was quoted by The Times' Sam Farmer in Gillman's 2003 obituary. "He picked up the reins as being the top offensive mind in all of football. Sid was brilliant, a visionary."

Walsh was one of many coaches influenced by Gillman. There's a great old photo in Gillman's files in The Times library from his days as Los Angeles Chargers coach. His assistants pictured with him included Raiders owner Al Davis, former Steelers coach Chuck Noll and longtime Ram official Jack Faulkner.   

The list of coaches connected to Gillman goes on and on.

Davis told The Times: "Obviously, he exerted an influence on my life. The great ones, time never ends for them."

Gillman's time in Los Angeles was relatively short, but his influence was felt there too. Bob Oates, The Times' longtime NFL writer, put Gillman in perspective: "There was a November day in 1957 when a Ram-49er game packed in a record crowd of 102,368 at the Coliseum. That was Gillman's doing. His offense was so entertaining that the game sold out even though, that morning, the Rams stood dead last in their division. He won too, 37-24."


Movie revivals -- One Girl's Confession

Coming soon to a theater near you...


Above, "One Girl's Confession," 1953.

Oct. 12, 2008, 7:30 p.m. UCLA Hammer Museum Billy Wilder Theater.
Tickets $10.
Also showing: "Over-Exposed."


Found on EBay -- A. Victor Segno, man of mystery


I am beginning to suspect that among his many other talents (seer, mentalist and author of a book about how to have beautiful hair) A. Victor Segno was a philatelist. EBay has provided yet another entry in the collection of envelopes mailed to Segno. In case you're not a regular Daily Mirror reader, you may not know that he was also a con artist. The idea was that in return for $1 a month, Segno would send out a daily "success wave," which looked something like this:


A. Victor Segno transmitting a "success wave" (artist's conception). Note the beautiful hair.

This envelope, now for sale on EBay, somehow made its way from Venezuela to Los Angeles to Buenos Aires. If only it could tell its story. But for $92, probably not to me.

The new TV season, October 11, 1958

Roberta Jymme Shore of Disney's "The Shaggy Dog" models current hairstyles.


These new Saturday shows didn't last long: "U.S. Marshal" with John Bromfield;  "Man Without a Gun" with Rex Reason; and "Cimarron City" with George Montgomery. But look who else is in it: Dan Blocker, future star of "Bonanza."

Of course at my house, we would have been watching "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "Have Gun, Will Travel."

Movie revivals -- Repo Man

Coming soon to a theater near you...


Above, "Repo Man,"1984.

Feb. 24, 2009, 8 p.m. Ramo Auditorium at Caltech.

"Repo Man," with discussion afterward. Frank Capra Film Series. Free.


Found on EBay -- souvenir of L.A. hockey

1968_october_10_sports By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer

Found on EBay a small piece of L.A. hockey history--a trading card for Terry Sawchuk, Kings goaltender. Sawchuk was the first player picked by the Kings in the expansion draft and should have been their star attraction.

Sawchuk came to the Kings as a four-time winner of the Vezina Trophy, given to the league's top goalie. But he spent only one season in Los Angeles, traded just before the start of the 1968-69 season for Detroit center Jimmy Peters. According to The Times' Chuck Garrity, the Kings apparently preferred goalie Gerry Dejardins, who played only two seasons in Los Angeles.

Sawchuk was the highest paid King. Garrity estimated his salary at about $37,500. And Sawchuk's card? It went for $7.49 on EBay.

Here's the link:

Pope dies, October 10, 1958


Thousand file past the body of Pope Pius XII, who died after a lingering illness. 


Movie star mystery photo

Los Angeles Times file photo

Our mystery woman is, as many people guessed, Alice White, star of the 1928 version of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."


Alice White, movie star and Old Gold smoker, Aug. 30, 1930.
Los Angeles Times file photo
Steven Bibb has guessed our mystery woman. But just to make it interesting, I'm going to defer revealing her name to give other folks a chance....  Plus, I have lots of great pictures of her and I don't want them to go to waste.

Here she is in First Nationals' 1928 film "The Mad Hour."

Update: Dewey Webb and Eve also recognized her. Congrats!
Los Angeles Times file photo

Charles Delaney and Alice White in "Broadway Babies," 1929.
Here's our mystery woman in a 1929 photo. Add Gregory D. Moore to the folks who recognized her.

Gregory, who has a 12-piece, 1930s-style dance band, writes that he's giving a salute to bandleader Russ Columbo at New York's Algonquin Hotel Oak Room on Nov. 2, 2008.
He sounds like this, in case you're wondering.
Los Angeles Times file photo

Sidney "Sy" Bartlett, Alice White and Jerry Giesler, 1933.
Add Peter Mintun to the list of people who identified our mystery woman, shown in 1933 with a couple of fellows. You may not recognize the man on the left, but most folks should know  the man on the right --although it's a fairly early picture of him.

Already recognized by Chris Morales ... and Alexa Foreman. Anyone else?

OK, everybody got the man on the right, attorney Jerry Giesler. (Pronounced "Geese-ler," I'm told).

White and Bartlett scandalized America by traveling together before they were married in 1933. (They divorced in 1937). Bartlett was one of the screenwriters on "Twelve O'Clock High."
Photograph by the Los Angeles Times
And here's our mystery woman in 1950. In case you're wondering, she's 46 years old in this picture.

Add Dennis C. Aimino to the folks who recognized our mystery guest!

In 1941, she married Columbia writer Jack Roberts, whom she divorced in 1949. This photo was taken when she was suing Roberts for failing to pay alimony.
Los Angeles Times file photo
At left, here is White in 1958 when she was hoping to make a comeback. She died in 1983. (Her date of birth is reported as Aug. 26, 1906, in The Times and Aug. 25, 1904, in imdb and California death records).

Alice White "never resorts to strategy or diplomacy," one studio executive said, according to her obituary. "She decides what she wants and fights ... wholeheartedly to attain her goal."

Los Angeles Times file photo

Alice White, 1904 - 1983

When the Yankees owned October

1958_october_10_sports By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer

Remember when the Yankees owned October?

This was a very good day to be a Yankee fan back in 1938 and '58.

In 1938, New York finished sweeping the Chicago Cubs with an 8-3 victory for their third consecutive World Series title. Bob Ray wrote in The Times: "Where other great baseball machines have tried and failed to win the third in a row, the Yankee juggernaut rolled over the hapless and helpless National League standard-bearers with characteristic relentless efficiency."

Guess it wasn't close.

"We came, we saw and now we go home," Cubs first baseman Ripper Collins said. "It's lucky we didn't get hurt."

In 1958, things were quite a bit harder. The Yankees had to storm back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Milwaukee Braves in seven games. New York won the finale, 6-2.

The Times editorialized on the victory, judging that there "are only two inevitables--but the New York Yankees run close behind death and taxes and are narrowing the gap."

The new TV season, 77 Sunset Strip, October 10, 1958


The new Friday shows of the 1958 TV season include some short-lived programs (Charles Bronson in "Man With a Camera") and one of the landmarks of the 1950s, "77 Sunset Strip."

Warner Bros. spun off this series into another hit, "Hawaiian Eye," a moderately successful show "Surfside 6" and a lesser-known program, "Bourbon Street Beat." 

Kookie, lend me your comb!

Koufax chooses faith over Dodgers, October 6, 1965


1965_october_07_runoverBy Gary Rubin
Times Staff Writer

Would he pitch?

That was the question Dodger fans were asking themselves 43 years ago on the eve of their World Series opener against the Minnesota Twins.

The "he" in this case was Sandy Koufax, who not only won 26 games for the team in 1965, but won the pennant-clinching game against the Milwaukee Braves and finished the season with a record 382 strikeouts.

There was just one problem:

Game 1 was scheduled to be played on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, considered the most important holiday among Jews.

Koufax was not only the most dominant pitcher in the game, but the most prominent Jewish athlete of his generation.

Manager Walter Alston left the decision up to Koufax, who decided his faith took precedence over the needs of his team, at least for a day.

As it turned out, Koufax’s decision not to pitch, to keep to his faith, was a watershed moment for the many Jewish fans, young and old, who saw the decision play out on the public stage.  It was a reminder that while sports is important, being true to yourself is even more important.

While Koufax spent his day in a Minneapolis synagogue, the Dodgers lost that game, 8-2.

And, when Koufax finally pitched in Game 2, the result wasn’t any better, a 5-1 loss.

But it was a happy ending for Dodger fans, as the team won the championship in seven games, Koufax pitching a pair of shutouts, including the decisive Game 7, a 2-0 three-hitter.

New fall TV shows, October 9, 1958

Just say the secret word!
1958_october_09_tv Tonight we have "Playhouse 90," starring Jackie Gleason in William Saroyan's "The Time of Your Life." I wonder what the younger generation, raised on "American Idol," makes of a 90-minute network TV show devoted to serious drama. Then again, we have:


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