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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: November 16, 2008 - November 22, 2008

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Found on EBay -- From Silverwood's


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Here's a 16-page brochure on men's fashions for 1925 from Silverwood's, Broadway and 6th Street. Bidding starts at $14.99.

Hall of Famer dies after crash, November 22, 1958



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1958_1122_ott_foot_2 By Gary Rubin
Times staff writer

Fifty years ago today, sports fans in general and baseball fans in particular woke up to read the startling news that Hall of Famer Mel Ott was dead after surgery for a kidney injury suffered in an automobile accident in New Orleans. He was just 49.

Baby boomers may not be all that familiar with Ott, but in a 21-year playing career, all spent with the New York Giants, Ott was one of great power hitters of all time, finishing with 511 home runs, a National League record that stood until broken by Willie Mays in 1965.

Though not particularly big, at 5-9, 170, Ott generated great power with a unique batting stance. As the pitch came in, the left-handed Ott would raise his right foot at least a foot.

Ott had come to the attention of Giants’ Manager John McGraw and was signed by New York while still a teenager. McGraw gave specific instructions that no one on the Giants was to tinker with Ott’s batting stance, and, at the tender age of 17, Ott made his major league debut for the Giants in 1926 without playing a single day in the minors.

1958_1122_ottHe quickly developed into the No. 1 power hitter in the National League, six times leading the league in homers. His best season was 1929, hitting .328 with 42 home runs and 151 RBIs.

Among Ott’s career highlights:

— Set a major league record for leading his team in home runs for 18 consecutive years, 1928-45.

— One of only six major leaguers to spend 20 or more years with the same team.

— Led the National League in home runs for three consecutive years, 1936-38.

— Was a 12-time National League All-Star.

Yet for all his accomplishments, Ott seemingly will be more remembered for a quote about him, coming from rival manager Leo Durocher: "Nice guys finish last."

In a July 1946 interview with broadcaster Red Barber, Durocher noted that the Giants -- who had reputations as good, likable people, especially Ott, then the Giants manager -- were all "nice guys" but would nonetheless finish last.   He summed up his argument with, "Nice guys; finish last."

In a 1961 interview with The Times' Frank Finch, Durocher noted that the remark was quoted accurately by New York sportswriter Frank Graham in a published interview. It came to take on a different meaning when some incorrectly thought he meant that such a team would finish last because it included "nice guys," when in fact he had meant that there was no correlation.


Estranged wife kills jealous husband, November 22, 1958



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In a confrontation over a divided Berlin, a Soviet official says the government plans to give control to the East Germans by Christmas, and some Soviet troops are reportedly going home. President Eisenhower vows to maintain the occupation of West Berlin. The central issue was whether the U.S., Britain and France would accept East German participation in the organization that controlled the city's military and commercial air traffic.
 



1958_1123_raines Roy Wesley Raines was born in Alabama in 1906 and died on a Burbank street in 1958, killed by his estranged wife, Mary Katherine, with a .22 rifle after he ignored a warning shot. 

They had been in court earlier that day, when Mary sought a restraining order against him. In return, he asked for a week's extension so he could get an attorney to help settle the custody of their 4-year-old boy.

That night, Roy went to 250 W. Spazier Ave., where Mary and a 12-year-old son from a previous marriage were living with Thomas Kennedy, described in news accounts as a boarder and a boyfriend. 

Leaving their 4-year-old asleep in the backseat of his car, Roy rang the bell and confronted Kennedy. As the men fought in the frontyard, Roy beat Kennedy in the head with a pipe wrench.

Mary's 12-year-old son got the single-shot .22-caliber rifle from the den. She took it from him and fired a warning shot into the air. The boy reloaded the rifle and handed it to his mother. When Roy knocked Kennedy to the ground and came after Mary, she fired again. She told a coroner's jury that she aimed over his head, but she killed him.

She was taken to jail. The older boy was held in protective custody at Juvenile Hall while the 4-year-old was placed with relatives. Kennedy was found badly beaten, dazed and wandering several blocks away and taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. 

On Nov. 26, 1958, the coroner's jury returned with a verdict: justifiable homicide.

Found on EBay -- streetcar photo


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Here's a nice sharp image of a streetcar passing City Hall. It's been listed on EBay with a starting bid of $5.

End of the view


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I'm sorry to note that one of my favorite downtown blogs, "View From a Loft," is going to be mothballed. Through "Loft," graphic artist Ed Fuentes explored downtown Los Angeles as only a resident can.

He writes:

HELLO, I MUST BE GOING: Despite an ongoing effort from a strong social and professional network of supporters, the loft is no longer home. Technically, I have the end of the month to catch up and retain what has been my residence for ten years (and workplace for a bulk of those ten years), but for now every possible solution has been exhausted.

Read more >>>

A World War II Thanksgiving, 1943



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Above, a World War II recipe for meatless mince pie.

 


"The larders are war-shorn, but let the heart be grateful for the gift of fertile lands, for the riches of the earth and the sea and the privilege to share our all-American feast. We give thanks for an abundance of grain.

"If we skimp today, for the less, 'Lord make us duly thankful.' "




The Times advises readers to be flexible in making substitutes because many items in the traditional Thanksgiving meal are scarce or unavailable. Turkeys are smaller in 1943, The Times says, because feed supplies are low. Many of the birds are being sent to soldiers overseas, so the home front has to make due with chicken, which isn't rationed, unlike red meat. And if you can't get a chicken, try pork shoulder.

Instead of butter, use margarine or chicken or bacon fat. Sage, most of it from Dalmatia, is unobtainable, so try using oregano in your dressing. Oysters are also scarce because the men who would have harvested them are at war.

"After the war, we can eat the oysters we can't get today," The Times says.

Writer arrested for threatening wife with butcher knife, November 21 1958



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"Suddenly it seemed the whole panorama of his life was a race and he was running last.... There was something in him that had to come out. He had to find a way to get it out, to free himself of it. Something that would give him a chance to feel and know things. To blend all of the things which were in him: the matter, the spirit, the flesh."

--Thomas T. Chamales, "Go Naked in the World."

"Chamales is a writer who can and must write. Even his partial failures are more impressive than some fancy-Dan success we've seen in recent years."
--Robert Kirsch



If you were ever looking for a prototype of the alcoholic, brawling, self-destructive author, you might consider Thomas T. Chamales, a veteran of the OSS who wrote the 1957 bestseller "Never So Few," which The Times' Robert Kirsch called, "Easily one of the best novels to come out of World War II."

Before he died at the age of 35 when he was trapped in a burning apartment, Chamales wrote "No Rent in His Hand," an unpublished novel; another novel, "Go Naked Into the World"; a play, "Forget I Ever Lived"; an outline for screenplay, "The Mill"; and 550 pages of an unfinished novel titled "Run and Call It Living." 

He also spent a fair amount of time in jail during his stormy marriage to big band vocalist Helen O'Connell, whom he married in 1957, with novelist James Jones as best man.

In October 1958, Chamales and O'Connell had a violent argument at a Wilshire Boulevard restaurant, but police said she refused to press charges. A month later, O'Connell's 14-year-old daughter from a previous marriage called police from the family home at 445 Homewood Ave., to report that Chamales had threatened O'Connell with a butcher knife. While he was in jail on those charges, he was accused of passing a bad check in Florida.

In June 1959, he was fined $500 and given two years' probation for wife-beating and the next month, five LAPD officers showed up at the home to evict him.


He lived hard! He fought hard! And he fell hard!
And then, on the night of March 20, 1960, Chamales smoked his final cigarette. He was living in a fourth-floor apartment at 1441 S. Beverly Glen Blvd., and evidently fell asleep. The cigarette set the sofa on fire and soon the apartment was in flames. Firefighters found him on the floor in his shorts; blackened hand prints on the walls of the apartment showed where had desperately tried to find the door.

He was survived by a daughter from his marriage with O'Connell and two sons from a previous marriage.

Curiously, and perhaps tragically, Chamales' novels appear to be largely forgotten. "Never So Few," was made into a movie with Frank Sinatra, but the book is long out of print after being reissued in 1972.

The Wall Street Journal published this story about Gerald Chamales, one of the novelist's children, in 1998.

Update: The only copy of any of Chamales' books in the Los Angeles Public Library is in Spanish!

Coming attractions -- Maltese Falcon


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"The Maltese Falcon" will be shown at the Warner Grand in San Pedro at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008. Tickets are free for L.A. Conservancy members--while supplies last. If you're a member of the Los Angeles Conservancy, RSVP to Deandra Rosales or Debra Espinoza at 310.548.2493 by 5 pm on Friday, November 21, or bring your membership card to the box office on Saturday after 3 p.m.

Tickets for non-L.A. Conservancy members are $5/$10 and can be purchased at www.warnergrand.org

Found on EBay -- Vintage film poster



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At left, a poster from the 1912 Selig film "The Peculiar Nature of the White Man's Burden" is on EBay. Bidding starts at $9.95 or buy it now for $150.

Thanksgiving, 1936

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Recipes for "modern" stuffing from The Times, 1936. Please note that this item has not been put through the Daily Mirror test kitchen (our Le Creuset has been gathering cobwebs of late). These recipes are for entertainment value only.

Valley man killed with hammer, November 20, 1958

1958_1120_cover The crash of a Marine plane near El Toro derails the Santa Fe's San Diegan, but no serious injuries are reported.

Ernest E. Hargis, who had been a city ambulance driver for 20 years, is found beaten to death with a hammer and shoved under an abandoned car at 13037 Osborne St., Pacoima. Hargis was building a home at the site, The Times said.

Further investigation found that Hargis had been hiring former jail trustees and itinerant laborers to help him on his house. James Edgar Holmes, a former psychiatric patient, was accused of the killing. Holmes admitted killing Hargis but said it was in defense during an argument over a star drill he was using to bore holes in concrete. 
       

Found on EBay -- Bullocks Wilshire

Bullocks_wilshire_ebay Here's an outfit with lots of sequins from Bullocks Wilshire. Now listed on EBay. Buy it now for $149.99.
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