The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: January 27, 2008 - February 2, 2008

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110 revisited


Teamsters representative Fred Ferrier was sentenced to three months in jail and a $1,000 fine after a Jan. 29, 1958, accident in which his airborne car jumped the center divider on the Pasadena Freeway and killed the driver of an oncoming car. Ferrier failed an "intoximeter" test, The Times said. The southbound car traveled more than 500 feet after the crash decapitated the driver, Alex Weinberg.

Photograph by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times

Here's the overpass today, with an improved center divider. Note that Hermon Avenue was renamed Via Marisol in honor of Councilman Arthur K. Snyder's daughter in 1978.

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Photographs by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times

OK, I wandered around to the other side of the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters under construction in downtown Los Angeles. Forget what I said about "East Germany, 1962." 


Here's a better look at the glass being installed on the south side of the building. Note the Caltrans Building (or what Nathan Marsak calls "The Borg cube") in the background.


This is the LAPD headquarters as seen from the front of the Caltrans Building along 1st Street. It will be interesting to see how this side progresses.

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Random shot


Photograph by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times

 I saw this poster glued to some plywood at a construction site on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice this morning. Alas, there were no similar treatments of other candidates, so I can't give them equal time. With luck I'll be able to collect an entire set by election day.

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Mini survey

Daily Mirror Mini Survey, January 2008

1908 pages
1938 pages
1958 pages
Historic sports
Mystery photos
Original stories on vintage crime
Paul Coates
Matt Weinstock

Everything/Anything else
If you could add one thing ...
More 30s through 50s, more crime and sleaze, more about the beach cities during the 30s, 40s and 50s.

I do wish that I could read the small print on the newspapers better.

Is there a way for you to enlarge the print?

More stories about other parts of the Valley, the Westside and the South Bay.

If you could remove one thing

Spending too much time one the same Main street.

Other remarks
Keep up the good work, your blog is cool.

I love the 50 years ago angle. I love the mystery photos.

If everything stays the same it is fine with me.

You’re doing a superb job of bringing the past to the present.

I think the site is doing exactly what it should be......
it's fun, refreshing and a great step 'outside' the regular Times stuff....

My favorite memory of the Daily Mirror is the day I discovered it and had to spend three enormously entertaining hours catching up. It was great!

I would love to see more of Jim Murray.
I would like to see more vintage ads.

More vintage ads.

I can't think of a thing you should change.

I enjoy also the commentary of Paul Coates and Matt Weinstock. Paul Coates has a way to get to the heart of story.

You've struck a near-perfect balance on your blog.

Please continue in exactly the same manner you have been doing.

This is a great blog and you are doing a great job.

Times *and* Mirror front pages every day. It's a great blog. Keep it coming.

You might throw in a front page or a front sports page of 1948 once in a while.

I love it all, of course.  It's my home page.

All told, the survey results are extremely gratifying (and I didn't tabulate the e-mails that said "don't change anything").

The blog is a labor of love, with an emphasis on both words: I love doing the Daily Mirror, but it can be laborious. Nothing would make me happier than to add everything requested here, but it's a matter of time constraints (so many stories, only one Larry Harnisch). The Mirror front pages are especially tricky because I have to scan them into the computer myself and because the lighting isn't balanced I have to paste two correctly exposed halves together to get a complete page.

I'll admit that the 1908 pages are an acquired taste and that very few people are as enchanted as I am with Los Angeles 100 years ago. I run the 1908 pages because this is when the city took shape. This is when many of the "outlying" districts were laid out (for example, Sierra Madre, 1907). And turn-of-the-century Los Angeles was a wild and woolly place. The Times of this era offers a treasure of information on the city's ethnic communities. But, yes, the pages can be extremely hard to read.

I hadn't planned to do the 1938 pages, but the Harry Raymond bombing and the recall of Frank Shaw are too important to ignore. And I'm crazy about the ads from the 1930s.

More 1958? I'll see what I can do.

I will do what I can with historic sports. I am by no means an expert in this area, but we have the Dodgers' first season coming up and I hope to  give it some good exposure.

I, too, love the mystery photos. It's even more fun for me to watch people guess. I would have never imagined how much I'd be pestered over the "Dodger Santa Claus" picture

Original stories--I like them too!

I run Paul Coates and Matt Weinstock because they are voices of the era. Coates is the Steve Lopez of his day, while Weinstock is the Steve Harvey of the 1950s. Both columns are a fair amount of work because I have to get them from the microfilm and type them into a computer. But when I'm all done and reading them over one last time, I have to say I'm glad I spent the effort. What amazes me is how prolific these men were. Coates wrote a column every day AND had an evening TV show. It's no wonder he died at an early age.

As for the rest of the compliments--thanks!

ps. I'm limited in writing about some areas of the city because The Times didn't cover them very much.

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Hollywood landmark

Here's one of my favorite pastimes--which I don't get to do often enough these days: Dig up a "home of the week" from the 1908 Times Real Estate Section and see if it's still standing. Unfortunately, the residences in downtown Los Angeles are gone, but that's usually not true for homes built in what were once the suburbs. Although Southern California is frequently dismissed as the mecca of suburban sprawl, there are many, many neighborhoods of 100-year-old homes in Los Angeles. Most Angelenos simply doesn't know about them because some of the areas are a bit iffy. OK, the neighborhoods can be very iffy.

Here's a good example, The Times Real Estate Section of Feb. 2, 1908, featured the Wattles Mansion, 1824 N. Curson. Today, the mansion is the home of Hollywood Heritage.




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Plane crash kills 48

Feb. 2, 1958
Los Angeles

A military version of a DC-6 airliner and a patrol plane collide in midair, showering five square miles of Norwalk with flaming wreckage and bits of metal. The main portion of the C-118 plunges into a gas station at Pioneer and Firestone boulevards, careens across the street and starts a fire when it slams into a gasoline supply dump at the sheriff's substation. The P-2V comes to rest in the parking lot of the Santa Fe Springs fire station.

In addition to the victims on the two aircraft, Edith Hernandez, 23, 12303 Jersey St., is killed by falling metal when she runs outside to check on the safety of her children.

As emergency personnel from across the area converge on the scene of the disaster, thousands of spectators swarm the area, bringing the Santa Ana Freeway to a standstill.

The crash, which ultimately claimed 48 lives, prompted a congressional investigation and a Navy ban on low-level flights from Los Alamitos Naval Air Station. It is California's worst air disaster, The Times says.



Click here to download the page: Download 1958_0202_cover.jpg

Page 2, with photos, is here: Download 1958_0202_page2.jpg

Jelousy slaying



Feb. 2, 1938
Los Angeles

After watching The Times twist and turn to avoid saying exactly what the victims in the Paul Wright case were doing when they were shot, we finally get around to it--sort of. Here's the setup: After a night of heavy drinking by everyone involved, Wright has gone to bed, leaving his wife, Evelyn, and best friend Johnny Kimmel in the living room.

Wright said he was awakened by the sound of the piano and went to investigate, although it was claimed that he merely hid in the bedroom and watched the couple using a full-length mirror on the bedroom door.

He testified: "I went to the living room door and saw that the lights were still on. Johnny was sitting at the piano. I could just see his head. He was looking downward. I couldn't see Evelyn and I wondered where she was."

I think we can figure out where she was. (And in case you are wondering, the Harry Raymond bombing story has dropped to an inside page with a one-column headline). 



Click here for the full page: Download 1938_0202_cover.jpg

Working women

American women by the numbers, 1907:

508 machinists

185 blacksmiths

46 carriage and hack drivers

45 engineers and "firemen"

37 "brakemen"

10 "baggagemen"

7 conductors

2 "motormen"

2 telephone/telegraph "linemen"

0 soldiers, sailors, Marines, streetcar drivers, firefighters

Leading profession for women: servant (nearly one-fourth of all employed women), followed by farm labor.       



Click here to download the page: Download 1908_0201_women.jpg



Photographs by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times

I may have to rethink my comment about "East Germany, 1962."


Here's a detail of the facade. Glass is being installed on the south side of the building. I'll try to get a shot of that soon.

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Singer arrested



Feb. 1, 1958
Los Angeles

Rock 'n' roll singer Li'l Julian "These Lonely Nights" Herrera and two companions are in custody on rape charges after taking two teenage girls to Griffith Park, The Times says.

The girls told police that Herrera (Ronald Wayne Gregory), 19,  4159 Verdant St.; David Luan, 20, 440 La Cleve [La Clede?] Ave.; and Manny Ortiz, 19, 475 Maple Ave., drove them to a lonely spot near the observatory, The Times says.

One of the girls said Luan and Ortiz attacked her on a hillside, while Herrera "attempted to molest her," The Times says. Luan and Ortiz admit being at the park with the girls, but deny any attack. "I am not involved," Luan said.

Unfortunately, The Times never followed up on this story, so we don't know whether Herrera made his weekend concert dates. He is usually identified as an East L.A. performer, but he lived Glendale and Herrera was apparently a stage name.

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U.S. launches rocket

Feb. 1, 1958
Los Angeles

Scientists--bruised by the Soviet success with Sputnik--celebrate the successful launch of Explorer ... The launch is a triumph for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Rocketdyne, The Times says. ... Worries about a television strike against NBC and ABC ... The president says the economy is just "catching its breath for a new advance." ...

Quotes of the day: "A few political Cassandras pop up regularly to suggest that deep depression is just around the corner and only panicky governmental intervention on a massive scale can stem disaster." President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"He who lifts a fallen brother from the dust is greater than the hero that conquers the world." --"The Drunkard"



Click here to download the page: Download 1958_0201_cover.jpg

Feb. 1, 1938



Harry Raymond undergoes surgery to remove more bomb fragments ... Times columnist E.V. Durling, an institution of the 1930s, urges restraint in deciding whether the LAPD was involved in the Raymond case   ... Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz poses for a gag picture with a very tall visitor ... Sordid details emerge in the Paul Wright murder case (note the reference to the finding his wife and friend "in an intimate pose." The papers of the day had to sanitize what the victims were doing when they were shot) ... And the former chairman of the Board of Supervisors pleads guilty to tax evasion ...

Quote of the day: Nonsmokers are continually complaining of the lack of courtesy on part of smokers. Yet nonsmokers will clutter up streetcar seats assigned for smokers rather than take a few more steps to the nonsmoking section. Bigger and better consideration of other people's rights would help make the world a more pleasant place to live. --Times columnist E.V. Durling



Click here to download the full page: Download 1938_0201_cover.jpg


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