The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: February 3, 2008 - February 9, 2008

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Craby Joe's RIP

Craby Joe's is gone but the sign lives on.

Jeremy Hansen writes: The Museum of Neon Art is hoping to have the sign up and running by Feb. 14, the next downtown LA Artwalk.  The new location of the museum is on 4th, between Spring and Main on the south side of 4th.  Check it out.

That's great. By the way, Ed Fuentes of View From a Loft has suggested getting official designation of 7th and Main--the former home of Craby Joe's--as Charles Bukowski Square. It sounds good to me.


My pals at the 1947project are looking for several new writers as the site rolls over into its newest incarnation. I can tell you from my own experience with 47p that they're a great bunch of folks (shout out to Richard, Kim, Nathan and Mary) and that you'll get an awesome education on Los Angeles history.

Here's the post.

Feb. 7, 1958


Test pilot Henry C. Bosserman, a distinguished World War II flier, dies when his chute fails to open in the crash of a F-104A near Palmdale. The debris endangers children waiting at bus stops ... Wedding bells are to ring for 77-year-old Rep. Usher L. Burdick (R-N.D.) and his "thirtyish" secretary ...


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Raymond bombing



A "bodacious riot of hillbilly hotcha"--with Humphrey Bogart? And who else is in the cast? Ronald Reagan? Coming up next year, Bogart as a cowboy (with Jimmy Cagney) in "The Oklahoma Kid."

The Carnegie Foundation warns that colleges risk ruining themselves in competing for desirable students by offering recruitment deals to athletes, drum majors and tuba players  ... Japan has no intention of revealing its plans for naval expansion ... A convoluted story that says the U.S. will beam anti-Axis propaganda to Latin America ... Concerns over German ambitions toward Austria ... Police detectives dispute a landlady's story that conspirators used her rooming house to prepare the bomb that injured Harry Raymond ...  And 195 inches of snow on Donner Summit.

On the jump, civic groups appeal to the governor to clean up Los Angeles ... A prisoner on Sing Sing's death row asks to hear a jazz broadcast on the night he is to be executed. Prison rules forbid playing the radio in the death house on the day of an execution ... And a woman shows off her rare rug--made of platypus pelts. Written by a Times reporter who assumed a platypus was a waterfowl.   



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Feb. 7, 1908



A profile of the Salvation Army's new soup kitchen as the city struggles to deal with the growing number of homeless men in Los Angeles ...

Quote of the day: "Something further will have to be done on the part of the city, for the number of idle men is increasing rather than decreasing and it will continue to do so." --Dana Bartlett of the Bethlehem Institution's El Club Belen, on feeding the homeless



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Matt Weinstock

Feb. 6, 1958

Matt_weinstockd It isn't customary for a fireman to play policeman but William L. Smith of Rescue Co. 3 decided recently that something had to be done about whoever pulled 30 fire alarm boxes in the Bunker Hill area between Dec. 14, 1957, and Jan. 30, 1958.

False alarms are a nuisance and cost money.

Borrowing the techniques of his son, Officer Kenny Smith of the LAPD, Bill charted and analyzed the time of day and days of the week that the 30 boxes were pulled.

He concluded that the box at 1st and Flower would probably be set off between 6 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday Jan. 29. He got permission for a stakeout.

AS BILL and Investigator Kenneth Held watched, a boy of 10 came out of an apartment building to mail a letter. On the way back to the apartment he tripped the fire alarm box. They chased and caught him and he readily admitted pulling most of the 30 boxes. Subsequently other juveniles who had participated in the false alarm spree were turned up.

Tripping a fire alarm box may seem relatively harmless but it can be dangerous. For example, a firetruck responding to one of the false alarms at 7:37 p.m. Jan. 6 collided with a car at 4th and Figueroa, slightly injuring several men.

Had they been seriously injured, someone would have been in trouble. Section 625A of the Penal Code states that turning in a false alarm is a felony when a serious injury occurs.

As for the boy, he's a bright youngster whose problem is mostly lack of parental supervision. Firemen are arranging for him to visit the station. They figure that will be easier on the taxpayers than going to him.

Meanwhile, Fireman Bill Smith seems to have acquired the nickname "Sergeant Wednesday."

1958_0206_diamond_4 A MAN ON the telephone Tuesday at 4 p.m. said, "You don't know me. I never called you before. My name doesn't matter. I just wanted to say something. I'm mad. I got to rustle the money for my auto license in the next few minutes or pay double. I'll have to park my car. That'll be 50 or 75 cents. Then I'll have to get gas. That's 8 cents tax on each gallon. Then I'll have the privilege of trying to get on the freeway, which I understand cost $1,000,000 a mile to build. You know what that means in the rain. That's all." Click.

REPORTER Don Dwiggins phoned Walter Plett, CAA administrator, for any new developments on the Norwalk tragedy and was told, "He's in a space meeting."

What's this, thought Don, the CAA planning to regulate outer space too? Turned out the meeting was about air space along federal airways.

A CARELESSLY parked car blocked the driveway as Dr. Howard McDonald, president of L.A. State College, tried to back out of the crowded lot at the North Vermont Avenue campus and when no one came to move it he sounded his horn.

A student came up and asked, "Who the devil do you think you are, the president?"

"Well," retorted President McDonald, "I have aspirations."

AT RANDOM--Pretending to be a country editor, Max Mannix, columnist in El Pueblo--the city employees mag, not the Santa Anita nag--offers to let paid-up subscribers write their own obituaries. "You can make it as flowery as you wish," he writes. "We will then hold it and when you kick off we will print it." Not a bad circulation come-on for real ... Understand a Hollywood pixie wears two watches. The one on his left wrist is to tell time, the one on his right is set at bar closing time ... From T 'n' T: "If Patrick Henry thought taxation without representation was bad, he should see it WITH" ... Simile: As quiet as a carwash emporium on a rainy day.


Paul Coates

Feb. 6, 1958

Paul_coates I received a phone call last night, sheriff. A man asked me to pass a message along to you. My caller was Raymond McCafferty of Whittier.

Maybe you remember the name. He's the father of one of the 48 victims of Saturday's plane crash in Norwalk.

His only son, Leslie, 21, a crew member of the Navy Neptune plane, received prominent mention in the papers this week.

The stories said that Leslie's life might have been saved if the crash area hadn't become so congested with the morbidly curious. According to one story, it was two hours before Leslie reached a hospital.

But that's not why the boy's father contacted me.

He called to see if I had any "pull" with you; to see if I could get you to do something about the actions of one of your deputies who was at the scene.

The deputy's name is Kermit Kynell.

And McCafferty's done quite a bit of checking on him in the past few days. In fact,, he and his wife even drove over to Norwalk Sheriff's Station the other day to confer with him personally.

Actually, McCafferty's first contact with Kynell came through the impersonal medium of television.

1958_0903_kynell_2 It was on the evening of the crash and the McCaffertys had just learned that their son might have been on one of the involved planes. They turned on their TV set in hope and in dread.

A deputy--as it turned out later, it was Deputy Kynell--was being interviewed by George Putnam.

"The deputy," McCafferty told me, "had stains like blood or gasoline all over his uniform. He was telling Putnam about being inside the wreckage with one of the victims."

"I looked at my wife," McCafferty continued, "and she looked at me. I don't know--I can't remember--which one of us said it, but one of us said, 'Oh, my God, he must have been in there with Les.' " It was the next day before McCafferty found out for sure that their worst fears had been correct.

"I talked to anyone, everyone I could find who might know something about what happened to my boy. Whether he suffered much. Whether it was painful.

"That," the boy's father told me, "is how I learned so much about Kynell."

The man's voice choked.

"I learned that the deputy went into the airplane," he continued, "and helped my boy. He lifted some debris off of him and laid him down, made him more comfortable.

"He laid down in the mess, right beside him, and he talked to my boy and helped him.

"He got compresses. He applied them. Gasoline was raining down like water and he shielded my boy's face from it."

Raymond McCafferty paused.

"Mr. Coates," he started again, "that plane could have exploded at any time and that deputy would have been killed.

"That was a pretty wonderful thing for a man to do."

I told Mr. McCafferty that I agreed.

"And another thing," he continued, "when my wife and I talked to the deputy, he didn't tell us about what he personally had done.

"He just told us the things we wanted to hear.

"He told us that our boy was in shock most of the time and that he didn't suffer much. He told us little bits of the conversation.

"That's why I want you to call Sheriff Biscailuz. So that the deputy gets a citation. Will you call him?"

"I'll call him," I promised.

McCaferty thanked me. "One more thing," he added. "The deputy called me today to find out when the funeral was.

"He said he wanted to attend. He said he'd consider it an honor to go to the funeral because my boy died so much like a man."

Again there was a pause.

"I know it's not much," McCafferty said, finally, "but I'm going to do something for the deputy.

"I'm going to replace the uniform he ruined when he lay there with my son. They have to pay for their own uniforms.

"So I'm going to buy him a new one."


Feb. 6, 1958



(Click below to read the rest of Gene Sherman's interview with Meredith Willson).

A price war sends gasoline to 25.9 cents a gallon ($1.89 USD 2007) ... Sarah Churchill gets into a scrap with reporters ... A boy suspected of stealing a pistol leads police on a chase through the city's storm drains ... A steelworker kills a motorist while trying to commit suicide by driving the wrong way on Century Boulevard at 90 mph.



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The comics

Feb. 6, 1938
Los Angeles


A full page from The Times' Sunday comics shows what the tobacco companies did in the days before Joe Camel ... Yes, kids, you can drive like a maniac and still eat right if you smoke Camels.

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Raymond bombing



Feb. 6, 1938
Los Angeles

It's Sunday in Los Angeles, and the weekly real estate section features the floor plan of a modern home--cost $3,990 ($57,055.15 USD 2007) ... Japan builds a navy ... As Hitler consolidates his power, Germany wants the return of colonies it lost after the World War ... control of Danzig ... and "influence" in Austria ... Dist. Atty. Buron Fitts expands his investigation of graft and corruption in Los Angeles ... Former actress Hope Green says the bomb that injured Harry Raymond was made at her rooming house, 2032 W. 24th St. She implicates an unidentified "high city official" in the bombing plot. On the jump, the German ambassador says his country wants to be a "good neighbor."

Quote of the day: "The 'great goal'  of the German government  is peace--'real peace.' " --German Ambassador Hans Heinrich Dieckhoff, in an Associated Press story datelined Philadelphia. 



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Streetcar wreck

Jan. 31, 1908
Los Angeles

What happens when a freight train hits a streetcar near what is now Cesar Chavez Avenue and the Los Angeles River.


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Feb. 6, 1908



As I keep saying, the carnage on the streets of early 20th century Los Angeles is not to be believed. A detailed story on a fatal car accident ... A brave teamster struggles to control a runaway team of horses as they rampage down Broadway ... Minors are banned from poolrooms ... And a woman charged with defrauding the Lankershim Hotel is back in jail after failing to make bail ...  On the jump, a woman  becomes hysterical and faints on a streetcar ... A Sunland rancher suffering hallucinations is hospitalized.



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