The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: February 10, 2008 - February 16, 2008

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Feb. 13, 1908



The grand jury investigates gambling in Los Angeles ... A determined federal agent captures his quarry after a long chase ... The amusing tale of a plug hat ... A USC medical student files a lawsuit charging that he is due a huge inheritance ... Wedding bells for an 80-year-old retired dentist ... A man attempts suicide because he doesn't have the money to return to his sweetheart in New York ... A 36-year-old attorney, Stanford graduate Walter Rose, dies after surgery to remove his appendix ... Dr. Horace Wing, former instructor at USC Medical School, dies at the age of--well, we don't give his age. Just that he was born in 1858.


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Feb. 13, 1888





Matt Weinstock

Feb. 12, 1958

Matt_weinstockd As you may have read, L. Ewing Scott, convicted wife slayer, was moved from one County Jail cell to another because he was getting too chummy with the prisoner next door, Caryl Chessman, convicted bandit under sentence of death.

Naturally, the reporters covering the Scott case became curious about the nature of their chitchat.

Checking disclosed that, among other things, Chessman was trying to persuade Scott to write a book, presumably about HIS experiences.

Actually, Scott, like Chessman, is more or less of an author, having financed, if not written a little number.

Only point in all this is that reporters suddenly realized they'd stumbled upon a milestone. As reporter Carter Barber put it, "It was the first literary tea ever held in the County Jail."

WHEN THE newly elected president of the California Newspaper Publishers Assn., Bert Abrahams of Bellflower, entered the Coronado Hotel dining room a few nights ago, he received a standing ovation.

A moment later, when Gov. Knight and his lady entered, everyone stood up again.

When the applause died down, the emcee announced the invocation would be given. Again, everyone stood.

However, Moten Holt, [this name is nearly illegible--lrh] Riverdale, Calif., publisher, who has a hearing defect, was overheard muttering, "Who in hell are we standing up for this time?"


A STEADY STREAM of taxpayers come into the city clerk's office to report the sale of their properties so the new owners may be billed for such improvements as lighting, sewers or paving.

A middle-aged woman completed this procedure the other day and the clerk said, "Thank you for coming in. I presume you are Mrs. X., the old owner?"

"I am not the OLD owner, if you please," she said, icily. "I am the PREVIOUS owner."

A WHILE BACK the big thing was to scale Mt. Everest first.

Recently it was a race between two teams to reach a rendezvous in the Antarctic. Sputniks and outer space need not be mentioned.

Now the contest is on to find the Abominable Snowman.

A dispatch from Katmandu, Nepal, states an expedition sponsored by Texas oilman Tom Slick will start the trek into the Himalayas today in an effort to beat a Russian search party.

This is only a voice in a blizzard but I keep wondering why they don't leave the Abominable Snowman alone. Why invade his privacy? If he wants to remain aloof and abominable, I say let him.

AS HE WALKED past a finance company, Eugene Dean, South Bay builder, saw a sign in the window, "For Sale--Freezer."

A man of impulse, Dean went in and said, "I notice your getting rid of your freezer. Does that mean the end of cold cash?"

AT RANDOM--At a very social event at a fancy Beverly Hills hotel a few nights ago a lady's petticoat dropped off while she was dancing with a partner. She stepped out of it and kept on dancing. That's the way Beverly Hillbillies handle embarrassing matters. Not like the fellow who told a colleague in a Spring Street office the other day after a party, "I want to apologize. I forgot to say goodbye to your wife last night." The colleague, a bachelor, is baffled.... ABC-TV has received more than 700 letters protesting the ruling of a committee of judges that Judge Evelle Younger's appearance on "Traffic Court" is unethical, pointing out the program's educational merits. A retired judge will likely succeed Judge Younger after March 7 ... Anyone else hear the commercial for "guided" cough medicine, which goes directly to the affected spot? My, my.


H-bomb protest



Paul Coates

Feb. 12, 1958

Paul_coates Graduation is supposed to be a pretty happy time.

But for the father of one graduate in this town, matters aren't too cheerful at the moment.

The man is of above-average income, and he and his wife have done their level best to bring their boy up to the point where he'd be able to face the world on his own with a little intelligence and responsibility.

But somewhere along the line, the father admitted to me yesterday, they had failed. And when their son walked down the aisle of his high school auditorium last week, the tears in his mother's eyes weren't tears of pride.

They were of fear.

What actually happened in the last few years, neither of the parents is exactly sure. All they know is that their boy has gone wrong and that it's reached a point today where verbal communication between parents and child have ceased.

The man came to me yesterday to show me another attempt at a solution. It was a letter--a letter which he planned to leave on the pillow of his son's bed last night on the off-chance that the boy would come to home to sleep.

It read:

"Dear Son:

"It's probably foolish of me to write you this note, but it's the only way I can talk to you.

"Why did you lie to me this morning about that car? Has it reached the point where you can't tell the truth?

"Son, this is very hard for me to say, but it looks as though you're going to begin your life as a man in prison. I've tried to warn you, even paid your traffic fines to keep you out of jail, but it looks as though it's all been wasted time.

1958_0212_bonjour_2 "Maybe you think we don't love you. If that was true, why would we go through all this hell?

"You're gradually pushing us right out of your life and we don't know why.

"Is it because we haven't told the police about the things you've stolen from us? Is it because we haven't told them about that '57 Mercury you're driving? Or the other cars?

"Sometimes I think you want to be caught, you want us to turn you in.

"And sometimes, I wish I had the courage to do it.

"Son, you still have a chance to do something about it, I think. I want very much to talk it over with you. But only on one condition.

"You must be fair and honest with me.

"If you are, I'll do everything in my power to help you make a man of yourself.

"Although sometimes we can't understand you, we do love you.

"There's nothing more I can do or say. The rest is up to you.

"All we ask is that you return just a little of our love and that you be happy 24 hours a day.

"We're offering you this love out in the open, but if you keep up your present pace, you'll only be able to enjoy it during visiting hours.

"Think it over, son. You're the man now. It's your move."

The note was signed, "Love, Dad."

It's a note, I'm afraid, not too dissimilar from the kind which many parents feel the need to write at one time or another.

But which few do.


Last Hope



Because adult characters never appear in "Peanuts," many comics readers may wonder what Charles Schulz's grownups looked like. Here's a sample from a short-lived cartoon strip carried in the Mirror.


Feb. 8, 1958
Los Angeles

1958_0208_shoot James Charles Hope, 25, had been out of prison for a little more than a year when he walked into the combination market and liquor store at 9911 S. Hoover St. just before closing time and drew a .32 semiautomatic. 

The last thing he ever did was to hand a paper bag to the manager, Joe Paladino, and tell him to "fill it up."

What Hope didn't know was that two officers were waiting for him in the back room. Someone had tipped off police that there would be a robbery. Officer A.S. Armas stepped from the back and killed Hope with a shotgun blast to the face and neck, The Times said.

Hope's partner, another ex-convict named Edsel F. Broyles, was arrested when he looked in the window. He was "badly shaken by what he saw" but refused to talk to police, the Mirror said.

And that was it as far as The Times was concerned. Broyles was charged with suspicion of robbery, but if there was a trial, nothing was written about it.

The Times has more to say about an Officer Abel Armas (sometimes referring to him as Abel F. Armas, other times Abel S. Armas) who joined the department about 1953.  It's unclear if this is the officer who was involved in the shooting--perhaps yes, perhaps not.

1958_0208_hope_3 However, in 1967, The Times reported that Sgt. Abel F. Armas was justified in shooting a 17-year-old arson suspect in Ramona Gardens. Sgt. Armas was also a member of La Ley, the Latin American Law Enforcement Assn., which was trying to recruit Latinos for law enforcement.

By 1973, The Times was reporting on Lt. Abel Armas, the LAPD liaison with the City Council, over conflicting orders on preventing council members from leaving a meeting if their absence would prevent the lawmakers from having a quorum. Council President John S. Gibson ordered police officers "not to take hold" of councilmen who were trying to leave, but make it clear that "they should not voluntarily let them pass either until they are excused," The Times said.

The next year, Armas was transferred to the 77th Street Division and demoted from Lieutenant 2 to Lieutenant 1 after entering the recall race against Councilman Arthur K. Snyder. Later that year, Armas drew a five-day suspension for insubordination for going to a City Council hearing despite orders that he not attend.

In 1975, Armas unsuccessfully ran against Snyder in the District 14 City Council race. And by 1980, Armas had been moved to the Rampart Division. By 1982, Armas had attained the rank of captain and after retiring, he was appointed to the Youthful Offender Parole Board in 1985.

Were there any more liquor store holdups after Hope was killed in a stakeout? Recall that a liquor store clerk had been fatally wounded during a robbery in December 1957, which might be the reason the LAPD set up such traps. According to The Times' stories of 1958, liquor store clerks were likely to be armed and they shot to kill. In one of the more bizarre cases, an LAPD officer confessed to robbing a liquor store shortly before Christmas because he owed nearly $2,000 in medicals bills for his wife and 2-month-old baby.

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Photograph by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times

The new Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, Feb. 11, 2008. Note that more of the facade has been installed and there are two trailers full of ductwork parked at the base.

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Feb. 12, 1958



Above: Future shock! Newspapers coming into the home by color TV? If they only knew how right they were ... The Navy bans low-level flights over Los Angeles after the Norwalk air crash ... Deputies arrest nine people in a holdup ring ... The former counsel to a House panel charges it with joining the White House in an "unholy alliance" with business to cover up his investigation of links between top Republicans and federal agencies ... And President Eisenhower advocates a $2-billion federal construction program to counteract rising unemployment.



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Feb. 12, 1938



Jurors deliberate in the murder trial of Paul Wright, who is charged with killing his wife and best friend as they were doing something that couldn't be described in The Times ... Medicine being rushed to Bebe Kleinberger is mixed up with another package ... The Assembly vice inquiry sends the names of bookies to local police, urging action ... Some German women don't like Hitler and demand religious freedom "for all German Christians" ... The former "madcap prince" of Romania is expected to embark on a program of anti-Semitism.



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Feb. 12, 1908



Officials relent and decide that the Japanese community is welcome to take part in the celebration of the Great White Fleet's arrival ... (Note that Gen. H.G. Otis is involved in planning the celebration) ... A heroic driver risks his life to keep his runaway team of horses from crashing into a streetcar ... Robbers beat Lum Sing, who was on his way to celebrate the new year in Chinatown ... Behold the Franklin automobile, with its air-cooled engine. No need to waste gas carrying water to cool the motor, as in other cars.

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Quote of the day: "This action of the little brown men is expected to have its quickening effect on the raising of funds from the white population. The Japanese are very thorough when it comes to collecting money." Los Angeles Times, on allowing the Japanese community to take part in welcoming the Great White Fleet



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Welcome to Kareem



Here's a salute from the Daily Mirror to one of The Times' new bloggers!

Scientology HQ

July 20, 1950
Los Angeles

Here's a street view of the 1950 Scientology HQ, 3950 W. 6th St.

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