Regular reader Callbox Sam passes along a photo showing the Pacific Electric building on Hill Street. Hmm. This doesn't look like the drawing in the Feb. 28, 1908, Times. Aha! Note that the story says the 1908 station is only going to be a temporary facility until another terminal is built on the site of the Masonic Temple -- shown in this picture. So I would assume this station is just to the north of the current Subway Terminal Building.
Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
Studio executive Harry Cohn dies ... On the jump, the rest of the Cohn obituary ... A man commits suicide by jumping from the Subway Terminal Building ... Pilot whale Bubbles "celebrates" a year in captivity ... The Fire Department rescues a boy who was trying to trap pigeons beneath the 4th Street bridge over the Los Angeles River ... And Gene Sherman's column.
Paul Wright, found not guilty of killing his wife and best friend while they were doing something that couldn't be printed in The Times, walks out of jail and hopes to be a forgotten man ... World War I hero Gen John "Black Jack" Pershing lingers near death ... Note the lead story from Graz, Austria, where forces are trying to block a Nazi march to Vienna. As a reader pointed out, the police chief of Graz in this era was a fellow named Gustav Schwarzenegger.
Now this is interesting: Plans for a new Pacific Electric depot on the west side of Hill Street between 4th and 5th. Hm. Isn't the Subway Terminal Building on Hill Street between 4th and 5th? Sure is ... Powdered eggs ... A man commits suicide by stepping in front of a switch engine ... A court ruling may affect the sentence of Michael Meskil in the slaying of a Officer Patrick Lyons ... And an adopted child tries to find his biological parents ...
Feb. 27, 1958
As Mrs. Cusic came out of a utilities office on Spadra Street, her husband picked up a plastic pistol on the seat, pointed it playfully at her and snarled in accepted gangster fashion, "Come on, get in!" Their daughter plays Annie Oakley with the pistol.
They drove off and stopped at several more places to pay bills, unaware that two teenage boys on bicycles had seen the pistol-pointing and excitedly reported it and the car's license number to police.
AS THEY stopped at a doctor's office they noticed a police car behind them but thought nothing of it.
And then suddenly outside a market they were surrounded by three police cars and five motorcycle officers. Red lights flashed and an officer with his real gun drawn ordered them out of the car. He saw quickly that the pistol was a toy, of course, and after a few questions the tension dissipated.
But it proved a fine dry run for the gendarmes and a lesson for everyone. The Cusics were "apprehended" 17 minutes after an APB went out on the "kidnapping."
Hereafter they're keeping the plastic pistol at home.
A bon vivant named Tom ordered some canapes (it's easier to spell than hors d'oeuvres) in an elegant Palm Springs spa and a lady named Ann, a member of the party, dipped what she thought was an Oriental tidbit into the hot sauce and began chewing. Turned out to be a tiny Turkish towel, pre-soaked in warm water, for wiping the hands after eating the real canapes.
THE WAY George Q. Ibid heard it, a Frenchman went into a wine shop and asked for his favorite Bordeaux. He found it only in small bottles and asked if it were available in larger sizes. "Oh yes," said the clerk, "we have the bigger bottles in the cellar."
"Eh bien," beamed the Frenchman, "take me to your liter."
AND IF THAT doesn't shake you up, Bill Graydon has been speculating on a possible aftermath to the AP story from Hong Kong stating the Chinese Communists have banned such degenerate, reactionary juke box tunes as "Love for Sale" in favor of numbers like "I Want to Cooperate With My Commissar."
As Bill sees it, this harsh crackdown doubtless will cause the Peiping sideburn set to reminisce about the good old days when their favorite was "Give Me That Old Soft Chou."
AIRY NONSENSE -- Lee Goodman reports that when he boarded a plane in S.F. on what is advertised as a "red carpet" flight to L.A. the stuff he walked on was definitely linoleum ... And while on a nonstop flight from S.F. to Chicago, Jimmy Baker, producer of "Stars of Jazz" got to talking with an elderly lady who thought she was going to L.A. Wrong plane, proving it can happen.
AROUND TOWN -- The driver of a mail truck misjudged the distance as he stopped for a pickup at Wilshire and Westlake Avenue and rammed the mailbox. Yep, Jean Gelber said it: "The mail must go through!" ... Bob Keeshan, who portrays the 60-year-old Capt. Kangaroo on KNXT at 7 a.m. is only 30. Incidentally, he used to be the Clarabelle of the Howdy Doody children's show ... A bar on Pico Boulevard near Hoover which is getting a face lift has a large sign in front, "Open During Altercations." But all was peaceful as Bill Biggers drove by ... A knight in armor is picketing the Old Curiosity Shop, 8629 Melrose Ave., carrying a sign stating the place is "Unfair to Other Antique Dealers" because its prices are so low. Only in L.A.
Feb. 27, 1958
It started two years ago when a man in his early 20s came into my office. He had a problem: Heroin. He'd had it for three or four years.
He wanted to do something about it, he told me. Maybe he just wanted to talk about it--but at least to him that was something.
We talked, I remember. He told me about his wife and two kids. In return, I offered what encouragement, what stimulation I could. I think I mentioned a hospital or two.
And he left.
I never heard from him again--until, that is, last Monday. This time he phoned me. He said it was pretty important that I come to see him at his home. It was a story for me.
I said I'd try, and he told me it was very important. So I said I would.
And the following afternoon, I did. That was Tuesday.
His wife answered the door. She was blond and didn't look old enough to be the mother of the two girls--ages maybe 6 and 4--at her side. She invited me in.
It's OK," she called to her husband. He appeared from another room.
"I didn't think you'd come," he said.
His wife ushered the two children out of the room and he and I sat down and talked.
He filled me in on the last couple of years.
"I took your advice," he said. "I went to Fort Worth. To the hospital."
He let me wait a minute before he continued.
"But--well. I got impatient. I split. I cut out."
The reason? He was worried about his wife and kids. He came back to town and started working. He was all right.
For a year he was, anyway. Then he fell back with the same bad crowd and the same bad habit.
As we talked, my friend cast repeated glances at the window. Twice, in the period of half an hour, he asked me to step to the back of the house.
Both times, his wife went to the door and said no, her husband wasn't home.
"Those hypes," he growled. "They never quit. They come by like it's a parde.
"Hypes," he said, disdainfully.
Then he explained. He said he'd kicked it this time, on his own. This, he told me, was the eighth day.
He waved a fresh glass of orange juice at me. "Today's the first day I've been able to keep it down."
I asked him if that was why he'd called me, why he wanted me to come over.
"That's part of it," he said. "The other part's the reason why I kicked." He led me to a bedroom and showed me a baby, maybe 3, 4 weeks old.
"A boy this time," he said. "He needs a man for a father."
We talked for a while longer and I asked about the men who had come to the door. "How come you didn't talk to them?"
"Not yet," he told me. "Maybe in two months, a month. Then I'll walk right by them on the street and I won't bat an eye."
I was invited for dinner, but I said I had to leave. I wished them both a lot of luck. I told them to keep in touch.
And I figured, I suppose, that maybe I'd hear from them in a couple more years.
But I was wrong.
My friend phoned again yesterday. "I'm sorry," he said. "I'm real sorry. I goofed."
"What happened?" I asked.
"I answered the door."
[Note: The Daily Mirror mourns the passing of Vivian Sheehan, speech therapist who worked with Paul Coates after his 1966 stroke].
Feb. 27, 1938
It's Sunday in Los Angeles, time for the funnies, like "Smokey Stover," one of the most eccentric American comic strips. Above, Crenshaw Boulevard and Vernon Avenue. Today, we would probably call this area Leimert Park ... Below, an event that reminds me of the Raymond Chandler line about "standing out like spats at the Iowa Picnic" ... and Earle Kynette remains in jail in the Harry Raymond bombing. On the jump, meter readers in Chinatown.
An interesting slice of life in Los Angeles a century ago: If you have ever seen old pictures of downtown you know the significance of the story about removing excess utility poles. The streetscapes in the old days were a tangle of overhead wires ... The toxic effect of fake jewelry ... A doctor uses fright in an attempt to awaken Beulah Hawkins, the unfortunate comatose woman at county hospital ... An actor getting off a streetcar at 4th and Hill falls over a pile of dirt and is hit by another streetcar. But the show goes on ... More than $1 million in scrip, used "in lieu of cash during the dull days" is incinerated.
Feb. 26, 1958
After a hard day at the office, two fellows named Bob and Mike like to drop into a Hill Street dive for a cooling draught, to brood, to contemplate the infinite or merely to read THE evening paper, which they prop up conveniently against the beer taps.
But several times lately they've found their favorite stools occupied by sturdy customers who, they instantly decided, it would be unwise to try to evict.
So Bob, who has access to such things, had two place cards printed stating these stools were reserved in their names.
BARKEEPS Joe, Johnny, Luigi and Ray have cooperated in this little enthusiasm. When Bob and Mike enter, they roust the peasantry from these reserved stools.
However, the genial prop. of the joint, Uncle Abe, has confided that while he is not averse to their project, he has a certain apprehension about the implications. Of course, he puts it another way.
He points out that his trade represents a specialized economic niche in Hill Street cafe society and he doesn't want the customers to get the idea that the Rainbow has become a kind of Romanoff's Downtown.
Next thing, he fears, the unshaven horde to which he caters may demand vintage muscatel.
For the moment, however, Bob and Mike are sitting pretty.
ONE OF THE delights of bored Civic Center workers is encountering young couples who get lost while seeking the marriage license bureau in the Hall of Records. They are uniformly shy and embarrassed.
One such bewildered couple came into an office in City Hall, the wrong building, and a girl employee heard the bride-to-be whisper to the young man, "Go ahead, ask her."
He came up to the counter and said, "That girl behind me wants to know where to get a marriage license."
FOR RESOLUTE action in the face of adversity, the Henpecked Husbands Society, an underground organization, has nominated an Irwindale man for president.
This man's phone bill for December and January totaled $94, the result of his wife's chit-chatting with old friends back East.
Did he sigh and pay up? Did he start a futile argument? No. He firmly ordered the phone yanked out. That was three weeks ago and it's still out. A fanfare, please.
SEMANTIC NOTE -- Dr. H.W. Magoun, anatomy prof at UCLA Medical School, has received a distinguished achievement award from the journal Modern Medicine, states a press release, "for studies in neurological science leading to the appreciation of the clinical importance of basic advances."
And this, obviously, is not something that happens every day.
ONLY IN BEL-AIR -- A householder asked his neighbor if he could park his 1958 Cadillac in the neighbor's garage for a while. A landscape man was coming over to give an estimate on some work, he explained, and he didn't want the fellow to think he was "that rich."
MISCELLANY -- Every time Don Messick passes the sign on Riverside Drive between Glendale and Burbank stating "Litter Laws Strictly Enforced" he gets the feeling it has something to do with restricting the dog population ... Vivian, 7, a second-grader, came home from school and proudly advised her father she'd learned all about the "terrified" forest ... Post-flood meditation by Bill Eberline: A fortune awaits the person who devises cork hubcaps for small foreign cars--to ride out the deep water. With oars, of course ... An exhibitor at the Hi-Fi Show at the Biltmore defines a dedicated audio fan as one who insists on reproduction of low notes he can't hear but only feels and of high notes he can't hear but only hopes are there.
They fade away, lay low, sometimes. But always they come back--with new schemes as fantastic as they are sadistic.
They dedicate their lives to devising profitable little plots to salt the open wounds of individuals hit by gross tragedy. They specialize in operations which permit them to turn a fast buck and get their unnatural kicks at the same time.
In the past, I've mentioned a few of their abnormal games.
A couple of Christmases ago, there was the flourishing group which dealt in names taken from local obituary columns.
They visited the dead parties' next of kin to "deliver" a Bible which--they told the grieving relative--had been ordered by the deceased.
With solemn irreverence, they explained:
"He ordered it for you. He even asked that your name be engraved on it. In gold."
The ghoul would then open the book and show the victim his or her name. In gold.
"I'm sorry," he would continue, "but it hasn't been paid for yet. Of course, if you don't want it, if you don't want to abide by your loved one's final wish--"
It would almost be sacrilege to say no, even if the price was exorbitant. Which it usually was.
This pleasant little game is revived periodically.
And so are some others.
There's the professional "blesser," who searches out homes where there is serious illness. She blesses the clothing, the curtains, the bed, the silverware--and, of course, the money.
There are the witchdoctors and the cancer quacks who accept your money in exchange for voodoo and sugar pills. And watch you die slowly and painfully.
And then there are those who "contact" you after you're dead, and pass along spirit messages to your kin advising them to invest in phantom gold mines.
These people are ghouls.
But yesterday a man in our town went all of them one better.
With no hope of profit, no plausible chance for personal gain, he elected to telephone Mrs. Mary Bowman that he and his "partner" had Tommy and that the boy was alive and well.
Since the boy's disappearance in the foothills above Pasadena, the Bowmans have never given up the hope that their son is living and will someday be returned.
So naturally the child's mother was willing to listen to anything, to anybody.
The caller instructed her to stand outside and wait.
She did. It was raining, but she stood there for quite a while.
"Maybe it wasn't long," she told me afterward, "but just thinking that maybe, possibly, Tommy would come back to us made it seem like hours."
Finally, she gave up the vigil, stepped back into the house and called the police.
Unwillingly, she admitted to herself that Tommy was no closer to home this week than he was last week or the week before. She simply had been the victim of an evil hoax.
It's hard for me to believe that anyone could have a mind so degenerated, so deranged that he could get his pleasures by heaping additional torture into the already tortured life of Mrs. Bowman.
But there is somebody like that.
He's sick, I suppose.
But that kind of sickness turns my stomach inside-out.