Check out this fabric. Definitely of an era. From the Wynshire department at Bullock's Wilshire, listed on EBay. Bidding starts at $6.99.
Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
Junks 'Junk'; Grads Applaud
It's commencement week, but the proudest graduate in Southern California today isn't from any institution of learning.
He went through his ceremony in a shabby Ocean Park store-front dwelling crowded with friends whose combined arrest records could overflow the filing cabinets of any middle-sized town in the country.
Most of the guests, like the graduate, were former gutter dope addicts.
A couple of months ago I wrote about their experiment in "communal kicking" of the habit.
The group calls itself Synanon.
This week's "grad" was a man named Jesse, who at 35 -- for practically the first time in his adult life -- is free.
The arrests for narco, burglary, theft and half a dozen other crimes are behind him, he thinks.
'Clean' for Seven Months
Last Saturday I devoted this space to a situation which I considered a very unfortunate one.
At that time, the body of Carl (Alfalfa) Switzer, a onetime "Our Gang" star, lay in the County Morgue, and because of legal technicalities which delayed its release, a funeral planned by his parents had to be postponed.
The body was being held at the morgue by coroner's officials, who claimed they couldn't release it to the family until Switzer's ex-wife, Dian Collingwood Switzer, gave them approval. The family indicated to me that they had tried unsuccessfully to contact Mrs. Switzer at her home in Hutchinston, Kan.
I printed the story. And it's one of the perils of journalism that as it was going to press, Mrs. Switzer's wire arrived in the coroner's office.
Wanted Legal Advice
It should be made clear that the young lady wasn't deliberately avoiding giving consent to release of her ex-husband's body for burial. Because of the divorce situation, she wanted the telegram to be dictated by her Los Angeles attorney. And, as soon as she was able to reach him, the telegram went out.
The question of who wrote the original story for the motion picture "The Brave One" has been dumped into the laps of the Screen Writers Guild this week.
A leading contender for the honor is the deceased Spanish-born writer-dancer-actor, Juan Duval, whose posthumous candidacy I revealed last week.
And adding new support to his claim is Dale Robertson. The western star telephoned me after reading my column- with the information that he, personally, had taken Juan Duval's script about a boy and a bull to a number of producers in town.
You may recall my recent post about lunch with Harry Medved and the continuing quest to determine the name and date of the first film shot entirely in Los Angeles.
Val Almendarez, collections archivist at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, writes:
The first fiction film made in Los Angeles (as travelogues and documentaries had been filmed here earlier) was probably THE HEART OF A RACE TOUT, which was released July 29, 1909.
William Selig later named this film as the first one shot here. It is not known when the film was shot, but as the company arrived in Los Angeles on March 21, 1909, it is probable it was made either at the end of March or the first week of April.
According to a Selig scholar, IN THE SULTAN'S POWER was the fourth film made by the Selig Company in Los Angeles.
As to your second question, Sing Lee's laundry was on Olive between 7th and 8th Streets.
We do have some of Bosworth's papers here at the library, but did not receive the journal pictured in your blog.
We also got his scrapbooks, but he only has a few pages about his time at Selig, and nothing about IN THE SULTAN'S POWER.
Below, a long list of Los Angeles firsts by E.V. Durling, including "The Heart of a Race
Track Tout." I'm not sure what a "roundhouse" haircut is--but I don't think I want one.
A 1961 catalog for Haggarty's has been listed on EBay. Bidding starts at $1.99.
Haggarty's, a prestigious chain of women's clothing stores that began in 1917, closed in 1970 with $4.4 million in debt after losing money for years, The Times said.
Crackdown Hits Death Ballads
Stop that dancing up there. And sit down a minute. I want to talk to you.
I suppose you know that most of this town's top disc jockeys have -- either by choice or station edict -- banned a new release called "The Ballad of Barbara Graham."
If you didn't know, I'm telling you now. The record's subject matter, they say, is too hot. Too controversial.
It's such a sizzling "political" issue that in the space of a week, KFWB has jerked it off the air, KDAY has gone out of its way to inform listeners that the record is banned, and KMPC program director Bob Forward has warned his disc jockey staff by memo:
"There are several new recordings on the market which appear to be out-and-out propaganda against capital punishment.
"The decision as to whether to be for or against capital punishment is one that will be made by station management and will be plainly stated in an editorial campaign.
"I am referring specifically to 'The Ballad of Barbara Graham' and 'The Last Mile.' Please do not play these or any other similar records without first discussing it with me personally."
Now, hold on a minute, boys. I've heard this ballad about Barbara Graham. But the only controversy I can work up with myself is whether it's music.
But that's something I could question about a lot of the stuff passed off as "hit" material.
The Graham piece- if you'll excuse my close scrutiny- has a melody which sounds suspiciously like the tune I used to sing "Sweet Rosy O'Grady" to, years ago.
I quote, in B-flat:
"Poor Bar-bar-a Gra-ham was wild and couldn't be tied.
"But could she com-mit mur-der? And should she real-ly have died!"
That's about as controversial as the lyrics get. And the only question they seem to bring up, somewhat belatedly, is whether Mrs. Graham was guilty.
And now, it's my turn to raise an issue.
Who let Tom Dooley in? According to his defense attorneys, the Kingston Trio, the poor boy is going to be strung up tomorrow at dawn for a crime of passion. Any decent criminal attorney in the land could almost guarantee to get him off on second-degree murder, at the worst.
It's clearly and issue involving capital punishment.
Vocalist Avoids Arguments
Out of idle curiosity, I telephoned the vocalist and co-writer of the Barbara Graham ballad last night to find out what kind of a fanatic this town's disc jockeys were barring from the turntables.
The young man's name was Val Norman, and he admitted that the idea for the song came to him after he'd seen the movie.
"It had commercial possibilities," he told me.
"Do you have any views on capital punishment?" I asked.
He hesitated, then answered, "Well, I have some personal opinions. But I'd rather not get involved. Religion, subjects like that- I just don't get into arguments."
Still, I'm bothered. Not so much for Mr. Norman.
But because of what looks like the beginning of a trend.
It just so happens that Chuy Reyes and I have been collaborating in our spare time on a jumpy little tune called "The Cahan Decision Cha-Cha."
But I guess we better forget the whole thing. Some disc jockey is bound to call it too controversial.
|I said in a previous post that the fate of Peter Voiss' burros was unrecorded. Unrecorded in The Times, that is. Regular Daily Mirror reader Dick Morris sent along some information about Voiss and his beloved animals, Trixie, Jimmie and another whose name is illegible in an old story from the Hayward (Calif.) Review.|
In his later years, Voiss worried about what would become of his burros, and he prepared a will in which he bequeathed the burros to a beneficiary. In fact, any time someone lent him money, he left them a will in which he bequeathed them the burros.
"He scattered 'wills' along the coast from Los Angeles to Seattle like Johnny Appleseed," the Hayward paper said.
Of course, this came to light only when he was on his deathbed and there were competing claims for the animals.
According to census records, Voiss was born in Germany about 1867. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1886. He apparently was a brewer before becoming a gold miner.
Thanks to Dick Morris for the info!
Until I came across the news stories about him threatening his wife with a butcher knife, I'd never heard of Thomas T. Chamales. I picked up a copy of "Never So Few" because The Times' Robert Kirsch called it "Easily one of the best novels to come out of World War II." I also got a copy of "Go Naked in the World," at left. Check out the acknowledgment, above. Marilyn Monroe and Tom Chamales? That's a new one on me. Or maybe it was just wishful thinking....