Matt Weinstock -- May 16, 1959
May 16, 2009 | 4:00 pm
Case of the Dead CatJean Helnze concedes that the Chavez Ravine eviction was more dramatic but there on the sidewalk last Tuesday in front of the publicity office at 521 N La Cienega Blvd., where she works, was this dead gray cat.
At 9:30 a.m. she called the City Hall and asked for the dead animal department. She was transferred to sanitation, animal disposal and garbage, repeating to each the case of the dead gray cat.
At 4:10 p.m. it was still there so she called City Hall again. This time she was told it was a county matter. She called the county disposal and was told they were about two days behind in picking up dead animals in the area but would take care of it.
Kitty was still there at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, so Jean called county health and after being transferred twice more was told after 20 minutes deliberation that the county couldn't touch it, it was a city matter.
She called City Hall again and a woman consulted a colleague then told Jean it was so a county problem. However, she was transferred to another extension to establish jurisdiction and then to another where a man consulted a map and said it was indeed a city matter and the little gray cat soon would be picked up, which it was.
THE TROUBLED AIR -- The film "Bad Men of Missouri," being shown on KTLA, was interrupted at a sequence where the Younger brothers got started on their lives of crime as a result of a violent eviction -- for a report from City Council on the Arechigas' stormy eviction ... Tom Cracraft keeps wondering if the summer replacement for the TV program "Keep Talking" will be "Aw, Shut Up" ... Tom Dixon urged KFAC listeners to "be sure you look at the label. Blue Braindrops." But then we're all more or less brainwashed these days.
After the traffic jams are past
And we roll on the freeways, free at last,
When we're all relaxed and peace descends
Up looms a sign saying
PLAYBOY magazine recently had a short story by Richard Matheson titled "The Distributor." It was about a seemingly kindly gentleman named Theodore, really a vicious rat, who moved into a new neighborhood and methodically set about creating havoc.
Asked what his business was, he replied, "I'm in distribution." He didn't say so, but he meant his infinite talent for distributing mischief.
He ordered an unwanted cab sent to one neighbor. He summoned a TV repairman to another. He placed an ad in a paper advertising another's car for sale at a ridiculously low price. He ripped out another neighbor's ivy and fingered boys who lived nearby. He ordered a swimming pool for another. Caught in the grip of his own fiendishness, he created a boy-and-girl scandal, and stirred racial hatred.
He is not alone. A man in Hollywood has been doing a similar, if milder, job of mischief. Any coupon for a free sample, any unused prepaid return postal card is a challenge to him. He subscribes to magazines on reduced rate card inserts for people who don't want them. Sometimes the subscription includes a bonus book and the recipients are dismayed to receive a bill for $2.49 or $4.76 and threatened with suit later if they don't pay.
His current triumph has to do with a man now receiving unsolicited rejuvenation pills. Soon he will get the bill.
Psychiatrists, he's yours.
FOOTNOTES -- An Arcadia malaproper told a lady named Lucy he was going to get his suit "alternated" ... Today's puzzle: A letter postmarked Huntington Park was delivered two days later to the address on W 51st PL -- with 3 cents postage due. Apparently it was delayed because it had the stamp "Via Air Mail" on it, although the sender had crossed it out ... Sam Farnesworth wonders why "the story to end all stories" never seems to do so.