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Matt Weinstock, July 17, 1959

July 17, 2009 |  4:00 pm

Phony Phone

Matt Weinstock A red-hot report came sizzling this way the other day. A gal named Elizabeth who lives on Tiger Tail Rd., which should have been the tip-off that things were somewhat twisted,breathlessly related she saw a boy talking on a telephone while riding a bicycle on Bundy Dr. in West L.A.

Bicyclists chatting as they pumped, if it became a trend, could immeasurably complicate society, so I dutifully ran the report through the grinder. The conclusion -- highly unlikely.

Motorcycle officers have them, of course, but the equipment for a portable phone weighs around 40 lb. and requires a power unit. Dry batteries won't work. Ted Schmidt of Pacific Telephone asked an engineer if it were possible and he replied cagily, "Anything's possible."

But it was his guess that the boy was carrying on imaginary conversation with his toy telephone to impress a gullible gal named Elizabeth.


AS ANY old-timer who has passed up dozens of opportunities will tell you, the big money in Southern California is real estate, not shooting craps at Las Vegas or picking longshots at Hollywood Park, and many tales are told thereof.

Biggest bonanza story I've heard lately concerns a man who nearly 20 years ago bought a two-bedroom house in Reseda for $4,000. It's up for sale for $27,500 and it appears, from the action he's getting, that he'll score.


SUPPOSE you are driving in the left lane on the freeway and you look in the rear view mirror and see two fire trucks bearing down on you.

You know you should pull to the right but you can't without creating a hazard because you are in the midst of four solid lanes of traffic. Meanwhile the fire trucks, red lights flashing, come closer, moving from one lane to another as cars slow to let them through. What should you do?

"The main thing is not to panic," says Lee Zitko of the LAFD. "We know our rigs look ominous coming up from the rear, but they are not. We use the freeways as little as possible and when we do we travel at freeway speed. It's fine if drivers can get as far as possible to the right but if they can't we want them to know we won't push them off the road."

In the case cited, the fire trucks were responding to a car which caught fire on the freeway after a crash. When they got to it the fire was out.


FIRST THING people in other parts of the country ask when they learn you're from L.A., reports Don McDonald of U-I, just returned from a tour, is, "Is the smog there as bad as the papers say?"

But he got a different reaction from Jack Guinn, city editor of the Denver Post. When he was here a year ago, Guinn said, it was so hot he stayed in his air-conditioned hotel room and turned on the radio. And you know what most fascinated him about the city? The dramatic traffic bulletins about tie-ups on the freeways.


AROUND TOWN -- Not long ago Barker Bros. moved its business office from downtown to the West Side and in the reorganization gave notice of dismissal to seven employees. But more than sympathy went with the notice. The boss got jobs for all seven elsewhere and they're grateful . . . James K. Hyde saw a truck on Highway 101 with the notice on the rear, "Please don't hug me. I'm going steady" . . . A man picketing a building at 6th and Lucas Sts. wears shorts.


AT RANDOM -- Biting line by Lord Bertrand Russell in the S.E. Post in reference to space travel by man: "As yet, our follies have been only terrestrial; it would seem a doubtful victory to make them cosmic" . . . Doris Hellman, who quivers like a leaf in the wind at misuse of the language, is shaking over the cigar commercial which describes some cigars as good, others as "ungood" . . . All the summer repeats, Phil Wolfson contends, are giving viewers "telaversion" . . . Gal named Sue likes to ponder over a sign at Venice and Main Sts. "No Parking by Permission Only."