The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: July 2009

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A Kinder, Simpler Time Dept.: Your Elite Spy Agency

 July 30, 1952, CIA in Look Magazine

July 30, 1952: Look, the also-ran weekly rival to Life, runs a story about the elite, super-secret Central Intelligence Agency. The title, "Inside CIA," is a play on John Gunther's book "Inside USA" and its successors.

Bicycles on Sale!

July 30, 1899, Bicycle

July 30, 1899: A bicycle on sale for $35 ($894.21 USD 2008).

Sanity Hearing for Clara Lightfoot

July 30, 1889, Clara Lightfoot

July 30, 1889: Former Mother Superior Clara Lightfoot is suffering from acute mania. She will be taken to the asylum today ... Henry Penk and J.H. Gomer shoot a dog and are arrested for discharging firearms within the city limits. 

Matt Weinstock, July 29, 1959

July 29, 1959, Rigid

"Great Scott! I've Kept You Rigid for Almost Two Hours! Why Didn't You Stop Me, Miss Simmons?

Body Surfers

Matt Weinstock It appears that Bob Lee, who, as reported here, was knocked down by an unidentified object, which turned out to be a young man, while wading at Newport Beach, has cast a slur upon a noble sport, body-surfing -- riding the waves to shore without benefit of boards, water wings or other appurtenances.

"In the old days," B.G. of Wilmington writes, "before the shoreline was filled with feather merchants (turistas) and the beaches were cluttered by breakwaters, the sport was wonderful. Now we practice it at the mercy of every wave jumper. I am a native and I have been playing the surf for 30 years, taking time out to eat, of course, and have yet to be struck by a body surfer. However, my husband, also a native, recently had four stitches taken in his chin to repair the damage caused by an idiot who attacked him with his thick skull. These people should get out of the way before they really hurt someone."

NOW THAT the subject has been introduced, let us get to the business at hand, the funny thing that happened to writer Jack Quayle on the way to shore at the Alamitos Bay peninsula.

July 29, 1959, Sunset Strip He rode a big wave in from far out with Darr Smith and, as the roller deposited him on the sand, he discovered in disgust that he had lost his upper plate en route. The word of the disaster spread and body surfers, a clannish lot, converged and spent the afternoon combing the ocean bottom. They didn't find it but they kept bringing Jack pieces of shells and flotsam and asking if that was it. One well-wisher pointed out that Jack, should he be attacked by a shark, stood the chance of getting bit by his own teeth.

Upshot was that Jack had to get a duplicate set, a financial blow. But the same day he found a check in the mail. A story that had been making the rounds for three years had sold to a magazine.

Tune in again for further clues to literary success.


IN THE VIEW of Jeanne Weston, Hillsdale wasn't the only champion at the Hollywood Park meeting. For her money, a little old lady from Boston in the next seat deserved equal billing.

One time the woman asked a neighbor how long the track was. A mile, he replied. "It can't be," she said, "they are having a mile and a quarter race."

Discussing a certain horse she asked, "Who's driving him?" He patiently explained the men who rode the horses were called jockeys.

In analyzing another horse she looked at her program and said. "Oh, I wouldn't bet on him, he's wearing a very heavy jockey."


July 29, 1959, Sunset Strip

Let us not bother further about longest words. The Germans, Felix DeCola says, are way ahead of us. For instance, waffenstillstandsunterhandlungen -- 32 letters -- which means armistice negotiations. And schutzengrabenvernichtungspanzerwagen -- 37 -- meaning tank, literally "rifleman's trench-destroying armored wagon" . . . Darlene Tucker nominates for oblivion the TV scene showing a graveside funeral at which the sheriff puts his arm around the widow and says, "He wouldn't want you to cry" . . . Seymour Mandel tells of a fellow so broke at the end of the month, he tried to pay his Diner's Club bill with his Bankamericard.


ONLY IN L.A. -- The biggest attraction at Dodger games at the Coliseum, Clark Roberts avers, is a fellow who roosts in a front row seat near third base and tries to trap foul flies and hot grounders with a butterfly net.


AT RANDOM -- Japan's latest contribution to the auto world, the Daihatsu, was unveiled the other day in Hollywood. It's a pickup type three-wheeler with the single wheel in front and will do 40 m.p.h. with a 900-lb. load, gets 65 miles to the gallon and costs $985. Just the thing for hauling hors d'oeuvres to guests around a swimming pool . . . A resident in the 20000 block of Parthenia St. in Reseda -- unimproved with deep ruts -- has put out a sign, "Next time take the train" . . . Bob Bowden reports a Volkswagen on Ventura Freeway with a bumper sign, "You have just been passed by 36 h.p."

Paul V. Coates -- Confidential File, July 29, 1959


July 29, 1959: The "Orientals" being sent to Congress from Hawaii include future Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. And notice the story about Nikita Khrushchev being invited to visit the U.S.


And the Mirror-News brings out an extra about the arrest of Carole Tregoff Pappa, the girlfriend of Dr. R. Bernard Finch, in the death of his wife, Barbara Jean Finch.

Confidential File

Great White Hunter White Feels Blue

Paul CoatesI present you with my recently completed thesis on the subject: "Proper Protocol to Get a Wildcat Out of Your Back Yard."

My collaborator on this project was Mr. Keith White, an engineer.

Mr. White, who lives in Northridge, first suspected that there was a wildcat in his back yard several weeks ago.

For no apparent reason, huge branches of eucalyptus trees began crashing down on the premises in the middle of the night. Two of them -- 5 or 6 in. thick -- were snapped off last weekend.

So, at 1:30 Monday morning -- when White's dog began barking furiously -- he and his son Charles, 16, set out to investigate. And, beaming a powerful flashlight around the property, they soon found their wildcat.

The animal was perched in an eucalyptus tree about 100 yd. from the house. It had eyes the size of silver dollars, set about 5 in. apart. It was a big cat. No doubt about it.

July 29, 1959, Traffic Immediately, father and son retreated indoors and White picked up the phone. He called the sheriff's department.

"Can you come out and kill a wildcat?" he asked.

They couldn't. White's property wasn't in their jurisdiction. He'd have to call the Los Angeles Police Department.

So he did. And the sergeant promised he'd dispatch a prowl car to investigate.

White waited about half an hour. No prowl car came. So he called again.

"Sorry," he was told, "but we decided that it's not a police matter. Call the animal shelter."

Going on the theory that the wildcat was a patient one, and willing to wait, he dialed again. "Can someone come out and kill the wildcat before it kills us?" he asked.

The animal shelter man was very apologetic. He didn't have a gun. But Mr. Jensen, the manager, would be in the office bright and early in the morning. Maybe he could help.

It was 4 a.m. by then, so White decided to call it a day.

However, the following morning, he got a call from Mr. Jensen, who said that while the city could do nothing, he'd be glad to contact the state.

And he was true to his word. About an hour later, he phoned back to report that the state poisons coyotes, but it doesn't shoot wildcats.

"You'll have to contact the federal government," Mr. Jensen said. "Talk to the U.S. Wildlife Service. Ask for Mr. Elder."

The cat, of course, was gone by now, but when White observed the size of its tracks, he decided to persist.

He telephoned the U.S. Wildlife Service and asked for Mr. Elder.

July 29, 1959, Abby "Mr. Elder's on vacation," a cheery voice informed him.

Undaunted, White explained his problem and asked if Mr. Elder had an assistant.

The answer was, of course, no. "I'm afraid you'll just have to wait until Mr. Elder gets back from vacation," the voice continued, "and I have to admit that I don't even know when he's expected."

Now, definitely daunted, but desperate, White tried again at the LAPD. He got a sergeant who referred him to a lieutenant who referred him to a third party who suggested that he go out and shoot the animal himself.

"I don't," he answered meekly, "have a gun."

"Ummm," was the studied reply.

Then White asked: "Could I go out and buy a gun and kill it?"

It's Not Permitted

"You'll have to get a permit."

"Can you give me a permit?"

"Oh, no. You have to make a written application."

"How long," gasped White, "does that take?"

"Well, it has to go through channels, you know."

There was silence. "Suppose," White finally continued, "I just went out and bought a gun and killed that cat without a permit?"

"Then," was the firm reply, "you'd probably be arrested."

With White's luck, that's probably how this story's going to end. He'll buy the gun, shoot at the wildcat, miss and wind up in jail.

A Kinder, Simpler Time Dept.: Your Reading Material

 July 29, 1951, Best Sellers

July 29, 1951: Some familiar titles: "The Caine Mutiny" and "From Here to Eternity" and then there's "Communism, Democracy and Catholic Power." What's this? "A study of the Kremlin and Vatican as suppressors of free thought?" Of course, you don't have to wonder what it's about. The full text is here.

L.A. Olympics Begin

July 29, 1984, Times Cover

July 29, 1984: Two wire obits (George Gallup and James Mason) and a lead story out of Beirut with the Olympics as the main art. Below right, July 30, 1984.

July 30, 1984, Cover The Summer Olympics opened in LA. with equal doses of drama and dazzle and very little seemed to go wrong.

President Reagan, who at one point in the festivities said he was "bursting with pride," delivered the formal opening statement from inside a glass-enclosed booth at the packed Coliseum. The Times' Peter H. King called the Olympics "a mammoth undertaking challenged by financial restrictions imposed by weary taxpayers, by boycotts, by the threat of terrorism and by all the other calamities that have beclouded the Olympic future."

"We wish no political statement," said Peter V. Ueberroth, the Olympics chief and future baseball commissioner. "We wish only to show hospitality and friendship and through these efforts make a better world if we can."

--Keith Thursby

Police Court

July 29, 1899, Police Court

July 29, 1899: John Hasty pleads not guilty to begging -- and may get a bath.

Mary Lascomb Gets Roaring Drunk

July 29, 1889, Mary Lascomb

July 29, 1889: A drunk Mary Lascomb makes the night "hideous with her yells and shrieks" and gets taken away by the police.

Found on EBay -- The Cyclone in Long Beach

Sept. 16, 1968, Cyclone

Sept. 16, 1968, the end of the ride for the Cyclone.
Cyclone Racer, Long Beach, EBay
This postcard of the Cyclone roller coaster at the Nu-Pike in Long Beach has been listed on EBay. The world's longest, fastest roller-coaster was torn down in 1968 to make way for the Queen Mary exhibit. Bidding starts at $3.50.

Matt Weinstock, July 28, 1959

July 28, 1959, Peanuts

July 28, 1959: Compare this "Peanuts" strip with the one Charles Schulz did 10 years later.

Ticket Trouble

Matt Weinstock Everyone is in favor of motherhood, peace and traffic safety but strident voices are being raised over one phase of the crackdown on delinquent drivers.

Almost everyone goes along with DMV director Robert McCarthy's campaign to protect the innocent from careless drivers by revoking the licenses of those who pile up too many moving violations.

But now the insurance companies have gotten into the act. They are sending policyholders forms to fill out listing their accidents and moving violations for the last 24 months. It is indicated that those who have sinned are going to have their rates raised. As a result, the squawks are reverberating.

July 28, 1959, Sex Survey THE COMPLAINT is that the insurance companies apparently fail to distinguish between major and minor offenses. An outraged citizen who has driven for 30 ticketless years recently got two citations, one for making an illegal left run, the other for driving with his bright lights on. He said, "I'm penalized the same as a man who drives 90 miles an hour."

 Some authorities, by the way, question the advisability of insurance companies obtaining people's driving records, holding that this information should be restricted to the Motor Vehicle Department.

The insurance company forms have made motorists cagey in another way. Realizing they face rate increases if convicted on too many moving violations, they say they intent to plead not guilty and demand trials on tickets they consider unjustified -- a situation which could seriously clutter the courts.

Stay tuned in for what looks like a fine hassle.


THE ART OF the TV interview reached some sort of high point Sunday on the KNXT program Inquiry when Thomas Lanphier Jr., Convair's ballistics-missile executive, responded to a question with the mild complaint, "You are answering your own question with an answer I wouldn't give."


When it's 99 in the shade
I manage as a rule
To stay below the boiling point
Until I'm told, "Think cool."


MUSIC LOVERS are still talking about last week's nightmare performance of "Carmen" at Hollywood Bowl. Everything went wrong.

As Robert Merrill was about to go on stage a microphone wasn't working. "Look for one with a red light," he said, "that means it's live." Merrill went from one red light to another but each time he got there it went out. Finally he found one.

Later Merrill, relating the affair to a friend, "They ought to do it again just as it happened -- for laughs. It was incredible."


SOME OF THE summertime press releases are downright sneaky. For instance, this one from Chicago: "Lili Rheborg has an unusual keep-cool formula: eat a dish of cherry ice cream while you're under the shower. 'Keeps you in perfect training for picnics,' she said."

All right, what is being plugged -- shower doors, ice cream, the city of Chicago or girls? Wrong, it was from the Cherry Growers Assn.

July 28, 1959, Sex Survey ::

 A WOMAN phoned the Auto Club and said, "I just received a letter from you people and I want to talk to you about it." Club members are informed by mail on many phases of motoring and Pat Cutler, who took the call, asked what kind of letter.

"A long one," was the reply.


AROUND TOWN -- Elevator operators in the Hall of Records have been given space on the 12th floor for a recreation room, space formerly occupied by courts. And wouldn't you know the elevators run only to the 11th and they have to walk up a flight? . . . Sometimes the Dodger announcers seem unduly solicitous of the home team. Sunday, with the Dodgers leading by a comfortable 7-0, the Cards loaded the bases with two outs in the 5th, and the announcer moaned, "Don's in trouble." Drysdale got the next batter to fly out.

Paul V. Coates -- Confidential File, July 28, 1959

July 28, 1959, Mirror Cover

Confidential File

When Cash Register Is Replacing a Heart

Paul CoatesThe Almighty Dollar, that great object of universal devotion
    -- Washington Irving.

Sandra Gianoulis, 8, of Glendale, went to a drive-in theater last week with her mother.

They got there at 7:30. Sandra played for a while with her sister, Lynn, 7, in a recreation area on the premises. They returned to their mother's car just before dusk.

However, a few minutes before the show was to start, the girls decided to go to the snack bar.

Lynn got out of the car first. Sandra followed, slamming the door behind her. Then, she screamed.

The middle finger of her left hand was caught in the closed door.

Quickly, her mother opened it, freeing the finger. It was bleeding badly. The tip was hanging loosely, not quite completely severed.

July 28, 1959, Sunset Strip Mrs. Gianoulis rushed her daughter up to a young man working at the snack bar. His name was Jim Hillis. (His personal statistics: Age, 21, Married, with a couple kids of his own -- ages 18 months and 3 months. He holds down two jobs to pay the way for his family.)

Hillis wrapped the girl's bleeding hand in a clean towel and led the mother and daughter to his car. He sped them to the North Hollywood Hospital, less than a mile away.

They rushed into the admittance room. A doctor was there and they talked briefly with him.

He told them that to receive treatment, they'd have to check with the nurse at the desk.

So they approached the nurse at the desk.

July 28, 1959, Sunset Strip Could Mrs. Gianoulis pay for the treatment, the nurse wanted to know.

Yes, the anxious mother replied, she could. The family had health insurance with Travelers.

The nurse asked for proof, but Mrs. Gianoulis didn't have any. Hurriedly, she rummaged through her purse for a card -- anything. But all she had was $3, which wasn't enough.

The nurse said she was sorry.

Then Mrs. Gianoulis made some phone calls. She called her husband, who was bowling. He had no health insurance card either. The policy was at home, but time was too valuable now. Without immediate treatment, the girl might lose the end of her finger.

Sandra sat on a stool, still bleeding, crying. "My best finger," she was saying.

A little boy came in for treatment of a foot injury. He received prompt attention and left. He, apparently, had the proper credentials.

Hillis and Mrs. Gianoulis continued to plead the case of Sandra.

"Not without money," they were told.

In desperation, Hillis asked if he could write a check. This, to the angels of mercy, was a most-appealing idea.

July 28, 1959, Abby "How much?" he asked.

"Fifty dollars," said a doctor.

"No," said the lady in the white uniform. "Better make it a hundred."

Hillis wrote out the check. He was assured that it would be returned if Mrs Gianoulis had the proper insurance.

Immediately, Sandra was taken to the X-ray room. A specialist -- called in to perform the surgery -- reported that there was a fracture, that he wasn't sure whether he could save the finger.

He spent 45 minutes working on Sandra. He apparently did an excellent job.

That 'Best Finger' Saved

In fact, Mrs. Gianoulis is very pleased with the care given by the hospital. During her three days there, Sandra received the best attention.

Young Hillis got his $100 check back. The insurance covered all the expenses except $24, which Mrs. Gianoulis was careful to take with her last Wednesday when she went for Sandra. (She had been informed by another nurse that the $24 "will have to be paid before your daughter can leave.")

The report yesterday was that it looks like Sandra's finger is healing fine. She's not going to lose it, after all.

Which is, I guess, a very happy ending to an atrocious tale about the high price of mercy.

Note: This is by no means an isolated incident. The newspapers of the 1950s are full of stories just like this one in which hospitals turned away injured people who could not pay for treatment in advance.--lrh 


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