The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: March 1, 2009 - March 7, 2009

| The Daily Mirror Home |

A Reminder From the Daily Mirror -- Daylight Saving Time

Los Angeles Times file photo

Pier Angeli and her little friend Chris remind Daily Mirror readers to turn their clocks ahead for Daylight Saving Time.

Found on EBay -- Pacific Electric Railway


Now here's an intriguing book. "A Pictorial Album of Electric Railroading" compiled by Donald Duke, published in 1958. Bidding starts at $30.

Matt Weinstock -- March 7, 1959

The Case of Judge Pfaff

Matt_weinstockd_4 This was the week of Superior Court Judge Roger Alton Pfaff's great disillusionment.

On receiving what he considered an unjustified speeding citation (45 in a 25) he said angrily, "In 12 years on the bench I've been accepting the word of police officers. Now I'm shocked that any of them would so falsify a citation."

He insisted he was going between 30 and 35 when he passed the police car. He announced he will plead not guilty when he appears in traffic court Monday.

The officers, Gerald Jackson and Terry Lewis, insist it was just another ticket and they called it as they saw it.

Meanwhile, back among the common people, the affair was viewed as high comedy.

WHEN HE SAT in traffic court, Judge Pfaff earned a reputation for severity. It was said of him that he would sentence his mother to jail if the evidence showed she was guilty.

1959_0307_duncanNow some motorists whose wings he clipped are bubbling with delight. They came away from his court feeling they'd been unfairly two-timed -- by the gendarmes and by the judge.

The way things are going this could be the ticket that launched a thousand quips.

One reader insists the trial should be held in the Coliseum and motorists who feel they have been bum-rapped admitted free.

Another wonders if Judge Pfaff will sacrifice a day's pay, as others must do, when he goes to trial.

Another hopes that some kindly old motorist will take him for a long walk and tell him the facts of life about traffic valentines.

Another hopes that out of the case may come an awareness that the LAPD, under the lash of the master, gives out too many tickets for minor offenses.

However, let us not stoop to one editorial writer's paraphrased appraisal of the case -- jug not that ye be not jugged.

* *

MENTION HERE that the gyp artist who poses as a toaster repair man and makes off with expensive hotel bread browners is amok again reminded a fun-loving friend of the time a toaster almost broke up his happy home.

1959_0307_juke_boxes_2The little lady complained that the darn thing wouldn't pop out the toast far enough, causing it to burn. Inspired, he prevailed upon a repair man to put an extra strong spring in it. When she tried it the toast hit the ceiling.

He thought this was very funny but she didn't. And when she took the toaster back to the repair man for adjustment the blabbermouth said her husband ordered it that way. So, the doghouse.

* *

WELL WE LOST another one. A note signed Texas Tom states, "This town is no good. Even the bums here are no good. L.A. has more bums in high and low places than anywhere else. I'm going back to Texas."

Betcha our brand of muscatel is better than your brand of muscatel.

* *

It takes a lot of living
To make a house to suit,
Yup, it takes a lot of living
Plus an awful lot of loot.

* *

1959_0307_abby TRAFFIC DETAIL -- Those five car-pool fellows, young exec types, who play cards in the back of a Volkswagen Microbus, were at it again on Whittier Boulevard the other morning en route to work . . . An ABC-TV exec is glad the legislature revised the vehicle code number for drunken driving. He had extension 502 and took some teasing.

* *

FOOTNOTES -- A Hollywoodian got a call the other night asking if he'd watched a certain TV program. He said he had, briefly, then turned it off. And then he wanted to know how the caller had gotten his unlisted phone number. The battle still rages . . . People in East L.A. find it appropriate that Lou Costello will be buried in Calvary Cemetery in their area. His Junior Foundation on E Olympic Boulevard is a landmark to his philanthropy . . . A onetime high-bracket movie star was seen at the $2 show window at Santa Anita and Walt Hackett couldn't help observing, "That's show business."   

Paul Coates -- Confidential File, March 7, 1959


Mash Notes and Comments

Paul_coates_5 "Dear Mr. Coates,

"Last week I bought, for 30 cents, some discarded material that was emptied out of a room that a man died in some time ago and I was surprised!

"One learns about a person by the type of things he leaves behind when he passes on.

"In this man's possessions, I found an 1882 American silver dollar and 14 cents in one sweep-up. I also found several books, writing paper, stamps, molasses, magazines and pencils and ink.

"My 50-cent investment brought me a $4.50 profit. That is good pickings.

"I also got a sweater and some candy bars and a raincoat.

John Drew Barrymore says he only had two Tonga Punches before his hit-and- run accident. Here's a recipe for Trader Vic's Tonga Punch:
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 1/2 ounces orange juice
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1 dash grenadine
1/2 ounce curacao
2 ounces light Puerto Rican rum

Blend in electric drink mixer with 1/2 scoop shaved ice. Pour into 14-ounce optic chimney glass. Decorate with fresh mint and a stirrer.
"Trader Vic's Bartender Guide," 1972

"Paul, I see where you were in the hospital recently. I hope that you're better now." (signed) Memphis Harry Lee Ward, P.O. Box 1963, Hollywood, 28.

-- I am. But if I take a turn for the worse, I'll call you and we'll work out a deal.

* *

"Dear Paul,

"On a brief visit of leading oilfields in the U.S., Naim Abdo, wealthy Saudi Arabian oil magnate, made his headquarters at the new Caravan Inn hotel in Bakersfield.

"He felt very much at home, he told manager Chuck Comstock.

"The authentic Middle East decor prompted this statement. Comstock escorted the potentate into the hotel's Oasis Room for dinner, when suddenly the Saudi Arabian stopped abruptly.

"'I must have them,' he exclaimed in broken English.

"Comstock looked around to see what he wished to take back to his native land.

"'I will give you a thousand riyals (the Saudi Arabian dollar) for the three of them,' he whispered almost breathlessly.

"Still puzzled, Comstock scanned the room carefully. What could it be that created the fire in his eyes?

"Well, Paul, you'll never guess. It was the three waitresses attired in harem-girl costumes! He wanted to buy them and take them home.

1959_0307_barrymore"Isn't that a kick?" (signed) Bill Dodge, Dodge-Heigh Public Relations, Beverly Hills.

--It certainly is. At today's prices, you'd be lucky to get one for a thousand riyals.

* *

"Dear Paul,

"Last week, after a careful tabulation, our accountant recorded that we had 300 rooms in the new, luxurious Thunderbird International Hotel.

"Our accountant is not one to be doubted. He is infallible!

"Nonetheless, upon re-tabulating yesterday, we found that we had only 299 rooms. Today again we had only 299 rooms.

"The only conclusion possible is, I'm afraid: ONE OF OUR ROOMS IS MISSING!" (signed) Marc Siegal, Thunderbird International Hotel, El Segundo.

-- You think you've got troubles. The new Caravan Inn in Bakersfield is short three waitresses.

In the Theaters -- March 7, 1923


Trouble Was His Business -- Raymond Chandler


The Times' Robert R. Kirsch reviews Philip Durham's "Down These Mean Streets a Man Must Go," Dec. 11, 1963.

Kirsch says: Raymond Chandler "was one of a small group of writers who used Los Angeles in the regional sense. The setting -- from Pasadena to Santa Monica, from Hollywood to the Malibu Hills -- was crucial to his work. Its places and people provided the stage and characters, and even the poetic mood. It was an ambivalent relationship. At times he loved the place; at other times he hated it. But it was always there.

"And as George P. Eliot once wrote: 'If you want the feel and aspect of Los Angeles and vicinity in the '30s, '40s and early '50s you could hardly do better than to read his fiction.' " 

George Garner Rediscovered


The Garner Concert Jubilee Company, in a photo from a promotional brochure.

1934_0701_george_garner I've been able to gather some more information about George Robert Garner, a Pasadena choral director and singer who was the first African American to solo with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Frank Villella, archivist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, says:

Tenor George Garner appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on one occasion, on a Popular Concert at Orchestra Hall on March 25, 1926.  He sang "On away! Awake Beloved" from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Hiawatha's Wedding Feast (Frederick Stock, our music director, was the conductor). Unfortunately, there was no biography or photograph of Garner included in the program book for that concert. 

According to an article in The Chicago Defender (from April 3, 1926; see attached), Garner was "the first soloist of our Race to appear with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra."  Also according to the article, Garner sang the "Lament" (presumably "Vesti la giubba") from Leoncavallo's Pagliacci as an encore.

Regular Daily Mirror reader Dick Morris drew upon his vast knowledge of online databases and offers these facts about George Robert Garner and his father, George Sr.:

1926_0403_garnerIn 1900, (the older) George is listed as living with his brother Fred in Chicago. No spouse or children were living with him. In this one, George is shown as being born in Canada and his parents born in England and a immigration date of 1888 is listed and he had been in the U.S. for 12 years. Occupation was clerk. This may be a different person, but there are a number of similarities.

In 1910 George Sr. was listed as born in N. Carolina as were his parents. He was a butler for a private family. At 18, George, Jr. was identified as a musician, concert. he had been out of work for 10 weeks during the year. The address looks like 209 E. 32nd.

On an LDS site I found a record saying that George R. Garner, Jr. was married to Pauline H. Bell on 1 Sep 1915 in Chicago. This is a transcription of marriage license and they have the image available to view.

The WWI draft registration for George R. Garner Jr. gives his birth date as April 16, 1892, and his address as 5229 Wabash Ave., Chicago. It's hard to read, but I think his occupation is professional concert artist singer. He was married.

For the 1920 Chicago census, George Jr. lived in Chicago and his spouse's name was Pauline. The address was 4405 Champlain Ave., and he owned his house outright. He and his wife were both 27. She was born in Illinois as was her father. Her mother was born in Oregon. He was a vocalist, opera, she was a pianist, opera. It appears that they had two boarders with the last name of Harrison. Both were his cousins and both were tailors.

In the 1920 census his father was identified as mulatto and a butler for a private family.

A George R. Garner, 30 years old, married, born in Chicago, Ill., Apr 16, 1899, of 6408 Laurence Ave., Chicago, Ill. arrived on the Leviathan from Southampton to New York on Apr 26, 1929. This is obviously the same person as in the 1930 census. The birth date matches the WWI draft registration, but the year doesn't.


George Garner and his wife, Pauline (or Paullyn) in an undated photo.

There was a George R. Garner in Chicago for the 1930 Census. He was 60, Negro, born in Virginia and his parents were born in England. Occupation was butler for a private family. Wife was Rosa, Negro, 48 years old. She and her parents were born in Virginia. Son was George R. Jr., 30 years old, born in Illinois. He had attended school since September 1, 1919 and had no occupation. Their address was 6408 St. Laurence Ave.

The one from the California Death Index -- George R Garner 8 Jan 1971 Los Angeles  16 Apr 1892 Illinois  -- is obviously the same person as the one in WWI draft registration.

There are a lot of inconsistencies, but it appears these are all the same person.

I did a Google news archive search and it appears that the Chicago Tribune mentioned him a number of times in the 1920s and early 30s. However, I don't have a subscription to the Chicago Tribune archives.

Dick also notes that Garner performed an aria from Verdi's "Aida" at the 1919 Chicago premiere of an African American film described as "Oscar Micheaux's Mammoth Photoplay."

--Let's hope more information turns up--lrh

Found on EBay -- Dodger Ticket for Campanella Benefit, 1959

Los Angeles Times photo

Roy Campanella is honored during a benefit game between the Dodgers and the Yankees.

This ticket from the benefit game for Roy Campanella, May 7, 1959, has been listed on EBay. Bidding starts at $9.99.

Matt Weinstock -- March 6, 1959

Lost Chords

Matt_weinstockd_3 A PTA meeting at Center Avenue Elementary School in Inglewood opened Tuesday with a salute to the flag, after which the audience remained hushed as a Girl Scout choral group assembled for a song and the accompanist approached the baby grand piano.

The accompanist raised the keyboard cover. She lifted the movable music rack. A puzzled expression came over her face.

She tried them again, then crouched and peered underneath, then into the instrument. She was no longer merely puzzled, she was baffled, even desperate.

At this point Principal Irene Hoban went to the rescue and, amid laughter from the many community youth groups present, joined in the search.

In a moment Miss Hoban announced that some men scheduled to give the auditorium a much-needed renovation had apparently started the job that 1959_0306_red_streakafternoon without her knowledge, by removing the piano keys.

But all went well nevertheless. The choral group sang without accompaniment and the proceedings were graced throughout with a nice light tone.

* *

ANYONE WHO has visited General Hospital knows about the colored lines on the floors and sidewalks which help people find their way from one section to another.

The other day staff members at the City Health Department's new center at 2032 N Marengo Street, a short distance from the hospital, were surprised to see several persons dodging traffic in the middle of the street. They turned out to be patients instructed to follow a line from the main hospital to the children's unit. Somehow they'd gotten off the line and onto the center white line. They 1959_0306_duncanwere retrieved in the nick of time or doubtless they would be hiking out Highway 66.

* *

He who hesitates is lost,
They taught me that in school.
But that is wrong I learned today-
They hadn't filled the pool.
G. C. McHose

* *

WHEN HE WAS 16, Steve Allen writes in Look, he bummed around the country and learned what hunger and poverty meant.

"I remember walking along a road in California one day and finding a half-empty can of beans by the side of the road. I picked it up but was disappointed to see that it was crawling with ants. Within seconds I had shaken and blown the ants out of the can and finished the beans."

A remarkably forthright statement from a man in a realm where everyone is supposed to have a fairy godmother arranging his life.

* *

BANK NOTES -- Two women met in a Sunset Boulevard bank and Frank Barron heard one say, "Isn't it funny, the only time I ever see you lately is either here or at the drugstore." "Yeah," the other said wryly, "every time I make a withdrawal I get sick" . . .  A woman cashing a check in a Westwood Village bank asked for new $1 bills. The teller told her she didn't have 25 new ones but could give her new fives. "Oh no," the woman said, "then I'd have to take dirty bills in change somewhere else."

* *

1959_0306_abby AROUND TOWN-- Larry Brown of the SC golf team misfired a ball over the fence at Wilshire Country Club and was looking forlornly at it when an officer in a patrol car came along Beverly Boulevard, took in the situation, stopped and tossed it over the fence. Yep, the long arm of the law . . . As anyone could have guessed, votes against the death penalty in this paper's poll on capital punishment have been received from rogues signing Caryl Chessman, Harvey Glatman , Stephen Nash and Elizabeth Duncan . . . Anyone else notice that the newspaper photos of the collapsing Vanderbilt Apartments, 334 S Figueroa St., showed a scrawled "Z for Zorro" on it? . . . The magazine Thy Kingdom Come, which circulates among flying saucer groups, has the slogan "Be active today or radioactive tomorrow" . . . A mortuary ad in El Pueblo offers a "courtesy discount" to city employees.  

Paul Coates -- Confidential File, March 7, 1959


Inactivated Barber Makes Superb Clip

Paul_coates_3 Any man who can overcome a handicap like an underactive thyroid and make a name for himself in show business, is, in my book, all right.

Therefore, to wit, I like Perry Como.

True, he makes me yawn. But it's not because he, personally, bores me, personally.

It's just that -- as anybody knows -- yawning is contagious.

The reason I mentioned Perry in the first place is because I read a significant item about him in yesterday's paper.

According to the story, he got together with a few Kraft Food Co. moguls over some pimento cheese spread and crackers, and signed a television contract which will gross him $25 million in the next two years.

1959_0306_golden_globesFrankly, I'm happy for Perry.

If the Kraft Food Co. thinks he's worth that much, that's their business. Maybe his mother values him even higher.

The only thing I'm against is the indelicate way his press agent blabbed it all over town.

It's making a bum out of the rest of us. Collectively.

All over America today, wives are glaring meaningfully at their husbands, most of whom have perfect thyroids.

The equilibrium of the American home has been upset, just because Perry and his new bosses couldn't keep a secret.

Twenty-five million dollars is a lot of money -- more than some of us earn in a whole lifetime.

But personally, I'm not envious.

In fact, if I'd been sitting at that negotiation table in place of Perry, I'm not so sure that I would have signed.

Certainly, I would have checked into my prospective employers a little more carefully than he did.

I would have found out, for example, something about working conditions.

There are some cheeses I don't like the smell of. I'd make sure there weren't any of those stacked around near my desk space.

Then, there's the matter of paid vacations. Fringe benefits. Promotion programs. And coffee breaks.

What I'm trying to say is, the salary's all right. But it's the little considerations that really make an employee feel comfortable, feel wanted, in his job.

In a Cheesey Sort of Way

As for future prospects with the company, I guess that Kraft is a solid-enough organization.

But remember, the contract that Perry signed was for television shows.

Granted, the medium of television is a pretty popular one right now.

It's new, though. Sort of in the fad stage.

1959_0306_cohen_2That's the final point, which I wonder if Perry bothered to take into consideration:

Is television here to stay?

But come to think of it, even if TV isn't here to stay, Perry's got it made.

He could always go back to being a barber and, at the price of haircuts today, he'd still be a millionaire.

We're Twittering -- and on Facebook!


We may delve into the past, but we also try to be up to date. "Throwback" Thursby got us on Twitter. So I upped the ante and created a Facebook page.

In the Theaters -- March 6, 1920


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

Recent Posts
The Daily Mirror Is Moving |  June 16, 2011, 2:42 am »
Movieland Mystery Photo |  June 11, 2011, 9:26 am »
Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated] |  June 11, 2011, 8:06 am »
Found on EBay 1909 Mayor's Race |  June 9, 2011, 2:33 pm »