The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: March 29, 2009 - April 4, 2009

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Found on EBay -- Florentine Gardens, Earl Carroll's

Florentine Gardens, 1944

Florentine Gardens, no date.
Earl Carroll's 1943

An EBay vendor has listed three nightclub souvenir photos from the 1940s. The two at left are from the Florentine Gardens on Hollywood Boulevard, the one above is from Earl Carroll's. I used to collect pictures like this until they got expensive ...  and I ran out of room.

Bidding on each photo starts at $19.99.

Matt Weinstock -- April 4, 1959

TV Cliches Shocking

Matt_weinstockdAbout a year ago a registered nurse inquired here what the frontier doctors on TV wanted with all the hot water they were forever demanding when about to deliver a baby. Her inquiry raised quite a storm. The gist of most of it was that the doctors' peremptory command, "Boil all the water you can!" was merely a diversion to get the men folks out of the room.

She refused to accept this corny explanation and resolved never to bring up any more TV medical cliches.

SHE HAS BROKEN her resolve. She finds herself curdling every time she hears a TV doctor say, "She (or he) is in shock." Usually the patient has had an unpleasant experience.

But witnessing something shocking, screams I.R.N. (Irate Registered Nurse) is not being in shock. Shock is brought on by severe pain, loss of blood or other body fluids. It is a dangerous state and death will result if immediate anti-shock treatment is not started.

And if the teleplay boys don't cut it out I.R.N. will go into shock.


1959_0404_news_quiz WHILE IN
Birmingham recently to appear at a benefit for retarded children, Pat Buttram of CBS visited his father, Rev. W.M. Buttram, 85, of Anniston, Ala. When he showed his dad pictures of his new Northridge home with swimming pool, the old gentleman commented, "Well!" Pat's got a washin' hole in his back yard."



Some people like to dice
Some just love to give advice,
Some may preach and some may pray,
While some just yack the livelong day.
A favored few converse with squirrels,
But I'd much rather chat with girrels.



has built up quite a guilt complex over what happened last Sunday in San Fernando Valley and wishes expiation here.

He was driving on Canoga Park Avenue toward the hills when he caught up with half a dozen slow-moving cars and trailers. As he passed, he gaily sounded his horn -- "shave and a haircut -- two bits." After all, it was a nice day and he was on his way to a party.

To his surprise, they fell in behind him and when he turned off onto a narrow road snaking off into the hills the trailercade followed him -- around hairpin turns and barely squeezing by parked cars.

Stu didn't know what to do and as he rounded a turn and came to his destination he gunned up the driveway and sat still as the trailer group streamed by.

He slunk into the house and after a while peeked out the window. The trailers were apparently wandering aimlessly up another hill. He hopes they got where they were going.


1959_0404_comics LOOK FOR
controversy over Dr. Franklin Loehr's book, "The Power of Prayer on Plants," to be published this month. It presents evidence that prayer can be scientifically proved. Two trays of seeds were planted under precise laboratory conditions. One was ignored, the other received the attention of Dr. Loehr's prayer group. Analysis of 900 experiments showed that plants which had the benefit of prayer were superior. 


Not all the streets and sidewalk hieroglyphics are put there to indicate projected sewer, storm drain, utility or street work. Some are for the guidance of bill peddlers and house-to-house distributors of samples -- so they won't cover the same ground twice ... A four-page press release headed "The Recession in the Congo" states there is uneasiness about the economy there. To put it another way, the natives are restless ... Shame on somebody, attributing to Frank E. Marlowe the gag about people who jaywalk repeatedly having their shoes taken away. It's in Mort Sahl's record, "Look Forward in Anger" ... Mac Tuesley, taking a quick course in photography from Otto Rothchild, says he keeps forgetting to pull the slide. "I can't teach you anything about that," Otto said sadly.

Paul Coates -- Confidential File, April 4, 1959

Confidential File

Mash Notes and Comments

Paul_coates"I spent most of my early life in the saddle in West Texas and New Mexico. In 27 years I'll be 100, but I am still just a kid.

"I wonder if you know the egg-shell trick, or mystery. That you can't break an egg shell by holding it in your hands in a certain position and squeezing it. It is supposed to resist 400 pounds of pressure.

"You can squeeze until you are blue in the face or blister your hands.

"There has been a lot of money lost on that trick.

"Anyone who didn't know it, would stake a fortune on the fact that he could break it.

"There is another trick, Paul, which I would like to explain to you ..."

(signed) G.E. Chaplin
1430 Mt. Pleasant St., L.A.

--Wait till I wipe the egg off my hands.


1959_0404_9star "I am 67 and have lots of hair on my head.

"The average social lion has hair on his upper lip.

"The backwoods bears have hair on their backs.

"The rain water washes the bears' backs, which goes to prove that rain water is the best hair washer.

"You never saw a bald-headed Indian when Columbus discovered America. As proof that rain water never did harm to anyone's hair, ask any of the direct descendants of Noah.

"Noah kept on preaching to the two-footed animals to watch out for the abundant rain that was to fall.

"But they just laughed at Noah and kept right on washing their hair with chlorinated fire hydrant water!"

(signed) Leo F. Quinn, P.O. Box 385, L.A.

--They could afford to laugh. Noah didn't even know there were fire hydrants.


1959_0404_lester_young "I have some REAL news for you!

"I have written the world's first 'Organic Food song' in collaboration with Dr. Albert Denis Tessier, who composed the chorus and arranged the music. He has a distinguished European background as a concert pianist, to mention but one of his artistic talents.

"He also teaches music, Latin and Spanish.

"The 'Organic Food Song' (copyright 1959) is a musical salute to organic food fans and is attracting favorable comment from all sides.

"Has a foot-tapping, hand-clapping chorus ideal for group singing, or for barbershop quartettes.

"What do you say we bring in the tape recording of the 'Organic Food Song' (copyright 1959) so that you and your staff can join in a rousing chorus for organic living?"

(signed) Hazzie Goodell, L.A.


In the Theaters, April 4, 1917


Second Takes -- Billy Wilder

Dec. 5, 1939: "Ninotchka" opens tomorrow!


And no, not a word about the screenwriters in this anonymous review, which appeared in The Times on Dec. 7, 1939.

1978_0101_lubitsch_01 1978_0101_lubitsch_02

"I still remember the day of the funeral," Billy Wilder said of Ernst Lubitsch. "After the ceremony William Wyler and I walked silently to our car. Finally, I said, just to say something to break the silence, 'No more Lubitsch.' To which Wyler replied, 'Worse than that -- No more Lubitsch filmes.' How right we were. For 20 years since then we were all trying to find the secret of the 'Lubitsch touch.' Nothing doing. Oh if we were lucky we sometimes managed a few feet of film here and there in our work that momentarily sparkled like Lubitsch. Like Lubitsch, not real Lubitsch. His art is lost. That most elegant of screen magicians took his secret with him."


Jordan's King Hussein Visits L.A.; Rams to Play Night Game, April 4, 1959


The Times' art department retouched Neil Clemans' photo of Marlon Brando giving the finger to photographers. Let's see if we can get a copy of the original.

At left, King Hussein of Jordan waves to photographers in Palmdale after flying a Lockheed F-104D over the Mojave Desert. The Times emphasized that Hussein was "Islam's sworn foe of communism" and said he "scorned Soviet aid to the Middle East and offered a three-point plan to save the cradle of religion from the 'sweep of atheism.' "

 Communists and Peronists riot in downtown Buenos Aires ... Princess Grace's appendectomy is Page 1 news ... and Judge Martin Katz of Van Nuys asks a woman charged with advertising fortune telling whether she can predict his verdict. She couldn't. And Katz fined her $25.

And the weather? "Smog today."
Elizabeth Duncan is sentenced to die.
Hey, it's "On Stage" by Leonard Starr. Haven't seen that one in years.

1959_0404_rams  Even in Southern California, football fans deal with the weather.

The Rams announced plans for a Saturday night game to open the 1959 season. "For the last four seasons the Coliseum temperature has been in the high 80s," general manager Pete Rozelle said. "We feel that Ram fans would prefer a night game while the weather is still warm."

You have to wonder if Rozelle, the future commissioner, also was envisioning a future of night games and prime-time television audiences for the NFL.

--Keith Thursby

Found on EBay -- Long Beach Plunge


This postcard of the Plunge in Long Beach has been listed on EBay. Bidding starts at $2.

At left, an orchestra provides music for Ladies' Day at the Plunge in Long Beach. Above, ladies, please cover up!

Paul Coates -- Confidential File, April 3, 1959

Paul_coates 1959_0403_coates1959_0403_coates

Matt Weinstock -- April 3, 1959

Righting of the Left

Matt_weinstockdNot long ago a New York bank announced it had made left-handed checks available to southpaw patrons.

Now Mattell, Inc., the firm on W. 102nd Street which makes toy guns, has come out with a left-handed holster.

Clearly, what we have here is a trend. The way things are going, left-handers, who constitute about 10% of the nation's population, will no longer find themselves frustrated outcasts in a right-handed world.

At least lefties stalking along Dry Gulch Blvd. for the shootdown will have an even break on the draw with right-handed skulkers.

Oh, I tell you, significance is everywhere.



THE DOORBELL rang at a nice home in Brentwood and the lady at the door announced, "I'm the assessor."

A pained expression came over the housewife's face and she exclaimed, "Oh dear, we haven't even paid the taxes we've got!"

You listening, supervisors? Maybe it's a quiet revolt, but it's a revolt.


first book report, Steven Kruschen, 7, an A-2 at 3rd Street school, chose the child's version of "Noah's Ark" by Tony Palazzo.

One question on the printed sheet asked, "Who was your favorite character?" Steve wrote, "God."

Next question, "Why?" "Because," Steve wrote, he thought the whole thing up."



'Twas the morn after Easter
And all through the news
The headliners were shouting
"Us guys can lick youse."


of literary coincidences -- use of similar names or situations by fiction writers unknown to each other -- recalled an experience Harold Bell Wright once told Al Ball of Manhattan Beach.

Shortly after Wright's book "When a Man's a Man" was published, a stranger called on him, identified himself as a college professor, and said he had written a play three years before titled "When a Man's a Man." Furthermore, his principal character was Rags -- Wright's was Patches. In addition, he said there were 80 identical situation in the two stories.

Wright could only express amazement.

"How did you do it, Wright?" the stranger went on. "My manuscript has been locked in a safe for three years. No one ever read it but me. It isn't possible."

He wasn't angry, only baffled. So was Wright.


Louise was discussing instant coffee with a friend who had never used it and suggested she try Decaf. "Where do I get Decaf?" the woman asked. "Fromde cow and de bull," responded Louise, a lady of impulse, subject to such whims. Besides, it was a hot day.


for Reducing Everything to a Pat, Provocative Phrase will come to order. This remark was heard in the city room: "Can't you see Susan Hayward playing the part of Mrs. Duncan?"


TEN YEARS AGO Pepper Blethen, 9, unaccountably stumbled and fell while running with playmates in Gardena. When it happened again a doctor diagnosed his ailment as progressive muscular dystrophy. He was given only a short time to live.

But life was pleasant to Pepper, even when he was forced to take to a wheelchair and then bed. He was helpless for years and slowly wasted away. But he remained cheerful, buoyed up by his devoted family and well-wishers.

On Tuesday at the age of 19, he died, long beyond the time doctors gave him to live. A funeral Mass was held today at St Antony's Church and his mother thanks all those who have sent him messages of good cheer.

In the Theaters, April 3, 1913


Second Takes -- Billy Wilder


Sept. 16, 1939: The Times' review lists Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder for the first time.

Movie Star Mystery Photo


Los Angeles Times file photo

Just a reminder on how this works: I post the mystery photo on Monday and reveal the answer on Friday. To keep the mystery photo from getting lost in the other entries, I move it from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday, etc., adding a photo every day.

I have to approve all comments, so if your guess is posted immediately, that means you're wrong. (And if a wrong guess has already been submitted by someone else, there's no point in submitting it again). If you're right, you will have to wait until Friday. There's no need to submit your guess five times. Once is enough. The only prize is bragging rights. 

Update: This is Sheila Ryan in a photo dated Dec. 29, 1941.

The answer to last week's photo: Sharon Lynn

Check back Monday for another mystery photo!

Los Angeles Times file photo

Here's another photo of our mystery woman and a mystery companion. Please congratulate Eve Golden's "co-worker Mel" for recognizing her first. Also congratulate Anne Papineau, Dewey Webb, Nick Santa Maria, Jeff Hanna, "bjth" Don Danard and Gerald McCann!

Update: Our mystery fellow is Tony De Marco in an August 1943 photo.

Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

Here's another clue! Please congratulate William Weathersby, Dave and Jeff for correctly identifying her. And hats off to Dewey Webb for identifying her mystery companion!

Sheila Ryan, 23, seeking a divorce from cowboy actor Allan Lane, Feb. 22, 1946.

Los Angeles Times file photo

Here's another photo of our mystery woman. Please congratulate Annie Frye and R. Ahuna for correctly identifying her. Check back tomorrow when we reveal the name of our mystery movie star!

Update: Sheila Ryan in a still from "Getting Gertie's Garter."

Los Angeles Times file photo

This is is Sheila Ryan, who was married to western star Pat Buttram. Isn't this a great photo? When I got it out of the archives I found The Times art department had butchered it down to a one-column mug shot. Here is it, stripped of all the white goop we used to put on pictures. 

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