The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: April 12, 2009 - April 18, 2009

| The Daily Mirror Home |

Mystery Boy Found in Echo Park, Famous Poet Serenades Goats, April 17, 1939

April 17, 1939, Nuestro Pueblo

The Times noted that Charles Owens had an art exhibit on the third floor of City Hall.

April 17, 1939, Robber

A 27-year-old man says he robbed the country club where he worked to provide a few essentials for his mother. He was sentenced to the six months on the road gang and probation.

April 17, 1939, Happiness

April 17, 1939, Theater
Marx Brothers are at work on "A Day at the Circus."

April 17, 1939, Comics
Dr. Wong, a normally "placid Oriental," becomes agitated when he sees the Man-Lion statue in "Tarzan."
April 17, 1939, Sports Joe Louis makes a surprise visit to the Main Street Gym.

April 17, 1939, Carl Sandburg

Found on EBay -- Dyas Department Store

Vanity Set From Dyas

Here's something rather remarkable. According to the vendor, this is an unused vanity set -- with the original box -- sold by the Dyas department store in Los Angeles. Bidding starts at $9.99.

Matt Weinstock -- April 16, 1959

Crime and Punishment

Matt_weinstockdA young man named Len was stopped recently for an illegal left turn on Vermont Ave. and, when it turned out he didn't have his driver's license, the officer ran a routine check on him over the police radio.

Back came the word that there was an outstanding warrant against him for overparking in a one-hour zone, and he was instructed to follow the gendarme to the downtown jail.

Len said he didn't remember any such parking citation and had never received notice that the warrant would be issued, as is procedure, but he was booked anyway.

BUT THE REAL SURPRISE was to come. He was placed in a cell with several smudged characters and after getting oriented, he asked one huge gentleman what he was in for. "Assault with a deadly weapon," he said. Another was there for burglary, a third for selling narcotics.

April 16, 1959, Embezzler Loses Everything in Las Vegas Then Len was asked why he was there and he said "Overparking." They thought he was trying to be funny and they didn't think he was. He finally convinced them but, as the crime reporters put it, mayhem was narrowly averted.


A YOUNG MAN named George drove his girl named Grace to a wonderfully secluded spot overlooking the ocean at Point Fermin the other night and, as they chatted about the weather and other things, she suddenly inquired suspiciously. "Say, how did you happen to find this place?"

"Oh." he replied. "I used to come up here with my buddy to watch the submarine races."

The people in the Middle East
Eat shish kebab at every feast,
They have no cows, no lowing herds,
They have no whey but lots of Kurds.
-G.L Ertz


AS EVERYONE who has ever applied for a job with the federal government knows, he must fill out a Form 57.

The other night a gal named Kathleen noticed the attendant in the powder room of a luxurious Hollywood saloon was hard at work on an official-looking form and asked, "Making out a 57?"

"No, ma'am," was the reply, "a 58."

Puzzled, Kathleen looked closer and -- sure enough -- it was a 58 -- a form 1040 for last year.


OVER A second cup of coffee a group of Hollywood writers were moaning about how dull things were and wondering what they might do to liven up the world a little, and one of them, MartinRagaway reports, said brightly, "Hey, why don't we park a Ford in Dinah Shore's driveway!"


April 16, 1959, Abby JUNE MAY BE Daily Month elsewhere, but a sign on the Great Western Livestock grounds off Atlantic Blvd. states clearly it is Daily Month. Perhaps it is an inadvertently typographical reminder to June brides to start checking on June grooms from the start...And a poolside sign at a Santa Barbara motel, BillLathan reports, states, "No laughter or other unnecessary noise." In other words, be grim when you swim.


MISCELLANY -- How would you like to be the announcer when the Five Keys, a vocal group, plays the Austerbaljarbio Theater in Reykjavik, Iceland, May 1-10?... Nice line by Jim Backus at the Hollywood Women's Press Club Men's Day lunch: "He had the personality of a cup of lard" ... No truth to the rumor. Bob Manners says, "that M. Chevalier will sing "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" as the theme music for "Lolita" when it is filmed ... Now don't forget, Dorris Hellman reminds, when Daylight Savings begins Sunday, April 26, it's "Spring forward, fall back"...Correction: It's people who cross the equator, not the international dateline, who becomeShellbacks.

Paul Coates -- Confidential File, April 16, 1959


We Should Be Told All the Mafia Facts

Paul_coatesYesterday's headlines posed a question vital to every citizen of the United States.

"Is the Mafia fact or fiction?" asked the black type.

The question was inspired by two opposing views.

One belonged to Alvin H. Goldstein Jr., described by newspaper stories as a former New York racket buster now probing crime in California.

The other belonged to Los Angeles Police Chief William H. Parker.

Mr. Goldstein, 32, was brought to California more than a year ago by Gov. Pat Brown when the latter was attorney general of the state. The young investigator was asked to survey criminal activities here.

His probe apparently led him to the conclusion that there is no Mafia in California.

And he said so.

April 16, 1959, Mirror Cover In fact, declared Mr. Goldstein, people who say there is a Mafia may some day be charged with fabricating "the most colossal hoax ever thrust upon the American public."

A pretty strong statement.

And one to which Parker took immediate and violent exception.

The Mafia is real and it is here, the chief said for the hundredth time.

He accused Mr. Goldstein of being a Johnny-come-lately who has "a lot to learn."

In an effort to throw some additional light on the controversy, without subscribing to either Goldstein's or Parker's views, I talked to another man with an opinion.

A gentleman who has studied the Mafia problem for almost a quarter of a century. He is Santa Ana's police chief, Edward J. Allen. And he was reared in what he calls a Mafia stronghold in the eastern part of the nation.

"Where I grew up, everyone knew about the organization," Chief Allen told me.

"We all knew about Mafia killings, so it is always a surprise to me to hear people deny the Mafia's existence."

April 16, 1959, Murder "In other words," I said, "you definitely believe it exists?"

"Sure it exists," he answered.

"In California?" I continued.

 "Not to the extent that it does elsewhere," he explained. "Government in California is much cleaner and that is also true of law enforcement, which makes it tough for the Mafia to worm its way in."

"But the leaders are here," he added.

"They want to become respectable. That's why you see them moving into neighborhoods like Beverly Hills, for instance."

"It's to the shame of legitimate society that they do gain entry to the better areas. The Mafia contaminates everything it touches."

I asked Chief Allen about rumors that the Mafia is made up almost entirely of Americans of Sicilian birth or extraction.

"That's no rumor," he snapped. "That's fact. To attain top recognition within the group, you must be Sicilian."

April 16, 1959, Killing "Then why," I continued, "do I hear names, obviously not Sicilian, mentioned as having Mafia connections?"

"That's easy," he answered. "They work with others. Use others.

"Oh, they'll accept financing from somebody else. But remember, although money talks, Mafia guns talk louder."

"Then you feel Goldstein was wrong in his appraisal of the Mafia's existence?" I asked the veteran law enforcement officer.

Let Us Examine the Record

"Absolutely," he said.

"Mr. Goldstein did the Mafia a great favor when he said it didn't exist. They'd like everyone to believe that."

I don't know. Maybe Goldstein is right when he says the Mafia is just a myth. But he was a trifle vague in explaining why he thinks so.

If he has facts to back his statement, I, for one, would like the hear them.

In the Theaters -- April 16, 1947

April 16, 1947, In the Theaters

Second Takes -- Billy Wilder

Nov. 4, 1948, Billy Wilder, A Song Is Born
Nov. 4, 1948: "A Song Is Born" opens in Los Angeles.

Nov. 5, 1948, Billy Wilder, A Song Is Born  

Nov. 5, 1948: The Times reviews Howard Hawks' remake of "Ball of Fire" as a showcase for jazz musicians Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Barnett, Lionel Hampton and Mel Powell. 

North Korea Shoots Down Navy Plane; Dodgers Beat Padres, 14-0, April 16, 1969

April 16, 1969, Jack Smith and Mr. Gomez

Jack Smith on God and Mr. Gomez.
April 16, 1969, North Korea Shoots Down Navy Plane

N. Korea a test for President Nixon. 

April 16, 1969, Art Seidenbaum, Talk Radio

Art Seidenbaum on talk radio. 

April 16, 1969, Theater, Twisted Nerve

Kevin Thomas on "Twisted Nerve."

April 16, 1969, Comics

1960s art influences the comics.

April 16, 1969, Sports The Dodgers moved home plate 10 feet closer to center field during the winter and the maneuver immediately paid off.

The Dodgers clobbered the San Diego Padres, 14-0, in their home opener with Andy Kosco hitting a grand slam and Tom Haller a three-run home run. The small change in the field's dimensions made a big difference.

"Neither would have been a home run a year ago. In fact, I think both of them would have been caught--mine for sure," Haller told The Times' John Wiebusch. "Andy's might have been off the fence but then the more I think about it the more I think that 10 feet might have just turned it into a big fat 0-for-1."

Kosco's home run landed in the first row of the left-field bleachers and Haller's reached the first row in right field. The Dodgers had hit only 25 home runs at Dodger Stadium in 1968.

--Keith Thursby

Matt Weinstock -- April 15, 1959


Prize for Pungency

Matt_weinstockdEvery year the San Francisco Chronicle has a crayon drawing contest for youngsters. Top prize is $25. Among this year's entrants was a bold, impressionist drawing of a pig delivering the Chronicle to a farmhouse, sent in by Roselita Gomez, 11, of Elk, Cal. It didn't win.

A few days after the winners were announced the contest editor received a letter from Roselita stating bitterly, "You work and work and work and all you get is a kick in the pants." (She used another word.)

It was the feeling of the staff that no one had ever said it better and they chipped in and raised $35 -- $10 more than first prize -- and sent it to Roselita.

Now when a discouraging word is heard in the Chronicle city room, the complainant is warned he better be careful or he'll develop a "Gomez complex."


April 15, 1959, Mirror Comics ONLY IN L.A. -- A girls' group planned a hayride and one of them called Information and asked if there were any horse stables in the area. "How do you spell the last name?" the operator asked ... A downtown editor received a printed invitation requesting "the pleasure of your attention" to a TV program -- with an RSVP. If this is living modern he doesn't know if he can stand it.



Oh joyous robin of the spring
I too a sprightly song would sing.
Were I forever free , as you,
From internal revenue

-- Guy Mullen


THE PHONE RANG at William Adams' home the other night and a recorded voice told him he had won a set of carving knives sponsored by a vacuum cleaner company and asked when he and his wife would be home for a demonstration.

Fascinated by such salesmanship, he phoned the number given in the message and reported that he was unmarried. This disqualified him, he was told. "We only give out knives when there is a demonstration to both husband and wife," the lady said severely.

The remark haunts him.


PITY THE poor, confused writer in an era like this.

Weekly Variety has this item: "It's an open secret that Hollywood is giving originals the brush." In an adjoining column, this: "After a period of decline the original screen story is coming back to Hollywood."


April 15, 1959, Abby THERE'S A STORY going around about a boy who unaccountably stopped talking. His parents took him to one psychiatrist after another but he failed to respond. Then, one night at dinner, he exclaimed, "My bread is not buttered!"

The parents excitedly called in the neighbors. Everyone waited to hear his next words. Despite coaxing, he remained silent.

"Johnny," his mother soothed, "We know you can talk. But why in the world when you started talking again did you say such an unimportant thing as 'My bread is not buttered'?"

"Well," he replied, "up to now everything has been all right."


AT RANDOM -- A man pushing a market shopping cart on Imperial Highway in Downey was waving a red kerchief to ward off motorists, who honked anyway ... Some City Hall saboteur is sending out disparaging comments about Norrie [Mayor Norris Poulson -- lrh] on office memo stationary ... Ivan Nemo hasn't quite recovered from a sign on Highway 395 between Riverside and Escondido, "Eat and Gas 500 Feet"... Radio people are talking about the interruption on a religious program last Sunday on KHJ. As the minister said, " And God said..." the announcer broke in with, "This is a SigAlert bulletin!"

Found on EBay -- Williams and Walker.

Williams and Walker, Abyssinia

A copy of "Abyssinia," by Williams and Walker, has been listed on EBay. Bidding starts at $2.95.

Paul Coates -- Confidential File, April 15, 1959


There Was no Dame, That Was a Duchess

Paul_coatesThe telephone on my desk jangled.

"Hello," I said. It seemed a logical thing to say.

"You heard about Goya?" the breathless voice at the other end of the line wanted to know.

"You mean old Francisco Jose de?" I asked brightly, "The Spanish painter?"

"That's the one," the voice informed me. "He's been banned."

"Serves him right," I said knowingly. "Carrying on with that Duchess de Alba. Him with a wife and kids."

"No, no," said the voice. "Goya is dead."

"Cholesterol . . .?" I began hesitantly.

The voice cut me short.

"Goya's BEEN dead for 131 years."

I thought I detected a patronizing tone.

April 15, 1959, Dodgers Lose "It's a picture he painted that's been banned," the voice continued. My name is Scholl. I'm with United Artists."

"Oh?" I murmured. "I must have missed your last picture."

"I'm not in pictures," the voice assured me. "I promote pictures."

Ten seconds of oppressive silence followed while I digested the confession.

"Promote...?" I asked fearfully.

"Promote!" the voice declared.

"And that's my problem," he continued. "They won't let me promote 'The Naked Maja.'"

"Ruddy shame," I sympathized.

"Ruddy right," the voice agreed. " All I tried to do was use a reproduction of Goya's famous painting in newspaper ads. Papers wouldn't accept 'em.

"Just because the dame in the picture is nude."

"That was no dame, that was the duchess," I corrected. "Anyway, it does seem pretty narrow-minded."

"And that's what Goya's life is all about," the voice said.

April 15, 1959, Norwalk Drive-In "Really?" I replied.

"Really, About how Goya painted the Duchess de Alba in the nude. Andy how her husband, the Duke, found out."

I brightened. After all, these spicy little tidbits are always good. Even if they are 131 years old.

"You say the Duke found out?" I asked.

"Everybody did. It was all over town. Quite a scandal."

Try, Try Again

"I'll bet," I said.

"So Goya had to do it all over again," the voice said.

"You mean...?" I began.

"Yep. Goya painted her with clothes on."

"Ruddy..." I began.

"Shame," he concluded. "And how's it going to look if I use a painting of a dame with clothes on when I'm trying to promote a picture called 'The Naked Maja'?" the voice demanded.

"Beats me," I admitted.

"Wouldn't be right. No punch. No socko, No sell," the voice insisted.

"Just not box-office," I added helpfully. "But what can I do about it?"

"Write something," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"I don't know," he confided. "Just something to arouse the people."

I promised him I would. And I will.

So, all right, everybody, up!

In the Theaters -- April 15, 1944

April 15, 1944, In the Theaters

Did Ancient Lizard Cult Hide Gold Tablets in Tunnels Under L.A.? Jan. 29, 1934

Jan. 29, 1934, Lizard People Treasure Map

Jan. 29, 1934: Gold hidden in network of tunnels under downtown Los Angeles!

Jan. 29, 1934, Lizard People!
Ancient underground cult blamed for terrible head bust in The Times!
Jan. 29, 1934, Lizard People!
Engineer's radio X-rays reveal massive gold tablets beneath busy metropolis!


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 »