Above, the Merced Theater in 1939 and, below, courtesy of Wikipedia.
You may recall this photo from April 10, 1938. It shows newsboys giving the Pledge of Allegiance with their arms outstretched.
April 24, 1939: David Cheverton shows the new style of the pledge, in which the right hand is place over the heart.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Johnson Wax Building opens to great acclaim.
Nazi Field Marshal Hermann Goerring reviews Italian tanks in Tripoli.
A 70-year-old solution to immigration: repatriate thousands of Mexicans.
A British look at the issue of unwelcome war refugees, primarily Jews.
What do you get when you run an eight-column photo? Lots of head bumps, sometimes called "tombstoning." Even with big art, they crammed 14 stories on the cover. And the section header is reversed out of the picture (a "reverse" is white type on a black background).
Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
Category: April 19, 2009 - April 25, 2009
Underworld Eyes Bounty on a KillerAs one who, from time to time, chronicles the grim game of cops and robbers, I have always believed implicitly that the underworld has a First Commandment:
"Never kill a cop."
And I have believed, too, that if the commandment is broken, law enforcement officers everywhere become relentless, dedicated avengers.
They never rest until the transgressor gets his.
Twenty-one months ago yesterday, a couple of El Segundo police officers were shot down in cold blood by a psychopathic killer.
Both victims were married and had families.
The twin slayings ignited one of the biggest manhunts in local history. All of California was outraged.
Within days, hundreds of suspects were picked up, questioned and released.
The newspaper played it big. For a couple of weeks, anyway.
But nobody got his.
And, as time passed, I wondered if I'd been wrong.
Maybe, after all, the avengers had short memories.
Tuesday, Sheriff Pete Pitchess and El Segundo Police Chief Tom DeBerry announced the posting of a $5,000 reward for the killer.
And I knew I'd been right the first time.
In addition to the reward, Pitchess and DeBerry said they are sending 15,000 wanted circulars to enforcement agencies in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Hawaii.
They feel confident that someone, somewhere knows the killer and knows about his crime.
They hope the $5,000 buys this knowledge.
Yesterday, I talked to Lt. Tom Farrell of the Sheriff's Department.
"That's a pretty big reward," I said.
"We meant it to be," he replied.
"Where's the money coming from?" I wanted to know.
Hughes Aircraft in El Segundo put up $2,000, the Los Angeles Peace Officers Protective Assn. put up $1,000, Hughes Tool of El Segundo donated $550, the El Segundo Peace Officers Assn. pledged $500, the Peace Officers Assn. of Los Angeles County put up $500, Standard Oil in El Segundo donated $250, and North American Aviation in El Segundo added another $200.
"The reward," he added, "will stand for at least one year."
And I hope someone collects it.
A lot of policemen and the wives of the dead officers hope so, too.
With them, it's probably pretty much of a personal thing.
And perfectly understandable.
Hunt the Man Down
But there's another side.
The guy who shoots a policeman is a deadly, dangerous menace.
Quite obviously he'd have no compunction about killing an ordinary, unarmed citizen.
And it's a frightening thing to know that a man like that is running around loose.
That's why I'm glad their fellow officers remember Richard A. Philips and Milton Curtis, the two dead policemen.
I hope they never forget.
I planned to not say very much about appearing at the Festival of
Books, but people have been asking about "History: The Underbelly of
California," which will be presented at 2 p.m. Sunday at Haines 39. The
panel will feature Richard Rayner, author of the forthcoming book "A
Bright and Guilty Place"; David Ward, author of "Alcatraz: The Gangster
Years" and be moderated by author and former Times reporter Miles
Naturally, I'm quite flattered to be included in this company. Keith Thursby, the other half of the Daily Mirror, will be available too in case there are any questions about the Daily Mirror's sports coverage. Keith tells me tickets are "sold out," although people may be able to get in on a standby basis.
Talk Is Cheaper
At this moment of drought there is much talk of water. At a meeting in Sacramento a few days ago John E. Hunt, financial consultant of the California Department of Water Resources, outlined to interested persons from all over the state the cost of bringing water from Northern California, where there is too much, to Southern California, where there is not enough.
He used astronomical figures -- $1 billion for this, $800 million for that, $30 million annually for something else, and so on.
As he stopped for a drink of water, almost symbolically it seemed, Henry Green, manager of the Feather River Project Assn., announced that the waitress who had served the lunch was $10 short and asked if anyone had neglected to pay.
And the discussion of casual billions was help up while the boys dug in their wallets to make up their shortage.
A YOUNG MAN named Frank received a call the other day from a scholarly but somewhat unworldly friend who asked Frank to look up a word in his French dictionary. "I think it is derived from the work 'beatitudes,'" he said, "but I can't find it in any of my dictionaries." And he spelled out the word "be-AT-nik."
If seven-foot beds
Are for 3 1/2 persons.
THE UNDERSTATEMENT of the week has to do with a doctor who kept sending bills to a woman patient but received no response. Finally, a few day ago, he received a note stating, "My husband will take care of this as soon as he gets out of a slight difficulty."
The secretary checked and learned that three days before the husband had been sentenced to 12 years in prison.
IT IS CLEAR that there will always be motorists who will never solve the traffic maze called the interchange. At the last moment they realize they are in the wrong lane to go where they want to go and suddenly cut sharply in the front of the other cars. The miracle is that there aren't 50 accidents a day there.
Discussing the hazardous situation with a colleague, Rob Wade, head preparator of exhibits at the County Museum, came up with this picturesque description: "Yes, that's where the traffic really gets braided."
EVERY MOTHER has her own definition of the moment her child grew up.
With Irene Grimes, it was the time her son Jim went into the second grade. As he departed on the second day of school and she started to kiss him goodbye, as she had always done, he pulled away and said, "Couldn't we just shake hands?"
WITH Helen Ernest, it was the other night when her son Bob, 17, a sailor home on leave, went out on a date. "Be in by 12," she admonished. "Mom," he said importantly, "I'm government property now." "I don't care if you're government property or not," she retorted, "get that car back by midnight!"
AROUND TOWN -- Have you noticed the toy stuffed tigers inside the rear windows of cars? Looks like this may be the fad to replace Hula-Hoops... The man behind the scenes on one of the late late shows the other night committed this weird sequence: the title, "When the Poppies Bloom Again," then the line, "Dedicated to those who remember," followed by "Wisconsin cheese"... Then, Frank Barron reminds, there's this little foreign car that goes forward and Borgward ... Fun-loving admen in Pacific Palisades have formed a club called Palisades Advertising People -- Pap for short. Purely social ... A girl named Liz, who already owns two other cats, found a stray and, after deep pondering, has decided to call it Purry Como.
So Wyatt Outdrawed Him With a Potater
Stay a moment and consider with me the potato. Or, if you prefer, Solanum tuberosum, a perennial plant of the nightshade family.
(You can be damn sure I didn't put all that dough into a set of encyclopedias just to impress my neighbors with the size of my library.)
The potato is a vegetable with a stormy past and an uncertain future.
Since its earliest cultivation, it has been plagued by the Colorado beetle and, for a brief period in history, by a band of 18th century food faddists called the SPUDS (Society for the Prevention of Unclean Diet), who were convinced that potatoes contained a drug that weakened the will.
They claimed it was being foisted on an unsuspecting public by subversives who were plotting to take over the nation.
In fact, though, the potato has served us well. We owe it much.
Without it, for example, Laura Scudder would have been just another housewife. And Pat O'Brien would be just another next-to-closing clog dancer at the County Down Fair, if his ancestors hadn't lammed to escape the Great Potato Famine of '46.
This vegetable has also made a deep impact on my life. As a child, I was force-fed it almost every meal by a doting mother who believed that without this daily staple I would fall dead of beriberi. Or, at least, run a high fever from la grippe.
When the sure signs of nausea would warn me that one more gulp of milk-soaked mashed potato would result in catastrophe, my mother would invariably admonish:
"Look at what you left on your plate. Think of the poor, starving Chinese. What wouldn't they give for that!"
Consequently, I cannot shake the vague feeling that somehow I, and not Mao Tsetung, am responsible for the poor, starving Chinese. I also came to manhood with an almost irrational respect for the potato.
That's why I was shocked recently when a lovely lady from the Cossman Toy Co. stopped by with a couple of samples of her firm's newest product-the Spud Gun.
"You just dig the barrel into a potato, pull it out and fire," she explained. "It shoots little potato pellets up to 50 feet.
"It's not just a toy, either. It's a public service. There's a very serious surplus this year.
"We've already sold almost a million guns," she went on happily. "We estimate that if every child shoots up to 12 pounds, it'll move 12 million pounds out of the surplus warehouses and get the economy back in shape.
Fraught With Economicalties
There's another purpose," she concluded. "Potato consumption is down 50% under last year. There's a desperate need to make America potato conscious again. We feel the Spud Gun will do it."
And I feel she's right. You can hardly be unconscious of the potato when some kid is firing one at you from ambush.
Anyway, I dutifully took the Spud Guns home to my youngsters.
They're having a ball with them. But I'm not happy.
Every time they take careful aim and shoot each other right between the eyes, I find myself thinking, with the same old guilty feeling, about the poor, starving Chinese.
|Frances Dinkelspiel, whose biography of her great-great-grandfather Isaias Hellman has received good notices, is one of the many writers who will be at The Times Festival of Books. For those not venturing to UCLA on Sunday, she will present a reading from her book, "Towers of Gold," at 3 p.m. at the Famers and Merchants Bank, 4th and Main, which Hellman founded.
Read Tim Rutten's review of "Towers of Gold" >>>