The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: April 19, 2009 - April 25, 2009

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Changing the Pledge of Allegiance, April 24, 1939

April 24, 1939, Nuestro Pueblo

Above, the Merced Theater in 1939 and, below, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Pico House, Merced Theater
April 10, 1938, Pledge of Allegiance

You may recall this photo from April 10, 1938. It shows newsboys giving the Pledge of Allegiance with their arms outstretched.

April 24, 1939, Pledge of Allegiance

April 24, 1939: David Cheverton shows the new style of the pledge, in which the right hand is place over the heart.

April 24, 1939, Cover
At left, Yugoslavia aligns itself with Germany and Italy ... Avenal, Calif., battles an invasion of grasshoppers with poison and flames. "Another great horde of grasshoppers covering an area 10 miles long and give miles wide was reported moving down from the foothills near Los Banos," The Times says.

James E. Bassett covers the marriage of "two of filmdom's brightest luminaries," Tyrone Power, 24, Suzanne Georgette Charpentier.

And the peculiar tale of an 87-year-old New Jersey man who burns to death when his whiskers catch fire.

April 24, 1939, Angler

April 24, 1939, Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright's Johnson Wax Building opens to great acclaim.

April 24, 1939, Tanks

Nazi Field Marshal Hermann Goerring reviews Italian tanks in Tripoli.

April 24, 1939, Mexican Repatriation

A 70-year-old solution to immigration: repatriate thousands of Mexicans.
April 24, 1939, Refugees

A British look at the issue of unwelcome war refugees, primarily Jews.

April 24, 1939, Theater

Ona Munson is cast as Belle Watling in "Gone With the Wind."
April 24, 1939, Comics

Is a "she-devil" setting a trap for Tarzan?!

April 24, 1939, Sports

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).

Neil Clemans -- RIP

Neil Clemans, Ike Button
Photograph by Neil Clemans

She likes Ike!

Former Mirror photographer Neil Clemans, whose book was featured in a recent post,  died on Monday at his home in Los Angeles. A private memorial is planned.

Found on EBay -- Haggarty's

Haggarty's EBay
Haggarty's EBay 
This outfit from Haggarty's has been listed on EBay. I would call this a period piece but that really doesn't do it justice. Bidding starts at $159.99.

Matt Weinstock -- April 23, 1959

What Goes Up...

Matt_weinstockdFor some reason, perhaps a power failure, all four elevators in the 12-story Equitable Building at Hollywood Blvd. and Vine St. Stopped between floors Monday and remained stalled about an hour.

The remarkable thing was that there were no passengers in any of the cars, only the girl operators, who, according to an observer, remained calm and patient. After all, what else could they do?

And so the questions is, on what did these four spirited young ladies meditate during this lost hour? On the ups and downs of life? On the ultimate outcome of man's fight against machinery? On what they would have for dinner?

Apparently not. One of them said later. "I just wondered when the heck I was going to get out of there."


April 23, 1959, Woman's World AS ANY DOTING grandfather, publicist Jerry Hoffman was eager to see his granddaughter Lisa, 3, on a morning TV program which features birthday observances. However, no set was available near his office, so shortly before 10 a.m. he went into a nearby bar, ordered a drink he didn't want and asked, "Would you mind turning on TV?"

"What show?" the bartender asked.

"Chucko the Clown," Jerry replied. The bartender winced all the way up his ears.


In spring a woman's fancy turns
To summer styles they're showing
And how to cover up the hips
She's been all winter growing.


LITERARY researchers are continually turning up new stuff about famous authors, and now Lou Huston of North Hollywood claims to have uncovered a hither to unknown anecdote about Henry James.

For weeks James tried to find a name for a new novel, but none satisfied him. In desperation he consulted his brother, the noted psychologist William James. William made several suggestions, but Henry irritably rejected them. Finally William said, "Henry, you have let this problem unnerve you. Look at you! You're positively shaggy. Forget the book a while and tidy up."

Taking his brother's advice, Henry went to a barbershop and sat on a bench next to a guard from the nearby penitentiary. Lost in reverie, the novelist heard the barber call "Next!" and leaped to his feet. The barber pointed to the prison guard and said, "I'm sorry, Mr.James, but this man is ahead of you. It's the turn of the screw."

Elated, the famous writer ran out of the shop and dashed to his publisher and gasped out the title of his new novel.


EAVESDROPPINGS -- A lady who maintains a crowded schedule of meetings and luncheons exclaimed to a friend, "You know, I'm so busy I never have time to enjoy myself any more." Rather profound ... And a man known as The Squire, reflecting on his misspent life, got off this one: "I am a man of many talents, none of which has ever brought in a nickel."

IF HE CAN only figure out a suitable melody, Bill Bates, Laurel Canyon lyricist, thinks he has a hit torch tune. The title: "Is It Better to Be Wanted by the FBI Than Not to Be Wanted at All?"


April 23, 1959, Abby ANYONE ELSE notice that in "Cheyenne" Tuesday, when a boy had to choose between his Indian mother and the white woman who had raised him and he turned to Ty Hardin for guidance, Ty said, "That's something you'll have to decide for yourself." Almost turned a grippingdraymah of the Old West into a cigarette commercial.


Miscellany -- One night recently R.K. Llyde and his wife went to the Baldwin Theater and shortly after returning home received a call informing him his wallet containing about $250 had been found by an usher, AbeZide. Lloyde hadn't missed it until the call. And so, a typographical posy to Zide , who refused a reward but accepted $15 for college expenses ... A young man of about 22 was marching solemnly on Hill St. near 5th with a large cardboard placard on his chest stating "I'm a good boy. Hire me."

Paul Coates -- Confidential File, April 23, 1959

April 23, 1959, Dear Nikita


Underworld Eyes Bounty on a Killer

Paul_coatesAs 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.

April 23, 1959, Khrushchev Editorial 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.

April 23, 1959, Mirror Cover 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.

In the Theaters -- April 23, 1966

April 23, 1966, In the Theaters

Daily Mirror at the Festival of Books

Festival_of_booksI 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 Corwin.

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.

Irish Firebrand Takes Seat in Parliament, Lakers Showdown With the Celtics, April 23, 1969

April 23, 1969, Mural

April 23, 1969: In case you don't recognize this building, it is the former Earl Carroll theater, now the Nickelodeon building, on Sunset Boulevard. The concrete slabs with movie stars' signatures were removed to make room for this huge mural, The Times says.

April 23, 1969, Cover

Notice that the one-column photo of sailor Robin Knox-Johnston doesn't square off with the story or even come close to it!
At left, a nine-story front page. It's a big day for the foreign desk with reports from Jerusalem (Israel turns 21); London (Irish radical Bernadette Devlin, then 22, is seated in Parliament); and the lead story from Paris, speculating that Charles de Gaulle might resign, with a sidebar on the economic impact.

National has a SCOTUS story (Supreme Court of the United States); a feature on the first man to sail by himself around the world; a wire story out of Houston on the first human eye transplant and a story with the lead art on flooding in the Midwest.

The only Metro story is the nondupe on "cleaner" if not actually "clean" lobbying in Sacramento.
April 23, 1969, Metro

Art Seidenbaum writes about high school dress codes. I guess the page designers didn't worry about head bumps in those days. (That's running two headlines next to one another).
April 23, 1969, Mural

Check out the authentic 1960s hippie jibberish: "The Aquarian Age is, well the Next Coming, the Everlasting Age .. an acceleration of life in which eventual good shall prevail."
April 23, 1969, Paul Conrad

Above, Paul Conrad and at right, Frank Interlandi on black militants.
April 23, 1969, Interlandi

April 23, 1969, Peanuts

"Peanuts" briefly featured an African American character, Franklin.

April 23, 1969, Theater

April 23, 1969, Comics
April 23, 1969, Woman Jockey

Above left, "Elvira Mdigan" and "Goodbye, Columbus."  Englebert Humperdinck opens in Las Vegas and the Pussycat Theatre chain promises "a high level of excellence in adult entertainment." At left, not to belabor the point, but "The Flintstones" must be the unfunniest strip ever based on an animated cartoon. And check out "Dick Tracy."

April 23, 1969, Sports One of the key plays for the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals against the Lakers would come at the end of Game 4. With time running out and the Celtics trailing by a point, Sam Jones' desperation shot -- even he called it "very lucky" -- went in and the Celtics evened the series at 2-2 instead of going back to Los Angeles with the Lakers needing only one more victory to take the title.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Before the series started, The Times' Mal Florence talked to Wilt Chamberlain about the Celtics and why they had dominated the league. Boston had won 10 titles in the past 12 seasons. Chamberlain, Florence noted, was on his fourth team and had only one title.

"They are a very, very talented team and a very lucky team," Wilt said. "Remember, luck plays an important part in these games. ... Boston doesn't sweep all those playoff games it is in. A lot of them go right down to the final seconds of the seventh game.... When you lose or win by one or two points, there is a certain amount of luck involved."

Think the Celtics saw those quotes before the series started?


April 23, 1969, Lakers Don Drysdale lost again and was worried whether he had a future with the Dodgers.

"I can't get the arm up. Maybe something can be done with it, but right now it's very simple: I don't have it and I'm not throwing hard," he told The Times' John Wiebusch.

The previous season, Drysdale was one of baseball's biggest stories as he broke Walter Johnson's record for consecutive scoreless innings. He hurt his shoulder in August, rested but came into spring training optimistic.

Drysdale talked candidly about his doubts, including whether it was possible for a pitcher his age -- 32 --to bounce back from injury. "I'm going to do some soul searching in the next few hours and then I'm going to talk to Mr. O'Malley and to Al [Campanis]. I owe that much to this team, to Walt [Alston] and to the fans of Los Angeles."

The Giants won, 6-0, with a two-run home run off Drysdale by Bobby Bonds.

-- Keith Thursby

Found on EBay -- 1954 Thomas Bros. Guide

1954 Thomas Guide

This 1954 Thomas Bros. guide has been listed on EBay. Notice that it's the narrow format. Bidding starts at $5.99.

A 1953 Thomas Bros. guide has also been listed. Bidding starts at $14.99.

Matt Weinstock -- April 22, 1959

Talk Is Cheaper

Matt_weinstockdAt 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.


April 22, 1959, Cover 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."


University housing
Certainly worsens
If seven-foot beds
Are for 3 1/2 persons.


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.


April 22, 1959, Mirror Comics 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?"


April 22, 1959, Abby 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.

Paul Coates -- Confidential File, April 22, 1959

Confidential File

So Wyatt Outdrawed Him With a Potater

Paul_coatesStay 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.

April 22, 1959, Mirror Cover 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.

April 22, 1959, Editorial "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.

A Jewish Pioneer Who Helped Build L.A.

Frances Dinkelspiel
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" >>>

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