Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
A strike at a Hollywood supermarket turns into a management lockout involving 1,000 grocery stores across Southern California that lasts for 28 days. The union negotiator charged that the lockout was aimed at crushing the clerks' union and forcing smaller markets out of business in favor of the "Big Dozen."
Rugged FishermanThe telephone rang at 3 a.m. Wednesday in the Venice home of Bill O'Connor. It was Pat Lister, Santa Monica harbor master, informing him that gale winds were whipping the bay and his boat was dragging its mooring.
O'Connor, 47, a former champion swimmer and lifeguard, is now a fisherman. He owns the 30-foot El Salvador.
He dressed and rushed out in the rain to his car only to find his headlights wouldn't work. He grabbed his little girl's bicycle and was off, aided by a strong tailwind. Within minutes he was at the end of the groaning pier.
Still clothed, without hesitation, he jumped into Santa Monica Bay and headed for his boat, pitching in heavy seas 200 yards away. The next time Lister saw him was in the eerie glow of a flashlight on deck.
O'CONNOR SET a stern anchor, reinforcing his mooring lines, put stronger lashings on the deck gear, then too another header into the bay.
As he climbed up the ladder to the dock, a $10,000 catamaran broke loose from its mooring and swept toward the beach. O'Connor and Chad Merrill, assistant harbor master, jumped onto its deck, threw lines to the dock, and swam back to the pier.
After a look around to see that everything else was secure, O'Connor got back on the bike and headed home. Wonder how things are these days with Ernest Hemingway?
THE STRONG WINDS also awakened an advertising executive who suddenly remembered a newly planted 8-foot tree and rushed outside to the rescue.
On reaching up to brace the tree against the wind his pajama pants dropped around his ankles. When he reached down to retrieve them the tree swayed dangerously in the gale. This happened over and over, like in an old Laurel and Hardy movie, and his wife, who watched through the living room window, is still laughing.
Never a letter from a friend or foe,
They're either ads or bills I owe.
- RALPH FREEMAN
REMEMBERED quotes from the lavish Sports Illustrated dinner acclaiming UCLA's Rafer Johnson:
Art Linkletter introduced a celebrity as having "a greater rating than if Brigitte Bardot played 'Lolita' on TV." He also referred to Henry Luce as "the Vic Tanny of the publishing world."
An apt line by Luce: "The test of a high civilization is the pursuit of excellence -- that's why we honor Rafer."
Romain Gary: "I saw Mr. Luce play golf a few days ago in Phoenix. If I were the owner of Time, Life, Fortune and Sports Illustrated I'd hire someone to play for me."
NEW YEARS 33 years ago -- Jan. 1, 1929 -- a young ensign named Edward V. Dockweiler drew the midwatch (midnight to 4 a.m.) aboard the USS Idaho, anchored off San Pedro. This was before the present nine-mile breakwater was completed.
An unwritten rule required that midwatch entries in the log be in rhyme and Dockweiler wrote, "We are anchored in Pedro Harbor, though there isn't much of a fee, and why they call it a harbor, is something I never could see."
Imagine the surprise of Bernard J. Caughlin, general manager of L.A. Harbor, to read this in the January 1959 issue of U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, which reprinted it. Dockweiler, a retired admiral, is the Harbor's chief engineer. Caughlin is his boss.
MISCELLANY -- Conductor Fritz Reiner's appearance with the Philharmonic orchestra reminded Orlando Northcutt of the time Reiner conducted at Hollywood Bowl. During rehearsal, the orchestra had difficulty mastering tricky passages of a new symphony and after a hectic session Reiner invited them to a beer bust, and unheard of gesture. But it relaxed everyone . . . A group of La Mirada residents have hastily joined forces to oppose incorporation of their community to be voted on Tuesday. They claim Gardena gambling interests are behind the proposal . . . Sign on a market in the 8300 block of Wes 3rd Street: "Tomorrow's fish today."
'Madame Guillotine,' Alias Pierre Coates
As a combined result of personal preference and the common sense economics of knowing what side my bread is buttered on, I have a paid-up subscription to this newspaper.
And I recall reading in its pages, many months ago, a series of articles titled "Why Johnny Can't Read."
At the time I thought this scathing indictment of laxity in our educational system would produce favorable results.
But it hasn't. At least, not where I live.
There's a teenage daughter in our household. And don't ask me what I've gone through to see that this kid got the best of everything. I wanted her to have the chance in life that I never had -- to go to Sarah Lawrence and come out engaged to a Yale boy.
The way she's going, however, she'll be lucky to nail a subsidized SC football player.
When I came home last night she was sitting at the kitchen table and staring mournfully at the blank pages of a loose-leaf notebook. "Whatsa'matter with her?" I demanded of my wife.
"She's got to do an essay on the French Revolution for her homework. And she needs your help. She doesn't know enough about it."
I spun around angrily and faced the child. "Why do you wait until you get home to do your homework?" I shouted.
"Daddy," she replied, "I wanted to wait until you were here. There are some things I don't know about the French Revolution."
"There are some things a lot of people don't know about the French Revolution," I said mysteriously. Then, pacing up and down irritably, I challenged: "Go ahead. Ask me."
"Well," she asked, "like what caused the French Revolution?"
"Politics," I said.
"And who was Robespierre?"
"Yes," I nodded sagely, "He was one of them."
I rubbed my chin thoughtfully and continued: "The major engagement of the French Revolution was known as the Battle of Concord."
"Concord? That's in America," she said.
"France," I snapped.
"But, Daddy," she pleaded, "wasn't the Battle of Concord in the American Revolution?"
I shot her a glance that would wither a lesser child. "My dear," I said coldly, "let me answer a question with a question. What is France's leading product?"
"Wine," she said.
"Very good," I commended in a tone that oozed sarcasm. "Now then, if you please, from what is wine made?"
"Grapes," she replied.
"Excellent. And," I hooted triumphantly, "I suppose you never heard of Concord grapes!"
That victory won, I warmed up to the subject. "Make notes while I talk," I commanded. And, pacing furiously, I went on:
"The mother of the French Revolution was an old lady named Madame Chere who was known affectionately to the unwashed hordes as 'Ma Chere.' She used to sit in the bleachers at the guillotine and knit while they were knocking off the Royalists.
That Same Old Revolution
"It was in this same revolution that Marie Antoinette, upon being advised that the peasants were storming the palace courtyard made the now historic remark: 'If they don't like it here, let them go back where they came from.'"
After giving her a few basic facts, I dismissed her with a gentle reminder that while I was glad to help her, I wouldn't be here forever, and she must learn to think for herself.
Obviously, she'll get a good grade on her essay. And she's informed now about the French Revolution. But you can't thank our school system for that. If you want to thank anybody, thank me.
Los Angeles Times file photo
Our mystery woman has more than 150 credits on IMDb. Update: She is Blanche Sweet, whose career spanned 1909 to 1960. In this undated photo, she is returning to the U.S. on the ship Pennsylvania.
Los Angeles Times file photo
Blanche Sweet in a photo for the 1926 film "Diplomacy," when movie publicity consisted of having someone drive across the country carrying the film cans. One of the men in the photo is director Marshall Neilan, Sweet's husband at the time (I believe he's the gent on the right). The other fellow is, alas, unidentified. Clifford Street, as seen in the photo, intersects with Glendale Boulevard north of downtown.
The ABA and LA should have been a good fit. The game was wide open, with lots of dunks and three-pointers. The team even had a perfect name for the town--the Stars. Definitely a better match than the previous season when the franchise was called the Anaheim Amigos.
But things were not going well at the Sports Arena. According to The Times' John Hall, "The entire scene gave me the feeling I'd just stumbled into the midst of a sinister secret society."
Attendance was dismal, with counts under 1,000 in three of the last four home games. The franchise had started cutting back, taking the team off the radio and dropping halftime shows and the team band.
Later in January, The Times' Dan Hafner was more optimistic after a season-high crowd came out on a night "when radio stations periodically were telling people to stay home because of adverse weather."
The record crowd was all of 4,003. By the 1970-71 season, the Stars had moved on to Salt Lake City.