The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: June 14, 2009 - June 20, 2009

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Council Debates Cow Ordinance

June 18, 1889, Cow Ordinance

June 18, 1889: The City Council debates measures on keeping cows and chickens in downtown Los Angeles. 

Found on EBay -- Hobart Bosworth

Hobart Bosworth EBay
What is billed as a period photo of early movie actor Hobart Bosworth has been listed on EBay. Bosworth appeared in early Selig Polyscope movies and left several accounts of his early days in films. Bidding starts at $9.99.

Matt Weinstock, June 17, 1959

Galloping Inflation

Matt Weinstock As all armchair horse players know, bookmakers don't pay track odds. They limit payoffs to $60 for win, $24 for place and $12 for show on a $2 bet. Of course, this takes care of most wagers, but with hardenedhorse players it isn't the principle, it's the money.

Now some bookies have cut the prices in half, paying $30, $12 and $6 on a $2 bet and there's a roar of disapproval from the players. They point out the bookies' average net is 20% of the handle -- that's $200 of every $1,000. They could pay track odds, the players contend, and still make a substantial profit.

BOOKIES who have cut the odds say it isn't so. They point out in rebuttal that accepting bets on horses is fraught with peril. They say protection costs are mounting and worse, protection is spotty and unreliable. In short, there's always the risk of aknockover, which means attorney fees, bail bonds and perhaps going to jail.

June 17, 1959, Robbery The players scoff at this and there's talk of organizing the Amalgamated Assn. for the Protection of Horseplayers.

Now please pretend you didn't read the above. There aren't supposed to be any bookies.


EVERYONE presumably has squirmed in the throes of the familiar, frustrating dreams. There's the one in which you fall endlessly into space. Another in which you are being stalked relentlessly through an abandoned warehouse by a mad killer. Another in which a fierce dragon is chasing you, snapping at your heels as you run and you are at the point of exhaustion.

Well, a lady dreamer confides that she awoke in a cold sweat the other night, quivering from what she now, having calmed down, calls her "inflation dream."

In it she was rushing to the bank to deposit some money so several emergency checks she'd written wouldn't bounce. Her mad race was delayed first by the tie-up on the freeway, then by a detour because of a street excavation, then an accident which held up traffic.

Finally she arrived at the bank to find it closed. Seeing people inside she pounded on the door but they ignored her. She pounded and pounded, frantically, then woke up.



Though times are improving, the lot of the girl
In the office is hardly a cinch.
For her boss is becoming more playful, the churl,
And she is still feeling the pinch.



JUST INSIDE the wire fence at the northeast corner of 2nd and Hill Streets where the new State Building is under construction, a huge tomato plant grows, apparently seeded from a discarded portion of a workman's lunch. It gets no care, no water, has no blight or worms and looks as if it will soon have a big crop.

What nettles Bruce Hooker as he passes it every day is that he recently spend more than $10 on poison, dusting powder and sprays for the aphids, snails, grasshoppers and other bugs which infest his weak-willed plants. But life is like that.

CLASSIFIED AD in the employees' publication, Lockheed Star: "Cute Kittens, white and tricolor, to good homes for lite mousekeeping" ... Most effective highway sign Mrs. Richard Lujan knows is the one as you leave Ensenada, in Spanish: "Drive carefully. We can wait. Vasquez Mortuary."


MISCELLANY -- Man with the letters MTA on his license plate can hardly wait to get it changed. People glare angrily at him, apparently thinking he's an MTA official ... All his life John Grover has been curious about the phrase "ice cream pants." Now he knows. The ice cream cone he was carrying to his daughter, 9, at Disneyland, dropped all over them ... By the way, if you want to start an argument, inquire why "pants" is/are plural. After all, there's only one of them. On the other hand, it/they has/have two legs.

Paul V. Coates -- Confidential File, June 17, 1959

June 17, 1959, Superman

Confidential File

Orval Faubus Adds to the Ad Absurdum

Paul CoatesI know I'll hate myself in the morning. But right now, I can't resist the temptation to confess that I really admire Gov. Orval Faubus.

Can't help it. I just do.

You've just got to like a lad who pulled himself up by his own meager bootstraps. In a way, he's actually an inspiration for all of us.

He's irrefutable proof that there's still a chance in this world for everybody. If he could make it to the top, any of us can.

Old Orval wasn't one of them "privileged" people. He's just a boy from back in the piney woods of Arkansas. Never had a silver spoon in his mouth or a humane thought in his head.

But he made it clear to the Arkansas executive mansion. And he did it by dint of sheer, blinding ignorance.

June 17, 1959, Superman Now he's a famous man. His name is known around the world. He's interpreted, inaccurately, but widely, as a typical example of American thinking.

His vicious spouting has made him secretly loved by Communists everywhere.

And the other day he outdid himself.

In a speech down there in Dixie he announced that if desegregation goes through in the United States the best thing that could happen to us would be for the Russians to drop an H-bomb on our country.

And, if that don't rate ole' Orvie a party card, I'd like to know what does.


On the other side of the ledger, there's the case of P.D. East.

You remember him.

Last April, I chronicled his troubles as editor of a struggling Mississippi weekly newspaper.

Unquestionably, the troubles were his own making. he questioned the stylishness of bed sheets worn over the head.

It was five years ago when, stricken by pangs of principle, editor East made the printed observation that his fellow townsfolk were becoming overly emotional on certain race issues.

In face of their insults, threats and boycotts, he continued to hammer away at their bigotry until his local circulation plummeted from 2,300 to zero.

Today, through out-of-state circulation, he's managed to build it up again to a degree.

He's also built a reputation among the people who don't hate him as a courageous one-man army in the battle for common sense.

Although he lives surrounded by the sheets of the Ku Klux Klan, he's kept up a running attack on the callous indecency and insanity of race hatred.

He's done it without venom, but with the sharper weapon of satire.

An example is the "ad" on the front page of East's latest edition:


"Since it's the policy of this paper to provide service, once again we have  a special offer to make.

"Don't suffer from the summer heat using your regular uniform of a muslin bed sheet.

"Be modern! Inquire about our complete stock of cotton eyelet embroidery designed especially for summer wear in Mississippi.

"Klanettes may enlarge the holes for arms, but your heads will fit nicely through the eyelets as they are. Keep cool this summer on your night rides of mercy...

"Address all order to: Big Brother, Degradation, Miss, Don't wait! This is election year and a ride may be necessary any night now."

Put East, the struggling country editor, and Faubus, the successful politician, side by side -- and tell me, if you will, how such things happen.

A Kinder, Simpler Time: Your Rights

June 18, 1953, Spy

June 18, 1953: Irwin Edelman, Pershing Square orator, is enmeshed in the Rosenberg case. He was convicted in 1949 as a "vagrant dissolute person" in a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1953, he sought refuge in the Biltmore coffee shop after a mob of several hundred people chased him out of Pershing Square. He provoked the crowd by saying: "If you are happy about the execution of the Rosenbergs, you are rotten to the core."

June 18, 1953, Spy

A Kinder, Simpler Time Dept: Your Transportation

June 17, 1950, Transit Strike

June 17, 1950:  Downtown is jammed with cars after transit workers go on strike. The good news? The new Hyperion sewage treatment plant allows Venice Beach to reopen after being quarantined since 1943.

Second Takes -- Samuel Goldwyn

June 17, 1959, Samuel Goldwyn

June 17, 1959: Jack Smith's series on Samuel Goldwyn continues.

June 17, 1959, Samuel Goldwyn

"[Robert] Sherwood and I were watching the first cut of the picture," Goldwyn says of "The Best Years of Our Lives." "It was very rough. Sherwood turned to me and sad, 'You know, this moves me.' I said, 'It moves me, too.' But we didn't know it was going to be the great picture it was."

Above, one of the great scenes in "Best Years," which tells the story primarily through Gregg Toland's photography and Hugh Friedhofer's music in long stretches without dialogue. One of my favorite lines: "You're the junk man. You get everything sooner or later."

Religion and War; Dodgers' Attendance Declines

June 17, 1969, Faith and War

"You pray that you get back alive and in one piece," says Spec. 5 Michael G. Johnson of Miami.
June 17, 1969, Faith and War

The Times didn't run any photos with Harry Trimborn's nondupe from Saigon about religious faith among the military in Vietnam.  All we have are the words:

"When a man is wounded he is really receptive to religion. But I don't know that their faith is really that much stronger. I think it just gets a little bit more of a workout in times of crisis," says Protestant Chaplain Maj. Richard M. Hochstedler.

I asked a couple of retired LATers what became of Trimborn, but nobody seems to know.

June 17, 1969, Dodgers Walter O'Malley turned a lackluster game into an economics lesson.

The Dodger owner watched his team lose to the expansion Padres, 3-2, and he didn't have much company. The 11,588 was the smallest crowd at Dodger Stadium that season and O'Malley saw it as a sign of baseball's deeper problems.

"It is possible we have diluted the market to the saturation point," O'Malley told The Times' John Wiebusch.

"The fan only has a limited amount of money to spend and we're not going to fool him by giving him a product that is below the standards it was before. It is flooding the market too. Putting Oakland with San Francisco and putting San Diego and the Angels with us. It's a headache right now for all of us."

The Dodgers' attendance was down 79,040 from the previous season. Things were worse in San Diego and Anaheim, where a lousy team and low attendance made Angel officials wonder if pro sports could survive in Orange County.

--Keith Thursby

Star of Hit TV Show Kills Himself!

June 17, 1959, Superman Commits Suicide

George Reeves, star of "Superman," one of the most popular shows on TV, kills himself with a 9-millimeter Luger and The Times runs the story inside. I wonder what the editors were thinking.

Present at the time were Reeves' fiancee, Lenore Lemmon, writer Robert Condon, who was doing a story about Reeves' upcoming exhibition match with boxer Archie Moore, neighbor Carol Van Ronkel and her companion William Bliss. 

June 17, 1959, Superman Commits Suicide

Reeves was furious that Bliss and Van Ronkel arrived about 1 a.m. and said he was in no mood for a party.

He threatened to throw Bliss out of the house, then apologized and went to his bedroom.

"He's going upstairs to shoot himself," Lemmon told the visitors. "See, he's opening the drawer to get the gun." And after the shot was fired, "See there, I told you; he's just shot himself."

View Larger Map

The "Man of Steel" lived at 1579 Benedict Canyon Drive.
Above, the neighborhood as shown via Google maps' street view.

Elderly Woman Fights Officer

June 17, 1899, Brawl  

June 17, 1899: Officer Shand attempts to arrest Magdalena Schultz and after a terrible fight, subdues her with help from Deputy Johnston.

Man Tries to Kill Woman Who Rejected Him

June 17, 1889, Assult

June 17, 1889: Charley Harper is accused of trying to kill Mrs. Brown because she wouldn't live with him.

Found on EBay -- Los Angeles Examiner

Los Angeles Examiner, July 2, 1945, War Extra

Los Angeles Examiner, July 2, 1945
A July 2, 1945, issue of the Los Angeles Examiner has been listed on EBay. Notice that it's a war extra, presumably intended for street sales. This is not the edition people would have received at home.

It's impossible to tell from the vendor's photo whether the "crime box" is on the front page. In the late 1940s, the Examiner published a daily list of crimes in Los Angeles and by 1947, when Elizabeth Short was killed, the box was fixed on Page 1. Earlier in the 1940s, however, the "crime box" had no fixed page and often ran inside.

Bidding starts at $9.99.

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