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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: July 5, 2009 - July 11, 2009

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Movie Star Mystery Photo

 

 July 6, 2009, Mystery Photo
 Los Angeles Times file photo

Noreen Nash in "The Red Stallion," 1947. 

July 10, 2009, Mystery Star
Los Angeles Times file photo

Noreen Nash, Dec. 27, 1957


Update: This is actress and author Noreen Nash. Please congratulate Sue Willahan for identifying her. (Sue explains that her mother went to school with Nash).

Just a reminder on how this works: I post the mystery photo on Monday and reveal the answer on Friday ... or on Saturday if I have a hard time picking only five pictures -- sometimes it's difficult to choose. To keep the mystery photo from getting lost in the other entries, I move it from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday, etc., adding a photo every day.

I have to approve all comments, so if your guess is posted immediately, that means you're wrong. (And if a wrong guess has already been submitted by someone else, there's no point in submitting it again.) If you're right, you will have to wait until Friday. There's no need to submit your guess five times. Once is enough. The only prize is bragging rights. 

The answer to last week's mystery star: John Loder!
March 4, 1957, Noreen Nash


 
 
July 7, 2009, Mystery Photo
Los Angeles Times file photo

Update: Noreen Nash, June 22, 1955. 

Here's another picture of our mystery gal!

July 8, 2009, Mystery Photo
Los Angeles Times file photo

Update: Noreen Nash and William Bendix in "The Life of Riley," Aug. 8, 1959. "Riley is surprised when 'Pat Davidson' turns out to be a beautiful girl and worries about how to break the news to his wife that 'Pat" will ride in his carpool."

So far I seem to have stumped everybody. I never know how hard the mystery guests are going to be until I post them. Today, she has a mystery companion!

July 9, 2009, Mystery Photo
Los Angeles Times file photo

Update: Robert Evans, Lynne Frederick Sellers, left, novelist Noreen Nash Siegel and her husband, Dr. Lee Siegel, staff physician at 20th Century Fox, Nov. 9, 1980.

Here's our mystery woman with a couple of mystery guests. I can't believe I have stumped everybody but evidently I have. I never know how difficult the mystery photos are going to be until I post them.

July 10, 2009, Mystery Star
Los Angeles Times file photo

Noreen Nash in "Lineup," Nov. 23, 1956.

Body of Missing Woman Found in Car Trunk; Dodgers Win in 13th Inning

July 10, 1959, Times Cover

July 10, 1959: A heatwave sears Southern California as a fire threatens homes in the Linda Vista neighborhood of Pasadena.

July 10, 1959, Killing

More attacks are feared in Vietnam after a bombing kills two American advisors.
An Inglewood police officer putting a ticket on a car that hadn't been moved for two days discovers the partially clothed body of a missing Fresno woman in the trunk. On the front seat is a sweater and a pair of Capri pants, a front tooth and blood.

The victim is identified as Mary Jean Prestridge, 26, the wife of a truck driver and the mother of two children.

Police are looking for a young man seen with Prestridge in Fresno shortly before she vanished. 

Caryl Chessman plans a new legal battle against his death sentence. The court reporter in Chessman's original trial died during the proceedings and court reporters said his notes were illegible. When a reporter was finally found who could transcribe the notes, Chessman discovered that he was an uncle of the prosecutor's wife. Chessman has been in prison since 1948.


July 10, 1959, Sports The Dodgers' games against the Milwaukee Braves are fascinating to study since the teams finished the regular season tied and faced each other in a playoff to decide the 1959 National League champion.

In a typically close game, the Dodgers edged the Braves, 4-3, in 13 innings. The Dodgers moved into second place with the victory, wedged between the first-place Giants and the third-place Braves.

What stood out was how pitching has changed. Milwaukee's Warren Spahn took the loss after pitching 5 2/3 innings in relief of starter Joey Jay.

Spahn was still a top pitcher. He would win 21 games in 1959, the fourth of six consecutive seasons with at least 20 wins. What was he doing coming out of the bullpen?

The Dodgers' relief staff was similarly quiet. Roger Craig was the winning pitcher and he really earned it, pitching the final 11 innings. There's a reference in the story to how few pitches Craig threw, but 11 innings is a lot under any circumstance. Wonder how many pitchers the Dodgers and Braves would use in a similar game today.

And this wasn't a rare case. The next afternoon, Don Drysdale came out of the bullpen to pitch the Dodgers past the Braves in the final game of the series. Drysdale had pitched two scoreless innings the night before, but the game was rained out in the third inning. He was scheduled to pitch the first game of the next series in Cincinnati but was called in when Sandy Koufax struggled. There was no one else? Drysdale pitched six innings.

It's impossible to imagine a current manager juggling such a star pitcher.


-- Keith Thursby

Nuestro Pueblo: Long Beach



  July 10, 1939, Nuestro Pueblo

July 10, 1939: Joe Seewerker and Charles Owens go down to Long Beach and visit Shorty Orr.

Black Man Survives Lynching



 July 10, 1899, Trilby


July 10, 1899: Dick "Trilby" Williams, an African American charged with killing two white men, survives being lynched because the marshal of Alma, Kan., cut him down after six minutes. Although this story says Williams wasn't expected to live, a story three days later reported that Williams' neck had not been broken and he was likely to survive. The Times never reported anything further on whether he was tried.

Bullets Fly When Men Try to Kill Mule



  July 10, 1889, Mule Incident


July 10, 1889: Two men trying to shoot a sick mule nearly kill a neighbor. The mule had glanders, an incurable disease passed in public watering troughs, so they shot it five times. One of the bullets almost hit Mrs. Maria Ybarra.

Cooking With the Junior League, 1979


Mary McCoy on Canning
Bread and Butter pickles
In the latest post on Cooking With the Junior League, Mary McCoy visits 1979 cuisine with the Junior League of Tuscaloosa’s "Winning Seasons."

Mary says: "Canning is really, really fun, and makes you feel like some kind of 21st-century Rosie the Riveter."

Read more >>>

Found on EBay -- Bullock's Wilshire


Bullocks Menu Ebay

This children's menu from Bullock's Wilshire has been listed on EBay. Bidding starts at $7.99.

Matt Weinstock, July 9, 1959



1959_0709_peanuts

Way, Way Out


Matt Weinstock The Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America have been sending me daily notices concerning their convention here this weekend and, although I am open-minded on flying saucers, I simply don't know how to handle thisoverwhelming situation. As the boys say, it bugs me.

One featured speaker, a press release states, will be Kelvin Rowe of San Jacinto, "who reportedly has flown into outer space more than 350 times." The release blandly adds, "Rowe's contacts have been primarily with people from Jupiter and Pluto." Just like that.

Another will be Daniel W. Fry of West Covina, "who in 1950 rode in a spaceship from another world from White Sands Proving Grounds, N.M. to New York City and back in half an hour."

July 9, 1959, Watts Towers Another will be Hope Troxel, Altadena interior decorator, "who has enjoyed many remarkable incidents involving extraterrestrial life."

ANOTHER WILL BE Reinhold Schmidt, Bakersfield grain buyer, "who on Aug. 14, 1958, flew from the Mojave Desert to the Arctic Circle and under the ice pack in a spaceship from the planet Saturn." Schmidt's experiences, which required a whole page for the telling, continue: "On Nov. 5, 1957, he was contacted by aSaturnian spaceship and invited aboard by its crew of four men and two women outside Kearney, Neb. Schmidt has since had many contacts with his friends from outer space."

 Many aviation and military authorities are quoted as expressing belief that there's something up there all right, doubtless from outer space. Of a sighting in Rome, Clare Boothe Luce said, "I did see an object. I don't know what it was."

The AFSCA also raises some interesting questions, including the following: Was the star of Bethlehem a spaceship? Did Moses receive the Ten Commandments from outer space? Was the Red Sea parted by extraterrestrial technology? Are there more than nine planets in our solar system?

July 9, 1959, Freeways Honest, fellows, I don't know. Somewhere along the line I seem to have lost my childlike credulity.

::

LET US LOOK IN on an exciting drama of conflict and emotion in a suburb and hope we don't disturb it.

There's a campaign in this town to cut down trees for one reason or another, mostly beauty of what is called progress. A certain woman announced she was going to take out a crooked fig tree at the side of her house. She feared it would crack the sidewalk. Not only that, it looked dead.

Suddenly, the tree has busted loose with leaves and small figs. She can't understand it. A neighbor can. A tree lover, she has been secretly watering it at night.

::

 AFTER MANY years of drinking as he pleased, a movie studio worker recently saw the light. His doctor held the lamp for him. Stop or drop, he warned. Dead, he meant.

Four days after he quit the liquor store he'd patronized for 14 years had a sign in the window, "Going Out of Business."

The poor guy now has a guilt complex. He is brooding about the possibility that he may have undermined the economic foundation of an Inglewood shopping center.

::

 July 9, 1959, Abby HARDEST KIND
The most difficult work that
    I have to go through,
Is trying to look busy when
    I've nothing to do.
    --RALPH FREEMAN

::

A CABDRIVER named Dick Vasquez tells of the time he picked up a passenger who had misplaced his car while busy relaxing and suggested they cruise around looking for it.

They went up one street and down the next but it was nowhere in sight. As the cabby turned a corner the passenger said irritably, "We've been on this street before. Gosh, you're dumb!"

"Yes, sir," Dick said, "but my cab's not lost, is it?"


Paul V. Coates -- Confidential File, July 9, 1959



 1959_0705_cockrum

July 5, 1959: Ira Cockrum is arrested in the death of his grandson.


Confidential File

About a Grandpa Who Killed



Paul CoatesMichael Gary Cockrum, a stocky little kid with blond hair and desert-brown skin, was buried yesterday.

After 14 years of being alive, he was laid to rest in Lancaster Community Cemetery. And all the family was there to pay final respects.

All except his Grandpa Ira, who blasted Michael to eternity with his shotgun last Friday.

Grandpa Ira's in jail.

You probably read in the papers over the week end how deputies picked him up and booked him for murder of Mike and for injuring Mike's brother, George Jr., 10, in a family feud over a $12 electric iron.

I read it, too, but somehow, I forgot about it until I got a call yesterday from the dead boy's father. George Cockrum Sr. phoned me shortly after he, his wife and his three other sons, Georgie Jr., Charles, 9, and Dennis, 4, had left the cemetery.

"About my father killing my son that way," the 44-year-old hod carrier told me, "I'd kind of like to straighten out some of the things that was said."

July 9, 1959, Cover The reports in the papers said that Cockrum, who arrived at the scene minutes after the tragedy, was restrained from attacking his father with a baseball bat.

"What happened," he explained, "was that I did pick up that baseball bat. And I was walking at my papa. But nobody got in my way.

"By myself, I dropped it.

"I knew, before I reached him, that if I hit him, God would punish me."

Cockrum told me that his father was a big, strong man for his 64 years.

'Pa Had a Bad Temper'

"He drank and he had a bad temper," he said. "Pa always had a bad temper. When I was a kid, he used to beat on my mother something awful.

"But he was an awful hard worker, and he paid the bills. My father would be good sometimes. He could be real good, too."

Then George Cockrum talked about his dead son.

July 9, 1959, Vietnam "Michael was a good boy. He wasn't a tall boy. He was stocky, but there was no fat on him.

"Strange," Cockrum recalled, "but my father always did kindly favor Michael. In fact, Michael had been helping him work on his house until just lately, when Michael told me he'd rather not go over there no more. Grandpa was cussing at him too much, he said.

"I told the boy that if he didn't want to, he didn't have to.

"My papa's been worse lately," the dead boy's father continued. "His father -- my grandpa -- died two or three years ago. He grieved over that. Then, two months ago, my mother died. That hit him. Extra hard, I guess, 'cause of the way he treated her.

"It got so he wouldn't listen to any of us. He told me just last month, 'Georgie, if you don't watch out, something's going to happen. It's going to happen to one of your loved ones.'

'I Hope He Finds God'

"I said, 'Papa, you're sick. I'm going to take you to a doctor.' Last week I got an appointment for him. For the 10th of this month. I just got it too late."

July 9, 1959, Accordion Cockrom cleared his throat.

"If anybody was to ask me how I feel about my father, I'd have to say that I feel sorry for him. I hope and pray that he gets down on his knees and finds God. I hope God helps him, because I know he's a sick man.

"I love my father. I loved my boy. He thought a lot of that boy, too.

"Tomorrow," George Cockrum told me, "they'll be bringing him back here to Lancaster for his trial. I haven't seen him, but I hear he's been asking for cigarettes. I'm taking him a few, I guess.

"But what I don't know," he added, "I just don't know why he done me this way."



A Kinder, Simpler Time Dept.: Your Movies



July 9, 1932, Movies  

July 9, 1932: Constance Bennett stars in "What Price Hollywood."  Don't you just love this lettering?

Dodgers Back in First Place



July 9, 1969, Sports A memorable night for the Dodgers and Manny Mota.

The Dodgers climbed back into first place in the National League West by sweeping the Atlanta Braves in a Dodger Stadium doubleheader, 5-3 and 4-3. Mota led the way with four hits in each game.

He won the nightcap for the Dodgers with a bases-loaded single that went over the head of Atlanta's right fielder, none other than Henry Aaron.

"It is the greatest thrill of my life," Mota told The Times' John Wiebusch. "A Dodger I always want to be and now I am one and we are in first place. I want to play on a champion."

--Keith Thursby

Executive's Killing Reveals Double Life





View Larger Map

Seco Street, Pasadena, in the vicinity of the killing, via Google maps' street view.


Jan 30, 1948, George T. Judd George T. Judd lived a model life as far as anyone could tell. He was a respected financial executive, and he and his wife, Margaret, were often listed in The Times' society columns. Judd belonged to the Kiwanis, was active in the Republican Party, supported the Pasadena Playhouse and attended All Saints Episcopal Church. He and his wife raised a son and a daughter in a home on Lagunita Road in an upscale Pasadena neighborhood. 

When he was killed in 1948 at the age of 55, Judd was vice president of West Coast Bond and Mortgage Co. and living alone at 840 Seco Street, a new, 2,200-square-foot home near the Rose Bowl. His wife, Margaret, had died in 1945 and another life, one he had been leading all along in great secrecy, took over.

We don't know for sure that Judd was gay, although it would explain what happened to him. The Times never addressed the question directly, but left the strong implication that he was. One story said he "had no particular women friends" since his wife's death and quoted Pasadena homicide Detective Lt. Cecil H. Burlingame as saying: "We are not looking for a woman in the case."

What we do know is that Judd had a history of being beaten and robbed by men he picked up hitchhiking or in bars, and eventually one of them killed him.

The first incident reported in The Times occurred in San Francisco 20 years earlier. As he recovered at University of California Hospital, Judd told police he picked up a stranger who offered him a "headache tablet." The pill made him sick and the stranger beat him and took his car, which police recovered outside the city. In reporting the attack, The Times noted that Judd had gone to a Mill Valley ranch the previous summer after resigning from his job at a Pasadena bank due to health problems.

Feb. 1, 1948, Judd

Nothing appeared in the paper for two decades, but homicide detectives learned that he had been beaten by two hitchhikers about 1936 during a trip to San Francisco.

The beatings and robberies became more frequent in the year before his death. On Aug. 30, 1947, Judd met two men in a bar and had them drive him home. He told police that one of the men, named Tex, threatened him with a knife and when he ran for help, the men stole his car, which police found wrecked. He also told police he suspected the men of burglarizing his house.

Although he never reported anything to authorities, friends told homicide investigators that in the six months before he was killed, Judd had been beaten and robbed several times, with his attackers usually taking his wristwatch.  

Two days before his death, Judd contacted a neighbor who was a building contractor to see about getting a shower head replaced. He explained that he let three men spend the night at his house and one of them had broken the fixture.

His daughter found him Jan. 29, 1948. She came over in the morning, looked through a window, saw him in bed and assumed he was sleeping. She returned in the afternoon, went in and found him dead. She contacted one of her father's business associates, who called the police.  

Nov. 19, 1948, Bentley 1948_1119_bentley Although Judd was strangled and stabbed in the neck, and a bloody fork and a carving knife had been left in the kitchen sink, the daughter assumed Judd died of natural causes, "pulled a sheet over her father's body and 'tidied up a bit' while waiting for the doctor," The Times said.   
Homicide investigators soon focused on the gritty bars around Hill and 3rd streets in downtown Los Angeles because Judd "often visited resorts below his social status," The Times said.

Judd's home was thoroughly checked for fingerprints that might have survived his daughter's cleaning and his friends were fingerprinted to eliminate their prints from the killer's.

In October 1948, police arrested a suspect at 6th and Hill streets: a 19-year-old drifter from Yakima, Wash., named Edgar Eugene Bentley. An off-duty detective recognized Bentley from a photo released by Pasadena police based on leads from the downtown bars Judd patronized. A crime scene investigator matched Bentley to fingerprints found on the refrigerator in Judd's home and on a bottle of soda water.

According to police, Bentley said: "I met Mr. Judd at the tavern and we went to his home at 840 Seco Drive, Pasadena. We had several drinks. Mr. Judd made a sudden lunge at my throat -- and from then on I can't remember.... I sort of blacked out."

Bentley also told police: "I must have done it -- there was nobody else there but me ..."

Under questioning, Bentley said he hitchhiked out of Los Angeles the next day. He pawned Judd's wristwatch in New Orleans, then sold the ticket for $5. Within a few days, police traced the watch to a shop whose owner "forgot" to report it.

On Jan. 14, 1949, Bentley pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to five years to life at San Quentin. In 1958, he and two companions escaped from a remote prison honor camp at High Rock in Humboldt County. The men held up a bar in Redding, Calif., took $250 and forced 11 people into a washroom. Bentley was captured during a police chase after the men ran a Highway Patrol roadblock in a stolen 1956 Mercury.

In 1969, Bentley escaped from the Miramonte Conservation Camp, a minimum security facility east of Fresno, and was captured several hours later. Washington death records list an Edgar E. Bentley who died July 11, 1995, at the age of 65.

Judd was survived by his children, mother, sister and half brother. He was cremated at Mountain View Mausoleum in Altadena after funeral services at All Saints.

Note: Thanks to Dick Morris for help in research with this post.

  


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