Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
I finally found a Times story in which the paper talked about people living in the Chavez Ravine area. Cordell Hicks' short story told of some local kids who tried to find a place in their neighborhood to play baseball.
Hicks wrote: "They were out in force yesterday with pick and shovel and a burro named Jenny Lind intent on clearing a portion of the site they hope will be a 40-acre youth recreation center promised by [Dodger owner Walter] O'Malley. 'We can't wait forever," they said."
Father Raymond Reha, director at Queen of Angels school, said the boys "have grown strong and quick climbing these hills and scrambling in and out of the arroyos. They could be the baseball players on tomorrow."
||I haven't noticed too many Batchelder figures on EBay, but here's one. (Yes, it's stamped "Batchelder Los Angeles" on the base). Bidding starts at $199.
Cagey Mr. Mikoyan
Now that Anastas Mikoyan has returned whence he came, a lady named Natasha Smith would like a few unkind words.
She was born and reared in Russia and barely escaped with her life during the revolution. She speaks and understands the language.
She watched TV interviews in which Mikoyan answered questions through an interpreter. She knew what he and the interpreter said. She found Mikoyan very sharp and admired his sense of humor.
She is certain, however, that Mikoyan understands some English and used the time taken to translate to figure out his answers, usually evasive or retaliatory.
The reason she is sure of this is that she caught him a couple of times answering questions before they had been fully asked.
ANOTHER REPORT on playfulness in Beverly Hills party giving comes from a publicist John Strauss.
A young man invited to a late gathering arrived with a new girlfriend around 9 p.m. and found the house dark. He rang again and again and finally a light went on and the man who invited him opened the door. He was in his pajamas and obviously had been awakened from a sound sleep.
The embarrassed caller timidly asked about the party.
"Is that tonight?" the host asked, yawning.
"I'm sorry," the caller said. "We'll come back another time."
"No, no," the host insisted, rubbing his eyes, "come in. It's all right. Glad to see you."
As they entered, the wife appeared in a nightgown and negligee and asked sleepily who it was. By this time the caller and his girlfriend wished they could fade into the woodwork.
Then the host broke out laughing, turned out the lights and let the couple watch as the same gag was worked on the other guests as they arrived.
LIFE GOES ON
Our parakeet spoke many a word
But he couldn't master "Scat!"
We rather miss the little bird,
But still, we have our cat.
- GUY MULLEN
ONLY IN Holmby Hills -- Pupils at Warner Avenue School were asked recently to bring canned goods for the less fortunate children in another section of the city, specifically meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. The notice alerting parents to the drive had the admonition, "Not needed -- hearts of artichoke, green turtle soup, pate de Foie gras, smoked oysters, etc."
QUOTE & UNQUOTE -- Nice line by S. J. Perelman in the New Yorker: "I rewarded him with a smile, negotiable at any frozen food locker" . . . Ray Southworth deplores radio news "in a nutshell." He says, "Personally I'd like less shell and more nut" . . . Martin Ragaway's thought for today: "We should live our lives in such a way that when the time comes we won't embarrass Ralph Edwards."
AN AWFUL LOT of people are brooding about TV commercials. Seymour Mandel is disquieted over the manually operated push-button toothpaste cans. Surely in this missile age, he says, scientists can do better than that. He has in mind a remote control gadget that would electronically press the push button from bed so the toothbrush would be loaded and ready to go when a person entered the bathroom.
AROUND TOWN -- It did not escape Frank R. L'Heureux or Pauline K. Aoki that Paul E. Wustrack, 40, sentenced to 90 days in jail for grand theft, lived on Shady Grove Street in Tujunga . . . A luxury motel in Ontario states in a brochure that its honeymoon suite is "discreetly secluded" and reservations are confidential . . . Over at the Division of Highways they're telling of a fellow who was stopped at 1st and Broadway by a policeman for crossing against the red light. He pointed to the words "Walk Wisely" stenciled on the pavement and explained his name was Wisely. I don't believe it either.
Smut Purveyor Reaps Harvest
In the smut business, the biggest losers are the customers.
They shell out something (more than 1 million dollars a year) for nothing.
But they're not the only ones who come out on the short end.
A couple of years ago, I printed a letter received by an 11-year-old boy here in town.
It was the typical pitch to peddle nude photos, written as a "personal" note.
It said, in part:
"Maybe it isn't proper for a girl to write to a strange man this way, but I hope you don't mind . . .
". . . I was talking to a girl friend the other day -- and she mentioned HER little business and how enjoyable it was just writing letters and sending photographs and films of herself to a few nice fellows . . .
"The photographs . . . are a lot different from what you've seen in the magazines. For my PERSONAL FRIENDS, you know.
"The films -- well, I've never modeled for movies before. On the first one I was so nervous the photographer said, 'Okay, just act like you were nervous' -- and it was real easy. He had me strip down from street clothes -- all the way . . ."
The kid's name possibly got on the trash peddler's mailing list by accident. Sucker lists -- or mailing lists -- are swapped freely among the quick artists, no matter what their product.
In that particular case, the boy's mother intercepted the letter before he had the chance to break open his piggy bank.
She forwarded it to me, with some steaming comments about what the postman can bring to her children.
Yesterday I talked with another woman -- a mother of two -- who found herself much more personally involved in the borderline pornography business.
Her name: Mrs. Therese Loomis. The wife of an actor, she's worked in summer stock, little theater, and legit modeling.
Last October, she took an assignment which called for modeling and recording.
The "recording" consisted of cutting a record in which she coos and bemoans the "lonely" life of a little girl in Hollywood, and invites the listener on a moonlight ride up Pacific Coast Highway.
(Typical dialogue: "I might even bite you on the ear if you're not careful" . . . "If you don't behave yourself I might have to jump in the back seat.")
Just Five-Buck Package
The photos, Mrs. Loomis told me, were straight pin-up stuff -- in nightgowns, bathing suits, shorts -- and the package went for five bucks to any mailing list chumps who answered a come-on letter similar to the one the boy received.
When I talked with Mrs. Loomis yesterday, she was a very upset young woman. A jury in Van Nuys court had branded her recording and the pitch letter to sell it as obscene."
Whatever it was, her modeling agency has dropped her, her neighborhood newspaper -- in reporting the story -- has labeled her as a member of a nationwide smut ring, and her own neighbors won't talk to her anymore.
The jury's verdict of guilty is being appealed, but no matter what the eventual outcome, Mrs. Loomis is a loser.
The $50 fee she earned for the job was used up the day she had to pay a bail bondsman to get out of jail.
The only ones who come out ahead in the business of titillating the flippy adult or the curious adolescent who gets on these lists are the smooth operators who rake in so many bucks that the few they put out in infrequent fines look like pennies to them.