The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: February 22, 2009 - February 28, 2009

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Found on EBay -- 1900s Oilfield


This stereo view of an oilfield near Los Angeles has been listed on EBay. Bidding starts at $4.99.

Matt Weinstock -- February 24, 1959

Wages and Ages

Matt_weinstockd From out of the desert, where the lizards and the chuckwalla roam, comes a discouraging word from my sagebrush podner, Harry Oliver.

The serenity which Harry enjoys at his adobe fort at Thousand Palms; where he publishes his quarterly Desert Rat Scrapbook, has been disturbed by the revenuers.

Harry, 71, has been notified by government men that he must either give up his pension or stop earning money.

The Scrap Book isn't the problem, as it operates at a loss, or did until he recently raised the rate. The rub is that Harry has been paid $11.50 each for some yarns he spun for a Riverside paper. He must give the $11.50 to the government or lose his pension.

The Times and the Mirror gave extensive coverage to the trial of Elizabeth Ann Duncan, who was convicted and executed for plotting to kill her daughter-in-law.

ONCE HE IS 72, he was told, he can keep the money he earns. So far, he has not devised a means of speeding his birthday.

Harry was asked by L. Burr Belden of the San Bernardino Sun why he didn't just quit. He replied he was having too much fun. "I'm told I'm in my second childhood," Harry said, "but I'm having a lot more fun than in my first one."

His advice: "Matt, don't get old -- the pension isn't worth it."

* *

OVER COFFEE in a Sunset Blvd. joint, two writers who haven't been doing very well lately were discussing a third, an acknowledged scoundrel, whose new play had just received rave reviews in the trade papers, insuring its success.

One questioned the reliability of fate, which perpetuates such injustices.

The other nodded sadly and said: "Yeah, it COULD have happened to the nice guy."

* *

1959_0224_duncan_ro NONCONFORMIST
He's a guy who thinks for himself,
The rugged he-man type;
From early morn 'til late at night
He smokes a pungent pipe.
-- G. L. ERTZ

* *

A Manhattan Beach lady who is prematurely gray occasionally tints her hair. She discovered her supply was gone and phoned a store for more.

When she was connected with the dye department she said she couldn't remember her color and asked the girl to read the list. The girl read, "Jet black, golden brown, Old Glory red." She paused, then added, "Oh, and we also have Old Glory blue."

In the nick of time the caller realized the girl was naming clothes dye colors, not hair tints, and she remains fascinated at the possibility that she might have wound up with Old Glory blue hair.

* *


recently was found guilty of drunk driving and fined $263. Now someone asks, "How do they arrive at that ridiculous figure?"

Well, it's like this. The fine was $250 and under state law the suckers must also pay for driver education on this scale: $1 for fines up to $20, $2 for fines up to $50, $5 for fines up to $100, etc.

Next time try the taxi cab.

* *

1959_0224_oscars THERE'S something awesome about a man who is both dedicated and muscular. This was proved again at a high school where things are being rearranged to make more space.

A crew appeared and prepared to haul away the music department's grand piano. The music teacher protested and the head mover produced a paper and announced ruthlessly, "It says here we're to move this piano at 3 p.m. and what it says to do we do."

So the piano now remains unused in an inaccessible place -- no one knows why.

* *

MISCELLANY -- A Huntington Park couple submitted first and second choice names to the American Kennel Club for registration for their poodle but were notified both were rejected because of prior usage. They pondered others but suddenly an obvious one occurred to them -- Mademoiselle Martini. After all, they live on Olive Street . . . The typo which probably plagues printers more than any other occurred again in a San Fernando Valley paper. A For Sale ad for a boat listed as accessories "life jackets, anchor and wench, just refinished completely."  

Paul Coates -- Confidential File, February 24, 1959


In the Theaters -- February 24, 1950

In the Theaters -- February 24, 1943

I wonder if "Hitler's Children" is on Netflix. Hm. Guess not. Hey, look! Buddy Rich!

Master Thief Hits L.A., February 1959


The Times spelled the name Attebery; The Mirror used Atterbery,

Max Hurlbut writes:

1959_0222_atterbery_2 Your Evening Mirror News article on burglar GORDON E. ATTERBERY
being pursued in 1959 brings back memories.  I was a young policeman
assigned to Hollywood Division in 1960.  ATTERBERY was tearing us,
West Hollywood Sheriffs, & Beverly Hills P.D. apart.  He would hit house-
after-house, leaving his loot piled near the street where he would pick it
up, before sunup, in his stolen Chevy with cold plates.

Officer IAN J. CAMPBELL (murdered in the "Onion Field" in March 1963)
& I worked 6X15.  [6 designates Hollywood Division & "X" is an "extra" car
deployed in reporting district 615 (Los Feliz/Griffith Park District)].  We
believe we once spotted ATTERBERY, but he outran us.  A Las Vegas park-
ing checker, who had a hobby of checking his daily "hot sheet" against all
Chevrolets he cited, finally nabbed him.

ATTERBERY, as a condition of sentencing,  told all in a special report for
police officers on "How to Catch a 459."  (Old penal code section for burglary). 
He wore suits and walked a dog so as to say he was out strolling.  He studied
the neighborhood & could answer questions for the car in the area.  If un-
covered, he would dash through the worse brush & snags, as he knew
policemen (then) paid for their uniforms and did not want to tear them up. 
He would hide in trees, as we seldom looked up at night.  (Favorites were
dirty palm trees with skirts of dead spiny fronds to crawl up & under).  Better
not reveal more, but an excellent primer on burglary, even today. 

ATTERBERY was only 24, but an intelligent, complex, man and master burglar. 
{P.S.---He knew big city police officers would not (usually) shoot a fleeing burglar;
but was afraid of running into an irate & armed home-owner who did not read his

GORDON, you are now 73.  If you are out there, let us know how the rest of
your career panned out....

LAPD (Retired)
Bellingham, WA

Former President Hospitalized; Dodgers' Spring Training, February 24, 1969

Former President Eisenhower undergoes emergency surgery. President Nixon arrives in Brussels for NATO talks. And did the Southern California Rapid Transit District pay too much for a Pasadena bus line?
1969_0224_sports Cale Yarbrough hits the wall at the Daytona 500. Darrall Imhoff with the 76ers vs. the Lakers.

The vanishing business of renting binoculars at Santa Anita.
John Wiebusch has a nice feature on Dodgertown in Vero Beach, filled with memories that seem timely since the Dodgers are spending their first full spring in Arizona.

"The old men are talking about how it was in times past -- in the days of Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella and Dixie Walker and yes, even in the days of Sandy Koufax," Wiebusch wrote. "The young men are talking about what it is like to be in Florida again and about playing golf and going to the beach and watching bikinis. Occasionally, they talk about baseball, too, and what it would be like to play in the major leagues."

I never had the chance to visit Dodgertown. Palm Springs was my springtime destination. I can remember taking off early from Cal State Fullerton for an afternoon in the sun. I remember talking to players as they jogged during the game along the warning track.

Some, like Bobby Bonds, only scowled and kept walking (I never saw him run).  Others, like Bruce Bochte, smiled and at least acted as if they were glad you made the trip. And after the games, I watched old baseball icons like Leo Durocher in restaurants hoping to be recognized by the fans one more time.

My sons and I will be heading to Arizona next month for a quick weekend. I'm sure it will be memorable, but spring training now isn't what it used to be.

As Walter Alston said, "I love this place and these goofy barracks and the whole thing."

-- Keith Thursby

W.C. Fields' Cadillac For Sale

Photo by the Auto Collections
1980_0522_monti W.C. Fields' 1938 Cadillac  V-16 Fleetwood has been listed in Hemmings Motor News. But there's no price in the ad. This car belonged to Carlotta Monti, at right with the car in 1980, who sold it to the Imperial Palace Auto Collection in 1984.

Found on EBay -- 1930 Cord Re-Creation

Cord_ebay This really caught my eye. It's a "brand-new" 1930 Cord L-29 LaGrande Boattail Speedster. According to the vendor, it's a modern re-creation using genuine Cord parts, down to the Lycoming straight-8 engine. It's listed under Buy It Now for $379,990 or submit a best offer.

Matt Weinstock -- February 23, 1959

Buddy Buddy Stuff

Matt_weinstockd Recently I blurted out that I could talk squirrel language. Actually I don't know whether I can or not. All I know is that a beautiful wild squirrel in the back yard came over to my outstretched hand and let me feed it.

Since, things have been very squirrelly indeed.

First, I received a nice note from a lady across the street informing me that I had met Buddy Buddy, who brightens everyone's day over there when he shows up for a handout. Nuts. He even gets along with the dogs.

THEN REVELL, the Venice firm which makes unassembled ships, planes and whatnot, sent along a do-it-yourself squirrel, a potential buddy for Buddy Buddy. Next time the live one shows I plan to confront him with the facsimile and see what happens. I'll be able to tell if he smells a rodent. Science, I am confident, is waiting for stuff like this.

1959_0223_abbyThen there was the communique from Bill Gooch, who works in a Wilmington reduction plant known as the Copra Cabana. The boys were so impressed with my linguistic talent they're trying to communicate with the seagulls which abound there. So far no luck, just the usual near misses.

* *

A VISITOR from New York was moaning low about Los Angeles -- the impossible traffic, the disgraceful parking, the unbearable public transportation. Furthermore, he was terribly disturbed by the narcotics menace.

Finally Tom Cameron said, "If you feel that way about it why don't you go back east?"

"I can't," was the reply, "I'm hooked on smog."

* *

Washington made history
By chopping down a cherry tree.
Oh yes and incidentally,
He also set our country free.

* *

1959_0223_sabinaWITH MINGLED feelings, Ruth Greensfield, science teacher at John Adams Junior High, received this note from a boy of 13, "Dear Mrs. Greenfield: The following pages are in my opinion the complete answers to your questions and phrases. I feel I have answered the questions etc. to the best of my ability and will except your grades on these three lessons without question. I am sure you will take into consideration how late they are and also my own capability. Thank you."

There's a boy most likely to succeed.

* *

A WIFE testifying before Judge Burnett Wolfson in a separation action complained that her husband was always gambling.

When the husband took the stand the judge asked if this were true. "Judge," he replied, "I can't afford not to gamble. I got a house, a car, a washing machine, a refrigerator, a TV set all paid for by my gambling."

"Don't you ever lose?" the judge asked.


"Is that because you're a good player or a good dealer?"

"Well, judge, you got me under oath so I guess I better say it's a combination of the two."

* *

NOW IT CAN be told in a whisper, that two L.A. officers who went to a distant state recently to return a murder suspect captured there couldn't get the recording machine to work so they could take his statement. So the accommodating suspect spent half an hour setting it up so he could tell how he committed the crime . . . Troy Orr claims he found this ditty titled "Gas Who?" scrawled on an oldtokay label on E 5th Street: "Seems to me there's certainly a desire to be smog free. Don't Detroit noit?"

Paul Coates -- Confidential File, February 23, 1959


Mash Notes and Comments

Paul_coates (Press Release) "There is a rangy, talkative sprite whose fantastically photogenic face has graced some 60 magazine covers. She has earned a fortune in fashion modeling, a career she all but shunted two years ago to become a movie star.

"She is, of course, Suzy Parker.

"Miss Parker is, by her own admission in the new issue of Esquire magazine, 'a modern girl in search of her soul. This soul-searching has taken her to New York, Paris and Hollywood, to the ski slopes of Switzerland and the old churches of Spain . . .'" (signed) Publicity Dept., Esquire magazine, New York City.

-- Has she checked under the bureau? That's where I always find everything.

* *

1961_0219_parker (Press Release) "ABC-TV's peptic Chef Milani, who has been regularly slaughtering the language on his daily cooking show, must, according to his new contract, register for English courses at UCLA."(signed) MurrayWeissman, Public Relations, L.A.

-- Atsa too bad.

* *

"Dear Paul:

"Once I knew an old man in Mexico who lived for 98 years, took a siesta every day and never earned more than $500 in all of his life.

"He was a happy old guy, but he made one mistake.

"He helped his great-great-grandson dig an outhouse and he dropped dead in the hole.

1959_0223_suicide "Nobody gets more tired than the individuals trying to win the stupid, dollar-inspired rat race going on in this country.

"They're standing in line waiting to drop dead chasing the lousy dollar, which they value more than springtime.

"Why don't you get an example, take a vacation, go out and get drunk and raise hell in general?" (signed) Juan Gonzales, 1330 W 4th Street, L.A.

-- What? And lose my place in line?

* *

(Press Release) "KMPC's Dick Whittinghill came up with a gem of a suggestion to parents on his early ayem deejay show today.

"He told his sidekick, engineer Hal Bender, he had discovered a way to overcome his oldest daughter's habit of sucking her thumb.

"Said Whit, 'We nail it to her high chair.'" (signed) John Dickson, Director of Publicity, KMPC, Hollywood.

-- I hope he said it very early in the ayem.

* *

1959_0223_name "Dear Paul:

"Our client, comedienne Harriette Tarler, has dyed her flaming red hair black.

"Some of her friends told her she won't be as funny with the dark tresses.

"She is undecided now what to do about her hair and she has asked us to get your opinion, which she respects.

"Do you think dark-headed comediennes are funnier than red-headed ones?" (signed) Dodge, Heigh & Associates, Public Relations, Beverly Hills

-- Personally I think bald-headed comediennes are a kick.

In the Theaters -- February 23, 1942


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