Matt Weinstock, Jan. 6, 1960
January 6, 2010 | 4:00 pm
Before the record book for the decade is closed, J. Barrington Farrington Arrington, who retired undefeated as a police reporter for the old Daily News and now gets his kicks as the sage of Bunker Hill, wishes to insert a footnote. He believes he holds some sort of record for not going anywhere.
"I've never seen a Tournament of Roses parade except on TV nor a Rose Bowl game," he said proudly. "I've never been to the Coliseum nor in Griffith Park's Greek Theater. I've never been to Mt. Wilson or Mt. Palomar. I've never been to Catalina Island, Death Valley, Tijuana, Palm Springs, Yosemite, Santa Anita or Del Mar. Furthermore, I've never been inside a motion-picture studio and the only movie stars I ever met were in jail, where I couldn't avoid them."
ARRINGTON, who came to L.A. from Colorado 38 years ago, ruefully admits he has a blot on his escutcheon.
"One afternoon in 1947," he said, "I got fried with a wealthy friend and he lobbed me into a cab and took me to Hollywood Park. He gave me $50 to bet and I won $200. But I was not in full control of my faculties."
A near downfall occurred in 1940. "I was bragging about my non-attendance record," he recalled, "and some playful friends decided to shanghai me and spirit me to Pasadena on New Year's Day. But I was too cunning for them. I found out about their plot."
The nearest he ever came to defeat was in 1945, when he was working on another paper. The city editor, Jack Berger, selected him as one of the crew to cover the Rose Parade. Arrington protested that the assignment would destroy a perfect record. Besides, he didn't like flowers. "I wouldn't want to be guilty of ruining any one's record," Berger said, and selected another reporter.
A TAXI DRIVER in a Hollywood coffee shop remarked wryly, "You know, every time I pick up a fare and start the meter nowadays I get to wondering if I'll be accused of payola." To which, eavesdropper Tom Lempertz reports, the waitress added, "I know what you mean -- I'm almost afraid to pick up my tips!" . . . Speaking of which, Bill Tanner, chief engineer and disc jockey at radio KAFY in Bakersfield, lives on Paola St. there -- but he hasn't had a single offer.
AH, THE WHIMS of children. A boy in the second grade turned in a spelling paper without his name on it. The teacher asked if he wanted to write it on top. "I never write my name on Tuesdays," the boy said solemnly.
A MAN WHO knows all sorts of people ran into an old pickpocket friend the other day and the wallet snatcher, known as "The Fast Mail," related a recent mad experience. As if by signal, pickpockets from all over appeared in Canada last year during Queen Elizabeth's visit there to open the St. Lawrence Seaway. It was like a convention, he said. They came, of course, because they knew there would be crowds, where they do their best work, and a profitable time was had by all. Afterward, he said, many of them came to L.A. for Christmas, where the pickings were also good. In fact, police statistics for 1959 stated the greatest increase in reported crimes was in pickpocket cases, up 19.6%. Presumably they're still here for the winter, so beware.
FOOTNOTES -- Rich Fowler reports there's no truth to the rumor the new Rose Bowl pact will provide the Big Ten must send Wisconsin at least once every five years . . . And, in the light of what happened, one of the other papers had a delightful typo -- called it the Rose Bawl game.
PUBLIC AT LARGE -- Martin Glasser wishes to thank the telephone company for installing phone booths all over town. Wonderful places to light his pipe on windy days . . . A teen-age boy phoned Tom Cassidy at KFAC and insultingly suggested drastic changes in his programming. Tom, an expert in such matters, listened politely. Later, relating the incident to a friend, he remarked, "I was young once myself -- but never again!" . . . A flatbed truck with three gray caskets lashed tightly was careening along Hollywood Freeway yesterday. Joe Weston wonders if someone runs it back and forth -- for effect.