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Matt Weinstock, Feb. 19, 1960

February 19, 2010 |  4:00 pm

Feb. 19, 1960, Peanuts
Feb. 19, 1960, Peanuts
Prison Sounds

Matt Weinstock     As this was written, Caryl Chessman's date with death was still undecided. But as time was running out for him yesterday a man who was once No. 69883 in San Quentin reminiscently recalled the case of Gas House Eddy.
    No. 69883, now living in L.A., used to be editor of the San Quentin News. Each week a letter signed G. H. E., for Gas House Eddy, a young man on Death Row, came to the editor's mailbox. Most of them were printed. This letter was received on a Thursday, the day before he died:
    "DEAR EDITOR: It looks like this is the last observation I'll make so will do it on Sounds.
    "Sounds in prison are different from those outside. Instead of alarm clocks we have bells that can be heard all over the prison. A guard up on the gun rail over the mess hall blows a short blast on a whistle. Instantly 5000 men stop eating and turn their eyes on the guard to see what is wrong. Most ominous sound is the siren. Man missing! It shrieks, with ear splitting decibels.
    "After lights out, snores, moans, grinding of teeth, and on occasions, a nightmarish shriek will break the sleepy silence.
    "Pre-dawn ushers in chirping of hundreds of sparrows, who make this block their home. Unlock, and a thousand doors swing open to boom closed a second later. Then the tramping of feet, as 5000 men converge on the mess hall.
    "To work, then -- no streetcars, no automobiles, no women's voices. Just sounds of walking and talking.
    "For the majority, some day, the best sound of all -- the dull boom of the heavy front gate when the account has been settled.
    "For myself -- soon the last sound I will hear on this earth. The light splash of the cyanide egg as it hits the acid.
    "Society -- take a bow."
    A MAN NAMED John called on his income tax man the other day and as he waited in the outer office he remarked to the receptionist that going in to see him was like visiting a dentist.
Feb. 19, 1960, Chessman 
    He didn't notice that the partitions didn't go up to the ceiling until he heard a voice from the other room say, "Send in the patient!"
He speaks and dresses
    like a hood.
In business he's a
    perfect end.
He has no manners,
    which is good--
For if he did they would
    be bad.
    AUTHORITIES warn that the fast-buck boys, pretending to be census takers, are prying into people's personal and household affairs, particularly their financial status -- object, to sell them things they don't want or need. The official census will start April 1 and authentic enumerators will have proper identification.
    A HOLLYWOOD woman has been undergoing long, expensive treatments for a serious skin eruption on her face. Recently, when it got no better, her doctor advised her to consult a dermatology specialist. She went to see one, he prescribed a certain medicine, and as if certain medicine, and as if by magic, her skin cleared.
    Her husband phoned the dermatologist the other day to express his wife's and his own gratitude. As he waited for the doctor to come on the line his son Russ, 5, said solemnly, "Dad, tell him now I can kiss my mommy."
    ONLY IN MALIBU -- Bob Mollison, who drives a newspaper truck, was dropping off some bundles at 4 a.m. on Pacific Coast Highway when he saw lights moving in a motel parking lot nearby. He got them in focus and saw it was an old car going around in reverse in a wide circle. After about 15 revolutions it stopped and kept circling the same route forward.
    Bob figures it was probably some frustrated TV producer trying to unwind.
    AT RANDOM -- Some waggish member of the UCLA band, probably a tuba player, has written on the band bus, "It's such a comfort to take a bus (t) and leave the driving to us". . . A small, unimpressive pizza spa in Sunland is called Aida's Palace . . . Everything's going to be all right. Lady named Mary Louise, who has been worried about the absence of kites, which represent normalcy to her, finally saw one the other day at 37th and Vermont.

Feb. 19, 1960, Abby