The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: March 2010

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From the Vaults: 'The Golem' (1920)

Golem Actually, this is the second sequel to Paul Wegener's “The Golem” (1915), now lost. In that movie, the golem – a mythical clay creature built and brought to life by Jewish rabbis – is brought back to life in modern times, only to fall in love and go on a murderous rampage when his love is unrequited.

In its first sequel, “The Golem and the Dancing Girl” (1917), a regular modern guy puts on a golem costume to scare the girl he loves. Wacky! But this film, originally titled “The Golem: How He Came Into the World,” is set in medieval times and is essentially the golem's origin story. Wegener, who wrote (with Henrik Galeen), directed (with Carl Boese) and stars as the title character, intelligently keeps the golem out of the love story this time.

Rabbi Loew (Albert Steinruck) of 16th century Prague, learns from consulting the stars that his people are in danger; to protect them, he decides to build a golem. His assistant (Max Kronert) helps, which requires some time out from romancing the rabbi's daughter Miriam (Lyda Salmonova, Wegener's frequent collaborator, and eventually his widow). This proves disastrous for him, since a foppish fellow named Knight Florian (Lothar Muthel) quickly takes his place in Miriam's affections.

Unaware of all this, the rabbi and his assistant take the golem to the emperor, who is threatening to expel all the Jews from Prague. With the help of the golem and his own “magic arts” (as the emperor dubs them), the rabbi turns the tables, threatens everyone in the castle, and gets the emperor to rescind the expulsion. While the Jews celebrate, the rabbi's assistant catches Miriam snogging with Florian and, enraged, sets the golem on them. Mayhem ensues!

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Found on EBay – Batchelder Vase

Batchelder Vase
Batchelder Vase

What appears to be a vase by E.A. Batchelder of Pasadena has been listed on EBay. Batchelder tile turns up somewhat often, but I don’t recall seeing anything this finely made. Bidding starts at $145, or Buy It Now at $250. As with anything on EBay, items and vendors should be evaluated thoroughly before making a bid. 

Still on Jury Duty

Aug. 11, 1937, Albert Dyer Case
Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

Aug. 11, 1937: Jury selection in the trial of Albert Dyer, who was hanged for molesting and killing three young Inglewood girls.  
Note: I’m still on jury duty, so posting will be light until it’s through.

Found on EBay – Oviatt’s

Bow Tie, Oviatt's
This bow tie from Oviatt’s has been listed on EBay. Oviatt’s was one of the leading menswear stores in Los Angeles and the items are extremely collectible. Bidding on this tie starts at $25. As with anything on EBay, the item and the vendor should be thoroughly evaluated before submitting a bid.

Still on Jury Duty

June 20, 1957, Ray Pinker, Grand Cooper, Linda Mintz
Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

June 20, 1957: Police chemist Ray Pinker, left, attorney Grant Cooper and Linda Mintz, charged with beating her employer to death with a vacuum cleaner.

Note: I’ve spent the week on jury duty so posting will be light until I get caught up.

Found on EBay – Williams and Walker

George Walker
I’ve been searching for items of Bert Williams and George Walker on EBay since I wrote about the vaudeville team in 2008. Sheet music turns up somewhat often but this is the first time I’ve seen souvenir postcards for sale. According to the vendor, the six Williams and Walker postcards being sold individually are part of an album collected by an African American serviceman – evidently a Buffalo soldier – about the time of the Mexican Revolution.  Bidding on this postcard starts at $8.

Next Stop for Garvey: Third Base

March 26, 1970, Dodgers

March 26, 1970: Finding a third baseman was the story of the spring for the Dodgers, who believed they discovered a long-term answer in Steve Garvey.

"We can hardly keep Garvey's bat out of the lineup," a Dodger executive told The Times on March 25. It's hard to dispute that, although one wonders why the reporter couldn't get the source to say something so obvious on the record.

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Movie Star Mystery Photo


Los Angeles Times file photo

Update: This is Barbara Kent, above, in an Aug. 18, 1926, photo. 


Dec. 26, 1926: Barbara Kent in “The Flesh and the Devil.”

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 reward is bragging rights. 

The answer to last week's mystery star: Anne Nagel!

There’s a new photo on the jump!

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Eight Women Graduate From Police Academy

March 26, 1960, Policewomen 

March 26, 1960: Eight female officers graduate from the Police Academy. In a reflection of the way policewomen were used at the time, four were assigned to the Juvenile Division and the other four were sent to the main jail. On the jump, an update in the 1957 killing of two El Segundo police officers. 

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Artist's Notebook: L.A. Marathon

 March 21, 2010, LA Marathon

“L.A. Marathon,” by Marion Eisenmann

Marion Eisenmann and I decided to try something different from our exploration of local landmarks by going to Santa Monica to see the finish of the 2010 L.A. Marathon. I found a good viewing spot at the base of a light pole on Ocean Avenue just beyond the finish line, while Marion looked for interesting images to combine in a collage of the race.

The shouts from the crowd, growing louder and closer, announced the arrival of each contestant. The first were the wheelchair competitors on their exotic vehicles, and next were the bicyclists.

As the seconds ticked away, the area behind the finish line filled with photographers, security officers, police and marathon workers, all of them anticipating the runners. Edna Kiplagat was mobbed by photographers after she finished. Then Teyba Naser and Silvia Skvortsova came in.

The shouting for Wesley Korir started a long way off and built until he crossed the finish line. Photographers and TV cameramen swarmed around him so that all I saw was his hand, reaching above them and pointing, not as a victory sign showing that he was first but as a symbol of his Christian faith.

I always think of hard-core runners as lean, hard and leathery; raw and wrinkled from the sun with veins bulging like strands of rope under their skin. These elite African runners are nothing like that. Korir is a slight fellow, rather small and finely proportioned. I wouldn’t call him delicate, but you would never mistake him for someone who spends hours at the gym.

In the same way, the top two women, Kiplagat and Naser, were small and slight, and if you were to see Naser in a swimsuit at the beach, you might mistake her for a college student who goes running a few times a week. Only Skvortsova, with thick, muscled legs, looks more like my traditional idea of a runner.

After congratulating each other and giving a few TV interviews, Korir and Kiplagat were chauffeured away in motorized carts, along with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Although Marion originally thought of combining different visual elements like the Santa Monica Pier, sketches of the crowd and the runners, she settled on Korir crossing the finish line. 

Note: In case you just tuned in, Marion and I are roaming Los Angeles in a project inspired by Joe Seewerker and Charles Owens’ Nuestro Pueblo.

Anyone who’s interested in Marion’s artwork should contact her directly.

Found on EBay – Angel City in Turmoil

Angel City in Turmoil
Guy Finney signature
This signed copy of Guy Finney’s “Angel City in Turmoil,” one of the more collectible books about Los Angeles history, has been listed on EBay.  According to The Times’ clips, Court Lytton was a real estate salesman. Bidding starts at $39.95.

Jury Duty

July 27, 1936: Mary Astor
Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

July 27, 1936: Mary Astor in court. 
Note: I’m on jury duty, so posting will be light until it’s over.


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