The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Spade Cooley: 'I'm not sure, but I think Ella Mae is dead'

  Spade Cooley, Oct. 19, 1949  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

Oct. 15, 1949: Spade Cooley and his daughter Melody pose for a publicity photo aboard his yacht.

  April 5, 1961, Spade Cooley  

April 5, 1961: In a switch from its usual policy of keeping lurid killings off the front page, The Times puts the Spade Cooley story on Page 1 (below the fold).  
John, his son from a previous marriage, said: "Dad and mother had not been getting along for weeks. I don't think there was, but Dad had a fixation there was someone else. Dad has a violent temper. But he never beat me. He wouldn't try to take me on. And, as far as I know, he never harmed Melody or Donny.

"He can't be sane to have done a thing like this, can he? Do you know how she died? It was terrible, wasn't it? He just doesn't stand a ghost of a chance."

  Spade Cooley, April 5, 1961  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

April 5, 1961: Reporters wait outside the Cooleys' ranchouse.

  April 5, 1961, Spade Cooley  

  April 5, 1961, Spade Cooley  

image April 5, 1961, Spade Cooley

  April 5, 1961, Spade Cooley
Spade Cooley, April 5, 1961
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Comments (4)

Chilling mix of cowboy and nautical themes with gun and child. I believe Spade Cooley was a local Los Angeles favorite in the fifties. Don't think his show reached my home in Chicago, so he was not familiar to me. Did hear about him after I arrived in L.A., but had no experience.

I'm trying to figure out just where this was in relation to Tehachapi. What became of Water Wonderland?

Good question. The newspapers usually published addresses, but not this time, as far as I can tell.

I see how his son would want Cooley to be out of his mind when he did this, but my reasoning is this: if a man puts his hands on a woman and harms her, he must be held accountable for doing it. Period, end of sentence. If the law was cut and dried like this, domestic violence would end...or, at least, it wouldn't be as common as it is.


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