The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Movieland Mystery Photo





  June 11, 2011, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  


You may recognize this photo because I ran it a few years ago. But it’s one of my favorites. This fellow was branded with a very certain stereotype that he played in countless films, so I like to see him out of character.

As some of you know, the Daily Mirror is being killed by The Times in a pruning of blogs with low traffic. I’ll post a longer farewell next week, but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for participating in the mystery photos. They were my most popular feature.

Through the mystery photos, I got to know “the brain trust,” a corps of readers with a humbling knowledge of film. My first criteria in selecting mystery guests was that I didn’t know who they were, so in almost every case (aside from my two-week binge on Lucille Ball and a few other exceptions) I couldn’t identify any of them. And they proved to be a wonderful history lesson for me: Trixie Friganza … Jack Mulhall … Julian Eltinge … Pier Angeli. 

I had an agenda with these pictures, though I don’t think anyone ever realized what I was up to. Most people saw the pictures as a daily movie quiz that was (at least ideally) fairly challenging. And that was fine.

But the mystery pictures were actually a years-long photo essay on fame and forgetfulness. Nearly every image I posted was of someone who was once a prominent performer – and yet look at  how dimly most of them are remembered. 

In some ways,  the indignant responses were the most perversely rewarding:  “Am I supposed to know who that is?” No, you’re not. That’s the point: The stars of today are the obscure nobodies of tomorrow. Alas, that’s a lesson that some of Hollywood’s current problem children haven’t learned.

Thanks for reading.... Keep checking next week for a final farewell post that ties up all the loose ends from the last four years.




 
  March 19, 1941, Comic  



 
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Comments (59)

I am amazed at a couple of things. 1) the amount of research that is put into your column/blog. Very thorough but time consuming, and 2) the complete lack of promoting of it by the Times.
Over the years, being a native Angeleno, only 3 other regular columns come to mind as "must-reads" that I looked forward to daily. Ernie Pyle, John Hall, and Bud Furillo. Yours quickly became the 4th.

Ben Blue

There just aren't words to describe my sadness. So I'm cancelling my ex-boyfriend's subscription to the Times.

Claire

terrible news - I'll really miss the Mystery Photo. It was fun learning about these largely forgotten stars of the past

The BEST thing about the Times and they kill it ! ? ! ? I'm very sorry to see "The Daily Mirror" go but is it going to continue on another site ? PLEASE say it will !
Best Wishes and Thank You for many hours of fine information.
Cindy

I realize that this is a hurry-up world, but I am still amazed by how often people indulge the knee-jerk impulse to start typing their comments without first seeing what has already been posted.

If anyone who commented since Monday afternoon had read all the way through the previously-posted comments, you would have seen:

(a) that the Daily Mirror blog is alive and well, and
(b) a link to its new location.

On the wrong side of 80 I know a thing or two regaring being dumped so, as a deeply devoted fan of the whole idea, I'd like to say 'Thanks a few million, Larry' - and I'll be keeping a weather eye open for any chance of a return.

Agree with many of the commentators! We are losing a great resource and friend! ANd practically the only reason to read this paper. The LA Times really has lost the soul of Southern California with the loss of the Daily Mirror.

Excuse me LA Times Editors and Publishers: but you have now alienated the people who actually care enough about LA want to read about it and who struggled to find this gem of a column you buried -and never supported in any way. We may now conclude that the LA Times really doesn't want us readers, or at least not those who still know how to read.

Me too Lar. Thanx ~~ Crai9 Hill

 

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