Jan. 31, 1961: Matt Weinstock has an item about author Leonard Wibberley’s experiences in Portugal – recounted in the book “No Garlic in the Soup.”
Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
Feb. 3, 1938
Paul Wright collapses on the witness stand ... A car plays "Nearer, My God, to Thee" when it reaches 60 mph ... A member of the LAPD Intelligence Unit surrenders in the investigation of the Harry Raymond bombing ... Germany's Marshal Werner von Blomberg resigns after marrying a woman who is "socially impossible," clearing the way for the rise of Nazi leader Hermann Goering ... Japanese Foreign Minister Koki Hirota's informal remark that a state of war exists between his nation and China prompts U.S. senators to demand that President Roosevelt invoke the neutrality act ... And longshoremen's union leader Harry Bridges is in court ... On the jump: 25-cent highballs at Al Levy's Tavern.
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I went down to The Times' archives and pulled Rock Hudson's wedding pictures because I'm the kind of person who would want to see Rock Hudson's wedding pictures. Please note: All captions are from original information provided when the photos were taken.
Times file photo, Nov. 9, 1955
Film actor Rock Hudson, 29, and Phyllis Gates, 25, former executive assistant to actor's business manager, cut wedding cake after their surprise marriage Wednesday night in Santa Barbara.
For more pictures, click below:
Prodded by a reader who directed me to an ancestry website, I can fill in a few blanks about Linda Leabow, who figured in the Marie Wilson story. According to California death records, Linda L. Cairns, listed with the maiden name Leabou, was born March 5, 1936, and died Jan. 27, 1990, in Kern County at the age of 53.
I went into the archives last night and pulled the photos of Marie Wilson and her family.
Her mother was a strikingly pretty, unmarried 21-year-old music student at UCLA who had become pregnant and decided to give up the baby girl for adoption by a Hollywood couple: Marie Wilson, star of the "My Friend Irma" pictures, and her husband, producer Robert Fallon.
In 1955, the couple had adopted a young boy after seeing him during a benefit performance in Tennessee, naming him Gregson, The Times said. They had since decided to adopt a girl and on June 28, 1957, the Fallons had taken custody of the 3-day-old baby, whom they named Christine.
Today, it is virtually impossible to imagine the stigma surrounding an unwed mother. But in 1957, The Times took diligent precautions to avoid identifying the UCLA student. Such incidents were so shameful that The Times took pains to note that the pregnancy "did not result from a romance at the school."
The young woman and her mother arranged the adoption with the Fallons, who used the names Robert and Marie Friedman, The Times said. The young woman dropped out of classes to have the baby and the Fallons paid her $75 a month for five months, The Times said.
However, the mother changed her mind when it came time to sign the adoption papers. She wanted her baby.
Marie Wilson said: "We love her. Greg loves her. We're going to court."
The young woman, still unidentified in The Times, replied:
"It's my baby. I can't let someone else have her. I only saw her for those three days--just those three days in the hospital."
The woman's mother added: "Our daughter made a terrible mistake, but she knew that if she decided to keep the baby, we'd be on her side. She wants her baby."
And so, despite warnings of terrible publicity, the young woman revealed her identity. She was Linda Leabow, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. I.G. Leabow, 3123 Queensbury Road, an apparently dazzling beauty described in The Times as "statuesquely thin." Such was the shame, however, that she refused to be photographed or to name the baby's father:
"Identity of the father of the child will never, if they can help it, be known. Mrs. Leabow firmly maintains that her daughter has not revealed his name even to her," The Times said.
On Oct. 17, the tear-streaked actress gave the baby to Leabow.
The Fallons said: "It is with great reluctance and a heavy heart that we have decided to return Chris to her natural mother. We both believe that further airing of this incident in court would only make a legal football out of an innocent baby and cause further grief to everyone concerned.
"As any parents, our only thought has been for the welfare of Chris. We have always thought that Chris' place was in our home, but we sincerely hope now that her natural mother will give her all the love and affection that we had planned for her."
The Fallons took the baby to Dr. Gilbert Jorgensen, 1019 Gayley Ave., Westwood Village, where the Leabows were waiting in another room.
"As soon as they departed, Linda and her mother were taken to the baby," The Times said. "It was then that Linda broke down and wept as she admired her infant."
Marie Wilson said: "It's nobody's fault. It's just the adoption laws." (Above right, a Times editorial about the incident).
Wilson died of cancer Nov. 23, 1972, at the age of 54. The Times never published an obituary on Robert Fallon, although imdb.com indicates that he is dead. California death records list a dozen Robert Fallons and it's unclear which one may be the man in question.
The Times never wrote another word about Linda Leabow or her daughter. They apparently disappeared without a trace. We can only hope for the best.
June 22, 1957
By now, presumably, people who voted for the $40,000,000 bond issue to extend the city's park and recreation system and expand the zoo know that $2,000,000 of the money will go for roads into Chavez Ravine, where someday the Brooklyn Dodgers may have a ballpark.
Apparently many of them didn't know it on election day.
In fact, they were unaware of this allocation until the matter came before the City Council this week and was steam-rollered through there too.
Suddenly, indignation has taken hold.
A woman writes:
"I can't figure the voters. Maybe they live in boxcars and pay no taxes. Maybe their kids can pick up the tab. My husband and I sweat blood to get our house paid for. But, oh boy, we've got to have more taxes, no matter how unjustified, just so the politicians can take a bow on bringing major league baseball to Los Angeles. I feel like a dancing bear with a ring through my nose."
"That was a real sneaky job, letting the taxpayers foot part of the bill to bring the Brooklyn Dodgers, a private, moneymaking enterprise, to Los Angeles."
"No one has asked my opinion about the baseball situation in L.A. But here it is: Dodgers go home!"
ONE OF THE big problems of the day is what's going to happen to backyard incinerators when they're outlawed.
The other day, G.B., a Hollywood apartment dweller, put the question to the landlady:
"I'm going to leave it exactly as it is," she said firmly. "About the time I'd get it torn down the Supreme Court will declare the law unconstitutional. I figure the people who make incinerators aren't going to give up without a fight. They'll take their case to the highest court in the land."
You were adopted at birth by a couple named Strickland: Jane and her husband, Edward, a fourth-grade teacher at the Isabelle Buckley School, 4477 Woodman Ave., in Van Nuys. There were other children in the home: Danny, who would be 61 now; Cynthia, 58; and Celeste, 52.
As far as your foster parents were concerned, you were an exceptionally bright youngster. "I defy anyone to find a smarter little boy than this one," your father, Edward, said. "He's really adopting us," your mother said.
There's one other thing we know: You were a little harder to place than other foster children because one of your biological parents was white and the other was Chinese.
The rest is guesswork, because I can't seem to find any trace of you. So I'm left to wonder what it was like for you growing up in the 1950s. Was it the standard baby boomer childhood with a coonskin cap, a hula hoop and trips to Disneyland? How was high school? Did you get drafted and go to Vietnam or have a student deferment? And how about a family?
Maybe someone reading knows the rest of the story. I'd like to know what became of that bright 5-year-old named Jay.