The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Classical Music

Matt Weinstock, Feb. 2, 1960

Feb. 2, 1960, Peanuts

Mystery of Missiles

Matt Weinstock     One of the problems of those who guide our missile program is making it understandable to earth-bounders.  In other words, translating complex scientific data into ordinary terms.
    Toward this end former newspaperman Chris Clausen, now with Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, conducts monthly symposiums for reporters who cover the sky.  Even then it doesn't all come through.
    The situation is not helped by confusion in the Pentagon.  Take the case of the Agena B space satellite system, now being checked out at Lockheed's Missiles and Space Division test base at Santa Cruz.  When the time came recently to name the project, a phase of Agena B, to put a camera reconnaissance satellite up there to see what Mr. K.'s boys were doing, the Pentagon became nervous.  The political implications were obvious.  The project was successfully called Big Brother, Pied Piper, Sentry, Midas and finally simply project WS-117A.  The papers, having no such inhibitions, dubbed it Spy in the Sky and the Super Snooper.
Feb. 2, 1960, Fritz Kreisler     LAST WEEK, when reporters went to see the satellite at its Santa Cruz base, nestled among the giant coastal redwoods, another whimsical note entered the proceedings.
    A press handout which explained how the Agena B works stated the testing was to locate and correct potential trouble under space flight conditions before the bird is sent to Vandenberg to be fired.
    It pointed out that the sensitive satellite was almost human in its reactions, stating,"The missile can move a fraction of an inch during these tests, fooling it into thinking it is actually flying.  In fact, it can go anywhere but up."

    It was also stated that the Agena can turn itself on and off in flight and its re-start mechanism was explained.

    Despite the briefing, the message apparently didn't come through to a San Francisco paper, which headlined, "Turnabout Rocket Revealed!"

    Someone somehow got the idea the missile could be landed on the moon, wound up again like a top and flown back to earth.


that I don't have the proper attitude toward tradition but I read with dismay that more than 500 high school athletes, each running a mile, relay style, will carry the Olympic torch from the Coliseum to Squaw Valley for the opening of the snow events there.

    They'll go through Newhall, Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto, Sacramento and Auburn to Donner Pass, where the final runner will hand the aluminum, kerosene-burning torch, which must be renewed every half hour, to a skier who, with other skiers, will carry it triumphantly to the valley of the squaws.

    This ceremony, the carrying of the torch, doubtless was impressive when the Grecians started the games but it seems an awful waste of energy today.  I have a three-word suggestion which would release the teams of state Highway Patrolmen who will accompany the runners, clearing traffic and insuring their safety: one motorcycle rider.


is confronted daily with the choleric outcries of taxpayers and the indifference of some public officials came up the other day with this profound and ironic remark:  "Thank heavens we don't get all the government we pay for!"


A principle that's quite
And never fails to pass,
Is that when a price war
    comes around,
My car is filled with gas.
        STU BRODY


    AT RANDOM -- As if life weren't complicated enough, a postal card notice of a luncheon for L.A. yacht-men tomorrow asks, "Are you using an alkyd-fortified epoxy polyester ultraviolet-absorbent acrylic plastic urethane catalyzed paint or varnish on your boat?"  If you aren't, obviously you're out of it . . . A lady named Kathleen who participated in last week's mothers' March of Dimes came upon a man on her beat with empty pockets who asked, "Say, could I charge a $1 contribution to my Bankamericard?"  The answer was no.

Feb. 2, 1960, Abby

Nixon, the ‘Indispensible Man’


“You Remember Her?”

Feb. 1, 1960, Republicans 

Feb. 1, 1960, Nixon 

NBC Opera Company

NBC used to have an opera company. Amazing, no? Although I can’t say I’ve ever heard of Virginia Copeland (Gordoni), David Poleri or Chester Ludgin.

Feb. 1, 1960, Goliath

Goliath and the Barbarians” in Colorscope! 

Feb. 1, 1960, Sports

Paul Zimmerman takes a look at “Hot Rod” Hundley of the Lakers and Guy Rodgers of the Philadelphia Warriors.

Feb. 1, 1960: Republican National Chairman Sen. Thruston B. Morton (R-Ky.) comments on the results of a Gallup poll showing that the party was losing strength. He talks about the effect of Vice President Richard Nixon being unchallenged as GOP nominee and praises President Eisenhower, while saying Eisenhower has "concentrated more on running the country than on building the party. Morton also notes: "Complacency has been our serious weakness."

Three Tristans Update


No credit in Season Book
"courtesy of Metropolitan Opera Press Department"
??  Three Tristans update: I sent this item to bass-baritone  Alan Held, who’s appearing in the current Metropolitan Opera production of “Tales of Hoffmann.”

Held says, “ I have been in several performances where a singer had to be replaced midway through the night--most memorably was a Tannhauser at The Met where we went through 2-3 tenors in one night (can't remember). It seemed we went through the entire list of Met tenors during that show. I also did a lot of Tristans in Barcelona that seemed to have a revolving door of tenors. My own professional debut was made while jumping in as Colline in Boheme.  These things happen all the time in opera--sometimes a singer really isn't sure if he can make it through the night but wants to give it a try and then once confronted with the dryness of the stage, things change. And I've been in countless performances where the singer isn't sure they can even start the night but ends up singing the best performance of the run. These are special nights and can bring a lot of excitement to the show.”

Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera

Grand Jury Hears Testimony in Whalen Killing

Dec. 10, 1959, Mickey Cohen

Mickey Cohen says: "I'm a lover, not a fighter."

Dec. 10, 1959, Mickey Cohen

Sandy Hashagen says going steady with Mickey Cohen for 14 days gave her a police record and cost her a job as a dancer in Las Vegas..

Dec. 10, 1959, Christmas Trees

Adjusted for inflation, these trees start at $13.81, USD 2008.

Dec. 10, 1959, Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky gives his manuscript for “The Rake’s Progress” to USC.

Dec. 10, 1959, Corning Ware

For Christmas, Melmac and Corning Ware! I haven’t seen one of those Corning coffee pots in years, but nearly everyone used to have one.

Dec. 10, 1959, Solomon and SHeba 

Solomon and Sheba” is coming!

Dec. 10, 1959, Jeane Hoffman

Jeane Hoffman on open tennis.

New Symphony Uses Car Horn

Nov. 30, 1909, August Bungert 

Nov. 30, 1909: Perhaps you thought George Gershwin was the first composer to use car horns in a piece of music (“American in Paris”). But no. August Bungert uses an auto horn in his new symphonic work, “Zeppelin’s First Voyage”  or “Zeppelins grosse Fahrt.”   Evidently it was a programmatic work and at the end, the airship is destroyed by fire. How Wagnerian!

ps. Gustav Mahler will have something ready early next year.

Pilot Dies When Plane Hits House in Compton

Nov. 28, 1959, Cover

Nov. 28, 1959: A plane crashes into a home at 519 W. Greenleaf in Compton.

View Larger Map

Nov. 28, 1959, Mink Jeans

Mink jeans? Are you serious?
Nov. 28, 1959, Freeways

Running freeways through the upper floors of existing buildings is a startling concept – but it’s not new. As envisioned in the 1930s, the Los Angeles freeway system was quite futuristic and this was one of the key concepts. Another component was parking structures inside all four circular ramps of each  exit/entrance cloverleaf. 

Nov. 28, 1959, Rostropovich

Mstislav Rostropovich plays the Shostakovich Cello Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Arturo Basile. Times critic Albert Goldberg says: "It is a big and exciting piece, of far greater substance and musical worth than the composer's recent Eleventh Symphony. Shostakovich seems to have found himself again in this work."

What's this? "Respighi's "Roman Festival" is "about the noisiest and emptiest piece of claptrap ever written for a symphony orchestra."

Nov. 28, 1959, Dotty

Chocolate cigarettes? Thanks, dad!

Nov. 28, 1959, Sports

USC hopes to defeat Notre Dame for the first time since 1939.

Braven Dyer writes: "You old-time football fans will recall the tremenders between Knute Rockne and Howard Jones. Four of their first six battles were decided by a total of five points. Played every other year back here after the Big Ten season closed, they drew national attention and kept students and faculty at Notre Dame in a dither of excitement the week of the game. David Condon, Chicago Tribune columnist who attended ND, recalls his freshman history class. On Saturday morning, his history professor opened the session by saying, 'You boys never have seen Southern California play. Let me diagram their offense for you.' And he strode to the blackboard and did so."

Artist’s Notebook: Gustavo Dudamel

 Gustavo Dudamel Gustavo Dudamel, by Marion Eisenmann, Nov. 12, 2009.

Marion Eisenmann and I have been looking at Los Angeles landmarks as a modern version of Nuestro Pueblo, but we realized that the debut of Gustavo Dudamel as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic is also part of local history.  Marion was fortunate in being able to attend a rehearsal and she sends her impressions of Dudamel. She says: His personality, playfulness and passion speak in this study.


Orchestras Ban Women Musicians

Nov. 2, 1919, Music War 

Nov. 2, 1919: Orchestra managers want to ban women musicians because an ensemble consisting entirely of men in tuxedos is more pleasing to the eye, The Times says. No, I'm not kidding.

Nov. 16, 1919, Women Musicians

Nov. 16, 1919: Alma Whitaker writes about the attempted ban on women musicians.

Nov. 16, 1919, Ridge Route

Nov. 16, 1919: The Ridge Route opens and the Times publishes a terrific illustration by artist Charles Owens – nearly 20 years before he worked on “Nuestro Pueblo” … And the Auto Club writes a proposed law to make Hill Street, Broadway, Spring Street, Main one-way and to ban delivery trucks from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in designated congested areas such as downtown.

A Kinder, Simpler Time Dept.: Your Movie Columnist

Nov. 7, 1944, Hedda Hopper 
Charles_laughton_bible_crop Nov. 7, 1944: Gracie Allen performs her new work, “Concerto for Index Finger.” Some of Charles Laughton’s recordings of the Bible are too hot to handle or at least they're too hot for Decca. 

Yes, you can find the record on EBay. At least the commercial release.

Shostakovich Visits L.A.!

Oct. 30, 1959, Shostakovich  

Shostakovich meets the press at the Ambassador Hotel. Wouldn’t it be great to go see it? Oh, wait, we let L..A. Unified tear it down.

Oct. 30, 1959, Shostakovich

Oct. 30, 1959, Shostakovich

Oct. 20, 1959: Dmitri Shostakovich leads a group of Soviet composers on a tour of the U.S.  After Mayor Norris Poulson’s headline-grabbing stunt with Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviets are justifiably worried about what sort of greeting they will get  in Los Angeles. American envoy Ken Kertz, who is escorting the Soviets, angrily squelches any comments upon their arrival at Union Station.

In a news conference at the Ambassador Hotel, Kertz turned off the TV lights, but composer Dmitri Kabalevsky encouraged reporters to stay. An unidentified reporter asked about Soviet reaction to Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 and Tikhon Khrennikov replied that orchestras  “"vied for the opportunity to lead their programs with the 11th.” Khrennikov isn’t an immediately recognized name these days, but he was head of the Soviet Composers Union and caused misery for Shostakovich, Serge Prokofiev and Alfred Schnittke.

Oct. 30, 1959, Times Cover

The old saying that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes certainly seems true. Here we have high winds sweeping Los Angeles and burglars who targeted a movie star, in this case Joan Fontaine.  The Times also carried a Charles Hillinger story about the system of dams used to catch ash and debris in the anticipated flooding of areas burned in the recent wildfire, the same problem we're facing after the Station fire. 

Oct. 30, 1959, Atomic Plane

Yes, there was a time when the Defense Department was working on nuclear-powered aircraft. A key component of nuclear reactors – lots of lead – posed unusual problems for the designers. And if it crashed, that could be messy.

Oct. 30, 1959, Ebony Showcase 

The Ebony Showcase Theatre, at 4366 W. Adams Blvd. stages a new musical comedy.

Nov. 28, 1982, Ebony Showcase

John L. Mitchell interviews Horace "Nick" Stewart of the Ebony Showcase Theater. In the profile, Stewart takes stock of his career (he played Lightnin' on the "Amos 'n' Andy Show." "Almost every important black performer, at one time or another, has come through Nick's operation," says C. Bernard Jackson of the Inner City Cultural Center.

Nov. 28, 1982, Ebony Showcase Theater

Oct. 30, 1959, Barnes

Jeane Hoffman visits UCLA football coach Billy Barnes and his wife, Frances.

Oct. 30, 1959, Barnes



The March King Comes to L.A.

Oct. 25, 1909, Sousa 

The hall, later known as Philharmonic Auditorium, at 5th and Olive.
Oct. 26, 1909, Sousa
Oct. 26, 1909, a Times review.

Oct. 28, 1909, Sousa
Oct. 28, 1909, Sousa
Oct. 25, 1909: John Philip Sousa and his band arrive for a weeklong engagement in Los Angeles. The Sousa band was composed of first-rate players and their skill comes through even on early, primitive recordings.

Notice the variety of the selections. Of course, there are Sousa’s marches, but he has also  programmed Rachmaninoff, Goldmark, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Smetana, Bizet and Chabrier. Sousa is also preparing for production of his new opera, “The Glassblowers.” And he's brought his family along.

Hula Dance Craze Sweeps New York

Oct. 23, 1919, Briggs
Clare Briggs, “When a Feller Needs a Friend.”

Oct. 23, 1919, New York

Oct. 23, 1919, New York

Oct. 23, 1919: Harry Carr, one of The Times' best-known writers, files a series of vignettes from New York. He says that prohibition is lightly enforced and that it’s still easy to get a drink … and learning the hula is the latest dance craze. Carr writes about the riot over "Die Meistersinger" and says: "Life is never monotonous in a town filled with Irish."


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