The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Columnists

Army Clears Strikers at North American Aviation


  June 10, 1941, Comics  

  June 10, 1941, North American Strike  

June 10, 1941: Bill Henry files a color story on soldiers using rifles with bayonets to herd strikers away from the North American Aviation plant. Unfortunately, my new optical character recognition software can’t handle these old clips, so I have to post the images of the stories. Henry’s story is worth reading.

Also on the jump, Ethel Waters stars in “Cabin in the Sky.”
Jimmie Fidler says: On the newsstands this month is a magazine which features an astrological analysis of Cary Grant's present status and future prospects... The birthday used in preparing Grant's chart was 1909, a date given out in a studio publicity department biography. Cary's real birth year was 1904!

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Jim Murray, June 9, 1961

  June 9, 1961, Day In Sports  

  June 9, 1961, Jim Murray  

June 9, 1961: Wrestling isn't even a sport at all. It's a drama in three acts in which a lot of nice old ladies get rid of all their hostilities and aggressions occasioned usually by the fact their daughters-in-law don't make pies the way they used to or won't let them give fudge to the grandchildren.

Wrestling today still has the simple basic plot of a medieval morality play. There's a good guy and a bad guy. The good guy loses all the way up to the end when the bad guy goes too far. Thereupon, the good guy tears him apart like a cat looking for a mouse in a sofa.

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'Hunchback Killer' Arrested, June 8, 1941


  June 8, 1941, Hunchback Killer  


June 8, 1941: For some time, I have been coming across stories about Alfred Horace Wells in going through the 1941 clips -- “hunchback killer” is not a nickname that’s easy to forget. But I haven’t done anything on him until now because the story is strange and complicated. Here’s a hint: It was so lurid that during Wells’ trial, the courtroom was cleared of minors because it involved what The Times demurely described as “an unnatural relationship.” It’s not quite in Ma Duncan territory, but what is?

Jimmie Fidler says: If you are posted on Hollywood doings, you know that every studio is now staging an intense, high-pressure production drive.... Why all this rush? ... It looks to me as if the studios are concentrating production now with the intention of shutting down for three or four months next fall.
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From the Stacks – 'In the Wrong Rain' (1959)

  Wrong Rain Title  

Hope died in the opening lines of “In the Wrong Rain,” and optimism succumbed a few pages later. Duty ground stubbornly ahead for a chapter or two before collapsing as well. Curiosity thumbed randomly through the book and then tossed it aside with a sigh of regret. It is often said -- at least by me -- that failure is sometimes more interesting than success, rather like reassembling the wreckage of a jetliner to determine why it crashed, killing everyone on board. 

This is not one of those times. 

“In the Wrong Rain” is dismal union of two musty themes of the 1950s. Think of it as “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit Meets Lolita.” If this were to be made into a film, it would star Jeff Chandler, Laurence Harvey or some other wooden leading man of the era as the inwardly tortured postwar executive; June Allyson or Donna Reed as his two-dimensional, cardboard wife; and Sandra Dee as the teenage jailbait daughter of an old college friend who comes to town.


Robert R. Kirsch on Raymond Chandler

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Jim Murray, June 8, 1961

  June 8, 1961, Tommy Davis  

  June 8, 1961, Jim Murray  

June 8, 1961: Danny Murtaugh is like the Pirates. Tough, blue-bearded, underslung jaw, he looks like a sulfurous-tempered truck driver. Actually, he is shy and modest and the kind of worrier whose biggest fear when he took the manager's job was that other managers around the league might not want to take him on as a coach if he failed.

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Tip Poff, July 17, 1932

  July 17, 1932, Comics  

  July 17, 1932, Tip Poff  

March 19, 1939, Tip-Off!
July 17, 1932: I’ve been meaning to post some of the Tip Poff  gossip columns that The Times used to run in the movie/drama pages of the 1930s. The Times experimented with the column and by 1939 was calling it Tip-Off! Isn’t this March 19, 1939, logo great? Of course it was too bold for The Times, which dumped it immediately.

I’ll try putting Tip Poff in the afternoon slot as a substitute for Paul Coates and Matt Weinstock. They will return for January 1962, when The Times absorbed their columns after Otis Chandler killed the Mirror-News.
Notice the fine quality of Hal Foster’s version of “Tarzan.” He doesn’t seem to have any problems with perspective, unlike Rex Maxon, who was drawing the strip in the 1940s. 

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North American Aviation Strike


  June 7, 1941, U.S. Ready to Seize Plane Plant  

  June 7, 1941, Comics  

June 7, 1941, North American Strike June 7, 1941: The strike at the North American Aviation plant, in which Army troops dispersed union activists and took over an essential American defense facility,  is one of the landmark events in Los Angeles history.

Because of its importance – and because the details are sometimes mangled –  I’m going to devote several posts to the events that unfolded in the first half of 1941 at  North American Aviation, which was making the NA-73 (P-51) Mustang, the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber and the  AT-6A trainer at a sprawling facility at 5701 Imperial Highway.  Notice that North American is usually described as being in Inglewood, but the plant was actually at Mines Field in Los Angeles.

Although the United States would not enter the war until December, it was clear by the middle of 1941 that America would almost certainly be involved, making aircraft production a vital defense industry not only for the U.S., but for Britain, which was receiving some of North American’s planes. Aircraft workers were deferred from the draft because of the nature of their jobs.


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Jim Murray, June 7, 1961

  June 7, 1961, Weightlifter  

  June 7, 1961, Jim Murray  

June 7, 1961: Gene Tunney's chief claim to fame is he licked an over-aged Jack Dempsey twice. It won him respect but not affection. A peculiar thing about the public is it resents a man who topples a popular champion and Gene was no exception. Just ask Ezzard Charles. He overturned Joe Louis and could hardly get anybody to go to lunch with him. Sandy Saddler beat Willie Pep and people stopped speaking to him on the street. And so on.
Notice: Women’s weightlifting in the 1960s. The caption notes that Judy Miller lifts weights, but she’s still “pretty.”

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Police Chief on His Way Out

  June 6, 1941, Hohmann  

  June 6, 1941, Comics  

June 6, 1941: Police Chief Arthur Hohmann and Deputy Chief C.B. “Jack” Horrall are about to trade jobs. 

Horrall will remain chief through World War II and into the postwar period, finally retiring during the Brenda Allen scandal – as did Assistant Chief Joe Reed. It should be emphasized that Horrall was chief during an especially difficult time in Los Angeles history. The LAPD lost hundreds of men to the armed forces and had to relax its hiring standards to get enough replacements. Afterward, the “war emergency” officers had to make way when the LAPD’s regular police returned to duty. Some WE officers (their serial numbers included the letters WE to indicate their special status) remained with the LAPD but many others lost their jobs.

At the same time, remember that under Chief James Davis, Horrall headed the Police Department’s “bum blockade” of 1936, in which LAPD officers were sworn into local departments to prevent Okies and other transients from coming into California during the Depression.  Horrall later headed the vice squad.

After all these years, 9 out of 10 Hollywoodites still pass Harold Lloyd without recognizing him, Jimmie Fidler says.
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Jim Murray, June 6, 1961

  June 6, 1961, Day in Sports.  

  June 6, 1961, Jim Murray  

June 6, 1961: Track and field is still a wholesome LIVING sport, not bound down to tradition like, say, baseball. A trophy for everything and everything for a trophy. I don't know whether you know it or not, but Olympic events are the least standardized of any in the whole fabric of sports. Today it can be high-jumping or hop-step-and-jumping. Tomorrow, it could just as well be pushing a peanut on your nose around a circular course over two jumps and a water hole.

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Jim Murray, June 5, 1961

  June 5, 1961, Day in Sports  

  June 5, 1961, Jim Murray  

June 5, 1961: It is always a source of wonder to me that a sport as savage and cruel as prizefighting doesn't brutalize its practitioners. Yet, it doesn't. A ballplayer after losing a game is a snarling, cursing, tantrum-throwing terror. Football players smash fists into lockers. But a fighter weeps.

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Burbank Man Invents Death Ray!

  June 4, 1941, Death Ray  

  June 4, 1941, Comics  

June 4, 1941: I’ll admit I’m a sucker for stories about death rays. Evidently The Times’ editors were too since they put this item on Page 1. Promoter Kurt Van Zuyle credited L.E. Riley of Burbank as the inventor. It was a fake (surprise!) but before being caught, Van Zuyle got $10,000 from a government agent who was investigating the scheme.

There’s a picture of the infernal device on the jump! 

Jimmie Fidler says: Wotziz about Patti McCarty being very foolish because of frustrated love for Glenn Ford?

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