The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Courts

Paul Coates, April 11, 1961

  April 11, 1961, Mirror Cover  

  April 11, 1961, Yorty Sues Poulson  

April 11, 1961: Mayoral candidate Sam Yorty sues Mayor Norris Poulson for slander! Life is good (if you’re a newspaper)!
Al Capp interviews a stewardess for American Airlines – none of this flight attendant stuff in 1961, you know.

Paul Coates writes about a young lad who received a series of those painful shots – 14 of them – to prevent rabies after being bitten by a dog. Only they didn’t all that much, the boy says.

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Liz Renay Sentenced to Prison

  April 11, 1961, Comics  

  April 11, 1961  

April 11, 1961: Liz Renay (d. 2007) is sentenced to prison for violating the terms of her probation for perjury in Mickey Cohen’s tax evasion case. She later said: "I have paid a dear price for the mistake I made, and I hope the public will be forgiving. I wanted to protect Mickey. I felt I owed him that. I couldn't deliberately hurt someone who had been nice to me."

Renay was charged with resorting, which was reduced to disturbing the peace. This quaint term refers to checking into any sort of business establishment, like a hotel, for prostitution. 

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Paul Coates, April 10, 1961


  April 10, 1961, Mirror Cover  

April 10, 1961: Notice the Spade Cooley story. It vanished from later editions, and I couldn’t find the jump, just the Page 1 portion.

Paul Coates writes about two Beverly Hills police officers' problems with Police Chief Clinton Anderson. You might put Anderson’s “Beverly Hills Is My Beat” (1960) on your Zombie Reading List.  Anderson has chapters on the Johnny Stompanato and Bugsy Siegel cases.

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Matt Weinstock, April 7, 1961

  April 7, 1961, Comics  

April 7, 1961:  A bail bondsman takes a lesson from “The Untouchables” and finds his missing client in a barber chair, Matt Weinstock says.

CONFIDENTIAL TO "HAVING OUR TROUBLES": A very wise woman once told me that she owed her 35 years of happy marriage to the three or four things she left unsaid every day.
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Daily Mirror Readers -- 'The Brain Trust'

Howard Decker

Photo courtesy of Howard Decker

Most Daily Mirror readers know him as Fibber. His real name is Howard Decker, and here’s a picture of him covering the Spade Cooley trial. He’s the fellow in the background on the right. Howard also covered the 1957 story of an intoxicated Gail Russell driving her convertible through a window of Jan's Restaurant, 8424 Beverly Blvd.

[Note to crime tour buffs: The restaurant is still there and it’s a nice breakfast place.]

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."

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Private Investigator Held in Extortion

  March 31, 1931, Comics  

  March 31, 1931, Comics  

Private investigator Charles R. Chase decided to make a little extra money by squeezing an extra $900 out of a teenager who stole $100 from the  drugstore where he worked. The police set a trap and heard Chase repeat his demand to the boy's mother while they listened in the next room.

A Senate committee wants to raise statewide speed limits: 20 mph in business districts, 25 mph in residential districts and 45 mph on highways.

Also on the jump: Road rage, 1931-style.

Lady Louis Mountbatten lunching at the Brown Derby "stood out like a sore thumb," Mollie Merrick says.

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Ex-Columbia Student Blames Drugs for Shooting at Actress

  March 23, 1901, Nameplate  

  March 23, 1901, Shirts  

  March 23, 1901, Wild Act of Youth  

March 23, 1901: The Times has grown to an 18-page paper. One front-page story reports a shooting in the Rathskeller of the Pabst Hotel (d. 1902) at 42nd Street and Broadway in New York, where former Columbia student Robert H. Moulton fired five shots into a party of actors and friends in a booth, slightly injuring a theater manager. Police originally assumed that Moulton was obsessed with  actress May Buckley, who was appearing in “The Price of Peace,” but investigators determined that Moulton had taken so much morphine that he had no idea what he was doing.

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Minister Accused of Trying to Rape Danish Nanny


  March 22, 1891, Fleming Case  

March 21-22, 1891: It has been far too long since I paid a visit to 1891, when The Times was a 12-page paper with offices at 1st and Broadway. The Rev. Samuel J. Fleming of South Pasadena has been accused of trying to rape the family’s Danish nanny. He has also been accused of misusing money from the Chautauqua association and the ensuing investigations reveal that the man of the cloth abandoned a previous wife and is an all-around cad! 

In the briefs: Jim Lewis has only been out of jail a few days and is already in trouble for stealing Father McDonald's hat from the cathedral!

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Man Paralyzed in Shooting Over a Can of Beer, March 21, 1981

  March 21, 1981, Comics  

  March 21, 1981, Nickel  

March 21, 1981: Times reporter Bill Farr (d. 1987) has the story of Josephus Jackson, who was partially paralyzed from being shot in the back by a liquor store clerk over a 55-cent can of beer.

Richard Craig Scott was sentenced to a year in jail after being charged with a misdemeanor because the district attorney’s office refused to file felony charges. Then-Dist. Atty. John K. Van de Kamp agreed with Judge David Horowitz that the case should have been handled as a felony but defended the decision not to file charges  as “a good faith error.”
Farr, who died of cancer at the age of 52, is probably best known for going to jail for refusing to reveal sources during the Manson family trial.


The Manson family on the Daily Mirror

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Architectural Ramblings -- The Sowden House

  Oct. 3, 1938, Sowden House  
  Drawing by Charles Owens/Los Angeles Times  

The Sowden House by architect Lloyd Wright at 5121 Franklin Ave. is on the market for $4.2 million.

You may recall that this was the purported murder HQ of Dr. George “Evil Genius” Hodel during his supposedly bloody rampage across the city, in which he killed with impunity (the Black Dahlia, Jeanne French and the Red Cars) after coercing authorities into silence by threatening to reveal which prominent Angelenos had (gasp!) VD. 

Yes, venereal disease is a far worse crime than murder, at least according to “Black Dahlia Avenger,” “Most Evil” and  whatever may be next (Jimmy Hoffa? Judge Crater?) in the “Evil Genius”  franchise.   


 A virtual tour of the home.

The Nuestro Pueblo feature on the home.

Dr. George “Evil Genius” Hodel on the Daily Mirror

Paul Coates and Matt Weinstock, March 11, 1961

  March 11, 1961, Comics  

March 11, 1961: The unemployed man who turned in $240,000 that fell from a Brink’s armored car gets a job offer!

An overturned propane trailer causes a five-hour jam on the Hollywood Freeway, Matt Weinstock says, back when such things were still a novelty. 

Paul Coates interviews a woman whose husband was charged with abusing the couple’s young daughters after he inflicted second-degree burns by holding their hands over the flame on a gas stove. The girls’ crime? They “messed up” clothing in dresser drawers.

DEAR ABBY: Your advice to "OFF MY SCHEDULE" should have been framed. Thanks, Abby, for having a kind paper shoulder for so many to cry on. Like "OFF MY SCHEDULE" I, too, had a young neighbor who would come to my home too often and stay too long. She had two little children and there were times when she kept me from my work. I became weary of her company.

When she moved, she thanked me for my kindness in letting her come. She confessed she had been on the verge of becoming an alcoholic and when she felt she needed a drink she would come to my house instead. My only regret now is that I became weary at all.

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