The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Downtown

Matt Weinstock, Dec. 16, 1960

  Dec. 16, 1960, Comics  

Dec. 16, 1960: Matt Weinstock has the story of a cat that was taken to West Hollywood because its Bunker Hill home was to be torn down, but made its way back because it was evidently homesick. 

CONFIDENTIAL TO "SO IN LOVE": He may mean it when he says he loves you, but that doesn't mean he intends to leave his wife.
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Matt Weinstock, Dec. 15, 1960

  Dec. 15, 1960, Comics  

The surprise plot turn: a brilliant scientist and his beautiful daughter! I wonder if MST3K ever did comic strips.

Dec. 15, 1960: Matt Weinstock writes about a longtime resident of Los Angeles who is horrified to discover that Castelar Street no longer exists (it was renamed Hill).

CONFIDENTIAL TO "CORKY": When a woman gets a man on the spot, she usually takes him to the cleaners. Watch it!
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Autry Gets Angels!

  Dec. 7, 1960, Angeles


Dec. 7, 1960: The Angels were official.

Gene Autry's team would play in Wrigley Field instead of the Coliseum or Rose Bowl, apparently seeing the old minor league ballpark as a better financial deal even though there was room for only about 21,500 fans.

The Times continued to report that the team was expected to open the season at home against the Yankees. They actually opened at Baltimore.

A minor member of the Angels' ownership group was an interesting element to the story given O'Malley's opposition to another team in L.A.  Kenyon Brown had owned KCOP Channel 13, which campaigned against the Dodgers' bid to build a stadium in Chavez Ravine.  He was listed as part of the ownership group.

"O'Malley has studiously avoided any mention of Brown in discussions with the press about the 'acceptability' "of owners Autry and Bob Reynolds, Frank Finch reported in The Times.

Brown owned several local radio stations, which Finch speculated would make a nice nucleus for an Angel network. Of course, Autry's radio and television stations would carry the Angel games.

--Keith Thursby

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What to See in L.A., 1924


  Sept. 7, 1924, Post Office  

I don’t post much on the 1920s (so many stories, only one Larry Harnisch) but I stumbled across this feature page when looking for something else and found several interesting pieces. The first is a long interview with Joseph M. Abrams, vice president and general manager of a tour bus line, who says the most popular sightseeing spots are: 

1) Mary Pickford's house

2) Rudolph Valentino's house

3) Charlie Chaplin's house

4) Gloria Swanson's house

5) Will Rogers' house

6) Pauline Frederick's house

7) Milton Sills' house

8) Jackie Coogan's house

9) Tommy Meighan's house

10) William Desmond's house

11) William S. Hart's house

12) Eugene O'Brien's house

13) Pola Negri's house

14) Lois Wilson's house

15) J. Warren Kerrigan's house

16) The house on Dayton Avenue where Jim Jeffries was born. [Note: The home was at Dayton and Cypress Avenues, presumably 535 Cypress, according to the 1909 city directory, available online from the Los Angeles Public Library. A subtle reminder to budget-slashing civic leaders who think librarians only reshelve books. And yes, Jeffries’ father was a minister.]  

“Most of the reservations for sightseeing trips about Los Angeles are made by the women. They constitute 80% of our patrons. Men want to go to the baseball game or to a prizefight or to the beach, where the bathing girls are. When they go to view the city they usually are hauled along by their wives,” Abrams says. 

Then there’s a piece on old and vanished buildings of Los Angeles and  the unusual home of “occultist” Ben Hansen  (no address, alas). It is built entirely of eucalyptus and decorated with Egyptian/Assyrian/Persian/Aztec symbols. With a couple of Buddhas  tastefully thrown in.


Jim Jeffries and the “Fight of the Century”

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Matt Weinstock, Nov. 21, 1960

  Nov. 21, 1960, Comics  

Nov. 21, 1960: Matt Weinstock notes that the fire hydrant outside the new state building at 2nd and Hill streets is in the gutter because the street was widened during construction and nobody can agree on who should pay for moving it to the sidewalk. (Yes this is the Cold War monstrosity that was finally torn down after being damaged in the Northridge earthquake. The site is currently occupied by a vacant pit that grows weeds and collects water whenever it rains).

DEAR ABBY: I am a 55-year-old spinster and I want to buy me a husband ... I am not bad looking. I can give him a car of his own... a good allowance to do as he pleases and no questions asked. I want a man between 20 and 40 who doesn't drink. I own 4 houses and a drive-in and have money in the bank ... There is nothing wrong with me ... and he can sleep as late as he pleases. I am sick of playing hard to get. I believe in putting all my cards on the table and I want a man who will do the same.
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Gene Autry a Contender in American League Expansion Team

  Nov. 19, 1960, Sports  

Nov. 19, 1960: Hank Greenberg, former baseball star who was part owner of the Chicago White Sox, was out as the potential bidder for the American League baseball team hoping to start play in Los Angeles in 1961. So who was in?

The Times reported that several people were talking about taking over, including Gene Autry, the former cowboy star described by the paper as a "television tycoon."

Autry got into the ownership sweepstakes only after talking to Greenberg about carrying the new baseball team's games on Autry's radio station, KMPC. Dodger owner Walter O'Malley had moved his team's games from KMPC to KFI. Now Autry was in the mix as a potential owner.

Also mentioned by The Times: Keynon Brown, former Detroit Tigers owner who was called a principal stockholder and executive at Los Angeles television station KCOP; Charles O. Finley, a Chicago insurance broker who would become the flamboyant owner of the Kansas City/Oakland A's; and the National Theaters and Television Inc., which operated 275 theaters on the West Coast and use them as ticket agencies.

Why did Greenberg, whose ownership group reportedly would have included longtime baseball owner Bill Veeck, back out of the L.A. plan?

According to retired Times baseball writer Ross Newhan, whose book "The Anaheim Angels: A Complete History" that documented the start of the franchise, "The obstacle was O'Malley, who argued that existing rules did not permit the American League to move into his territory and he was supported by Commissioner Ford Frick." But there was more.

"The problem really seemed to be one of personality and money," Newhan wrote. "Greenberg and Veeck were not interested in meeting O'Malley's demand for $450,000 … and O'Malley, not anxious to share his chunk of the Gold Coast with anyone, was particularly not anxious to do it with a magnetic showman such as Veeck."

--Keith Thursby

Corners of Los Angeles – 5th and Hill


  April 8, 1929, Corners of Los Angeles  

I stumbled across one of these features recently and thought I’d post another. This one is from April 8, 1929. Ben S. Lemmon was a telegraph editor at The Times and wrote occasionally for the paper from 1907 to 1929. He died in 1937 at the age of 48.

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Lakers Playing to Empty Seats

  Nov. 5, 1960, Lakers

Nov. 5, 1960: Don Page was worried about the Lakers. No one was watching.

"Bigger crowds have watched knitting tournaments than have viewed the Lakers thus far," wrote Page, The Times' radio columnist.

He blamed the lack of a consistent radio schedule for part of the team's problem. According to Page, the Lakers sought more for radio rights than did the Rams, then a popular draw in Los Angeles.

Page also noted that the Lakers' next game would be on television but not in Los Angeles. It probably didn't help that they were playing a home game at a college gym, at Los Angeles State College.

--Keith Thursby

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Found on EBay – Belasco Theater

  Main and 4th St.  

Here’s an interesting postcard of Main and 4th streets that was mailed in 1908. Notice that it shows the Belasco Theater, which eventually became the Follies Burlesque. The postcard is listed on EBay for $5.

On the jump, a 1929 article about the changing landscape of Main Street by Ben S. Lemmon, a writer I have never encountered before, and worth reading.
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Stengel Top Choice to Coach New L.A. Team



Nov. 1, 1960: The new American League team heading to Los Angeles seemed to be stockpiling star power. Hank Greenberg, a Hall of Fame slugger turned businessman, was putting together his bid for the franchise, which would start playing in 1961. And Casey Stengel, barely out of a job with the New York Yankees, moved to the head of the list of potential managers.

"If Casey wants to take another management job he will be given much consideration by our group," Greenberg told The Times' Frank Finch.

Next on Greenberg's list was talking to the Coliseum Commission to rent the stadium for his expansion team. A Times story Nov. 3 said Greenberg asked the commission for a two-year option to play in the Coliseum. Still to be decided was the matter of Dodger owner Walter O'Malley and what it would take to make him welcome the new team to the neighborhood.

Speaking of the Dodgers and expansion teams, the Houston team that would start play in 1962 named longtime Dodger coach Bobby Bragan as its manager. But he didn't manage until 1963 when he joined the then-Milwaukee Braves.

--Keith Thursby

The Biltmore Doorman

  Nov. 1, 1960, Biltmore Doorman

Nov. 1, 1960: I always have my eye out for stories about doormen at the Biltmore after researching the often-repeated myth about the “noble doorman” at the hotel, tipping his cap and opening the door for the Black Dahlia when she disappeared in 1947. “He observed her trim form swinging south on Olive Street toward Sixth, the slim legs striding easily, the red heels tapping purposefully on the sidewalk,” or so the folktale says. 

In fact, this story doesn’t appear anywhere in the original news coverage or in any official documents I have ever examined. It seems to have been invented by Jack Webb for “The Badge,” which is notable as the first version of the Dahlia story in which Elizabeth Short is portrayed as a downbeat drifter. Webb treats all the victims in “The Badge” with snide, superior commentary, particularly Karil Graham, who was killed by Donald Keith Bashor

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Victor the Flower Vendor

  Oct. 22, 1910, Dress
  Oct. 22, 1910, Black Silk

Oct. 22, 1910: The LAPD cracks down on sidewalk peddlers and beggars outside the Merchants’ National Bank at 3rd and Spring streets. But what to do with Victor, the poor flower vendor?

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