The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Front pages

Yorty Elected Mayor!


  June 1, 1961, Times Cover  

  June 1, 1961, Comics  

June 1, 1961: Sam Yorty defeats Norris Poulson in the mayor’s race. Poulson says one reason for his loss was the Memorial Day riot in Griffith Park in which a mob of African Americans attacked a small group of LAPD officers. The riot broke out when the operator of the merry-go-round tried to eject a teenager who had gotten on without paying, The Times said. Two men were eventually convicted in the incident.

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Paul Coates and Matt Weinstock, April 15, 1961

  April 15, 1961, Comics  

April 15, 1961: Matt Weinstock has two items on people who are crossing the country in walks for peace. One is a group that is walking from San Francisco to Moscow and the other is Miss Peace Pilgrim of Cologne, N.J., who began walking for peace in 1953.

Paul Coates writes about Al Einfrank, a truck driver who won a fortune on game shows, but is unemployed and has been exploring skid row.

"Every time you give a dime to one of those bums, you just prolong their misery. You encourage them to remain just the way they are," he tells Coates.

DEAR ABBY: My husband had not been acting like himself for about six months. I finally got it out of him. He said it all started when he gave his bookkeeper a few kisses occasionally because he couldn't afford to give her a raise. He says now she isn't satisfied with kisses, and keeps pestering him to.... 

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Elijah Muhammad Calls for Separate Black Nation

  April 14, 1961, Mirror Cover  

  April 14, 1961, Elijah Muhammad  

April 14, 1961: "Elijah Muhammad, 63-year-old leader of the politico-religious cult known as the Muslims, today held his first press conference in 30 years and asked for a part of America to form his own country," the Mirror's Bill Kiley said.  And yes, that is Malcolm X. I’ll see if we still have the original of this photo. Do you think The Times put the story on Page 1? No.

The Times said: He scoffed at suggestions that Negroes in America are steadily achieving more rights and status but shied away from an outright condemnation of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People....

"We never will believe in anything but the religion of Islam. Islam will give us absolute freedom, justice, equality and brotherly love," Muhammad said.

It would be interesting to see how the Eagle and Sentinel, Los Angeles’ African American weeklies (on microfilm at the Los Angeles Public Library), covered this story. So many stories, only one Larry Harnisch.


Note to history tour buffs: The news conference was held at the Clark Hotel, 1824 S. Central Ave.  at Washington Boulevard. 

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Paul Coates, April 13, 1961

  April 13, 1961, Mirror Cover  

April 13, 1961: An Anaheim man found some gold-colored flecks in the backyard and tested them for gold by putting them in a half-teaspoon of mercury that he heated over the stove, poisoning his family, Paul Coates says.
“Spade Cooley Daughter Tells Night of Terror” pretty much sums it up.

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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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Paul Coates, April 7, 1961

  April 7, 1961, Mirror Cover  

  Dec. 21, 1946, Loren Roosevelt  

  Dec. 21, 1946, Loren Roosevelt  

April 7, 1961: I came across a letter to the editor (on the jump) about Gov. Pat Brown’s grant of clemency for William Erwin “Machine Gun” Walker, which I overlooked (so many stories, only one Larry Harnisch). Walker was given the death sentence in the 1946 killing of California Highway Patrol Officer Loren Roosevelt. The incident was the basis for the film “He Walked by Night,” which was the genesis of “Dragnet.” 

Paul Coates has an item about two local gangs named the Rebels, one in North Hollywood that causes trouble and another in East L.A. that takes part in sports and organizes community projects.

And an Air National Guard F-100 shoots down a B-52 during practice maneuvers. "Something happened," an Air Force spokesman says.

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Paul Coates, April 6, 1961

  April 6, 1961, Mirror Cover  

April 6, 1961: Paul Coates has an update on Synanon, which was praised for the way it treated drug addiction. Later on, as many may remember, Synanon developed into a notorious cult.

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Spade Cooley Held in Wife's Death

  April 4, 1961, Mirror Cover  

  Spade Cooley, Sept. 6, 1954  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

April 4, 1961: Western music star Donnell “Spade” Cooley is accused of killing his estranged wife, Ella Mae,  in a jealous rage after listening to tape recordings of her phone conversations about what the defense would call “a free love cult.”

I have not had much exposure to the Cooley case, which occurred in Kern County, except that James Ellroy used to talk about it all the time and it is certainly one of the notorious killings of the early 1960s.

The details of the killing are particularly gruesome and part of it was witnessed by the Cooley’s teenage daughter, Melody, so I’m a little reluctant to dredge up all the gory details. A purported affair with Roy Rogers (yes, that Roy Rogers) — which he and others denied -- was also dragged into the courtroom.

It is a nasty, lurid case. 

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Paul Coates, March 30, 1961

  March 30, 1961, Mirror Cover  

March 30, 1961: I had a terrible time scanning Paul Coates’ column for today, which is on the jump but barely legible. The ones in April are better.

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Paul Coates, March 29, 1961

  March 29, 1961, Mirror Cover  

March 29, 1961: A fellow gives  up his charitable pastime after going for a walk in Beverly Hills. Irving Iscoe used to carry a pocket full of pennies when he went for a walk and would feed a few to parking meters that had expired to save drivers from getting tickets. He left a mimeographed note on the windshields, telling the drivers what he had done and telling them that they could repay him by donating to the Foundation for the Junior Blind. After a jaunt in Beverly Hills, however, he was warned by the police that he was soliciting without a license, Paul Coates says. 

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Paul Coates, March 28, 1961



March 28, 1961: Memphis Harry Lee Ward, one of Paul Coates’ regular correspondents, sends a copy of “Highways of Literature.”  Coates pages through the book and finds some interesting items….

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Paul Coates, March 27, 1961

  March 27, 1961, Mirror Cover  

March 27, 1961: Paul Coates has the story of two students who went on vacation to Mexico and came back with a 12-year-old orphan. 
And Mirror reader Jerry Feldner sends a letter about the artistry of bullfighting.

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