Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
|Jan. 7, 1900: I think I just found my new favorite kicker, “An Idiotic Idea.” It’s almost as good as “Created Two-Headed Dog,” but not quite. What is it with the University of Wisconsin? The faculty bans flirting … and the students give up sleep.* |
"If those young men in Wisconsin succeed in carrying out their plan they will all be in their graves or in insane asylums by the time their efforts are finished. If Thomas A. Edison say he lives on four hours' sleep I should like to see proof," says Dr. Horatio C. Wood, head of the department for the study and treatment of nervous diseases at the University of Pennsylvania.
*Note: My great-grandfather graduated from the UW in 1890 and my great-aunt was on the faculty for many years, so I feel perfectly entitled to make fun of what I know is a great institution.
Isn’t this a great drawing? I suppose in 1919 smokestacks meant progress and not pollution.
Enumerators prepare to take the 1920 census and have a few questions. Is a lone man or woman without any known relatives a family? Yes. When is a chicken ranch not a chicken ranch? When it earns more than $250 a year. Then it’s a chicken farm.
Dec. 30, 1919: George Steunenberg writes:
The Receiving Hospital cot where more than 600 died.
|Dec. 19, 1909: “Within a few days the old rubber-covered cot at the Receiving Hospital in the Central Police Station will be removed, and a new and more sanitary operating stand will take its place. The successor of the old piece of furniture, on which thousands of human beings have been stretched, is nearly completed.” |
Here’s an explanation of all the old references to police surgeons. A century ago, trauma patients were taken to the Receiving Hospital at the Central Police Station, 318 W. 1st St.
165 N. Utah St., the former Russian quarter, via Google Earth.
|Dec. 12, 1909: Health inspectors checking the Russian quarter find violations of the law requiring that people sleep in rooms with at least 500 cubic feet of air per person. I’m not sure how officials derived this figure or how it was calculated, but even so, these places sound cramped. Maybe a little digging will turn up more information. |
Knox hats and caps at Alexander and Oviatt.
Dec. 14, 1919: George Blaha was given a fatal dose of chloroform by his mother-in-law?
Dec. 17, 1919: An unusually large amount of chloroform and carbolic acid was found in Blaha’s brain and kidneys, the coroner says.
Dec. 18, 1919: Gertrude Steele is charged with manslaughter in the death of her son-in-law, George Blaha.
Oct. 7, 1924: Steele is charged in the death of another patient.
|Dec. 11, 1919: Here’s an especially curious tale – the saga of George A. Blaha who died trying to get rid of his freckles in a procedure performed by his mother-in-law, Gertrude Steele, a naturopath. Murder charges against Steele were dropped in Blaha’s death because it was unclear what procedures she was allowed to perform as a naturopath. Steele left Los Angeles in 1924, shortly after another patient, Christina Leslie, died when the incisions from her cosmetic surgery became infected. A 1925 story says Steele was reportedly in Germany.|
|Nov. 23, 1909: A law regulating smoking on streetcars goes into effect. From now on, smokers must take the rear seats of the cars.|
Clearly it's no more possible to control the gags about the quiz show scandal than it is to control the mushrooming scandal itself, and the other day a group of coffee break philosophers of my acquaintance got around to the subject.
A man named Marvin contributed the subversive thought that in addition to handling out its annual Emmy awards next year the television business should offer a special Ananians award, on the occasion of which the band should strike up with "Pony Boy."
A cynic named Jerry suggested a Stoolie award, but he was quickly smothered on the grounds that this was strictly a police matter.
A MAN NAMED PETE compared Charles Van Doren's ordeal with that of thicker-skinned politicians caught with soiled money in their hands. What this country needs, he argued, ineffectively, is a measuring stick for corruption.
Away from the coffee percolator, Seymour Mandel keeps remembering the pompous business with the armed guards, the trust company executives and the sealed envelopes. He is intrigued with the thought that while the show was on nobody at the bank watched the vault.
Bob Cole thinks it would be appropriate for the networks to re-run the quiz shows this summer with the title, "Watch My Lyin'".
And so on.
THE HEARINGS also reminded Victor Borge of the time in 1948 that he flunked his big quiz -- his citizenship examination.
He was doing fine until the L.A. immigration officer asked if he could ever become president. Borge, born in Denmark, knew the answer but overwhelmed by a frivolous impulse replied, "I don't plan to run for president because I have too much to do. Besides I doubt if anyone would vote for me."
The interrogator not in the mood for humor, said coldly, "The right answer is that you cannot be president because you were not born here. Come back in three weeks and try again."
Chastened, Borge, now performing in Las Vegas, returned three weeks later and passed the exam.
WHILE TUNED IN to radio station XERB, waiting for the race results, an Olive St. horseplayer became entranced by a woman astrologer who warned certain listeners to be careful between now and next March because of adverse influences in their birth signs.
The horseplayer was so impressed that he repeated the information to a friend, only he put it this way:
"So this dame says you got to play it cool until everything is downhill and shady with Saturn again and Mars gets Jupiter off its back."
A MAN WHO applied for a job with a big firm was briefed on procedure and assured he would be called in a few days. When nothing happened he phoned. He was told, "We have you on our available list."
"I am glad to hear that," he said, "but I don't know if I'm going to be that available."
These are the conditions which prevail.
JAMES A. MACLEOD, information officer of the British Consulate, who is being transferred to Munich, asked Tom Cassidy of KFAC which recorded version of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" he considered best.
Tom recommended the one on the Library Of Congress special project titled "The Union," but was curious about the inquiry.
MacLeod said he wanted a copy to take along. He added, "I think it best describes the American spirit and personality. In fact, if I may be permitted to venture an opinion, I think it should be your national anthem. After all, you know you don't have bombs bursting in air, old fellow."
AROUND TOWN -- Troy Garrison is worried about a new sign for the Golden Age Convalescent Home, showing a nurse standing behind a man in a wheelchair, at the foot of 13th St. in San Pedro. An arrow on it points into the harbor's main channel . . . Add property tax outrages: A man who owns seven acres of undeveloped land in Calabasas, representing his lifetime investment, received a tax bill of $835. Last year it was $175.
Clare Briggs takes another look at golf in “Conceding Yourself a Putt.”
|Nov. 7, 1919: London retains 100 of the women police officers who were put into service during World War I. Part of the force was disbanded after the war, but 100 policewomen were retained to keep order out of fears of "an orgy of dissipation" among ex-soldiers in the "night life sections." The policewomen are particularly on the lookout for young women who might be attracted to such places and get in trouble.|
Labor activists in Indianapolis set off four precisely timed bombs targeting a contractor using non-union workers. One bomb destroyed a barn at his home, two bombs wrecked buildings under construction and the fourth damaged a building at his plant.
|A chauffeur testifies in the trial of Dr. George A. Fritch, accused of killing Maybelle Millman of Ann Arbor, saying that Fritch threw three heavy sacks into Ecorse Creek. |
"Millman's body was found in three sections in sacks in Ecorse Creek and lower Detroit River early last September. The police decided the body showed evidence of a criminal operation," The Times says.