The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Lee Shippey

'Hunchback Killer' Arrested, June 8, 1941




 
 
 
image 
 

  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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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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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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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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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, June 2, 1941




 
 
  June 2, 1941, Dolly Sister,  

  June 2, 1941, Comics  

June 2, 1941: The pajama-clad body of Hungarian-born danseuse Jenny Dolly, who with her sister Rosie was the toast of two continents two decades ago, was found dangling from a wrought-iron curtain rod in her luxurious Hollywood apartment, 1735 N. Wilcox Ave., The Times says. 

TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX AT A GLANCE: Granite-eyed gatemen relaxing into big grins as Jane Withers drives past, Jimmie Fidler says.
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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, June 1, 1941




 
 
  June 1, 1941, Iraq Conquered by British Troops  

  image June 1, 1941, Streetcar  
  June 1, 1941, Streetcar
June 1, 1941, Streetcar
 


  image  


June 1, 1941: LONDON, May 31. (AP)-- German airmen who went belatedly to Iraq to bolster the Axis-inspired war against Britain were reported fleeing the country tonight as Iraqi resistance collapsed. British imperial advance forces entered the disorderly capital of Bagdad.

Lee Shippey says the  argument in the Seymour house always begins in May: Should we turn off the furnace? 

Probably you've seen some of the new jukebox "soundies" and formed your own opinion of them. I've just previewed 24 at one sitting, all produced by composer Sam Coslow, and I'm convinced that big movie moguls, instead of regarding them with contempt, should give them special attention, Jimmie Fidler says.
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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, May 31, 1941





  May 31, 1941, Arthur Hohmann's Son Dies  

  May 31, 1941, Comics  

May 31, 1941 – Arthur Hohmann, the LAPD’s reform police chief, will step down in June, citing the deaths of his son and his mother. He was replaced by Clemence C.B. “Jack” Horrall, who served as chief during World War II and retired in 1949 during the Brenda Allen scandal.

Lee Shippey says: It is strange how masterminds disagree as to whether the president's speech last Tuesday means war. So I think I should clear up the matter for my readers.

The speech does not necessarily mean war. All it means is that we must fight or the Nazis must surrender. I'm not joking. I do not think it impossible that the Nazis will surrender.


Also on the jump:  The Times opposes gasoline conservation, Daylight Saving Time and other measures as the country moves toward  wartime stringency measures. Typically, The Times says that the real way to prepare for war is to forbid strikes by unions!

And yes, The Times’ editorial page featured a Bible quote every day for many years.

HOLLYWOOD AFTER DARK: Carole Lombard grinning apologetically at the Hollywood and Vine traffic cop as her car rolls too far into the intersection, Jimmie Fidler says.

Also From The Times’ Editorial Page:

Don’t Recall Mayor Frank Shaw, 1938
Don’t Change Immigration Quotas for Jewish Refugees Fleeing Hitler, 1938
We Don’t Need a Federal Anti-Lynching Law, 1938
U.S. Shouldn’t Recognize Red China, 1959
Times Endorses Nixon, 1960

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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, May 28, 1941





  May 28, 1941, President Declares Emergency  

  May 28, 1941, Comics  

May 28, 1941: LONDON, May 27 (AP) -- The 35,000-ton German battleship Bismarck, one of the newest and most powerful in the world, was smashed and sunk today by British warships and aerial bombers on the fifth morning of as coldly implacable a chase as sea warfare has ever known.

Jimmie Fidler says: Tucked away in a corner of the Los Angeles Times the other day was an item that left me cold with rage.... The item to which I refer digested down to this: "The Hollywood Guild may have to close its doors and cease aiding unfortunate members of the film industry because the drain of foreign charities has cut so deeply into the guild's income as to threaten its existence.”

FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! How can American-born actors and executives of the movie industry be so blind? How can they continue to pour thousands of dollars into foreign relief funds, meanwhile ignoring the pitiful cry of indigents right here at home?

Also on the jump: A map of the Bismarck’s demise by Times artist Charles Owens.

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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, May 27, 1941




 
 
  May 27, 1941, Battle Raging in Atlantic  

  May 27, 1941, Comics  


image  LONDON, May 27 (Tuesday.) (AP) -- British warships apparently were engaged in a mighty duel with a German battle squadron, including the 35,000-ton Bismarck, in the North Atlantic early today after a British naval plane rammed an aerial torpedo into the Bismarck.

Lee Shippey has an item on Homer Lea (d. 1912), the author of the 1909 book "The Valor of Ignorance." (The book is also listed on world.cat.) Despite considerable physical handicaps, Lea became a military advisor to Sun Yat-sen and his observations on Japan were widely studied during World War II. (I wrote a long post about Lea for the 1947project. Stay tuned for another one on the Daily Mirror.)

The home for destitute actors, to be built near Hollywood with Motion Picture Relief Fund money, will be named "Roosevelt Home," Jimmie Fidler says.  

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Jimmie Fidler, May 26, 1941




 
 
  May 26, 1941, Japan Army Seizes U.S. Property  

  May 26, 1941, Jimmie Fidler  

May 26, 1941: PITTSBURGH, May 25 (AP) -- A man's leg was found along the Ohio River at suburban Moon Township tonight and detectives seeking the remainder of the body said it was probably "another murder" by the long-sought "Mad Butcher" of Cleveland, O."

We turn out a masterpiece titled "Grapes of Wrath" and convince our Latin neighbors that rural North America has gone to hell in high gear. We produce "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" to prove our political corruption, "Citizen Kane" to demonstrate the vices in our capitalistic system, "The Devil and Miss Jones" to make it plain that we're a bunch of downtrodden wage slaves and "Tobacco Road" to put across our cultural standards,  Jimmie Fidler says.
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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, May 25, 1941




 
 
  May 25, 1941, Nazis Sink Hood, British Sea Giant  

  May 25, 1941, Comics  


LONDON, MAY 24 (AP) -- The 42,100-ton battle cruiser Hood, largest warship in the world, was blown to bits in the waters between Greenland and Iceland today by the new German battleship Bismarck during a battle of grave import between the behemoths of the British and German navies.

How refreshing to see a young actress as refreshingly plump (not fat) as Joan Leslie, Jimmie Fidler says.
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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, May 24, 1941





  May 24, 1941, 5000 Germans Drowned Off Crete  

  May 24, 1941, Comics  

May 24, 1941: HOLLYWOOD AFTER DARK: The Mocambo orchestra hailing Jimmy Stewart home on leave with "Till Reveille" ... Maureen O'Hara at the Beverly Tropics, giving the waiter an involved order in French -- and escort Bill Lundigan amazed when it turns out to be a hamburger ... Orson Welles, on a boulevard corner, eyeing an overhead blimp trailing a "Citizen Kane" ad -- blimp ogles blimp ... An aviation officer at Florentine Gardens getting aitch from his girlfriend when he too obviously enjoys being kissed by the entire chorus.

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