Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
Category: Mickey Cohen
Mickey Cohen says: "I'm a lover, not a fighter."
Sandy Hashagen says going steady with Mickey Cohen for 14 days gave her a police record and cost her a job as a dancer in Las Vegas..
Adjusted for inflation, these trees start at $13.81, USD 2008.
Igor Stravinsky gives his manuscript for “The Rake’s Progress” to USC.
“Solomon and Sheba” is coming!
Jeane Hoffman on open tennis.
Is This Really Tokyo Rose?
Her name is Iva Toguri d'Aquino, but you know her as Tokyo Rose.
And that's why she hides.
She's 43 now. She has a small business and a smaller circle of acquaintances.
This is deliberate. This is her shield against the humiliation which results when somebody finds out and whispers, "That's Tokyo Rose."
Strangers frighten her. So do crowds.
"They shouldn't," she says, "but they do. I still live in terror of being recognized by someone."
Reluctant to Talk
It was just a few days before today's anniversary of Pearl Harbor that I talked with Mrs. D'Aquino. It wasn't easy to find her, and when I did, she was reticent at first.
"What's the use? she said. "What good is it to talk to the press? Everybody's mind is made up about me."
The woman known to the world as Tokyo Rose continued: "Nobody will believe me, but I'm not Tokyo Rose.
"Maybe," she added, "before I leave this earth, I'll find out if such a person really existed."
There are people in the United States today who do believe her. In February, 1957, the St. Louis Post Dispatch carried a story by one of them, Maj. William A. Reuben, a former U.S. Army combat officer. After investigating her case, Reuben indicated that there was more than reasonable doubt of her guilt.
Evidence for Her
There has been a lot of evidence to give some credence to the theory. Among the facts brought out, and not disputed, at her 1949 trial for treason were the following:
-No Radio Tokyo announcer ever identified herself as Tokyo Rose. There were 18 English-speaking women announcers employed by Radio Tokyo during the war.
-Mrs. D'Aquino, born in Los Angeles and educated at UCLA, was stranded in Japan at the outbreak of World War II, and made repeated efforts to get back to the United States.
-Her becoming a Radio Tokyo announcer was the result of a request by Allied officers, who -- as Japanese prisoners of war -- were writing the programs. (One of the officers, an Australian major, testified at her trial that he and an American captain wrote all of her 12-minute, five-times-a-week segments, and that it was a straight disc jockey tape entertainment program.)
-None of the officers were punished for their participation. One, in fact, was promoted to major immediately after the war.
-In both 1945 and 1946, Mrs. D'Aquino's activities were investigated by the Army, and then the FBI. Each time, she was cleared.
Refused at First
"The first time I was asked to do the programs, I refused," Mrs. D'Aquino told me. "Then I was told it was orders of the Army and I learned that the prisoners of war wanted me to do it.
"I was told that we would send messages to the families of prisoners of war. We did this, and we played music. On my segment, there was no propaganda."
Mrs. D'Aquino added that she could have avoided the eventual treason trial if she had been willing to give up her U.S. citizenship.
"Between those investigations after the war and 1948, when I was brought back to the United States for the trial, I had opportunities to become either a Japanese or a Portuguese citizen," she said. "I was offered transportation to any Portuguese possession because my husband was Portuguese."
(By Japanese law, she --as a descendant of a Japanese national -- could have become a citizen of Japan in a procedure which requires about 20 minutes.)
Convicted on One Count
"But I didn't give up my U.S. citizenship," she told me, almost casually. "The jury was out four days before they came back with a 'guilty' verdict."
The jury -- which twice reported that it couldn't reach a decision- finally acquitted her on seven counts and convicted her on one, which charged specifically that she had broadcast the following words in 1944 after the Battle of Leyte Gulf:
"Now you fellows have lost all your ships. You really are orphans of the Pacific. Now, how do you think you will ever get home?"
After serving 6 1/2 years of a 10-year sentence in the federal women's reformatory in West Virginia, Mrs. D'Aquino walked back into the world again in January of 1956.
"I'm lucky to have a family like I've got," she continued. "They have stood by me all the way."
It was at her parents' request that Mrs. D'Aquino made her first and only trip to Japan in the summer of 1941 -- to visit her mother's only sister, who was near death.
"Before that," I asked her, "did you ever belong to any Japanese organizations here in the States?"
"The only organization I ever belonged to, in my whole life, was the Girl Scouts," she said.
'They Had to Find Somebody'
"If you feel you're innocent, why do you think you were convicted?"
Mrs. D'Aquino shrugged. "I guess they had to find somebody who was Tokyo Rose, and I was as close as they could get."
After a moment, she went on: "I'm not bitter about what's happened. I'm not cynical. What good would it do?"
"Then," I said, "you have no intention of leaving the United States -- giving up your citizenship?"
The smile disappeared. "No," Iva Toguri d'Aquino said. "Everybody thinks I'm a traitor. But I fought too long to keep my citizenship. I'll never give it up."
Akron has Terri Lee dolls!
Dec. 5, 1959: And on the third day, The Times puts the Jack Whalen killing inside.
Those $15 ties from Oviatt's would cost $109.61 in 2008 dollars.
There really was a pink submarine like the one seen in "Operation Petticoat."
Is Chick Meehan full of Flit when he says Syracuse is the best collegiate team he's ever seen?
Touhy, Jake Factor, J. Edgar Hoover. Et Al.
Roger (The Terrible) Touhy, prohibition era gangland boss who was released from Illinois State Penitentiary last week, is remembered most for his kidnapping of John (Jake the Barber) Factor. That crime earned him a 99-year sentence back in '34.
But the Touhy story which melted that one into insignificance happened in 1942.
That's when he and six fellow Statesville inmates practically drove World War II out of the Chicago newspapers by pulling off one of the most implausible prison escapes in penal history.
After smuggling a small arsenal into the pen, Touhy commandeered a prison garbage truck, which he couldn't get started until some by-standing inmates rocked it back and forth for him.
He collected his cohorts, a ladder, and a couple of guard-hostages whom he had sit on the ladder so it wouldn't fall off the truck. Then he drove to the guard tower, where the group engaged in a heated argument on how to assemble the ladder.
While they argued, another guard, unaware of what was happening, reprimanded them for "trying to wash the tower windows from inside."
This, Touhy reminisced later, got him laughing so hard that he could barely hold the .45 he had leveled on the other guards.
After a few more similar incidents, the seven made it over the wall and escaped. Then began the biggest manhunt in Chicago history.
Touhy and his pals evaded the police and the FBI for 82 days. But on Dec. 29, 1942, the FBI closed a fantastically elaborate trap on the two Chicago apartments where Touhy and four of the other escapees were holed up.
The federal men moved in during the dead of night with blinding white searchlights, loudspeakers and a small army of agents. Two of Touhy's buddies were shot down and killed during the capture.
Right after the dramatic episode, an alert reporter recalled that the FBI had moved into the case on the theory that the fugitives had crossed a state line or two in their flight. This was their legal "in" into the manhunt. But, as it happened,Touhy never left Illinois.
The reporter turned to J. Edgar Hoover and asked him on what federal violation he was holding Touhy and Co.
The FBI chief, who had branded the Touhy mob as the most vicious, dangerous gang force in the history of Chicago, scratched his head and puffed vigorously on his cigar.
Then, breaking into a triumphant smile, he replied:
"We're holding them for failure to notify their draft boards of change of address when they went over the wall."
A Christmas request:
This is the fifth year that the County Assn. for Mental Health is conducting its "Christmas for the Unremembered" campaign.
The program is to assure that each of the 18,000 mentally ill patients in our Southern California state hospitals receives at least one nice present on Dec. 25.
They ask the public for money, no gifts. These are contributed by manufacturers and merchants. This year, more than 25,000 have donated.
The association could use your help, however.
It needs volunteers to assist in wrapping the gifts.
If you've got a few hours to spare, call them. The number is REpublic I-2594. Or drop by "Christmas for the Unremembered" headquarters at 952 S. Western, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The Mirror brings out an extra on killing of Jack “the Enforcer” Whalen.
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Google maps’ street view of 13359 Ventura Blvd., site of Rondelli's restaurant.
On the Togetherness of Police, Pawnshops
Today's lesson is how to have your home burglarized, and -- after the police have caught the culprit and recovered the loot -- how to buy it back.
I know it sounds simple, but it isn't. Really, it isn't. It's very confusing.
Take, if you will, the Comiskey caper.
On Dec. 23, 1958, burglars broke into the L.A. home of James and Helen Comiskey. It was a daylight job. It happened while the couple was at work.
The crooks were methodical pros. They took their time, ransacked every room, opened every package under the Christmas tree, and walked out with $1,000 worth of loot.
The Comiskeys immediately filed a report with police, listing all the items they missed. And that, until last month, was the end of it.
Then, to their happy surprise, they were notified that the LAPD had located part of their property -- a $140 camera and a $190 projector- in a downtown pawnshop.
Taking along the necessary proof of ownership, the elated couple hurried down to the police station to claim their possessions.
And here is where matters started to complicate themselves. Right away, an officer explained to the Comiskeys that the pawnbroker had put out $50 for the stolen goods.
"Customary procedure," he told them, "is for you to pay the pawnshop man $50, and he'll give you your camera and projector back."
This startled Mrs. Comiskey, as it would anyone who is a novice at being burglarized. "Why should I have to pay for my own property?" she demanded. "If a pawnbroker takes in stolen property, that's his responsibility, not mine."
"All I said," the officer repeated, "is that it's customary procedure. You have alternatives."
He handed her a written form which said she could:
1- Demand the pawnbroker give the goods back to her. ("Of course, he won't do it," the officer assured her.)
2- File a claim for the property with the Board of Police commissioners.
Or 3- File a civil action.
"The easiest thing to do is to just pay the man," the officer explained.
And Mrs. Comiskey, although not very happy over the prospect, was inclined to go along with the officer. She'd probably lose money in the long run -- she reasoned -- if she took the matter to court, what with attorney's fees and time off from work. And even then, how could she be sure that court actions or any hearings would actually get her property back for her.
So she took the officer's advice and followed "customary procedure." She drove to the pawnstore, went through the formality of demanding her camera equipment back and letting the broker laugh at her, and then paid him the $50.
All of which, I think, is too bad. Because if the officer had explained to her that it's a very simple matter to file a request before the police commission, if he'd said that this frequently scares the pawnbrokers into giving up the property immediately, if he'd mentioned that, with rare exception, the commission awards the property to its rightful owner, she could have saved herself 50 bucks.
But policemen seldom point this out to the bewildered citizen. They just say "customary procedure" is to pay the pawnbroker.
He Who Gets Bitten
After all, policemen work closely with pawnbrokers. Pawnbrokers happen to be very good informants. They've helped break some pretty big burglary cases. It doesn't hurt to do them a good turn now and then.
If citizens are only half-informed of their chances of getting back stolen property which is rightfully theirs- without having to "buy" it back- it's not exactly a lie.
In fact, if you rationalize long enough, you might even come up with the conclusion that the officers -- who are paid to protect the people and their property -- aren't really misleading the citizenry.
You might, I say. But, somehow, I can't.