The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: News

Found on EBay -- The Herald Examiner [Updated]

Blackface Herald Herald Blackface
[Update: My nickname for Daily Mirror readers is "the brain trust" because they always impress me with their knowledge. Fibber, Sam and Roger believe this is from the Chicago Herald-Examiner, which dates from 1918 to 1939. I was previously unaware of this publication and I'll watch out for it in the future. Thanks, folks! ]

This curious item from the Herald Examiner promoting the “Blackface Index” has been listed on EBay. It’s hard to tell much about this coin except that it can’t be dated any earlier than 1962, when the Examiner merged with the Herald-Express.

In Walter (Cronkite) We Trust, March 14, 1981


   March 14, 1981, Dan Rather  

March 14, 1981: Howard Rosenberg, The Times Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic, watches Dan Rather’s debut in taking over from Walter Cronkite on the “CBS Evening News” and he is not a happy man.

Art Seidenbaum and I overlapped at The Times, but I was a rookie and he was one of the senior writers at the paper, so I never introduced myself when I would see him in the hallway or (usually) smoking a cigarette somewhere. I regret that now because I enjoy reading him and he sounds quite approachable. The book he's reviewing, Bill Henderson's "His Son: A Child of the Fifties" may not be remembered now (it ranks 9.3 millionth at Amazon), but Art's insights are well worth reading.
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NSA Analysts Defect to Soviet Union

Aug. 2, 1960, Mirror Cover

Aug. 2, 1960: William H. Martin and Bernon F. Mitchell of the National Security Agency defect to the Soviet Union. See David Kahn's classic work "The Codebreakers" and James Bamford's 1982 "The Puzzle Palace" for more details.

From the Vaults: 'His Girl Friday' (1940)

Friday3 I once read an excellent book about single life that included this recipe for depression: "Go out and rent a movie with Cary Grant in it, come back and put the kettle on." This advice has never failed me. You cannot go wrong with Cary Grant; his movies are invariably cheering (although "Arsenic and Old Lace" can be headache-inducing). Even in a weepy thriller like "Notorious," it's just nice to see him, you know?

The best thing about "His Girl Friday" is what a great ensemble he's got. Ralph Bellamy is hilarious and Billy Gilbert always absolutely slays me in his small part as Joe Pettibone, but the movie really belongs to the magnificent, suit-wearing, bon-mot-slinging Rosalind Russell. Usually with Cary Grant movies you want to be Cary Grant, but here you really want to be Rosalind.

Does the plot need rehashing? Grant plays Walter Burns, editor of the Morning Post newspaper, and Russell is his ex-wife and ex-star-reporter Hildy Johnson. She drops by to tell Walter she's marrying boring insurance man Bruce (Bellamy); she's tired of the exhausting, unpredictable newspaper business and she's got no regrets about divorcing Walter: "Instead of two weeks in Atlantic City with my bridegroom, I spent two weeks in a coal mine!" she snarls. Distraught but externally unflappable, Walter starts pulling strings to get her back in the newsroom.

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Russia Shoots Down U.S. Spy Plane

May 6, 1960, Cover

May 10, 1960, U-2
May 10, 1960: A Lockheed engineer says this Soviet photo of the downed U-2 is a fake.

May 6, 1960, Spy Plane

May 6, 1960: Although the Soviets shot down a U-2 on May 1, the story didn’t appear in The Times until five days later. It’s particularly interesting to note that the paper treated this as a second-day story, even though there was no previous coverage.  I suspect this was in response to TV and radio reports, but that’s only a guess. 

50504395[1] Photograph by the Los Angeles Times 

Francis Gary Powers, who formerly piloted the CIA's U-2 spy plane, eyeballs traffic for KGIL-AM in 1973.

Pilot Francis Gary Powers was convicted and served nearly two years before being freed in February 1962 in exchange for spy Rudolf Abel. Powers eventually became a helicopter pilot for KNBC-TV Channel 4. He and his engineer, George Spears, died in an Aug. 1, 1977,  crash near a Little League field at 17500 Oxnard St. The helicopter was evidently out of gas, The Times said.

Newer, highly modified versions of the U-2 aircraft remain in service.

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Post Office Breaks Prayer Chain Letter

May 5, 1910, Chain Letter

May 5, 1910, Census

May 5, 1910: The post office halts an “endless prayer chain” letter started by “a religious crank,” The Times says. The postmaster says that the letter is illegal because it threatens  a “dire calamity” for whoever breaks the chain.

According to the nearly completed census, Los Angeles’ population is about 300,000.
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Russia Expels Thousands of Jews From Kiev

April 26, 1910, Jewish Refugees

April 26, 1910:  “Heartless cruelty marked the ejection of the Jews. Young and old, well and ill, the strong and the weak, mothers with babes only a few days old, were driven out at the word of command. Many who did not move fast enough to suit the troops were clubbed or jabbed with bayonet points,” The Times says. 

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Faces of the City, April 19, 1960

April 19, 1960: 1st and Broadway, just up the block from The Times, has changed drastically in the last 50 years. Ed Dudley’s newsstand vanished long ago and two corners are vacant eyesores. But he wasn’t wrong when he said: “People are nosy, always worried about somebody else’s troubles.” 

Union Officer Recalls Lowering U.S. Flag at Ft. Sumter

April 13, 1910, Ft. Sumter

April 13, 1910: The Times marks the [Update: 49th -- I think a 100-year-old correction is some sort of record] 50th anniversary of the firing on Ft. Sumter by interviewing an officer who was there, Lt. Col. W.H. Hamner, a Virginian. The Times found Hamner playing billiards at the Ingraham Hotel and gave the following account, posted after the jump.

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Otis Chandler Named Publisher of The Times

Norman Chandler and Otis Chandler
Photograph by Frank Q. Brown / Los Angeles Times 

Norman Chandler, left, during the luncheon to announce that his son, Otis, was the new publisher of The Times.


April 12, 1960: Otis Chandler is named publisher of the Los Angeles Times. In a speech to more than 700 civic leaders at the Biltmore Bowl, Norman Chandler said: "Otis, as my successor and as my son, I say to you -- you are assuming a sacred trust and grave responsibilities. I have the utmost confidence that you will never falter in fulfilling these obligations. This trust is dearer than life itself."

In his speech, Otis Chandler replied: "I pledge to you to carry out the sound principles which have guided you. I will not let you down. It is with humility and gratitude that I accept.”

And in 1999, Otis Chandler echoed these words in his famous memo dictated to then-City Editor Bill Boyarsky during the Staples scandal: “When I think back through the history of this great newspaper I realize how fragile and irreplaceable public trust in a newspaper is. This public trust and faith in a newspaper by its employees, its readers, the community, is dearer to me than life itself.”

I never realized until now that he was referring to his father’s speech 39 years earlier; a speech that everyone else had probably forgotten – except him. 

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The Times’ Changing Nameplate

 April 8, 1910, Logo

The Times’ nameplate before the 1910 bombing, with The Times Building at right. 

April 8, 1913, Logo

The revised nameplate of 1913 shows the building on fire.

The 1913 nameplate also shows the new building on the site of the old one at 1st and Broadway.

Times Eagle
Photograph by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times

April 8, 1910: I thought it would be interesting to look at how the October 1910 bombing changed The Times’ nameplate. The Times’ eagle, which was on the roof of both buildings, remains on display in the Globe Lobby, but it has acquired a new base since the 2007 exhibition at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Garden, above.

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Once Around the Radio Dial – 1969

Nov. 16, 1969, Radio

Nov. 16, 1969

One of the true pleasures of contributing to The Daily Mirror is reading old columns by Don Page, The Times' longtime radio critic.

I regularly check his work, these days for 1959 and '69. Some things change—by 1969 he no longer wondered whether rock stations will survive or be the end of radio. But there are some constants, such as complaining about too many commercials, too many boring stations and too many stations that sound too similar. Seems to me Page complained a lot and I like that. A reader knew how he felt.

No matter the subject, it's fun to read names and stations that I remember. From Vin Scully to KMET, radio was a big part of growing up in Southern California.

This column was a collection of notes as Page bounced around the dial. Some of my favorites:

--Most disc jockeys have nothing to say.

--KHJ's disc jockeys are the best hard-rock voices in captivity but KRLA's staff has more talent.

--KPFK-FM is becoming the Free Press of the airwaves.

--XERB sounds like a SigAlert with the blues section.

--Some of KFWB's newsmen continue to mangle the names of California cities, although the all-news outlet is a quality operation.

For me, radio in 1969 was Scully and the Dodgers, Dick Enberg and the Angels and KRLA (I'd switch to KMET in a couple of years). How about you?

--Keith Thursby


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