The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Politics

Found on EBay – 1909 Mayor's Race

Aug. 2, 1916, George A Smith Obituary March 12, 1909, George A. Smith


A campaign button for George A. Smith has been listed on EBay. The vendor mistakenly identifies the individual as Mayor George Alexander.

Actually, this is onetime Councilman George A. Smith, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in  1909 against Alexander.

The button is listed as Buy It Now for $7.39.

Vote for Poulson!

  May 31, 1961, Vote for Poulson  

May 31, 1961: The Times publishes a Page 1 editorial urging readers to reelect Mayor Norris Poulson because Sam Yorty would “ruin good government.” Despite The Times’ aggressive endorsement of Poulson, voters elected Yorty, who was mayor until 1973, when he was defeated by Tom Bradley.

Vice President Predicts 'Long, Costly' Struggle in Southeast Asia

  May 24, 1961, Southeast Asia  

  May 24, 1961, Joan Davis Dies  

May 24, 1961: Radio and TV comedy star Joan Davis dies of a heart attack and gets a Page 1 obituary with a jump. Raymond Chandler got an six-paragraph obituary on Page 4.  Davis was 48 when she died.

Continue reading »

Libel Suit in L.A. Mayor's Race!

  May 12, 1961, Poulson, Yorty  

  May 12, 1961, Comics  

May 12, 1961: Mayor Norris Poulson accused challenger Sam Yorty of being “backed by the underworld” and Yorty responded with a libel suit.   The basis of Poulson's charge was that as an Assemblyman, Yorty supported a bill to legalize bookmaking and as an attorney, he received $12,500 from operators of a Las Vegas casino-hotel for trying to get them a gambling license in Nevada.

Also on the jump: A full-page ad for Moral Re-Armament, one of those cultural forces that took root in the 1930s and may be remembered for the Up With People traveling productions that began in 1965 and struggled to survive in the 1980s.    

Continue reading »

Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, May 7, 1941

  May 7, 1941, Bowron Reelected  

  May 7, 1941, Comics  

May 7, 1941: Mayor Fletcher Bowron is reelected and another Times endorsement goes down in flames.

Still recovering from surgery, Lee Shippey files  a column from the hospital, this time on nurses.

Tom Treanor, who was killed covering World War II for The Times,  notes with relief that the newsmen on the press junket to Venezuela have been joined by someone who actually speaks Spanish: Walter Kerr of the New York Herald Tribune.

Ronald Reagan's been bedded three days after being "gassed" during filming of "Flight Patrol" -- he couldn't open the cockpit hood after touching fire to oil-saturated waste, Jimmie Fidler says.
Continue reading »

From the Stacks – 'Dancing Bear' (1968)

  Dancing Bear  

Out of curiosity, I picked up Gladwin Hill’s “Dancing Bear” at the Southern California Library’s book sale.  I never met Hill (d. 1992), the New York Times bureau chief in Los Angeles, but I had heard about him at luncheon gatherings of Times retirees who call themselves the Old Farts. 
I tend to avoid reading about politics in my spare time. I get a healthy dose of it at work, and the minute dissection of old political intrigues – stiffly written prose about half-remembered names and long-forgotten battles  – isn’t terribly interesting to anyone but the most confirmed political junkie.

With expectations that “Dancing Bear” would be nothing but a stale time capsule, I was quite pleasantly surprised by Hill’s engaging account of California politics, and his insights not only on the state’s curious history, but especially his perspective on the early career of Ronald Reagan.  


Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

Buses Replace Red Cars to Long Beach, April 8, 1961


  April 8, 1961, Comics  


April 8. 1961: Red Cars are being replaced by buses on service between Los Angeles and Long Beach, San Pedro and Compton. Transportation conspiracy buffs please note: The Metropolitan Transit Authority is making the switch because Pacific Electric won’t grant a long-term lease on its tracks.

Most political observers were surprised at Sam Yorty's strength in Tuesday's election. They thought Mayor Poulson would be reelected easily in the primary, Matt Weinstock says.

DEAR ABBY: You will probably think I am a monster but I am a girl of 14 and I hate my parents. Especially my mother. She is so old-fashioned it's pitiful....
Continue reading »

Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, March 30, 1941


  March 30, 1941, Comics  

  March 30, 1941, Mayor's Race  

March 30, 1941: In a classic example of one its attempts to meddle in local politics, The Times publishes a Page 1 editorial about the mayor’s race, sharply criticizing the incumbent, Fletcher Bowron, and advocating a man you most certainly have never heard about: Stephen W. Cunningham. Although this editorial is unsigned it is quite likely the handiwork of Kyle Palmer, The Times political powerbroker and would-be kingmaker who capped his career with an ardent and utterly unsuccessful campaign to put Richard Nixon in the White House in the 1960 election.

Perhaps The Times was embarrassed by Cunningham’s poor showing, because the 1941 election stories reported Bowron leading by 32,000 votes, rather than giving a total or a percentage. It is only in Cunningham’s 1956 obituary  that we get the actual numbers. Apparently unable to acknowledge defeat even many years later, The Times said: “"He lost the election by a narrow margin, receiving 149,721 votes to Bowron's 182,172.”  That “narrow margin” works out as 54% to 45%.  

In a recent interview, I called Palmer “one of the most contemptible people to ever work at The Times.” For a while, I thought this might have been too harsh until I read his coverage of the 1941 mayor’s race.

The lesson in all of this is that The Times' editorials and political endorsements weren't nearly as influential as people believe today. The voters obviously weren't shy about ignoring The Times' candidates.

Few sights are more depressing that a yesterday's screen beauty with 20 years added to her face, Jimmie Fidler says.


Kyle Palmer on the Daily Mirror

Continue reading »

Kennedy Mystery Photo

  April 20, 1968, Robert Kennedy  

  April 20, 1968, Robert Kennedy  


June 6, 1968, Robert Kennedy jacobs_rfk

Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador,
June 5, 1968, photo courtesy of Howard Decker

Robert F. Kennedy in an undated photo
by Paul Jacobs

L.A. Observed recently posted a photo – from Chip Jacobs’ blog -- of Robert F. Kennedy outside the Biltmore Hotel during his 1968 presidential campaign. Jacobs’ older brother Paul snapped the photo and the question arose of when it was taken. Jacobs believed it was from June 5, 1968, the day Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador. According to L.A. Observed, Kennedy aides, including  Paul Schrade, who was wounded in the shooting, said Kennedy didn’t go to the Biltmore that day.

A comparison of a photo taken by Daily Mirror reader Howard Decker (alias Fibber McGee) the night Kennedy was shot and Jacobs’ photo shows a number of differences, including the length of Kennedy’s hair. Kennedy’s tie is similar in both photos, but the stripes are angled in different directions. 

One possible date is April 19, 1968, when Kennedy made a Town Hall appearance at the Biltmore Bowl. The story, by Carl Greenberg, notes that Kennedy arrived at Burbank Airport and had a private security escort rather than the LAPD.

It’s unclear whether the LAPD’s absence was due to ill feelings between Mayor Sam Yorty and Kennedy,  but Kennedy said: "It was nice of Mayor Yorty to provide me with a police escort -- it was just when I started to go through Pomona."


Robert F. Kennedy on the Daily Mirror
Continue reading »

Geraldine A. Ferraro, 1935 -- 2011; 'Housewife From Queens' Made Political History


  July 13, 1984, Geraldine Ferraro  

July 13, 1984-- The Times’ Karen Tumulty profiles the Democratic vice presidential candidate: “Geraldine A. Ferraro likes to refer to herself as ‘a housewife from Queens,’ the conservative, blue-collar borough of New York where the television show "All in the Family was set." But if it's Archie Bunker's district that she represents in Congress, her supporters say, it was the big-hearted Edith Bunkers of her district who elected her."

Continue reading »

Paul Coates, March 24, 1961

  March 24, 1961, Mirror Cover  

March 24, 1961: Paul Coates dips into the mailbox for items on the mayor’s race and women’s measurements.

Continue reading »

Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

Recent Posts
The Daily Mirror Is Moving |  June 16, 2011, 2:42 am »
Movieland Mystery Photo |  June 11, 2011, 9:26 am »
Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated] |  June 11, 2011, 8:06 am »
Found on EBay 1909 Mayor's Race |  June 9, 2011, 2:33 pm »