Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
The Times publishes a map by Charles Owens, who later contributed to “Nuestro Pueblo.” This is about the earliest work of his I’ve seen in the paper.
The bank robbery story carries the byline of Otis M. Wiles, which is a new name to me. Judging by the clips, he worked for The Times from the late teens to about 1925. Evidently he went to the Examiner at some point.
May 24, 1948: Otis M. Wiles dies in a head-on crash in a crash that injured Examiner photographer Felix Paegel and six other people.
Dec. 6, 1919: "Outwitted by the wrath of the elements and the cunning of four Indian woodsmen in their desperate attempt to escape the clutches of the law, Arthur and Herbert Brown, brothers and professional bank bandits, smiled upon their fate last night in the County Jail as they voluntarily confessed to their part in the looting of the Union Square Branch of the Hellman Commercial and Savings Bank last Monday afternoon."
Police arrest Edward Hudson and “Jane Smith” in the Hellman bank holdup.
Police also find the blue getaway car…
… and a second vehicle.
Authorities are pursuing Arthur Brown in the Hellman robbery.
Hudson and “Smith” are arrested in a Main Street tattoo parlor!
”Smith” describes her relationship with the bank robbers.
"Yesterday, Ed wanted to have a tattoo mark on his chest covered over. It was a design of two flags and a spread eagle. It is true I have a butterfly tattooed on my arm but I had not gone to that place on Main Street to be tattooed," “Smith” says.
|Dec. 5, 1919: Will Arthur and Herbert Brown evade police? And who is the mysterious “Jane Smith?” Check tomorrow! |
One of the bank robbers looked like a “hop head” or drug fiend, The Times says.
|Dec. 2, 1919: “The robbery, according to veteran detectives, was planned without a single flaw and executed without a hitch. |
“The three bandits suddenly called to the five employees to hold up their hands, herded them into a little office next to the vault and then proceeded to clean out the place. While one of the trio held the four men and one woman in the office, the other two swept all the paper money into waste paper baskets, walked into the vault and cleaned out all the compartments that were found unlocked, including the circular safe in which the Liberty Bonds were kept, and then carried their loot to the front part of the bank.
“Returning to the door of the little office, the bandits transferred their prisoners into the vault and closed the heavy steel door after them. Then they walked out and disappeared from the vicinity. No one could be found by the police up to last night who actually saw the trio get into an automobile or walk into the bank.”
|Nov. 8, 1909: The yearly season of petty crimes opens in Los Angeles, according to The Times, with a burglar who ate half a loaf of bread, some peach preserves and helped himself to $3 in a savings bank. [Update: they were pear preserves, as a reader noted]. |
It’s hard to match “Blows Out His Brains” as a one-column headline.
"Norda Noll Slain"
The Lugo Adobe on Gage Avenue.
USC commencement exercises at the Coliseum.
David Villasenor teaches woodcarving to at-risk youths.
When writing letters was an art.
Boxers Tony Galento, left, Max Baer and Lou Nova clown for the camera.
"The Sun Never Sets" with "For Love or Money" or "Code of the Streets."
"Warm Blooded Men! Desperate Women!
"She Was Gone ... Real Gone!"
Above, another mass-transit plan that never got off the drawing board.
Episcopal Bishop James A. Pike addresses a Planned Parenthood meeting and calls California's laws against birth control unconstitutional.
The Dodgers lose to the Giants and Milwaukee beats Pittsburgh in the 13th inning. View this page
Los Angeles, Calif.,
Sept. 8, 1931
Dear. Mr. Neumiller,
I am writing to you again in behalf of my husband, Walter J. Collins, No. 12824, an inmate at Represa, Calif.
I understand that his name appears on the June calendar and that he will be called before the prison board some time this month for a hearing.
I wish that you would consider a parole for him as I really need his support. I am not at all able to work and am solely dependant upon others for a livelihood. Due to worry over my health and conditions in general I spend a great part of my time in bed with nervous breakdowns.
If Walter were released, I am sure that he would be able to secure a position and support me, thus enabling me to regain my health.
I am really destitute, having to rely upon strangers for help. I have a sick sister who is unable to work on account of her health as much as she is willing to help me.
I am writing to you from a humane standpoint and hope that you will just give my husband another chance. I am sure that he will make good. He has been imprisoned for nearly eight years and we both have suffered terribly in that length of time.
I know that should a parole be granted at this meeting I would regain my health and I would certainly be most grateful to you. When a person's health is gone this old world looks very dark and dreary.
Hoping you will give this consideration and thanking you for your previous courtesy, I beg to remain,
Mrs. Walter J. Collins
2614 N. Griffin Ave.
Los Angeles, Calif.
ps. Please do what you can for Walter.
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| George Albert Scott and Curtis C. Lichtenwalter were leaving the In Between Cafe, 5414 Melrose, with $400 and a sawed-off shotgun about midnight Dec. 30, 1958, when they encountered Kenneth S. Savoy, 35, on his way into the bar.|
"Just a minute, mister," Scott said. "Give me your wallet."
Savoy, an executive at Samuel Goldwyn Studios, said: "I'm single and have no responsibilities -- no one will miss me. If you want my wallet, you will have to shoot me first."
In reply, Scott pulled the trigger.
Scott and his partner ran for the car, where Jessie Mae Noah, 27, of Long Beach was waiting. "I just went along for kicks," she told homicide detectives.
Lichtenwalter took the wheel as Scott jumped into the car, saying: "Take off. I had to use this. I shot a man in the stomach." The three of them went bar-hopping in Long Beach before splitting up.
It was supposed to have been easy money, Lichtenwalter said. Lichtenwalter, who had no police record, told investigators he had come to Los Angeles from Chicago in 1958 and met Scott, a 36-year-old parolee, through a co-worker. When Lichtenwalter got laid off, Scott suggested they pull some robberies.
"I don't know why I did such a crazy thing but after I once started, the die was cast," Lichtenwalter, 41, said.
The partners robbed six Los Angeles bars between Dec. 16 and Dec. 30, 1958, according to court records. After the killing, Lichtenwalter told Scott he was through, so Scott went by himself to rob two more bars on Jan. 7, 1959, before leaving town.
Scott was identified through a police sketch. After his photo was published in newspapers, Noah surrendered to Long Beach police and investigators arrested Lichtenwalter at a Compton hotel.
State police, sheriff's deputies and FBI agents cornered Scott at a tourist court in Texarkana, Ark., where he had registered with Barbara White, a former women's wrestling champion. Authorities cleared the rest of the guests, then called Scott's room and ordered him to surrender.
When he hung up on police, officers fired 12 tear-gas shells into the cabin, along with 10 rounds of buckshot and "numerous bursts of machine gun fire," The Times said. Although neither Scott nor White was injured, "gunfire literally blew apart the front of the cabin," The Times said.
Scott and Lichtenwalter were tried on six counts of robbery and one count of first-degree murder. Lichtenwalter was found not guilty of murder but convicted on the robbery charges and sentenced to prison.
Scott was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to the gas chamber. During a sanity hearing after his sentencing, Scott slashed his throat with a double-edged razor he had hidden in his mouth. It took 16 stitches to close the wounds.
In the summer of 1960, he staged a hunger strike because his wife hadn't written to him, and his attorney filed an appeal with the California Supreme Court because Scott's mother had been hospitalized for drug addiction and emaciation.
The state high court rejected Scott's plea, and he was executed in the California gas chamber on Sept. 7, 1960. No further record can be found of Curtis C. Lichtenwalter. Update: Regular Daily Mirror reader Dick Morris tells me that a man named Curtis C. Lichtenwalter died July 13, 1993, in Dade County, Fla., at the age of 74.