Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
Aug. 1, 1899: A man kills himself after taking elaborate precautions to prevent being identified. He writes: "I read books every day. They act on me as a narcotic. I dope myself with them. They make me forget for a moment, for there is a continual struggle going on -- to be or not to be.... I have tried to get opium but failed."
"Never Touched Me."
Happy EndingRoy Huerta got up at 2 a.m. yesterday, drove to Tijuana and brought his wife Manuela and their six children back to L.A. to stay, thereby ending a frustrating, 10-year, across-the-border separation.
Roy and Manuela were married here in 1947. One day in 1949 they took a trip to Tijuana. At the border on the way back they were asked the usual questions.
Roy had no trouble. He was born in Johnstown, Pa., and served three years in the Army. Manuela, born in Zacatecas, Mex., panicked and gave conflicting answers. She was detained and accused of entering this country illegally.
Later, she compounded her apparent guilt by ignoring, out of fear, a summons to a hearing. She was convicted of perjury and deported under the McCarran Act.
FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS Roy, 39, a cook at the DuZeff's restaurant on Sunset Blvd., has made a pilgrimage each weekend to Tijuana to be with his family. He took along groceries, clothes, and gifts for the children, the sixth of which was born there.
The case was first reported here in 1957. Ridley Billick, manager of the Spring St. restaurant in which Roy then worked, was trying to correct the injustice.
About two months later a reader, Fay C. Rosenblatt, inquired about the case, which disturbed her. A phone call to Roy disclosed that the situation was unchanged, which was reported here.
But Francis H. Ohswaldt, deputy district director of immigration, saw the column and phoned. It appeared to him that Roy and Manuela could be reunited under Public Law 85-316, in effect since 1957, if they could meet the conditions, which apparently they could. The sad thing, he said, was that they didn't know they were eligible for this relief for more than a year.
Ohswaldt was put in touch with Roy, and the wheels began to turn. There was the interminable chore of filing applications with the American consul in Tijuana and assembling of birth and other records. Meanwhile, immigration officials at SanYsidro were alerted to expedite the case.
For several weeks all the necessary papers were on file except one from Zacatecas police department, giving proof that Manuela had no police record. Last week the letter came through.
Then came the processing of the records by the immigration people to satisfy the requirements of the law. It was just another case among scores of similar cases, but by this time they were taking a benevolent interest. Today the happy, grateful Huerta family is staying with friends, meanwhile house hunting.
THE PUZZLING suicide of George Reeves has friends recalling tales about him.
An actor who worked with him in several installments of the "Superman" series remembered that Reeves was always complaining that his feet were killing him because of an inevitable scene in each show.
He didn't mind the shot in which he, as Clark Kent, changed into his Superman suit and dove out of a window to fly to someone's rescue. It was the one where he landed that bothered him. He'd have to stand on a ladder out of camera range and jump from 4 of 5 ft. If he landed sideways or with his costume out of place, there would be retakes. By the end of the day he was an unhappy man.
AL CAPP'S comment in Newsweek about Hollywood: "A welcome here starts hotter and gets colder faster than anything anywhere in the world." Come, come, Al, we always say nice things about Dogpatch.
PEOPLE ARE always ribbing colleague Paul Coates because of his steely, unsmiling appearance on TV. Bob Crane of KNX told of a gal, a regular Coates watcher, who put a Venetian blind on her set and closes it when his program comes on. She gets ready for bed about that time and has the feeling he's watching her.
AROUND TOWN -- A girl of about 7 came up to a guard at Pacific Ocean Park and said, "I'd like to report a lost mother and father. They shouldn't be too hard to find -- they're together."
"Put That Pistol Down, Young Lady."
This is quite a page: Louise Overell, acquitted of helping Bud Gollum kill her parents, plans to get married. Police search for leads in the Green Twig murder of Louise Springer, who was kidnapped while sitting in a car a few blocks from the Black Dahlia crime scene.
I'm amazed this got into The Times -- even as a one-column ad.
June 24, 1959: Los Angeles County Coroner Theodore J. Curphey discusses the autopsy of "Superman" actor George Reeves, who died June 16, 1959. Reeves' mother hired attorney Jerry Giesler to look into the actor's death because she didn't believe he would commit suicide.
The Times says:
Curphey ordered the autopsy and personally joined in performing it in response to published statements -- particularly by the actor's mother -- which questioned the suicide theory.
"The examination of the bones of the head and brain," Curphey said, "establish the fact that the fatal wound was of close contact nature with the gun pressed against the skin, producing extensive fracturing of the skull and marked damage to the brain along the wound track.
"From these findings, coupled with the investigative report supplied this office by the police, it is my opinion that the wound was self-inflicted," he added.
June 24, 1959: Below, Giesler told the Mirror that he was satisfied with the autopsy's conclusion that Reeves committed suicide.
I'm going to try to get over to the Los Angeles Public Library and check the microfilm to see what the Examiner and the Herald-Express said. Stay tuned.
"I Feel Terribly Different."
Even the Republicans have beauty contests!
Abe Ben Fisher kills one man and wounds two others before committing suicide. "He just put the gun to his head and fired," says Donald T. Giertz, who was shot in the mouth.
Don Drysdale leads the Dodgers to a 9-2 win over the Reds, bringing the Dodgers within 2 1/2 games of first-place Milwaukee.
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The "Man of Steel" lived at 1579 Benedict Canyon Drive.
Above, the neighborhood as shown via Google maps' street view.