Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
DEAR ABBY: Why did you tell that woman she shouldn't shake her dust mop out the window?
Aug. 2, 1960: Oh they didn’t really do that, did they? Yes, they did.
Aug. 1, 1960: Only a portion of a front-page story about UFOs was saved in the microfilmed edition of The Times.
Aug. 9, 1960: A reader tries to explain a flying saucer sighting.
In August 1960, The Times was full of stories about flying saucers – even the Army and Air Force were building them! An incident evidently occurred somewhere near Malibu that made the front page of the Aug. 1 paper, but only the runover was preserved in the microfilmed edition and there’s nothing in the Mirror. The Times editorial page attributed the purported sighting to the “midsummer norm of semi-abnormality.“
A cargo of stolen Caltechium?
Aug. 2, 1960: What do you suppose is in Caltechium?
Well, "First Spaceship on Venus" is quite the odd little movie: a vintage space epic filmed in East Germany and co-produced with Poland. It features an international team of characters and a strong anti-nuclear message! Released in German as "Der schweigende Stern" ("The Silent Star," based on a book of the same name by "Solaris" author Stanislaw Lem), it came out in the U.S. two years later dubbed into English and heavily cut. But even in this very imperfect form, the film has an eerie beauty.
And actually, I watched it in an even more imperfect form -- I have to confess I watched the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" episode featuring this movie. Please don't all throw rocks at me! I'm going on vacation this week and I just ran out of time. If it helps, I really don't think "First Spaceship" deserves to be an MST3K movie. It just isn't bad enough.
The plot concerns a mysterious meteorite that proves to contain an alien message of some sort. Scientists can't decipher it but are able to determine that it came from Venus. Radio messages to the planet go unanswered, so this can-do Iron Curtain society sends a ship to find out what's happening on Venus. The whole world (represented by a varied crowd and a friendly, presumably state-run media) watches and cheers as their beautiful, candelabra-like vessel takes off: clearly, this future world is a harmonious place.
Things continue in this pre-"Star Trek" vein aboard the ship, as the international team copes with zero gravity and dodges meteor showers. German Robert Brinkmann (Gunther Simon) reminisces about an old romance with fetching Japanese doctor Sumiko Ogimura (Yoko Tani).
A Visit From Ptex
After an absence of several years, Tex, or as he prefers to spell it, Ptex, dropped in the other day to say hello. He brought with him, as he usually does, a great idea.
"They're always giving these big banquets for political and civic leaders," he said, "how about a testimonial dinner for me? I think I deserve one. I'm the only real complete failure in the world."
Ptex, a huge, jovial gentleman with a gray goatee, didn't come by this distinction without considerable strain. He has been everywhere, done everything. He has worked on newspapers, taught school, promoted weird schemes, advised men in high places, helped plot revolutions and, he admits frankly, washed dishes professionally and recently.
Now at last, he said, he wants to do something big. With the money he would get from the testimonial dinner, say $3,000 or $4,000, he would charter a "cotton picking yacht" at Balboa and run a cruise for 30 or 40 interested persons through the Panama Canal to Yucatan. He figures $1,000 each would be about right. And he has his mate's papers, you know.
"YUCATAN," he sighed dreamily, "that's the place!" There's a house in the town of Progresso, on the Mexican coast, he said, that could be used as a base for trips to the Mayan ruins. He would, of course, act as guide for the persons fortunate enough to make the trip.
Meanwhile, I asked, how are things?
Well sir, he'd just been over to the blood bank and picked up $4. He pulled up his sleeves to show the bit of gauze Scotch-taped to the inside of the bend in his arm. And he was eating, not good but all right, at the missions.
And after the $4 was gone?
"If I can't make it on four bucks," he said confidently, "I can't make it!"
YESTERDAY a dispatch from Moscow reported that M. Agrest, Soviet scientist, was claiming that visitors from outer space landed in the Libyan Desert at least 1 million years ago and, failing to convey their wisdom to the stupid earth people, blew up the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with their excess nuclear fuel before blasting off.
Tonight Reinhold Schmidt, Bakersfield grain buyer, is scheduled to speak in Pasadena on "My Recent Trips in Spacecraft" if, a press release states, "he returns in time from a flight to the Great Pyramid of Gizeh in Egypt," Underneath which, he claims that his friends on Saturn have told him, an ancient space shift is buried.
A skeptical photog placed these two items on my typewriter with a plaintive note, "Tell me it's so -- I want to believe." I have recommended to his boss that he be taken off the Finch trial. Obviously he has been there too long and his imagination's gone.
TO ALL THE people who turned and laughed at seeing three station wagons loaded with youngsters, skis, toboggans, WHEEL CHAIRS and CRUTCHES on San Berdoo Freeway the other day, let Kay Wannell explain. They were cerebral palsy youngsters who can hardly stand, going to the mountains to enjoy the snow . . . Speaking of which, singer Johnny O'Keefe, here from Australia to record for Liberty, was asked what he'd like to see. Disneyland? Nope. Snow. There isn't any in Sydney. He was taken to Big Bear.
He lived to be
one hundred five.
Just why he didn't know.
I'll tell you why he
He stashed away his dough.
JOSEPH P. KRENGEL
AT RANDOM -- How ironical can things get? At the time fire swept through his apparel plant at 825 S Los Angeles St., Sunday, causing $25,000 damage, owner A.Blum was at home trying to fire up his barbecue. He had trouble getting it lit . . . Mrs. Clinton Tompkins blinked as she passed an El Monte market that gives trading stamps. A letter had been deleted from a sign so that it seemed to offer "Blue Hip." Probably a cut of meat from the blue hippopotami which have been known to roam the saloons.
|Regular Daily Mirror reader Mary Mallory notes that former Mystery Movie Star Ana Bertha Lepe, left, will be featured in "La Nave de los Monstruos" ("The Monsters' Ship") at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Hammer Museum.
The plot summary: "The last man on Venus has died. Beta and Gamma, two Venusian women, have been sent on an intergalactic mission to collect bizarre male specimens from throughout space. And a monstrous collection they are too, all scales and fangs and exposed brains."
Co-hit: "Santo vs. the Martian Invasion." Admission is free.