The Daily Mirror

Los Angeles history

Vintage Wheels -- 1941 Plymouth Woodie

1941_plymouth A 1941 Plymouth Woodie used in "Bugsy" has been listed with Hemmings Motor News. The price is $69,990.

Matt Weinstock -- February 20, 1959

She Stood in Bed

Matt_weinstockd They said it couldn't be done, but it was to a lady who lives in a large apartment house in midtown L.A. She turned over in bed around 1 a.m. and the bed, installed a few days before, folded with a whoosh into the wall, jamming her tightly, upside down, with her face full of pillow. Fearing suffocation, naturally she panicked.

She managed to work an arm loose and banged on the floor. The people in the apartment below her heard and indignantly banged back. When the pounding continued they called the manager, who rescued her. She was trapped for an agonizing half-hour and suffered a wrenched neck.


"Chicks like easygoing, smooth cats, somebody who's been around."

Opal Wise of the Central Insurance Agency, who handled the claim, said it was the first one on record. Investigation disclosed faulty installation, not the bed itself, was the cause.

1959_0220_churches The loss of dignity was bad enough, but what tortured the victim more was the reaction of the ambulance and emergency hospital attendants when they learned what had happened. They laughed.

* *

CARAMBA! Cathie Walls, 6, of Wilmington, announced on returning home from school that she could count to 5 in Spanish and she did: "uno, dos, tres, pot roast, cinco" . . . Steve Levy, 12, excitedly informed his mother a new boy named Ramon Porfavor, who couldn't speak English, had entered his class at Crozier Junior High. She said that was an odd name and he said, "Well, when the teacher told him where to sit she said, 'Over here, Ramon,por favor.'" The boy is really Ramon Diaz. 

* *

A rich contract for acting half nude
Proved to be the lady's nemesis.
What prominence to her had accrued
Had been built on false premises.

* *

ONLY IN L.A.-- A woman in the Goodwill Industries store on S Broadway pawed through a basket of eyeglasses and finally selected dark harlequins set with rhinestones. She held them up, tried them on, then asked, "You sure these aren't medicated?" After a puzzled moment the clerk caught on and assured her they were plain glass, not prescription ground.

* *

1959_0220_abbyTHERE'S QUITE a story about Dorothy M. Johnson, who wrote "The Hanging Tree," on which the movie is based.

Miss Johnson, 53, is a journalism prof at Montana State University, secretary of the Montana State Press Assn. and editor of several newsletters. When not busy at these jobs she hunts down old-timers from whose campfire stories she has evolved many of her raw, fiercely written frontier tales. Several are unforgettable, particularly "Lost Sister," included in her paperback collection.

Ironically, Miss Johnson broke into print with a book titled "Beulah Bunny Tells All."

* *

FORTUNATELY there's a limit to town-naming gags, and we've about reached it.

N.O. Greer cooked up these: Wehav, No. Car.; Woeis, Me.; Young, Miss., and Hangoutha, Wash.

Judi Stone is responsible for Aga, Conn.; Koko, Mo.; Wait, N.C.; Wassamatta, Pa., and Youlgetitintha, Ind.

Jack Foyle's best are You, S.C. and Casanoh, Va.


Raul Rodriguez must take the blame for Shapely, Calif.; Fatted, Calif.; Ifonly, Ida.; Brilliant, Colo.; Income, Tex., and Happy, N.D.

* *

LOOSE ENDS -- Anybody knows S. Cooper, retired Navy officer, Annapolis class of '14? Al Hagerman chief engineer at Shrine Auditorium, found his class ring in a pipe conduit tunnel under the place . . . Daniel Boone (of Bank of America) talked to David Crockett (of Lincoln Savings) the other day about the 1959 Heart Fund campaign . . . Sudden thought by Bill Weaver onKNX . If Ed Murrow lined up Drew Pearson and Bishop Sheen, he could bill his program as Pearson to Parson on Person to Person . . . Nick B. Williams, Times editor, getsMoideled today at a slings and arrows lunch. Probably even be disclosed that the B stands for Boddie. 

Paul Coates -- Confidential File, February 20, 1959


Fallacy Exploded on Older Workers

Paul_coates Between 40% and 45% of those individuals seeking employment are in the "older worker" bracket.

It's an unrealistic, unreasonably high figure. But it's a figure we cannot ignore.

For some vital answers on the causes and effects of age discrimination in the Los Angeles area, I talked yesterday with Mrs. Edythe Kennedy, a specialist in older workers' problems for the California Department of Employment.

Question -- How extensive is age discrimination in the L.A. area?

Answer -- It's prevalent in most businesses and industries, and it even extends somewhat into the field of Civil Service.

Q -- What seems to be the main objection employers have to hiring so-called middle-aged persons?

1959_0220_mirror_cover A -- They say it will raise insurance rates and their contributions to retirement and pension funds unless they place a quota on people past 40.

Q -- To what extent do you think this fear is legitimate?

A -- A study by the U.S. Department of Labor shows that age isn't as significant a factor in retirement and pension funds as employers make it out to be. Insurance leaders have told me that plans could be written to extend present coverage without a prohibitive raise in rates. But even if insurance costs are a little higher, it's false economy for business to discriminate against the middle-aged worker.

Q -- In what way is it false economy?

A -- First of all, it's much cheaper to make the older worker productive than to put him on relief. That will mean higher taxes for business and the rest of us. Also, if a worker is unemployed he's not going to be able to buy goods that industry produces.


Q --
What are some of the other prejudices employers have against the older worker?

A -- They say that the older worker is too slow, that he's incapable of learning new techniques. Or they say he has a higher rate of absenteeism, or that he doesn't like working under a younger supervisor.

Q -- Are these fair criticisms?

A -- Department of Labor studies show that in certain industries a worker's output remains stable through the age of 54, and there's only a slight decline in the efficiency after that. As for absenteeism, the studies show that it actually decreases as age increases.

1959_0220_mirror_hypnotist Q -- Do older men and women have trouble under young supervisors?

A -- There's some truth to this criticism. But industry can also train young foremen to get along with older workers.

Q -- What's the Department of Employment doing about the problem?

A -- Quite a bit, we feel. In educating industry, in dispelling the myth. We give special training to our own employees in placing the older worker. We have at least one specialist on the problem in every area office. We're doing a lot better job than we were a year ago.

Q -- What do you think will happen if the problem isn't solved soon?

A -- We'll have a huge group of unemployed, bitterly unhappy people in the community. And the rest of us will have to support them.  

In the Theaters, February 20, 1919



Mystery Photo


Los Angeles Times file photo

Update: This is David Warfield, one of the most noted figures of the American theater in the early 20th century.

Just a reminder on how this works: I post the mystery photo on Monday and reveal the answer on Friday. To keep the mystery photo from getting lost in the other entries, I move it from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday, etc., adding a photo every day. I have to approve all comments, so if you're wrong your guess will be posted. If you're right, you'll have to wait until Friday. There's no need to submit your guess five times. Once is enough. The only prize is bragging rights. 
Los Angeles Times file photo
Here's another photo of our mystery fellow in one of his most famous roles. Notice that I didn't title this post *Movie Star* Mystery Photo. This man was a major star, but he never appeared in a film -- although he made some screen tests.

Update: David Warfield in David Belasco's "The Return of Peter Grimm," which ran for 231 performances in 1911-12 and has not been seen on Broadway since 1921. 
Los Angeles Times file photo

At left, a third photo of our mystery fellow, in one of his most famous roles. Above, our mystery guest is greeted in Los Angeles by several entertainment figures, including Sid Grauman, right.

Update: From left, Fred Niblo, David Warfield, Leon Errol and Sid Grauman.

David Warfield as Shylock in "Merchant of Venice, produced in 1924, the year he retired from acting.
Los Angeles Times file photo

Here's another photo of our mystery fellow. He has been correctly identified by Claire Lockhart, Eve Golden, William, Zapgun and Dru Duniway. Congratulations! Please also congratulate Dewey Webb, Richard Heft and Sam.

Update: Another picture of Warfield as Shylock.


David Warfield appeared in Los Angeles several times, including performances in 1913.

David Warfield ... and a flea circus, a Times reporter strolls Los Angeles, 1909.
Los Angeles Times file photo

Above, an undated photo. At left, David Warfield died in 1951, 26 years after retiring from the stage.

Check back next week for another mystery photo!

Arabs on Alert, Baseball Strike? February 20, 1969

Nancy Sinatra ... in WAX!
To simulate prejudice, brunet students eat at a table designed "No Blondes."
At left, Arab countries prepare for retaliation for a terrorist attack on an El Al airliner at Zurich.

Also... Take the time to read Robert Kistler's excellent nondupe on a police officer's view of the changing culture within the LAPD after the Watts Riots. We evidently didn't use his actual name, but called him "Paul Anderson." The article explores what Chief Tom Reddin called "the terrible tightrope."

"The tightrope stretches between the 'hard-nosed' policing of minorities of the pre-1965 era [the William Parker years--lrh] and efforts to open channels of communication between police and minorities today," Kistler says.
"The old ways aren't going to be continued, and as an officer you either 'get with it' or get off."
1969_0220_times_nondupe_ro2 "Don't get the wrong impression.
None of us is going to be namby-
pamby out there."
Scientists study oil spill.
After he shot Robert F. Kennedy, Sirhan B. Sirhan was "enormously composed."

"Amid this hurricane of sound and feeling, he seemed like the eye of the hurricane.... He seemed purged," according to George Plimpton, testifying for the prosecution in Sirhan's trial.

Gov. Ronald Reagan reveals the source of his statement that a dean at San Francisco State was forced at knifepoint to admit a group of black students. 

Pueblo crewman Lt. (jg) Timothy Harris describes his treatment by  North Korean captors.   

Ro$ale$? Oh you sports guys!


Rayco eight-track stereo, $49.95!

Spring training or strike?

Players and owners were battling over how much money should be contributed to the pension fund. Most of the player representatives had rejected the owners' latest offer, but several current or future high-profile players were reporting for workouts.

"I expect there will be some resentment that I'm going to work out, but I need the work," Nolan Ryan told United Press International. Ryan was coming off a 6-9 season with the Mets and weighed 210 pounds, compared with 195 at the end of the season.

"I suppose the other players will be clipping my remarks and putting them on the wall and throwing darts at them, but I am ready to go and I might have eight practice fields all to myself," said the Braves' Pat Jarvis.

George Scott of the Red Sox hadn't reported yet but would be in camp next week. "Some of the players can afford to go without a salary, but the majority can't and I'm one of them," he said. "I'm supporting my wife and my mother, two households, really."

The Angels' player representative, second baseman Bobby Knoop, tried to put the potential labor dispute in perspective. Knoop told The Times' Ross Newhan on Feb. 2: "Perhaps some of this seems insignificant to the public. But we are not talking about a job that lasts for 20 or 30 years. The average player goes from day to day. At 32 or 33, he's looking for something else."

-- Keith Thursby

Central Vice Reports on the Norbo Grill, 1958

Photograph by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times

The Hotel Norbo, 526 E. 8th St., Feb. 14, 2009

Photograph by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times

The former Norbo Grill, 530 E. 6th St., Feb. 14, 2009
Photographs by Catriona Lavery
Los Angeles Times
In December 1958, Henry Charles Hochman applied to the Los Angeles Police Commission for a cafe entertainment permit for the Norbo Grill. After hearing testimony and reading officers' reports on the bar, the commission denied the permit. What follows is a portrait from official documents of a gritty jazz joint where black prostitutes plied their trade with white customers.

Although this is an official document, it is by no means dull. Consider the quote: "Get out of here, you m... f... cop."
"You are not a fit and proper person to hold a Cafe Entertainment police permit."
"There has been no police problem in and about these premises except ..."
"...the Norbo Grill is not frequented by prostitutes or narcotics users to his knowledge. "
"The Norbo Grill has always attracted mixed patrons, both colored and white."
"The actions requested by the examiner ... would result in the applicant violating the rights of many of the patrons..."
Witnesses and exhibits
"Location frequented by prostitutes and narcotics users..."
"This so-called music is like a torment, no less than Russian brain-washing, having to listen to their music so loud -- like playing for Zombies or Watusis... "
Testimony of Sgt. W.R. Danheiser, Serial No. 2591
"He had a knife and I was scared, so I jumped behind the bar and pulled a gun on him..."
"There you are, you S.O.B...."
"He has seen in the Norbo bar persons whom he, as a police officer, believed were 'hypos,' also 'Paddy hustlers....' "
"At this time, defendant stated 'It will cost you 10 dollars and for that I'll ...' " 
"During this period they observed numerous males (white) enter the bar alone, then leave with colored females."
"Standing outside the door of the room, the officers overheard an act of sexual intercourse taking place. Officers entered the room, by the manager's key, checked the couple in the room, who were not married."   
"Bartenders 'send people out if they get fresh...' "
"She has once asked Mr. Sway if she could dance (by herself), but Sway said dancing was against the law."
"He has seen Ruby Smith talking to men in the Norbo, but has never seen her leave with a man."
"Miss Cloteal Wilson, arrested 12-28-57, 1:50 a.m., outside Norbo Grill..."
"I have not been busted for a long time, I've only had two tricks today."
"He and his partner saw Ruby Smith leaving the Norbo in a car with a white man. Officers followed them to an apartment house on 36th Street, but officers were unable to gain entry. He climbed a tree trying to observe. The Smith woman stuck her head out of a window and shouted: 'Get out of here, you m... f... cop.' "
"There are quite a few bars within 10 blocks of the Norbo, that Norbo would rate about 75 percent as to being orderly as compared to the others." 
"This band attracts patrons as these musicians are well-known in the field of jazz and progressive music."
"He was sitting in the rear of the bar watching a bowling game. He heard a 'thud.' "
"He was arrested in Chicago for kidnapping, served 11 years-plus in state prison..."
"This place is not frequented by narcotics users or prostitutes to a greater extent than any other place in the city."
"All officers testified that the Norbo Grill was a hangout for prostitutes."
"This location is a known hangout for prostitutes and narcotics users."
"Recommendation that application ... be DENIED."
Application denied.

Throwback Thursby on the Radio!

1959_0210_dodgers 1938_october_16_radio
The Daily Mirror's Keith Thursby was interviewed on KPCC talking about how the Dodgers explained baseball -- ladies only!

Found on EBay -- 1959 Predicta TV

1959_philco A 1959 Philco Predicta has been listed on EBay. Warning: It doesn't work and is evidently for display purposes only. Bidding starts at $9.99, but there is a reserve

Matt Weinstock -- February 19, 1959

Snowball Madness

Matt_weinstockd Last week, when Walter H. Wright was driving his family up to Crestline, someone in a car coming down threw a large snowball which shattered his windshield, impairing his vision. At the ranger station he learned this is a common occurrence. It is even more common for people on foot to throw them at passing cars.

Near Crestline he also came upon a chartered bus with a windshield in worse condition than his from a thrown snowball. On the way down he saw a second bus, filled with children, with its windshield splintered.

Wright talked to a highway patrolman, who deplored the practice but said he was powerless. The irony is that it's done in a spirit of play, not malice.

1959_0219_washer A WILD EXUBERANCE seems to grip Californians, unaccustomed to snow, when they get in it. They don't realize the dangers of throwing a hard-packed snowball. Furthermore, there are no signs warning them that there is a law against it and violators are subject to a fine.

It seems incongruous to mention it in our mostly sunbaked paradise, but apparently what this country needs are also better snow manners.

* *

CIVIC PRIDE can be expressed in many ways.

Several pedestrians were waiting for a freight train to pass so they could cross Ramona Blvd. As the 39th or 40th boxcar inched past, Charlotte Searles heard a woman remark, "That freight train coming through the middle of town every afternoon is the reason Baldwin Park never amounted to anything!"

* *

All my doctor's instructions
Are quite easy to follow.
It's just his prescriptions
I find hard to swallow.

* *

1959_0219_mirror_outdoors WHEN authorities have an oversupply of unserved warrants, which is most of the time, bail bondsmen sometimes hire private investigators to find culprits who have jumped their bail- like bounty hunters in TV westerns.

On such a mission Dan Whelan the other day located a rape suspect working under another name in Pacoima. All the way downtown the fellow complained bitterly about being taken into custody, but by the time they drove into the Hall of Justice parking lot he had accepted his fate. Looking up at the gray building he remarked philosophically, "Home, sweet home!"

* *

PROVOCATIVE fragment of conversation overheard by Milo T. Klikos in a downtown restaurant, one sharp-looking young lady to her coffee-break companion: "All right, all right! But if she has everything why does she want my husband and any boy friend I may have on the string?"

* *

- On the subject of irritating phrases, J. Stuyvesant Fish cringes at the story about the athlete who after years of trying finally "came into his own." His own what? . . . Rosetta Case Bent treasures this typo in a news story of a wedding in her home town paper in Flemington, N.J.: "After the ceremony a small deception was held by the bride."

* *

AT RANDOM -- A ragged gent on W 3rd St. was using a golf club as a cane. Looked like a 4-iron, maybe good for about 175 yards on a good day . . . Speaking of golf, Stan Wood, who coaches same at SC, says there's no truth to the rumor about a TV program titled Playhouse 45, for those who fall asleep in the middle of you know what . . . "It isn't the rain," D.K. says, "it's having to look at the eastern overcoats and raincoats that have been stored away since last June" . . . Max Factor has done it again. Or didn't you see the ad for the new "Ivy League Hairpiece," described as "the greatest innovation in hairpiece realism in more than 20 years." There's something enchanting about the phrase "hairpiece realism."

Paul Coates -- Confidential File, February 19, 1959


Labor Force Exile Because She's 65

Paul_coates Nellie Malone is 65 years old and proud of it.

But she's not very proud of the position to which she's been relegated by society.

"I guess they want me to die," she explained to me a few days ago.

"But," she added, "I'll be darned if I will. I'm just stubborn enough to outlive all of you."

Nellie is one of the legion of women in this town who have been exiled from our labor force because they're "too old to work."

Yesterday, I interviewed an experienced executive secretary who was "too old" at 45. The consensus of prejudices of the bright young men in industry's personnel departments condemned her to decrepitude 20 years before she'll reach Nellie's age.

In some instances, the line is drawn at 35.

1959_0219_mirror_cover But, wherever it's drawn, it's a nonsensical line. To indiscriminately shelve a high percentage of the able working force in any community just doesn't make for sound economics.

And Nellie Malone is the first to testify to it.

"I don't want charity," she told me. "I don't want my neighbors to have to pay for my right to live.

"I've got good legs, good feet. I can stand up alongside any clerk in any store.

"The trouble is," she added, "I can't get past the personnel interviews to prove it."

Nellie lives -- so to speak -- on a $63.30 monthly Social Security check, supplemented by occasional baby-sitting, nursing and domestic work.

Most of her "profits" she spends on phone calls, bus fares and newspaper ads in search of steady employment.

1959_0219_mirror_reynoldsA couple of weeks ago, there was the classified ad for 20 salesladies inserted in a metropolitan newspaper by a downtown department stores.

Mrs. Malone was first in line to answer it.

"I'm especially experienced in bedding," she told her interviewer, "In 1952, I headed a store's bedding department."

"Fine," she was told. "You're just the woman we need."

But then she made a mistake. She gave her true age -- 65.

The store's policy: Nobody over 55 gets hired.

"That's the story every time," she told me. "If it's not 55, it's 50 or 45 or 40. Last Christmas time I did get a month and a half of work fancy-wrapping gifts in a department store. We stood and wrapped all day long.

Scrubbing Hard at 65

1959_0219_mirror_name "The younger girl I worked with complained about being tired sometimes, but frankly, to me, it was a lot easier than lifting heavy patients around or scrubbingsomebody's ceiling."

Mrs. Malone sighed.

"I love my freedom," she said. "I have my own friends, run my own home, but how can I run my own life on $68 a month?"

Mrs. Malone's husband died in 1950.

"What money we had saved went for his hospital and funeral bills, but I could make it fine now if someone would wake up and realize that I'm still healthy and alive.

"Even though," she added thoughtfully, "some people are trying to starve me to death, I'm going to keep fighting."

I hope it's not a losing battle.

At the Movies, March 2, 1924

I love the artwork in these 1920s movie ads. Check out the "Flaming Youth" Girl and the Knickerbocker Syncopaters.