Friday, September 30, 2005

A new web project from editrix Kim

Birth announcement: Subcrawl

Announcing the launch of Subcrawl, a new group linkblog overseen by yrs truly whose subtitle is "tomorrow's zeitgeist today." Our brilliant editors, many of whom also contribute to Scram, a journal of unpopular culture, will be presenting a hand-picked selection of their most intriguing online discoveries. We hope you'll tune in and enjoy the show.

Subcrawl is at
and we welcome your feedback.

Comes the Death Ship

September 30, 1947Honolulu

The Army transport ship Honda Knot, her hull draped with flowers, moved slowly out of Pearl Harbor today on its somber voyage to San Francisco. Inside her hold, the corpses of 2292 American war dead bound for repatriation. Among them were victims of the Japanese attack on Hawaii. This is the first shipment of what will ultimately be tens of thousands of American bodies returned from the Pacific Theater. More here.

On this day, the abstract expressionist, and mentor to editrix Kim, Michael Charles Longdo was born.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Yet More Donlevy Dirt

September 29, 1947
Los Angeles

Superior Judge Allen W. Ashburn ruled today that Marjorie Lane Donlevy's February divorce from actor Brian was no longer valid, despite Mr. Donlevy's assertion that he had not encouraged Marjorie's infidelity with a blue-blooded New Yorker.

He denied that he had entrapped his estranged wife, who was discovered in a hotel bed with James Hannan on December 15 by Donlevy and four witnesses. Further, Donlevy refutes claims by William M. Cameron and his sister-in-law Mal Simpson that he kept one hand in his pocket to suggest the presence of a firearm during a drunken visit to their home at 1239 S. Beverly Glen Dr. last New Year's Eve.

Donlevy estimates the couple's marital property as $200,000 at the time of her fling with Hannan, and claims he has already given Marjorie $100,000 as a settlement. Tell it to the judge, McGinty!

Further reading: Preston Sturges' The Great McGinty

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Three Cheers for Bunky

September 28, 1947
Los Angeles

Bunky's a tiny poodle mix puppy whose mistress, Mrs. Marguerite Lawson, is even more fond of today. That's because the foundling, an adoptee from the SPCA, savagely attacked the strange man who attempted to mash Mrs. Lawson as she walked home from a market near her home at 1325 S. Dewey Ave. Saturday night. Bunky reacted with the courage of a much larger (and less fluffy) canine, and when the rotter released his hold on Mrs. Lawson to lunge for Bunky, lady and Bunky got away.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Return of Nathan

People everywhere stop me on the street and query “What up dog, where you been?” I consider this, wonder why they’re talking like that, and go on to tell them that while I’ve been away, I've now returned and am, I add, in full effect.

Seems I went off and did this -– (I’m not only a first-class cameraman, but can portray Karl Benz in a Velomobile with the best of them) -- and simply neglected to cease traveling. Lot of crime scenes in Cuzco and Sumer to be investigated after all. Sadly, my photos of Atlantean gang killings were “lost” by the lab. Damn Illuminati.

Anyway, I’d left McCarthy at the dock, so trusty Packard and I immediately set forth, traversing town to catch up on old posts. Which are now live—witness twenty-five brand-spanking-new entries au go-go,five for July, eleven in August, another nine in September.

Love and kisses, and death to all those who oppose us,


How you know when it's time to move

September 27, 1947
Los Angeles

For the fourth time since August, and in the second time this week, a runaway car ended up inside the home of Mrs. Howard White, 8442 Kirkwood Drive. The latest unwanted vehicular guest belonged to 23-year-old Earle Ray Dugan of 5426 Virginia Ave. It rolled from a hill above the White home, plowed into the living room, hit the chair the lady had just vacated and ended up against the mantle, where it shattered the fireplace and several priceless antiques, among them a bowl whose twin is in the (other) White House... where, one hopes, the fence is stronger.

Further reading: Porcelain Repair and Restoration

Monday, September 26, 2005

Shameless Plug, Worthy Cause

It isn’t every day you get to have some pie at Johnie’s. In fact, it isn’t any day, since this slice of postwar Los Angeles has been closed up for the last five years. So go on this tour next Sunday and be served a cup of joe by a glamorous costumed waitress beneath a breathtaking 1955 roofline straight from the strange, mad brains of Arm├ęt and Davis…

The Case of the Tipsy Toddler?

September 26, 1947
Los Angeles

Songbird Marjorie Lane Donlevy's February divorce from actor Brian Donlevy is not going well. In fact, the lady has filed to have it voided.

She claims that last December, the actor--who when he wasn't ignoring her talked constantly of divorce-- suggested she go to New York. While in the east, she met and was wooed by James Hannan, who shocked her with an almost immediate proposal of marriage. She succumbed to his attentions.

During her travels, Donlevy kept their 4-year-old daughter Judith in an unknown location, and refused her access to the child. Soon he revealed knowledge of her affair with Hannan (and possession of compromising photographs), and used that information to force her to consent to a "grossly unfair" divorce decree, lest he take the photos to the newspapers.

Mrs. Donlevy now believes that Mr. Hannan's woo was being pitched at the behest of her ex-husband. Further, she denies the claim of her daughter's nurse that the child once drank a glass of gin that was sitting unattended on a table within her reach.

There will be a hearing in Superior Court Judge Fred Miller's court on Monday. For now, Miller has ordered Donlevy to pay $2100 in his ex-wife's legal expenses.

Further viewing: in 1947, Mr. Donlevy appeared in Kiss of Death... and in The Trouble with Women (which is not available on DVD)

Saturday, September 24, 2005


September 24, 1947
Los Angeles

John Donald La Chance and his young family have been evicted from their Quonset hut home in Rodger Young Village. The 32-year-old former marine private claims his rent has gone unpaid because his $60 monthly disability check for September hasn't arrived.

But Ed Leibeck of the City Housing Authority counters that La Chance has failed to pay his rent repeatedly, and would have been bounced in May had the VA not stepped in to help. He has also received aid from Public Assistance. Now, since La Chance refuses to take a test to see if he is able to work, and the rent is three weeks late, La Chance, wife Ruth, and little Barbara Ann and baby Donald Lee have been removed from hut #1038.

La Chance enlisted in June 1942 and was discharged 14 months later, after suffering an injury at Camp Pendleton.

Further reading on the ex-servicemen's community of Rodger Young Village is in The Provisional City: Los Angeles Stories of Architecture and Urbanism; see also these message board posts

Friday, September 23, 2005

Sugar is sweet... and so's a poker to the skull

September 23, 1947
Arcadia, CA

Those battling Spreckelses are at it again! Last night, sugar heir John D. Spreckels III, 37, brained wife Lou Dell with a fireplace poker during a liquor-fueled argument at their home at 201 Santa Cruz Road. Call it a housewarming gift: they've been in the new place for all of two weeks.

Lou Dell ran from the house in a confused state and found herself at the nearby home of Laurie Connor, 215 San Luis Rey Road. Connor is a former relative by marriage of Mrs. Spreckels. John D. followed her, and began pounding on the back door threating to "kill" someone inside. This resulted in a call to police, and a charge of disturbing the peace, later expanded to assault with a deadly weapon and drunkeness.

Interviewed by officers, Lou Dell claimed she recalled raising her arms to prevent being struck by the poker her husband swung, but did not remember being hit. She does not know how she got to the Connor home. Mrs. Connor explained that she discovered Lou Dell on her back stoop after opening the door on her way to Pasadena.

Lou Dell indicated that she was willing to prosecute John D. on an assault charge, and was taken to St. Luke Hospital in Pasadena for stitches and treatment of a possible concussion. John was bailed out by Groves Bonding Co. with a call to appear in Arcadia Police Court at 9:30am. The bent poker remains at the Arcadia Police Station as evidence.

Further reading: Claus Spreckels: The Sugar King in Hawaii

Dahlia Case Solved!

The Spreckles House of Crazy Times:

And the Connor residence, where the Crazy Times come and inundate like so much floodwater.

Note the map of the area. Looks like, well, the area where one encounters the female pudenda, wouldn’t you say?

Which bears a striking topographical similarity to this area --

conclusively proving that poker-wielding wife beater John D. Spreckles III was the Dahlia killer!

(The street layout also resembles a candelabra, which further serves to implicate Spreckles as a Hebrew. With Yom Kippur just days away, Spreckles was obviously making certain he had plenty to atone for.)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What, no Fleischer Brothers?

September 22, 1947
Los Angeles

Superior Judge Charles S. Burnell was all ears today when Edward G. Lamel, next door neighbor of pedigreed Irish Setters Pat and Gunner and their late master Carleton R. Bainbridge, took the witness stand on behalf of Bainbridge's brother Sherman to testify about the dogs' taste in motion pictures. Lamel, an engineer for the county, stated that Bainbridge often remarked on his pets' preferences. The dogs were big animation fans, and enjoyed Mickey Mouse cartoons and Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Wycoff Westover, counsel for the doggys' executor, Charles Connelley, stipulated with Sherman Bainbridge's attorney that while the dogs do talk, they do not speak English. At issue is $30,000 which has been left to the dogs, disinheriting Bainbridge's human relatives.

Suggested viewing: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney Special Platinum Edition)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Meet Judy Jingle, a real ding-a-ling

September 21, 1947
Los Angeles

Judy Beltramo, aged 2 1/2, nibbled the tiny sleigh bell off of her charm bracelet this morning in the family manse at 3744 Cherrywood Ave. Her parents didn't notice until the tyke alerted them to her transgression. Then it was off to Georgia Street Receiving Hospital, where the doctor placed his stethoscope on Judy's throat and perceived the presense of the bell. But don't worry that Judy will be jingling evermore: she's been sent to Childrens Hospital, where they have special tools for removing things from throats.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bend over, baby...

September 20, 1947
New York

Children's furniture designer Irmi Gross has a new item in her arsenal: an automatic spanking machine shaped like a widdle bunny wabbit. The 2 1/2 foot tall bunny holds a rubber paddle in one paw, which can be set in motion by a foot pedal. This leaves mama's hands free to hold her little darling still as the mean old bunny wacks the heck out him. Miss Gross, who has clearly thought a great deal about the subject, predicts that mothers of the future will take their ill-behaved spawn to soundproofed public spanking parlors, where rows of children will be simultaneously walloped by robots. What will they call this brilliant invention? The Spank-O-Mat.

Further reading: Beating the Devil Out of Them: Corporal Punishment in American Families

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Winds Came

September 19, 1947
New Orleans

Panicked citizens of Louisiana's low-lying shore, woken by a 1:15am weather advisory warning that a 140mph hurricane might reach the mouth of the Mississippi by early afternoon, frantically sought to flee into the New Orleans tonight even as the river's waters, driven by rising wind and tide, sloshed over the city's vaunted levy system. A huge shelter with 800 beds awaited the escapees inside the Municipal Auditorium.

New Orleaneans hold great pride and confidence in their river levy system, but it has never before been tested by a strong hurricane. The levies were built in response to the devastating storm of 1915.

Severe damage has already been felt throughout southern Florida, with an estimated $25,000,000 loss to the citrus industry and 188 buildings destroyed in Ft. Lauderdale. Also threatened by the storm are Biloxi, Gulfport and other important tidal towns.

Recommended reading: Herbert "Gangs of New York" Asbury's The French Quarter: An Informal History of the New Orleans Underworld

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Good Boys!

September 18, 1947
Los Angeles

Two days before he died in February, attorney Carelton R. Bainbridge, 63, rewrote his will to include a very unusual bequest. His entire estate of $30,000 was left in the trust of his friend Charles Connelley for the care of Bainbridge's beloved 6-year-old Irish setter dogs, Pat and Gunner.

In court today to challenge Bainbridge's wishes are several two-legged hounds from the dead man's past, including his brother Sherman, who publishes a pension movement magazine, and Sherman's daughter Marjorie. Also on the scene is Mrs. Christine Halstead Bainbridge, the woman Bainbridge wed (and deserted) in 1926. She has a 1925 Bainbridge will in which she plays a featured role.

Sherman Bainbridge's attorney Harold A. Fendler intends to show that Carelton Banbridge was not of sound mind when he made the 1947 will. As evidence, he claims that the dead man regularly took Pat and Gunner to the movies, where he would ask their opinions on the show. He believed the dogs could talk, and also read them bedtime stories.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

There's No (Place Like) Home

September 17, 1947
Los Angeles

Contractor Sam Murman, 58, was sentenced to one to ten in San Quentin today on a charge of collecting deposits of more than $38,000 from 44 ex-servicemen and their families for advance rent on an apartment project at 1414 W. 25th Street that could only accomodate twelve families. Murman blamed the discrepancy on the his illiteracy, claiming he kept all his contracts in his head and became confused. None of the victims ultimately gained occupancy in Murman's building. Murman has filed for bankruptcy, but it seems unlikely that any of his victims will receive more than $100 of their $900 average loss.

1414 West 24th To-day

You can see why servicemen would advance their rent to secure a place in 1414. The bold geometric patterning of the entryway dabbles in the Late Moderne, and its wicked contrast with the canopy flourish over that shallow bay would make any GI’s heart flutter. Ok, maybe that’s just me.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Farewell to Old Timers Village

September 16, 1947
Los Angeles

The wreckers pulled down the old residential hotel at 609 East 2nd Street today to make a parking lot for Western Telegraph employees. Built in 1888 to accomodate 64 persons, by 1916 it was known as Walton House, after the owner-operators. By 1935 it was known as Old Timers Village or more fondly as Bachelor's Lair, in honor of its cranky population of ex-miners and construction workers who permitted no feminine touch to impose its frills upon their pragmatism. They cooked, cleaned and laundered themselves as they had during their working days. But no more.

609 East Second To-day

There are still some ancient residential hotels, still full of crabby men (and men with crabs) in the area, but they are largely outnumbered by parking lots. Even Western Telegraph is gone, can you imagine? Residential projects are springing up in the neighborhood—we’ll see many more old buildings coming down sooner rather than later, and I’d wager lofts will rise on this lot in the near future.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Dong Dong Dong

September 14, 1947
Los Angeles

Those are wedding bells you're hearing for hard-boiled pen-man James M. Cain, who took the occasion of the granting of Aileen Pringle's divorce petition to announce that he intends to wed singer Florence MacBeth in October. The bride, widow of Captain Edward Whitwell R.A.F., has had a succesful stage career with the Chicago Grand Opera, despite sporting so dangerous a name. Post-nuptials, the lovebirds are off to Louisiana, where Cain intends to research a civil war novel while Flo begins her memoirs.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Trouble in West LA

September 13, 1947
West Los Angeles

All Betty Rockwell MacDonald, the pretty, poised and wealthy 24-year-old wife of Robert MacDonald, wanted was for her husband to stop threatening her. And for him to get a job. He hadn't worked since 1945.

Robert, 27, a former Lt. who received three Purple Hearts, a Silver and a Bronze Star in the European theater, has been receiving psychiatric care at the VA. This may have helped when Betty filed for divorce five months ago, agreed to reconcile, and recently began making divorce sounds again. Unfortunately, Robert's shrink didn't insist he remove his collection of war weaponry from the family home at 822 Warner Ave.

Last night, Betty phoned her attorney and insisted on revising her will. Now. She was not, she claimed, being threatened, but nonetheless she could not wait. And so her $100,000 fortune was to be shared by the MacDonald children, John, 6, and Eilen Gay, 11 months, with Betty's mother as executrix.

Robert slept in the den last night, and was surly when Betty woke him to move his car so she could take little John to the dentist. The couple ended up in their upstairs bedroom, where they scuffled and argued. Nurse Constance Baker ran upstairs and saw John come hurtling out of the room as if tossed. Then gunshots: chest and head for Betty, mouth-shot for John. Both DOA, a sad finish to the story that began with the pair's elopement in 1940.

Suggested reading: Surviving Domestic Violence: Voices of Women Who Broke Free

822 Warner To-day

The MacDonalds blasted away at each other upstairs in this handsome home. Blam, blam, blam. Sure, John and Eilen had a few damaged cochlea from mommy and daddy’s early-morning playtime, and while 140 db(a) damage will fade over time, the psychological effect will cause the tympanic membrane to vibrate. Forever.

Monday, September 12, 2005

September Serenade

September 12, 1947
Los Angeles

Finalized today was the divorce of one-time silent screen starlet and fruit company heiress Aileen Pringle, 46, and crime novelist James M. Cain, 55. The pair were wed three years ago in Santa Monica, but separated last year. In her complaint, Mrs. Pringle, who was formerly married to Jamaican aristocrat Charles McKenzie Pringle and romantically linked to H.L. Mencken, charged that Cain was a "moody, melancholy and grim" husband, who "built mental dungeons instead of castles in the air." In a letter to Mencken in 1946, she quipped "If I had remained married to that psychotic Cain, I would be wearing a straight jacket instead of the New Look."

Suggested reading: Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce, and Selected Stories (Hardcover)

1947project's Kim & Nathan on the BBC tonight

  • RAVIN' NATHAN ALERT: Hear the Podcast of the 1947project radio feature by Chris Vallance for BBC5

  • ***
    You can tune into BBC 5's bogging and podcasting show Up All Night this evening at 6:50PM PST to hear an audio tour of downtown Los Angeles that your cranky bloggers recently gave to visiting London journalist Chris Vallance. You can listen live here, or download for later podcasting from the station's archive here.

    Chris got a ton of our blathering on tape, so I can't even tell you what topics will be covered, but Nathan was raving quite charmingly 90% of the time, so I reckon you will hear raving. Please check it out, and put any comments on the show in this post.

    Sunday, September 11, 2005

    Tenants Say Power Cut Off To Evict Them

    September 11, 1947
    Los Angeles

    Residents of the bungalow court apartments 8527-8531 West Third Street have filed a complaint with the City Attorney, claiming their landlord has cut off their electrical power in a bid to drive them out of their homes so he can rent them as business offices. For the past ten days, Dan Clough, Robert L. Springfels and Harry S. Bent have been living by candlelight and stocking their iceboxes with, well, ice.

    James Hay, who lives uncomfortably close to his disgruntled tenants at 8517 West Third, previously attempted to raise their rents from $50 to $200 a month when the rent controlling Office of Price Administration (OPA) briefly ceased to exist last year. As soon as the new rent control went into effect this August, he served his tenants with eviction notices, and on August 30 turned off their power.

    The 3500 Block of Third

    Bungalow courts make this town habitable. Sure, they’re full of murder and mayhem and power-cutting, eviction notice-serving landlords, but they’re also succulent little communities of Craftsman shingle and Spanish stucco and night-blooming jasmine and little spaces for your coupe. Fortunately, they’ve mostly fallen to the bulldozer, allowing things like this to be built. I could not and did not ascertain whether this was the Cedars cancer center or the parking structure for the Cedars cancer center, since I didn’t want to venture too close and catch the cancer.

    Saturday, September 10, 2005

    1947project & LA Time Machines invite you to Steak 'N Stein

    1947project and Los Angeles Time Machines invite you to join them on a voyage into the past. To a time when no one knew their cholesterol numbers, and rye was both a bread and a beverage. A time of girdles (and trusses), not of Pilates. A time of hair-dos, dancing shoes and carrying a dime in mad money. A time of fabulous independent restaurants run by well-dressed gentlemen who understood their customers' needs and how to make every visit an occasion. Happily, we're still in that time, and we'd like to share with you one of the region's most extraordinary and little-known dining treasures.

    Save the date: Saturday, September 17, 5pm.

    The place: the lounge of Clearman's Steak 'N Stein Inn, 9545 E. Whittier Blvd. in Pico Rivera (3 blocks west of the 605).

    The event: a gathering for fans and friends of the blog 1947project ( and the website Los Angeles Time Machines ( to talk with others about historic LA crime, dining and culture.

    We'll start at 5pm with cocktails and conversation in the astonishing vintage 1946 lounge, a dim-lit symphony in shiny copper, stained glass and Adirondack chairs with arms wide enough for the fattest tumbler. Around 7, we'll move on to dinner for those who wish to stay. Bring your appetite—and your wallet—as portions are huge but not cheap. Steak 'N Stein is the first restaurant in the Clearman family chain, which also includes several North Woods Inns and Clearman's Galley.

    For more info about Steak 'N Stein, including directions, see

    For more info about this gathering, and to RSVP (not essential, but appreciated), contact Kim Cooper of 1947project,

    Arrival of the Detroit-kies

    September 10, 1947
    Santa Monica

    For nearly a week, a broken truck has been parked just off Wilshire Blvd. Inside it, always inside it, Mr. Samuel C. Pirkey and his five tots, ages 2 through 10.

    The family came out from Detroit in their "covered wagon" in hopes of finding work and housing, but the truck broke down before they found either. Mom was able to get a temporary gig at a cannery in the Valley, leaving dad to putter with the truck and watch the kids all day. By night, they all cram into their wheeled studio apartment, and dream of the California paradise they imagined while on the road.

    Friday, September 09, 2005

    Oh, Mother!

    September 9, 1947
    Santa Monica

    Three cars full of cops hid on the dark highway just outside of town, waiting for the trio who'd robbed a Ventura cafe of $26 earlier in the evening. Around midnight, the fly was snagged in one of the lawmens' webs.

    Pulled from the car was 14-year-old Mrs. Beverly Lynch, blonde-haired mother of a 2-year-old daughter and 7-month-old son, all residing at 723 1/2 W. 8th Street. Also her husband Robert David, 19, and their 20-year-old accomplice Leroy Ulrey, Jr. of 806 S. Westlake Ave.

    It's believed that in this as in four previous robberies in the Los Angeles area, the Lynches stayed in the car while Ulrey went inside and held up victims with a .22 caliber revolver. Wonder how much of the loot went to pay the babysitter?

    Further reading: The Encyclopedia of Robberies, Heists, and Capers

    723 West Eighth To-day

    I believe it was Phil Langdon who talked about the “browning of America.” No, that has nothing to do with shifting ethnic demographics. The mid-60s saw a reaction against Exaggerated Modern architecture, and so architects attached mansard roofs and brick facades to everything. Earth tones became common currency, and Broadway Plaza—Charles F. Luckman Assc, 1972, designed in a sort of “Environmental Brutalist” style—is a about as brown as it gets. By the 80s we’d returned to glass and steel, but a few hallmarks of 70s architecture, like this noble beast, remain.

    But for how long? While Portman’s 1976 Bonaventure is likely to be landmarked, many High-70s buildings are being lost or compromised. Of course, one may argue that the Bonaventure is a better building than this Broadway; one may be right. But the preservationist camp owes a strange debt to Luckman—it’s his MSGCenter that stands atop the rubble of Penn Station, and it was in razing that building that America’s interest in preserving her monuments was sparked.

    (Luckman went on to recommend tearing down Goodhue’s library, btw.)

    Ulrey’s place on South Westlake didn’t make it, either.

    Thursday, September 08, 2005

    Lucky Lady

    September 8, 1947

    Flora Killingsworth, 18, has only been waitressing for three days, but she's already hit the food service jackpot when a customer put a hundred dollar bill down on her counter and told her to keep the change. His order: ham and eggs. Flora ran after the guy to see if he realized what a big bill he'd dropped, but he was nowhere to be found.

    Officers said a man matching his description had been freely passing hundreds for small services in the Hermosa Beach area. There was, they hastened to add, no law against it.

    Wednesday, September 07, 2005

    The House of Bosko Goes Boom

    September 7, 1947
    Beverly Hills

    A smoldering fire in the basement of a motion picture stock storage house burst into open flame yesterday, blasting out a fire door and injuring six men, among them city firemen. The blaze, beneath the Harman-Ising cartooning studio at 9713 Santa Monica Blvd., caused acculumated gasses to explode even as firefighters attempted to break inside to quash it.

    The fire made multicolored smoke to pour from the building's vents, causing traffic policeman C.J. Verhaar to quip it was the first Technicolor fire he'd ever witnessed.

    Firemen wore gas masks as they fought the acrid flames.

    Meanwhile, out on the sidewalk, displaced alterations gal Mrs. Natalie Nikitin calmly mended some trousers, which she said she had promised to a nice man whose name she did not know.

    Smoke and water damage to the first floor shops has yet to be calculated, but appears extensive.

    Recommended cartoon viewing: Uncensored Bosko Vol. 1

    House of Bosko, No Longer

    A two-story parking structure, foreground, stands where the cartoon studio once squeezed out Bosko like so much egesta. But you’re not looking at that. You’re looking at the 1963 Rox-San Medical Building, and with good reason.

    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    No deposit, no return

    September 6, 1947
    El Monte

    Bicycling home with a basket full of pop, 10-year-old David Jensen wiped out in front of 3353 S. Double Drive, a couple blocks from his home at #3502. The bottles broke in the fall, and punctured David's belly, prompting Sheriff's deputies to drive him to Alhambra Hospital for an emergency operation. The boy is in satisfactory, but serious, condition at press time.

    Further research: Petretti's Soda Pop Collectibles Price Guide: The Encyclopedia of Soda-Pop Collectibles

    Double Drive

    That little Davey Jensen learned the hard way: drinking and driving don’t mix.

    Maybe Santa will bring him a new Schwinn Whizzer for Christmas. Whether the elves can whip him up a new stomach remains to be seen.

    If you’re looking to recreate Davey’s folly, you’ll be hard pressed to find Double Drive. It became part of Santa Anita Ave. in ’59.

    Here are a couple homes along that stretch that evoke what DD may have looked like in the postwar era –

    I’ll spare you from being wounded by images of the McMansions sprouting up in the neighborhood –although I can't help but share a couple of “Spanish” themed complexes ca. 1969…

    Monday, September 05, 2005

    It's really hard to quit

    September 5, 1947
    East Los Angeles

    It was midnight when 24-year-old Richard Durant of 340 1/2 N. Kern Street sent wife Mary, 25, out for cigarettes. When she returned, she found him making love to her younger sister, Marjorie. Afraid of what she might do, Mary called the sheriffs. And waited. Waited...

    And after a while, she got out an icepick and stabbed Richard just beside the heart. So Richard spent the rest of the night in General Hospital and Mary in custody, while the luckless Marjorie watched the Durants' four kids.

    When Richard realized his wife was in stir, he checked himself out against doctors' orders and went to the Sheriff's Station, where he told officers he didn't intend to file charges. And the Tiger Lady wants her man back, so it seems like it's going to be all sunshine back on Kern Street, at least for the moment.

    Recommended reading: Not "Just Friends" : Protect Your Relationship from Infidelity and Heal the Trauma of Betrayal

    340 North Kern, To-day

    There ought to be a monument to the man who made it with his wife’s sister, survived an icepick to the chest, and then started the whole process over again. Instead, there’s this:

    Sunday, September 04, 2005

    It's not all failed chorines and dancing boys

    September 4, 1947

    It was a year ago that prosperous dentist Jules Goldsmith, 42, packed up his wife and three kids and moved them to 201 S. Hamel Drive, Beverly Hills. The good DDS wanted to be not dentist to the stars, but a star himself.

    And so he burned through the family's savings, returning to Detroit alone several weeks ago, when he saw how dire circumstances had become. His sister's maid found him hanging from a basement beam, with a note that read: "Big mistake in leaving hometown and all my friends. Lack of work all my fault. Motion pictures just a gag. We have good children. Betty should remain on the coast."

    Betty and the children were on their way to Detroit at last report.

    Suggested reading for starstruck fang-polishers: How to Make it in Hollywood : Second Edition

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Family Food Costs Double Since 1942

    September 3, 1947
    United States

    Based on three polls conducted over the past five years by Princeton, N.J. based American Institute of Public Opinion, non-farm families are spending nearly twice as much on their weekly food budgets as they were in 1942 (national median has risen from $11 to $21). However, professional and business class families are spending more than both white collar and manual laboring ones ($24 versus $20), suggesting that some of that increase is by choice, not necessity.

    Hmm, honey, how about we send the kids to the movies, you grill a couple steaks and I'll mix up a pitcher of mai tais...?

    Further reading: Beachbum Berry's Grog Log and The American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipies of the 20th Century

    Friday, September 02, 2005

    A Flood of Youths

    September 2, 1947
    San Francisco

    According to a poll conducted by the California Committee for the Study of Transient Youth at the state borders and in 15 California cities, up to 400 young people, 18-22, are entering California each day without their families. Most have left jobs in their home states in the belief that prospects for employment are better in California, and are "puzzled and resentful" to find this is not the case.

    Further reading: A World of Its Own: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles, 1900-1970

    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    Everybody's in Showbiz

    September 1, 1947
    West Hollywood

    Yesterday, Marguerite Kelly's apartment door, at 1334 Olive Drive just off the Sunset Strip, was framed with fragrant honeysuckle. Today, the County Coroner defaced it with a sticker meant to seal the contents until her next of kin could be notified.

    Marguerite, 29, was a blues chanteuse who never quite made it. After seven years in Hollywood, her small trust fund was nearly depleted and occasional cafe gigs weren't replenishing it. Her longtime friend Charles T. Young, 59-year-old retired market exec, took her out to fancy dinners, but seemed disinterested in making things more permanent. She began making notes to herself, analyzing her sad situation.

    So after one such evening out with Mr. Young, Marguerite topped off the champagne cocktails with a shot of gas from the stove. Arriving the next morning, Young smelled rotten eggs mixed with the floral vines. With the aid of apartment manager W.J. Ferry, he forced the triple-locked and bolted door.

    Inside lay Marguerite, nude, tangled in her blankets, nearly dead. Beside her, a note to Young, calling him the greatest man in the world. It begged "don't cut my hair, just cremate me."

    Young expressed surprise that his ladyfriend had felt so strongly for him, and suggested that had he known, he might have done something about it. Too late now. She died and was taken to Utter-McKinley mortuary.

    Marguerite has a sister in Milwaukee who may come and claim her sheet music and other remnants of life in Los Angeles.

    Suggested reading: Hollywood Babylon : The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood's Darkest and Best Kept Secrets

    1334 N. Olive To-day

    Curious that the blues chanteuse should off herself before she had the chance to play the very House of Blues itself. The site of her old place smells not of honeysuckle, now, but of the HOB parking lot which replaced it.

    Now that’s something to sing the blues about. That and our having lost the Utter-McKinley where she was taken. Where, we trust, she was cremated, hair and all.