Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Case of the Singed Curtains

December 11, 1947
Los Angeles

Some criminals just want to be punished. Consider the case of Mrs. Betty Cole, 27-year-old cocktail waitress, raising her twins alone while her Army captain husband serves at the San Francisco Presidio. Police investigators picked Betty up when it became clear that she was the pyromaniac responsible for four small blazes at the Palms Wilshire Hotel, 626 S. Alverado, on September 14, one at 1272 S. Western on October 14, and an initial fire at 1326 Oak Street on November 7, 1946.

Realizing that they had a nutty dame on their hands, and that no one had as yet been injured, the investigators offered to waive the charges if Betty would agree to stop smoking and drinking. But when Betty called the station to ask her nice policeman friends to join her for a beer, they revived the prosecution. Betty was picked up in a cocktail lounge, and her bail is set at $2500.

1 comment:

Larry said...

In late November, composer Igor Stravinsky had a guest at his home in the Hollywood Hills (The Times is elusive as to its exact location). His visitor was the English poet W.H. Auden and the men began discussing a musical work based on some engravings by William Hogarth—“The Rake’s Progress.”

The Times’ Albert Goldberg reported that Auden and Stravinsky plotted the outline of the opera and that Auden hoped to have the libretto completed by March 1948, so that Stravinsky could begin writing by the summer.

“The work will be a full-length opera in three acts and Stravinsky estimates that it will take two years to complete the project. The first production of the work is contemplated for London’s Covent Garden,” Goldberg wrote.

“The authors of ‘The Rake’s Progress’ hesitate to classify it as a tragic work, although following Hogarth its final scene will depict the hero’s ultimate dissolution in Bedlam, London’s once notorious insane asylum. ‘It will be tragic only in the sense that “Don Giovanni” is tragic,’ says Stravinsky.”

“Stravinsky is enthused over the prospect of writing an opera in English, a language he regards as eminently singable and easier to set to music than French. He is, in fact, an ardent advocate of opera in English….”

“The Rake’s Progress” received its world premiere in 1951 in Venice. Virgil Thomson said it was among Stravinsky’s finest works.

Quote of the day: “The only flaw in this unforgettable concert was not in the artist but in the audience, which throughout distracted the performer by barking like a pack of hungry seals.”
Albert Goldberg, describing a concert by Vladimir Horowitz at Philharmonic Auditorium.