Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Case of the Walking Wristwatch

Hear this case recounted live on KPCC radio's Pacific Drift L.A. noir episode.

December 18, 1947

Two years ago, Mrs. Mary Louise Loftus rented a room in her home at 6429 Primrose Avenue to a (seemingly) nice young man whose height and cherubic features earned him an occasional paycheck doubling for Orson Welles. John Abernathy made such a good impression on Mrs. Loftus that she entrusted him with taking a broken diamond- and sapphire-studded wristwatch down to the jewelers. And that was the last she saw of Abernathy until...

... driving near Sunset and Laurel Canyon Boulevards last night, Loftus thought she spotted Orson Welles standing on the corner. But everyone knew that Orson was in Rome making Black Magic and mourning his split from Rita Hayworth. Ergo, that had to be Abernathy taking his evening constitutional! The lady called the cops, who located Abernathy in his nearby apartment at 8117 Sunset and took the kid down to the Hollywood Jail. The charge: grand theft, wristwatch, for the missing bauble was valued at $750.


Larry said...

The Jacobowicz brothers—Karl, 16, Joseph, 13, and Rudolph, 10—stood on the metal ramp leading from the gleaming airliner that carried them on the final leg of their journey from Vienna.

The Nazis took their Jewish father away in 1940 but left their mother because she was Catholic. Then on Christmas Eve 1942, the Gestapo made their mother get rid of her children because they were half-Jewish. She died less than a year after turning them over to Catholic nuns.

An older brother, held as a U.S. prisoner of war, wrote to them about life in America. They were sent to New York in September 1947 and listed with the Catholic Committee for Refugees. A story in the local Catholic newsletter drew the attention of William F. Lear, 1328 Lemoyne St., and his wife, who volunteered to host the three youths.

A Times photographer captured the moment as the three brothers met Sister Maureen and Mrs. Lear. They told The Times reporter they thought America was wonderful “because there’s so much to eat over here.”

And then they disappeared into the pages of history. Public records show that a William F. Lear died in 1967, but the paper never published his wife’s first name so she’s impossible to trace. The three Jacobowicz brothers never again appeared in The Times.

Bonus factoid: Jackie Robinson is honored at a UCLA alumni luncheon at the Biltmore. Guests include Brooklyn Dodger manager Leo Durocher, Kenny Washington, Harry “Peanuts” Lowrey and Jerry Priddy.

Frightening Food From the ’40s:

How to Stuff a Turkey With Fritos

3 cups moistened Frito crumbs
1 cup moistened breadcrumbs
2 small onions, chopped
3 tbsp. melted butter
½ cup celery, chopped
2 tsp. sage or more
salt and pepper

Mix moistened Frito crumbs, bread, onions, celery, salt, sage and pepper. Add melted butter and stuff fowl.

Unknown said...

This address,6429 Primrose Ave in Los Angeles has a colorful history, doesn't it? Only a couple of years before, it was the residence of actor Frankie Burke - the James Cagney look-alike from the 1938 film, "Angels with dirty faces"!