Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Harborside Mystery

January 26, 1947Terminal Island

Grizzled mariners are baffled by the mysterious development of a perfect lover's knot in the anchor chain of the Navy oiler U.S.S. Caliente. When anchor was dropped in 9 fathoms of water, the chain hung perfectly straight--but when they went to move her into dry dock, the knot made it impossible to weigh anchor.

Sailors cut the knot with torches and moved the ship on her way. The mermaids giggled, and the gremlins guffawed.

1 comment:

Larry said...

L.A. Crime
Total 1,229
During Week


In the last week 1,229 crimes were committed in Los Angeles. They were:

553 thefts
337 burglaries
83 robberies
83 assaults with deadly weapons
15 morals offenses
132 automobiles stolen
4 attacks on women
1 attempted attack on a woman
2 murders
1 attempted robbery
3 attempted burglaries
7 thefts from persons
8 assaults and batteries

Number of stories on the Examiner’s front page:
1) Grave Economic Crisis Engulfs Europe, Says Von Weigand (bannered over the masthead).
2) Marshall Will Ask Greece, Turkey to Halt Red Advance (lead story)
3) ‘Big Steel’ OKs $49,000,000 Raise, Back Pay (in shoulder of Marshall story)
4) Fingerprint Clews in Dahlia Killing; Await New Letter (the off-lead)
5) ‘Scarface’ Al Capone, Former Gang Czar, Dies (in the shoulder of the Dahlia story)
6) GOP RENT BILL ASKS 15 PCT. CEILING BOOST
7) Van Johnson Weds Evie Wynn in Juarez
8) WILSON NAMED TO GUARD U.S. ATOM SECRETS
9) Hampton, Grinnell Colleges to Trade Co-Eds February 1
10 5 Killed in Crash of Private Plane (a nice little stepped headline).
11 Mayer to Auction Horses Feb. 27
12 Tito Consul Dies After Alleged Beating in Chetnik Camp
13 Filipino Plane With 15 Millions in Gold Crashes
14 Woman Kidnaped at 9th and Grand
15 Mrs. Jack Topping Mother of Son
16 L.A. Mercury Leaps 9 Degrees to 81; Will Drop Today
17 The crime box

Examiner readers also got a two-column promo for a Sunday story: “Loves of Artie Shaw, Kathleen Winsor” (the now-obscure author of the then-sizzling novel “Forever Amber”). The paper also had a refer to “General Douglas MacArthur, a Birthday Tribute.”

The Times front page:
1) Rising Nazi Network Plots Return to Power (lead story)
2) APOPLEXY, NOT GUN, KILLS AL CAPONE (the off-lead)
3) U.S. Steel to Give Millions in Back Pay
4) Chrysler Union Pact Extended 30 Days (inset in U.S. Steel Story)
5) Van Johnson, Eve Wynn Elope to Juarez, Mex. (Not Evie, as in the Examiner)
6) Public Favors Education in Army Training
7) Writer Assails Themes of Radio and Pictures
8) THERMOMETER AT 81 BRINGS JULY SAMPLE
9) Duce’s Scorned Mistress on Trial
10) Bullets Miss Mexican Star (Jorge Velez)
11) Novelist Margaret Banning Asks Loyalty to Capitalism
12) WOMEN PREFER ‘HOMING PIGEONS’ NOT LAME DUCKS
13) Cuddle and Coo at Your Baby! Expert Says It’s Thing to Do
14) V-2 Volunteers Ready to Go; Rocket Isn’t
15) Secret Service Ex-Chief Named to Atomic Post

Four stories made both papers: U.S. Steel, Al Capone, Van Johnson (worth Page 1? Who knew?) and the new head of the Atomic Energy Commission. The Times ran some of the stories inside (The Philippine Airlines crash appeared on Page 5) and apparently ignored the kidnapping of Jean Delo.

The Black Dahlia story only made the front page of The Times twice: Once in 1947 after the false confession of Joseph Dumais, and again for the 50th anniversary of the murder—in a story by yours truly.

Bonus factoid: People researching the Dahlia case tell me the Los Angeles Public Library is missing the January 1947 microfilm of the Examiner. The film was in tatters the last time I looked at it (as an experienced researcher, I photocopied all the Dahlia stories years ago, so I have them) and missing part of Jan. 16. Of course the film is useless to anybody who doesn’t have a microfilm reader. Curiously enough, The Times’ January 1947 reel also disappeared from the in-house library at one point, but it’s been replaced and of course, everything is now available through Proquest, which is far superior.

Quote of the day: “If it hadn’t been for her I wouldn’t ever have amounted to anything. She was the first one who made me believe I was something more than just Ed Wynn’s son.”
Keenan Wynn, on the marriage of his ex-wife to Van Johnson.

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