Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Hotfoot That Slipped Through The Cracks

January 17, 1947

Gentle readers,

In the excitement of leading the Crime Bus tour, we inadvertently neglected to blog one of the stories that, when first reading the 1947 papers with an eye to writing a book ten years ago, made it obvious that I'd stumbled onto a very interesting shadow L.A. And so we bring you, twelve days late, The Hotfoot That Slipped Through The Cracks.

Thomas Gant, 40, and Thurman Dawson, 27, were prank pals--acquaintances who took great pleasure in torturing each other with increasingly annoying shenanigans. For the past week their activities had been constant and aggressive, with the agonies of the hotfoot featuring prominently in each man's arsenal.

And so might it have continued, until all the shoes both owned were singed, but still wearable, had Dawson not been inspired to add a squirt of lighter fluid to yesterday's performance. Gant said, "Enough already" (after he shrieked like a girl), and sought the aid of the homicide cops near City Hall. They looked at his scorched shoe, laughed and wished him well in his endeavors.

Furious, Gant strode back to the hotel where he and Dawson lived, at 236 E. Second Street, and retrieved a gun. From there, he went to the cafe at 245 E. Second and found Dawson at his afternoon meal. Gant shot Dawson in the gut, killing him, and awaited the arrival of the homicide cops, who obliged by taking him more seriously this time around.
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