Friday, January 20, 2006

The Strange End of Mr. and Mrs. Smith

January 20, 1947
Los Feliz

Everyone says Henry R. Smith, 20, was a different boy when he came home after his Navy service. Morose, nervous. Still, two months ago he was all smiles when he married Barbara Anne Chilton, 19. The newlyweds moved into Barbara's parents' home at 1612 Hillhurst. Chester Chilton is a building contractor, and Henry went to work as his assistant.

Last night the young couple was celebrating Barbara's return from a trip to San Francisco. They went out on the town with Chester, and returned to find the house thick with the smell of burning meat; a ham had been forgotten in the oven. (This would never have happened if the Mrs. were home, but she's in Detroit settling a family estate.)

Chester raced to the kitchen to deal with the mess, while Henry and Barbara retired to their bedroom. Half an hour later, a terrible boom split the evening's peace. Henry ran out into the hall, shotgun in hand, and cried "My God, Pop, kill me. I just shot Barbara!"

Chester passed his son-in-law and saw his daughter splayed out on the bedroom floor, shot through the eyes. Henry came up behind him. Chester wheeled and raced out of the house, thinking he had to call the police, get help, get away, do something...

Another shot rang out. Henry Smith had blown his brains out.

1 comment:

Larry said...


By Louella O. Parsons
Motion Picture Editor, International News Service

Actress Virginia Mayo’s three-day “disappearance,” which for a while seemed to be a deep mystery, was partially cleared up last night.

Yesterday, both the Samuel Goldwyn Studios and Michael O’Shea, the beautiful blonde actress’ fiance, revealed that Virginia had been missing since Friday night.

O’Shea told me he was frantic over her disappearance and was ready to ask police action in the case.

Last night, however, the manager of Virginia’s apartment building at 6200 Franklin Ave., revealed that she had left with her mother Thursday afternoon.


Also, the manager of a nearby gas station said that on that day he serviced the actress’ car—“loaded with boxes”—and changed the oil. She drove off with her mother, he added.

O’Shea said yesterday that he hadn’t heard from Virginia since she failed to keep an engagement with him Friday night.

“Did you have a quarrel?” he was asked.

Denying any rift between them, the actor explained that Virginia had been “very blue” since her Boston bulldog, Dinky, died of poisoning a month ago.

“Virginia and Dinky started out together, you might say,” O’Shea added.

“She bought him on the street in Boston seven years ago, just before she got her first real break. Ever since his death, she’s been terribly depressed.”


Asked if the prolonged delay he had experienced in getting a divorce might have had something to do with Virginia’s disappearance, he emphatically denied this.

“Virginia understands that I have been doing everything possible to gain my freedom,” he explained. “But I was married for 20 years and you just can’t end a marriage like that overnight.”

Virginia Mayo
With Mother

Actress Virginia Mayo’s “disappearance,” as disclosed by Samuel Goldwyn studio and a perplexed friend, last night turned out to be a weekend trip with her mother, Mrs. Martha Jones.

The blond film star had not been seen or heard from since last Thursday night, when she and Michael O’Shea, actor, went out together, a studio spokesman said. Then, when the actress failed to appear for a scheduled dramatic lesson on Friday, studio executives began an unsuccessful telephonic search for her.

The whole furor was branded as “erroneous and ridiculous” by the night manager at the Franklin Avenue apartment house where Miss Mayo lives. He said that she and her mother left Friday morning for a weekend trip and had planned to return early today.

+ + +

With the city in the grips of the Black Dahlia murder, Los Angeles wonders, where is Virginia Mayo? Or at least some publicist worries enough to feed the item to Louella Parsons at the Examiner. Without knowing for certain, the second story looks like a Times rewrite of the gossip column, which provides juicy details about Mayo’s poisoned dog, her exact address and the implications that she’s a home-wrecker, but is very thin on any real news. Basically, Mayo and her mother went on a trip. End of story.

Bonus factoid: Mayo and O’Shea got married July 2, 1947. He lived at 14633 Magnolia in Van Nuys. O’Shea, who starred in “Mr. District Attorney” and “Underworld Story,” died of a heart attack in Dallas in 1973 while getting ready to join a touring company of “40 Carats,” starring Mayo.

Second bonus factoid: Mayo’s apartment was 1.3 miles from the home of Dr. George Hodel at 5121 Franklin Ave.

Quote of the day: “Never a dull moment at Bullock’s, downtown Los Angeles.”
Ad offering a free lecture on contract bridge, a free classical voice concert, the Nickanellie Marionettes and something that Decca calls a “high-fidelity record.”