Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Oh, and that kidnapped girl...

February 28, 1947
near Long Beach

'tis the season for faked abductions, with yesterday's nude 17-year-old found bound in her underpants with a cigarette burn on her wrist confessing to police that she had "dreamed up" the sinister man who attacked her, and had tied and injured herself. She's Jacqueline Mae Stang of 2009 Chestnut Ave., Long Beach, currently in custody of the Long Beach juvenile division as investigators satisfy themselves that there really is not a kidnapper loose in their community.

Must be all that Black Dahlia coverage putting weird ideas in folks' heads.

Monday, February 27, 2006

February 27, 1947
near Long Beach

Fiends are loose in the city, and no girl or woman is safe! The latest victim is a 17-year-old high school girl--found naked and bound with her own underclothes, with a cigarette burn on her wrist--near the Union Pacific underpass at Willow Street. After treatment at Seaside Hospital, which revealed no sign of criminal assault, the shaken girl recovered sufficiently to describe being followed by a strange man and then grabbed in an alley, after which her memory was mercifully blank.

Police records show the same girl reported being followed by a man in a car with no license plates on February 5.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Phoney Baloney!

February 26, 1947
Seattle, WA

Remember Eugene White, the businessman who disappeared on Valentine's Eve, leaving his coat, wallet, bloodstained car and gifts for the Missus? Police speculated he'd been robbed, beaten and tossed into a passing freight car, but it turns out he's fine and well, and camped out with a pal in Seattle. It was the wife of that friend, Jay Stevens, who convinced White to phone his worried wife. She called the cops.

White explained that he was feeling overwhelmed after years of working 14 hour days, and so faked his own disappearance. "I felt I couldn't go on. I wanted to go to sea or work in a lumber camp." So he cut his hand with a razor and stage set his own abduction.

A shocked Mrs. White told reporters that if Eugene didn't come home, she guessed she'd take the kids and go home to mama in Michigan. Then she asked to be left alone to figure things out.
Gifts for the missus.


May-December Indian Clubs

February 25, 1947
Los Angeles

Juggling-act partners Elizabeth Reinke, 25, and Walter Beemer, 77, married in 1943 and divorced in 1946, stepped into judge's chambers today to re-knot their troth. The lady explained, "It was not the same after our divorce. We both worried. It once caused him to drop an Indian club on my foot." We hope the pair have many happy years ahead of them, with no broken toes in the forecast.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Fat 'n' Sassy

February 24, 1947

Little Patti Sue Roeder, stricken with polio before she turned two, has become the pet of the Textile Association of Los Angeles. The group vowed to donate the child's weight in ten cent pieces to the March of Dimes. When she stepped onto the scale today, it read 33 pounds... and while the TALA had raised 37 pounds of coinage, they decided to let the difference slide. The total: $8700.

They've vowed to repeat the gesture in 1948, and Patti Sue promises to be quite fat when the next weigh-in comes. The girl lives at 620 S. Chester Street.

620 S. Chester Street, To-day

Perhaps an image of a house in Compton doesn’t make you think of the March of Dimes, but who cares. Look at that curved entry canopy!

On a numismatic note, just last year the dimers had moved from using these—

to these:

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Another victim

February 22, 1947
Los Angeles

Ten hours after the plating factory explosion on East Pico Blvd., 20-year-old Charles Batye turned on a machine at the creamery at 1120 Towne Avenue and was badly injured when a shard of glass, a by-product of the explosion, flew out and hit him in the left eye.

1120 Towne Avenue To-day

Funny, there was a creamery here yesterday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A New Club Dedicated To Historic SoCal Dining Lore

A message from our pal Jonathon at the essential L.A. Time Machines site, who is speaking at this March 18 event:

The group we are forming will focus on Los Angeles Restaurant History in general, with an emphasis on restaurant memorabilia collectors, writers on restaurant history and the oral history of classic restaurant employees and owners. Scheduled to speak at our first meeting are Jim Heimann, author of "Out With the Stars" and "May I Take Your Order", as well as countless other books on Los Angeles and Pop Culture of the 30s to 70s. Also Charles Perry, the renown columnist for the Los Angeles Times and Food Historian. And Filomena D'Amore, owner of Patsy's Pizza, whose father Patsy D'Amore owned the Villa Capri restaurant in Hollywood along with Frank Sinatra (and it was James Dean's favorite place). Our first meeting is at the Hollywood Heritage Museum on March 18 at 10AM.
Most of this is on the attachment hopefully. The principal organizer is Chris Nichols who you might know from ModCom or LA magazine.

A Terrible Blast

February 21, 1947
Los Angeles

The city continues to reel under the horrific impact of yesterday's chemical explosion at the O'Connor Electro-Plating Company, 926 E. Pico Blvd., which leveled the factory, damaged 116 homes, injured hundreds and killed more than a dozen persons.

City officials scattered rat poison around the blast site to deter vermin, while others condemned the contents of local restaurants and bakeries, lest glass fragments find their way onto plates. And into the night, the bulldozers made their silent, constant grab at the debris, dislodging severed limbs, dead cats and dogs, and the ruins of countless lives.

The aftermath of the explosion was carried live on local television station W6XYZ, with narration by reporter Dick Lane.

It is believed that staff chemist Robert Magee was experimenting with using volatile perchloric acid to polish aluminum when the blast occurred. The formula was his own secret recipe, and a patent had reportedly been applied for. Magee and his newly-hired assistant, Alice Iba, are both missing and presumed dead.

926 East Pico, To-day

I don't know about you, no, really, I don't know about you, but I get hot for chemical journals what discuss that unpredictably violent and violently unpredictable perchloric acid. You'd think Bob O'Connor, as manager/secretary of O'Connor Electro-Plating Corp., would be similarly obsesssed. You'd think wrong. Bob was a sales and business tool. When some other cat named Bob--they stick together, you know, those Bobs--when Bob Magee told him about the magic to be had from exciting your perchloric stew with electrolytes writ large, Bob O'Connor bit and bit hard. To the detriment of a few city blocks.

Let’s say it was an isolated incident. And let’s say we were wrong again.

Toss a stone in this town. Hit, say, Pasadena. Let’s see what that stone wrought.

A simple plating factory (the Crown City plating factory, at 28 West Union):
very nearly took out all of what’s now “Old Town” on 22 February, 1925. The Los Angeles Times reported that but then the next near mishap, well, that got bumped up a bit:

In quiet little Pasadena, Calif, one day last week a blast almost materialized that would have shaken the sober townfolk out of their skins. Two blocks from Pasadena's busiest corner, Crown City Plating Co. electroplates chromium, gold, brass, silver, copper. A swart little man named Wallace Foreman was mixing sulphuric acid and glycerin to make an electrolyte for plating. Already in the tank were 75 gal. of acid and 2 gal. of glycerin. Thinking to add more acid, Wallace Foreman picked up a 3-gal. container, dumped in the contents. Unluckily the container held not sulphuric but nitric acid....

Time Magazine
, 27 August 1934

I mean, you can mix sulphuric acid with glycerin all you want. Nitric acid, well, that makes nitro-glycerin. The rest writes itself. A smoldering hole three blocks wide.

Here’s where everyone and their brother nearly died:

But we’re not here to talk about happy people eating the iced creams, unaware of the giant smoldering hole from where they couldabeen eating 'em: we’re here to discuss the Continent of Death that encircled the 900 block of Pico that February day in 1947.

And now, from our "nie wieder" files, compare and contrast:

Yes, they've renamed Ground Zero "Lucky."

My people call this “hubris,” though I know not how the Chinese would term such, should they care to. Which they won't.

It had been reported that there was a particularly beautiful, and occupied, house just behind on 14th -- the house was blown apart like so many tragically electroplated child's limbs ----

This was mentioned as a particularly sticky rescue area, given this area had at the time held a giant and absurdly intricate Queen Anne mansion. The developerclass blesses every day which includes Victorian spindlework thrown sixty some-odd blocks as if touched by the Finger of God.

Nigh-on sixty years in, we still talk about this kind of "keep acid under refrigeration" dictate.

Anyone who's been following the ConocoPhillips buyout of Unocal knows that Texans live to oneup Californians...

Monday, February 20, 2006

*Hic!* Zoom!

February 20, 1947
Los Angeles

When Walter John Munro, 29-year-old plumber and amateur pilot, lurched out of his new plane at the Torrance Airport, after an erratic low altitude flight over Hawthorne last December 8, he claimed that air sickness and not alcohol was the cause. He was so anxious to land that he touched down in Torrance, and not Compton, where he'd begun his flight.

Clifford Cottam, manager of the Torrance airdrome, testified before Superior Judge Edward Brand today that Munro had skimmed houses and power lines, and staggered when administered a sobrietry test by sheriff's deputies.

Munro is home at 238 E. 139th Street on $1000 bail pending sentencing on March 13. He faces 1-5 years imprisonment if convicted.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Stone Man Burns

February 19, 1947

Harry L. Roberts, 53, died today in a fire that began when a cigarette fell into his bedclothes. The one-time Forest Lawn advertising manager and Tournament of Roses publicist had spent the past four years struggling with a mysterious illness that gradually paralyzed his limbs, and had most recently been laboriously typing a memoir of his sickness in hopes of discovering its cause.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Murray, in-home aids to Roberts since his wife died two years ago, noticed smoke pouring from the den at 1020 Linda Vista Ave. and called the fire department, but Roberts was already unconscious and could not be revived.

Also destroyed in the fire was his hard-wrought manuscript, which was completed earlier this week.

1020 Linda Vista Avenue To-day

Smoke poured from here. The Stone Man calcified.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Mysterious Drive

February 18, 1947
Los Angeles

All evidence suggests that, while driving west on Washington Boulevard under the overpass near Santa Fe Avenue, trucker Robert Frazer was struck by a piece of falling concrete. He then drove more than eight miles, in heavy traffic, before careening onto the sidewalk at his place of employ, at Firestone and Paramount Blvds. Co-workers rushed to his aid, and found Frazer unconscious, with a wound over his eye. On awakening, he had no memory of anything after the concrete bounced off his hood and shattered his window.

Damocles Overpass

Here’s exactly how and where he was driving…tooling west, not a care in the world…

Note the large chunk of concrete beneath the Santa Fe overpass. It tolls for thee.

Friday, February 17, 2006


February 17, 1947Long Beach

The truck filled with empty milk bottles hit the car on Santa Fe near 23rd Street yesterday, and both drivers were launched forward through space, where they smashed together as surely as their machines had. Truck driver Abner Teachout, 49, is in Compton Clinic, his condition serious, while 24-year-old Phil Meyers is in critical condition at Seaside Hospital, Long Beach.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Where is the body?

February 16, 1947
Los Angeles

Police and railroad officials continue their search today for Eugene Hamilton White, 31, tool company executive missing since Valentine's Eve, when he cashed his paycheck and left his office en route to his Woodland Hills home.

His bloodstained car was discovered near a Southern Pacific loading spur and warehouse, between 50th and 51st Streets, Long Beach Avenue and Alameda Street, its top ripped open and window shattered. Inside, the man's empty wallet, eyeglasses, overcoat and jacket, a heart-shaped box of Valentine's candy, a silver belt, and a blood-soaked handkerchief wrapped around the end of a tire iron.

Police suspect the man was beaten and robbed, then thrown into a passing freight car. His distraught wife Elizabeth, waiting at 22034 Providencia with little Bette Gene and Eugene Jr., says her husband was devoted to the family, and she can think of no reason for him to disappear.

And on this day in 1929....

Our friends at the LAist are blogging one of the more notorious crimes in Beverly Hills history, the mysterious Ned Doheny killing, when the son of the oil heir ended up dead steps away from his similarly gun-shot male secretary. Was it a simple murder-suicide, a lover's quarrel, or the work of Doheny's spurned bride? Carolyn Kellogg looks into the mussed clues and controversy, and shares an especially awful photo on the LAist flickr feed.

If you haven't visited Greystone (now a public park, though the house is off limits save for special events bookings), do!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

You Never Know

February 15, 1947
San Fernando

Leila Nichols, 18, had dated 22-year-old William Hunter once prior to their interaction this evening. Hunter, who spent 3 1/2 years in a Japanese prison camp, accosted the girl as she crossed a vacant lot after midnight, en route to her home, bashing her in the head with a lead pipe. The assault was interrupted when Nichols' brother-in-law John T. Rust drove by and heard her screams. Hunter ran home to his mother and said, "I just killed a girl with a pipe; I don't know what prompted me to do it." Mom turned him in.

Leila Nichols is recovering in San Fernando Hospital, while Hunter has been charged on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. He has refused to say anything but his name, rank and serial number. The girl lives at 11327 Tamarack Street, her assailant at 15431 Romer Street.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Men Who Loved Jeanne French

February 14, 1947
Los Angeles

Alcohol is a terrible drug. It lured Jeanne French, mother and wife, out to gin halls, where, in the words of her sobbing son David Y. Wrather, "She made friends easy, awful easy. She went out alone sometimes. She's gone now, and I'm sure she would want me to say the right thing. She made a lot of her own trouble. Her husband tolerated a lot from her. He was a tolerant man, a very tolerant man."

After the inquest, officials exonerated Jeanne's husband Frank F. French of any suspicion in her beating murder, leaving police to continue their search for the nameless, dark-haired man seen with the woman at a drive-in at 3992 Sepulveda Boulevard around 2am Monday. French's body was found on a hillside early the next morning, and the presumption is that her date was likely her killer.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Tony Cornero's Wife Is A Real Firecracker

February 13, 1947
Beverly Hills

Sheriffs' officers came all the way from Fresno today to arrest Barbara Land, 27, the gal who married gambler Tony Cornero Stralla last fall, after which they divorced and subsequently remarried.

The charge is burglary of the Snow Line Lodge, near General Grant Park. Miss Land and her pals Elaine Rodgers, 29, and Robert Cabaniss, 31, allegedly visited the tavern, but found it closed. They entered after Miss Land "accidentally fell through a glass back door" and whooped it up with a few drinks.

The Goldilocks Gang claim to have left a check for $25 to cover their entertainment and damages, but owner Paul Haney reports no check was left, and $110 was missing from the till. Land and company deny the charges.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hey, Mister! Mister!

February 12, 1947
Los Angeles

Nightclub owner Paul Rubin is a cautious fellow... at least he likes to think he is. So when he stopped at the bank near his club at 1571 W. Washington Blvd. to withdraw two $500 bills, he put his antennae up. While shopping in the drugstore around the corner at Washington and Vermont Ave., those antennae detected a strange man who seemed inordinantly interested in his activities.

Rubin darted off to his club, highly conscious of the grand in his pocket. The stranger followed close. As Rubin slipped in the front door, he pushed a buzzer that told employees to call the cops. The stranger stepped inside as the buzzing died in the air, two green portraits of William McKinley in his hand. "Say Mister, you dropped these in the drugstore!"

1571 West Washington To-day

No surprises here—didn’t see any honest men (or even Diogenes) or Rubin’s club, but as you may possibly note in the photo, our tale's drug store is still down on the corner in its current incarnation as a Rite Aid.

Down the street, though, I did see my Fave House in LA, dear to me not only for her architectonic charms, but for the shocking disconnect between her and her surroundings. Like that auto dealership over there.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


February 11, 1947
Los Angeles

While visiting the home of producer Ray Stark and his wife, actress Gene Tierney stumbled on a rug and fell backwards down some steps, breaking her left foot. Miss Tierney is confined to a wheelchair and will be unable to return to work for two weeks.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Unfortunate Mrs. French

Larry Harnisch takes a breather from blogging the Big Bad Wolfe Book to request

a Moment of Silence, Please

Today is the anniversary of the Feb. 10, 1947, Jeanne French murder. Frequently linked to the Black Dahlia in the popular imagination and absurdly claimed as one of the umpteen victims of Dr. George “Evil Genius” Hodel in “Black Dahlia Avenger,” French was a tragic, broken-down alcoholic. Spending the last night of her life in a Westside cafe, she dumped the contents of her purse on the bar and picked through the debris in hopes of finding enough money for just one more drink. She had no paper money, nothing more than a few coins. Whoever killed her beat her with the handle of a socket wrench, pushed her out of his car into the street and stomped on her until a rib broke and punctured her heart. A bleak, terrible death.

Her son, David Wrather, told the coroner’s inquest: “She’s gone now and I’m sure she would want me to say the right thing—she made a lot of her own trouble.”

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Today's Lesson: Speak Respectfully To Your Elders (while robbing them)

February 9, 1947

Memo from Alex J. Wysocki: "if you wanna rob my liquor store, don't start by saying 'Hi, Pop'!"

That was the message learned the hard way by the young gunman who held Wysocki up at 21923 S. Main Street for $150 and two bottles of whiskey, then went in the back to rummage for more plunder. Meanwhile, Wysocki fumed. "Pop? Pop?!" When the kid emerged from the storeroom, Wysocki shot him four times with his .38. The robber ran off, his own gun clicking ineffectually.

A few hours later, a friend dropped the gut-shot 24-year-old Eugene L. Dodson at San Pedro Hospital. When Dodson refused to say how he'd been injured, Det. Lt. Thomas H. Rankin remembered a Sheriff's broadcast about the hold up and booked the injured man on suspicion of robbery. He was conveyed to the prison ward of General Hospital for surgery, which is where Wysocki ID'd him as the smartass who'd called him "Pop."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Naptime for A Numbskull

February 8, 1947
Lincoln Heights

Transient Richard Dennis, 33, broke into Mrs. G.B. Blakeley's home at 2730 Medford Street and absconded with the one thing most appealing to a sleepy sneak thief: an alarm clock. Unfortunately, he made it no farther than the front lawn before tucking in for a nice snooze. When the alarm went off, Richard slept right through it, but neighbors copped the buzz and called police, who nabbed the man on suspicion (strong suspicion) of burglary.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Neighborhood Watch

February 7, 1947
West Los Angeles

Harry Crocker will be making his own breakfast if his neighbors on N. Westbourne Drive have anything to do with it. Six of them have successfully sued to have Mrs. Isabel Crocker and daughters Alicia, Jean and Muriel evicted on the grounds that the mother is 3/4 Indian and the girls half so afflicted.

Although Superior Judge Ruben S. Schmidt ruled Thursday that the women must leave their home, in a neighborhood where residence is restricted to Caucasians, the distaff Crockers vow to fight all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary. Schmidt did grant the family thirty days in which to secure new dwellings for the those Crockers of mixed blood, noting that the Mister, a film cameraman, was welcome to remain at number 435 alone.

435 North Westbourne To-day

Wait. What kind of Indian? Nowadays I’d wonder if they’re Kayastha Jats or perhaps of the Sudra Varna. But this is 1947, and one can only assume God-fearing White folk were disinclined to share a sewer system with the heathen Gabrielino. Or terrifying Chumash from the North!

Here’s the house. I mean, it’s fine, yeah, it’s West Hollywood, so you’re there for the schools or the nightlife or something equally repellant. In defense of the neighborhood, this house is markedly less attractive than any of its neighbors.

This instance, some Chinese and Korean lawsuits, and the Sugar Hill Gang, no wait, the Sugar Hill Case, all led to racial covenants being deemed unconstitutional in 1948, but it is this squaw's tenacious fortitude (as had by, you know, those people) shall forever be remembered as how and when Los Angeles became the beautiful rainbow it is.

Statistics regarding a post-Supreme Court rise in scalpings and/or purushamedha have not been evaluated. (Ok, so if you want the real story, go to the comments section.)

Monday, February 06, 2006

World's Biggest Tombstone

February 6, 1947

While helping to unload a 15-ton marble slab from a freight car at his place of employment, 1801 South Soto Street, Ray Hunt, 43, was crushed to death. The dead man lived at 1706 Wall Street.

Medium Image

1801 South Soto To-day

Tombstone? Of marble? Nah, they’re more often made of Indiana granite (or were in 1947—they’re now that embarrassing black Chinese stuff). 15-ton slabs of marble were reserved for the finest of mausolea, so Ray Hunt (no relation) was definitely going for something beyond his station. The sin of pride.

The marble company, its freight car—have been lost to the ticking clock. As shall happen to you, dear reader. Tick. Tick. Every untoward choice you choose makes that slab of marble you’re unloading just that much heavier.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Larry Harnisch blogs the big bad Wolfe book

When Nathan and I spoke with Donald H. Wolfe, author of "The Black Dahlia Files," at a book signing recently, we brought visual aids with which to draw his attention to his plagiarism of our colleague Larry Harnisch's L.A. Times Dahlia article and website. (The entirety of page 295 is Larry's writing, improperly credited to John Douglas.)

Mr. Wolfe seemed flabbergasted, said he had paid Douglas' publishers to use the quotes, and promised he would check into the matter, and apologize if he'd made a mistake. While Larry waits for that apology, he's holding his nose and reading Wolfe's daffy tome, and blogging his reactions. Only on page 6, he's already gone debunked the claims that there was no nightlife in 1947 L.A., that the Examiner printed a huge-selling extra on the day of the Dahlia killing, and Wolfe's absurd claims of having been "raised on the wrong side of the tracks in Beverly Hills."

Larry warns "if you're not into Dahlia minutiae this will be painfully tedious." Tune in and see for yourself.

Bombs Away!

February 5, 1947

The war came home to the Valley today when an A-26 bomber conducting airflow tests accidentally disgorged an unarmed 12' missile, which crashed to the ground in a parking lot uncomfortably close to a home at 1730 Keeler Street.

Worried neighbors circled warily until Burbank Police Lt. K.K. Kipers determined the torpedo posed no danger to the public. The plane meanwhile had continued to a rushed landing at Murac Army Air Base, pilot Captain S. D. McFadden complaining of ill-handling after a dive, but not realizing he'd dropped anything.
Medium Image

1730 Keeler To-day

1947 is best known to the Angeleno for the Dahlia, and on the world stage there’s—what—the War for Hebraic Self-Determination, or the Kon-Tiki sailing about, but for America-at-large, 1947 means Roswell.

Crazy things were flying around in our skies all the time, which, fans of little green men will be sorry to hear, were most likely secret US military whatnot. And radio controlled bombings of Burbank were part of that scenario.

(We like to drop bombs. Anglo-Americans killed an estimated 400,000 German civilians with plain ol’ bombs; 40,000 in Dresden town in just a day and a half.)

Here's one now!

And here’s the house in question, as menaced by jetpack-wearing members of Paperclip, and Parsons’ OTO rays, and reversed-engineered alien Buicks, and for our purposes here, radio-controlled Project Sign woefully non-guided torpedos.

The adjacent lot behind 1730, where the damn thing came to earth, has had constructed upon't the 1979 98-unit Villa de los Reyes condoplex…

…wherein the missle landed right about here.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Culver City Copy Cat

February 4, 1947
Culver City

Miss Isabel Foster feels lucky to be alive tonight after being accosted by a man in a 1940 sedan while she was waiting for a bus at West Adams and Redondo Blvd. He asked if she needed a ride, and when she demurred showed a butcher knife and demanded she climb into the passenger seat. Terrified, she complied.

"Where'dya live?"
"3-3-3-3895 M-m-m-main Street."
"Stop blubbering!"
"I... can't..."
"Shut up, or I'll give you what I gave the Black Dahlia!" And with that he cut her across the knuckles. The man drove closer to Isabel's home. When they were a block away, she opened the passenger door and ran.

Her attacker is described as, slim, dark skinned, late 20s, about 5'8", wearing dark work clothes and a "ridiculous" stocking cap.

And in mid-city Hermenegildo G. Robles Jr., 25, shot his estranged, pregnant wife Guillermina in her mother's house, goes to church and inflicted on non-fatal wound on himself.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Who Killed Elizabeth Short?

February 3, 1947
Los Angeles

More than two weeks after the body of Elizabeth Short, 22, a Massachusetts-born transient, was discovered cut into two halves in the weeds in a Leimert Park lot, homicide detectives continued beating the pavement seeking clues to the baffling and gruesome crime.

On the town's west side, a search was on for a young blond man seen driving an unlicensed coupe with a stained blanket on the passenger seat, as well as for another vehicle possibly seen pulling away from the Norton Avenue crime scene.

Acting on reports that the victim had used candle wax to fill untreated dental cavities, and noting the presence of two votive candles in her checked luggage, detectives inquired with the bathroom attendant at the Biltmore to discover if anyone had seen Short tending to her teeth there on January 9. No one had.

Most pressing was the need to find the murder site, which was perhaps a private home located some distance from its neighbors... or maybe a trailer, one of hundreds being used as homes in the overpopulated city. And if it was a trailer, what's to say the fiend hadn't already moved away in it, taking the evidence and his wickedness far from the men of law who seek him?

Two questions remain in the forefront of every L.A. cop's mind, and those of the citizenry: who killed Elizabeth Short, and would he strike again?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Fink Alert

February 2, 1947
Los Angeles

The Better Business Bureau has issued a public service warning about three bold swindles perpetrated against city residents in the past week.

BEWARE: the door-to-door baby shoe bronzer, who will disappear with mama's deposit and baby's footwear, never to be seen again...

DON'T PAY: the frantic "exterminator" who rushes into a business with a sack of "the DDT the boss ordered," demands prompt payment, and flees, leaving his hapless victim with a sack of ordinary flour...

AND TURN AWAY: the seller of off-brand vacuum cleaners, which are often not just unfamilar, but second-hand and overpriced.
Medium Image

A letter to the editor

Dear Editor of the Woburn (MA) Advocate:

As one of three (not two) hosts of the 1947project Crime Bus Tour savaged by Jon Hartmere in your pages recently, I'd like to ask why he felt compelled to so thoroughly fictionalize his experience while maintaining the pretense of reportage? The tour guides were myself (Kim Cooper), Nathan Marsak and Larry Harnisch, and we have the reasonable expectation that anyone who rides along on our tour with the intent of reporting on it would call us by name, and not conflate the three of us into “Ned and Jane.” The L.A. Times, Fox News and CBS News reporters on the bus all followed that basic journalistic rule.

Perhaps his last minute gift of the seat (on the weekend's second sold-out bus) precluded his doing any research. Had he made a cursory web search, he would have discovered that the Crime Bus was developed by the bloggers at 1947project, a popular website that revives forgotten L.A. crimes of that year and pays visits to their scenes today, with side trips into subjects of historic preservation, local weirdness and yes, neon signage. These subjects are all familiar to and enjoyed by our readers, and the other passengers on Jon’s bus are already clamoring to attend the next tour.

The 1947project Crime Bus Tour exists for a very different audience than your reporter. Our riders know who James Ellroy is, are excited to explore unfamiliar neighborhoods, and could care less about visiting a recent, familiar crime scene like O.J. Simpson’s or the Menendez Brothers’. We wish he had asked a few questions before accepting the extra seat his friends offered, because there were a dozen people on the waiting list who would have loved to have his spot.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


February 1, 1947

Tearing down Bixel Street towards Seventh came death in the shape of two teenage boys in a Jeep. Richard McCrary, 16, 1317 Connecticut Street, missed his turn and careened into a fire hydrant, then two pedestrians. Water gushed out over Cornelius Enright, 50, of 121 Manhattan Place and Camille Tendeza, 61.

Enright died at the scene, while Camille was rushed to Georgia Street Receiving Hospital in critical condition with head injuries and possible chest fractures. McCrary and his passenger, 15-year-old Fred Landerstein of 1260 Miramar Street, were unhurt.

Seventh and Bixel To-day



No evidence of army surplus GP fun-time anymore. (Also no evidence of the Victorian homes that once graced the area.)

1947project Crime Bus on Fox-11 News, Saturday 10pm

The long awaited story on the Dahlia Days Crime Bus tour has been rescheduled for this Saturday night, during the 10pm Fox-11 news broadcast in Los Angeles. Tune in and enjoy.