Thursday, June 30, 2005

Vera West Did Not Pay "Blackmail," Mate Says

June 30, 1947
San Fernando Valley

Film costumer Vera West died in her swimming pool at 5119 Bluebell Ave. over the weekend. She suffered from marital difficulties, but the blackmail to which she alluded in her suicide note was, according to husband Jack C. West, a figment of her imagination. Mr. West claims he was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel when his wife took her unfortunate dip, following a bad argument, and in anticipation of Mrs. West’s consultation with a divorce attorney.

Assistant county autopsy surgeon Dr. Marvin Goodwin’s initial report was of asphyxia, probably due to drowning, but Dr. Frederick Newbarr, his superior, is refusing to sign a death certificate until additional tests are performed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Liquor Hours Change

June 29, 1947
Great State of California

5-4-3-2... just one more day to go until the state's liquor licensing laws roll back to their pre-war state. Yep, it's nearly 6 months after the end of hostilities, and despite several vain attempts by legislators to retain the time restrictions, from midnight tomorrow, bars and package stores may sell joy juice between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m., a welcome change from the 10 a.m. to midnight hours of wartime. So let's have a toast!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Two Men Killed As Truck Takes 300-Foot Dive

June 28, 1947
Arroyo Seco

Two Pasadena men died tonight when the truck in which they were driving skidded sixty feet, crashed through a guard rail, and plunged 300 feet down the Devil’s Gate Dam bridge near the Rose Bowl.

Driver Ernest Jimenez, 28, of 1993 Linda Rosa Ave. and George Talbot, 32, of 1143 Mentone St. were both dead by the time Ambulance Surgeon Charles A. Wagner and Driver Jack Bradley climbed down to attend them. Firemen cut the victims from the truck cab with torches, and the bodies were lifted to the road in wire baskets.

With the death of motorcyclist David Paul Benjamin, 23, of 1513 N. Western Ave., injured April 6 in a collision with a car at Barham Blvd. and Blair Dr., L.A. County’s traffic fatality count stands at 394 for the year.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Poison Kills Girl; Fiance May Live

June 27, 1947

Distraught over her pending separation from fiance Billy Allen, 19-year-old Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, Pearl L. Reid, 16, drank poison today at her home at 2653 Loosmore Street. She died. When Billy saw what she had done he too quaffed the deadly draught, and lies in serious condition in Long Beach's Naval Hospital. His doctors are optimistic for his survival, at least from the immediate threat.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Thrush Splashed, Seeks Cabbage

June 26, 1947
Los Angeles

Judy Janis, 26 year old singer discovered by bandleader Phil Harris, pled with Superior Court Judge Caryl M. Sheldon today to recognize the extent of the damages suffered when a clerk at a Horton & Converse drugstore she was patronizing at 6313 Hollywood Boulevard dropped a gallon jug of acid, splashing her famous gams. The vocalist, known in her radio days as “93 pounds of heaven,” seeks $35,000 compensation.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Smashed! Blocked!

June 25, 1947

If you thought the blockades were over, think again. Tonight, 250 of the city’s finest converged on Hollywood in a night-long rampage to break the back of vice. The results: 23 night clubs raided, six intersections gummed up by roadblocks, forty persons taken into custody, including 14 arrests for robbery, two for burglary, a possible bookie, a forger, a man who hit a policeman with a pop bottle, three drunk drivers, six gamblers, six walking drunks, two traffic violators, and a two year old babe in a bar with its parents.

Funny how the Times didn't run the names and addresses of the nightclubs and their owners like they did when they busted up the Central Avenue clubs...

Friday, June 24, 2005

Produce Man Shot to Death on Wedding Eve

June 24, 1947
Los Angeles

M. Cohen… Samuel Miller.. Sol Rosenblatt… Willie Spector… Samuel Tureck… Max Turetsky… Solomon Turk… Sol Turbin… Sol Turkein… Sam Weiss… Sam Wise.

Consider Sol Turkin, 39, produce merchant and groom-to-be, slain two nights ago in his apartment at 638 S. Cloverdale, after dancing all night with his fiancĂ©, schoolteacher Sylvia Schermer of 837 N. Martel. Like Cinderella, the lady needed to be home before midnight—it was bad luck for them to see each other on their wedding day before the appointed time. Turkin dropped her off around 12:20am (oh… that’s bad) and was home in minutes. Around 12:45, a neighbor heard the sounds of a struggle, then four shots—one of which came through the wall.

Police found Turkin dead of a bullet to the groin, his face bloodied, signs of a struggle in the apartment and the dead man’s watch face smashed. On his person, $630, including five c-notes. Must have been an acquaintance, or Turkin would have called out. Maybe lurking in the dark, surprise attack. Anyway, no wedding for Miss Schermer.

Or for Turkin, some of whose aliases scroll above. The bride knew nothing of his police record dating back to 1924, including convictions for grand larceny and fraud, the three years in Leavenworth for impersonating an officer, the bad check that landed him in a New Jersey prison. Det. Capt. Bert Jones of Wilshire Division says it was “the man’s past catching up with him.”

Or his present. Cops picked up Russell Waterman, 36, Montebello grocer who was holding three guns as security on a $300 loan to Turkin, and two of the three guns. Waterman said he sold the third.

And on Martel, a lady weeps.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


June 23, 1947
Hawthorne, CA

Bernie Shaw of 1224 W. 123rd Street was first on the scene today when a burning car ran off the road while traveling south on Budlong below 123rd, starting a grass fire in a field. Nearby was Dennis Yates, 64, of 602 West 79th Street, his clothes ablaze. Shaw extinguished the man and pulled off his charred clothing, but Yates later died at Harbor General Hospital, Torrance.

Police speculate that sparks from Yates’ pipe may have ignited a fire in his automobile and caused his death.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Tragic Cygnet

June 22, 1947

Swans mate for life, and no amount of publicity-seeking, Trans-American hanky panky can change that simple and profound truism.

You’ll perhaps remember the events of April 17, when Gus the Swan, resident of The Pond, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, and recently left bereft by the death of his beloved Elvira, was flown (via American, actually) to Egypt, Mass. to select a new bride from among the purebred flock at Charles P. Chase’s swan ranch. The droopy bird, nicknamed Gloomy Gus for the obvious suffering in his gait, was put into a cage with four lady swans, a quadrifoil reminder that Elvira was no more. Perhaps to put an end to the obscene display, after six days he made a selection. Henrietta was her name, and the two titular lovebirds flew, or rather were flown, back to the boneyard to honeymoon.

Despite news stories trumpeting (sorry) Gus’ new joy, inside it seems he still grieved. Early this morning his body was found deep among the reeds of his pond. Henrietta is inconsolable. And the men whose business it is to bury the dead in a timely and moderately tasteful fashion seem a tad unsure of what to do next. Hold private rites, and then bury Gus next to Elvira, they reckon.

The Times perhaps cynically suggests that they may not remember where they laid the lady.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Scared Steer Traps Scared Woman in Short Alleyway

June 21, 1947
Lincoln Heights

Mrs. Ruth Twist wasn’t planning on a wild animal encounter when she entered the alley behind her home at 2219 Johnson Street, facing 2226 Griffin Street. But there she discovered an 1800 pound steer, anxious, exhausted and far from its unhappy recent home in a packing house near 700 N. Alameda.

That’s where the animal was first spotted, skidding on the pavement. Police tracked the beast from Alameda and Main, but lost it crossing Griffin, where it knocked Officer Herbert Hansford down.

Then the animal entered the alley, there pinning Mrs. Twist against a fence. The brave lady forced the steer to the alley’s mouth, where officers commenced firing, felling the beast and sending Officer L.P. Walters to Georgia Street Receiving Hospital with a ricocheted bullet to the arm. Mrs. Ruth Twist refused medical attention. And Chief Horrall had steak for dinner.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bottle of Mayonnaise Costs Life of Child

June 20, 1947

Mayonnaise is rotten stuff, as the parents of little Steven Barrett, 4, discovered after their son was killed today when a car driven by Victor Martinez, 22, of 4321 Elm St., Long Beach, jumped the curb and crushed the tyke as he played on the lawn in front of his home at 5833 Penswood Ave. Martinez reported that he had lost control when a jar of mayo rolled off his bench seat, and he lunged for it. This was apparently considered a reasonable explanation for infanticide, and Martinez was not held.

Steven was #386 in L.A. County’s grim toll of traffic fatalities for the year. Another traffic death recorded today was that of Ellis W. Keim, 73, of 2264 Cedar Ave., Long Beach. Keim was struck in a driveway at 1366 Atlantic Ave. on May 23, and died at his home.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Jack Scher, Won't You Please Come Home?

June 19, 1947

Frustrated by her husband’s refusal to return to their home, Mrs. Jack Scher had an inspired brainstorm—she’d print up some handbills pleading her case, and hire a couple of strapping lads to distribute them in front of Scher’s fruit stand at 170 S. Marengo.

Were you among Scher’s customers or passersby today, you might have been handed a paper which read: “Mrs. Jack Scher would like her husband, Mr. Jack Scher, of the fruit and vegetable department of the Wonder Shipping Center, to come home to his wife and child.”

The scheme backfired when Scher became incensed, and shot at one of the youths with his .22, nicking the clothing of John Brangard, 127 N. Mentor Ave. His roommate Elrod Swanson was then swatted on his shoulder with Scher’s rifle stock. Pasadena police arrived and booked Scher, 43, for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, but a sympathetic judge freed the man. Officers hope to get a complaint.

Mrs. Scher reports that it’s now ten days since she and their ten-year-old son were abandoned at their home, 3453 Milton St., East Pasadena.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Son Says His Father sired Wife's Children

June 18, 1947
El Monte

After ten years, Lester Jean Burnett is tired of the lies. In 1937, aged 18, he acted as a beard for his father Lester Senior, then 36, and Angelina Pizzuto, then 17, whose parents objected to their February-July romance.

Angelina and Lester Junior were wed, but it was Lester Senior who set up house with the girl. Angelina’s children Lester Bryan, 8, and Rose, 6, are supported by and informally acknowledged as the children of the older man. However, on their birth certificates, Lester Junior is named father.

In December 1942, all parties convened in Reno, where Angelina and Lester Junior divorced; Angelina and Lester Senior were married the same day.

Lester Junior entered Superior Court today seeking an official ruling that the two children are not his.

Lester Senior, a refrigeration engineer, resides at 2135 Iola Ave., El Monte, with Angelina and the kids.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Girl, 7, Found Asleep in Car with Her Dog

June 17, 1947
Los Angeles

Joe (or more like Jane) Citizen of the 700 block of S. New Hampshire Ave. just couldn’t stand the sight of the little blonde girl and her dog asleep in the back seat of that car one more night, so on the third incidence she phoned police. Sure enough, radio officers Clyde Giroux and D.R. Lynch discovered 7-year-old Linda Henderson and her dog Butch snoozing in the back of a car parked in front of number 747.

Asked where she lived, the yawning gamine explained “when the sun comes up my mamma comes and takes me to a cafĂ©, but I can’t tell you where I live for we’re looking for a place.” But mamma was nowhere to be seen this evening, so officers left a note on the car. Then Butch and Linda were processed at Wilshire Police Station and the child sent along to Juvenile Hall.

A friend told Linda’s mamma what had happened, and Mrs. Louise M. Carringer (nee Henderson, 36, divorced) appeared, explaining that during her search for housing she only occasionally left Linda alone. Dep. City Attorney Perry Thomas responded by sending mamma, charged with child neglect, over to spend the night in the Lincoln Heights Jail.

Of Butch, who apparently made no move to stop the strange men from removing his charge from the vehicle, we know no more.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Officers Kill Man As Prowler

June 15, 1947
China City

Pity Wanzy Patterson of 1312 W. 37th Street. The night watchman, 29, somehow came to the conclusion that his job demanded he shimmy over the transom of the bar at 777 Quang Yn Court and relieve the establishment of some of that pesky joy juice. This had been going on for some time, so officers C.A. Stromwell and M. Herman secreted themselves within the establishment, guns aready for when the liquor bandit made a repeat appearance.

Soon enough ol' Wanzy dropped in, and laid his paws upon several handy bottles. The cops revealed themselves and Wanzy moved as if to retrieve a gun. Bang! 11 shots pierced the hapless Wanzy, and more'n likely the bottles he so loved.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Husband Jailed After Mate Claims Shotgun Threats

June 15, 1947
Baldwin Park

Memo to Lester Jacob Griffin of 582 Foster Street: next time you beat and menace wife Catherine with a shotgun, make sure son Ronald isn't lurking nearby with a Japanese saber. The 14-year-old laid into his pop's left forearm, inflicting a delicate little cut, but ending the assault on Catherine, who later signed a complaint alleging wife beating.

Lester J. is in El Monte Jail pending receipt of $1500 bail.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

‘Borrowed’ Plane Smashes in Parkway

June 15, 1947

James E. Fronimos is a man of distinction… but who really wants to be known as the first man Pasadena cops ever booked for investigation of grand theft airplane and drunk flying?

Fronimos, 24, a student pilot with a scant two hours solo air time, decided to take a joyride in a Cub Cruiser he found parked at Montebello airfield around 1:30am. He picked the Cub because it was the only plane on the field with a self-starter. His intent was to circle the field a few times and bring her on home… but the inexperienced pilot’s circle developed an uncontrollable circumference, and soon he was running low on gas.

While in the air, Fronimos had moved from East L.A. to Pasadena, so when he brought her down, it was on the Arroyo Parkway, near California Street. Fortunately, he killed the ignition on the way down, thus only crumpling a wing and scratching up his face when he crashed into a light pole with a “hospital zone” sign on it, and not exploding.

Officers took Fronimos to the drunk tank and towed the plane to the wrecked auto yard at Ward & Son’s Garage.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Playhouse Made Office in Building Shortage

June 13, 1947
West Covina

In a township that has only just expanded its zoning to include businesses, it’s hard to find a place to set up shop.

Since Ann Frank, news ed of the West Covina Tribune is a mere slip of a gal (5’ 6”), she’s settling into a child’s playhouse, the temporary home of the three-month-old journal--recently evicted from borrowed space now needed for West Covina’s only market--until a more traditional office can be found.

At present, there’s not a single commercial space for rent within the city limits—and the West Covina Trib can hardly do business in Irwindale!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Co-ed Whipping Laid to Student

June 13, 1947

Kinky! High School co-ed Joyce Rodden, 17, of 230 S. Paramount Blvd., Downey, told classmate Richard P. Contreras, also 17, of 942 Benares St., that she didn’t want to go out on a date with him. Smart girl, considering his response to the refusal was to lurk at Second St. and Downey Ave. and whip her with an 11 ½ foot long bull whip as she walked to school. The first flick scarred Miss Rodden with an eight-inch welt on her left thigh, number two marked her abdomen, and it was only Miss Rodden’s quick reflexes that avoided the whip that was heading for her face.

Contreras, who admitted he whipped the girl because she wouldn’t date him, was booked in County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, and when the Times man came round, the injured girl gamely posed for a photo with the offending device and her new friend, Det. Sgt. Sid Jolivette.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Girls Seized As Police Find Marihuana

June 11, 1947
Los Angeles

“That’s not a pot pipe—it’s a trick back scratcher!”

This was the novel defense provided by Carole June Norell, 20, girl photographer, who with her 18 year-old-model pal Carolyn Vine Fraser was arrested by Det. Sgts.Ed Walker and D.P. Rikalo at their digs at 1810 N. Serrano Ave. after the object and a tobacco tin half-filled with marihuana were discovered in their room. Norell said that while she had purchased the offending weed for $20, she hadn’t put it in the so-called pipe and smoked it.

The two itchy dames are presently in City Jail on suspicion of violating the State Narcotics Act.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Youth Given Life Term for Slaying Sweetheart

June 10, 1947
Los Angeles

Superior Court Judge Charles W. Fricke today denied confessed killer Gerald Snow Welch, 19, his fondest wish, and sentenced him to life in prison for the April 19 killing of Delores Fewkes, a student at Montebello High School who family members say had broken up with Welch repeatedly due to his peculiar philosophy, Further, she did not believe in suicide.

According to the depressive Welch, Fewkes said she couldn’t live without him; they had attempted suicide together on two occasions prior to their April assignation at the Horse Flats picnic grounds in Angeles National Forest. She broke a date with another boy to join Welch, who told her he had a surprise for her. “This is the time,” he said. “It’s all right with me,” she supposedly replied. So he waited until morning, when it was warmer and his hands stopped shaking, and botched the murder-suicide, later carrying the girl’s body down the mountain to police.

After the verdict, which he described as a “dirty trick,” Welch told the court that he would promptly rectify its failure to sentence him to death by killing himself, so he and Dolores could be happy together.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Father 'Abducts' Grandchildren of Jose Iturbi

June 9, 1947
Beverly Hills

Stephen Hero, former concert violinist and one-time protege of renowned Spanish pianist Jose Iturbi has confessed to “abduct[ing]” his daughters, Iturbi’s grandchildren, and taking them to New York, where his parents live.

Mr. Hero, Maria Theresa, 10, and Maria Antonia, 9, had been living at Mr. Iturbi’s Beverly Hills estate at 913 N. Bedford Drive since their mother Maria shot herself at the home on April 16 of last year. Her father heard the fatal shot while he was practising and discovered his daughter in her room, mortally wounded, her hair in flames from the exploding shell.

Maria was estranged from her husband at the time of her death, and her father had supported the children since their parents’ 1940 out-of-court separation agreement. In 1941 Maria was granted custody, on grounds of non-support from Hero.

In March 1943, Iturbi entered Superior Court seeking custody of his granddaughters, making unspecified claims that his daughter was unfit to raise them. Before going to court, Mrs. Hero took a job in a drugstore and moved the girls out of her father’s house at 707 N. Hillcrest Drive.

In court, father and daughter appeared so chummy that Judge Edward R. Brand suggested they settle their differences out of court, for the sake of the children and to avoid airing the family’s dirty linen publically, but through their attorneys Jerry Giesler (his) and Roger Marchetti (hers), they initially declined the suggestion,

However, following Mrs. Hero’s dramatic collapse in chambers, an out of court settlement was reached which left their mother with custody, provided mother and daughters live in the Iturbi home, the children have no evening visitors, no family members be employed as domestics or live in the home, and their mother may take the children out any Sunday, providing their nurse received advance notice.

Back in New York, Mr. Hero says that Iturbi was so jealous of the girls’ attention that he refused to permit them to show any affection to their father, and further that he lived in fear of physical assault while while chez Iturbi. So when Iturbi departed for Paris to begin a European concert tour, Hero gave the servants the day off, booked a transcontinental flight under the name Frank Swartz and bundled both Marias aboard. Yes, Hero told reporters, their grandfather could give the girls material things, but not the affection that their natural father could give them.

Iturbi’s lawyer, William V. O’Connor, scoffed at Hero’s claims, and stated that a custody battle would commence once his client returned from his tour on the 20th, or possibly sooner.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Woman's Shoe Foils Kidnapping

June 8, 1947
Corner of Bixel & 7th Streets, Los Angeles

Nice girls know the difference between a tavern and an automobile. So when Mrs. Deloris Keefer, 24, of 725 S. Bixel Street was propositioned by a fella who suggested she stop waiting for her hubby and hop into his car for a little tipple, she said nope.

The would-be barkeep was insistent, though, and grabbed and choked the lady. This so irked Deloris that she slipped off one shapely pump (a dainty size 5 ½, for those keeping score) and laid into to the stinker. He grabbed the shoe away from her, in the process dropping some identifying papers. There was no way Deloris was letting a perfectly good shoe run off with a masher, so she snatched it away as the befuddled fink took a motorized powder.

Police used the ID to track down Samuel J. Blight, 22, of 122 43rd Street, Manhattan Beach, and his pal Raymond M. Johnson, 20, of 6121 Citrus Avenue, both of whom are sitting in County Jail on suspicion of attempted kidnapping. Deloris Keefer remained shod at press time.

Browse our shelf in Powell's Books

One of the greatest independent bookstores in the country is the ginormous Powell's in Portland. They have an excellent online shop where you can find rare and out-of-print titles as well as commonly available books. If you're interested in the subjects raised by this blog, you may wish to visit our custom shelf at Powell's online, where you can browse recommended reading selected by the editors of 1947project, including Kim Cooper's anthologies Lost in the Grooves and Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth. They even have Nathan's hard to find Los Angeles Neon book, which is a must for the fashionable coffee table.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Victim Tells Of Thrill in Trapping Jap

June 7, 1947
San Luis Obispo

From his trailer coach home near the campus of Cal Poly, where he is a student, William Leon Bruce--during wartime a Sgt. and resident of a Japanese prison camp—described his shock when he came face to face with Tomoya Kawakita, a functionary in the Oeyama camp, in a department store on South Boyle Avenue in Los Angeles seven months ago.

Bruce froze and stared at his former captor, who was strolling with two teenage Japanese girls. When Bruce moved to go after Kawakita, his wife Jean, 22, held him back and insisted he instead call the FBI. Bruce admitted Jean’s advice was sound, as he didn’t know what he might have done to Kawakita had he gotten his hands on him. Bruce carries the rage of one who suffered sinus injuries and a broken jaw from shrapnel on Corregidor, was carried by his buddies on the Bataan Death March and then spent three years in Oeyama, where Kawakita was the first official he encountered. Kawakita had reacted violently to Bruce’s patriotic tattoos, attempting to twist them off of his captive’s arm while screaming about “’crazy Americans and their symbols of freedom.’”

So rather than roughing up his one-time nemesis, Bruce tailed him as far as his car, and turned the license number and his captor’s name over to the F.B.I. When the name and number matched up, the Feds moved in.

Kawakita, a 26-year-old American residing at 220 S. Hicks St., is under arrest on charges of treason in Los Angeles. He went to Japan with his father before hostilities began, supposedly to resume his studies at Meiji University, Tokyo, and returned to Los Angeles after claiming he had not helped Japan during the war. If found guilty, he faces the death penalty. So far in court he has been answering direct questions about his war experience by claiming not to remember the answers.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, there are nearly 100 ex-G.I.s prepared to testify to Kawakita’s sadism, his skill at judo, his camp nickname of “Meatball” (obtained because he grew fat on rations denied prisoners) and his sneering opinion that “I knew you Americans couldn’t take it when the going got tough.”

Monday, June 06, 2005

Man Faces Court Action After Dog Thrown In Tar Pit

June 6, 1947
Temple City

Manir Huelsman, 37-year-old railroad worker, of 1922 Blackley St. is not the kind of guy you want as a neighbor. When he discovered the 15-year-old Alaskan sled dog belonging to Mrs. Marjorie Eastin of 616 S. Encinita Ave. was ill on his lawn, he didn’t call Animal Control or ask Mrs. Eastin to come get her pet, oh no. Instead Huelsman, who told police he didn’t “like” the animal, tossed it into a tar pit at Tyler and Rio Hondo Aves. The dog was rescued by a motorist, but had to be destroyed, and now Huelsman, who pled guilty to a charge of cruelty to animals before Justice Eldred Wolford, is free on $100 bond and awaiting sentencing.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Firemen Rescue Woman Locked in Cafeteria

June 4, 1947

Gloria Hale’s first day on the job at the Los Angeles County Employees Cafeteria ended dramatically when she got herself locked into the second floor dining room at 224 North Main Street after closing time. She rapped on the interior door for a couple of hours before attracting attention; somebody summoned police.

Unfortunately neither of the keys obtained from the County Employees offices on Maple Street fit the locks, so Sgt. Goldsberry called the hook and ladder men, who proposed an aerial escape. A crowd gathered as the ladder was extended to the Cafeteria window. But Miss Gale wouldn’t dream of descending. If she was wearing slacks the ladder would be no bother, but, really... all those looky loos would see right up her skirt!

No problem: a fireman went down rung by rung just behind her, protecting the lady’s modesty. Miss Hale called her rescuers angels and scurried home to 953 Arapahoe Street to sleep off her embarrassment.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Bad Good Bowler

June 3, 1947
Los Angeles

Max Stein may be the American Bowling Congress all-events record holder, but that hasn't stopped Charley Bragg, president of the Los Angeles Bowling Association, from suspending Stein's membership.

The trouble started during the recent $10,000 tournament at Hollywood's Sunset Center, when Stein was found to have listed two fake (and doubtless high scoring!) names among the leaders. These names were discovered before the close of competition, and all winners were paid off.

Stein was called before L.A.B.A.'s executive committee on May 28 based on a complaint filed by the tournament's sponsor, Mort Luby. Luby is publisher of The National Bowler's Journal and Billiard Review. During the hearing, Stein admitted inserting the fictitious names. The transcripts are being forwarded to the A.B.C.'s head offices in Milwaukee for a final ruling on Stein’s status. Stein himself is en route to St. Louis, and plans to drop in on the A.B.C.’s leaders to discuss his case.

The Belleville, Illinois-bred Stein settled in Los Angeles in 1939, and has been employed as an instructor at the Sunset Center alleys. His lifetime average in 1939 was 202, and he averaged 231 when he set the all-time high score record for nine games in 1937. Reporting on his astonishing 855 series rolled at Pico Palace in October 1939 (the second highest score in forty years of A.B.C. record keeping), the Times dubbed him “the sensational Jewish kegler.”

The sensational Mr. Stein seems to have felt he was too good a bowler to be limited to a single prize package. We’ll have to wait and see if the bosses of bowldom agree.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Crazy Like A Fox

June 2, 1947
Los Angeles

Congenital insanity compounded by war jitters is the desperate claim of Erwin M. Walker, 29, confessed slayer of California Highway Patrolman Loren C. Roosevelt on June 5 of last year. Roosevelt was fatally shot when he approached Walker, who was casing a market at Los Feliz Blvd. and Brunswick Ave., and asked for identification; Walker also admitted to wounding Det. Lt. Colin C. Forbes last April 25, when Forbes sought to arrest Walker, a pre-war civilian employee of the Glendale Police Department, on a charge of seeking to unload $40,000 in “hot” motion-picture equipment to Willard Starr, sound engineer of 1347 Fifth Ave. Starr had called police to stake out salesman “Paul C. Norris” when he came by with the goods.

All true, says Erwin, but wait—there are mitigating circumstances. Like dear old grandmama on dad’s side, a mental patient for these last 32 years, her case described by Erwin’s father Weston, a County Flood Control worker residing at 1013 Cordova St., Glendale. Or the half dozen other nuts on the family tree. As for Erwin, so what that three psychiatrists say he’s sane? The family knows otherwise. He’s been hinky ever since coming home from the South Pacific. Mrs. Irene L. Walker, Erwin’s mother, contrasted the affectionate boy she turned over to Uncle Sam with the weird loner who returned.

Erwin himself described his guilt over his best friend’s bayoneting on Leyte Island, an attack he believed might have been averted had he given an order to dig foxholes. His colleagues agreed, and shunned him thereafter.

Erwin was finally arrested December 20 at his apartment at 1831 ½ N. Argyle Ave. after a gun battle with detectives who surprised the sleeping ex-GI as he cradled a sub-machine gun and .45 caliber automatic. They shot him a couple of times. At the hospital, he was found to have old bullet wounds, a souvenir of the April battle with Forbes’ partner, Sgt. S, W. Johnson. These Erwin said he had treated himself.

After returning from service, Erwin refused to return to his dispatcher’s gig at the Glendale P.D., citing the lousy pay scale. Instead, it is alleged, he entered into a career of robbery, safecracking and hold ups, obtaining approximately $70,000 in these fields until the time of his arrest.

In addition to his daffy relatives, the enterprising Erwin is the nephew of former Deputy District Attorney Herbert Walker.

The case inspired an acclaimed noir film starring Richard Basehart.

Medium Image

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Some Skipper!

June 1, 1947

How did that doggie get in the drink? wondered Mr. and Mrs. Fred Linstrum of 444 ½ S. Maple Drive, Beverly Hills, when they slowed their boat so they could pluck the cocker spaniel out of the ocean off Catalina. The lucky foundling got his picture and story in the Times, and tonight was home with his owners Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Watson and daughter Dabney, 6, at 528 Locust Street. Long Beach.

The Watsons explained that Skipper has always been a scaredy-dog, hiding under a bunk on their cabin cruiser. But last week, as they lay at anchor off Catalina, Skipper took to promenading on deck. They figure he must have headed above decks during the trip back to Long Beach and fallen overboard without anyone seeing him, spending about an hour dog-paddling before his rescuers found him.