Police are searching for "bandit queen" Rose Berk with renewed effort after today's arrest of one of her henchmen, Fred J. Cook. Berk (aka Rose Buckingham, aka Rose Burke) is suspected of masterminding more than half a dozen "feminine lure" robberies during the last week alone. During the course of these hold-ups, Berk pretended to be a helpless female seeking "assistance in starting a stalled automobile." She was perhaps particularly suited to this role because, "unlike the usual type" of bandit queen, Berk was described by police as "homely, awkward in her manner and so old-fashioned that she still wears her hair long."
However out of style she may have been, Berk evaded capture by the L.A.P.D. On April 13, 1927, she was behind the wheel of the getaway car when a group of hold-up men, Fred Cook among them, robbed the Seaboard National Bank on Wilshire Boulevard of $21,000. The hapless Cook was arrested two years later, when in August 1929, he was recognized on a visit to Rose Berk, then jailed in Indianapolis. Alas, her trail goes cold here—we'll never know if she finally bobbed her hair.
Modeling the "old-fashioned" look is one of the winners of the Times's Mary Pickford look-alike contest in 1924.
February 18, 1927
The Whittier social set was agog at the forcible bobbing of Mrs. Evelyn Thompson’s hair by two of her former friends, Mrs. Florence Nutt and Mrs. Lucille Roulston.
All three young women had married men in the local oil business. The couples had become friends who frequently partied together. At a recent dance, Lucille believed that Evelyn had spent too much time in the arms of her husband, and in a fit of jealousy she plotted her revenge.
The bobbing incident unfolded like this: Evelyn had been out shopping for stockings, and as she passed by Roulston’s home she was flagged down and invited inside to see Lucille’s new hat.
Once inside the house, Evelyn decided to try on her new stockings. She was seated in a chair with one of her shoes off when she heard a snip and saw four of her curls fall to the floor. It was at this point that Florence held her down while the scissors wielding Lucille hacked off the rest of Evelyn’s curls, snarling “You used to be the center of attraction, but no man will ever look at you now.” Evelyn told police “It was over almost before I knew what was happening. I started fighting them without avail.”
Prior to the forced shearing, Evelyn had sported lovely long chestnut curls – they were her crowing glory. She said “I had never wanted to be a flapper. That’s why I didn’t bob my hair.”
Florence Nutt was arrested and charged with mayhem. A warrant had to be issued for the arrest of Mrs. Roulston, because she’d taken it on the lam. She was sighted in places as far flung as the Orient!
The mayhem charges would be dismissed, thus ending the criminal case. Evelyn had the option to seek damages in civil court if she wanted, but there would be no further mention of the bobbers or bobbee in the LA Times.
July 22, 1927
Mrs. Geraldine Haster was a product of her time—too bad her time was so terribly and sinfully debased! It was bad enough that she had taken to wearing cosmetics (!) but then she had even gone so far as to bob her hair (!!)! Why not just tattoo "SCAPEGRACE" across your forehead, Geraldine?
When Geraldine returned with her mother and a party of friends from a motor trip to Tijuana (need we say more?) she found herself locked out of the home she shared with her husband, prominent Anaheim rancher Richard Haster. Geraldine filed for divorce, charging cruelty.
On the stand today Geraldine alleged that life with ol’ Dick was no picnic either: he took liberties with other women, was adverse to frequent bathing, read magazines while guests were in the house (!!!), stayed at the lodge until 4am, and, most hurtful of all, when she wore cosmetics, was told by her husband that she looked like a “Piute Indian.” She thus demands division of property valued at $100,000 ($1,102,998 USD 2006).
Yes, the twenties were a time of tumult and turmoil as conventions unraveled, exposing lots of hypocrisy and kicked-up heels. Lutherans took especial offence at all this gayety, closing their thirty-fifth annual convention today with the adoption of a resolution deploring the tendency of American youth toward “extravagance, immodesty, and disrespect.”
Lutherans sleep easy tonight knowing that American youth turned out just fine.