But then, Latour became convinced that the car was trying to attack him, and pulled a gun on it. After firing two shots at Clark's car, Latour raised his arm to wave off the terrifying apparition and fired again -- directly into his own hand.
Elsewhere in Los Angeles today, another man paid a less gory price for intemperance.
Earlier this month, police were called to Mt. Washington Dr. following reports of a dead body slumped in a car along the side of the road. But James Proffit wasn't dead -- only dead drunk, and "there were several dead soldiers around him in the form of empty bottles from which the spirits had fled."
Today in court, Proffit had some interesting things to say for himself. "It's the holidays and festivities that get me in trouble," Proffit told Municipal Judge Turney. "I was in jail at Thanksgiving for being drunk, and it was the same thing at Christmas and New Year's. I wouldn't be here now, but my brother got married, and of course, I was there as a guest."
Turns out, Proffit had forgotten his duty to drive the newlyweds home from the reception. When he swerved off the road and got them all stuck in the mud, the bride and groom decided to walk the rest of the way home, leaving Proffit to fend for himself. Proffit was fined $200.
January 18, 1927
Lovers of the purring class will be down at 720-32 South Main Street this weekend to tour the 23rd annual Los Angeles Cat Club exhibition, which this year highlights the pug-nosed Persian and water-lovin' Angora breeds. But we reckon the biggest draw is San Francisco champion Princess Zenina, who recently escaped death when a salmon can became stuck on her head, cutting off her air supply. Happily her mistress discovered the distressed puss and cut an air hole in the can before carefully cutting it away. That leaves Princess Z with eight lives, in case anyone's counting.
Just one block south at #856, the one-man taxi business of ex-cop Emil N. Scott has been shuttered after Scott was branded in Municipal Court as a bootlegger. It seems he sold hooch to passengers who knew to hail his cab when thirsty.
In less sunny news of L.A.'s animal citizens, casting director Hugh S. Jeffreys, 46, was found dead in his breakfast nook at 1475 Wenzel Avenue, Palms, along with his little dog and a caged canary. A gasping parrot was saved by the negro maid, who had served Jeffreys' breakfast just an hour before. The room was poorly ventilated, and the gas fire that burned in the grate had somehow filled the room with carbon monoxide.
January 1, 1928
A year ago prohibition agents observed that "last-minute calls for holiday cheer" skyrocketed on New Year's Eve, so this year detective chief George Contreras and his men staked out area roadhouses. When "suspicious-looking characters" drove up, they were searched. Five flivvers were confiscated and thirty bootleggers arrested—and yet heads are splitting all over Los Angeles this morning for, despite the last minute roundup, the hooch flowed freely last night.
Indeed, by 7 o'clock this morning, the Coroner's Office and Receiving Hospital listed two dead, eight critically—perhaps fatally—injured, and another seventy people slightly hurt in booze-fueled traffic accidents, including a pedestrian who was "partially scalped" in a hit-and-run at 39th and Vermont.
Over at 1827 W. 78th Place, Justus Gunn woke up after the party he and his wife hosted for their friends and discovered that his wife was missing. Gunn told police he "retired [or passed out?] as the guests were leaving" and didn't notice the little woman was gone until this morning. Friends didn't know where she was, and Gunn declared there had been "no quarrels or disagreements which might explain her sudden departure." There was no further mention of Mrs. Gunn in the pages of the Times, so whatever the cause of her disappearance, it probably wasn't criminal.
More ominously, 14-year-old Florence Ellison left her father's house (723 Bonnie Beach Place) yesterday afternoon to visit her mother (522 Clifton Street). Around 7:30 last night, Florence rang the doorbell at 620 South Wilton Place and told C.R. Morrison she was lost. Morrison drove Florence to the streetcar, gave her directions, then returned home and called Florence's mother. But Florence never arrived.
Epilogue: Florence Ellison was found, fatigued and possibly drugged, on January 2. She told police that after becoming lost, she joined the New Year's celebrations downtown where she met cabdriver Edmund D. Kearney at about midnight. They had drinks, and after a drive through Chinatown, Florence spent the night at his apartment. Kearney was held on suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. No information was given as to just how Florence spent New Year's Day.
December 14, 1927
The holiday is nearly upon us, and all across the city, citizens are Christmas mad. The Pacific Electric Hollywood car stalled, halfway through the First Street tunnel, and when the wire fell down and sent sparks arcing across the darkened windows, scads of package-laden shoppers panicked and stampeded, despite attempts by train staff to calm them. Several passengers suffered bruised knees, ankles and backs.
There's naught but sadness at 4528 Amber Place, where the John Vernon Rosses mourn the death of their only child, John Vernon, Jr., aged 4. Mother was working days and father nights in downtown shops, to save enough to give the tyke his best Christmas ever, while a neighbor, Mrs. J.W. Loyal of 4600 Topaz Street watched the babe. When mother called for him around 1pm, he was dead in his cot, victim of some mysterious internal hemorrhage. An autopsy was ordered, but if any cause of death was found, it was never reported in the papers.
And down on Wilton Place, the Parker Twins, Marion and Marjorie, whisper together about what to give their father Perry for his birthday tomorrow. They cannot know that tomorrow Marion will be kidnapped from her school by The Fox, and that despite the ransom Perry pays, she will never come home again.
Some minor cuts scrapes for Clara Bow today, but that's what happens when you take on the USC football team.
Ms. Bow hosted a garden party, to which she invited a few members of the victorious Trojans. The glamorous hostess revealed herself to be an avid fan of the sport, and asked quarterback and future College Football Hall of Famer Morley Drury how the team managed "those end-around plays." The Trojans were only too happy to demonstrate on the lawn. Caught up in the spirit of things, Ms. Bow drew too close to the "Thundering Herd," and was pommelled to the ground. Fortunately, she suffered only a bruised thumb.
And what started as a few pesky mosquito bites turned into a near-miss disfiguring for Dolores Del Rio. While vacationing in Soboba Springs, Ms. Del Rio treated the bites with an acid-based ointment. Today, she was treated by a physician for burns and "skin poisoning."
November 17, 1927
Charley Chase received a sentence of fifty days—suspended—from Judge Baird today, for while Chase admitted to taking a sip of whisky before crashing his auto into the back of a taxicab on Hollywood Boulevard last Monday morning, the magistrate judged Charley to be only reckless, not drunk.
Chase is today best known for his work in promoting the exclamation-mark’d picture. Long before 1947, the year which saw two noir exclamation-mark’d masterpieces—Railroaded! and Boomerang!—and long before little girls screamed Them! and everyone shouted Oklahoma! and then we all yelled Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Chase starred in Nurse to You!, Okay Toots!, You Said a Hatful!, What a Bozo!, Skip the Maloo!, and of course ¡Huye, Faldas!, to name but a few. He also asked the cinematic questions Are Brunettes Safe? and Is Everybody Happy? and Isn’t Life Terrible? and What Price Goofy? and Is Marriage the Bunk? and Should Husbands Be Watched? and Why Go Home? and while these aren’t exactly What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? or Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (or What’s the Matter With Helen? or Who Ever Slew Auntie Roo? for that matter) they sure beat the stuffing out of Where’s Poppa? and What’s So Bad About Feeling Good?
Anyway. The judge should have thrown the book at Chase for his whisky-sippin’, because his alcoholism killed him at the age of 47, in 1940. But then, what was Judge Baird to do? Send Chase to meetings? Bill Wilson wouldn’t get hot flashes for another seven years.
It seems that the ice cream recipe called for an egg mixture which the company only bothered to make about once a week. Unfortunately, the ice cream was frequently made several days later. Arthur and Marks found that a scoop of the toxic French vanilla contained about 20 times as much bacteria as a sample of raw sewage.
Oh, careless confectioner, what have you wrought!
November 8, 1927
Oddities around town:
World class crumb-bum Joseph Peck returned from a trip to Fort Worth only to discover he was to be made an example by the City Council, seeking to alleviate the costs associated with relief payments provided to mothers whose husbands refused to support their families. Blanche Peck, 42, of 2939 West Avenue 37, has been raising five children, ages 1 to 11, without any help from Joseph since December 1925. Now she'll be guaranteed $2 a day for a year. That's Papa Joe's pay for pounding on L.A.'s new rock pile.
In Griffith Park, camera operator Clifford Shirpser was shooting an exploding airplane for a new William Wellman picture when he stumbled over a stone and went ass over teakettle. The heavy camera went up, then brained the fallen technician. He came to after fifteen minutes. (Shirpser was likely shooting additional footage for Wings, which had debuted in New York in August, but which did not receive its Los Angeles premiere until January 1928.)
And wee, noisy Ill Ill the "untamed, tree-climbing pygmy" barker, recently arrested in front of the Dreamland Palace at 539 South Main Street, copped a guilty plea for violating the city's anti-ballyhoo ordinance on two occasions, and paid $100 in fines, thus avoiding a tree-free stint in the Lincoln Heights callaboose.
October 30, 1927
Los Angeles County
What should have been a happy father-son bonding session ended in tragedy today at the Fox Hills Country Club. Forty-year-old Ben H. Wesley was helping his 12-year-old son on the practice fairway when young Donald accidentally clipped his father on the neck with his club. The blow caught the elder Wesley just below the base of the left jawbone; police speculate he was either standing "at the left and slightly to the rear or directly in front" of his son, or perhaps was bending down to reach for a ball rolling from the tee. Country club attendants and players ran to Wesley's aide upon hearing his son's screams but he died a few moments later. Donald was rushed home by friends.
A coroner's inquest is planned, but all are certain Wesley's death was but a cruel accident.
October 9, 1927
Ventura County and Beverly Hills
Two stories from today's paper prove yet again that the course of true love rarely runs smoothly. The first comes from Las Turas Lake (now Lake Sherwood) at Las Turas Country Club, where W.T. Verry, Jr. narrowly escaped death this afternoon when his friends finally figured out that what they thought were flirtatious gestures between Verry and a pretty miss on the pier were actually "frantic signals for aid" from a drowning man. Verry was pulled from the lake by J.E. Bower and revived by artificial respiration.
Meanwhile, 23-year-old Grace Dawson today resumed planning her Tia Juana wedding, cancelled because the bride was in County Jail when she was scheduled to walk down the aisle. Several days ago, detectives searching the Beverly Hills residence of bootlegger and narcotics kingpin "Black Tony" Parmagini turned up an address. A squad under Chief George Contreras then proceeded to 201 South McCarthy Drive where they found Miss Dawson, 25-year-old Alice Gray, and another young woman (who jumped out of Contreras's automobile at a traffic light on Sunset Boulevard), along with sixty-five cases of mixed whiskies and other liquors. Dawson and Gray were booked for violation of the Wright Act before being released on bail of $1000 each.
September 20, 1927
We don't know why high school student Albert A. Benavides of 1139 East 55th Street was saving car fare by clinging to the outside of the rail car rather than buying a ticket. Maybe he had a date and wanted to buy her a cream soda, or was obsessively collecting pulp magazines, or simply couldn't afford the fare. What we do know is that at Santa Barbara Street and Vermont Avenue, his skull connected with a telephone pole and he fell beneath the car, where his legs were neatly severed. It was a horror for the passengers, one of whom leapt from the window and extricated the youth. Taken to Georgia Street Receiving Hospital, his smashed limbs were amputated. They think he'll live.
September 14, 1927
The ballroom of the Biltmore Hotel is being readied for the annual Southern California Dahlia Society exhibition, which is last year drew 7000 people. There's just something about the Biltmore that attracts Dahlias, and Dahlia lovers.
In Nice, France, San Francisco girl Isadora Duncan -- that free spirit danseuse whose corsetless physique and offbeat theories of health, movement and social mores made her at once the darling and the shame of thousands -- perished in a grisly accident when her long scarf became entangled in the wheel of an open automobile. Duncan was pulled into the road, and died instantly of a broken neck. She was 50.
The fateful scarf was a gift of Mary Desti, Duncan's dear friend and the mother of director Preston Sturges, who would go on to invent many a fascinating, madcap female in his motion pictures.
In Medford, Mass., Elizabeth Short, who will be remembered as the Dahlia of the Biltmore long after the flower show is forgotten, is three.
Police found a bundle of little Norman Howard's sleepers stashed in a downtown department store shortly after the body was found. Captain of Detectives Bean said, "The mother is probably wandering around in a deranged condition and I believe she will either attempt to take her life or will put in an appearance at some institution within a few hours."
While they continued to search for Howard, police investigations uncovered some information about the missing mother and her recent activities. Winnie Howard, 35, and her husband, Frank, had purchased a chicken farm in Norco, but separated soon afterwards; Winnie left the farm when she could no longer make the payments. Since then, she'd been staying with her baby in hotels around Riverside and Corona, finally going to her twin sister Minnie's home in Reseda.
After days of searching, Winnie Howard was finally found on the evening of August 26, not in the ocean, but at a Sierra Madre campground. She'd registered there under a false name, but had never claimed her campsite. Instead, Winnie had spent the four days since the death of her son wandering the hills without food or water. She was taken into custody, and placed under psychiatric watch. Upon hearing of Howard's plight, a group of philanthropic club women took pity on her, and retained Attorney Milton Golden to defend her.
Today, homicide investigator Eddie King files an insanity complaint against Howard, and the District Attorney's Office warned that if Howard was found sane, they would charge her with murder. Golden replied that, despite this, they would fight the insanity charge. He said, "Mrs. Howard is not insane. She accidentally rolled over on the child in her sleep and caused its death. If the District Attorney's office wants to file a murder complaint, we are ready to go to trial."
As far as the Los Angeles Times shows, it never came to that. On September 6, Howard was declared sane and sent to a sanatorium for two weeks to complete her recovery. Afterwards, she was released into Minnie's custody.
August 14, 1927
There was the sun's blinding reflection on the water and the smell of burnt sugar and salt on the air today at the Silver Spray Pier amusement park in Long Beach. Summer is on the wane, and what should have been just one more seaside frolic before coeds return to campus and office girls to their typewriters ended in tragedy for 19-year-old Annie Navarro of 2805-1/2 North Main Street, Los Angeles. Along with a group of friends, the young woman visited a concession which featured a hardwood slide with a polished surface. When she was about halfway down the slide, however, Annie stopped dead—literally. Upon close inspection, it was discovered that she was impaled upon a foot-long sliver of wood. The makeshift dagger pierced several vital organs, and must have killed her instantly, said Dr. W.R. Palmer.
Silver Spray Pier survived another 21 years before it was torn down in 1948.
July 23, 1927
Detective Lieutenants Kallmeyer, Werne, and Roberts spent all day searching for the three contemptible men who cruelly drove away from a hit-and-run accident which left nineteen year old Aristo Santelanto of 712 Clara Street, dead at the scene.
The hardworking Santelanto was with a crew of men repairing railway tracks at Washington Street and Cimarron Avenue when an automobile that was traveling at approximately sixty miles an hour struck him. Without slowing, the death car sped away.
A sharp eyed witness to the crime furnished detectives with numbers from the car’s license plate. The investigation was complicated because the crime car had traded hands several times over a period of six months. Undeterred, the cops persisted in their search and as a result, A.T. House, 32, of Lankershim (now North Hollywood), was handcuffed and taken into custody for suspicion of manslaughter.
House’s passengers, Eugene Long, 20, and Paul Post, 32, both of Lankershim, were picked up by police at Sunset Boulevard and Wilcox Street, where they were employed. The two men were taken to the City Jail and charged with failure to render aid.