Bookie Charges Hold 12 in Raid

April 30, 1947
City Terrace, East Los Angeles

Lt. Carl Pearson of the Sheriff’s Vice Squad caught a dozen bookies in their lair behind an upholstery shop at 1435 N. Miller Ave. today, three of them of the feminine variety. The miscreants worked out of a secret room wired with nine telephones, and kept their records on scratch sheets tucked inside a secret wall panel. Booked at the East L.A. substation on suspicion of felonious bookmaking were Alice Melvin, 26, Howard Sternberg, 30, Maurice Bach, 45, Adelbert McLaughlin, 33, Juanita Silver, 34, Sidney Corsen, 38, Harry Faln, 47, Marjorie Burns, 40, Stephen Walsh, 32, Phil Miller, 25, Paul Searle, 22 and David Drobman, 30. It is unknown if the phone company ratted them out.

1435 North Miller To-day

1947-Chinatown’s Keno and Pan had passed into history, as had Cornero’s fleet of floating vice. But it’s also pre-Vegas, before lo-ball Bell and pai-gow Gardena, and long before where the Morongo. What’s a boy with betitis to do?

Hey, says your buddy. Book joint out in City Terrace. Wire room and everything, whole system of runners, jobbies and sheeties. So you call a comeback to lay a trey to show parlay on a high-stepper. Beats having to actually go out to City Terrace-that place gives you the heebie-jeebies, what with all the signs in Yiddish and all.

Evidence of the area’s Hebraic genealogy is now gone, as is the upholstery shop. (Also removed is the Pacific Electric line a block north, replaced by the 10; the traincars once headed to the mighty PE rail yard, where today stands Cal State LA.) As for those who currently manage the area’s funtastic activity, the men who make up CT13 do not, lamentably, make book.

Young Widow Slays Prowler in Self-defense

April 29, 1947

Parking on the street was not an option for 18-year-old assistant theater manager Mrs. Ginerva Knight, but she just didn’t like the look of that heavy shrubbery on the way to her garage at 1515 Courtney Avenue. Hence her unusual routine: come home from work after one a.m. and pull her convertible coupe partway into the driveway, enter the living room and obtain her .38 snubnosed revolver (for which she had no carrying permit), return to the car and only then ease it up towards the garage. That’s where Thomas Housos, 24-year-old transient, was waiting to wrap his hand around her mouth and instruct “If you scream, I’ll kill you. I’m taking you and the car and backing out of here!”

Mrs. Knight was pushed down to the floorboards as Housos lowered his own pistol to begin the delicate process of backing out the driveway. She pleaded loudly in order to drown out the sound of her gun cocking, then shot Housos in the belly. “You killed me!” he screamed, and attacked the woman. They struggled, she banged his head with her gun, and when he wouldn’t die finally shot him in the face. He collapsed, and the car lurched into the side of the house. He was declared dead at the scene.

Housos’ own car, a black coupe, was found parked at Sunset and Courtney. In it were his identification papers and a document attesting to his marriage last week to a girl in San Francisco. Housos was honorably discharged from the Air Force in December 1943. He was a member of the Oaklawn Jockey Club in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and played a bit part as a jockey in a film in June 1944. In January, 1945, he was convicted in Texas on charges of entering a woman’s car at a traffic signal in San Antonio and robbing her. He was sentenced to ten years, but paroled in September, 1946.

Mrs. Knight, a war widow whose husband was killed in the merchant marine, lives at the home on Courtney with her 16-month-old son Ian, her mother, Mrs. Adelaide Boeing, and her grandmother Mrs. Hariet M. Ryer. Mrs. Boeing, whose late former husband was no relation to the aircraft manufacturer, once flew under the name Adelaide Cellina with Amelia Earhart in the Cleveland National Air Races.

1515 Courtney To-day

In the epic struggle between ex-jockeys and war widows, my money’s on the dame every time.

Here we see the moll buzzard-prone driveway that gave Ginerva the willies. And rightfully so. Hollywood is lousy with the also-rans.

And now, with Hollywood Park being demolished – the beautiful 1938 racetrack in Inglewood, child of Jack Warner – LA will be flooded with out-of-work jockeys, attacking war widows like so many flesh-eating zombies.

One hundred acres of Hollywood Park has already been subdivided into gated communities. And yes, they’re building the Wal-Mart. The other 140 acres will be ten-story parking garages and sprawl-malls and endless Tuskan Townehomes. The people of Inglewood sure know what’s good for them.

How many more have to die?

Ladies, get your guns.

Birthday Raiders Strip Apartment of All Furniture

April 28, 1947

Don’t rent a room from Mrs. L.E. Manners–she hasn’t got any! That’s the word from Coast Guard vet Richard Hier and wife Patti, who returned from a birthday party last night to their brand new apartment on the second floor of the home at 5732 Harold Way to find the door off the hinges, their possessions dumped onto the floor, and every stick of furniture–including stove, fridge, even the lightbulbs–gone. Mrs. Manners too was out of the picture. For now Mr. H. is bunking in his old hammock, the same one the torpedo blew him out of during his South Pacific service, while the lady wife tosses on the wooden floor wrapped in a quilt.

5732 Harold Way To-day

After the war the homeowner was free to indulge that American mix of fantasy and modernity. For those unable or unwilling to relocate to new tracts out in the Valley, it was of course possible to remake your stodgy bungalow a la what you saw overseas – a Mansard roof is always nice, or perhaps something Japanesque. And then there was always stucco. Oh, how you could get stucco.

But for the folks along Harold Way, where stood sturdy structures of lathe and plaster, there would be few remaining Sundays replete with well-intentioned if ill-informed home repair. Rather, some suit at the County Regional Planning Commission drew a line across a map. That suit had a brother in the demo business and a cousin who rolled in connivance with the rights-of-way agents. From hell’s heart, the dagger of Imminent Domain stabbed at Harold.

Today, those old palms stand as a faint reminder of the homes that once stood behind them. Of course, the shadow of taking still falls over Los Angeles. Caltrans remains a higher-up in LA’s pantheon; someday they’ll take South Pasadena. LAUSD is the drunken Zeus of them all, conspiring in a shadowy cabal with developers and their minions to take your home or business next. You know, for kids. Just like freeways.

The Hier’s tale should serve to remind one and all that we are merely tenants here in Los Angeles; the Powers That Be our overbearing, morally suspect, property-destroying landlords.

Runaway Cab Helps House Dismantler

April 27, 1947
Echo Park

A household chore turned terrifying today when an unoccupied Veteran’s Transit taxicab careened down a hillside and into Mrs. F.C. Plantz’ house at 1505 Ewing Street. At the time, Plantz’ friend Myron Fales (35, of 530 S. Pasadena Ave in Whittier) was standing on a stepladder peeling off siding. Fales heard the cab coming down through the brush, and was able to jump to safety just before the cab burst through the siding and splintered the house’s wall. The driver, Mitchell Parrino of 1731 W. 18th Street, told police he had left his cab parked up the hill in front of 2019 Avon Street.

1505 Ewing To-day

Take a trek up to 2019 Avon (behind those trees at the upper right) and you’ll see, it’s a formidable plunge down the hill for ol’ Ghost Cab.

Accolades to Mrs. Plantz for removing siding from her house-nice to see the Fates lending a hand. Of course, that runaway dimbox could’ve been headed for Myron himself. (Or perhaps its intended target was a prescient Mrs. Plantz; hence her eliciting Myron.) Such notwithstanding, don’t forget: however and whenever you work on your home, there’s always a friendly yellow 1946 Pontiac coming to pitch in.

Cellar Blasted, 3 Boys Hurt in Hail of Metal From Shell

April 26, 1947
Los Angeles

Darn that Seely boy!

Lee Seely, 11, invited Jackie Cooper (12, of 4172 Yosemite Way) and Charles Gullihur (9, 2838 Delevan Drive) over to his house at 4053 W. Avenue 42 to mess around in the basement. Someone got frisky with one of the 40-mm anti-aircraft shells stored down among the cobwebs and canned peaches, and it blew. The house didn’t fare well: the basement door shot twenty feet off its hinges, windows shattered and the walls shifted on the foundations. Strafed with shrapnel, Lee and Jack were rushed to General Hospital for emergency surgery; they were in critical condition this afternoon, Jackie with leg wounds that will almost certainly require amputation, Lee with a gut full of metal.

Charles, who was maybe too little to be trusted with the important task of blowing up a basement and nearly killing himself, was shaken but unhurt.

4053 West Ave. 42 to-day

Los Angeles, in the months after Pearl Harbor, had a serious case of the Jap-jitters. Anti-aircraft batteries up and down the coast were put on Green Alert (ready to fire) every time a whale surfaced. True, the Japanese sub I-17 did shell a petroleum refinery, but that was only to destroy a set of slippery stairs Commander Nishino had slipped on in the 30s, and only in destroying them did he regain face.

In any event, during the morning hours of 25 February, 1942, Angelenos finally went batshit and blew the hell out of the night sky, which may or may not have had some nefarious meteorological balloons floating around in it. Of course, we now know, with sober retrospect, it was just a UFO:

Imagine, here on Avenue 42, peering into the sky and wondering, what would come over the horizon? The Nipponese? Bug-eyed saucer men?

Times were similarly uneasy five years later. Sure, the Axis was vanquished, but now, on top of little green men, we had big Red governments. Worse yet was daddy, who’s been acting all funny. Sometimes the war comes back to him. Then, all of a sudden, boom!

Best to just leave him be and go play in the basement with those funny Howitzer-whoozits. Then, all of a sudden–