Actor, Doused With Water From Hose, Isn’t Amused

May 24, 1947

Homeowners, it’s like this: you own your home; the sidewalk and the curb and the street belong to everybody!

Earl Richard Casper, I’m talking to you. What were you thinking, hovering around in front of your pad at 833 N. Cahuenga, arguing with Ted Stanhope (45, occupation: thespian) over how he was parking his car? Turning your hose on Stanhope’s engine, killing it and ensuring that both he and the offending machine would remain right there–the former now in a state of indignation? And blasting Stanhope with the hose when he got out of his car to protest?

Casper, you’re lucky he just rassled with you on the lawn, took the hose away and called the cops. Next time, can’t you just be a normal uptight freak, lurk behind the curtains and mouth bad words?

833 Cahuenga To-day

817— the life-giving Hollywood Craftsman that every Minnesotan of 1909 yearned for—your typical home on Cahuenga. Typical once, anyway.

Here, however, is what’s become of Stanhope’s house up the street at 833:

Why did these two tussle? Consider: Casper, a ghost, like a white sheet, dig. And Stanhope, player in 1947’s lambast of the Klan The Burning Cross. I seeeee.

(Burning Cross was shot at Ren-Mar Studios [nee Metro Studios] across the street at 846. Must be nice to walk to work.)

The Family Romance

May 23, 1947
North Hollywood

L. Bruce Bryan is sharper than a serpent’s tooth–or so suggests the preliminary injunction granted today by Superior Court Judge Frank G. Swain, barring Bryan, a writer, from annoying, molesting or evicting his mother Mrs. Ethel Bryan for a period of six weeks, at which date the Bryans will reconvene in court to seek a legal ruling on their three-generation dispute.

Seems Ethel and her 17-year-old grandson (and adopted son) Bruce ponied up $1650 towards the purchase of a home at 6424 Riverton St., North Hollywood. L. Bruce, a writer, and his new wife Katherine put in $350 towards the total cost of $11,750.

Grandma and grandson moved in with the understanding that this would be their permanent residence, but the minority owners began a campaign of harassment, moving Ethel’s bed into a one-room building in back of the house, physically carrying her out of the house in February (she called the cops) and forcing her to sign a document agreeing to pay room and board in the amount of $60 a month until her $1650 stake in the house was exhausted. The last straw was when they changed the locks (on Mother’s Day!) thus denying her access to kitchen and bathroom and forcing her to withdraw from the property.

Through the case filed by Attorney Maurice M. Grudd, Ethel seeks a formal statement of her rights and a ban on further attempts by her son to dispossess her.

6424 Riverton To-day

The boys at Lockheed and Vega Aircraft didn’t worry too much about the noise associated with assembling P-38s, or the probability of accidents when testing the Constellation. It was a sparsely populated part of the world out there in the No-Man’s Land between Burbank and North Hollywood.

But by the end of the war houses had sprouted up everywhere. They’re all still there.

Some things are eternal—like a son changing the locks on his mother on Mother’s Day. Other things change—a street’s worth of garages become extra rooms (above). Ailing jetliners start falling on you instead of test planes. Right nearby the Valhalla Cemetery’ll haul off and expand (giving pilots of ailing jetliners more room to ditch). But the houses remain relatively intact, and every one, every single one, is there because of Lockheed. After all, during the war Lockheed had more employees than there were residents of Burbank and North Hollywood combined.

What’s most shocking about the area is that there’s no physical remnant of the mighty city that was the Lockheed facility. The unbelievable loss of the Earhart/Hughes hangar in 1998 was right in line with the mindset that Lockheed, the Airport Authority, and the City of Burbank maintain: to hell with our aviation history. The most super-secret of super-secret development buildings, the “Skunk Works,â€Â whence came our first fighter jet (the P-80), the U2 spy plane, the Polaris and the Stealth, unceremoniously demolished. And that Building 85 was demolished by the city when it entered into the business of funding, of all people, the Hilton family? Let’s not even talk about that.

Thankfully, around the corner from the Bryans, a ’50 Roadmaster keeps a bit of the bygone spirit of the area alive.

Man Claiming Wife’s Murder Kills Himself

May 22, 1947

Before shooting himself in the head today, 29-year-old carpenter Rollin Albert Starkey told his mother-in-law, Mrs. Myrtle Foley, that he had choked her daughter Betty in their cabin near Lake Arrowhead. As if unsure that he could count on a woman to do anything, he then phoned police telling them much the same thing.

Investigators J.E. Hamilton and C.J. Bright of Harbor Police Station reported that Starkey confessed that several days earlier he had killed Mrs. Starkey while they were at their Dogwood Canyon cabin making repairs, and had returned to their home at 1610 N. Marine Ave., Wilmington yesterday. By the time officers arrived at the Marine Ave. apartment, Starkey was near death with a bullet in the brain; he died soon after at Wilmington Receiving Hospital.

San Bernardino Sheriff James W. Stocker sent Chief Criminal Deputy Harry Heap up to Dogwood Canyon to have a look. In the Starkey cabin, Heap discovered the deceased Mrs. Starkey, sprawled on the living room floor in an incongruous costume of playsuit, sandals and fur coat, a noose made from a pair of nylon stockings around her throat. There were no signs of a struggle in the cabin.

The cause and further circumstances of the murder and what Starkey had been doing since committing it remain mysterious. If Mrs. Foley knows anything more, she’s not talking.

1610 Marine To-day

In their size and shape and arrangement, the houses along Marine all oozed prewar. But then, they all looked new as well. I chatted up a neighbor. Yes, her house was built in the thirties, the whole street was. Really, I said. There have been some…changes. Oh yes, she replied, we did ours in ’86. The people across the street there just did theirs.

So. Stucco and plastic windows are something you “do.â€Â You just call someone up and say “I’d like to do my house,â€Â and they’ll know exactly what you mean. They’ll come over and your house will get “did.â€Â Nearly every visible trace of 30s Wilmington, borne of the 1932-discovered 2.5 billion barrel Wilmington Field (third largest in America), has been wiped from the landscape.

As to what Betty’s outfit signifies we can only conjecture; what types of costume (and their import) hung in the closets of 1610 is a matter of further fantasy. How had Mrs. Foley puzzled out her daughter’s dangerous games? Dear Myrtle must have filled her head with ignis fatuus to dispel any disquieting truths. Perhaps we can channel her spirit (which like said pale light hovers over the marshy oil fields) and pry some secreted tale from her misty midst.

Arrested Man Sues Turf Club

May 21, 1947
Santa Anita Racetrack, Arcadia

John A. Gordon, 67, retired hardware merchant who came to Los Angeles from Chicago a decade ago, filed suit against the Los Angeles Turf Club today in Los Angeles Superior Court. He claims he was falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted following a January 23 incident when Arcadia Police Officer William S. Orr and two race track detectives detained him at the track on charges of vagrancy.

At the time, Gordon says, he had more than $1000 in his possession. Gordon claims Orr & co. offered to drop the charges if he would agree they had probable cause to arrest him; when he refused, they countered that they would instead charge him with bookmaking, and did just that. When the case went to trial in Pasadena, Peace Justice J.R. Morton dismissed it for lack of evidence that Gordon had accepted a $6 bet.

Gordon is resident of 502 W. Maple St., Monrovia, painfully near to the scene of his humilation.

Auto Smashes Into Trolley

May 18, 1947
Los Angeles

Passengers on the “O” line streetcar had their peaceful passage disturbed today when an automobile, estimated to be traveling 60 mph, smashed into the back of the trolley as Motorman Charles Carringer, 33, of 2451 3/4 Daly Street was about to pull away from a stop at College and North Main Streets.

Passenger Antonio V. Castillo, 30, of 618 S. Ferris Street, was killed instantly. The driver, Paul Z. Guerrero, 25, of 184 Darwin Street, was taken to the General Hospital prison ward, where he was treated for lacerations before being booked on a charge of manslaughter. Mr. Castillo has the posthumous distinction of being the county’s 300th traffic fatality.

In Other News

As a service to our readers, I should like to call attention to two buildings that are not long for this world. Here is one:

Stiles Clements’ Mullen & Bluett building, 1949, 5570 Wilshire, built in the Late Moderne, a style that typified the optimistic postwar building boom. Note the sexy geometric volumes and eyebrow canopy. Mullen & Bluett is a perfect example of the Miracle Mile’s auto-oriented “linear downtown,â€Â as Reyner Banham put it. Think Wayne McAllister’s Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank or Wurdeman & Becket’s Bullocks Pasadena. Legacy Partners of Irvine are razing this building and replacing it with a 197-unit apartment/retail thingy that resembles the lowest common denominator of faux-Miami Deco. (Their next project is enveloping the Art Deco Desmond’s tower in nine stories of apartments.) I say go check M&B’s roman brick & flagstone façade and copper beveled display windows while you still can—it’s too late to admire Clements’ 1936 masterpiece of streamline KEHE building, recently demolished by LAUSD, or his equally unbelievable Coulter’s, once across the street.

This is the Bach Auricon Inc. building, 1954, 6900 block of Romaine at 900 block of Mansfield:

BA are incredibly important in the history of filmmaking, especially as regards TV newsreels and documentaries. Auricon was a semi-self-blimped single system that recorded optical or magnetic sound on film, allowing our cinema-verité pioneers to shoot with a lightweight, maneuverable, quiet camera. Logos for Modulite, Cine-Voice, Datasync and Filmagnetic are still on this building; rumors of its impending demolition abound. This is correct, original Old Hollywood in the way a thousand trips along our current Hollywood Boulevard can never be.

(A photographic addtion, in reference to the posted comment:)