Better Days For Ant Paste Girl?

July 30 1947
Los Angeles

Times have been tough for the Harold Johnson family, but the barely averted poisoning of daughter Janet could be a harbinger of better things.

About a year ago, the Johnsons and their three kids were evicted from their home, and while mom was packing, she contracted polio and was hospitalized for ten months. Church friends found the family a new home at 540 N. Commonwealth Ave. and helped dad look after the little ones. Mom’s out of the hospital now and rebuilding her strength. But last week, the family car was totaled, and yesterday, 5-year-old Janet found some poisonous ant paste, determined it looked enough like honey to be tasty, and ate quite a lot of it.

But here’s where the Johnsons ill luck took a possibly happy turn. The ant paste girl was taken to Georgia Street Receiving Hospital, where she made a positive impression on a newsman, who alerted a casting agent to the hard luck cutie. This morning, she was called down to meet Hal Roach Jr. for an informal audition for an unspecified future kid flick. Roach liked the little miss, so peel an eye for her on a silver screen near you.

Suggested reading: A History Of The Hal Roach Studios

Bang Bang, My Baby Shot Me Down

July 29, 1947
Los Angeles

Home on leave from Alaska for his grandmother’s funeral, 22-year-old technician 5th grade Richard DeSpain quaffed a lot of bay rum and got into an altercation with some Negro youths, whom he said robbed him. Determined to settle the score, he returned to his mother’s home at 323 E. 109th Street and retrieved his Japanese pistol.

The boy’s mother is Reverend Emma DeSpain, one-time follower of Aimee Semple McPherson and until recently minister at the now-closed Victory Chapel, 10700 Avalon Blvd. Reverend Emma was hosting a luncheon for several nice Christian ladies, but left her guests to plead with the boy to be more peaceable. In the course of their struggle, the gun, clutched in Richard’s pocket, fired, shattering mama’s thighbone.

Richard ran off, but soon returned to face the consequences. Cops are turning him over to military authorities, since his emergency leave expired two weeks ago, and the good Reverend says her injury is a small thing if it means her hard-drinking boy will start to live right. Here’s hoping!

Suggested reading: Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson

Contaminated Soya Sauce Dumped in Drain

July 28, 1947
Los Angeles

Police still don’t know who did it–adulterated the city’s soya sauce supply with quantities of arsenic nearly sufficient to cause death. Dozens of Japanese residents became ill earlier this month after ingesting rice seasoned with the poison, but all have since recovered.

Health inspectors today supervised the dumping of about 1500 gallons of suspect soya sauce, tipping drums down drains at a Little Tokyo wholesale business at 114 Weller Street. Another 48,500 gallons will soon face the same fate.

The sickly sweet odor of the sauce lingered on the air, bearing with it perhaps a hint of death, as the men from the health department acted to protect all citizens, even those of Axis descent.

Sugar Sugar

July 27, 1947

Congress has just one day left to extend the industrial and institutional sugar rations, as requested by the Agriculture Department. Should they not vote the funds to continue keeping sugar from bakers, confectioners, food processors, bottlers, hotels and hospitals, the sweet stuff will commence flowing as it did before the Nazis ruined everything.

So hold your breath and make a wish that your representatives drag their feet tomorrow, and ajourn with the rationing bill untouched. Otherwise the rations will continue until (dear Lord, those Aggies are so cruel, so very cruel) Hallowe’en.

Further research: The Bubblegum Achievement Awards, October 7, 2005, at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in downtown Los Angeles

Mortuary Car Hit By Auto Crashes Store

[There are some stories from 1947 that seem custom-tailored by some benevolent Surrealist god who seeks only to delight my co-blogger Nathan Marsak. This is one of those stories…]

July 26, 1947
Los Angeles

David James Cline, an 18-year-old transient from Ohio, smashed into a hearse today at Pico and Crenshaw Blvds., sending the mortuary car hurtling into the corner candy store. The back of the hearse flew open, and the stretcher shot through the front door of the shop.

Don Luke, the hearse’s 31-year-old driver, 284 Cherry Ave., Long Beach, was slightly injured, but his assistant Chester Hanson, 29, 8301 Kenyon Ave., had his back, leg, right hand and nose broken.

Cline bolted from the scene, but was captured by witnesses. He’s been booked for felony hit-and-run.
suggested reading: American Funeral Vehicles 1883-2003: An Illustrated History

Pico & Crenshaw

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to drive a 1940 Henney Packard landau 3-way with Lev-L-Matic backwards at sixty miles an hour, slam on the brakes and let a casket set sail into a candy store! On the corner of Pico and Crenshaw today, though, I’d have to content myself with making that unwanted intrusion into the check cashing place:

Or maybe through the front door of the Goyne Building –

But then, I’d still be in heaven, wouldn’t I?

Recipe for annulment

July 25, 1947
Los Angeles

Take one blonde “freelance actress” (Mildred Jenkins, aka The Bride)
Add one Alameda County rancher (A. Q. Bonnet, Jr., The Groom)
Marry them in Las Vegas

Immediately after their wedding breakfast, have the groom take the bride and her female roommate to a gambling house, where he loses all his money and repeatedly demands that his new missus stake him, because what’s hers is his now. When she refuses, have him tell her that she takes the marriage too seriously, and that to him it’s just a good gag. Then have him drive back to the bride’s apartment at 145 S. Reeves Drive, Beverly Hills, where he leaves Mrs. Bonnet and her roommate, Jane Adrian, never to return.

Superior Court Judge J.A. Smith said that was as a fine example of an annullable marriage as he’d lately heard, and granted the request.