8444 Magnolia To-day

As legend has it-which, like all legends, ranks somewhere between a lie and an untruth-as legend has it, this was one of the first houses built in the Laurel Canyon area, and the man who built it in the 20s would fly his biplane o’er and pelt the lazy workers with tomatoes. Until he crashed the plane into the half-finished house.

By 1947, 8444 had entered into the aforementioned contretemps with Madge and Gianaclis.

(The castle motif is not original to the house, but was added after Northridge.)

You can see why they’d fight over the thing, the views being pretty spectacular.

Although we should assume goats were not involved at that time.

And then there’s Madge herself. Sure, she comes off as no stranger to unsavory characters. But- the story continues, involving as it does Earl Warren, the California Assembly, and that little slice of heaven we call Tehachapi- but I’ll let another illuminate that.

suggested reading: Storybook Style: America’s Whimsical Homes of the Twenties

Butler Drowns in Swimming Pool

July 1, 1947
Bel Air

Oh, it’s simply too ghastly! Algie Atkins, 23-year-old butler of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Silbert, dove into their pool at 250 Carolwood Drive, and never came back up. And you know, Mrs. Atkins was there, but the poor thing can’t swim, so she couldn’t rescue Algie. Neither could the Fire Department rescue squad, when they showed up.

Algie Atkins, kid butler, R.I.P.

250 Carolwood Drive, To-day

As was the case with yesterday’s post, I came up shy when confronted with the necessity of photodocumenting over the fence at the pool in back. Apparently there are laws against that sort of activity.

Nevertheless, here is the Sibert home. I pity the poor Siberts. My Goodness the vexation one has with placement services! And then to have a domestic go and drown on you. Normally, it would be the butler’s job to fish the corpse out of the pool. Do you see the conundrum?

One must wonder, if the Butler Atkins could not swim, is it possible he was instructed to jump in, as ordered by a Sibert? To do the swimming for them? In which case, he has done his duty, and ranks as a fine butler indeed.

Vera West Did Not Pay “Blackmail,” Mate Says

June 30, 1947

San Fernando Valley

Film costumer Vera West died in her swimming pool at 5119 Bluebell Ave. over the weekend. She suffered from marital difficulties, but the blackmail to which she alluded in her suicide note was, according to husband Jack C. West, a figment of her imagination. Mr. West claims he was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel when his wife took her unfortunate dip, following a bad argument, and in anticipation of Mrs. West’s consultation with a divorce attorney.
Assistant county autopsy surgeon Dr. Marvin Goodwin’s initial report was of asphyxia, probably due to drowning, but Dr. Frederick Newbarr, his superior, is refusing to sign a death certificate until additional tests are performed.