The Honeymoon’s Off

August 15, 1947
Los Angeles

He told the pretty young widow he was getting a divorce, that he was studying architecture and ship building at USC and that he would buy her a yacht that they could pilot on a love-trip once they were wed. So Mrs. Frances Wells O’Donnell, mother of a 4-year-old boy, who lost her second lieutenant Marine husband in the invasion of Peleliu in ’44, put $46,000 into a joint account. And Richard Barth, 30, took that “joint” business seriously–he picked up a 52-foot sea-going number called The Otter, and spent another $13,000 on a honeymoon cottage in Woodland Hills.

But when Frances wasn’t looking, Richard sold that pad they were to share, remarried his wife, and purchased a home for the two of them at 906 S. Stanley Ave. Frances cried foul when she finally checked the bank book and found $47.50 remaining.

The accused louse surrendered in court today accompanied by his attorney, Sid Kaufman. Bond was set at $3000. Also set into motion was a civil suit on the same matter, originally filed two months ago. Barth denied the charges and insisted his honor would be proven at trial.

Suggested reading: Con Man : A Master Swindler’s Own Story

Husband Sobs Out Story of Domestic Tragedy

August 14, 1947
Bell Gardens

A hangover made him do it. That’s what Frank Vogel, 52-year-old machinist/cement worker and author of an unfinished book on Technocracy, said after turning himself in to police officers at City Hall yesterday.

It seemed he’d just shot his wife. Mrs. Hilda Vogel, 45, a secretary at Bell Gardens Junior High School, in an argument over his belief that she encouraged the romantic intentions of other men. She in turn had spoken of divorce.

He suddenly blacked out, and when he came to found her dead on the kitchen floor of their 3-room home at 5613 Clara Street. He put the gun onto the table and, without even getting his coat or hat, drove his wife’s car straight to City Hall.

Mrs. Vogel is survived by Jean Aurand, 18, her daughter by a former marriage. Frank Vogel, inconsolable, is in County Jail, booked on suspicion of murder.

Suggested reading: Technocracy and the American Dream: The Technocrat Movement, 1900-1941

Vogel’s house To-day

I’ve had some nasty reactions to the old whiskey and Technocracy cocktail (the “Veblen Coolerâ€Â), but I still haven’t stabbed anybody.

Vogel’s house number, 5613, remains marked on the sidewalk, but his house has gone the way of neoclassical marginalist theories of consumption.

Perhaps it looked something like 5614, across the street:

Or so it looked before demolition, anyway.

Woman, Rescuer, Officer Shot in Downtown Battle

August 13, 1947
Downtown

The morning rush hour today was disrupted with a flurry of gunfire, as a jilted Filipino cook sought vengeance on his former paramour, then ran through the streets shooting, endangering police and citizens.

The fight erupted in a food stand in a parking lot at 526 S. Hill Street, when Benedicto Ilamin (aka Bill Sipa), 25, asked his ex-girlfriend Opal Johnston, 33, for a cup of coffee. As she turned to get it, he aimed his .38 and shot her in the hip. Charles Dubou, a 31-year-old waiter who was a customer, attempted to disarm Ilamin and was himself shot in the mouth.

Ilamin ran from the hot dog stand through the parking lot, where he encountered Edward Hubbell, 51, a special officer, who gave chase. The two exchanged shots, and Hubbell was wounded in the leg. As Ilamin crouched to reload, Hubbell grabbed and disarmed him. At this point, a passing traffic officer, Dean Doolan, appeared on the scene and effected Ilamin’s surrender.

From her hospital bed, Johnston explained that she had lived with the much younger man at 721 California Street until about a month ago, when she left him after he tried to knife her. She went to Las Vegas, then returned to Los Angeles, where Ilamin had begun annoying her again. He had been into the stand begging her to come back to him on Tuesday night, then again early this morning. His tears turned to rage and he told her “You won’t be working her tomorrow!” before shooting her.

All three of his victims are hospitalized. Meanwhile, Ilamin has an explanation for his rampage: “I wanted to talk to her in a nice way, but she wouldn’t let me.”

Suggested reading: Street Food (Ryland, Peters and Small International Cookbooks , Vol 1, No 4)

Seven in Migratory Family Treated for Food Poisoning

August 12, 1947
Van Nuys

An extended family of seven migratory farm workers was transported from Van Nuys Receiving Hospital to General Hospital today in serious condition after they became violently ill near Agoura after eating a roast chicken. Among the stricken are Lupe Herrera, 45, his 39-year-old wife Frances, their children Sarah, 10, Ernest, 8, Aurelia, 5, the children’s grandfather Jose Murietta, 60, and Lupe’s 43-year-old brother Elesia. The family was en route from Mesa, Arizona to San Jose when they encountered the unsanitary bird.

Suggested reading: How to Prevent Food Poisoning : A Practical Guide to Safe Cooking, Eating, and Food Handling

Burglar Robs Film Couples

August 11, 1947
Hollywood

In a daring, dawn-time raid, a dashing cat burglar entered the exclusive Sunset Tower apartment house at 8358 Sunset Boulevard and stole cash and jewelry from the homes of two motion picture executives while they and their wives slept.

Gladys Burroughs, wife of George Burroughs, vice-president and treasurer of Monogram Pictures, was relieved of two diamond rings valued at $3000 and $1200 and about $75 in cash. Mrs. Burroughs woke up while the thief, whom she described as tall, swarthy and dark-haired, was riffling her dressing table. When he saw her sitting up in bed, too terrified to scream, he fled before he could find her box of really good stuff.

Also victimized was Emanuel Waxberg of RKO, who lost $121 in cash.

It appears the burglar entered through a jimmied patio door leading into the boiler room, took the stairs to the 8th floor, and gained access to the Waxberg and Burroughs apartments through unlocked kitchen doors.

Suggested reading: Memoir of a Retired Cat Burglar
Suggested viewing: To Catch a Thief

The Sunset Tower

Ah, the Sunset Towers Apartments. Home of Howard Hughes, Bugsy Siegel, and the second-best bas relief of a zeppelin in town.

Architect Leland Bryant’s friezes also include Adam and Eve, other mythological creatures, and radiator grilles; some wags have posited Satan himself resides amongst the cast flora and fauna. Look, the Baphomet!

The Towers was the first building in LA to have “all-electric suitesâ€Â and central AC, and was the first built on rockers to sway with the quakes. Note the prominent mention in Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely and in its film adapt Murder, My Sweet.

After everyone and his brother tried throughout the 70s to tear down the 1929 landmark, it was finally renovated by the St. James Club in 1986. It became the Argyle in 1994 and was fitted with endless deco from top to bottom. The new owner, New York’s Jeff Klein, has stripped the interior of the hotel of all its renovations. As bad as I’m naturally inclined to make that sound, the new renovation is based on original photographs, and while a little cloying in its adulation of “Old Hollywood,” isn’t bad at all.

Air Error

August 10, 1947
Los Angeles

Ladera Park was filled with picnickers, friends and families enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon. One group was comprised of co-workers from Douglas Aircraft. Among them, George Porter, 33, of 531 Richmond Street, El Segundo. Porter decided to leave the party, but not entirely—he returned to Ladera Park later in the afternoon in his two-seater plane and buzzed the ampitheatre down at tree-top level. Three times he circled the bowl, terrorizing those on the ground. Recreation Director George T. Blair squinted at the craft to get the numbers so he could report the reckless pilot. But there was no need: on the fourth go-round, one wing hit a branch and down into the ravine came George Porter and his flying death machine.

Instantly killed were Porter, Mrs. Eula Walters, 29, of 1731 West 51st Place and two-year-old Myrna Lynn Coffey, of 1135 ½ E. 68th Street. The baby was in her mother’s arms when wreckage from the plane hit them both. Also injured was Mrs. Walters’ 4-month-old, Kenneth Dale, whose baby buggy was spattered with engine oil. Mrs. Walters and Mrs. Coffey had just been on the croquet grounds, where their husbands heard the impact and raced to discover the horror.

Porter’s passenger, wife Brownie Belle Porter, survived the crash and is in fairly good condition at Harbor General, with a fractured collar bone, mild concussion, dislocated hip and possible internal injuries.

Captain Sewell Griggers of the Sheriff’s aero squad is attempting to determine from what airport Porter took off, while Vermont subdivision deputy Sheriffs James E. Christian and W.J. Grater examined the wreckage.

Suggested reading: The Illustrated History of McDonnell Douglas Aircraft : From Cloudster to Boeing

A Percher’s Tale


August 9, 1947
Los Angeles

For the past week, Smokey has been perching precariously atop a 75-foot palm tree at the home of her mistress, Mrs. Gilbert Waters, 145 W. 59th Street. It was this inauspicious spot that the little gray cat chose to go when it came time to have her kittens; three little ones fell dead from the tree.

But Smokey herself remained in the air, despite the cries of family and friends. Yesterday a brave tree climber from the SPCA scaled the palm, and Smokey promptly leapt to the ground and hid under the porch. A few hours later, she came out and permitted Mrs. Waters to feed and water her. “She was pretty hungry and dirty,â€Â said her mistress, “but we’re so happy she’s down.â€Â