A lovely spot for a beating

October 12, 1947

Mrs. and Mrs. Leonard Wood of 416 N. Avenue 57 were shocked last night by the violent chiding given by Sheppard W. King III, 22, to his 2-year-old son and namesake.

The male Kings, of 1811 N. Whitley Ave., had sat separately from the boy’s mother inside the lobby of the Pantages Theater because of crowding. When the baby talked during the show, the Woods allege, his father took him into the lobby and hit him multiple times in the face, causing blood to spurt from the child’s nose. The Woods then followed the young family home, and called police to report the abuse.

Sheppard Senior was booked into Hollywood Jail, where he denies striking the child with undue force. Sheppard Junior, meanwhile, was treated at Georgia Street Receiving Hospital for two black eyes, facial and cranial bruises, and a cut lip, before being returned to his mother’s care.

(I will leave it to our staff detective, Larry Harnisch, to tell us if this is the same Shep King III who–under the monicker Abdullah and described as a Texas playboy–was divorced by world renowned belly dancer Samia Gamal in 1953 under mysterious charges of ill-treatment.)

Published by

Kim Cooper

Kim Cooper is the creator of 1947project, the crime-a-day time travel blog that spawned Esotouric’s popular crime bus tours, including The Real Black Dahlia. She is the author of The Kept Girl, the acclaimed historical mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe, and of The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles. With husband Richard Schave, Kim curates the Salons and forensic science seminars of LAVA- The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. When the third generation Angeleno isn’t combing old newspapers for forgotten scandals, she is a passionate advocate for historic preservation of signage, vernacular architecture and writer’s homes. Kim was for many years the editrix of Scram, a journal of unpopular culture. Her books include Fall in Love For Life, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Lost in the Grooves and an oral history of Neutral Milk Hotel.

3 thoughts on “A lovely spot for a beating”

  1. Judge Arthur Guerin told Sheppard W. King III that the beating he gave to his son was “the most aggravated case I have heard in my 11 years on the bench. It is beyond human understanding how you could beat a little child like that.â€Â

    King was freed on $2,500 bail until his hearing on Dec. 10. During the trial, the boy accompanied his mother to the stand as she testified, then got up in the witness’ seat after she was excused and looked at Judge Harold B. Landreth.

    “He was removed, but escaped from his mother again, took over the bailiff’s chair and finally wound up in the seat of defense attorney Lew Moses,â€Â The Times said.

    Charges were reduced from felony child beating to simple assault and King was convicted. The next day, he was fined $50. The judge said he reduced the penalty to the minimum because King, a Texan, had been forced to remain in California for two months pending his trial.

    As Kim pointed out, almost exactly four years later, King had converted to Islam and changed his name to Abdullah King so he could marry Egyptian dancer Samia Gamal. He once said: “I don’t mind giving up ham, but it’s pretty rough giving up liquor.â€Â

    In 1960, King’s third wife, Mona, announced that she was returning to the U.S. from Madrid to seek a divorce. A 1970 story by Times staff writer Nicholas C. Criss lamented the passing of such flashy Texas oil millionaires as King who was by then “leading a quiet life.â€Â Criss noted that King’s son had attended the University of Texas and a Google search reveals a man named Sheppard W. King IV is an attorney in Houston.

    Quote of the day: More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette


  2. Your confidence is overwhelming (and flattering). The short answer is it probably was. In December, when the charges against Sheppard W. King III were reduced to a misdemeanor and he was fined $50, The Times reported that he had already been forced to spend two months in Los Angeles and was eager to get back to Texas.

    And what was playing at the Pantages that night? “Crossfire” with Robert Mitchum, Robert Young and Robert Ryan; “When a Girl’s Beautiful” (trust me, you’ve never heard of anybody in the cast); and Donald Duck in “Bootle Beetle.”


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