A Visitor from 1947


April 29, 1947 Hollywood 

We interrupt our regularly scheduled turn of the century to follow up on one of the more striking cases from the first year of the 1947project, the attempted carjack and kidnapping of Ginevra (note corrected spelling, though she prefered to be known as Ginger) Knight, an 18-year-old war widow who surprised her would-be kidnapper Thomas Housos by having a gun of her own that she wasn’t at all shy about using.  

We were recently contacted by Ms. Knight’s son Ian, who was a toddler in the house on Courtney Avenue at the time of the fatal incident, and who wanted to share with our readers some images of his brave mama.

It’s always interesting to hear from the family members of people featured in our stories, and we’ve been fortunate that everyone we’ve heard from has recognized that our aims are not exploitative. In this particular case, we were startled to hear not only from the children of the victim, but from the son of the attempted kidnapper who she killed, as well. Just a little reminder from the universe that these shocking incidents leave ripples that flow outward for many decades, leaving wounds and curiosity in those who come after.

Thank you, Ian Knight, for the photo gallery that follows. And here’s to Ginger Knight, who courageously faced her would-be kidnapper’s brother in court, and made quite a life for herself in the years that followed. RIP, brave lady.

ABOVE: 1515 Courtney Ave., circa 1947. At right, the driveway where Housos grabbed Knight.


ABOVE: Ginger (top) at work with a friend, BELOW: the New Elysian Theater marquee


BELOW: The inquest


ABOVE: Wee Ian Knight, with Dee. 

BTW, Ian let us in on a little secret… Ginger was carrying her gun that night, and she didn’t have to go into the living room to get it, despite what she told the police. You see, she carried the theater receipts home every night, since the banks were closed. Maybe Thomas Housos knew she was carrying lots of cash. Anyway, she wasn’t about to lose it, and she didn’t.

BELOW: Ginger at the helm of the fishing boat she later built by hand


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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.

4 thoughts on “A Visitor from 1947”

  1. Can you tell us about the others that have contacted you about their stories appearing? What did the son of the assailant say?

    And I’d love to know more about this woman. What did she do for the rest of her life? When did she die? And she built a boat by hand? Wow!

  2. Some of the relatives have commented on the old blog at 1947project.blogspot.com–I’d recommend you have a looksee over there if you’re interested in their feedback. Ginger seems to have been a real firecracker. She died about 22 years ago.

    Her assailant’s son knew nothing of what had happened until he was a teen, and has been trying to piece the story together since. He also told us that his father was Mickey Rooney’s double in “National Velvet,” and did all the horse riding scenes.

  3. Hi, I am the son of the assailant, and am slowly but surely piecing the story together. I found my father’s relatives on the internet and flew to Texas to meet them. Quite an experience, to say the least. My mom re-married and I grew up just fine, recently retiring from a career as an airline pilot with a major airline. I would like to obtain as much info about this event as possible, and can be reached at jjames0080@hotmail.com Thanks

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