No Babies Wanted

pdmheadlineApril 29, 1927

There’s nothin’ a kid likes more than a writ of habeus corpus! 

Darling Priscilla Dean Moran is being sought by Sheriff’s deputies to-day, after being kidnapped and spirited away by "new owners" John and Myrtle Ragland to some cottage in a Hollywood canyon.  Mrs. Margaret Becker of Long Beach has stated that she is the aunt and deserves custody, while an Ella Schaber of Tulsa has sent a message to the judge asking for possession.

PDAnd why is this sundry so all-fire interested in Priscilla?  Because the eight year-old lass is a juvenile star, and the small waif with large paycheck has been actively engaged in film work for some time, her last picture selling for 100k (1,180,180 USD2005).

The judge eventually ruled that Ragland and Schaber were trying to buy the child, and so she was, for better or worse, awarded to petitioner-for-the-writ Aunt Margaret.  Read all about it here.



Bid Goodbye to All You Know

1927.  Transatlantic telephone calls and transatlantic flight.  The Model T gives way to Model A which shoot through the Holland Tunnel.  Stalin takes control of Russian and Bavaria lifts its ban on Hitler”™s speeches.  It”™s a new world.

And here in Hollywood, while the pictures begin to talk at you, the old world crumbles away.














Arthur Letts turned a bankrupt Los Angeles dry goods store into the mighty Broadway Department Store chain, and this was his home to prove it.











Please do not confuse this, the Letts Sr. house (and its world-famous gardens, all obliterated in 1927) with the Arthur Letts Jr. home.

For that house, designed by Arthur Kelly and built in 1927, still stands to this day.









And proudly.

May 5 is a Black Dahlia Day

This Cinco de Mayo is just oozing with the spirit of the Black Dahlia. Not only will we be running our Real Black Dahlia Crime Bus tour that afternoon, but our pal Joe D’Augustine has his neo-noir, Dahlia-drenched flick One Night With You screening at the Los Feliz 3 as part of the 2007 Silverlake Film Festival. Unfortunately, these events overlap, but the film screens again at 7:30pm on 5/9, so if you’re clever, you can attend both and make it a Black Dahlia week. More info is below, and for tickets, click here.


In this hip, offbeat flick, shot mainly in and around Echo Park, Jake Tarlow (Mark Boone Junior) is a down on his luck hustler who is trying to make enough dough to pay off his bookie. All he has to do is locate the reclusive and eccentric author Hunter Burnell, played with equal parts style, insanity and humor by Michael Parks, and bring him in to sign a deal for one of his books. Jake enlists the help of his friend Eddie (Jake La Botz,), who is completely obsessed with the Black Dahlia, to track him down. Then comes the problem of keeping him under control long enough to get him to the meeting, which quickly proves impossible. What follows is a hilarious wild goose chase through the streets of Los Angeles, with Jake and Eddie following a false trail to Hunter, who is busy having the time of his life with hookers, cocaine and bar fights. This film, a combination of film noir and physical comedy, is a fun romp through some of the Eastside’s hot spots with a fantastic soundtrack featuring contributions from two Italian film music masters, Alessandro Alessandroni and Antonello Vannucchi.

Wither Sim Cross?

April 27, 1927
Los Angeles

Sim Cross is alive, ALIVE! The Los Angeles man, resident of 4195 Third Avenue, was believed a suicide by pals after a full suit of clothes but the underpants were found on the beach at Redondo on April 19. Mugs were raised, his good and bad points debated, and perhaps the pals even parcelled out his nicest ties among them. But on the 21st there came a telegram, signed Sim and sent from San Francisco, announcing that reports of his demise were not to be believed.

In time, he returned home, bearing a singularly peculiar tale. The last thing he remembered, see, he was fighting a riptide. And then, inky darkness. He came to 48 hours later in an SF hotel room, with bruised feet and no idea how he got there. In the room, clothes and a suitcase he’d never seen before. He dressed, and stepped into the street, where two men accosted him. It was thanks to them, they said, that Sim was in this spot. And now all they needed was for him to take someone’s place in a hospital for a few more days and…

Here Sim drew the curtain over one of the most perfect descriptions of cliche detective’s peril as we’ve ever read. He claims that he simply demured and came home.

Was it all fantasy? Or did once there dwell strangely maleable hoodlums, who would conk a guy while he swam and spirit him away to play a part in a bandage opera, then let him go when he said he wasn’t in the mood? We’ll never know, for after this one extraordinary incident, Sim Cross vanished from the record, but never from our hearts.

A Perfect Hostess

April 24, 1927
Los Angeles 

Consider if you will the American bootlegger, that rat among rats, profiteer and fiend, feeder of poison to nice kids who hardly deserve to go blind or mad, lose their teeth in a brawl or crack their skulls in a crash. In time, some will become respectable, send their sons to Harvard or even the White House, but not now. We all know what bootleggers are like… don’t we?

Maybe not. Consider Hattie Mitchell, address unprinted, who appeared in Municipal Judge Turney’s courtroom to face charges of dispensing fire water to quite an array of gentlemen. The twist? She served her liquor in her bedroom, while laid up with a broken leg. The whiskey bottles stayed under the covers getting warm when they weren’t being poured, and the government’s man never saw money change hands, but all the same–a speakeasy, right there in her sickroom, not to mention the impropriety of a half-clothed woman serving liquor to men who weren’t family! 

It was all too much for Judge Turney to take, and so the (formerly?) supine lady was sentenced to six months in jail and a fine of $500. But here at 1947project, we salute a gal with the gumption to ensure a steady stream of visitors to her sickbed, and are already planning our own future recovery, which will include daily specials, jukebox music and popcorn shrimp served promptly at 4pm.   

Women of Daring

April 25, 1927
Today, women on the outskirts of town performed astounding acts of bravery, whether they were defending themselves, saving lives, or simply defying their mothers.
In Glendale, early this morning, Paul Courts broke into the home of Anna and Lucille Sousa at 3050 Menlo Street, and "attempted to press his attentions" on Lucille, 17.  The girl seized a revolver and pointed it at him, at which point, Courts fled the Sousa home and was arrested for disturbing the peace.
150 miles away, the Deer Creek Cattlemen’s Association’s annual round-up and rodeo in White River was just another day at the fair until an unpiloted car began rolling down a steep hill towards a crowd of spectators below.  Mrs. Burt Smith averted tragedy by jumping onto the car’s running board, steering it through several groups of children, and crashing it into the racetrack.  Smith suffered a few bruises, the car, only a crushed radiator.
burbankgirlAnd back in the fair city of Burbank, 17-year-old Mignon Jones parachuted from a height of 2000 feet clad only in a sailor suit.  Jones’s mother had discovered her daughter’s plan, and notified the police in the hopes of stopping her.  However, by the time Burbank police officers arrived at the airport, Jones had already made a perfect landing and vacated the premises.  She was later found at a local skating rink.
Little Mignon then faded from the pages of the Los Angeles Times, which comes as something of a surprise.

Raymond Chandler Tour offered in Long Beach Public Library Foundation Auction

It’s fundraising time for the Long Beach Public Library, and Esotouric is there, with a pair of tickets good for our upcoming Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles tour (July 21st) or any of the Esotouric Bus Adventures tours. The opening bid for two seats is a bargain at just $37, so why not raise your paddle, and help out a great local library?

The Leopard and Her Spots


April 22, 1927

The 1924 Rentz-Rentz-Weible love triangle ended as love triangles so often do—with a corpse.  When Henry Rentz, 23, got a mysterious call at the Whittier Piggly Wiggly to get himself home, he found Mrs. Rentz, 21, in bed with 18 year-old oil worker Louis Weible.  As such, Rentz shot Weible in the stomach.  The judge declared thatrentzfamily Rentz “fired to protect the sanctity of his home” and exonerated the murderer.  The Rentz’ put the past aside and settled back into domestic bliss.

But Mrs. Rentz’ repentance was short-lived.  The Rentz’ were in court again yesterday, this time for divorce proceedings, and for the second time Henry had to relate the story of Louis Weible’s slaying.  Seems Myrtle Rentz, the little minx, had had a letter in her apron pocket:  “Baby, I’ll see you at noon, bye-bye, love.  Your Love Prof.” This was found by and was too much for Henry; he filed for divorce in short order.  He got it in shorter order, up to and including custody of their daughter.  

How to Meet a Big Movie Star

April 21, 1927actorscar
Los Angeles

Angelenos had a rough time on the road today—Miss Rachel Miller was struck by Joseph J. Reuter as she crossed the 2600 block of Pico, suffering a fractured skull, concussion of the brain, a broken knee and leg; Henry Van De Kamp was struck by I. Tomioka at East Second and harlanpicCentral, fractured skull, concussion of the brain; J. L. Perrine, who admitted his brakes were “not so good,” drove into and off of a 400-foot embankment on Effie in the Moreno Highlands, multiple abrasions; four motorists walked away when the front half of their auto was flattened by the Los Angeles Railway car at First and Hill; and one Miss Mollie Reesor miraculously suffered only black eyes and a nasal fracture after being hurled twenty-five feet by a hit-and-run at the corner of Washington Street and Harvard Boulevard.

Most notable, naturally, was the pedestrian-killing of Mrs. Eleanor Bishop, fatally injured when run down by prolific film star Kenneth Harlan, of 810 Camden Drive.  Harlan, on his way to a benefit at the Alexandria, statedharlanprevost that the woman stepped from behind a parked car near Wilshire and Tremaine.  After he struck Bishop, he drove her to the office of Dr. James Johnston at Sixth and Western, where she nonetheless expired.  Assuming Harlan still had time to make the benefit, his day looked like this.


(Here’s Harlan putting the lovey dovey on then-wife [and subject of continued tasteless interest] Marie Prevost.  They divorced in 1927.)