Forget About the Law

volubleMay 12, 1927
Los Angeles

Archie Quinzey appeared as his own defense today before Superior Judge Stephens, on the charge of unlawfully entering a local home, proceeding to the cupboard, and gorging himself on the comestibles therein.  

Normally, it is said, he who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client, but such was not the case with Mr. Quinzey.  Stephens heard and considered Quinzey’s plea, glanced out the window at a restaurant, considered and cogitated a spell, and stated that while he could impose a heavier sentence, he would not, and felt that a mere six months in County would teach Quinzey to ignore the savory odors emanating from other persons’ kitchens.

Quinzey’s plea, a mixture of erudition and ignoratio elenchi, is printed in the Times with all the characteristic argot endemic to the Good Olde Days:

defense 

Post-mortem on Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles

Marlowe Memorial Chess Set, Hotel Barclay, as featured in The Little Sister

Yesterday, Esotouric debuted the tour Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles: In A Lonely Place, and it was a wild, psycho-geographical portrait of Chandler’s life, work and locales, and those of his alter-ego Marlowe. Here’s a little photographic sampling of some scenes along the way.

Tai Kim’s Bacon Caramel gelato, served up at Scoops in honor of hard-boiled meat-eating men of lore, was a revelation! Nicotine gelato was a fever dream (especially when the little kids kept gobbling sample spoons while their dad ignored them). Mint, Lime & Pear Sorbet was delish. And we raffled off copies of Denise Hamilton’s new Los Angeles Noir anthology to three lucky passengers, courtesy of the good folks at Akashic Press.

Sorry you missed it? There’s a repeat on July 21, and tix are already selling, so grab yours now. 

A Salute to Cafeterias, or, Only bring your teeth if you want to

SCRHS Cliftons flier

The Southern California Restaurant Historical Society is holding its fourth event, a "Salute to Cafeterias!" at the historic Clifton’s Cafeteria (648 S. Broadway) in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, May 26 at 10AM. There is no charge for the event and dining at Clifton’s has always been "Pay What you Wish, Dine Free Unless Delighted."

Special guests are D.J. Waldie (Author: Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir) on postwar dining in the prototypical suburb of Lakewood, Charles Perry (LA Times Food Writer and president, Culinary Historians of Southern California) on the origin of the species: the first cafeterias in Los Angeles, Chris Nichols (Los Angeles magazine editor and author of "The
Leisure Architecture of Wayne McAllister") on the architect McAllister and his midcentury restaurants.; ALSO a chance to meet special guest Robert Clinton, third generation owner of this grand and glorious restaurant.

Have an early breakfast and then meet us in Pasadena for the Pasadena Confidential Crime Bus tour, check in at 12:30! 

Good Help Is Hard To Find

May 11, 1927
Los Angeles

Most liquor raids are tedious affairs, a pack of lit-up salesmen here, a couple sobbing college boys there. But once in a while, officers make a raid that’s just kind of special.

One such operation was on a blind pig at 3120 South Main Street, allegedly run by Mrs. Ocio Walsh. Mrs. Walsh was taken into custody on charges of possession of liquor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, while 38-year-old Frank Jones was charged with drunkenness and Robert Maschold, 37, with vagrancy.

That delinquency charge? See, Mrs. Walsh has a 14-year-old daughter, Mary Zella. Great kid, really responsible. When Sgt. Kynetto and Officers Wolf and Pound busted in they found a scantily-clad Mary Zella pouring a bottle of hooch down the sink. Mama sent her up to dress, the the clever minx hopped out a second story window and skedaddled.

Where’s she gone? Maybe back to the convent, from which Mama recently removed her to help out with the family business. Like I said, great kid.

Green Gold

May 10, 1927
Santa Ana

Then as now, avocados are expensive and desirable treats, and a produce man will find his business flourishing when his expenses are limited to gasoline for midnight raids on Orange County orchards and bullets for his gun.

But the men of the Avocado Grower’s Association breathe easier tonight after the arrest of Louis Chiuma at his produce stand at 2301 West First Street. Chiuma and his associates are believed to be among the gangs of alligator pear snatchers who have absconded with $50,000 worth of the fruit so far this year. Recently, two men raided the Lindauer Ranch in La Habra and dropped their sacks to engage the night watchman in a gunfight. No one was hit, and the guard reported their truck license to County Sheriffs, which led them to Chiuma.

Back in the suspect’s rooms, sheriffs found a stash of dynamite. But what they couldn’t find was a snitch: the neighborhood clammed up quick, with some souls heard muttering about the Black Hand. That’s right: the Avocado Mafia, and don’t let me hear you tattling, or there’ll be no guacamole on your enchilada tonight or ever!

Come Ride the Crime Bus

…and beyond! The Crime Bus now sails under the Esotouric flag, offering bus adventures into the secret heart of Los Angeles. Kindly visit our new site for the scoop on exciting new tours like James Ellroy Digs LA, Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles, John Fante’s Dreams of Bunker Hill, Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles, Hotel Horrors and Main Street Vice.

The Sad Story of the Red Rose Killer

May 9, 1927 
 
executiondelayedConvicted murderer Earl J. Clark was granted a stay of execution today as his appeal twisted its way through the State Supreme Court.  There was a time when Clark’s chances to avoid the gallows seemed promising; however, following an escape from prison, things were looking grim.

It all began in April of 1925 when Clark, a handsome, half-Cherokee bootlegger, stabbed Charles Silva, a Filipino sailor, in a dispute over a girl.  The girl in question was 17-year-old Mamie Stephens, herself a fugitive from justice since her escape from a girls’ reformatory the previous October.  Though accounts varied, when the three met at Clark’s home, Stephens apparently wore a red rose in her hair as a sign to Silva that she would leave Clark for him.   Tempers flared, and Clark refused to let Stephens leave the house.  When Silva stepped in to help her, a fight broke out, during which Clark stabbed Silva in the gut.  Silva apparently did not realize the severity of his wounds, and died later that night en route to his ship.  The papers dubbed the case "the Red Rose Murder" and Stephens "the Red Rose Girl."

earljclarkIn July of 1925, Clark was sentenced to hang, but his attorneys immediately initiated an appeal to save his life.  The appeal before the State Supreme Court was repeatedly delayed while Clark languished in the Los Angeles County Jail.  On March 16, 1926, just days before his appeal was scheduled to come before the court, Clark and five others escaped from jail.  While the five were quickly captured, Clark managed to go into hiding for over nine months.  He was finally found in Minot, North Dakota, the proprietor of a paint store across the street from the local police station and husband to the daughter of one of Minot’s leading citizens.

Following his extradition to California, Clark was resentenced to death; however, his attorneys had the appeals process reinstated.  However, it was all for naught.  Clark’s appeal failed, and his hanging was set to be carried out September 23, 1927.

Helen Scofield Clark, Clark’s 19-year-old wife, wept openly upon hearing Clark’s fate, saying, "I’ll never believe he is guilty."  However, she was not present for the judgment, having been forbidden by her parents to travel to California for the trial.

Clark was set to be hung alongside Joseph Sandoval, a Ventura man who had murdered his wife in a drunken stupor, but Sandoval’s sentence was commuted by Governor Young the night before the execution.  Clark received no such clemency.  On the gallows at San Quentin, he cursed the crowd of about 100 spectators who had gathered to watch the hanging, and as the black hood was placed over his head, whispered to his executioners, "Make it snappy."

Los Angeles police officers took up a collection for Clark’s widow so she could have the body shipped to Minot for burial.  She accepted the money, but not Clark’s remains.  No one else claimed them either, and he was subsequently buried in the prison cemetery.

Los Angeles demands goats for fire safety

Frankie the Fire Goat is on Myspace… be his friend?

Please click here to sign our petition demanding fire-fighting goats to protect our city! Please note, protest signatures will not appear or be counted. (Below, Channel 7’s Elsa Ramon with Frankie the Fire Goat)

Frankie with Shepherd Hugh Bunten and Elsa Ramon from Channel 7 News
To:  City of LA/ L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks 

 

The citizens of Los Angeles are deeply concerned after serious wildfires in the Griffith Park and Hollywood Hills have destroyed vast swaths of urban wilderness and killed or displaced thousands of animals during their breeding season.

These fires feed upon unchecked dry undergrowth, and endanger lives, homes, historic monuments and our enjoyment of the city. It will take decades before Griffith Park is restored to its pre-fire condition.

We the undersigned demand that the City of Los Angeles and the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks respond to this continued threat by bringing in shepherds with herds of goats to graze on the dry hills, a plan previously implemented with great success by UC Berkeley in the aftermath of that community’s devastating 1991 fire.

Goats are economical, ecological fire-fighting machines that produce fertilizer as they clear hills and canyons of weeds, poison oak and dry chaparral. Additionally, the animals are charming, newsworthy ambassadors for fire safety, a subject that needs to be more widely discussed.

We want to save our parks and mountains. We want goats!

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Please click here to sign our petition demanding fire-fighting goats to protect our city! Please note, protest signatures will not appear or be counted.

Daddy Dearest

May 8, 1927
Hollywood

“What’s a father to do?” lamented Dr. Eric R. Wilson today, after his 17-year-old daughter, Dorothy, accused him of beating her and taking her money before throwing her out of the house. Police officers escorted the girl to Juvenile Hall after they discovered her, hysterical, outside the family home at 176 North Mansfield Avenue, Hollywood. Their first stop, however, was at Receiving Hospital, where Dorothy was treated for a broken nose, injuries to her eyes, and bruises to her lips and body.

Wilson admitted he “slapped” Dorothy after he and his wife returned from the theater last night and observed shadowy figures slipping out the side entrance as they entered the front door. Dorothy denied she had gentlemen callers while her parents were out. “She lied to me, and I make no apology for it,” said Wilson. “I slapped her down. She hit the side of the davenport and rolled on the floor, and then she pulled the hysterical stuff.” He denied taking Dorothy’s money or ordering her to leave home.

According to her father, among other wild pranks, Dorothy broke into garages and took cars without their owners’ permission (some might call this grand theft auto, but not Dr. Wilson). “I tried everything to make her happy,” the put-upon father continued, “I gave her an allowance of $50 a month and promised her a roadster if she would pass in her studies, but it did no good. She is incorrigible; she was put out of Hollywood High School; I tried to place her in the Ramona convent and they wouldn’t take her.”

Officials at Juvenile Hall confirmed that Dorothy Wilson was incommunicado pending an interview with a policewoman.

Home, home on deranged

May 7, 1927
Mint Canyon

Mrs. Vera Sharp, aka Mrs. De Font, is a 35 year old widow and a resident of Mint Canyon. She is also a woman of many talents: artist, sculptress, ranch owner and cattle rustler. Mrs. Sharp stands accused of rustling a heifer, butchering it, then barbecuing and serving it to the patrons of her roadside restaurant, the La Jolla Lodge.

The primary evidence in the case against Mrs. Sharp consists of the hide of the doomed animal, which was discovered in a well, and a few satisfied diners at her roadside eatery.

Mrs. Sharp and a friend, Mr. Archie Cooper, a former deputy sheriff, allegedly pilfered the unfortunate beast from Mr. Guy B. Carson‘s ranch in Palmdale.

Why did Vera and her accomplice herd the illegally obtained bovine through the nighttime streets of Palmdale to meet its fate? Was she so determined to grill a taste treat for the patrons of her restaurant that she risked arrest? Was she attempting to lure a restaurant critic to the lodge? Or was she planning a romantic dinner?

Apparently, the Mint Canyon gourmand is also accused of breaking into the home of M.S. Cairns to steal clothing and silverware – must haves for an intimate dinner of barbecued heifer a deux with that special man.

Mrs. Sharp, accompanied by her attorney municipal judge-elect Dudley S. Valentine, appeared in court to deny the charges against her. She has been released on $3000 bail. Is she as innocent as she claims, or is that a smear of BBQ sauce on her chin?

Bon appetit, Vera.