1947project Podcast #9: Halloween Episode, October 26, 2007

Kids are running amok in 1927 Los Angeles, setting fires, eating razors, crawling under fumigation tents and stealing babies from their mothers. And the adults aren’t behaving much better, what with the married guys conning nice working girls into bigamistic unions and the guy what found the fountain of youth and knows where the Czar’s fortune is banked, and all he needs from you is $25,000 and a nice spot to rub his mystic peapod paste.

Then there’s our own Crimebo the Crime Clown, and he is in a funk. There are so many things he hates about Halloween, can he count the ways? You bet!

Tune in to hear about how Peter Pan tried to kick Crimebo’s ass at the Chinese Theater, how the apocalypse is coming with a rain of cheese and Nathan’s love letter to crude oil. It’s all here on the 1947project Podcast, featuring Crimebo, Kim Cooper, Nathan Marsak, Mary McCoy and Joan Renner.

So give it a listen, won’t you?

Here is the Ourmedia link, where you can stream or download.

The podcast is also available on Moli, and on itunes.

The Case of the Randy Chaplain

Orville I. Clampitt

October 25, 1927
Culver City

Orville Clampitt cannot, it seems, stay out of trouble. First there was that business last year with the euphoniously-named Miss Lucille Swallow out Kansas way, and the San Francisco court martial the then-Army Chaplain (and "Beau Brummel of the Presidio") endured over accusations of "objectionable conduct" in violation of three of the articles of war. These charges were brought by the lady after she discovered that Clampitt, who was otherwise a delightful companion, was married with a quartet of kids.

Lucille Swallow

"I forget when I first met Capt. Clampitt," Miss Swallow told reporters after eluding Army minders, "But he was awfully nice. He used to take me out for walks and to picture shows and to dinners. The question as to whether he was married never came up."

During the court martial, Miss Swallow produced love notes from the accused, and there was testimony that he had deliberately disguised his handwriting. But then several surprise witnesses appeared to claim Miss Swallow was "out to get" Mr. Clampitt because he’d refused her demands for money, and he was found not guilty.

He promptly retired to Santa Cruz, where he registered as "William Jones" in a hotel where a "Mrs. Jones" was also staying. It was bad publicity over this indiscrete act that resulted in Clampitt being dismissed from Army service, and the offer of a $50,000 motion picture contract for himself and his photogenic horse Red Head.

But no, said Clampitt, he wished only to return to Vancouver, where his wife and children waited. That was April. And today, he was picked up by Culver City police, following the arrest of boy burglar Spencer Farley, discovered in the act of looting the Schwartzkoph manse at 1725 Gardena Street, Glendale.

Farley told officers that his home address was Orville Clampitt’s car, in front of Clampitt’s home at 215[?] Silver Ridge Avenue, and that he was stealing so he could give gifts to Clampitt’s 13-year-old daughter. It seems the whole family has relocated, in hopes of starting a new life. Clampitt stated he’d been hired as actor John Gilbert’s double, a claim denied by Gilbert’s studio.

When questioned, Clampitt admitted he was allowing Farley, 15, to live in his car, because the boy claimed his mother threw wild parties and refused to let him sleep at home. While he thought it weird that Farley wouldn’t tell him where he lived, he was sympathetic to the boy’s plight… at least until he discovered that the kid was taking his car out at night! Stolen golf clubs and various trinkets were seized from the Silver Ridge address.

Clampitt will be released tomorrow when it’s determined he knew nothing of Farley’s thefts. Henceforth he disappears from the public record save for an April 1929 theater review of his cameo in Edward Horton’s play "The Hottentot," at the Majestic Theater. Red Head the horse had a leading role as the comic foil to Sam Harrington, who masquerades as the famous jockey who shares his name, and eventually must ride the fearsome Hottentot in a race. After each show, crowds gathered on Broadway to watch Clampitt ride Red Head, now mild as a merry-go-round pony, away from the theater and, we hope, home to his wife and kids.

Dahlia surprises/ James Cain’s deathday/ Crimebo awaits you

Gentle reader,

1) Saturday’s edition of "The Real Black Dahlia" was a reminder that, as
many times as we may offer some of these tours, this city is alive and
nebulous, and new and wonderful (or terrible!) things can happen at any
time. In this case, the new things were quite wonderful:

    a) Parked at the Hirsch Apartments (supposed murder scene according to the blackdahliasolution.org theory), I was suddenly sure that the main door was about to open, so I got off the bus just in time to catch it as some
residents went out. Soon the hallway was packed with our passengers as they
stood in the black and hideous heart of this fascinating building.
    b) At Trinity and 33rd Street, one of the floating murder scenes suggested
by John "Severed" Gilmore, some kids  were initially shocked to see a tour
bus pull up, and then delighted the passengers by holding up several
enormous Red Eared Slider turtles.
    c) We had a charming passenger named Laurie who regaled us with tales of her youth, dancing in the chorus at the Florentine Gardens and hanging out in
the nearby home of Black Dahlia suspect Mark Hansen–who, she assured us,
was a swell fella.

2) As we approach Saturday’s 30th anniversary of the death of domestic noir
master James M. Cain, may I remind you of some upcoming Esotouric literary
tours? There’s our passage through "Cain’s Southern California Nightmare" on
December 15, the Raymond Chandler tour on December 8 (just in time for the
publication of Judith Freeman’s "The Long Embrace," the first book to
explore his marriage to the mysterious Cissy), and on Cain’s deathday itself
(Saturday 10/27), the new edition of "Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles
Bukowski’s LA," now co-hosted by "Bukowkski: Born Into This" director John
Dullaghan and now including a stop for libations at Buk’s favorite liquor

3) And coming up this Sunday, it’s the sole 2007 edition of "Halloween
Horrors with Crimebo the Clown." This is one of our wildest tours, featuring
a selection of unusually disgusting, wacky and seasonal crimes. We’ve added
some hideous new locations and some chilling surprises, and the Clown has
learned new tricks that are certain to repulse, so join us do, in costume or
otherwise, on 10/28!

Tickets and additional info for all tours are available at


Upcoming Esotouric bus tour schedule:
Sat Oct 27 ­ Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski’s LA
Sun Oct 28 ­ Hallowe’en Horrors featuring Crimebo the Clown
Sat Nov 10 ­ Hotel Horrors and Main Street Vice tours
Sat Nov 17  ­ Pasadena Confidential tour
Sat Dec 8 – Raymond Chandler’s LA
Sat Dec 15 – James M. Cain’s So California Nightmare
Sun Jan 15 – Vroman’s edition, The Real Black Dahlia

Nice try, bub

October 18, 1927
Los Angeles 

Lewis J. Patterson married Marie Misuraca in the morning in judge’s chambers, then sent wifey off to work with plans that they would meet for lunch. We can imagine her morning, chattering gaily with colleagues, showing off her ring, perhaps passing around a photograph of her groom. Then the trip from office to restaurant, giddy with excitement to see him again.

And over a meal the contents of which we do not know, his graceless announcement that the marriage wasn’t exactly legal, since whaddayaknow, he hadn’t gotten around to divorcing the last Mrs. Patterson, but that shouldn’t stop them from setting up house and marrying for real sometime in the future, should it?

According to the lady, it surely should. She appeared today before Judge Sproul and said, "He asked me to wait around until he could get it and then marry him over again. I told him that was not the way I married, and everything was off."

The Judge agreed. Annullment granted. (Marie seems to have landed on her feet: in October 1928 the Times published announcement of her marriage to Carl J. Lawrence. We can only hope there was no first Mrs. Lawrence lurking around to complicate things.)

Book club tonight, bus tours galore

Gentle reader,

Baby, it’s getting cold outside, but it’s toasty on the crime bus, so join us do. Tours and events run all this weekend and next, starting with:

TONIGHT, Thurs 10/18, 7pm, LA READS: the site specific Los Angeles book club discusses Nathanael West’s apocalyptic Hollywood fantasy "Day of the Locust" at Clifton’s Cafeteria at 6th and Broadway downtown. https://www.lareads.com

Sat 10/20, 12-5pm, THE REAL BLACK DAHLIA: an exploration of Elizabeth Short’s Los Angeles, from her 1947 death to the slew of theories, suspects and mysteries surrounding this unsolved slaying. https://www.esotouric.com/dahlia-10-20-07

Sun 10/21, 1-6pm, WHERE THE ACTION WAS: the debut rock and roll history excursion through Hollywood and West Hollywood, hosted by myself and Catalog of Cool scribe Gene Sculatti. SEE where the Velvet Underground were shut down by the man, SMELL the unconvincing coroner’s verdict on Bobby Fuller’s demise, TASTE psychedelic gelato crafted by Scoops exclusively for us, HEAR rare, weird and historic sounds, TOUCH the pretty colors as Esotouric takes you down the Sunset Strip and into the rock and roll past.  https://www.esotouric.com/action-10-21-07

Sat 10/27, 3-7pm, CHARLES BUKOWSKI’S LA: join Richard Schave and Buk documentarian John Dullaghan on a tender, yet loutish journey from Skid Row to Crown Hill to Hollywood (east and otherwise), in which a young man finds his place in the Post Office, and an old man finds his way as a writer. https://www.esotouric.com/buk-10-27-07

Sun 10/28, 11am-3pm, HALLOWEEN HORRORS WITH CRIMEBO THE CLOWN: only offered in October, this no-holds-barred tour of the most grisly, wacky, Halloweeny crimes and oddities to strike our city, from downtown to the eastern Valley to Hollywood and Echo Park. There will be thrills, chills, sugar rushes and disgusting photos enough to please even your blackened little heart, and the clown TRULY cannot wait to see you. https://www.esotouric.com/halloween-10-28-07

Coming up:
Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice – Saturday November 10th
Pasadena Confidential – Saturday, Nov 17th
Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles – Saturday, Dec 8th
James M. Cain’s Los Angeles – Saturday, December 15th

As always, please let us know in advance if you wish to ride. We can often save seats for passengers bringing cash to the bus door (for all tours, please check in half an hour before departure) if you call Richard at 310-995-4591.


Reader, have you seen…?

Gentle reader,

Although we selfishly wish you to stay here all day, frittering, may we nonetheless suggest a pair of historically-minded websites you might explore?

Backroads of American Music operates from the charming supposition that  the places where great music was made and heard, or where music makers broke bread, prayed or knocked their wives around, are worth visiting, photographing and talking about. Obviously, we quite agree. The site is interactive, and welcomes your contributions and comments.

Big Orange Landmarks, penned by the hirsute Floyd B. Bariscale, is one of those stunt blogs that the kids are all talking about. Only instead of cooking his way through the Larousse Gastronomique or eating nothing but peanut brittle and tracking the results, Floyd is working his way chronologically through the historic-cultural monuments of our great city, documenting the histories, providing new photographs, crowing when delighted and quite frankly stating his disappointment when the journey proves more than the destination. He’s up to #75, over on Carroll Avenue in Angelino Heights, but we’ll have to wait a while until he reaches  Bob’s Market, just steps away, but numbered 215.

Stormy Marriage for a Stormy Night

October 12, 1927
Los Angeles

Officer J.R. Reybuck had issues. Last summer, when he fought with his young wife, he thought he could resolve their troubles by choking her, snatching their baby son William, and running off to Yuma, Arizona, from which calmer perch he suggested she might join him and they could work everything out.

Lillian Reybuck had other ideas, and obtained a restraining order. She and her baby were living with her brother, Herbert, and mother, Mrs. Fred Hendricks at 914-and-three-fourths West Seventeenth Street, and that was where J.R. came today on one of his twice weekly visits. He was holding the child when he brought out his service revolver and shot his wife dead as she sat sewing in the front room. When her mother ran out of the kitchen, he took a couple of potshots at her. Mrs. Hendricks escaped out the door.

Reybuck unloaded a single shot through the left temple of baby William, killing him instantly. He then reloaded, leaned against the wall in front of his slain wife, and blew a hole through his brain.

He had blamed his mother-in-law for poisoning his wife against him.

1947project podcast #8

The podcast returns with a vengeance, as nasty ladies spank stolen children, acid is flung into coppers’ eyes, a love bird feathers his nest and Crimebo answers your questions. Yes, friends, it’s time again to suffer through the 1947project podcastitifatorial, and you wouldn’t leave us to suffer alone… would you?

Here is the iTunes link for you modern types. 

Also available on Moli.

Brotherly Lumps

East Los Angeles
October 5, 1927

Found wandering in a dazed and bloody state near Ninth and Dacotah, all attorney Frank Sweeney could say to police in the Georgia Street Station was "please don’t hit me!" Taken round the corner to the hospital, he was discovered to have a possible skull fracture.

In a moment of clarity, Frank suggested officers talk to his sister-in-law Mrs. Jack Sweeney at 101 South Bunker Hill Avenue (a now lost street, one tail of which remains). The lady promptly admitted that Frank had been over the night before and had said unpleasant things about her, whereupon her Jack knocked him into the stove. Why yes, he had suffered head injuries in the fracas. But gee, a skull fracture? He must have gotten that after he left.

Entirely possible, of course. Bunker Hill’s not known as the Historic Skull Fracture District for nothing!

Will The Bark Out?

September 28, 1927

This is what we know: B.F. Boyd, of 1273 North Kingsley, is blind. He had a dog called Duke, and Duke’s been gone three months or more. Mr. Boyd believes his neighbor Mrs. Ada Blomquist snatched Duke, because when walking past her house he heard a whine he thought he recognized.

Unable to locate the animal along the property line, Boyd returned with his son Paul and knocked on the door, whereupon the Blomquist’s Belgian police dog "Max" knocked him down. But was it from love or blood thirst?

That’s for the court to decide, and by this afternoon, 18 people had taken the stand. Mr. Boyd seemed to sincerely believe Duke had been found, but two weeks later Mrs. Blomquist would be freed after testimony from a breeder that he’d sold her the dog when it was six months old. Boyd’s dog had been young, too, but that worked against him–the judge doubted he could possibly recognize his puppy’s bark when issued through an adult dog’s larynx.

As for Mrs. Blomquist, she got her dog back, but it cost her dearly. We don’t know what they were feeding dogs in the city kennel in 1927 save that there must have been plenty of it. The bill was $40, payable before Max could be returned to his mistress. Or perhaps that was a last bit of Solomonic trickery from Judge McConnell. In any case, she wrote the check.