Give Us Some Candy, or We’ll Blow You Up!

Give Us Some Candy Headline

October 29, 1927
Beverly Hills

Police seized 300 pounds of dynamite, black powder, cellulose, and 1000 fulminate of mercury capsules which had been concealed in a garage at 1201 Kalamazoo Street in Beverly Hills. The garage is at the home of Dick Baird, one of three high school students who had planned to use the explosives to celebrate Halloween with more than just costumes and masks. Beverly Hills High

The police were first notified of suspicious activity by the principal of Beverly Hills High School. He complained that several powerful firecrackers had recently been exploded on school grounds. The subsequent search revealed that three boys: Dick Baird, Cecil Merritt, and Joel Smith had been carrying dynamite caps and short fuses in their pockets, and then pitching the small bombs from classroom windows.

The source of the dynamite was found to be in Higgins Canyon west of Beverly Hills, where it had been stored by the Beverly Hills Road Company since completing a project in 1925. One of the youths admitted that he had rolled down a seventy-five foot embankment clutching a box of the stolen dynamite, which he then transferred to a waiting automobile!

Explosives experts told police that if the dynamite had been ignited it would have jolted the entire city of Beverly Hills, leveled a whole residential block, and would probably have resulted in many deaths.

The boys will not be prosecuted; however, police are extremely interested in speaking with those persons responsible for abandoning the dynamite.

Cupid’s Arrows Bent

October 9, 1927
Ventura County and Beverly Hills

Two stories from today’s paper prove yet again that the course of true love rarely runs smoothly. The first comes from Las Turas Lake (now Lake Sherwood) at Las Turas Country Club, where W.T. Verry, Jr. narrowly escaped death this afternoon when his friends finally figured out that what they thought were flirtatious gestures between Verry and a pretty miss on the pier were actually "frantic signals for aid" from a drowning man. Verry was pulled from the lake by J.E. Bower and revived by artificial respiration.

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Grace Dawson today resumed planning her Tia Juana wedding, cancelled because the bride was in County Jail when she was scheduled to walk down the aisle. Several days ago, detectives searching the Beverly Hills residence of bootlegger and narcotics kingpin "Black Tony" Parmagini turned up an address. A squad under Chief George Contreras then proceeded to 201 South McCarthy Drive where they found Miss Dawson, 25-year-old Alice Gray, and another young woman (who jumped out of Contreras’s automobile at a traffic light on Sunset Boulevard), along with sixty-five cases of mixed whiskies and other liquors. Dawson and Gray were booked for violation of the Wright Act before being released on bail of $1000 each.

Have a Zesty Labor Day!

September 3, 1927
Los Angeles

If you’re planning to escape the heat this Labor Day by going boating on Lake Arrowhead, don’t forget to take along your radio!


Exit of a Thirsty Man

July 26, 1927
Beverly Hills 

Architect Fred W. Maack was well prepared when he appeared before City Recorder/ Judge Seth Strelinger to answer to a charge of drunkeness and disorderly conduct. He was willing, he read from a most unusual statement, to voluntarily exile himself for a period of four years from the municipality of Beverly Hills (unless granted permission to enter by the BHPD), during which time he would not partake of any intoxicating liquors. Further, he was under the care of a psychiatrist, and would remain so until the doctor deemed him sane.

"In consideration of the above," Maack read, "I beg to request that I be given a suspended sentence and be permitted to forfeit my bail and that the medical staff of the Beverly Hills Health Department abstain from interfering with my case on the grounds that they are acquainted with the worst phases of my character only–" (and here the statement deteriorates somewhat into possibly pixilated confusion) "–and will unintentionally be acting for the good of my family than for my own good and will not be here to bother my family in the future. This is not meant as a criticism, but voices my honest desire to start over, quit drinking and get to work in another community. I have a job waiting for me and if all official record of my being under observation is omitted I will be highly appreciative of the fact."

Judge Strelinger was impressed by Maack’s plea, and not only granted the suspended sentence, but ruled that his $100 bail be returned. Here’s hoping the gentleman stayed dry and built some fine structures, wherever he next settled.

Still, It’s a Better Excuse Than a Burger Run

 May 16, 1927
Beverly Hills, CA 
rosabelleheadlineRosabelle Laemmle, only daughter of Carl Sr., was arrested for speeding in Beverly Hills today.  When Officer McBane asked where she was headed in such a big hurry on this Saturday night, she replied, "To the dentist."  Unfortunately for Rosabelle, she’d already used that excuse on McBane twice before.  Tired of playing the chump, McBane said, "I advise you to have all your teeth pulled out and to present this speeding ticket to Justice of the Peace Etrelinger on the 23rd."rosabellelaemmle

While it’s tempting to call this story just another example of heiresses behaving badly, Rosabelle was really a fairly good egg.  After her mother’s death in 1918, Rosabelle, then a teenager, took over management of all household duties.  As her father’s success grew, so did her responsibilities, and she became known in Los Angeles society as a terrific hostess.  In her late teens, she flirted first with the idea of becoming an actress, and then with her father’s protege, Irving Thalberg.  However, Rosabelle’s interest in the limelight eventually faded, as did the romance (Thalberg is thought to have left Universal, in part, because of this).

Rosabelle wedded businessman Stanley Bergerman in 1929, settled down, and had two children.  Presumably, her driving settled down as well.

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.)

Celeb Behind Bars

April 18, 1927
Beverly Hills
johngilbertJohn Gilbert, celebrated film star and sometimes paramour of Greta Garbo entered lock-up today with a sheepish grin on his face.  Gilbert was arrested for disturbing the peace early on April 11 when he appeared at the Beverly Hill Police Station after a party at his home, demanding that someone be arrested.  Who exactly, he wouldn’t say.  When police explained they could not make an arrest without a name, Gilbert became so boisterous that he was jailed until morning.
"I must have been laboring under a hallucination and looking for trouble," Gilbert said of his behavior.  "I wasn’t angry at any of my guests and I just went down to the station and the boys took care of me; very kind to me."
Gilbert was sentenced to 10 days in jail, which he said, "ought to be a nice, quiet vacation."
Could there have been trouble with Mauritz Stiller, Gilbert’s main rival for Garbo’s attentions?  Too much sauce?  Or just a celeb behaving badly?  It’s anyone’s guess – Gilbert kept mum on the cause of his outburst.

News of Dissolutions

April 12, 1927
Los Angeles 

Ah, Spring! The time when a man’s thoughts turn to trading in his bride for a younger model, and a woman considers murder. Let’s see what’s happening in the family courts today.

Juanita Fletcher Crosland was granted a divorce from her film director hubby (Frederic) Alan Crosland (The Jazz Singer) on grounds of cruelty and intemperance–she claimed he would stay out until 4am for weeks at a time, and then scream vile, drunken epithets on his return. The couple married in 1917, and resided at 626 North Palm Drive, Beverly Hills. Frederic is keeping the Palm Drive home and a car, while Juanita walks with $500/week alimony, property in Westchester N.Y. and a promise that Frederic Junior’s college bills will be paid. (Gaze into the crystal to see where Alan Crosland is today.)

Helen Griffith has been freed of her Oran after telling Judge Summerfield that Oran’s language was so foul, the neighborhood ladies slammed their windows and pulled their children inside when he was strolling, and sometimes called the cops. 

And in Highland Park, Judson Studios patriarch William Lees Judson, 84, sought to be severed from Ruth Seffern (or Suffern) Judson, described in court as a virago who rented rooms in the family manse to liquor sellers, and who was so abusive to William’s students that he was compelled to shut his College of Fine Arts (part of the University of Southern California, founded in 1901). William, who came to California for his health in 1893, would die in October 1928 in his Highland Park Studio, which continues to be run as a family stained glass operation and art gallery today.