Dada Comes to Pasadena

July 22, 1927
Pasadena
heels
Pasadenans, beware!  If you’re Japanese, anyway.  See, there’s a “giant Negro” on the loose, and he’s a criminal.  His crime?  Hanging the Japanese upside-down.  

Seriously.  George Shimanouchi was minding his own business in the garage of his home at 126 Elevado Drive (now Del Mar) when the aforementioned giant negro (hey, not my nomenclature) arrived unbidden and hung the boy upside-down from a rafter.  

A Mrs. C. Duncan, 105 Elevado, heard someone yelling for help across the street and called it in; either she took her own sweet time about it or the authorities did, because when Detective Seargeants Mansell and Cheek arrived, Shimanouchi, now semiconscious, had been suspended head-down for nearly an hour.  

The boy held the opinion that his assailant planned to rob the house after tying him to the rafter, but officers found no evidence of entry.

(While Hippocrates was a firm believer in inversion therapy, practitioners evidently went to absurd lengths in sharing their craft before its popularization via American Gigolo.)

Crimebo and Pals on Saturday’s Pasadena Confidential tour

Nathan Marsak and Crimebo the Clown

above: Nathan Marsak and Crimebo the Clown prepare for the debut performance of The Jack Parsons Story as presented by the Crimebo Players. Weird Sex! Rocketships! Space Creatures! Warlocks! Sex Slaves! Is this the Pasadena the Chamber of Commerce wants us talking about? Hmmm…. maybe not. But we sure had fun.   

The Crimebo Players present The Jack Parsons Story: The Goddess Babalon

Below, a visit to Mitchell Books, where John Mitchell held us rapt with tales of real and fictional murder.

John Mitchell fascinated Crimebo with his OJ theory in Mitchell Books

Dolled as a Dapper Dad

March 31, 1927
Pasadena

paircladFourteen year-old Wilbur Garner had a lady-friend, and an older one at that, his inamoratette a fifteen year-old Eula Rittgers. They showed great attachment to one another at their Seventh Day Adventist School. When they decided to exchange biblical dullsville for the world’s treasures, they outfoxed the Man by turning li’l Eula into aeula boy. Inside a church  wastebasket was found the Eula’s hair, and persons conforming to the two young boys’ description were spotted in Eagle Rock. A fashionable bobbed ‘do meets a Joan of Arc act. Appropriately observant.  Guess they were absent the day they covered Deuteronomy 22:5.

jimmydavisIn yet more fifteen year-old news, or, that is to say, further news of fifteen year-olds, fifteen year-old Jimmy Davis and an unnamed pal of his broke into the Monterey Park home of John W. Hardman, stealing fountain pens and trinkets and, more absurdly, did Jimmy garb himself in Hardman’s best suit, silk shirt and black & white scarf. Figuring himself too conspicuous for his own good, Jimmy and pal returned to the house, threw the clothes on the floor and, afraid of being traced through fingerprints (his being known to local authorities for his repeated burglaries and check forgings), lit fire to the house. The house smoldered for some time before being rescued by the fire department, and Jimmy is now cooling his heels in juvenile hall.

Showroom New

March 24, 1927
Los Angeles
babyfarm
Investigators from the State Board of Pharmacy began traversing the city today, in search of physicians who illegally supplied narcotizing agents to Miss Minnie Hines.  It seems that while under the spell of narcotics, Miss Hines develops a “maternity complex” which requires the purchase of infants.  When her mind clears some days later, it then becomes necessary to farm them out again.  Adding complexity to the case is the fact that due to her dope-addled brain, she rarely recollects the homes where she obtained or disposed of the babies.  She is currently under Narcosan treatment for her affliction.

Ms. Hines was arrested March 9th when she attempted to buy a baby at Pasadena hospital, and attempted to escape by putting pillows under her clothes and pretending she was an expectant mother.  Hines, 26, of Long Beach, has farmed out three of her own children (ages eighteen months to twelve years) and an estimated ten others.  Babies, incidentally, generally run between sixty and one hundred dollars ($700-$1,169 USD 2007).

litachaplinIn other baby news:  local actress Lita Grey Chaplin today dropped her renewed bid for temporary alimony for herself and her two toddlers in an attempt to force her husband, one Charles Chaplin, into court.  (Mr. Chaplin had impregnated Lita Grey when she was 16, he 35, resulting in a marriage and sensationally scandalous divorce which, when finalized in August of 1927, cost Chaplin $825,000 [$9,648,650 USD 2007].)

According to Charlie’s biographer Joyce Milton, the 1924 marriage was the inspiration of Nabokov’s Lolita.

The Crime Bus Lurches Out of the Fog

Join us, gentle rider, on the Crime Bus! We’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled Crime Bus touring in early 2006 to develop some new and very wild rides, but private tours can still be booked during this time. Typically, public tours run on both days of a weekend about once a month, and prospective passengers can subscribe to our email list– just click the link at right to be kept informed of all the details. Or watch this site for announcements.

Tours include… THE REAL BLACK DAHLIA… PASADENA CONFIDENTIAL… WEIRD WEST ADAMS… NIGHTMARES OF BUNKER HILL… HALLOWEEN HORRORS… with more to come.

Photos from the August 6 Pasadena Confidential Tour

Yesterday’s Pasadena Confidential Crime Bus Tour was a hoot, as we glided around the Crown City in our air conditioned murder bus with a happy coterie of grisly lookyloos. Here are a few photos snapped along the way…

Below, Crimebo honors the lucky Miss Cathy with a pre-birthday litany of all the horrors that happened on the day she was born.

Crimebo the Crime Clown reads to Cathy

Here, Crimebo and hosts Kim and Nathan take a mid-tour breather at Connal’s on Washington Boulevard, conveniently loated between the sites of a hammer murder and a bathtub suicide. Plus their malts is yummy!

1947project Crime Bus hosts Kim and Nathan with Crimebo the Crime Clown

And another view of that scary clown Crimebo… don’t you want him at your birthday party?!

 

Crimebo the Crime Clown reads from his Big Book of Crime

Pasadena Weekly Puts Crimebo and Pals on its Cover

1947project on the Pasadena Weekly cover

All the world loves a clown… especially a Crime clown! And when the editor of Pasadena Weekly heard about Crimebo, he upgraded Carl Kozlowski’s planned feature on the Pasadena Confidential tour from the arts section to the cover! Sneak a peek, online or in person, and don’t miss Matt Craig’s evocative photos.

1947project in the Pasadena Weekly interior

Buy Tix on the August 6 Pasadena Confidential Crime Bus Tour

To buy a ticket on Sunday’s tour, click here

Location: You will be emailed directions to the tour start point soon after payment is received; include a phone number in the payment comments if you won’t be able to check your email, and we’ll call with details.

To be kept informed of future tour dates, sign up for our mailing list.

About the tour: By popular demand, and following many nights terrifying ourselves reading grisly old news reports until falling into fitfull sleep, our Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour rolls on Sunday, August 6, from 10am-3pm. This five-hour luxury coach tour offers surprising insights into the often weird and horrible history of the Crown City, from the infamous to the forgotten. Tickets are $47 per person, and include cookies and home-made lemonade.

From celebrated cases like the RFK assassination (with a visit to Sirhan Sirhan’s folks’ house), "Eraserhead" star Jack Nance’s strange end, black magician/rocket scientist Jack Parsons’ death-by-misadventure and the 1926 Rose Parade grand stand collapse, to fascinating obscurities, the tour’s dozens of murders, arsons, kidnappings, robberies, suicides, auto wrecks and oddball happening sites provide a alternate history of Pasadena that’s as fascinating as it is creepy.

Crime Bus passengers will tour the old Millionaire’s Row on Orange Grove, thrill to the shocking Sphinx Murder on the steps of the downtown Masonic Hall, wonder about the unknown fiend who sneaked past a little girl to poison her father’s beer, discover why people named Judd should think twice before moving to Pasadena, and explore the racist spirit of the early 20th century through two forgotten stories: that of a Chinaman with leprosy whose suicide by hanging was treated as a novel entertainment by hundreds of citizens, and the case of wealthy mulatto Archie Hill, who shot a white trolley ticket-taker dead for shortchanging him.

For more about this tour, see Patricia Jiayi Ho’s feature in the Pasadena Star-News. To purchase a seat using a credit card, visit our storefront. Sorry, it is now too late to pay by check for Sunday’s tour. 

Disclaimer: Although it is extremely unlikely, the organizers reserve the right to postpone the tour in the event of extreme weather, riot, act of war or plague. Refunds may be available no more than 72 hours before the tour departs, and at the discretion of the organizers. You may substitute an alternate passenger’s name if you are unable to attend. We regret that there are no refunds for people who miss the bus. Potential passengers may call Kim at 323-223-2767 or email with any questions.

Judge at Pasadena Dog Show Wins Black Eye


June 7, 1907
Pasadena

After a hard day of judging Boston terriers, English bulldogs and foxhounds, John Bradshaw went to a local restaurant with two exhibitors, William J. Morris and James Ewins.

Over dinner, and apparently many drinks, Bradshaw told Ewins at great length what was wrong with his prize bulldog, Moston Barnone. Although Ewins had owned several great bulldogs, including one named Moston Monarch, he took Bradshaw