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.

Death of the Tamale Lady

She was 52, a mother and grandmother, a vendor of tamales. She lived quietly on the east side of the L.A. River, in an ugly stucco apartment house with concrete all around. Then one Sunday night, as she came home after delivering an order of tamales, she was attacked in the street, stabbed twice and left to die just steps from her home. She was found quickly, but it was too late for any aid. Doña Rosa died, and no one but the killer knew who had done it, or why. Oh, there were rumors, there always are, but for most people on her street, life went on just as it had, just without Doña Rosa’s tasty tamales or her soft smile.

This is not a story from 1927. "Doña" Rosa Cruz, wife of Joel Mejía, mother of Nancy, native of El Salvador, was murdered in Lincoln Heights on Sunday, July 22. As of today, this crime has received no coverage in the English language newspapers or broadcast media. It has not appeared on the LA Times’ Homicide Report Blog. Detectives were in the neighborhood yesterday, asking questions and looking for an answer. And on the corner of Albion and Avenue 20, the people who loved Doña Rosa continue to gather, bringing fresh flowers and seeking comfort in community, on the open sidewalk where she walked on that last night.

On this blog we remember the forgotten dead from long ago, people who came to Los Angeles and found, not whatever improved life they were seeking, but too often an anonymous or notorious death. We should never forget that these people left families and loved ones, and that these crimes resonate in large ripples out over the decades, in those who knew the victim and far beyond. RIP Doña Rosa, and we hope peace can be found by those who loved her.

dona rosa memorial

Hakuna Matata My Ass

standingdeadMay 20, 1927
Lincoln Heights

Cinema actor Gordon Standing, of noble acting stock, had played Horatio in the “Modern Hamlet” on the East Coast stage.  Back East he’d starred in Lasky, Vitagraph, Inspiration and D.W. Griffith film productions.   But then he got it into his head to come Out West.  Though he’d been wounded several times in the Marine Corps during the Big Scrap, nothing could have prepared him for the horrors of Hollywood.

At first, all was well at Selig Zoo Studio.  Standing’d been working alongside his old buddy Elmo “First Tarzan” Lincoln and a new buddy, one giant lion, in the cheapie serial “King of the Jungle.”  Apparently Standing had been getting along peachy-like with his new feline friend, until Standing changed his make-up, putting on a beard, and old Leo didn’t recognize him.  The maned one attacked!  It took fifteen men to pull the animal off Standing, who was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital with severe bites and slashes about the neck and shoulders.  King of the Jungle was no match for King of the Beasts.  (Interestingly, allmovie.com would have us believe Standing was trampled by a "rampaging elephant;" perhaps they were thinking of the elephants that graced the entrance to the zoo.)


The Selig Studio had a "jungle area" in which to film, but their lions weren’t of the perfoming type; the question stands, then, was the rent-a-lion that killed Standing none other than famous snarling L. B. Mayer sidekick Slats, denizen of Gay’s Lion Farm (where lions would run amok a mere sixteen months later)?



Historic Cobblestones Exposed in Lincoln Heights

May 27, 2007
Los Angeles

It is more than two weeks now since the graders came and removed the surface layer of the asphalt on Avenue 20, between Albion and Broadway, then went away without finishing their work. For all that time, the NO PARKING signs have hung on the telephone poles, and the regular parade of shortcutting commuters have bounced along on their unhappy shocks, as the street beneath them grew more uneven and dilapidated.

After a week, a flash of red edged by corroded silver was visible on Avenue 20 just before Broadway. A careful peek between passing cars revealed a long-buried light rail track, with a row of handsome, narrow brick placed alongside it.


For this neglected area, just NE of downtown on the far side of the river, was once a thriving commercial and residential community, with trains running frequently down the middle of the streets.

Here is a map of the immediate vicinity, drawn in 1906. The yellow lines demark the Yellow Trains of the Los Angeles Railway Company, and just in the middle heading approximately north-south you’ll find the line that ran along Avenue 20, passing between Main Street and Downey, now known as Broadway. Behind the dead end at Main, the Los Angeles Brewing Company, now the Brewery Arts Complex. Avenues 21 and 22 are ghost streets, their rows of Victorian cottages bulldozed so the 5 can whisk folks away at speeds unimaginable in ’06. Mayden too is no more. And the red line along Daly is a Pacific Electric Railway Company train.

Back to the state of the very sad street. Well into the second week with the gravel laid bare to constant steamrolling by SUVs and minivans, new patches opened up closer to Albion Street. Viewed from behind the windshield, these had a strangely archaic quality that demanded further inquiry.

Here is the intersection, with the peculiar patch visible in situ. You can see how dangerous it is to get close to the quarry:

But your intrepid reporter would not be daunted in her quest to see if that was really what it appeared to be. Wait for it… wait and… wait and… dash out and take a snap!

Aaaaahhh! Yes, those truly are cobblestones, that timeworn weapon of the disenfranchised European citizenry, laid alongside the old tracks in the heart of 21st Century Los Angeles. And somewhat haphazardly mortered, too. How extraordinary!


City of L.A., your street services suck, but I can’t really be angry that you scraped up my block and disappeared, because the sight of long-covered cobblestones have a peculiar calming effect on history geeks. So thanks a million for the cool experience. I’ll never look at the street the same way again. Now will you please get some guys over here to pave the freaking street?

your pal,