Kim and Nathan on the Radio on Friday

In the early 1990s, 1947project bloggers Kim Cooper and Nathan Marsak collaborated on a demented college radio program in Santa Barbara called The Manny Chavez Show. Nathan played Manny, a washed-up Catskills comic with a soft spot for bizarre thrift store records, while Kim manned the boards and giggled at Manny’s unfunny gags in the character of daffy twins Mandy and Candy Dubois. A lowlight of their broadcast career was the night Nathan got arrested on his way to the studio, and the County Sheriff agreed to let him phone the show if he’d deliver an anti-drunk driving message.

These days, their collaboration is somewhat more scholarly, though still demented: they blog historic Los Angeles crimes of 1947 and 1907 at the 1947project website, and lead Crime Bus Tours to scenes of forgotten mayhem.

This Friday night, July 14 (and into the morning of the 15th), from midnight to three, Kim and Nathan return to the airwaves as special guests of Stella, whose KXLU (88.9 FM) program Stray Pop has been providing an eclectic disarray of music with in studio guests since 1980.

They’ll be sharing favorite local true crime cases from their upcoming Pasadena Confidential Crime Bus Tour, spinning incredibly odd thrift store vinyl, plus talking about Kim’s projects like the Bubblegum Achievement Awards, Lost in the Grooves, the long-lived journal of unpopular culture Scram and her recent 33 1/3 book on Neutral Milk Hotel and the Elephant 6 collective. Listen for a special visit from Manny Chavez and his moldy joke book, and call in with questions or comments.

What: Manny Chavez Show Reunion
When: Friday July 14/Saturday July 15 from midnight-3am
Where: KXLU 88.9 FM in L.A., streaming at
Request line:  (310) 338-KXLU

More info:
Scram Magazine
Bubblegum Achievement Awards
Lost in the Grooves
Stray Pop

Maternal Manipulation, 1907-style

June 29, 1907
Los Angeles 

Police are in possession of a pleading letter, penned by Chicago hardware store merchant O.A. Derrough, and intended for the eyes of his runaway son Joseph. In the month since the 16-year-old ran off with cousin Robert Smith, both of their mothers have fallen into a pitiable state. Mrs. Smith is a nervous wreck, while Mrs. Derrough claims that she is dying–but that all will be right again if her boy will only send word that he is alive.

Derrough contacted the Los Angeles police with his plea because the boys had sent a picture postcard with a local postmark. He believes his son is using the name Adams, and asks that officers do everything in their power to find the Chicagoans and persuade them to return home.

I TOLD Bell the Electro-Dynamic Transmitter-Receiver Would Be Nothing But Trouble

June 26, 1907
Los Angeles

07phoneJohn Richie, contractor of East Fourteenth Street, has an unsavory record.  Richie used to, daily, beat his son with a rake handle, until such time as the boy became an idiot.  This finally drove Richie’s wife insane, and she died in an asylum, whereafter Richie got drunk and danced about in the room where the casket had been placed.

But now he’s gone too far.  He’s making rude phone calls.

Richie was hauled before Justice Rose to defend a complaint sworn by Mrs. Rose Mustactia, Richie’s grocer:

“He has been annoying me for some time.  At first he just said spiteful things, but at last his actions became unbearable.  Saturday afternoon he called up the store and told me his name and then he began to abuse me.  He called me names and my husband names and said we were bums and that all our groceries were stale and that most of the stuff we had in the store was second hand.  The next time he called up, my daughter answered the ‘phone.  He told her the same thing, abusing us all and saying hard things about us.  Twenty-five times during the afternoon and evening he called us up and used bad language until we refused to answer the ‘phone any more.”

Richie was convicted of a misdemeanor.

A Bohemian Lazarus

June 6, 1906
Los Angeles

Last February Antone F. Lieblich, a well-off Bohemian of middle years, sold his property in Eudunda, near Franklin Harbour, Australia and sailed back home to Austria. He never made it. After going ashore in Genoa, Lieblich vanished, and when a man’s body washed up soon after, it was duly identified and Lieblich’s family informed of his passing. His property was split up, and the mourning for the long-lost kin commenced.

Until July, that is, when Lieblich’s Australian attorney received a letter from his client–return addressed 2416 East Ninth Street, Los Angeles–with instructions for a few final real estate transactions. The Australian police became interested, and made inquiries through the police of many nations, but the mysterious Herr Lieblich was nowhere to be found. The Los Angeles police visited the Ninth Street address, and learned that a man fitting Lieblich’s description had been staying there last July, but he had made no friends in the neighborhood, and no one knew where he had gone.

So look carefully about you, Los Angeles! That dark, well-built man with the slightly graying beard and the odd accent might just be Antone Lieblich, come out of his mossy grave and wondering where all his money’s gone!

Hoist One to our Crafty Pharmacists

May 26, 1907
Los Angeles

Stationery engineer Samuel E. Moss, of 704 East Fifth Street, is still strapped to a bed in Receiving Hospital today, having been arrested in Westlake Park the night of the 21st after attempting suicide with an overdose of bromide.

It seems Mr. Moss, who has no apparent motive for the act (“He is a magnificent specimen of manhood and that he should so fondly court death seemed peculiar to the police,” the Times informs), was thwarted by a crafty druggist. Druggists have come under State Board of Pharmacy scrutiny of late–usually because they’ll sell opium to any and everyone–and so when Moss asked for a “big dose of carbolic”, the pharmacist slipped him the bromide.

In Westlake Park, Moss gulped down the bromide, which made him sick and semiconscious; he was picked up by a Westlake Park Special Officer.

Every morning since his induction to Receiving, attendants ask Moss if he wants to live. And every morning he says no, which confounds Chief Surgeon Garrett. “He is one of the most remarkable prisoners I have ever known. Ninety-nine people out of a hundred who try to commit suicide do so in a fit of despondency. When they are saved, they are only too glad to be alive. This man seems as strong in his desire for death now as he did when he took the drug and restraint seems about the only remedy for him.”

Questioning his Fifth Street rooming house cohabitators revealed nothing. Moss acts and speaks rationally, merely stating “If I don’t want to live, that’s no one’s business but my own.” And so his morning questioning continues–and if he continues to answer in the negative, Garrett will have no other recourse but to file a complaint with the State Board of Insanity Commissioners.

Death Comes A-Reaping

deathscytheMr. and Mrs. Simon Condon are building a home on the corner of Long Beach Boulevard and Sixty-First Street, an activity oft interrupted by Simon’s destructive rampages.  It would seem that Mrs. Condon holds the family purse-strings, which Mr. Condon deems unfair (and objects to strongly) in that the house-building money came from a $1,000 injury settlement, the result of his meat-packing accident at the Simon Maier Packing Company.  

And so Simon attempted to murder his wife with a scythe, whereafter Mrs. Condon had no recourse but to call the local constable.  Simon stated to the officer that he will indeed succeed in killing her if he doesn’t get the money.  

Jailhouse investigation reveals Mr. Condon to be neither intoxicated nor insane.

A Sad Day For the Officers

May 25, 1907
Los Angeles

For eleven years, pigeons have filled the nooks and roosts of the city’s police station, watching over the parade of troubled souls who come to that refuge, some dragged in bodily, others seeking aid. The police officers have coddled their feathered confederates, keeping them fat with daily offerings and giving names to the most distinctive of their numbers.

All that ends tomorrow, by order of the city’s judges and police officials. They have determined that the impromptu coop is a filthy nuisance and a hotbed of avian vice, and with that stark declaration, these spoiled creatures have been sentenced to death by sniper.

Yes, they will all be shot–starting with Old Bill, the big black male who reigns over his flock, and followed by all his courtiers, wives, children and cousins. Once their fate became clear, the officers insisted guns must be used, for they could not bear to snare and strangle their friends, and if they trapped and shipped them away, it would only be a matter of days before they returned to their longtime home.

Tonight the police station is a mournful place, and the sweet cooing of its aerial residents inspire only sadness in those below. Old Bill has but one night to live, and when he dies so too will a piece of the hearts of all who knew him.

Mad Mama!

May 14, 1907
Highland Park

Yesterday’s claim by young  Merrill "William" McCormick that his mother Janette had been falsely dragged off to the bughouse as part of an elaborate interfamilial inheritance scam has been roundly denied by Arthur Randall, real estate man and the owner of the home on Avenue 66 from which the lady was seized.

Randall not only refutes any cousinship to the unhappy Mrs. McCormick, but insists that she is no heiress, but rather a con-woman with a long history of defrauding innkeepers and imposing upon the kindness of friends.

Mrs. McCormick is described as about 45, and handsome woman and a good talker, who is estranged from her family and separated from her husband. She was a cousin to the deceased husband of Randall’s sister, Mrs. H.K. Pratt, who lives next door to her brother and their sister Mrs. Mabel Bennett. Out of consideration for that slim tie, McCormick and her son were recently welcomed into the Bennett-Randall manse when her habit of masquerading as a woman of means in order to secure fancy hotel lodgings for which she could not pay reached its inevitable conclusion.

But after a few days residence, McCormick’s odd, oftimes abusive behavior became distressing to the siblings. They believed her to be insane, and while sympathetic, demanded that she find alternate lodgings. She responded with a threat upon Randall’s life, so he swore out a warrant for her arrest. The lady ran away ahead of the Sheriff, but returned to break a window, whereupon she was captured.

Randall expressed concern for 15-year-old Merrill, a strong boy who ought to be working rather than following his mad mama from hotel to hotel, absorbing her weird fantasies and parroting them back at police officers. Randall offered to help the boy, but Merrill refused, insisting he would stay with friends and fight for his mother’s freedom and the vast fortune of which she was being deprived.

Mad Mama?

May 13, 1907
Highland Park

15-year-old William McCormick visited the police to make a panicked plea for the salvation of his mother Janette, removed yesteday from 228 South Avenue 66 to the lunatics’ ward of the County Hospital. His mother is, William swears, quite sane, and her confinement the result of a family plot to steal her inheritance.

Mrs. McCormick is the primary beneficiary of a million dollar estate based in Denver, although much of the family lives on the west coast, including cousin Arthur Randall, in whose home the McCormicks had been staying.

Although no warrant for the woman’s arrest was ever produced, Superintendant Barber of the County Hospital accepted the word of the deputy sherrifs who brought the shrieking woman into his ward that such a warrant was in the hands of the Sheriff, and he refuses to release his captive until the case is investigated today.

Young McCormick explains, "After the death of my grandmother, mother and I came to the Coast. When our relatives learned that the greater portion of the property was left to mother and me, they began to plot. While we were in San Diego, Mrs. Belle M. Auston, who now lives in Black River Falls, Wis, and is my aunt, tried to kidnap me and was unsuccessful."

After this shock, the pair moved on to stay with a lady cousin in Ocean Park, then moved in with cousin Arthur. "He is the one who is making this trouble for mother. She is sane and has never been troubled with any symptoms of insanity. I believe that my uncles N.M. Phelps and A.D. Merrill of Denver have hired Randall to try to get mother in an asylum, so as to get her fortune! Phelps was left only $5000 by my grandmother’s will and Merrill was not mentioned. I am not very old, but I don’t want to see them harm mother."

The police sargeant told the youngster to contact the District Attorney.