Well, That Seems Like a Good Idea

July 21, 1927
Across the Mighty United States 



Sadly, there’s no follow-up story about Burns’ journey.  We like to believe it involved something other than broken bones and twisted metal—“what a shame, the poor boy got all the way out here and crashed.”

Driving in Los Angeles is a far cry from the corn-flanked roads of Lawrence, Jimmy.

The Height of Mystery

July 19, 1927
Los Angeles

Who’s that bobbing in the wind high atop the Rose Room Ballroom at 8th and Spring? Why, it’s The Phantom of the Flagpole, a mask-wearing fella who swears he’ll break the flagpole sitting record of 17 days and 2 hours set by V.H. Crouch of New Bedford, MA. Just hours after Crouch came down from his eastern pole, The Phantom climbed his. Oh, heavy hangs the crown of the nation’s greatest flagpole sitter.

The Times reports that The Phantom is shaving and eating three meals a day (unsaid is what he does with these meals once he’s finished with them, if you catch our drift). He smokes 100 cigarettes a day and gulps black coffee most of the night, when he ties himself to the pole, just in case. He’s reading fiction magazines and would like an adventure novel sent up.

On July 26, The Phantom will call for a cork helmet to avert the awful rays of the sun. When The Phantom of the Flagpole finally comes down to earth on August 5th, he is revealed as Captain Robert Hull, and happily takes possession of a $2500 prize from Rose Room manager Joseph Lederer.

But while you cheer the achievement of our local pigeon, spare a kind thought for poor "Hold Em Joe" Powers, whose perch over the Morrison Hotel in Chicago ended at a disappointing 16 days and two hours on July 15, and unaccountably left him missing six teeth. (Scurvy? An excess of chattering? Only Joe knows, and he ain’t talking.)

Ice Cream: It’s What’s For Dinner.

July 17, 1927

Health and Diet Advice

In an effort to redeem a luscious dairy treat’s good name after being caught in a bootlegging scandal last week—-or perhaps because it was a slow news day—-Dr. Frank McCoy today announced that “ICE CREAM IS A REAL FOOD.â€Â

This is the good news we’ve been waiting for, folks. According to Dr. McCoy (author of the Los Angeles Times’s “Health and Diet Adviceâ€Â column), ice cream “should at all times be considered a real food and not a delicacy.â€Â Besides being rich in vitamin A and calcium, a half-pint of ice cream has as much lime as a half-pound of butter, four pounds of meat, or three-and-a-half pounds of potatoes. Never heard about the importance of lime in your diet? Me either—-but if we eat enough ice cream, we’ll never have to worry about it again.

Dr. McCoy also has a word or two for those who criticize manufacturers for adding gelatin to their ice creams. “… I would suggest that the laws be changed to admit the use of even more gelatin, as this is an excellent food product which makes the ice cream still more palatable and delicious.â€Â

Packed with all that lime and gelatin, ice cream is a veritable superfood. Dr. McCoy “suggest[s] that you try some summer lunches with ice cream as the principal part of the meal, using with it any one kind of the acid fruits … or … cooked and raw nonstarchy vegetables.â€Â Ice cream salad, anyone?

Should you find your pants getting a little tight after all that healthfulness, you might want to take a look at Dr. McCoy’s book, The Fast Way to Health.

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

Big Feet Headline

July 16, 1927

“You make me feel like dancin’
I wanna dance my life away…”
— You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, written by Vincent Poncia, Jr. and Gerard Hugh Sayer, recorded by Leo Sayer

Bad news ladies – your feet have grown larger over the past twenty years. The reason? Dancing! Your older female relatives may have danced the night away, but they were tripping the light fantastic to the sedate melodies of the waltz and the two-step. The kinder, gentler dances of bygone days made it possible for women to keep their petite size three tootsies from spreading out like flapjacks. Modern gals stomp around the dance floor gyrating to the tango, Charleston, and black bottom. As a result of all this vigorous activity, today the average girl wears anywhere from four and a half to a size six shoe!

“As athletics become more popular for women and modern dances become more violent feet will grow in accordance. Some day women will Olive Oylhave feet as large as men’s are now”, said Mr. Julian Alfred, a director of musical choruses at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Women of the future – beware! You are fated to have feet as big as Olive Oyl’s.

“Walkin’ with my baby she’s got great big feet
She’s long, lean, and lanky and ain’t had nothing to eat
She’s my baby and I love her just the same
Crazy ‘bout that woman cause Caldonia is her name…” 
– Caldonia, written by Fleecie Moore

Lions Turn Cannibal

July 12, 1927
El Monte 

Quick, fellas, hop in the car! We gotta get out to El Monte pronto, or there won’t be any of the main course left. What, you mean you call yourself a Lion and you don’t want to sample a hunk of barbecued adolescent lion meat, personally prepared by the King of Beasts’ best pal Charles Gay out at his Lion Farm, as part of the celebration of the charters of the El Monte and Alhambra clubs? Getouttahere! Of course you do!

Ah, don’t be a stick in the mud! We’ll sit at the big table in the middle of the lion cages, drink up some hooch and gnaw on a cat bone while telling dirty jokes and practicing our roars. And then, when we’re all good and lit up, Gay’ll bring Numa, his biggest and friendliest lion out to walk the length of the table, and we’ll toast that kitty as he’s never been toasted before.

That’s the spirit, fellas, out we go. This is a big day for the Lions of Southern California, one we’ll tell our grandkids about!

(For more about Gay’s Lion Farm, please visit the Wikipedia page or join us on a future edition of the Blood and Dumplings Crime Bus Tour.) 

How Do You Hook a Speckled Trout?

July 11, 1927
Riverside, CA

squirreltailbaitHonorable Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States
Summer White House
Rapid City, SD

Dear Mr. President,

Have observed the pleasure you are taking in fishing during your vacation this summer.  We think you may be interested in a special lure, used with much success in California to tempt the speckled beauties which abound in the streams near your summer home.  We are sending under separate cover a few of our best "California squirrel tail bait."  These were specially made for you and we trust they will bring you much luck.  Squirrels are an agricultural pest in California, but we do find some use for a part of their anatomy.  Trusting you will accept this contribution to your pleasure in the same spirit here manifested, we are:

Yours very truly,

L.J. Tobias, Chief Deputy Sheriff
George Bottel, Horticultural Inspector

New Swag

The 1947project elves have been hard at work, updating our Cafepress shop with a delectable assortment of swag and oddities certain to enliven your life and spark conversations with local crazies.

Surely, your Gremlin would be racier still were its bumper decorated with this jaunty slogan (also available as a license holder):


And for that little tyke in your life, perhaps a Beth Short bib? (Also available as adult and kid Ts)


The tyke’s not out yet? How about a maternity T featuring our very own Nathan Marsak in a pensive pose. Let your friends speculate about the significance of the imagery, which is also available in a more discrete edition which we like to call "The Betsy."   


Also in stock: Tooth Decay Fiend Ts and treasures.

Suffocution Device throw pillows. 

And of course lots of lovely 1947project gun logo items, too. We hope you’ll drop by and have a look and decide if "The Betsy" is right for you.


Mother and Child Reunion

mother child reunion headline

Los Angeles
July 9, 1927

“No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away…”
Paul Simon

Two women, one of them the mother of an infant and the other her traveling companion, stepped off of a Southern Pacific coach this morning at Central Station and set into motion a chain of events which culminated in a dramatic chase involving an airplane and a speeding train.

The mother decided to leave her peacefully slumbering tot unattended in the berth while she and her friend went into the station to stretch their legs. When the women returned they found that the train had departed without them!

The panicked women scurried to the taxi stand, hailed a cab and directed the driver to take them to the Glendale Airport where they hoped to find famed stunt pilot Roy Wilson.  They quickly located the aviator and the sobbing mother made a plea for help. Persuaded by the mother’s tears, Wilson hopped into one of his planes and with his two female passengers rocketed north in a desperate attempt to catch the speeding train.

Straight out of a Hollywood movie, the ensuing frantic airborne chase rivaled anything that Wilson had performed in “Wings”.  Following the Southern Pacific tracks the daring aeronaut was able to overtake the train as it sped north through Saugus. Flying low alongside the engine Wilson signaled to the engineer to stop. In a burst of speed the pilot then flew ahead and skillfully landed the aircraft near the tracks. Once aboard the train the anxious mother found her baby exactly as she had left him – sound asleep.

California Dreamin’

california dreamin headline

July 9, 1927 
Los Angeles

While carrying out his duties as caretaker of the Connelly estate at Eighty-Third Street and Normandie Avenue, 72 year old William Nugent found a pile of ladies clothing and a partially buried female corpse. Or did he? Although summoned to the scene, police were unable to locate a dead body or discarded clothing in the sixty acre dump site on the property.

Nugent claimed that he was taken into custody by two homicide detectives last week, and that the detectives grilled him for more than two hours in front of the Seventy-seventh street police station. He also said that the detectives left him with a stern admonition to keep quiet about the supposed murder so that they could find clues. John Howard, field representative for the Peace Officers Association of California, has asserted that there are no records corroborating Nugent’s claim.

Mr. Nugent gave the following statement to Captain Williams at the Seventy-seventh street police station: “Well, I’ll tell yuh, there might have been some clothes, and there might have been a body of a woman buried someplace, but from what I’ve deduced this here murder mystery appears to be nothing but one of them there hallucinations.”

The cause of Nugent’s hallucinations, if indeed that is what they were, remains as mysterious as the rest of his story.

Together As One

July 7, 1927
James Clark has but one leg.  Fortunately his wife has another.  Together, they make one fine two-legged person.  Unfortunately, their capacity for imbibery allows for the drunkitude of four persons, their double vision providing the visual acuity of eight.

Seems the Clarks got a few in ‘em and, sans hollow leg and all, the booze went to their collective head, and they thought it a good idea to hop in a flivver and go tearing down Mission Boulevard here in Riverside.  Despite the symbiosis that stems from years of wedded camaraderie, his stomping the gas while she pounded brake and clutch didn’t work out to their combined advantage…no, these tourists from the Lone Star state plowed into another vehicle driven by one Fred Stutzman of West Riverside.

Deputy Sheriff Scott hauled the intoxicated unipeds off to the hoosegow, and reported that while both autos were severely damaged, no-one was seriously injured.  Scott certainly realized that had someone involved lost a limb, he would have had to fill out the separate irony paperwork, instead of just checking the irony box on his standard report form.