In the Line of Duty

March 16, 1927
Los Angeles

yummydownonthisIf the drys are gonna catch the wets, they’re gonna have to wet themselves. So to speak.

At the trial of John H. Wyncoop, former chief field agent for the boys of the California/Arizona Federal Prohibition Enforcement Department, Wyncoop said “I knew that if I had liquor in my possession I could more easily get bootleggers to believe that I was handling booze and therefore make it easier to arrest bootleggers.â€Â

Uh-huh.

Wyncoop is on trial because he turned twenty-nine bottles of liquor to his own use, instead of turning it into the government warehouse. Can’t those government know-nothings see that you need that hooch to go under deep cover? That he only took home that demon rum in the solemn performance of his duty?

(Convicted by a jury of illegal conversion, he was given a short term in the county jail.)

Mysteries of the Road

accidents
January 19, 1927
Santa Monica, Venice

A drained, shamefaced whisky bottle and wrecked car were all officers found tonight at Colorado Blvd and Twenty-Third Street.

A thorough check of the hospitals and morgues revealed nothing further.

In nearby Venice, at Washington and Brooks, an ambulance was summoned when excited folk in the vicinity witnessed an auto turn turtle.  In true 1920s fashion, the two young male occupants righted the thing and drove off, presumably in a crazy zigzag with zany piano accompaniment.  

Christmas Cheer in a Razorblade

monroy

December 27, 1927
Los Angeles

Carlos Monroy, 35, was that precarious combination, a glazier and lush, and the missus no longer wished to live with him. So Anita, 29, took Carlos Junior, 10, and moved in with mama, Antonia Barron of 626 East 36th Place, while Carlos stayed with his mother and brother at 2915 New Jersey Street.

It being Christmas, Carlos found himself missing his family, and dropped by the Barron home, with a bottle of whiskey and a long line of apologies. Anita didn’t want to hear it. She intended to be divorced, and further, she and her sister Leonora were going downtown to shop. Would he please leave?

Anita went to the bathroom, and Carlos followed her in, where he drew a razor from his coat pocket and slashed at her throat. Anita ran, bleeding and screaming, through the spare bedroom and into the dining room. Carlos finished her off there, then turned the blade on himself. Their son and the Barron women were witnesses to the carnage, then called for aid, though it was far too late for anything but tears.

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.

Unclear on the Concept

July 6, 1927
Los Angeles 

Memo to Officer Fritzler of the Los Angeles police: next time you pull a guy over at Twelth and Main because you think he’s driving drunk, don’t tell him to drive you over to headquarters so you can throw him in the pokey.

Oh, everything might go just find as far as the police are concerned, but when you show up in Judge Wilson’s court to defend the arrest, you’ll be roundly chastised for letting someone you believed drunk remain in his car, because… Officer… the point of the drunk driving laws it to get drunks out from behind the wheel, not to turn them into chauffeurs for cops!

Since Fritzler clearly believed Fred Heegal was capable of driving safely through downtown traffic, and no test of drunkenness was given, the charges were dismissed, for this case and a similar one involving Officer Neff against C.A. Peterson.

Of Boxing and Booze

August 14, 1907julepnomore
Los Angeles

Colonel and Cracker alike are swarming our borders!

Dateline—The Peach State—Sherman’s march to the coast was less an indignity than that done by the last state election:  all liquor establishments are to be outlawed on January 1.  Now the march is of capital out of Georgia—an estimated $3,000,000 in taxes and licenses in 08.  As the steady, self-righteous hand of the WCTU has not as yet clamped itself upon the great metropolis of Los Angeles, wholesalers and barmen alike are arriving en masse.  

Those in the LA liquor trade welcome our Reb brethren, at least so that they may assure their bit by securing locations and concessions for the newcomers.  The local liquor lobby has hit up City Hall for an extension of the Liquor Zone, and has petitioned to increase the number of saloons in LA to 250.

Despite a collective Angeleno fondness for drink, it is the civic duty of 1947project to provide a temperance lesson:

Some years ago, Harry Stuart was a pugilist of renown, his nose broken repeatedly in the ply of his noble trade.  Then, as a barkeep on West Third, he was LA’s authority on the pugilistic arts, and oft served as referee for Tom McCarey’s Fight Club, which held forth in the old Hazard’s Pavilion (in 1907 the site of the great Auditorium facing Central Park).  Stuart was famous for the way he yelled “b-r-e-a-k!” that amused spectators; his downfall was an unpopular decision in the ring which awarded a trophy to colored boxer Billy Woods, over Al Neil.

Bad luck turned worse after Stuart built a fight club at the westerly end of the Third Street tunnel, which prompted uproar from the tony neighbors.  The City Council passed an ordinance confining such clubs to a certain district in the Eighth Ward.  To make matters all the more discouraging, Stuart was stung by a spider on his left eye, destroying the sight thereof.  

He found menial employment soliciting monies for a weekly publication, and after collecting nearly $100 ($2,052 USD 2006), decided to go on the drinking spree to end all drinking sprees.  It lasted three weeks.

After the money was gone and the booze was consumed, he wrote notes to his wife in San Francisco, the Los Angeles Coroner, and his employer.  In them he stated that drink had put him “down and out” and that he had nothing to live for.  From his note to the Coroner:  “Booze has been the cause of my downfall, and I am daffy…my wife will meet the expense of having my worthless body burned.”

Stuart, after losing his last fight, this one to a bottle, swallowed a solution of bromide in his Bunker Hill room at 244 North Grand.
stuart

When Boozing Was A-foot

July 6, 1907
Los Angeles 

Hot! damn but it’s been hot and humid, too, the steamiest early July since records have been kept. Sure there were hotter single days–like July 25, 1891 when the mercury topped 109–but no one can recall a week when the very dawn temperature broke 80 degrees, with no relief offered by the night.

Mrs. Carrie Gilbert’s solution to the grisly weather was to get drunk and sleep out-of-doors, not in a cosy sleepying porch at home at 617 1/2 East Sixth Street, but alongside the railway behind the commission house at First and Central Streets. Deep in the darkness her horrible screams were heard; a passing train had severed her left foot. Taken to Receiving Hospital, the lady slipped into a merciful stupor. Clever, clever dipsomaniac. Shock, they say, leaves one feeling icy cold