It’s all in how you tell it

May 25, 1927

Seems a traveling sewing machine salesman dropped by Mrs. L.K. Sitton’s home at 1004 Electric Avenue and, when she complained of a slight headache, mentioned that he was an expert in Swedish massage and offered to relieve her.

The Times reported that "He fled… when his victim screamed and her husband returned unexpectedly." Though we wonder if perhaps things didn’t happen quite in that order.

In any event, Robert S. Harrell, 41, was arrested at San Juan and Sixth Avenue on charges of attempting an attack on the lady.

A jerk and his siren are soon parted

May 24, 1927
Los Angeles

Whoo-Whoo! Get outta the road, here comes a cop, or an ambulance. Jeez, usually they drive better than that. This guy doesn’t give an inch. Muscling his way south through heavy Vermont Avenue traffic after midnight in his Essex, he pushes through the Third, Sixth and Seventh intersections with only some shattered nerves and shouted curses.

By this point he’s picked up a tail, Detective Lieutenant Vanaken riding with Auto Club man Harry Raymond, who wonder what the deuce this yutz thinks he’s doing, and if this could be the same siren-happy individual who’s been reported around town these past three weeks. And then at Wilshire, the inevitable sickening crash of metal on metal, leaving A.J. Hanker and cabbie Oscar Ruiz, thankfully uninjured, sitting in their wrecked cars as Vanaken forces the automotive bully to the curb a block south.

Inside, Dr. R.B. King, 25, X-ray technician out Alhambra way, who denies causing the accident, though he admits he used his siren while not on an official call. Well, since he’s a doctor, they book King on charges of failing to stop and render aid at an accident scene, and hold him in the City Jail. Meanwhile, we trust, police mechanics are cutting that siren off the Essex, and none to carefully, either.

Frankie the Fire Goat Superstar

Frankie the Fire Goat is on Myspace now, and he would love to make friends with you. 

Frankie with Ashettes La Cholita and Paula Baby and Shepherdess Sarah with Channel 7 News' Elsa Ramon

Frankie is feeling awfully proud, since he was on the Channel 7 news live tonight (with his all-showgirl fan club, the fabulous Ashettes) from the Griffith Park community meeting discussing the future of the park post-fire. He very much hopes that future will involve he and his herd munching lots of dry brush so it doesn’t get a chance to catch on fire. He got to meet Councilmen Eric Garcetti and Tom LaBonge and encouraged them both to seriously consider looking into creating a managed goat grazing plan for Griffith Park and the rest of L.A.’s wild spaces. If you agree, please sign Frankie’s petition and then contact them yourself and ask that they set up a meeting soon to discuss the role goats can play in protecting our parks. 

Here are some photos of Frankie and his pals. And yet more photos, these ones by David Markland!

He’s really a lovely goat, and his is a good cause. It was a real treat to spend the afternoon with him and see how people, especially kids, responded to his gentle ways and seemingly bottomless hunger. Thanks to Sarah and Hugh from Nanny & Billy’s Vegetative Management for taking Frankie off the Getty chomping crew for this public appearance, the lovely Ashettes La Cholita and Paula Baby, the informed and passionate Judy Cairns from Peck Park Goats, Elsa Ramon from Channel 7 for giving so much time to this story, and all the nice folks who came over to meet Frankie and learn more about goats as fire fighters.

We want goats! 

Go East, Young Man!

May 23, 1927 
Flagstaff, AZ
Several west coast railroads launched their See America First campaign earlier this week, offering slashed rates to eastern destinations in an effort to equalize east-west travel during the busy summer months.  However, the program got off to a rocky start when two of the first trains to leave Union Station collided early this morning, resulting in two fatalities and 165 injured persons.

The accident took place when a section of the Santa Fe Railroad’s California Limited line stopped on a downgrade to make a brake adjustment, and was plowed by another California Limited train just outside of Flagstaff, AZ.  Sleeping passengers were rattled from their berths as cars were knocked off the rails.  Mrs. Ernest Watson, the wife of a Hollywood firefighter, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, while dozens of other injured passengers and railroad employees were shuttled to nearby Mercy Hospital in Flagstaff.  Twenty-five of the most seriously wounded were transferred back to Los Angeles.  Two of them, Lee Evans, a dining car waiter, and Mrs. Robert L. Vivian, the wife of a retired minister, died en route.  Or so it seemed, for the rumors of Evans’s demise were greatly exaggerated.  A few days after his death was reported, he was found alive and more or less well.

An inquest by the Coroner’s jury in Flagstaff found evidence of negligence, but could not place blame conclusively.  The jury recommended a full investigation to be carried out Arizona state officials.  Arizona passed the buck to the Interstate Commerce Commission who, after a month-long investigation, found the engineer of the second trail negligent for failing to heed caution signals.  Simmons was his name.

You Are There: The Esotouric Press Preview

Nathan Marsak

Last month, we previewed four of Esotouric’s bus adventures for members of the press. Photographer Summer Scotland was aboard, and snapped some striking shots of the city and our hosts as we oozed across town to our rendezvous with Tai Kim’s Bacon-Caramel gelato. Imagine you were there, or thrill to recall that you were, right here. Thanks, Summer!  

The Christian Science Monitor rides along on the Chandler tour

The Christian Science Monitor‘s Dan Wood, a big Chandler fan, was kind enough to join us on the inaugural Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles tour and write a story about his impressions. Won’t you have a look at a little piece he chose to call "A gumshoe’s tour of Los Angeles"? The illustration alone is worth the trip.

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

May 22, 1927
Los Angeles

Sometimes a guy just can’t catch a break: ask three ruffians who had little to show after today’s “reign of terror” except black eyes and bruises.

Stealing a flivver was the easy part. The trouble began when they tried to hold up a disabled man, William Gehem, at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Benton Way. Unimpressed by the large revolvers aimed at his person, Gehem smacked one of them out of his assailant’s hand with his crutch. In retaliation, the bandits knocked him down and robbed him of $12.

The trio next drew their guns on one Sol Feyer. Accosted on the Cornwall Street bridge in Hollenbeck Heights, the feisty Feyer grabbed one of the guns and threw it in the gutter. He then acquitted himself with his fists so well that the bandits jumped into their car and sped off—but not before Feyer, lying bruised in the street, reached up and removed their license plate.

Things went a little better at Rosemont Avenue and Larchmont Boulevard, where the hoodlums held up John Lentz without incident, making off with $100 in cash and jewelry.

But such luck couldn’t hold. Their next “victim,” Walter Swanson (attacked while walking at Pasadena Avenue and Avenue 63), beat two members of the gang with such gusto that police believe they were forced to abandon their nefarious activities for the night. Swanson estimated he battled with the beasts for ten minutes before losing consciousness and being dragged into a vacant lot, where he was stripped of $7 in cash and a $60 watch.

Acting on a telephone tip, police arrested the 19-year-old driver of the stolen getaway car at Pasadena Avenue and Piedmont Street. One can only assume he was relieved to see them. 

Come Meet Frankie the Fire Goat & the Ashettes

Now that the ash from the Griffith Park and Catalina firestorms has settled, citizens want to know what local governments plan do to protect our precious parks from more devastating fires. One solution that’s been proposed is simple, inexpensive and ecological: hire herds of trained fire goats to eat the dry brush before it has a chance to burn. The online Fire Goats Petition has been signed by more than 900 people and featured on KABC news, KFI’s John and Ken Show, KFWB, KTLK, LA CityBeat and LAObserved.

On Wednesday evening, May 23, community members come together at a Griffith Park Community Meeting called by Councilman Tom LaBonge to discuss the future of the park post-fire and to salute the brave LAFD Officers who served on the fire line. Refreshments will be served. The meeting starts at 6pm, but outside the venue at 5:30pm, members of the public and media will have a chance to learn more about the Fire Goats from a very special group of humans and animals.

Frankie the Fire Goat, animal ambassador for fire safety, will be on hand in his cute little fire hat to pose for photos solo and with his members of his beautiful showgirl fan club, The Ashettes. Also attending is Frankie’s shepherdess, Sarah Bunten of Nanny and Billy’s Vegetative Management, to answer questions about her nine years experience clearing brush with managed herds, including her current work for the Getty Museum. Kim Cooper, author of the Fire Goat Petition will be present, as will Judy Cairns from Peck Park Goats, a citizens group dedicated to retaining Sarah’s herd year-round at San Pedro’s Peck Park, where they would be part of an urban farm youth educational program when not clearing brush at other SoCal sites.

Managed grazing by hired herds might sound like an oddball idea, but it’s been enthusiastically embraced in Northern California, which has spent the past 16 years since the deadly 1991 Oakland Hills Conflagration largely fire-free, in stark contrast to flame-swept SoCal. Why are goats the best choice to clear deadly dry brush from our hills and canyons? SAVINGS: acre-for-acre, the cost for a goat herd to clear land is about half the cost of human brush clearing, and goats aren’t just immune to poison oak, they eat it! EFFICIENCY: a herd of 350 goats can clear an acre in a day, leaving the grass cropped down to putting green height and dangerous dry brush eliminated. Plus they can get into areas that humans can’t safely reach. ENVIRONMENT: unlike gasoline-powered brush clearing tools, goats are quiet and nearly carbon-neutral, and they fertilize the land as they work. CHARISMA: goats are so cute, they’re a perfect advertisement for fire safety, an issue we all need to be more aware of.

Please come out Wednesday to learn more about this innovative fire fighting technique, discuss the future of Griffith Park and give a big thank you to the fire fighters who did such a wonderful job two weeks ago.

Location: Friendship Auditorium, 3201 Riverside Drive, LA 90027
Time: Weds 5/23 at 5:30pm (Fire Goat meet and greet); 6pm (Community Meeting)

Frankie is looking forward to meeting you!