Give Us Some Candy, or We’ll Blow You Up!

Give Us Some Candy Headline

October 29, 1927
Beverly Hills

Police seized 300 pounds of dynamite, black powder, cellulose, and 1000 fulminate of mercury capsules which had been concealed in a garage at 1201 Kalamazoo Street in Beverly Hills. The garage is at the home of Dick Baird, one of three high school students who had planned to use the explosives to celebrate Halloween with more than just costumes and masks. Beverly Hills High

The police were first notified of suspicious activity by the principal of Beverly Hills High School. He complained that several powerful firecrackers had recently been exploded on school grounds. The subsequent search revealed that three boys: Dick Baird, Cecil Merritt, and Joel Smith had been carrying dynamite caps and short fuses in their pockets, and then pitching the small bombs from classroom windows.

The source of the dynamite was found to be in Higgins Canyon west of Beverly Hills, where it had been stored by the Beverly Hills Road Company since completing a project in 1925. One of the youths admitted that he had rolled down a seventy-five foot embankment clutching a box of the stolen dynamite, which he then transferred to a waiting automobile!

Explosives experts told police that if the dynamite had been ignited it would have jolted the entire city of Beverly Hills, leveled a whole residential block, and would probably have resulted in many deaths.

The boys will not be prosecuted; however, police are extremely interested in speaking with those persons responsible for abandoning the dynamite.

CourtTV rides the Crime Bus

Lisa Sweetingham of CourtTV rode the Halloween Horrors Crime Bus, and reports in with a charming little feature she calls "The bus ride to hell, and back."

LOS ANGELES — "Ladies and gentlemen, this tour should not be taken by anyone with a heart condition … We recommend you leave the bus immediately." A tour guide makes the announcement as the doors slam shut on our filled-to-capacity 56-seat cruising bus. We are rolling into Los Angeles noir, embarking on an exhaustive five-hour tour of grisly crime scenes and lesser Halloween hijinks from the ’20s to the ’50s.

The 1947project’s inaugural Halloween Horrors crime bus tour is touted as a BYOBB (Bring Your Own Barf Bag) event. And no children are allowed.

So why is there a clown breathing down my neck?

Crimebo the crime clown (aka Michael Perrick) bares his teeth and purrs in a gravelly voice as he walks down the aisle with a cauldron full of cheap candy, some shaped like eyeballs. "Something sticky?" he offers.

He pops a balloon animal and quips, "These things just keep committing suicide."

Kindly click to read on.

Hallowe’en Hi-Jinx

October 31, 1907vandals
Los Angeles

Everyone loves Hallowe’en high jinks—the artfully tossed toilet tissue, the odd splattered egg.  In 1907, of course, kids were simpler.  They just caused railroad collisions and overturned buildings.

That the honest pleasures of simple thievery and gunplay would suffice:  Mrs. W. Baker of 1211 Westlake Blvd. lost her potted plants, and her front gate, in fact numerous complaints came from the Westlake district of purloined porch furniture, and again, mysteriously, missing gates.  Horse and buggies were stolen, and young men fired their guns at random, and we assume that a jack-o-lantern may have been smashed.  But can a good time go too far?

Rail-greasings were the order of the evening’s festivities, as twenty-five yards of rail were greased at Santa Barbara and Vermont Avenue, causing the collision of two street cars; passengers were jolted, but none were injured.  Similarly, a Grand and Downey Avenue car collided with a Vermont car, and a Vermont car crashed into a Redondo car, and a West Eleventh Street car slammed into a Grand Avenue car—Los Angeles Railway called out 100 men, fitted with sand and rags, to identify and correct grease traps and prevent further hooliganism.  Pacific Electric men found oiled rails at two spots in Pasadena, and corrected the traps before more mayhem ensued.  A  tie was also placed across the Downey Avenue line, and a straw dummy was set up between the rails of the Pasadena short line.

Most remarkably, some students of Archimedes used a lever to overturn an entire real estate office.  The 12×20 foot structure, at Avenue 46 and Pasadena Avenue, was filled with $500 ($10,261.79USD 2005) in new furniture that realtor W. H. Gilbert had recently purchased for his home; after overturning the building the vandals set about smashing all the furniture.  

And so went another Los Angeles Hallowe’en, filled with holiday release.  One wonders if there wasn’t a budding Sylvestre Matuschka in the spirited mix.

Seats now available on The Halloween Horrors Crime Bus Tour

Join us, gentle rider, on the Crime Bus!

NEW TOUR: Saturday 10/21, 1pm-6pm, Hallowe’en Horrors, a five hour guided luxury coach tour to the most grisly, weird, horrific and unintentionally hilarious crime scenes of old Los Angeles. This tour is not recommended for children, and we suggest you BYOBB (bring your own barf bag). More info here.

UPDATE: The October 21 tour has nearly sold out, so we have added a second bus on Sunday October 22, 1pm-6pm. If interested in tickets for Sunday or Saturday , please contact us to reserve, then you may either send a check or pay with Paypal here. Seats are $47/person, which includes Halloween-flavored Scoops gelato. Departure location – a metro station near downtown LA, provided to all passengers close to tour time.

AND YES: Passengers are welcome to wear costumes!   

Accepting pre-reservations on next two crime bus tours

Gentle rider,

The Crime Bus Tour will ride again in September and October, and while final details are still being worked out before we can begin selling tickets, we are accepting pre-reservations to make it easier for interested passengers to fit us into their schedules.

Note that our regular 5 hour Crime Bus tours cost $47, but it is possible that the Dahlia tour will be both shorter and less expensive.

The upcoming tours are as follows:

1) The Real Black Dahlia, Saturday 9/16 and perhaps also Sunday 9/17 (to coincide with opening weekend of the Black Dahlia film), in which we will visit many of the places Elizabeth Short actually frequented during her time in Los Angeles, including the spot where her body was found. The tour also includes scenes familiar from many of the weird theories surrounding her death, and a presentation by myself and Nathan on Dr. Walter Bayley, the only viable suspect ever proposed by a crime researcher, our 1947project colleague Larry Harnisch.

2) Halloween Horrors, Saturday 10/21, our darkest tour yet, featuring the most horrible, weird and disturbing stories uncovered in our researches. This tour is not recommended for children or the faint of heart, and you might want to bring your own barf bag.

If interested in either tour, please email me with your name, phone number, and number of tickets desired. For the Dahlia tour, note if you can attend Saturday, Sunday or either. This does not obligate you to buy tickets, but you’ll get first crack at them when they are available. If it’s the Pasadena Confidential tour you wish to ride, let me know, as it will give us an idea of the demand and help determine when to schedule the next run.