Those Monkeys in City Hall

October 10, 1927
Joe Pagglia had always wanted a pet monkey.  His friends and neighbors told him, "Joe, why not a kitty cat or a nice turtle?  Monkeys may be cute, but they fling their poop.  Who needs that?"  But Joe was undeterred, and was soon the proud owner of a monkey named Barney.  As everybody knows, monkeys hate to be cooped up, so being a proud and good pet owner, Joe Pagglia took Barney downtown for a stroll.

Unfortunately, in front of the under-construction City Hall, Barney slipped his rope leash and darted up a palm tree.  As Joe and several others struggled to coax Barney down, a crowd of about 600 spectators gathered to cheer them on.  Enjoying his audience, or perhaps terrified of them, Barney leaped 15 feet out of the palm tree, and made a dash for City Hall.  He then proceeded to scale the building, and in three minutes, was sitting on the Lindbergh Beacon.

Pagglia went up to the 28th floor, and cajoled Barney into position.  Then, he made a lasso, tossed it over Barney’s head, cinched it around his belly and hoisted his simian friend into Daddy’s loving arms.  The Times reported that "hereafter, the monkey pet will occupy a cage in Pagglia’s backyard," which is terribly sad.  But Barney seems like a crafty fellow – here’shoping he eventually made another break for it.

Only in LA: Peat Fires, Mature Mermaids and Baboon Co-Pilots

August 10, 1927
Los Angeles 

At Hauser and Jefferson today, Vernadine Burke and Margaret Goesman, both 16, sank up to their ankles in the burning peat that was combusting merrily away beneath the surface. In trying to extricate themselves, the horrified girls also scorched their hands. They were treated at Receiving Hospital and released.

At the Biltmore, manager and VP James Woods was deftly fending off the insistent demands of Captain J.M. Burman, mariner, aviator and San Pedro resident, that the hotel back his scheme to fly from Japan to Los Angeles with his pet baboon as his co-pilot. Burman states he is ideally suited for such a flight because he knows all the Pacific mountain peaks by which he and his monkey pal would steer.

And in Venice, Mrs. Anna E. Van Skike was planning to celebrate her 67th birthday with a 25-mile swim from Point Dume back to her home shore, in recognition of the good health that regular swimming has brought her. Her doctors declared she had tuberculosis at 55 and would surely die, but swimming chased the lung blots away for the Oklahoma native. Hundreds turned out in 1924 to watch the lady dive off the Venice pier, swim ten miles along the shore and sing the "Star Spangled Banner" from the waves on her return.

This is Van Skike’s seventh birthday distance swim, and her longest, and will be done with the support, encouragement and liberal doses of hot coffee from lifeguards Slert and Kinney, who will row their boat in the wake of the olive oil-coated "aged mermaid." She’ll begin the feat at 2am and hopes to be home in time for dinner, though she often quips she would "rather swim than eat" and avoids fried food and pastry for their waterlogging effects. She prefers the pre-dawn hours for her feats, as the water is calmer then, and she is subject to seasickness in heavy surf. She has founded a distance swimming club, and recommends the activity to all.

anna e van skike