Patterico's Pontifications


Lucky Little Ladies In The City Of Light, And Other Lost Angels In The City Of Night

Filed under: Books,Crime,General,Miscellaneous — Justin Levine @ 1:04 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

I know that print newspapers are old skool these days, but for my money, the best newspaper that ever lived was the L.A. Herald-Examiner. It managed to provide the greatest and most artistic examples of photojournalism in the history of the medium.

Diane Keaton released a great compilation of Examiner photos in a book some years back. Anyone interested in the real history of both Los Angeles and journalism should be sure to pick it up for their library.

Now, the USC Digital Archive has managed to collate many more great examples of the Examiner’s work (much of it from the early 1950’s). This stuff is so awesome that it rightfully belongs in a museum’s permanent collection (in addition to being digitally accessible on-line of course). You look into these people’s faces and it all tells a story to bring you back to that point in time and space.

Check out Patterico’s predecessors in the L.A. D.A.’s office confabbing with the Chief of Police. (For the record, that is Herbert R. Van Brunt and S. Ernest Roll speaking to Chief William Parker in the center.)

A lot of poor souls populated this city yesterday as today.

For example –

A beat cop checking out the scene of a double murder on Mansfield Ave. [* Warning – graphic photo.]

Meet 17-year-old Robert Hughes. He killed himself shortly after getting a traffic citation.

Meet 36-year-old Martha Riggins Addison. Her husband just left her (but she thankfully still knows how to dress).

Of course it wasn’t all heartache and sorrow. The Examiner knew how to cover the happy stories too.

For instance, these dogs were fortunately saved from a blaze on Robertson.

A kidnapped girl was thankfully returned to her family.

A local Humane Officer rescues a blind baby sea lion at Carbrillo beach.

But the Examiner’s true forte was covering local crime. On this subject, it had no peer.

Check out the photographic record of those who would menace the City of Angels –

35-year-old Katherine C. Pollin – a bather who was arrested for lack of clothing.

Mary T. Scheck – (allegedly) practicing dentistry without a license.

Then of course there was the true scourge of Los Angeles – bad check writers. The Examiner tried to catalogue them all.

Irma McCann and Shelly Clark were both hauled into court for writing bad checks. Which one do you think got off easier?

And let’s not forget about the innocent victims of bad check writing. Poor Linda Ware sold her jewelry to some scumbag who gave her a check for $185. It bounced. She got screwed.

What kind of news do you really want? Stories told with artistry like this? Or a regurgitation of bullet points sent out in a press release posted to the Internet by the media flacks of our political parties? I know what I would choose.

And for those who claim that our “tabloid media” is out of control these days and intruding on our privacy like never before – I submit that you simply don’t know the history of this town, or journalism for that matter.

Meet Glenda Jo Banning. On September 24th, 1951, the press hounded her for her dastardly crime as she desperately tried to navigate her way through the halls of justice here in L.A.

Her offense? Marijuana possession. Yep – She was a hop head I tell ya! The newsrooms knew it too! That’s why they did everything they could to position themselves for a good shot with their cameras. Lindsey Lohan thinks she has it bad?? Please! She couldn’t lick Banning’s shoe soles on the paparazzi scale.

So let me raise a toast to the greatest paper there ever was. The L.A. Herald-Examiner. You are truly missed.  [And a big thanks to the USC Digital Archive for returning some great cultural memories to us.]

[posted by Justin Levine]

12 Responses to “Lucky Little Ladies In The City Of Light, And Other Lost Angels In The City Of Night”

  1. Awesome.

    It makes me appreciate LA Confidential and how much they made the film really look like 1950’s LA.

    See Dubya (359752)

  2. LAT was the best paper in the West 55 years ago. Parker was the best LAPD Chief, ever. Sam was not a good Mayor but much better than the last 2.

    A very old exJarhead

    Rodney A Stanton (a535b1)

  3. Rodney –

    I have heard from many that Parker was arguably the most influential chief L.A. ever had. They don’t call it “Parker Center” for nothing.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  4. I missed most of those pix from the early 50’s, we were an afternoon paper family and took the Herald- EXPRESS! My dad was a Teamster, and would never read a Hearst paper, or the Chandler rag. When the H-E merged with the Examiner, we switched to the L.B. Press-Telegram.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  5. Excellent, amazing stuff. Kudos to USC for resurrecting it.

    Pablo (99243e)

  6. Justin – There is no way that Shelly Clark got punished, but Irma might have met Old Sparky.

    JD (06a9d8)

  7. JD –

    My thoughts exactly.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  8. Hey my comments are being blocked. Just put two under the “A Picture of Two Holy Books in Toilets Says a Thousand Words” post.

    Can you allow one of the, preferably the slightly longer one?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  9. Justin – The worst thing that was going to happen to Ms. Clark would be that the defense attorney, ADA, judge, baliffs, and basically any other male in the courthouse would find a way to take her out rather than send her to jail.

    JD (06a9d8)

  10. Best LA noir thriller USC keeps hidden: “Cry Danger” (1951); Dick Powell, Rhonda Fleming, William Conrad & Richard Erdman.

    steve (b83d53)

  11. The suits in the DA photo would be fashionable today and just about any time in between, save the gruesome 70’s. There’s a lesson in there about buying fine menswear.

    spongeworthy (45b30e)

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