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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Matt Weinstock -- February 14, 1959

A Raid, A Hunch

Matt_weinstockd_3 Deputy sheriffs this week raided a bookmaking joint in West Hollywood with 10 telephones, indicating it was a big operation.

As the two suspects were taken into custody and evidence was gathered, the phones kept ringing.

Officers answered them and told the people not to call anymore as the place had been raided.

But the phones kept ringing and while the deputies were busy, photog Eli Ressler, who with Ed Fleming of Channel 2 went along for the raid, picked one up. A woman said, "I want to put a bet on--" Eli said, "I'm sorry, lady, the place has been raided" -- and hung up.

SOON THE phone rang again and the same woman asked, "Are you the gentleman who just answered the phone?" He said yes. She said, "I want to put a bet on the third race tomorrow." Eli said, "But lady, the place has been raided, the police are here."

"Are you a cop?" "No."

"All right then, take my bet -- I want to bet on Channel 2 in the third tomorrow." "But lady, you can't bet anymore." Click.

Now there was one of those hunch bets of all time -- a lady in a frenzy to bet on a horse named Channel 2, the station from which Eli worked. He resolutely refrained, but the word got around and from usually reliable sources it is reported other KNXTers bet on it, presumably with their bookies. 

This is to report that Channel 2, the horse, ran 10th in a field of 11, proving you can lead a better to slaughter but you cannot make him think.

* *

THERE'S DIVIDED opinion among writers about opening sentences of books and short stories. Some contend the reader should be captured instantly and his interest should not be permitted to stray until he's hooked. Others disagree, saying the heck with anyone who won't read at least the first half dozen paragraphs.

Anyway, Al Meyers came up with what he considers the most provocative opening sentence ever written-- from Francis Yeats-Brown's "Lives of a Bengal Lancer": "All the long way from Bareilly to Khushalgarh on the Indus I was alone in my railway carriage with two couchant lions." 

* *

Moon creatures, Moon creatures
Flee while you can,
Ere you encounter
The blessings of Man.

* *

KID STUFF -- Heather Akin, 9, accidentally kicked a dinner guest under the table, then apologized, "I was only trying to find a place where your feet aren't" . . . After playing a while with his sons Jimmy, 7, and Kenny, 3, John Aitchison, secretary to Desi Arnaz , announced he had to go to work. They asked why -- it was a holiday-- and he explained he had to go to work to make money. "Can't you bring the machine home," Jimmy asked, "and make the money here?"

* *

A SUBSCRIBER signing John Q. Quibble writes, "I see you boys did it again- the bannerline, 'Crack Train Plunges Off Track.' Why must it always be a 'crack' train? Don't ordinary trains ever jump the track?"

The dictionary states "crack" is an adjective in good standing, meaning "of superior excellence," but I agree, this has gone too far. I plan to consult the editor about discontinuing words that irritate people.

* *

FOOTNOTES -- People blink when they see the pumping oil rigs on the parking lot of the new Broadway Del Amo, on Hawthorne Boulevard in Torrance . . . In assembling information for the Valentine's Day exhibit in City Hall Tower Gallery, Ken Ross, director of the Municipal Art Department, learned that an estimated 1,500,000 valentines went through the L.A. mails this year . . . The guessing game has started as to the identity of the author of the book "The Vanishing Evangelist," due out in May. It deals with the sensational disappearance of Aimee Semple McPherson in 1929. Lately Thomas, the name used, is a pseudonym. 

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