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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Matt Weinstock -- February 13, 1959

Thorns and Fragrance

Matt_weinstockd_2 It's the time of year when the two factions of the greeting card world, the sentimental and the offbeat, resume their snarling. The hearts-and-flowers folks have lost a little ground in the last few years to the impudent group, but to hear them tell it they're not giving an inch and they predict sweetness and light will ultimately prevail.

A couple of local boys, Bill Box and Bill Kennedy, who represent the audacious and racy school of thought, resent having their cartoons called "sick" art. Kennedy, interviewed in Newsweek, says, "It's laughing at life itself."

One of their current numbers shows a grizzled bum with a tin cup of pencils. The caption, "Things are tough." On the inside flap, "So be tender."

Meanwhile, coming up strong on the inside as usual, and unconcerned about the conflict, is the Retail Candy Store Institute, which suggests that for St. Valentine's Day candy is still dandy.

* *

1959_0213_paul_weeksWITH THEIR customary inspiration, the boys on the copy desk went to work between editions naming some fictitious towns, as follows:

Rano, Mo,; Farmerina, Del.; Lukmahnocav, Vt.; Phytawnfarole, S.C.; Daddyzinna, Kan.; Mahnpahzinna, Penn.; Eggsen Bay, Conn.; Ahmsoterribl, Ill.; Kildare, Md., and, of course, Hauge, Wash.

* *

Sing a song of sixpence
But sing it with a sigh:
For what the heck will sixpence

* *

SOMETIMES that so-called long arm of coincidence can sneak up behind a guy and almost choke him to death.

A week ago there was an item here about a junior high school teacher in San Fernando Valley grimly greeting her new class on opening day of the new semester with, "All you've heard about me was true!"

1959_0213_dubois A teacher at Sutter Junior High in Reseda inquired if he might be the teacher referred to, as he had said precisely the same thing to his class.

A woman teacher at Walter Reed Junior High in North Hollywood wondered if she was the one, as she had also said it to her new class.

Nope, it was a teacher at Patrick Henry Junior High, also in the Valley.

* *

SPEAKING OF coincidence, publicist Jerry Hoffman called an agent for some pictures of an actor client and received them with a note from the agent's secretary, Patricia Lowe, stating, "And how have you been?"

Jerry's memory clicked into gear and he remembered a book he'd borrowed from her long ago -- 31 years ago, he determined, incredibly. He looked in a closet and found it -- "Meaning No Offense," by John Riddell, pseudonym of Corey Ford. 

A robotic performance of George Antheil's "Ballet Mecanique."

He sent it to her with a paperback duplicate for interest and this note: "'Neither a borrower nor a lender be' was said by Polonius but not to me. I borrowed, with the best intent, of returning quickly what was lent. The years are fleeting, 20? 30? Now where's the book, is it town or dirty? I searched. I feared -- my, such suspense! At last, it's here, 'Meaning No Offense.'"

* *

AROUND TOWN -- Public relations note: Letters to newspaper executives from R. Hoe & Co., manufacturers of printing equipment each included a new $1 bill for their secretaries so they'd be sure to call their bosses' attention to the Hoe ad in Editor & Publisher. Easiest buck the girls ever earned . . . Wonder if Jerome Kern is flipping in his grave at what the rock-and-rollers are doing to "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" . . . Note from a lady in Big Bear: "Imagine all that fuss over one disputed Abominable Snowman in the Himalayas. We get three inches of snow up here and the place is crawling with abominable snowmen" . . . "Whatsamatter with those Latin Americans, tearing off half of Jayne Mansfield's dress?" D. K. asks, "Didn't they ever hear of the striptease?"  
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