Oy, it’s been a while since my last post. First, some old business. In my last post, I asked if anyone could recognize the two fellas in their short johns standing by RFK. No one got the correct answer (because no one tried to answer it), but in case you’re interested they are two running backs for the New York Giants, Ernie Koy and Tucker Fredrickson. The photo is part of a large collection I haveâ€” Â and will post over time â€” of pictures taken for Eliot Asinof’s wonderful book about pro football “Seven Days to Sunday,” in which he spent time as a fly on the wall at the Giants camp in 1966. Great book, terrible team. Oh well.
Now on to new business. In the mid-1980s, I made my first trip to California to research a book that eventually went into the trash. Still, it was a great trip. To amuse myself, I bought this guidebook to dozens of gruesome historical sites around the city and decided it would be fun to make a photo album of me standing like a tourist in front of some of these places, generally oblivious to the horribleness that went on inside. Afterall, I was playing the archetypal American tourist (“Yes, Martha, take a picture of me on the grassy knoll” without a sense of irony) This really became the inspiration for my “Eve’s Apple” book, which also went nowhere. Still, I thought I’d post some of the pictures of me in my brown-haired days as the Gruesome Tourist.
The first shows me in front of the house where Alfalfa (aka Carl Switzer) from the Li’l Rascals was shot and killed over a gambling debt. I actually knocked on the door and the lady who owned the place let me in and showed me the room where he was killed. She took me to her son’s bedroom and showed me the bullet holes, which were still in the wall. Apparently, the kid made a little living charging people to come and stick their fingers in the holes. I explained to her that I didn’t practice checkbook journalism, so she let me off the hook.
Here’s the shot:
…and the end of football season, my lovely and long-suffering wife suggested an item with a football theme. I went digging through my memorabilia and came up with this:
I figure people will know the guy in the suit, but anyone want to take a whack at the two guys in their underwear? The next post I’ll fill you in on the story.
Funny though, when I started to look for football stuff, I remembered I used to have a football signed by the then Super Bowl champs, the 1970 Kansas City Chiefs. Alas, I also remembered I sold it years ago to pay the rent on my apartment. Now that had an interesting back story. In the late 1970s, my Dad represented the estate of some guy known in New York City as the “porn king.” Now this was when VHS and Betamax were fighting a death battle, and after the porn king’s estate was liquidated, there were a few things left over that no one claimed, because, I gathered, the guy’s whole family was ashamed to be associated with him.
One of the items was a top-loading RCA video recorder. These things sold for big bucks in those days, way more than I could afford. He also had a complete porn library. My Dad offered me the VHS machine, and he also asked me whether I wanted a bunch of x-rated movies to go with it. Idiot me, I said no, but did he have any Marx Brothers? It turned out the porn king was a fan, and he had a complete collection. This was when a video cost forty or fifty bucks, so the dozen or so films were actually worth more than the Jeff Kisseloff estate. Anyway, I got the VHS (which in the five years that I owned it I could never once figure out how to use the timer to tape a show off the TV) and a film collection that made me the envy of all my friends. Of course, had I chosen “The Devil and Miss Jones” and “DeepÂ Throat” I would have been even more popular, but you know, a person can have just so many friends.
The day the recorder and films were delivered there was something else in the box: you guessed it, the signed football. Now, how and why he got it I have no idea (maybe he made a porn film called “Kansas City, Here We Come”), but I now owned it, that was, until the day the landlord came knocking and there was nothing in my checking account. To tell you the truth, I can’t say I really miss it much. I still have the Marx Brothers films though. I think my Dad ended up with some highlights from the rest of his library. So porn king, may you rest in peace. In death, at least, you gave me a lot of laughs.
First, thanks to one of our aceÂ detective readers, Jack, you can now see the cover of the Life magazine that Harry Dubin was selling the day he was posing as a newspaper vendor in June 1957. Here it is:
Now the following long predates Harry, but I thought if any of you wanted to impress your friends by convincing them you were once a diehard Communist, here’s your chance. Below is the front and back of a blank membership card in the Workers’ Party of America, which was actually the above-ground unit of the Communist Party USA formed after its leadership was forced underground in the 1920s by the the goon squad, also known as the Justice Department â€” ironically.
Here’s the card: