vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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A 'Mirror' tossed, but does not break

This "mirror" we're referring to isn't anything that Carole Lombard actually gazed into, but a blog in the Los Angeles Times called "The Daily Mirror," named in honor of the defunct Los Angeles Mirror, a Times-owned afternoon paper (which also went by the name Mirror-News, as seen below in a November 1957 front page) until it was shut down at the end of 1961 as part of an agreement with the Hearst Corporation, which merged its two papers into the afternoon Los Angeles Herald-Examiner.

The blog, run by a Times staffer named Larry Harnisch, has been a great source of entries for "Carole & Co.", as it's run many entertainment-related items relating to Lombard, particularly from 1939 to 1941. But it's simply flat-out fun to read, giving you a feel for many facets of Los Angeles history (not just Hollywood). Entries this year have tended to focus on 1941 and 1961 (the latter was the year the estimable Jim Murray began writing his sports columns for the Times), and it's fascinating to see the city evolve from a parochial enclave largely dominated by expatriate midwestern Protestants -- like the Peters family of Fort Wayne, Ind. -- into the multicultural West Coast colossus. (The Times itself was beginning to change from a right-wing, though authoritative, newspaper into an award-winner.)

However, the Daily Mirror blog nearly wound up in the past tense, similar to its newspaper namesake. The Times recently decided to end the blog, citing low traffic, preferring to keep blogs on subjects such as "Hero Complex," dealing with comic books and movies based on them. (If that's where the collective head of the motion picture industry -- and audience -- is, no wonder it's in such a mess.) But bean counters don't realize that history, because of its very nature, isn't something that inherently produce traffic; it isn't ephemera, but something meant to last. (Or maybe they subscribe to the silly canard that Los Angeles has no history.)

But to paraphrase old radio newscaster Gabriel Heatter, there's good news tonight -- the Mirror lives! Harnisch, still a Times copy editor, has started a "Daily Mirror" blog (http://ladailymirror.com), though I'm not certain whether the archives of the former blog will eventually make the move as well (for now, at least, they can still be found at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thedailymirror/). Below is an illustration taken from the new blog, a July 24, 1932 Times cartoon featuring Miss Los Angeles (a frequent character of cartoonist Ted Gale) welcoming the world to the Summer Olympics.

I'm pleased, and you should be, too. As should Times executives; as we all know, a broken mirror leads to seven years' bad luck, and under the ownership of the Tribune Co., that newspaper has had enough hardships recently. And somewhere Lombard -- a voracious reader of the Times and other newspapers -- is probably delighted, as is longtime Times writer Edwin Schallert (William's father), who wrote this piece on Dec. 12, 1938:


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