The Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News

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It was a young paper, founded in 1923 by young Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. of New York. When it folded in the spring of 1926, the city’s newspaper titans William Randolph Hearst and Harry Chandler hoped the upstart tabloid would stay gone. But in August, a man with no newspaper experience dealt them a decisive “Boddy blow” and was soon taking on the city’s new Chief of Police.

 

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5-4-1926

Vanderbilt established his Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News in a three-story brick building at the northwest corner of Pico & Los Angeles streets that had been designed by architect Fred R. Dorn in 1916 as a garage and repair shop for Earl Automobile Works.

1917 ad for the new Earl Automobile Works garage at 1257 S. Los Angeles St. at Pico, managed at the time by Harley Earl. Cadillac dealer Don Lee bought out the company in 1919. “Exclusive bodies” gave way to Boddy exclusives as building went on to house the Illustrated Daily News.

The fledgling paper was tabloid in format- being small than a standard-sized newspaper- but not in content, and sold for a penny. Los Angeles didn’t warm to it though; despite backing from the Vanderbilt millions, the paper went into receivership in May 1926.

Two months later a group of stockholders purchased the paper and appointed Elias Manchester Boddy (pronounced “boady”) as editor and general manager.

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8-7-1926

Born in Washington state, the 34-year-old Boddy had worked in New York as an Encyclopedia Britannica salesman. He would later joke that before taking over the Daily News, his only experience with newspapers was sleeping under them on New York streetcars when he was broke. After serving in World War I, he came out to Los Angeles for his health.

manchester_boddyWith Boddy at the helm, The Daily News soon began a campaign- against the rampant corruption and vice in the city under Mayor Cryer, District Attorney Asa Keyes and newly-appointed Chief of Police James E. Davis. According to his obituary, Boddy “acquired a reputation as the crusading white knight of utopian Southern California.”

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Police Chief James E. Davis in 1926. He was appointed to the position on a provisional basis in April after the abrupt resignation of his predecessor R. Lee Heath. It was made permanent in July. In October, Davis disbanded the central vice squad in a “shake up” of the department. Known for his expert marksmanship, he later acquired the nickname “Two-Gun.” LAPL

Boddy retired in 1952. The Daily News folded in December 1954. It was purchased by the LA Daily Mirror, a Chandler publication. The Daily News Building at Pico & Los Angeles streets was sold in federal bankruptcy court in April 1955; it is still standing. Boddy died in 1967 at age 75. His former La Caῇada home and its botanical gardens (now Descano Gardens) is open to the public.

Top image: Top image: The Daily News building in the 1920s. UCLA special collections

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