Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Long Beach Earthquake of 1933

On March 10, the Los Angeles Times and other publication recalled the 75th anniversary of the Long Beach earthquake that killed over 100 people. This picture is from the Santa Ana Public Library collection, and shows:

Damage from March 1933 earthquake to Woolworth and Lowe's on 4th Street on March 10, 1933. Truck and automobile are parked in front of the building. Men are picking bricks off the street. Whole walls on the face of the building are missing. Collected by Ada T. Ozmun, deputy probation officer.

March 1933 was also the month that FDR closed the banks, at least a week before the earthquake struck. In his autobiography Harpo Speaks! Harpo Marx remembered the day. Frenchie, the father of the Marx Brothers, had a heart attack and March 10 was the first day Harpo was allowed to visit him:

While I was in Frenchie's hospital room one of the biggest shocks of the earthquake hit Los Angeles. His bed, which was on wheels, began to spin around the room. For some stupid reason I tried to push it back where it belonged, and wound up pinned to the wall. Frenchie was more worried about me than about himself. I told him not to worry. I never had it so easy, I said. Every time the earth shook my harp was home playing be itself. I was being saved a whole days' practice.

This picture, copied from Wikipedia, is a screen capture of Harpo from an early film, probably Animal Crackers, 1931.

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