LAPD Historical Museum Exhibits New Photos of Black Dahlia in Hollywood- The Riddle of the Foo Dog
CAN YOU SOLVE THE RIDDLE OF THE FOO AND DISCOVER WHAT YEAR THIS PHOTO OF ELIZABETH SHORT WAS TAKEN?
Los Angeles, California
In its 2012 Black Dahlia Exhibit, the LAPD
Historical Society made public several never before seen photographs of Elizabeth
Photo above shows Elizabeth
“Black Dahlia” Short standing next to one of the Shishi or Foo Dogs, who has been guarding the entrance to
Hollywood’s, Grauman’s Chinese Theater since it was built in 1927.
Photo No. 2 (below) appears to have been taken at the same time and shows Elizabeth standing next to a billboard.
We know this photo was taken in Hollywood between 1943 and 1946.
The only immediate clue to help us possibly establish the year taken would be the partial wording written on the billboard behind Elizabeth’s left shoulder which appears to read:
(SKH NOTE- The Swedish film, Elvira Madigan was produced in Europe in 1942, which likely would have distributed to the U.S. later, however, the spelling is not the same as seen in this picture.)
I suspect the above photo was taken in 1943, 1944, or 1945 as Elizabeth’s face appears thinner in weight than in the later photos taken in 1946. See below comparisons.
I here offer a free personalized copy of Black Dahlia Avenger II, along with the honorary rank of ARMCHAIR DETECTIVE 2, to the first person who can Email me the documented solution to the billboard riddle and thus establish the year this photo was taken.
Was it 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, or 1946?
I am reposting below FAQ 53 from August, 2007, where I initially addressed and examined the possibility that Elizabeth Short was captured on some 16 mm stock film footage, seen riding in an open convertible down Hollywood Blvd., on VJ Day, in August 1945. Many who have seen this footage on television believe this rare footage is in fact, Elizabeth Short. (As do I.)
Below is a comparison of the 1945 VJ photo to the known photo of Elizabeth Short taken in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Interesting to note that the two photos were taken only four blocks apart. The photo in the convertible was taken in the 6500 block of Hollywood and the known photo of Elizab
eth taken in the 6900 block of Hollywood Blvd.
Maybe the poster is for Brazilian actress Elvira Pagan who also used the spelling Pagã. IMDB lists her under the second spelling.
She had a 1940 movie entitled “Laranja da China” or Chinese Orange. She was in a documentary called Vegas Nights in 1948, which appears to have had North American distribution, see movie poster for sale:
I think the poster we see in the Short photo has an A before the G as the lower right corner is squared. The letter that is covered by Elizabeth’s left shoulder could be a P in that font.
Perhaps it is not a movie poster, but a poster for a personal appearance, maybe burlesque or cabaret?
The pictures were taken in 1946 and the name on the sign is Elvira Pagan.
Here is a website with more photos of Elizabeth at the same time:
Steve I think both these people should get a book. Both Austin because he first figured it out and Karen who found the proof of the photos. Keep up the good work!
The Horror Unlimited blog says that the “Elvira” photo was taken in front of Tom Breneman’s in Hollywood in the summer of 1946. This restaurant had a floor show and Breneman also broadcast his own radio show in the 1940s.
Was Elvira Pagan in the floor show? Is this the type of thing Mark Hansen might have been involved with?
KH: You may be correct that the year was 1946, but we need something more than “The Horror Unlimited blog says that..” Ditto the LAPD Historical references. We need to be able to establish exactly WHICH photos the witnesses are referencing. Also, someone writing in saying it is a relative doesn’t establish it as fact. For example the Horror Unlimited shows a photo of Elizabeth with the “Unidentified Man” and claims it was taken in California in 1946. It was not, we know from LAPD and the DA Files the person in the photo with her is George Main and it was taken in Indianapolis, IA. Also the reference to the group of photos together they claim are her publicity photos. They are not, they were put together by me for an updated chapter in BDA. We need some independent evidence other than, “he said.. or she said.” Best, Steve
I am fairly well convinced that the photo was taken at Tom Breneman’s on Vine and that the poster is for an appearance by Elvira Pagan. If this is true, then the best avenue for verifying the date of the photo would be to pinpoint the date of Ms. Pagan’s appearance, possibly on the “Breakfast In Hollywwood” radio show which was broadcast from Breneman’s restaurant. The restaurant was opened in 1945. So this narrows the possibilities to the years 1945, 1946 and, possibly, the first two weeks of 1947. You could, of course, subtract the periods when Ms. Short was out of town and narrow it down a bit more.
I have been unable to pin down the exact date of the restaurant’s opening. Likewise, I have been unable to find more than a handful of “Breakfast In Hollywood” episodes available for listening, nor have I been able to find anything like a comprehensive listing of guests on the program. Most of the episodes available are from 1947.
Maybe there is archival information to be found on the restaurant and the guest artists who appeared there. Perhaps there is an expert or aficionado of Hollywood history who could shed further light on this.
Info on Elvira Pagã, or Pagan, has also proved elusive. To pursue that avenue, you might need to find an expert on Brazilian entertainers of the 1940s.
Surviving family of Tom Breneman and/or Elvira Pagan may also offer a line of investigation.
Wish I could be of more help, but am offering these thoughts in the hopes that it might help you or someone else who’s reading this to find the information you’re looking for.
Austin S: Thank you for the comment. You are spot on with your suggestions on how to continue investigating and attempting to confirm ones findings. Multiple reliable sources to verify ones findings is essential at getting to the truth. That is why public postings are so essential. Many will be invalid, but some will be accurate which leads to validation. Thks again. steve
Hi Steve! If it helps any, the blouse Elizabeth Short is wearing at the place with the “Elvira” poster is the same she is photographed wearing with Robert Robertson, Summer, 1946, on the Black Dahlia in Hollywood website.
Heather: Thanks. Am I missing some documentation here? Maybe I overlooked it. I know that the blouse is the same in the pics and very likely taken on the same day. I’m trying to establish an official verification other than someone writing in and saying “thats her with my relative Robert Robertson.” My understanding was the police report connects her with a photo with an unidentified man but does not go on to identify which photo? Did I miss it? Best, Steve
Elizabeth wasnt in los angeles in 1945. Mostly florida and maybe chicago, and massachussets. She hit los angeles in 1946. This was summer of 1946. Why would anybody think she was here in 1945? The people commenting are correct. I forgot the photographer who took them, but surely there are records.
ES was in L.A. in ’42, 43,44 and very likely in ’45 as well as ’46. The footage of her seen riding in the open convertible that has aired on numerous television programs is very convincing and there are major gaps in her travel dates for 1945. She certainly had the opportunity and based on her past movements very probable she did visit L.A. in ’46