January 27, 2023
Birch Bay, Washington
Once again my many thanks to a reader for forwarding new information on our ongoing investigation into the life and crimes of my father, George Hill Hodel, M.D.
I received the below email message from Charles D, yesterday:
Thought you might find this interesting. I found the 1950 census entry for you dad. Lots of “guests” in Franklin house. This seems to have been collected on March 12th but it is hard to read (upper right-hand corner).
Hope all is well up North!
1950 Census for 5121 Franklin Ave, Hollywood CA.
SKH Note: Since 1930 the U.S. Census collection date began on April 1 of each decade. I read the date as “April 12, 1950, and “Checked by Crew Leader on April 13, 1950.” This would have been just two weeks after the final entry in the “LADA Hodel-Black Dahlia Bugging Tape Recordings on March 27, 1950.” (The LADA/LAPD stakeout likely continued, for some time after this date, but apparently pages were missing from the original DA file as to any “after action” ie. removal of hard microphones from the residence.)
Many thanks to Chuck for finding and forwarding this fascinating document.
Let’s take a closer look and see what it might reveal.
The named residents at our family home on the date the census was taken in April 1950 and their identifying information as reported in the census. His “house guests” were five woman ranging in ages from 15-42.
George H. Hodel (Head of household) White, Male, age 42, divorced, born in California, showed ‘worked 20 hours the previous week, profession listed as “surgeon”, a medical doctor.”
Shirley F. Rappaport “Guest” White, Female, age 23, born in Illinois.
(This “guest’s” name I believe was mentioned somewhere in the 3000+ pages of my ongoing twenty-three-year investigation, but darned if I can find it at this time.)
Goodee Montgomery, “Guest”, White, Female, age 35, divorced, born in Missouri, worked 30 hours the previous week, profession artist. (While Goodee gave her stated age as “35” official records show she was born on March 28, 1906, which would mean she had just celebrated her 44th birthday.)
Chagud, Alicia C. “Guest” White, Female, age 42, separated, born in Costa Rica, profession seamstress, clothing factory.
Chagud, Wilma T., “Guest”, White, Female, 18, never married, born in Costa Rica, worked 40 hours the previous week, profession file clerk, Insurance company.
Chagud, Sonia “Guest”, White Female, 15, never married, born in Costa Rica.
Interestingly, “Guest No. 3” was a Hollywood film actress and watercolor artist, Ms. Goodee Montgomery. She was active in the 1930s. Goodee was married to American film and television director, Frank Burgess McDonald, who directed over 100 films, mostly Westerns starring film legends, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.
Actress, painter, and author Goodee Montgomery
Goodee Montgomery (American actress and artist, Dr. Hodel “guest” at 5121 Franklin Ave in April 1950 census
Goodee Montgomery IMDB HERE.
Goodee’s husband, famed film director, Frank McDonald
Frank McDonald’s IMBD HERE. (147 films)
I would like to here include “Charles D’s” further observations due to the fact that they add additional valuable thoughts and insights re. GHH’s listing of himself on the 1950 Census as “Surgeon.” I quote him verbatim, with minor editing to respect his privacy:
What is interesting to me is there are several neighbors who are also doctors who describe themselves as ” Physician Medical Doctor” on the same page, so this wasn’t the census taker inserting their prefered term.
The hand wringing over the term “Surgeon” is specious at best–a great example of presentism as they say in the history profession.
The term “Physician and Surgeon” is still used in the California Business and Professions Code and MDs are still given a “Physicians and Surgeons license”. More importantly, most people today have no idea how medicine was practiced in the era before antibiotics. Remember people with mastoid scars? You don’t see them anymore, and most people have never seen them, because of antibiotics.
As you demonstrated through your dad’s UCSF transcripts, everyone who attended medical school in the first half of the 20th century had way more surgical training than in the last 40 years because even family doctors were doing way, way more cutting. This changed when minor ailments could be treated with antibiotics instead of being drained or excised.
Also, medical specialization was much less formal or rigid than it is now. Doctors could change specialties much more easily (like your dad moving to psych) than they can today. Modern practice requires that you complete a residency and then pass boards for a specialty. In the early 20th century these things were more fluid. A good example of this was Dr. Sam Sheppard, who was doing neurosurgery at the family hospital in the 1950s with training that today might qualify a doctor to be a general surgeon.
Thanks again to “Charles D” for his in-depth comments and observations.
Dr. George Hill Hodel at 5121 Franklin Ave, 1950 at the time Census was taken