Gritty photos that reveal Hollywood’s seedy history


Fans of photojournalist Weegee will love this gritty collection of photographs, which was culled from the archives of William Randolph Hearst’s infamous tabloid newspaper. Known for sensationalized reporting punctuated by attention-grabbing pictures, the Herald Express was founded in 1931 and remained on the stands for thirty years. Sidelining national and international events, the paper featured local stories of crime and scandal including drug busts, murder, freak accidents, and all manner of “depravity.”

The photographs included in Local News are divided into chapters bearing titles such as, “Murderers,” “Victims,” “Scene of the Crime,” “Hold-up Suspects,” and “Cross-Dressers.” Each image tells a true LA noir story and the brief captions included are often just as shocking and strange as the pictures they accompany: “Dragged into court, called insane,” “Big man plays bookie in tiny cubicle,” “Shoes, necklace found on dead body,” and “Girl is freed after explaining why she wore Marine uniform trousers after drinking party.” As a native of Los Angeles who is interested in its seedy history, true crime, and all that is weird, I wish I didn’t already own this book so I could run out and buy it today.

Local News: Tabloid Pictures from the Los Angeles Herald Express 1936-1961

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