Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Love's Victim

Alfredo Paulos came to Canada in 1957, settling in Vancouver. He worked hard to learn English and take advantage of the opportunities in this new land.

Things were going well but Paulos was lonely. He wanted a wife and not just anyone would do. He wanted a woman from his home country of Yugoslavia. A woman who would give him fine sons, cook him meals he had grown up on and bring a bit of his homeland to Canada.

So Alfredo wrote to a relative in his hometown and was given the name of a lady who was 34, unmarried, attractive, morally etc. Alfredo and this woman, Laura Mandich, began to write letters back and forth.

This building at 533 Woodland Drive dates back to 1912.

After a few months, and fifty letters, Alfredo and Laura became engaged. Alfredo sent money for airfare and On June 9, 1959, his bride to be walked into the Immigration Office at the airport. Although Laura was as attractive as Alfredo had been led to believe, when he spoke to her he found the woman to be shy and retiring - not as warm, talkative and witty as her letters. 

However, when the couple were with Paulos' friends, Laura became the vivacious woman that Alfredo had imagined her to be. Needless to say, Alfredo was disappointed. As was seen in his diary entries at that time.

Obviously, the love affair between Laura and Alfredo was not going to work out and they soon stopped seeing each other. Laura had developed a love for her new found country and got herself a job as a housekeeper for a local lawyer and his family. She began dating other men.

This infuriated Alfredo. He felt as if this was an insult to his manhood, that he had been betrayed and that Laura had used him to get into Canada. The final straw was when Laura began dating Alfredo's best friend. Paulos contacted Immigration, informing them that the wedding was off so Laura should be sent back to Yugoslavia. Laura contacted the office, asking permission to become a Landed Immigrant since she did have full employment. Her new boyfriend, Joe Marcos, stepped up as sponsor and Laura was granted permission to stay.

Paulos was furious. He went to a lawyer to force Marcos to pay him the money that Paulos had spent to bring Laura over to Canada for the engagement ring he had bought her - $900. Marcos, trying to soothe bruised feelings, offered $500 but Paulos refused the offer. His lawyer advised him to take the money since there was really nothing to be gained by going to court. Paulos refused and the lawyer said there was nothing more he could do.

This seems to have sent the lovelorn Alfredo over the edge. He became more irrational - writing letters of complaint to various judges and government officials and convinced it was all a conspiracy against him. He was becoming paranoid and when he returned home for a visit in the fall of 1960, his family and friends could see the changes in the man.

By the time he returned to Vancouver, it is thought that Alfredo had lost almost all touch with reality.

On January 11, 1961, Alfredo showed up on the doorstep of the Rogers' home where Laura worked. When the door was opened by the lady of the house, Paulos pushed past her and walked down the hall to Laura. He spoke to her in Italian (the native tongue of their part of Yugoslavia) before slapping her hard across the face. He then withdrew a long, slim bladed knife from his pocket and stabbed the maid repeatedly.

At the sounds of his mother's screams, young  Morris Rogers rand downstairs and grabbed Alfredo. The two males rolled together on the floor - Morris ignoring the pain of the knife blade cutting his shoulder.

Then Mr. Rogers ran in and began to beat on Alfredo with his fists. By this time Morris had lost a lot of blood and released his attacker. Alfredo ran out and Mrs. Rogers called the police who arrived very quickly.

Two ambulances arrived on the scene and the injured people were rushed to the hospital. Laura Mandich never regained consciousness, dying from her wounds.

Constable Len Hogue was a policeman who was sent to the general search area. He boarded a northbound bus on 27th Avenue to check the five passengers there but none of them matched the suspect's description. As Hogue was leaving the bus, a man got on and approached the officer saying "Me mister, it's me, I did it. I want kaput right now."

Alfredo showed the officers where the bloody knife and other evidence was and later explained that he had just gone to the Rogers' to get the engagement ring back from Laura. Everything would have been fine if she had just given him the ring back. He was charged with murder. Even though he had a serious mental problem, Alfredo Paulos understood the nature of his acts, which made him sane in the eyes of the law.

On September 21, 1961 he was found guilty of non-capital murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Paulos was later deported.

And people wonder why I am still single! I hope you find the beauty around you.

Thanks to the book Policebeat by Joe Swan for the information.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Yellow Edsel

I have been informing you of the history of the striptease industry in Vancouver but today I am going to take a break. Last year, I went on a guided tour of Mountainview Cemetery and I happened to attend the tour that was on murders and such - right up my alley! The guide recommended two books and one of them I am referencing today. I am telling you about a murder told about in the book Policebeat, 24 Vancouver Murders by Joe Swan.
Just a little note. These night photos were taken from my balcony and I describe this view in the first chapter of Missing Flowers.

In 1958, Harry Randall lived in a large Victorian house at 496 East 55th Avenue. His wife, Florrie, had left him in 1941 because she 'just couldn't take it any more'.

Randall sealed off the doors to the front rooms of the house - leaving everything the way it was when Florrie left. Perhaps he was hoping she would come back? For the next seventeen years, Harry neglected this once elegant home - not doing any upkeep or housework - and the house began to fall apart around him.

Outside of his home though, Randall kept up appearances. He was well dressed and a successful businessmen. He drove around town in a brand new yellow Edsel - a vehicle he boasted to his brother was worth much more than it appeared to - taking all his meals at restaurants where he would flirt with the waitresses. He even dated though rarely the same woman twice.

The only people who came to the house on East 55th Avenue though were the burglars who were convinced that Randall had a fortune hidden away in there.

On October 27, 1958 - a Monday - Randall's next do neighbour, Phillip Hall, noticed a man of the same build as Randall get into the Edsel drive away. However, whereas Randall was a cautious driver, this man drove quite quickly and this roused Hall's suspicions.

From the rear of his property, Hall looked to his neighbour's house where he saw a beaten and bloody Harry Randall come out of the basement. Hall requested a neighbour to call the police while he went inside to check on the other man.

Harry Randall was taken to Vancouver General Hospital where he died on November 7th. His skull had been fractured in the beating and although numerous operations were performed in an attempt to repair the brain damage, Harry never regained consciousness before passing away.

The Edsel was found and not long after, Randall's wallet was recovered. There was no money in it but it did have a list of numbers that related to various denominations of Victory Bonds owned by the murder victim.
Efforts to locate the bonds were proving fruitless until Randall's brother remembered what Harry had said about the Edsel being more valuable than it looked. The Edsel was being held in the police garage so Harry's brother accompanied the police officers to the garage where a thorough search of the car was made.

Hidden in the panelling built into the side walls of the trunk, were the missing bonds. They were intact and the numbers matched those in the wallet.

Although the police worked hard on this case and followed all possible leads, the case did go cold. To this day, it remains unsolved.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Music Shall Fill the Air

440 Clark Drive, built in 1930.

I am continuing with my series on the striptease industry in Vancouver and consulting the book Burlesque West by Becki L. Ross.

Although today, dancers perform to recorded music but that wasn't so in the beginning. Up until the late 1970s, dancers were accompanied by live musicians. All male musicians.

These musicians were paid union scale - they did belong to the union after all - and playing at the strip clubs was steady work. In addition, the guys got to see some very beautiful women nightly and maybe even share a dressing room with them.

These musicians weren't second rate either. Some of Vancouver's hottest jazz musicians played for dancers. Names such as Fraser McPherson, Cuddles Johnson, Chris Gage, Stu Barnett, Dave Davies, Doug Cuthbert, Gerry Palken, Sean Gunn, Mike Kalanj, Gord Walkinshaw, Ernie King, Harry Harvey, Peter Batt and David Lee could list providing music for striptease dancers on their resume.

Although supper clubs such as Isy's Supper Club, The Cave Supper Club, State Burlesque Theatre and the Palomar Supper Club had a fairly large orchestras, most clubs had a typical trio combo - a saxophone or bass, piano or organ and drums. Musicians' union Local 145 supplied the musical artists that worked the clubs six days a week. Once the hotel bars opened, many musicians raked in the profits by working double shifts.

The funny is that, even with a union - something that many dancers complained they were missing - the musicians still made less than most of the dancers!
Many musicians were fine with that. After all, the draw was the dancers and those ladies worked really hard to earn every dollar they did.

As with the dancers, there was a stigma attached to the musicians that played in those clubs. And even though these were not really the gigs a musician could invite his Mom and Dad too, it was still a good assignment. Steady work in an industry such as music or acting or any of the arts, should not be sneered at! Yet, some of the older musicians did look down on their counterparts that played the strip clubs.

However, look at the legendary names that practised their art at these clubs and you can rest assured that the musicians that backed up the dancers were talented.

That's it for now. I hope you are enjoying this segment on the striptease industry in Vancouver. It is part of our history and has helped form the city.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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