Say it ain’t so, Charlie: Responding to...


Say it ain’t so, Charlie: Responding to an interview request from The Times after the riots, earthy poet Charles Bukowski sent a polite rejection, explaining that he didn’t want to be accused of exploiting the violence.

Bukowski’s literary oeuvre , including the screenplay for “Barfly,” has reflected his boozy, after-hours L.A. lifestyle. So his fans may be disappointed to learn that Bukowski, age 72, apparently got in a bit early on the night he wrote The Times.

At the top of the letter, in addition to listing the date, he noted the time: “12:23 a.m.”


Word from the mechanic: Writer Norm Sklarewitz of West Hollywood received a fax message from England, informing him that as soon as he made his “initial payment,” work would begin on the “modification” of his Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith.

Sklarewitz, who drives a Mercury, sadly realized that the fax was meant for someone else. He said: “A friend of mine suggested that I tell them, ‘I’ve changed my mind. Ship the car back to me.’ ”

List of the Day: Of the more than 50 L.A. eateries recommended in the 1934 guidebook “Curious California Customs,” only a few are still operating, including:

* Musso & Frank (est. 1919) on Hollywood Boulevard.

* La Golondrina (1924) on Olvera Street.

* Taix French Restaurant (1927) on Sunset Boulevard (then located on Commercial Street downtown).

* Canter’s Delicatessen (1931) on Fairfax Avenue (then in Boyle Heights).

“Curious Customs” (cont.): The cultural diversity of L.A. was evident even then, as author Elisabeth Herrick discreetly related:

“There’s always one place in every town with a slightly naughty reputation! At the Paris Inn, 401 N. Los Angeles St., you must not raise a haughty eyebrow and signal imperiously to the waiter if you go there with a woman companion and some sleek-haired lad comes promptly over to your table to ask you to dance!

“His air of genuine bewilderment at your refusal will warn you that he feels he is within his rights--he is saying to himself, ‘What the heck? What did they come here for then?’ ”

City of the second chance: The guidebook’s title page indicates that the notion that everyone in L.A. came from somewhere else isn’t new.

Puns r us: Reporting on the drunk driving arrest of Rodney G. King, a radio broadcaster said it wasn’t the first time that King and the authorities had “bumped heads” since the beating incident.


Visitors to the Richard Nixon Library who paid more than $200 to hear the ex-President announce his all-time baseball team were also treated to the sight of several star players--and one star vendor. The Dodgers’ Roger (the Peanut Man) Owens demonstrated his behind-the-back style in distributing free bags of peanuts.