From the little-known fact department: In 1935, Mae West was the subject of an extortion plot — someone threatened to throw acid in her face if she didn’t pay $1,000, which she was told to leave at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Bronson Avenue in L.A.
The money was dropped at the spot. A man who picked it up was detained, but he insisted that he’d only happened upon it and had nothing to do with the extortion case; he was later released. Six “suspicious characters” that were taken to the D.A.’s office for questioning were released as well.
All that brings us to the photos above, the back story for which was detailed in a Times story published Oct. 10, 1935:
Before the release of the suspects, Harry Dean, District Attorney’s investigator who, dressed in feminine finery, impersonated Mae West while placing the pocketbook on four attempted contacts with the extortionists, received acclaim from his fellow-workers.
He arrived at his office to find the telephone decorated with bits of ribbon, on the desk top an array of flowers from sweet peas to pansies, and the room sprayed with essence of hyacinth.
And now you know.
Photos: Andrew H. Arnott / Los Angeles Times