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The Mad Bomber
November 20, 2012 7:57 PM   Subscribe

100 years ago today, on November 20th 1912, a disgruntled rail worker named Carl Warr walked into the Los Angeles county jail carrying an infernal machine loaded with sixty sticks of the highest power dynamite made... Los Angeles Examiner photographer E. J. Spencer risked his life to capture the mad bomber with his plate camera, earning him a rare (for the time) newspaper photography credit, and what is perhaps the most iconic Mad Bomber photo ever.
posted by Catblack (26 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
with his hand on the trigger of his engine of annihilation

Fantastic post.
posted by four panels at 8:00 PM on November 20, 2012


Very interesting, I hadn't seen this. Definitely checking it out later. What a great shot, too.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:19 PM on November 20, 2012


And the first comment on that iconic photo link is perhaps the most iconic spam comment ever.
posted by davejay at 8:29 PM on November 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Loved the guy's mask. Would have fit in a superhero comic if they'd been invented yet.
posted by evilmidnightbomberwhatbombsatmidnight at 8:37 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, that is incredibly eponysterical there, e.m.b.w.b.a.m.
posted by JHarris at 8:39 PM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


who, me?
posted by evilmidnightbomberwhatbombsatmidnight at 8:44 PM on November 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'd never heard of this before. Fascinating!
posted by fshgrl at 9:17 PM on November 20, 2012


with his hand on the trigger of his engine of annihilation

Well, I guess I have my next doom punk song.
posted by fishmasta at 9:27 PM on November 20, 2012


The mad bomber didn't stay out of trouble after that incident.
posted by el io at 9:28 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The most debonaire mad bomber photo as well.
posted by brundlefly at 9:33 PM on November 20, 2012


Reminds me of The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad. So many bombers back then!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:42 PM on November 20, 2012


Great post. Interesting that the front page photo posted by el io captions him as a 'terrorist'.
posted by anewnadir at 9:45 PM on November 20, 2012


That's an awfully small box to hold 60 sticks of dynamite. Were they really tiny sticks?
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:46 PM on November 20, 2012


Neat post. What I can make out of the column to the left seems interesting...

Druggist Anxious to Quit Selling Liquors: Council Is Staggered

Long Beach Men Ask That "Prescription Sales" of Intoxicating Drinks Be Taboo

...

John Schrank Is Insane

...

"Rube" Denies Charges

...

Wilson Will Have A Cow

...


And of course "The Modern Test".
posted by erikgrande at 9:54 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


After searching out the image that el io pointed out above, I found more from the paper following up the story.
posted by Catblack at 10:15 PM on November 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


So, do we know how long he was in jail for? Obviously less than 25 years...

Just curious.
posted by el io at 11:39 PM on November 20, 2012


Long Beach Men Ask That "Prescription Sales" of Intoxicating Drinks Be Taboo

The Walgreens pharmacy chain got its start from selling medicinal, prescription alcohol:

In Chicago, druggist Charles Walgreen saw his chain expand from 20 stores in 1920 to a staggering 525 a decade later. Along the way, Walgreen's introduced the milkshake, which family historians have credited with the chain's rocketing expansion. But it's doubtful that milkshakes alone were responsible. Something Charles Walgreen Jr. told an interviewer many years later suggests another possibility. The elder Walgreen worried about fire breaking out in his stores, his son recalled, but this apprehension extended beyond an understandable concern for the safety of his employees: He "wanted the fire department to get in as fast as possible and get out as fast as possible," Charles Jr. remembered, "because whenever they came in, we'd always lose a case of liquor from the back."

Makes one wonder which of today's medical MJ dispensaries will be tomorrow's drug store chains.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:26 AM on November 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


That's an awfully small box to hold 60 sticks of dynamite.

El Goog tells me that a typical stick of dynamite is 8"x1". Assuming that's the size they were in 1912, 64 sticks would then fit into an 8"x8"x8" cube, which doesn't seem to much volume to fit in the box in the photo.
posted by hattifattener at 1:18 AM on November 21, 2012


Headline from el io's link:

SHRINERS ISSUE BUNKO WARNING

What the hell?
posted by smoothvirus at 1:35 AM on November 21, 2012


That guy wanted his photograph taken so bad. Look at that getup. The pohotographer was in no danger at all.
posted by clarknova at 2:21 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think "iconic" means what you think it means.
posted by DU at 4:04 AM on November 21, 2012


Miss Brant: [Walks in with Peter] Chief, I found Parker.

J. Jonah Jameson: 'Bout time, where were you? Crazy scientist blows himself up, and we don't have pictures!
posted by three blind mice at 4:08 AM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I found more from the paper following up the story.

I wonder if "dump the explosives on the ground and then smash the box" is still standard LAPD Bomb Squad protocol?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:31 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The mad bomber didn't stay out of trouble after that incident.

"Wearing a grotesque mask, through which his beady eyes shifted with maniacal furtiveness, Warr entered the office of Chief Sebastian carrying a strange, accordion-shaped contraption filled with sticks of dynamite."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:44 AM on November 21, 2012


Great post. Interesting that the front page photo posted by el io captions him as a 'terrorist'.
He demanded that Paul Shoup, president of the Pacific Electric Railway be delivered into his hands on threat of blowing up the building if his demands were refused. Warr declared he intended to hold Shoup prisoner and extract a promise of higher wages for Shoup's employees
How the middle-class in the US got made...
posted by ennui.bz at 6:49 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


SHRINERS ISSUE BUNKO WARNING

What the hell?
posted by smoothvirus


I suspect that the newspaper article is either referring to the dice game, or the general slang of 'bunko' meaning a fraud or scam - or possibly both, as they may be warning the public of a bunko game of bunco.

Speaking of which, the story does remind me of an old episode of Dragnet...
posted by mikurski at 10:36 AM on November 21, 2012


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