Caught wearing a hat, not hiding behind it
April 26, 1956: After frustrating news photographers by hiding behind his trademark hat, L. Ewing Scott was captured behind bars with a miniature camera, which Scott had failed to notice, held by Times staff photographer Howard Maxwell.
In May 1955, Scott’s wife, Evelyn Throsby Scott, went missing. In March 1956, Evelyn’s brother Raymond Throsby filed a police report on her disappearance. On April 25, 1956, Los Angeles police arrested Scott on theft charges. He was accused of looting Evelyn’s bank accounts.
Scott hid behind his famous hat, photo below, frustrating the 4-by-5 Speed Graphic news photographers. The next day, Maxwell, carrying a smaller camera, was able to get this candid image of Scott behind bars.
The photo of Scott hiding behind his hat was published on Page One of the April 26, 1956, Los Angeles Times. Maxwell’s image of Scott was published on Page 2 of the April 27 paper.
Scott was convicted in 1959 of murdering his wife. It was the first murder conviction in U.S. history in which the victim’s body was never located.
After his death in 1987, the Los Angeles Times published this article on L. Ewing Scott: “Body of Crime.”
Not known is the type of “candid” camera Maxwell used. The quality of the print in the L.A. Times library makes me suspect he used a 120-millimeter film camera — still a much smaller camera compared with the standard Speed Graphic.
April 25, 1956: L. Ewing Scott shields his face from photographers with his hat as he is taken into custody outside of the grand jury room after he refused to testify in his wife’s disappearance. Lt. Arthur G. Hertel, left, escorts Scott, who was booked into the West Los Angeles Police Station on suspicion of grand theft. Credit: Los Angeles Times.
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