|The Naked City||Dec 17 2011|
December 1949’s Front Page Detective offers up numerous tales of vice and murder. Each story begins with an art spread, some photographic and some hand drawn. We thought they were nice, so we posted several below. The playgirl referred to on the cover is Eddis Mae Reed, a Long Beach 40-year-old who was murdered in a shack on Seaside Avenue. The cover model, with her cigarette holder and fur wrap, is nothing like the Eddis Mae Reed described in the story. That Eddis Mae was a working class woman who liked the rough hewn men that populated Long Beach, back then a seemingly endless landscape of oil derricks.
After she was found strangled, beaten, and with a bra stuffed down her throat, detectives questioned oilworkers, longshoremen, and dockworkers, as well as the bartenders and cooks in the waterfront saloons she frequented, before finally focusing their attention on a sailor named William Dryman. When police picked him up he confessed right away to killing Reed. His motive? Jealousy.
Even though he was at sea for months at a time, and he knew Reed was not a one-man woman, he became obsessed with her. When he visited her shack unannounced one night he heard her entertaining another man and became furious. He didn’t confront her then, though. He came back the next day, when she was alone and unprotected. He told police: “I told her what I’d do if I caught her cheating. I’d do it all over again.” Front Page Detective attributes Reed’s death to “too many men.” Well, that’s one way to look at it. The judge, on the other hand, blamed the killer, not the victim, and sent William Dryman down for five-to-life.