• U.S.

Education: Culver City Nest

3 minute read

In his standard Dictionary of American Slang, Lexicographer Maurice H. Weseen defines a “love nest” as “the home of a newly married couple.” Uncovered last week in Culver City, Calif, was the most flagrant example in years of what every tabloid editor and reader means by a “love nest.” None of the participants, mostly high-school students from Beverly Hills, was married.

When Donald MacDonald, 20, and Tod (“Speed”) Morgan, 21, turned up on the broad beaches near Culver City and Beverly Hills a few months ago, they were just two handsome young men from the East, seemingly bent on harmless fun. As such they soon met a number of boys and girls. MacDonald told his new friends that he was the New England middleweight amateur boxing champion.— Morgan said he was a boxer too. A quick success with the girls, the pair persuaded a shy young appointee to Annapolis (whose name was withheld by the police last week) to let them use his family’s Culver City house for a “party.” Since his family was away on a vacation and he was promised a pleasant time, he agreed. Nothing out of the way happened. Later he heard of another party held in the house without his knowledge, which scared him into bolting the doors. Upon learning that his friends were breaking through the windows and holding parties of another character entirely, he notified the Beverly Hills police. When the police began grilling the youngsters last week, first to break down were Barbara Page, Marjorie Folsom and Vallee Rice, all 16. Much of what they told Deputy District Attorney Florence Woodhead seemed to that bespectacled prosecutor “too flaming to repeat.” One night eleven couples were lined up waiting in the hall outside the two bedrooms. “Speed” Morgan was accused of plying Barbara Page with liquor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Guest Elwood Jackson, 19, went a step further by taking Barbara across the Mexican border to Tiajuana, where they would have been married if he had been able to raise the $25 fee. Elwood Jackson and two other youths were held on charges of assault. Several of the 40 thoroughly scared participants rounded up at week’s end admitted that they used not only the Culver City house but nearby cabins and beaches.

Said Lieut. Edward Graeb, called in from the Juvenile Bureau: “We do not intend to smirch the reputations of the high-school girls, most of whom are of prominent families.” But another police official snapped: “The boys all came through like little gentlemen and told the truth. But the babes [girls] lied faster than a horse can trot. Honest, we never saw such fibbers. . . ”

*Actual champion: Roger McPeck.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com