Newsflash from the Past: Five Accused of Impersonating Females in Cafe
LOS ANGELES TIMES (November 2, 1954) — Five men, one of them a Pasadena High School mathematics teacher, were arrested in an Altadena cafe early yesterday on charges of impersonating females.
They identified themselves as Thomas Evans Tuites [far left], 36, the teacher, and Robert William Steward [far right], 33, production manager, both of 575 W. Loma Alta Drive, Altadena; John James Dandree [covering face], 23, floorwalker, and Benny Zubiate [showing top of head], both of 1523 N. McCadden Place, and Jnorey Jerry Bramblette [showing his falsies], 24, skating instructor, of 8347 E. Broadway, San Gabriel.
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All five, arraigned before Pasadena Municipal Judge William E. Fox, pleaded not guilty and asked for jury trials, which will be consolidated for hearing November 18. They were freed on $500 bail.
Members of the Sheriff’s vice squad, assisted by deputies from Altadena Sheriff’s Station, arrested the five in a cafe at 411 Woodbury St., Altadena.
At their trial, all five argued that their dress was a harmless Halloween prank. Nevertheless, all of them were found guilty. Bramblette’s conviction was thrown out on a technicality, however, after it was learned that four jurists became confused by the ordinance’s language.
Meanwhile, Tuites was suspended from his teaching job pending an internal investigation by the Pasadena Board of Education. After the board could find nothing wrong with his job performance, Pasadena’s School Superintendent ordered that Tuites be reinstated. However, the Board of Education “withheld its approval’ with one member suggesting that they “go ahead and fire him and let Tuites sue us.”
Their arrests provided the groundwork for lawyers and judges to argue over whether the ordinance forbidding men to wear women’s clothing was constitutional.
Photo: LAPL 00079405