September 19, 1920
LOS ANGELES EXAMINER
It was so soothing--that first whiff--that Mildred Lee Moore, young and pretty actress, soon found herself taking deadly dope every day until yesterday, when she was arrested and placed in jail for violating the State narcotic law. Heroin was found in her possession. With her was arrested R. Jay Belasco, an actor in whose apartment at Wilcox and Hollywood Boulevardshe was found. The amazing story told to an Examiner reporter last night by Mildred Moore reads more like a sensational novel than that of a girl scarcely out ofher teens, pretty and well educated. It starts with her desire to be one ofthe merriest in the merry set in which she found herself in New York nightlife. Where it will end she herself confessed no one can tell. "I had gone to New York City to make a name for myself in the world,"she said. "I obtained a small part in a play on the Amsterdam roof garden.For a while I thought I was going ahead, and I was, too, in my work. But off the stage I went with a merry crowd of young people. We had wonderful parties, but I noticed that I was not as vivacious and confident of myself asthe rest of the girls and therefore not so popular. Everybody drank or took dope. I disliked drinking. The taste was unbearable. I felt that I had to do something to make myself other than what I was fast slipping into--a wallflower. "So, one night when a young man offered me a whiff I took it. I was amazed at the result. My nerves relaxed, I became less self-conscious and was soon one of the sprightliest in the crowd. It seemed such a simple thing to do--place a little powder on your finger and inhale it--that I wondered why I hadn't started sooner. The powder gave me wonderful powers. Instead of being a wall-flower, I was soon one of the leaders in all our parties. I was petted and spoiled until I became intoxicated with the adulations of others. I could not resist such a position, although I knew that dope would get me some time. "I feared dope. I was afraid of it before I took that first whiff and Ihave never lost that fear. I said after I took my first one that I wouldnever take another--that if I did it would soon make me look old and sap mystrength. But the pleasure it gave me and the fun I had at our parties mademe take it. Do not think that I fell into the habit of taking it every dayright at the start. One doesn't get the habit that way. I went for several days, maybe several weeks, before I took my second powder. I remember well why I took it. We were to have a party and I wanted to dazzle the rest with my personality--the false personality that dope gives. "But it was not long before I got to taking it fairly regularly. Then fear gripped me in earnest. I decided that the only way to get away from dope was to get away from New York. I came to Los Angeles, where I got a position with a film company, last year. "I was amazed after I had been here but a day or two when I learned that dope users are as common in Los Angeles as in New York. You may be sure that with my environment, the same here as it was in New York, that it was not long before I was using dope again. It got to be a daily dose, and it was not until I began to feel the dreadful reactions that fear again drove me into another attempt to stop using dope. I went to the mountains and tried to cure myself of the habit. I came back feeling fine and thought I had overcome the desire. I was mistaken. Dope came back insidiously and gripped me once again. I couldn't help myself. Everybody uses it and I simply had to go along. "Why, some girls spend as much as $100 a week for dope. I couldn't afford that much, but my weekly dope bill has always been around $20. "I feel the disgrace of my arrest keenly, but if it results in curing me of the use of dope, the price will be cheap. I am only one of hundreds of girls who are slaves of dope in Los Angeles. I know many girls with whom I associate, who feel that they are little better than slaves of the habit." Belasco is also an employee of a film company. Police who arrested them said they found a bottle of opium in liquid form in Belasco's possession. Fred L. Boden, inspector for the State Board of Pharmacy, who is co-operating with Detective Sergeants O'Brien and Yarrow in suppressing the useand sale of dope in Los Angeles, said that it is becoming more common daily here. He said that scores of young girls are using deadly narcotics. Charles McCurtle, who resides at the same address Miss Moore does, 5636 Delongpre Avenue, was found guilty yesterday of violating the State Narcotic Act. He was convicted on two counts by Judge Chambers--one for possessing cocaine, and the other for having heroin. He may receive a maximum of six months in the city jail for each count, or a total of one year.