The Sun Sets On the Wise Guys
By the 1950s, the Glass Walkers (who changed their name from Iron Riders in 1895, after the ‘discovery’ of the City Father of London brought with it a new found resolution on the Tribe’s part to seek out urban Incarna spirits), could look back on nearly ~75 years of unquestioned dominance. This was the heyday of the ‘Wise Guys’ Camp who ruled the City of Angels with its shadowed streets, mysterious starlets, ruthless water wars, fedora-wearing gumshoes and swinging speakeasies with an iron paw beneath a velvet glove. It was the pack of Glass Walkers lead by Don Leandro (who had arrived in L.A. all the way back in 1917) who played a major rule in making Los Angeles one of the key global production hubs through World War II. It was also Don Leandro who kept the Bone Gnawers in their place, who began to flood into Los Angeles during the early 1930s after the twin economic catastrophes of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression uprooted many of their Midwestern and Appalachian kinfolk.
However, the Wise Guys of the 1950s did not realize they were enjoying their last decade of untrammeled dominance. In one of the more profound ironies of the history of the Garou in Los Angeles, they would fall prey to the same demographic juggernaut that overwhelmed the Uktena. When Don Leandro and his Pack arrived in Los Angeles, the city’s population had stood at just over ~500,000. By the end of the 1960s, it will have swollen to nearly ~3 million, bringing with it a tidal rush of poor transplanted laborers from across America, increasingly disgruntled minorities realizing that they’ll need to fight for their place in the sun, homeless Vietnam veterans, the nation’s first recognized housing and mental health crisis, and of course…a seemingly endless parade of hippies. In an attempt to restore the Sunset Strip to its 1950s somnolence, stringent curfews set the stage for one of the first culture wars of the 1960s, as enraged longhairs fought a series of bloody battles with police up and down Sunset Boulevard.
All the while, as Los Angeles grew, it became clearer and clearer to the few Garou willing to read the writing on the wall that the Wyrm had a major ‘newfound’ interest in the city. The stink of corruption rode ever more strongly on the winds that blew out of the L.A. basin. Little did the Garou realize that Los Angeles had always harbored the Wyrm in her bosom. Here lies the entrance to one of the largest caerns of the Wyrm in North America, whose vileness, leeching up through the soil, is at least partially responsible for Los Angeles’ long history of corruption and moral turpitude. The Black Spiral Dancers had long been gathering in force beneath the cancerous hills of abandoned, derelict oil wells, some extending into the heart of Central L.A. It is perversely tragic in hindsight, that just as the forces of the Defiler were preparing their death stroke, Don Leandro’s greatest concerns were with mortal law enforcement agencies becoming increasingly troublesome and with transplanted, dirty long-haired Garou and their kinfolk squatting on ‘his turf’.
The Wise Guys found themselves increasingly out of step with a rapidly changing Los Angeles in the throes of its ‘Youth Quake’ – such that Don Leandro would see his people become an anachronism in his own lifetime. Don Leandro’s death in 1965, which coincided with the Watts Rebellion (the first of many ‘Race Riots’ that would rock the Southlands), and the discovery of a gigantic Hive of Black Spiral Dancers beneath the toxic mounds of Temple-Beaudry would witness the utter demolishing of the Glass Walkers’ power structure in Los Angeles seemingly overnight.
No other American city was so utterly remade by the 1960s as Los Angeles, famously cavalier about torpedoing its past to make way for a fuzzily conceived future. The moment peaked and passed in 1969, as the twin shocks of the Rolling Stones’ disastrous Altamont concert and the Manson murders in Los Angeles shook the flowers out of everyone’s hair. – Michael Walker