Inside Hollywood animal trainer Paul Bourgeois’ L.A. ice scam

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When he told his 19-year-old stenographer that they would both be arrested within 15 minutes, she believed him. She got in his car and they fled to Yuma, Ariz. There was no reason to doubt him. Paul Bourgeois was “America’s greatest animal trainer,” a pioneer cinematographer in the Dutch film industry, the inventor of a new “iceless ice,” the promoter of Los Angeles’ first full-size skating rink — and her boss.

In Yuma, Joyce Burns got a telegram from her mother, who told her to come home: It was only Bourgeois who was wanted by police.

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“He admitted he had told me I was in danger so that I would come with him,” Burns told The Times after she got back to the city Aug. 22, 1916, a few days after absconding. “He told me he loved…

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