Saturday, April 30, 2005

Orange County Rocks!

Ok, so I admit it, I have been watching American Idol!

But I need someone to explain the voting to me. Having grown up in Orange County, maybe I just have developed a different taste for music. In the late 70s my friends and I used to go to places all over the County to listen to live bands. This was before DISCO. Any restaurant with a bar and enough room would setup a stage, and would have a live band from about 9 PM until closing on Friday and Saturday night at least. Some charged cover charges, but most did not. Black Angus, Charlie Browns, Rubens, Grannys Attic, El Torito, Red Onion, Orange County Mining Co, Bobby Mc Gees, and many more. The names of the bands are a blur but since so many places had bands. There were many situations where you could leave your car parked and walk to another place for a band you liked better.

This brings me to question the accuracy of the vote tally on American Idol. If I had come to a place for the evening and when the band started playing Scott Savol was the lead singer; there would have been a MASS EXODIST to the next place with a band. I guess that with the popularity of Karaoke, it gave people like Scott the impression that ANY ONE can sing. But I have to tell you if the band had a magnetic lead singer like Constantine Maroulis, a fan would soon find that they would have to leave Orange County to hear the band. It was not uncommon for OC bands that brought huge crowds to wind up appearing at some of the dance clubs on the Sunset Strip. (Yes, we did drive that far to hear them)

So I cannot speak for the whole United States as to how they define a pop idol, but those of us in Orange County would not see a picture of Anthony Fedorov singing Celine Dion. If I were Constantine Maroulis, I would question the working condition of the phone lines coming from the Southern California area. Orange County Rocks! (No matter what their age!)

Oh, and the American Idol Season ended at our house last Wednesday night!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

It's Spring Again . . .

When I was very little I remember Saturday nights when my Great Grandmother would come over to baby sit. My Mom would get all dressed up and my Dad would be wearing a suit even though it was not Sunday. My Aunt and Uncle as well as some of their other friends would come over and they would say they were going to "The Rendezvous Ballroom".

Well, that was the 50's and I have thought little of it until I saw a reference to it in an article about the resurrection of "Swing Dancing". I never gave a thought to the fact that it was right there on the beach in Balboa. There were dance steps that started there, and some say it was this legendary ballroom, which helped start the big craze of "Spring Break in Balboa & Newport."

I am sure there are MANY of you who have memories of places you went and things you did for Spring Break and lazy summers in Orange County. I started driving in the 70's and since I was the first one of my group of friends to get a car I knew the way to Balboa in my sleep. At least one girlfriend and I used to go to the beach at Balboa near the elementary school. It was close enough to stop at the little market for some drinks, and splurge at the bakery next door before we hit the beach. Since I have fair skin, it would take a week for me to get over the sunburn to go back for more. (so far I have not paid for it with skin cancer) Sometimes we would just cruise around the area and wind up stopping for a "Hot Fudge Peppermint Stick Sundae" at a place on PCH near where the Mc Donalds is now. I ca n not seem to remember the name; it was a coffee shoo. And I am sure they loved a bunch of sand covered girls coming in for ice cream. There was a lot of cruising done in the days of 33 cents per gallon gas. And if you saw a carload of guys you knew you would try to ditch them. Eventually the cruising got so bad they closed the peninsula to non-residents. (I am sure this was thought up by police who used to cruise the same area as kids!)

Another fun thing that you can still do was to take the FERRY from Balboa Island to the peninsula, and back. I had done this lots of times with my parents growing up, but it was a whole new thing when a guy I was dating took me on it while out for my early January Birthday. Balboa in the winter is so different than in the summer, and the weather is not always as bad as this past year. Through the years I have taken my kids down there for the ferry, and even took a carload of neighbor kids who were as excited as if I took them on a cruise to a foreign land. The boys sat out on the benches, while the girls liked to stay in the car. Now my kids are grown and gone, but I recently found out that my son took many college friends down for a ride on the ferry. He was surprised at how many people grew up in and near Orange County and did not know about it.

Perhaps some of you would like to share your "Spring Break" or Summer Memories of growing up here in Orange County!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Knott's Berry Farm

What are some of your memories of Knott's Berry Farm? I remember my first visit to Knott's was in 1972. My family, along with another family, drove up from San Diego to spend a day there. I remember going on the log ride then, and the mine train. I also remember that haunted shack, where the tour guide plays tricks on your eyes to make you think the place is spooked.

Some years ago, I corresponded with a guy named Dennis Casebier of the Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association, regarding the old Calico Ghost Town just north of Barstow. Walter Knott, at one time, owned that ghost town, and donated it to the County of San Bernardino. Dennis believed that Knott took many of the artifacts from Calico to recreate a similar Calico Town within Knott's Berry Farm. I'm wondering if Walter took some of the gravemarkers from the Calico Cemetery, as many of the markers at the real Calico are long gone.

Listed below are some of the e-mails I dug up from the old days of regarding Knott's Berry Farm:
By: Ron Benson, 11 Aug 2002

I grew up in Southern Cal. and went many times to Knott's,like all kids I loved it! I've been collecting menu's from local places and friends give me some. Since I started playing on ebay and buying, I seem to be drawn to Knott's Berry Farm menu's and such. I don't know why, exept for my fond memories. Are there many collectors out there?

By: Pat Swift, 9 Aug 2002

I remember when we would go to Knott's on Friday and Saturday nights to square dance in the old wagon train area. A lot of us from Buena Park were a free show but we had a lot of fun. People would come to sing around the fire. Things have sure changed. I understand they are closeing the animal petting area soon. Remember the seals? There were chickens everywhere. Does anyone else remember the little houses across the street that employees lived in?

By: Ron Kimzey, 23 Feb 2002

Hi There I use to see Buddy Ebsen a lot at Knott's Berry Farm when he was dating Dorthy Knott. He always liked to ride the stagecoach. I really liked him when he and Fess Parker was in Davy Crockett together.Buddy was also Jet Clampett .He is 94 years old and still is married to Dorthy and living in Orange County. Fess Parker is living near Santa Barbara.I always go to Knott's in November because I am a veteran and I get in free which is really nice. Too bad Disneyland does not have a special thing for veterans day to get in free. Glad to be able to go to Orange County's first Park.

By: David Moore, 29 Dec.2001

Mid '60's Knott's was just the chicken restaurant, the Wagonmaster's show, the old West town, and FREE. My dad would take us into the general store, and tell us that we could have all the penny candy we could hold in one hand. We became masters of architecture, building structures of candy in our hands as high as we could make it go. He laughs at that story now, telling us that it still only cost him 25 or 30 cents per hand.

By: Tom Coughran, 5 Aug 2001

My father, Samuel (Sam) (Sammy) Coughran owned the property where Knott's Berry Farm (known then as Knott's Berry Place) is located. He sold the property to Walter and Cordellia Knott. Walter told Dad that he would pay him $1,500 for the land (I don't remember if that was per acre or for the whole parcel). Dad told him, "Walter, you know it isn't worth any more than $1,000." Walter told him he couldn't pay him cash, so Dad told him, "In that case, I guess it's worth $1,500." My Mom (Florence Margaret Inskeep) married my Dad in 1941. Dad still lived in the two story house that was later used by the Knotts as offices. The house is/was located just south of the Chicken Restaurant and north of the one stall firehouse. My Mom was a waitress at the Chicken Restaurant in its early days. On the East side of the property, along what is now Beach Blvd., where the original entrance was located, there is or at least was, a row of Eucalyptus trees. Dad planted those trees in 1918 or thererabouts. He told us that the first tree north of the entrance has an "unnatural" fork in it. He said he had been plowing the field and tied the plowhorse to the young tree while he ate his lunch. The horse must have been humgry as well as it ate the top out of the tree, thus, the fork. My Dad's sister, Alma, owned the property from the south side of Dad's property to the cross street to the south (Crescent?). I believe she owned it even before she married Elbert Carpenter, but not sure. She was three or four years older than Dad.
Please share your memories of Knott's Berry Farm and the Knott Family by click on "Post a Comment" below.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Did Pope John Paul II Ever Visit Orange County?

I did some researching online to see if Pope John Paul II ever visited Orange County. Thus far, I haven't seen any documentation suggesting he did. In September 15 and 16, 1987, he visited Southern California. But his visit appeared to be limited to Los Angeles County. I imagine Bishop Norman McFarland, who was the Bishop of Orange County at the time, probably went up to see him.

If anyone has any information to share about a connection between Pope John Paul II and Orange County, please post a comment. Maybe the Pope landed his plane at El Toro MCAS? Maybe he spoke of something having to do with Orange County?

Custom Search