Saturday, February 04, 2006

Golden Bear Nightclub in Huntington Beach

Growing up in Orange County, my family often packed up the family van on weekends and headed down to Huntington Beach to spend an inexpensive day of family fun at the beautiful beach. My parents used to comment on the Golden Bear Nightclub (opened in 1929) on 306 Ocean Avenue whenever we'd pass it, because it was so famous, and the host to so many of the performers they listened to as teens in nearby Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs. I always dreamed of getting to go there myself once I became an adult... But I never got the chance.

I was appalled when this county landmark closed in 1986 to make way for the downtown redevelopment of Huntington Beach. The Golden Bear was as synonymous to Huntington's rich beach culture as is surfing itself. The beaches of Huntington are still beautiful, but I rarely go now(choosing more quaint and laid back San Clemente or Laguna instead) because I don't like what I see there anymore. It's far too commercial and yuppified now.

233 comments:

  1. I agree with the commercialized and yuppified descrip of HB, though I wasn't in CA then before the development.

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  2. I find comfort in the fact that Main Street in Huntington Beach now looks so much like most other strip malls and shopping strips throughout the country. History and character are a blight. Clean, new, bright, profitable. These are good. Congratulations H.B. Mall

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  3. In the basement of the Golden Bear there were wooden crates of hand painted tiles from Greece - like the colorful tiles by the outside door. The tiles showed types of foods served in the Golden Bear's early years. I always liked the cow's head tile and the baskets of fruit. The tiles were thoughtlessly destroyed in 1986 - even after the Orange County Historical Commission asked to preserve them.

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  4. The Golden Bear didn't have the best acoustics or sight lines, but it had a vibe that only places like the Whisky a Go Go or the Troubador have. The only difference was that, when you left after a show with your ears still ringing, you got a face full of ocean breeze. The place was incredible. Many people don't realize that Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and even Lenny Bruce and Robin Williams performed there. A real pop culture icon was lost when it was destroyed.

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  5. I was there just before it was torn down to see a band called Louis Louis. He was a one hit wonder and I doubt anyone remembers the song "Sitting in the Lap of Luxory".

    The place was awesome though....

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  6. I lived in Huntington Beach when it redeveloped much of the city. I remember how sad it was when they tore town the Golden Bear. Something died that day. The spirit of downtown 'surf city' died that day. I have not been downtown since. Why - I can go to my local strip mall and see the same thing.

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  7. Luckily, I got to go to the Golden Bear once. It was to see Chris Isaak in 1985. I was able to get him to sign something, but I think he was really bird-dogging a young lady. Bob was right about the ocean breeze. I remember getting a stiff whiff of salt water as I walked outside. While I miss the old Main & Ocean, it's not totally strip mall. Perqs and some of the old shops are mixed in there. And don't miss the Surfing Museum at 411 Olive. They do live music in their parking lot on Surfin' Sundays.

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  8. I worked there for a few years as a cocktail waitress. I was just 21 and the place was wild. I saw Howie Mandel there many times as an opening act. We felt sorry for him. He was this nice, goofy guy, kept to himself, and then got on stage and blew up surgical gloves over his head through his nose. We NEVER thought he would amount to anything...we were wrong!!!
    I saw so many acts and took it all for granted. I got to meet the acts and be with them backstage! At the time, the most wasted of them all was David Crosby and also Tommy Lee's band. Insane! I won't even go into some of the people who worked there!!!!!

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  9. I went to the Golden Bear several times in the 60-70's, one time in particular to see the Beau Brummels. They were the closest thing to the Beatles in OC. One of their roadies kept smoking a joint while he jumped on stage. Things were different. Huntington Beach in those days was filled with surfers and hippies. Not today!!

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  10. The Golden Bear was an institution of Huntington Beach. Sad to see it go. Small venues like that made you feel so invested in the performers and their music. Huntington Beach is not what it used to be, better or worse? I guess it depends when you were a youth there. I loved the 60's and 70's.

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  11. I worked at the Golden Bear as a cocktail waitress in about 1964. I used a phoney id because I was only 19 and I remember the managers name was Mel. The first act to plug in was The Paul Butterfield Blue's Band. I remember how everyone reacted to the loudness. That was a great time for music. For the musicians and audience. Now there are just too many people. It was a more intimate thing then.
    JH

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  12. I used to work accross the street at California T-Shirts on Main Street in the mid 70's. Had a neighbor that worked there as a bartender and used to sneak us in. What a different place HB was in those days.
    Keith Buy

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  13. I used to work across the street at California T-Shirts on Main in the mid 70's. I had a neighbor that worked at the Golden Bear as a bartender and used to sneak us in. What a different place HB is today!

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  14. The Golden Bear was what H.B. was back in the 60's laid back, fun place to be. Today H.B. is noting except about money, sad.

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  15. Boy did I have fun in that club once I was 21. So many great musical nights.....Cecelio and Kapono were my favorites.
    I took pictures of it before it was torn down but it's hard to look at it now. Remember our parents lamenting about the good ol'days? Well, here I am doing it too.

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  16. I too miss the Bear and bemoan the blandness of downtown HB nowadays. One of my good high school friend's older sister was dating the manager or head bouncer guy so we both got in free to any show we wanted in the early 80's. We were only 15 or 16 and got to see some great shows: David Lindley and El Rayo X, Alvin Lee (10 Years After), Dixie Dregs, BB King, Bobby Weir and the Midnights, Al Stewart, etc. I remember they had good nachos, too. The Golden Bear was a true Orange County gem!

    Youndy

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  17. The Golden Bear was great!

    I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble play there in August of 1983. Sat about 10 feet away from one of the best guitarists ever at one of the coolest places imaginable to see and hear great music.

    Too much!

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  18. Steve Martin as the opening act for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin getting their start. Good Times!

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  19. Some of the coastal towns southward to San Diego still seem to have some of that charm. They also have less corporate and commercial influence as Huntington. There's alot of preservation of historical landmarks and the cultural vibe too.

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  20. Can anyone tell me exactly where the Golden Bear was when it reopened after Redevelopment ? I know it was somewhere near the movies. Thanks Judy

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  21. I've lived in OC virtually all my life and the Bear was for years the ONLY place to experience hip live entertainment here. As a local musician, I even had the privilege to perform on that famous stage one rainy night in 1980.It was definitely more of the type of venue typical of LA or SF. That's probably one reason for the innane and short-sighted decision to get rid of it (a "bad influence") and put up that ridiculous pink stucco substitute "Golden Bear"(I think even that is gone now-- died quickly and not surprisingly). There was more show business history there than OC deserves. I wouldn't be surprised if there is great regret over that decision. History should be preserved -- everything now, well let's face it, sucks !

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  22. JP:

    The Golden Bear was situated directly across main street from where Jack's surfboards is today. I believe the exact location is now a HB surf and sport clothing store, or something like that. There are also restaurants adjacent to it that may also have been part of the grounds. But basically it was on the corner of Main and what is now Pacific Coast Highway (Ocean Hwy back in the day I think).

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  23. I live in HB in '76 and used to skate board past the GB every day on my way yo buy candy from a liquor store up the street. I remember when they closed it down... OC is not as it once was...

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  24. I've lived in HB since 1974. My first show at the GB was Steve Martin in '75. Just before his first album. Sure enough he opened the front doors to hitch a ride and bring along 300 of his new friends. Also saw Randy Meisner (Ex Eagles bassist) Tommy Tutone, Dixie Dregs, a drunken Dan Hicks, Rick Darringer (my ears were neer the same) and the Ramones. Yes I was sweat on by Joey Ramone.

    My buddy grabbed a bunch of bricks when they tore it down and rebuilt his fireplace mantle with them. Very Cool. I would love to get copies of any photos inside or out of the bear.
    Bill

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  25. Obvioulsly AnonymousNovember 29, 2006 5:34 PM

    Such memories, a local club with history and charm. I saw tallent from Taj Mahal to Hoyt Axton (I was too young for Janice or the Doors but I have fond memories of sharing herb with friends and going to see the Ventures). I understand the need to tear the building down as it was about to fall down all by itself. However It could have been rebuilt with similar size and charm. What has happened to the downtown main street is a travesty unless you are a developer. And get rid of the circus at the pier. I enjoyed the sarcasm posted February 28, at 5:08. It seems like a little too much of Newport Beach spilled over.

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  26. I arrived from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Huntington Beach in 1975. I was 18, didn't know anyone, and showed up with my guitar to become the next Neil Young. I tried many times to play in the Golden Bear. I was continualy tossed out cause of my age, hmmm, or maybe lack of talent.
    The Huntington section of Pacific Coast Highway was as a dreamscape, all sorts of exciting things happening, and just down the road in Newport Beach was the Wedge-a jetty that was the best for surfing!
    I played my guitar and sang on street corners, and regularly worked the Huntington Pier, right across the street from the Golden Bear. There was a bait store out at the end of the pier, and a narrow tavern about halfway down. I'd play in front of there almost every other day, get a free hot pastrami and swiss on a rye hogie bun, and often a paper cup of draft beer. A good spot for tourist tips.
    I lasted in So.,CA. a year and a half, no regrets, and then headed back to my Northern home near Lake Michigan.
    I'm now 50, and known in Traditional Music circles for my award winning fiddle and mandolin playing, and the workshops that I teach. We play festivals and lots of private shows, but nothing like the Golden Bear.
    Every so often I'll think back to those dreamy days, remember the fog and salt smell, the camping trip to Monterey, smiling people, and the best tan I've ever had.

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  27. I used to go to the Golden Bear in the 1960's. Does anybody remember a male folksinger who used to sing "The Cat Came Back" and used to quote the poem, "The moon many kiss the stars on high,
    The stars may kiss the bright blue sky, the little dewdrops may kiss the grass, but, you my friends........
    farewell!" His first name might have been Tim, but I'm not really sure.

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  28. The singer that sang "The Cat Came Back" was/is Tom Morgon. His records are reissued on CD and you can find them at cdbaby.com
    He also has a website http://www.timmorgon.com/

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  29. Ah yes The Golden Bear in the 60's. What a great place to enjoy a wide array of creative music artists and tons of fun! Our group, The Battery Operated Crabgrass were the house band at the Teen & 20 (aka The Syndicate 3000)which was located next door to the "Bear". One of our favorite things was to jam with artists who would drop in after their gig at the Golden Bear. It is indeed unfortunate that the "Bottom Liners" have stolen the soul of Southern California - and many other places for that matter. Huntington Beach is a prime example. Plastic coated and hoytie toytie comes to mind.

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  30. I was coming up in the 80s and remember the ska/punk shows at the G. Bear. I used to see Fishbone there all the time. Anyone remember those days?

    I'd love to take a photo of the guy's fireplace with the bricks from the old building...that's amazing!!

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  31. I am from BC Canada, I travelled down the coast back in the early 70's in my 1960 Corvette, I stopped in Huntington beach and found the Golden Bear Night Club.

    It was a fantastic club that I found by accident,best entertainment anywhere and great food,great people.

    I stayed 2 nights in HB and attended Jessie Winchester on the Sat. and The Spinners on Friday.

    I too was so saddened to hear they closed their doors. I brought a paper menu back for a souvenir it listed all the bands that had played there, unfortunately I lost it somewhere along the way.

    Rod

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  32. Fortunately I went one time to the Golden Bear. It was in ’64 when most of the acts were of the “folk music scene”. It was Joe and Eddy that I saw. But, does anyone remember the Pavilion that was right by the pier. It burnt down sometime in the ‘60s, along with the Rendezvous in Newport Beach, which burnt down a few years earlier. Although I don’t know that much of the history of the Pavilion, I know the Rendezvous was there in the ‘40s and a lot of “big bands” played there. Both got a bad reputation when “the surf element” started frequenting them and I was always suspicious of the fires of being possible set deliberately because of unsuccessful attempts to close them down.

    Another place with fond memories for me was Harmony Park in Anaheim. I used to see Dick Dale there every Friday night. One time I screwed up and went on a Saturday it was an entirely different crowd for country music. The Retail Clerks Union in I believe Buena Park also had dances in the ‘60s and the house band was usually Dave Myers and the Surftones.

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  33. Does anyone remember what year Charles Bukowski was appeared at the Golden Bear, it was June 25th according to a poster I have, but I don't know what year. Mark Turnbull was on the bill also.

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    1. I was there, I think it was 1971. Mark and I talked a lot I was 21 just a kid running lights and sound and opening shows!Mark wanted to record one of my songs."Don't think I'll be coming home tonight", Learned so much, worked so hard,never regretted any of it!
      Paul Hamilton
      Big White House Publishing

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  34. We went to "The Bear" a lot in the late '60s and early '70s. Most memorable for me: Kris Kristofferson was so stoned he couldn't remember what he was doing and sang "The Silver-Tongued Devil" several times before somebody pulled him off the stage. That same night he introduced "A new young girl you're all gonna love" and out came a gorgeous thing draped in scarves and singing like an angel -- it was Carly Simon before she'd ever recorded anything.

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  35. I played at the Golden Bear with Ian & Sylvia in 1971. England Dan & John Ford Coley opened for us. There weren't many places to eat after the show and George Nikis let me cook hamburgers in the kitchen. One night he came in as I was spreading mayonaisse on my burger and in his Greek accent said "Why do you put face cream on your hamboorger?" I've never used it on hamburgers since.

    Bob Walker
    www.walker-entertainment.com

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  36. Does anyone remember a local talent playing at the GB in the late 70's or early 80's named Ken Rhoads?

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  37. I'm Ken Rhoads. I remember me. Thanks for asking. I'm in Boston now, beating up my piano. I miss HB. I miss Rick Babarakey (sp) and the gang. I had a good run with the likes of Steve Martin and the lot....
    I hope I gave you a moment of joy.
    KR

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    1. I Miss Rick and Chuck both! What a Pair!

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  38. I'm Ken Rhoads. Thanks for asking. I hope I gave you a moment of joy. I'm in Boston now. Beating up on my piano. Miss HB. Miss the GB. Miss old friends like Rick Babarakey (sp)and family. Wow! 30 years.
    Ken Rhoads

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  39. I remember seeing Steve Martin open for Neil Diamond back in 1968 or 1969, can't remember the exact year I'm old now... I do remember that Steve was hilarious and I've always followed his career but Neil was kind of a "not so nice guy" he started yelling at the crowd when they started clapping during one of his longgggggg pauses not knowing he wasn't done with his song yet. First impressions are important, didn't follow his career.

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  40. MY NAME IS KELLY LAMMERS, AND I PERFORMED AT THE GOLDEN BEAR AS LEAD GUITAR FOR THE SURFARIS IN THE EARLY 80'S. OF ALL THE CLUBS, PARKS, FAIRS AND CONCERTS WE PLAYED, THE GOLDEN BEAR STANDS OUT AS MY FAVORITE. IT'S A GENUINE SHAME THAT THAT GREAT LITTLE CLUB IS NOW GONE.

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  41. I went to the Bear many times and saw an incredible number of talented people get their start and rise to fame there. One of the more funny moments for me was watching Pat Paulson (comedian) do his impression of Frankenstein playing pool but I mostly came to see the Paul Butterfield Blues Band play their kick-ass brand of Chicago Blues! This was by far one of the greatest music venues Orange County had then (besides Sid's Blue Beat in Newport Beach) and will probably ever have. I was very disheartened to learn that this incredible historic piece of architecture and monument to music was destroyed to make room for yet another freaking strip mall...it should have been preserved as a historic corner for all time.
    Rene Macare

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  42. Does anyone remember the group Honk playing the GB, or the late Steve Goodman. Both great. I remember Ken Rhoads,too. He not only had a very fine singing voice, but played his instruments well, had amazing showmanship and was a brilliant songwriter. Ken, are you making a living doing your music or playing on the side? Have you written for anyone? Did you ever record? Lots of questions. We thought you were the best around. Is any of your music available for purchase. I know someone, a quasi musician, who would love to hear it.

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  43. I was the bass player in a local band named ONE. we played at the Bear in the late 70"s about five times. Great times back then.

    Johnny Gizmo

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  44. WE WERE WEEKLY GUESTS OF THE GOLDEN BEAR IN THE 60S ONWARD TILL IT CLOSED. I WORKED AT THE OLD NEWPORT CHART HOUSE AND THEN THE OLD LONG BEACH CHART HOUSE.
    SUCH A DIVERSE MIX OF MUSIC, BLUE GRASS, ROCK, JAZZ! PAUL BUTTERFIELD AND POCO WERE TWO OF MY FAVORITES. SO MANY PEOPLE WHO WENT ON TO ENTERTAINMENT FAME AS WELL.
    HIROSHIMA, C AND K, LINDA RONSTAD, JIMI HENDRICKS, BB KING, STEVE MARTIN CAN PLAY A BANJO WELL.
    SO SAD TO HEAR OF THE COMING REDEVELOPMENT, THE GOLEN BEARS "REPLACEMENT" NEVER REALLY CAUGHT ON.

    PHIL, H B GRADUATE

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  45. I've been living in the Ozarks for over 25 years now but I have fond memories of the Golden Bear of the late seventies .The shows I remember the best were Flo & Eddie and Country Joe McDonald.I just learned that the G B is gone,BUMMER!

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  46. Ahh - the memories of of the GB. I cannot count the number of times I saw David Lindley & El-Rayo X - WOW. Best shows aside from David were Poco, Huey Lewis & The News. My all time favorite had to be Chris Hillman with Rick Roberts. What a great night. Yes the most wasted and I saw it up front & personal was David Crosby - still a great show...and we always wound up at Jack N' The Box afterwards - wonder why??????

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  47. Amen to that! Dave Mason, my favorite ever at the Golden Bear.

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  48. I lived in some apts on Avenue C in the late '60s. The Golden Bear was mecca to some of the best bands/groups of the era:Strawberry Alarmclock; The Guess Who;Chicago(early); Average White Band, etc...
    What a shame that this rock landmark was torn down for a strip center.
    Long Live Rock & Roll!

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  49. I was surfing the Web tonight and stumbled on this site again. I first saw it in Feb. 2006 when there was just one comment about the GOLDEN BEAR posted. It was just a few weeks after the one-year anniversary of the passing of owner Rick Babiracki--my longtime concert promotion partner. Now, 48 posted comments later, it's about time I chime in.

    As a college rock reporter and entertainment editor of Cal State Fullerton's campus paper, I first went to the Bear in 1974 when Rick and his brother Chuck first bought the club. I went to see Average White Band (AWB) who at the time had a #1 hit with "Pick Up The Pieces" and interviewed lead singer Hamish Stuart about the recent accidental OD death of drummer Robbie McIntosh at a Hollywood party (where Cher saved the life of the leader of the band by keeping him awake).

    Through the years, I worked for many venues but my favorite concerts were those intimate shows of classic rock bands at the original Bear on PCH in the '70s. Rick and I worked as a team at the new Bear that opened in the Pierside Pavilion in 1990 and after it closed, partnered at other clubs (i.e. San Diego's Bacchanal). I still work with many of the bands that played the circuit in their heyday then and are still touring today.

    In going full circle, AWB was always one of my favorite groups and 16 years later when they reunited, I promoted their show at the new Bear. Nowadays, we try to get together when they're on the West Coast and in fact, they'll be playing in town in two weeks at Cerritos Center of the Performing Arts (where I was a publicist for its debut season).

    SO many stories to tell! I could go on and on... When my best friend Rick died, I promised that I'd finish writing the book that we planned, "The Golden Days of The Golden Bear." So, I'd like to talk to all of you who have posted comments here. Please e-mail me at lagmay@roadrunner.com with your contact info and your fondest memories of our beloved Bear!

    Rockin' On,
    Bella Lagmay-Funk

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  50. Cecelio and Kapono - wow that's a blast from the past. I remember seeing them and many other greats - among them some guy by the name of B.B. King! What a great memory of the Golden Bear, I had no idea it was gone. Been from CA since 1994 now.

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  51. Hawaii's CECILIO & KAPONO were made famous on the mainland by Golden Bear owner Rick Babiracki, who brought them to the mainland to play his Huntington Beach club after hearing their first release in 1974 on Columbia Records. C&K were a big hit with the beach and surfer scene with SRO shows and Rick was their West Coast booking agent for decades (and reunited them after several breakups).

    In the '90s, Rick & I promoted C&K concerts at the new Golden Bear in the Pierside Pavilion and other venues until Henry's second wife Lezlee took over as manager. When Rick died, C&K ordered an exotic floral arrangement for the funeral and e-mailed me a statement which I read while giving the eulogy before surfers scattered his ashes next to the HB Pier across from his beloved Bear on PCH.

    Every year, I always catch a C&K show when they tour California and in Hawaii for the annual Aloha Fest (also catch Henry's solo act at Waikiki's Duke's on Sundays). In fact, just saw C&K in September at the Coach House in San Juan Capo where they mentioned the Golden Bear before their encore.

    C&K paid props to da Bear big-time by including its familiar logo on their "Journey Through The Years" 30th Anniversary album. Today, C&K is still one of my favorite bands whose music brings back so many fond memories of da Bear and we continue to stay in touch.

    Aloha a hui hou,
    Bella Lagmay-Funk
    714Jamming

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  52. I was so sad to see the Golden Bear torn down. My sister had taken a beautiful picture that still hangs in my house of one of the cows. We climbed the fence one night and stole some Bear bricks for memories. I have always had it sitting on my desk, didnt do anything cool like build a fireplace with it though!

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  53. Miss the GB. Steve Martin makes mention of the Bear in his new book, 'Born Standing Up'. If you were a small club scene goer in the late 60's and 70's you'll enjoy the book.

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  54. Jose Feliciano is the act we went to The Bear to see in the 60's. After playing his heart out for a couple of hours we had the nerve to request "Mama Don't Allow". It was all good.
    Nancy

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  55. This summer while working a convention in Chicago, I recognized Jose Feliciano at a popular bar. He was in to town to perform at Chicago Fest. I walked over to his table and told him I was from the Golden Bear. He had heard owner Rick has passed away and said he always loved playing the Bear.

    I told Jose about potential plans to bring back the club for a third time in the Pacific City project on PCH. Like the second club, Rick & I tried to bring back Bear alumni and Jose said that he'd love to play the new Bear and had his wife/manager give me their contact info. Will keep you posted here as plans develop.

    Rockin' On,
    Bella Lagmay-Funk
    714Jamming

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  56. This week I went back to Huntington Beach to take a walk by the pier. I haven't been there in years. I thought about the Golden Bear and what a shame it was that it was demolished. I was there only once after high school and saw Muddy Waters. It was my first experience hearing live music in a small venue. It was exhilarating. I found this site because I wanted to get some history on the Golden Bear. It's really a legend.

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  57. In 1972, I washed dishes for George and Teddy Nikos. My friends worked there as well: Al was the lightman, Chuck was the cook and Henry the bartender. I also parked cars in their lot next to the club, on the corner across from the pier. I have many stories to tell about interactions with the entertainers. My favorite is when Hoyt Axton had Al go out and buy Ouzo to toast George and Teddy between acts. I was 20 and forbidden to drink on the premises; however, when it came time for the toast George came around to my sink with a small glass of Ouzo and said "Dont tell Teddy", a minute or two later Teddy gave me a glass and said, "Dont tell George". I made my first pizza for Paul Butterfield. Michael Bloomfield washed his pimply face with phisohex in my sink. One of my predecessors as a dishwasher was Peter Tork who later became one of the Monkees. So many memories.

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  58. I worked at the Bear for George and Teddy Nikos in 1972 as a dishwasher. My friends worked there as well: Al was the lightman, Chuck the cook, and Henry the bartender.
    I also parked cars on the weekends at their lot on the corner across from the pier. The lot was once the site of "Surf City".
    I have many memories. I made my first pizza for Paul Butterfield. Mike Bloomfield washed his pimply face with phisohex in my sink! One of my favorites though is when Hoyt Axton had Al go out and buy Ouzo to toast George and Teddy for some occasion. I was under age and forbidden to drink on the premises, but when it came time to toast Teddy came around the cooler to my sink with a small glass and said, "Dont tell George". A few minutes later George came around with another small glass and said, "Dont tell Teddy". They were like uncles to me and I really enyoyed the experience.
    One of my dishwashing predecessors was Peter Tork, who soon after became a member of the Monkeys.
    If you ever went there you remember the sawdust floors, well I had the priveledge of cleaning them each week. Yes priveledge. When we swept out the old sawdust we could keep all the money we found.
    Al and I would go around and staple all the Golden Bear flyers on power poles.
    After the shows each night Al, Chuck and I would ride ten-speed bikes back home to Costa Mesa.
    One night my roommate Henry, who was an excellent guitarist filled in for a guitarist who turned sick. I think it was for Paul Butterfield Blues Band, but that was a few years ago.
    Great Music two shows a night, four days a week: Jose Feliciano, Nitty Gritty Dirt band, Elvin Bishop...the list goes on.
    I see comments from waitresses. Do any of you remember when Elvin Bishop would play. I remember one on them coming back to the kitchen during the first show; her hair was all mussed-up, her clothes all twisted and she was almost crying to George saying the crowd was too wild and it wasnt safe for her to go back out. The audience was dancing on the tables.
    Does anyone remember Hoyt Axton telling some story about Teddy breaking plates (its a greek thing) and then Teddy coming out from the kitchen with a armload of plates and having a grand old time showing how it was done.
    I am proud to say that I was part of the Golden Bear family. I will always have fond memories of that experience.

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  59. This is in response to Tim Tim, at April 06, 2007 9:10 PM
    The Balboa Pavilion built in 1906 never has burned down…it is still there and flourishing as of at least today as I write. http://www.balboapavilion.com . Many class reunions for the local high schools are still held there. You are correct that the Rendezvous Ballroom, just two blocks from the Pavilion burned down in August of 1966. http://www.100megspopup.com/ark/RendezvousBallroom1941.html The “Surf Element” was what made the Rendezvous. From 1961 through 1966 it did quite well and that was started by Dick Dale. It remained popular right up to the day it burned. It always had an age requirement and a dress code. Nothing rowdy ever went on there as I was there almost every weekend from 1962 through its demise. You had to be age 15 to 20 and you had to wear a tie, a jacket and dress pants…no jeans! I have a copy of these regulations in a scrapbook. Dave Myers and Surftones were the Rendezvous house band after Disk Dale left for the Retail Clerks (Yes, in Buena Park) and others in 1962. Two of the Surftones went to Costa Mesa High School just a couple miles away. Dick worked all over and made Harmony Park a second home over the years…I saw him there in the 70’s. The house band for the Retail Clerks Hall was Eddie Bertrand’s group “Eddie and the Showmen” A good history of all of this at a good price is here. http://www.dumbangelmagazine.com/buy.htm Another great history of that era is John Blair’s ‘Illustrated Discography of Surf Music’ (1995) and the other I would recommend is Robert Dalley’s ‘Surfin' Guitars: Instrumental Surf Bands of the Sixties’ (1996) both of those are in short supply and can get really expensive. The Dumb Angel Magazine link summarizes these books pretty well and for under $20.

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  60. During the late 70's and early 80's saw dozens of great live music at the Bear. Afterwards we would hang out on the pier and talk the night away. Favorite acts there, David Lindley (drove his old white toyota to the gigs), David Crosby and a great comedian named Bob Duback (wondered why he never made it big time). Golden Bear still remains my all time favorite club.

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  61. Rick Babiracki and his wife Carol lived next door to me. I always heard about the Golden Bear when I was a young kid growing up...I wish it was still around.

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  62. I'm writing an article and looking for anyone who might have attended Little Richard's 1965 show at the Golden Bear.

    Please email me lostarchives@yahoo.com

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  63. Saw John Kay and Steppenwolf at the Golden Bear in the late 70's.

    Second worst thing that happened in So Cal was when the yuppie scum tore down The Golden Bear.

    First was the death of The Mighty Met-A-WHOOOOO-YA KMET

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  64. To the lady who wondered where the "new" Golden Bear was located: When David Crosby got out of jail in late 1983 (I think) his first gig was the Kona Hawaii (I have the stub somewhere). After the storm in '86, I saved a brick that I found at the old Bear's site after they it tore down. "They" said it was not safe. We believed the developers just wanted the money. HB was a great place to grow up with only 25,000 people in the late 60's, safe, relatively clean, friendly, and the best surfing anywhere on the west coast. Then they 'put up a parking lot', destroyed Bolsa Chica, tore down the HB Inn, completely ripped up downtown, strip malls, overcrowded streets, traffic and lights everywhere, gangs came in from Santa Ana, multi-rise condos, huge unaffordable housing, noise, trash, crime, drugs. After the fall of Saigon, everything went to hell. The cities let the Asians take over and our home town atmosphere and beauty and lifestyle was destroyed. So you completely uneducated 2/23/2006 inane commentor about how history and character is a blight and strip malls are so clean and bright, oh, and profitable, what a completely ignorant useless blight your comment is on how great HB used to be. Everybody played the Bear. Jimi, Janis, Hoyt, CSN, WHO, Butterfield, Airplane, Mahal, Taj, Dead, Neil, yeah Martin too, he grew up in Garden Grove. It was a great place. So much is gone now, all for money.

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  65. Hi

    Does anyone rememger a place called the Salty Cellar just down the street? The had a band called the Howling Blues that sounted like the Stones

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  66. I was born in Santa Ana in 1949 and as a teenager went to the Golden Bear countless numbers of times. I saw the following bands which I remember well: Butterfield Blues Band, Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, Bo Diddley, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, Joan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Grateful Dead, Country Joe and The Fish, Moby Grape, Junior Wells (w/Buddy Guy), Billy Boy Arnold, and Steve Miller Band. I remember there being at least two and sometimes three shows nightly. If business was slow, you could stay an extra show for $1 and a coke or a beer (if they weren't checking ID's closely. I remember it always being 420 friendly and very mellow there. The bathrooms were in the back of the stage area and you had to pass through a short hallway to get there. On the right, in the hallway, were one or two dressing rooms where the entertainers would hang before and after performances. On my way to pee one evening a door opened and there I was face-to-face with the legendary Janis Joplin! She said, "Hi, honey!" and gave me a sip of her paper cupful of Southern Comfort straight up. I was probably seventeen at the time. Amazing. Obviously I still talk about it to this day. I also remember eating before or after shows at the Jack-in-the Box a few doors down the street towards the south. In the same complex of buildings there was a place called, I believe, The Cave. It had a billiards room on the street level and downstairs was a psychedelically decorated room with a small stage on the north wall. My band (The Blues Express) played there as a warmup for Buffalo Springfield (true story) who had just released "For What It's Worth". We met a very young Stephen Stills, Neil Young and the rest of the band. I remember always finding a parking spot behind the club and getting lots of autographs as the performers left. The garlic bread and salads inside the Golden Bear were great, and the waitresses very tolerent of tennagers with little cash for the two-drink minimum. I was very sad to see The Bear go, and sad to see Huntington Beach lose the small town look and feel so that the corporate buildup could take place. Now it seems that the area is as well known for July 4th riots, skinheads and drugs as it is for surfing competitions.

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  67. Wow...bring back the memories. I stumbled on this site quite by accident and flew back to the summer of 1976 when I had spent a young lifetime (summer)in HB. Growing up on the east coast and in Colorado, I wanted to see the real surf. When a room in a house a buddy from Colorado came open, I jumped at the chance. It was a little duplex on Orange. We used to go out a lot. The GB was one stop, the other was a bar called Isadores down in Newport. They reminded me of a place in Boulder I used to go.

    The first day I was there, I was waxing a vintage (then) G&S at the steps near 16th street, and I look over and see an old friend from High School in NJ! We hung out all summer. I only wished that I knew how cold the early summer water was! The beach scene was severe! I still remember a guy that took his volleyball so seriously that he taped each of his fingers. I also remember the graffiti on the seawall "If you don't live here, don't surf here." Anyway, In October we had three days of rain and I had to go back to Colorado for ski season. Although I've lost touch, I still think about Al, Rich and Ricky; that was a summer to remember for all time. I took my youngest daughter out to see the mouse at D-land few years back and we drove through HB so I could show my wife where I lived. I couldn't find anything, everything was gone from Bolsa Chica to Main Street! The waves were still rolling in under the pier, the beach was beautiful, but now it is time only left to memories.

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  68. I just happened to stumble upon this site and oh what memories.I grew up in HB. I actually was part of a group Save Our Seaside (SOS) in 1975 that fought the redevelopment of the downtown area. We had a drawing of the Golden Bear on a t-shirt we made for our SOS group. They were going to use imminent domain to remove people from their homes and make it into a Miami Beach Highrise Resort. A History teacher at Marina High School lived down near Lake St. and was possibly going to lose his home. I was a student at Goldenwest and a former student of this History teacher. We hired an attorney and fought it. There was so much corruption we discovered at the time with the City Council and some of the business owners downtown that were going to get rich off this. We won but only for a short while. I moved away and remember when a friend shared that they passed a five story limit on highrise builings just a few years later. We had wanted a two story limit. And eventually it became what it is today. I saw BB King, Taj Mahal and many local groups at the Golden Bear. What a shame to not save this historic landmark. Growing up in Huntington Beach was the best back then. I loved that Jack in the Box. And Vic's on the beach.

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  69. I saw some great shows at the Bear. The best were the Pogo shows (before they were Poco). These were two of the best sounding live shows I've ever heard. Messina was on lead guitar then and his sound through his Fender stuff was incredible (must have been seriously hot rodded). Rusty Young was playing through Leslie speakers. The opening act for one of the shows was a new comedian by the name of Steve Martin. LOL

    I saw Albert Collins there a couple of time and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Every show is a terrific memory. It was like they were playing in your living room.

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  70. I lived in HB in the early 70's (and other OC towns after HB cops busted me for pot) while attending Orange Coast College. I was too poor to go out much but I fondly remember two shows at the Golden Bear - Muddy Waters and Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry. Muddy was a revelation. I was sitting 10 feet from the stage and was amazed at the way he manhandled his guitar - it was like a toy in his hands. Whenever I listen to him now I have a mental image of him just wrenching out all of those powerful solos. Yes, I too went back about 12 years ago to check out the old scene and show my wife around. I felt like the man who fell to earth. The old Jack's wooden shack was gone, replaced by a modern two story bldg, Golden Bear gone, couldn't even find my old crummy neighborhood. Hey, anyone remember the Sugar Shack greasyspoon? Did you know you could score an oz of weed at that Jack in the Box for $10. if you were in the know? Only the memories are left.
    -Yet another Al

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  71. I grew up in Westminster and spent a great deal of time in Huntington Beach in the mid-to-late 70s, before moving to the SF Bay Area...we used to drive over and park on Lake Street, and walk past the Jack-in-the-Box, and body surf all day between lifeguard stations 5 and 7...it was not uncommon for folks to to spend all night on the beach, as HB was much more open back then...at the Golden Bear, I was able to see Bob Weir with Kingfish, the Southern r&b band Wet Willie, and watch a transcendent performance from Richie Havens...I still visit OC regularly, and find what once was pretty sad - check out Alejandro Escovedo's latest cd - there's a song called "Golden Bear" on it.

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  72. Loved and miss GB! always something going on there during my years aware of it. Anyone remember Sid's Blue Beet in Newport near the pier? The 70's was when I'd hang there. Amazing acoustic guitar and various acts played. It is still there and still cool. Sid passed away in Feb. of this year. He had been driven out of the state due to various building code infractions. He was quite a character. Miss those times!

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  73. I worked at the Bear from July 1971 until the day it closed, what I aw and heard would fill a book! Funny how many hanger-on's now claim to have worked there, but I know because I worked for both George and the other two who were le than decent to their employees and I don't care how much B.S. goes around! I stayed never the less because I loved the place. my name is Ellen and after working there almost 15 year I know all the stories.my e-mail is Ellenk707@hotmail.com.

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  74. I worked at the Golden Bear from July 1971 until the day it closed, first foe George and then "the Brothers", It seems a lot of people now claim they worked there too, if true it would fill the Rose Bowl, gotta laugh! My name is Ellen and I also had the dubious distinction of being the Head Cocktail waitressfor most of that time, probably made about two bits more for my efforts. Anyway for thoe who want the real story e-mail me at Ellenk707@hotmail.com

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  75. Thank heavens I found this website! We lived in HB in 1984, the year of the Summer Olympics on the West Coast. We went to the GB once on a lovely summer eve to be blown across PCH by awesome live music to be followed by deafness for two days. Tearing down the GB was an act of treasonous proportions by someone wielding more power than sense. The responsible parties should held responsible! The GB left lasting impressions of a HB that was once the quintessential California beach town.

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  76. We lived in HB from 1952 to 1992, and watched the city grow from maybe 21,000 to somewhere near 190,000. Liked it better at 21,000. Golden Bear remembrances include The Mitchell Trio right after Chad left the group. He had been replaced by someone we knew would never succeed named John Denver.

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  77. I lived in downtown HB in 1975-1977 and used my fake ID to order a lot of drinks at the old Golden Bear. I don't think there were more than 300 seats at the long tables for dining, and on nights when they had really popular acts the squeezed in some round cocktail tables along the stage. One night they put Jerry Garcia's microphone stand on my table, talk about sitting close! I think that was the night he played untl afte 3:00 AM and the waitresses came around and picked up the drinks at 2:00. It was so cool being able to walk down there!
    Even if we couldn't afford tickets the owner might let you in free if you bought a drink or they'd open the cutains on the windows that faced PCH and you could take in the show from the sidewalk.
    I saw Garcia, Bob Weir, BB King, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Martin, various obscure jazz combos and folkies, The Byrds...on and on.
    And yeah, downtown HB sucks these days!

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  78. wow...southern california had an amazing amount of character back then, I was just a tyke when I lived there in HB from '66-'80, leaving at 14 for Portland, Oregon. I sometimes think about the old pier and how it was not there one time going back there...but a storm did the pier in, while it seems a homoginization/sterilization/mall mentality took hold of anything with character thought it to be unsightly and just leveled it. so much for attempting to relive any memories... that would have been a kick to go back to HB and find an establishment with hippie/free love/420 friendliness still in existence. Is it true that the old blue collar rustic Huntington Beach has been "phased out"???

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  79. I rememer this place like it was yesterday. I was a high school student at HB high school in 1976 ninth grade. We were too young to get in the golden bear but we would spend all day at the pier go to Maxwells by the pier and have soup because thats all we could afford and that was stretching our budget at 14. Hours would go by while we would wait for action to begin. Slowly people would begin to fill th parking lot and you know the lot was very small so the streets would begin to fill also. There were so many up and comming artists getting their start here you never knew who would become famous. One time Steppenwolf played and the place was packed to the hilt I could tell this by seeing the parking lot completely full and the the nearby streets full also. I never got to go inside due to age but I did listen from the outside. Yes, my high school years in the 70's were a magical time in and around HB, the pier, golden bear, the surf theater. Things are very different now. I'm so sorry the golden bear is no longer but times change, people change. It's time to move on.

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  80. I am about to go to a function where I will meet Cheech Marin ~ someone I used to go see at the Golden Bear where he performed with his partner Tommy Chong!! The first time I went to the 'Bear" was in the summer of 1969 to see Elvin Bishop...I went to every show (two a night) for the entire time he was there! I was in high school and my parents actually allowed me to go!! I was SO lucky to have been trusted enough to head up there from Newport Beach for the concerts...which at the time were around $8.00 ~ $12.00...those days are gone~ Gas was also .30 cents a gallon! Anyway ~ I saw Paul Butterfield ~ Mike Bloomfield (Electric Flag) Janis Jopplin ~ Elvin Bishop ~ a new girl group called The Pointer Sisters ~ Albert Collins ~ Buddy Guy (are you feeling sick yet!) Fats Hollywood ~ the list goes on! It was such an amazing time in my life...it broke my heart to see that The Golden Bear was gone...it was a landmard and the city of H.B. should be ashamed of themselves for destroying it! I know I know downtown is beautiful now blah blah blah...but some things SHOULD remain the same! The acoustics weren't the best...but every seat in the house was great! There wasn't a bad place to see the show...and afterwards most of the artists would come out and hang around and have a drink...I sat with Elvin Bishop on many a night and talked about guitar licks! I am still looking for a place that equals the Bear that is around now...nothing...nothing compares to that little club where you sat on a hard chair at a long table with a bunch of people that you didn't know but shared the love of good music! I can tell you this ~ because of having the opportunity to go there as much as I did I know more about music ~ I had experiences that my daughters unfortuneatly will never have. I was taught some great guitar licks by some great artists on the nights that I was lucky enough to be able to stay late and hang out...I didn't do drugs or drink (although there were those who did ~ it was the 60;s nd 70's!!) which is probably why my mom and dad used to let me go...they even came with me at times! My friends used to come over ~ we would play guitars and harmonicas and someone would ask me "Where did you learn THAT?" I still play some of those licks that I was taught way back when and I think of those great nights with that great music! Walking out into that Pacific Ocean breeze that blew in my face and cooled me off after a night of seeing a great artist up close and personal! I will always have those memories and I actually have some black and white photos to proove it! Yup ~ I was one lucky gal!

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  81. My grandmother worked at the Golden Bear in 1924 as a waitress. At the time, my grandparents lived in a small apartment that just off of PCH (prime real estate!). I grew up in Wisconsin, but because my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousins still lived in CA (Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Westminster), I spent two months every summer visiting them. I don't remember the Golden Bear, but I do remember all the fun I had hanging out at the beach.

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  82. PLEASE!! Anybody who worked at the Golden Bear Cafe from 1923 to 1951, or if you know someone who did, please contact me. I am very interested in information, stories, or ANY memorabilia/photos associated with that era... or with Harry Bakre himself.

    goldenbearhb@yahoo.com

    Also, anyone intersted in the Golden Bear will be glad to know that there is a book called "A History of the Golden Bear Huntington Beach" scheduled for release in January of 2009. Please email me for details.

    goldenbearhb@yahoo.com

    Does anyone have an extra Golden Bear brick for sale to be used in Golden Bear related historical exhibits? Please email me.

    goldenbearhb@yahoo.com

    Thank you,
    Robert Carvounas

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  83. Does anyone remember a singer named Beth Frichet (sp) playing the GB? She may have been with a band (perhaps Honk). Her voice was lovely and she was very sweet. I liked her persona. Does anyone recall how the food was there? Was it tasty or just so so? Funny, I don't remember that. Nowadays, at my middle aged-ness, I would certainly keep track of something that important. ;o)

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  84. In 1975 my family moved to HB, shortly after my sister ( Becki Hall ) went to work for Rick and Chuck at the Golden Bear and managed the club until the early
    80's. I was 16 when she started there. I went to almost every show they had in that time frame, at times I even did my home work in the back of the room. I eventually started my own band (Byron) and was given the chance to play the Bear at least a dozen times. I miss that place and that time of my life. I cant even begin to tell you about all the amazing nights of music I witnessed.

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  85. Iwas head of security of the golden bear from 1990 to 1996 my name was clutch you cane mail me at Keithh@centurytel.net like to tell you the real story.

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  86. This is for my sis Ellen, she did work for the GB and work her %^&$ off she did, for those Babaracki's for peanuts. I remember her getting me in for acts, such as The Busboys, Taco,B.B. King and a little known band Van Halen. Those days were great especiallly when my friends thought I could get them in too. Thanks for the times Elle.

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  87. Those of you who still have great memories of the Great Golden Bear will be happy to know that the entire history of "The Bear" has been chronicled in a new book- just released in January 2009. "A History of the Golden Bear, Huntington Beach" contains the story of the great landmark that once graced the shores of old downtown Huntington Beach. It also contains scores of images and photos dating from 1921 to 1986. And, myths are revealed and misinformation is set right in this book... including some big name acts who "appeared" at the Golden Bear. Whatever your connection to the Golden Bear, if you're reading this... you should read the book.

    Please visit goldenbearbook.com for all the information. Or email me at goldenbearhb@yahoo.com

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  88. Hey Robert, it's BELLA from the Bear! Congratulations, dude on publishing your book. Just received an e-mail notification of your post on this site which I've contributed comments for the past few years and have asked for fans to send me their memories of our beloved Bear as I intend to use them in the "Golden Days of the Golden Bear" book that late owner Rick Babiracki and I have always wanted to write.

    As you know, writing about the Bear's heyday and working with all the national acts behind the scenes was a lifelong project for myself and Rick, my longtime concert promotion partner and best friend. During Rick's last days in the hospital, we reminisced about our favorite memories backstage which made for interesting SoCal rock history. I promised him that someday I'd take the time to document our memoirs. Of course, I moved on to several other venues but will always fondly remember the Bear as where I began my concert career. In keeping my promise to Rick, someday soon I do intend to publish our book from the backstage perspective. So, congrats again, Robert... would you or Carole please send me a copy? And please let me know if you're going to have a release party. Thanks, brah!

    Rockin' on,
    -Bella-

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  89. My name is Janice, and I worked for Del Kaufman and his partner, whose name was Rick, (I think) in 1964. I had been a babysitter for Del's little boy, and then worked at the Golden Bear until I started working at the phone company. I remember Joe and Eddie, Hoyt Axton, and many others including Theodure Bickel. I was a page for him when he played the Long Beach Civic Auditorium. What memories!!

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  90. As a young "runaway" i found myself enjoying many amazing shows at the Bear compliments of my friend Big John. I miss those days and all those wonderful people who watched out for me and truly kept me out of trouble!! Big Dave, Polo and Sharon,Huntington Henry, piano John, Katy, Rocky, and all you others. Thank You!!!! Lisa Johnson luvcats90210@yahoo.com

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  91. My name is Clutch, I was head of security at the Golden Bear 1979-1986. I worked with Ellen, Chris the star behind the bar, Camel Tom, Bill the best sound and light man in the business, Carol, Rick, Chuck Babracki, and if you went through the front lobby in those times you had to see me, I had the best times ive ever had in my life at the bear. If you know of me or know me please email me at Keithh@Centurytel.net my name is Clutch.

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  92. We went to the HB Art Center to see the GB exhibit this weekend. It was fun flashing back to the past. The GB posters brought back such memories. There are alot of pictures and menus and memorabilia. Loved the brick and cornices from the top of the building and the door knob. Thanks to anyone who helped get the display together. Good job! ( I believe it will be there until Feb. 22.)

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  93. The Golden Bear display at the HB Art Center should be credited to Carole Babiracki-Kirby. I wrote the book- "A History of the Golden Bear, Huntington Beach"- and I learned that Carole was the one person in the rich history of the Golden Bear to have the good sense and foresight to save "TONS" of Golden Bear memorabilia from her era and before. She ran the club with her (then) husband (and the late) Rick Babiracki and his brother Chuck from 1974-1986.

    Hats off to Carole Babiracki and a million thanks to her!!

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  94. Hi, this is Carole ("Mama Bear") former wife of Rick Babiracki. I have since married Kevin Kirby, who I met at the Golden Bear.

    I've been reading and enjoying the comments about the various experiences at 'The Bear' and wanted to point out that "yes, I do remember you, Ken Rhodes!"
    I enjoyed your music and personality and fond memories of you playing at the Bear.

    Hi Larry, I saved a signed "Byron & Let's Eat" poster for you, so call Becky for my number.

    I have MANY fond memories and stories I could tell... but way too much put in words now. I hope to see many of you at the Golden Bear Reunion, to be held at the Waterfront Hilton in September... more information to follow!

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  95. Just wondering, regarding the reunion, Carole. Is it just for the Golden Bear's former employees and musicians who played there, or can us regular folk go?

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  96. All are welcome to the G.B reunion. We are still waiting to hear more info on details such as ticket prices, who is playing, ect.
    I will be sure to post it once I find out.

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  97. My name is Alex Nikas and my Uncles George and Teddy "the Greeks" owned the Bear for a several years after Del owned the place. Both Ted and George are alive and in good health and fondly remember and tell their stories and I can listen all night.
    Anyone remeber my Uncles?
    I am working with Ted to open a club in the near future. I will be getting both of the uncles to give their two cents and who knows, maybe bring in some of the old acts. Can you imagine these guys consulting on a project like this?
    nikasad@yahoo.com

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  98. Hi Alex:

    As you know, your uncles sold the Golden Bear to Rick & Chuck Babiracki in 1974. The brothers, along with Rick's then wife Carole, ran a successful venue and I loved going there as both a college rock reporter and just a local loving all the legendary acts that played there. We were all saddened when the Bear closed in 1986 and the City demolished it to pave the way for the Pierside Pavilion.

    When Peppers Inc. brought back the Bear on the same site in 1990, I had left Capitol Records in Hollywood to move back to the O.C. and was teamed with Rick to bring in the national acts at the new Bear. It wasn't the same folksy club like the historical landmark as it was a new era and the new venue was a multi-million facility with state-of-the-art staging, lights and audio, bordered by a large popular restaurant.

    To set the record straight, the third Bear was quite successful for almost a year with most of our concerts sold-out. What led to its untimely closing was the opening of movie theaters directly above our stage and noise problems arose over decibel levels. So, Rick and I said goodbye to another club and vowed to be back someday in yet another reincarnation of the Bear.

    Sadly, Rick passed away in 2005 and on the anniversary of his death just two nights ago, I had dinner with his brother Chuck and widow Cathie, along with our good friend Penelope, who all came over to my place afterwards to watch the DVD I produced of Rick's memorial services, highlighted by a tribute to the glory days of the Bear.

    After the Bear closed, I moved on to other venues and am still active in concert promotion. So, Alex, if you're serious about opening another club, count me in. Most importantly, if you plan to call it the Golden Bear, you should be consulting with some key players, specifically Rick's first wife Carole who owns rights to the name. Hopefully, we can all talk soon and bring back the Bear--again!

    Rockin on!
    Bella Lagmay-Funk

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  99. Bella,
    I sent you a message on your youtube site. Looking forward to meeting you soon!

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  100. Hey Alex!

    E-me back on my YouTube channel www.YouTube.com/714Jamming with your phone # so we can hook up. Looking forward to working with you too in bringing back our beloved Bear. Together, maybe we can make it finally happen! Gotta go for now... it's Grammy night!

    Rock on!
    -Bella-

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  101. I grew up in Orange County 1975-1985, living in Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. One of my fondest memories was of The Golden Bear Night Club. Bob Marley & The Whalers preformed that night, the placed packed and Bob token the largest doobie at least a foot or two,and circumference of a small fist. Huntington Beach Police, policed the audience and protected the band. I regreted later after leaving California that I didn't go more and see all the top Jazz R&B ans Rock bands. I guess you dodn't what you have missed until its gone............

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  102. Where else could you see the likes of Dyer Straights, Huey Lewis and the News, B.B.King, Les Dudek, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Larry Carlton in such an intimate setting..where you could see the artists sweat falling from there faces or placing a drink on your table...I miss the Golden Bear

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  103. To Alex Nikas:

    Dear Alex:

    I'm Nick Campbell. My brother, Mike, and I helped Teddy save an old film that he and your father, Jerry, and George made on location at the Prison of Socrates, and which someone, Bob Sarber, has since posted three eight minute segments from at You Tube.

    Our interest was preserving anything we could from the Prison of Socrates and the footage we thought was important. But the best experience of all was meeting your uncle, Teddy, who we love. I stayed at your uncle's house one night a couple of years ago and in the morning it was amazing to think that Theodore Nikas was frying me two eggs. We started listening to Tim Morgon's albums in 1963, so we had all the mystical stuff of legend in place and so many years had passed to create in our minds an even greater sense of how important everything the Nikas brothers had done for so many of us who loved folk music.

    I also met your wife at one of Teddy's gatherings at his home and she told me it meant a lot to you to have the film, "Dirty Feet," preserved on DVD because of the images of your father, who Teddy told me was tragically killed in a traffic accident in the early 70s, I think he said it was. We thought your father was the best actor in the film and the most natural. His personality came shinging through. We used to go to the Prison of Socrates when we were very young, but to see Steve Gillette. That was in 1967-68, too late to have see Tim Morgon, but we had the albums.

    By the time we finished helping Teddy to save the film we thought the world of Teddy and are grateful to have gotten the chance to really know him personally, and Deitt, too, and Teddy's daughter and the kids. What a blessing.

    I read with great interest Teddy's interest to possibly re-open another folk club, and whatever he and George end's up calling it, I know it will be great and we will certainly come to the grand opening.

    We take care of our 93 year old mother, Ann, and whom we used to bring along when we went down to Ted's. Teddy said it was one of the reasons he liked us and trusted us and that trust has meant the world to us also. I loved seeing with my brother in tow the old Volvo in the backyard at his home near Manhattan Beach that they sold Tim Morgon's first album out of.

    Well, wish I could have met you that night at Ted's but you were busy elsewhere that evening, on some business trip I think I was told.

    Please let us know what happens with your uncles and their new folk club. I think they should create an entirely new venue for folk and popular music and start out on a new foot with a new name altogether. I am sure they would come up with a name as interesting and as creative as the Prison of Socrates, Route et Noir, or Cosmos, or the Golden Bear...I think they once owned all four clubs?

    Well, nice reading your comments and please say hello to everyone for us, and tell Teddy we will try to come down to see him soon. Our Mama experiences Sundowner's Syndrome and when she is farther from home than Santa Barbara she becomes very disoriented, so we cannot easily get away for much of anything these days.

    President Jimmy Carter has remarked on what a privilege it is to care for a parent or grandparent, and it is just that: a privilege. Our mother is a unique person. Teddy said not so long ago on the phone to me, "I would like to see your mother one more time." I have such feelings everyday when I leave her place at night and check everything to make sure she will be okay... heat is set where it should be...the stove is off...everything is ready for her in the morning...her coffee and her breakfast, which is always some pastry. I would add here that I wish very much to see Teddy again, and Susan, and to meet your uncle, George, whom we have not had the pleasure and honor of meeting. And you.

    Well peace and good wishes, and maybe now that will be possible with Barack Obama as our new president. I know Teddy is happy about that, as is almost everyone I meet these days.

    Yours very sincerely,

    Nicholas (and brother Mike) Campbell

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  104. I went there several times when I was in high school and college, from around 1971-1975. I saw Roger McGuinn, Bob Weir, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and once took a girl out to see George "Harmonica" Smith, the blues great. That was her first real exposure to blues and she was impressed. My favorite, though, was sometime circa 1971, when I saw Linda Ronstadt, with her microphone about 8 feet away from my table. Her backup band was fantastic, and the curly-haired drummer had on a Philadelphia Eagles football jersey. Guess who this "Eagle," and the band, turned out to be?

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  105. my name is jack kamakian,my friends were donna sargent, berry kelly, mike ellis, henry smith,we hung there at the bear and the cave on adams and beach.many more friends from them days i would like to talk to.if you are about our age now then you will our names will ring a bell.dennys rest,jack in the box,charlies chili,the bar across from the surf theatre,jacks surf shop,jack and i used to get in fist fights!the good old days.how about larry trask,jim carr,big art the bouncer at the cave or mel at the golden bear.cmon folks i hope the right people see this and contack me cactusjack4chevy@yahoo.com or 605-988-4011 or go on face book and look me up jack kamakian.i would not trsde them days for nothing!we had it made to grow up there.dam i want to go back one more time.

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  106. I saw Blondie open for a local band in 1978. Do you remember the shop next store? The guy would trace your foot and make custom sandals with the rainbow stacked soles that were so popular then. Great memories! My first job was in the back of Georges Surf Shop - cleaning strawberries at The Good Earth. Huntington had a unique charm then.

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  107. Greetings all.

    This is Camelthom, another old refugee from the Bear. The memories from that place are still some of my fondest. I'm very sorry to hear about Rick. Carole, Chuck Kevin, Kieth,or Ellen Chuck if you see this email at
    camelatthebear@gmail.com. I set up this account for just me fellow Bearlings.

    camel

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  108. I was in high school 63-66 at Marina. I used to listen outside the Bear then, as they pumped the sound out thru an old speaker mounted by the door. The doors had an opening just wide enough to squint thru and see Sonny Terry and Brownie Mcgee and all the great folksters of the time. In later 60s saw Paul Butterfield Blues band just rock the stage for the second session. It went on for hours. Also saw a really loud band named Black Pearl. They played so loudly that my friend, who had dropped acid about 30 minutes before the show, said he never came onto the acid at all. Drove it right out of him! Also saw the late great Steve Goodman there about 1975. I worked at the Salty Cellar, a teen club just yards away, back in 1967. THAT was a great college job (OCC). I am looking for a bunch of my friends of that area. Luana Bruce, where are you? If you know me, email me at bobhickman99@yahoo.com.

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  109. I remember it. I actually have a signed litho of the GB that is pretty awesome.

    I hate what downtown has become. It used to be a cool surf town, now its a crime ridden tourist trap

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  110. I still have a flyer promoting an August 1975 gig at the GB by Spirit. I couldn't make it to hear them, but I always wondered if it was a good night for them and all who did attend. I ask this because the band was having their ups and downs that year.
    Also, did Honk or Joyous Noise play at the GB? I know I heard them somewhere along the beach in '72 or '73 but don't remember where.
    A big thank you to any info.

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  111. I've never heard of Joyous Noise ( I like that name, tho) but for sure Honk played at the GB many times!!

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  112. I grew up in the Long Beach/Orange County area and went to many concerts from 1969 to 1974. I saw some great intimate concerts at the Bear and was really sad to see it go. A statement on the entire era being moved out of the way and making room for a more generalized and generic tomorrow. I remember going to the back door of the Golden Bear in or around 1973 as I had some really killer weed and we just figured we would see if we could get someone high and get a back door entrance. Well Kingfish was playing (Bob Weir's first solo project away from the Grateful Dead) anyway, we knocked and sure enough when the door was answered we were escorted into the basement where we got high and then were left to find our way to the front where we sat next to Donna Godchaux, singer from the early days of the Grateful Dead. It was a great concert. Another time probably around the same time I saw David Bromberg and we paid for the first show and talked the waitress into letting us stay for free for the next show. It's too bad that we don't see what a great time we are having and what incredible memories we are making until they become nostalgia. The Golden Bear was a great place but it also was a great time.

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  113. i was 7 years old in 1970 when we moved to huntington Beach that big house with the split level door on 1st street i lived so close to the Bear ,you could feel the energy at night! people gathering waiting to go in. HB really was a magical place back then! My folks hippies of course. would often walk across the street and hang out side the Bear and listen to the awesome groups. latter in the 80's i tried to get in to see KALAPANA but they were sold out, really would have loved to see them! i having been born the daughter of miss Anahiem and of Huntington Beach,will truley miss the Golden Bear and my Huntington Beach the way i remember HB to be we left in 73 for Hawaii been here since Hawaii is home.but HB will always be my first home. visit CA. every now and again,if they reopen GB I'll be sure to stop in next time! Aloha and Mahalo for all the memories.

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  114. Great comments from everyone, now go to www.myspace.com/thegoldenbearnightclub and see what you have been missing....

    P.S. Hi Carol and Kevin....

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  115. I don't even know where to begin, but my favorite artist to se at the Bear was of course Hoyt Axton. We used to take my step daughter back stage and visit with Hoyt. My next fav. concert was in 1966, we saw Lovin Spoonful and John Handy Quintet on the same bill. Tickets went up to $6 for the night. I stood in line with Sterling Holloway (Winnie the Pooh) I still have a ticket stub from seeing Ian and Sylvia. She looked great in a little black dress. I really hated seeing such a great place disappear.
    Tony Cole

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  116. Yes! The Lovin Spoonful with John Sabastian. He was very happy and smiling alot. I looved him. That was a fine show!

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  117. Hi Carole!
    The Golden Bear brings back a lot of fantastic memories... I cherished them all the way to South America and back to Switzerland.
    You certainly were the angel there.
    Best. E.

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  118. The Golden Bear, ah yes. Memories of some great bands and singers playing there. One of my favorite was Linda Ronstandt. I would go everytime she was playing there.
    Yes growing up in Orange County back in the 50's and 60's was the best of times. Now its all about the money and nothing else. Dick

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  119. I played bass with Syd, the house band at the Syndicate 3000 1968-69. During our breaks we would go in the back door and sit in the backstage booth with Paul Butterfield or whoever was hanging out between sets.

    The best memory was sitting at the front door while our guitarist, Bill Connearney, played along with Albert Collins who had burst through the double doors in mid-song & jammed with Bill. I'm sure that HBPD would not have been amused.

    So many great acts! Such a fine time when HB was a haven for a community that would be scattered to the winds as real estate speculation obliterated everything cool about HB.

    Anyone else remember Charlie hitch-hiking on Main Street with his "Mars" sign.

    Alan Hawley, Minneapolis
    hawley5008@msn.com

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  120. Anyone else remember a FANTASTIC show at the Golden Bear in 1966, featuring The South Side Blues Band with Big Mama Thornton alternating sets with Big Brother & the Holding Company with Janis Joplin?
    It was a true battle of the blues mamas, with both Big Mama and Janis in top form (before Janis blew her tubes) and it was followed, into the wee small hours, by long (seemed like 15 or 20 minutes each) harmonica solos by the South Side Blues Band's harp player, and, in turn, 6 or 8 guys who had specially reserved seats in the front row and who blew REALLY fine mouth music themselves. One of them was either John Sebastian or a J.S. lookalike. Others included a cool black jazz cat, and some folkies, surfer dudes and rocker types.
    Before the show started, I went backstage (more like a hallway between the kitchen and front) with my cousin, John, who knew Peter and David in Big Brother, and we all sat at a little rickety table in the middle of a hubbub of waiters carrying food while some Greek (?) guy kept telling us we couldn't smoke there or he might lose his license.
    We shined him on. Almost immediately, a plain-faced but exotically dressed hippie chick zoomed over and perched on my lap. (I was 20, tall, slim, blond, tan and buff -- having recently gone through navy bootcamp in San Diego.) She traded me a slug of her wine for a pull on our pipe, then kissed me looong and deeeep, exhaling into my lungs 'til I was dizzy and weak.
    Who was THAT? I asked my cousin, after she slid off my lap and we headed for our own reserved seats, in the second row. I soon found out: SHE was Janis Joplin, the sexiest homely woman or the homeliest sexy woman, or in any case the sexiest sexy woman I've ever met, and the best blues-beltin' babe of all time, bar none.
    Just can't remember exactly when it was, but I think it was the final performance in a run that would have been in late summer or early fall of 1966.
    It was the best live music show I've ever attended, and to this day it warms my heart, blows my mind and rocks my soul to think about it.
    Bless the Bear!

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  121. I just stumbled upon this OC Memories site. I feel like I'm looking at my youth reading these posts on the Bear. I was 21 in '76 and remember jonesing to finally being able to legally get into the GB. My memories are a little fuzzy...age coupled with the preferred substances of the day...but I remember catching some incredible acts. Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Asleep at the Wheel, Elvin Bishop...jeez, there were probably others. I was a kid, a local product (semi surf bum who graduated from nearby Marina High and prolonged my remedial studies at Golden West College...mostly to see and party with my high school buds who were aimlessly drifting like myself). The thrill of turning 21 and hitting the Bear is something I don't want to forget. I moved to Denver in '79 and get back to HB on occasion. Hard to believe all the memories there, although the city has almost nothing in common with those days in the '60s and '70s that I'll cherish forever. If only I had a time machine.

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  122. I don't recall having to be 21 to get into the GB. I'm sure I went there 17 and 18. Anyone else remember?

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  123. I don't think there was ever an age limit at the Golden Bear. I went there when I was 13 in the 1980's.

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  124. Age limit? nope..I saw almost every show from 74 to 82 and I was 14 in 72.. There was a few shows that should have been age restrict. My sister worked there so maybe i had a free pass, but knowing rick, carol and chuck, they would have never let a punk ass kid in if it would have been a problem. My favorite show? Firefall w/ a superstar at the time sitting in. with the # 1 selling live album of all time and selling out every arena across the globe, Peter Framptom. My sister introduced me and I almost shit my pants. I hope the show in September 09 at the Hilton is still on.

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  125. Bella Lagmay-FunkJuly 18, 2009 6:30 PM

    It's been awhile since I've posted comment on this site but with Huntington Beach's 100th Anniversary and the Golden Bear Reunion coming up, I thought I'd start responding to some of the comments that have been forwarded to me. Yes, I still plan on finishing the book on the Golden Bear from the backstage perspective that my former partner and best friend Rick Babiracki and I always wanted to write. We have so many memories from different shows. Speaking of Peter Frampton's gig, my BFF Pen, Rick's former GF,remembers Frampton hitting on her backstage but she didn't know he was the headliner until she saw him onstage singing. During those days, I was a rock reporter covering the Bear but already interning at A&M Records in Hollywood. The first album I was assigned to do college publicity for was "Frampton Comes Alive" which went on to be one of the biggest selling classic rock albums of all time!

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  126. Have any of the acts been announced for the upcoming reunion? My wife wants to vacation that week, so I'd like to know if we should postpone our trip. I have a few favs I'm hoping have accepted.

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  127. saw jerry garcia there

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  128. I saw Jerry Garcia's band "Legion of Mary" there several times! We used to arrive from Dana Point about 2pm for an 8:00 show ! Always sat at the table just below Jerry. He would ask if it was alright to set the mike stand on the table due to the limited space on stage. Ah, we were in heaven back then. Too bad we were to young and broke to have a good camera.
    C.

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  129. The site is still under construction, but you can find information on the Golden Bear Reunion 2009 at goldenbearreunion.com

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  130. David Lindley, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Flo & Eddie, Alan Holdsworth, Alcatrazz, Rory Gallagher twice....

    Like Jackson Browne so eloquently said,

    "Life became the Paradox, The BEAR, the Rouge et Noir..."

    substitute the Woodstock and Jezebels for the Paradox and the Rouge and that was my generation.
    The Bear was still there and still a part of it though....thankfully.

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  131. Jill (Webber) PettigrewAugust 12, 2009 5:17 PM

    HI old friends...
    Carole, Camel Tom, Keith... all my old old friends. Keith and Camel Tom-- hope to see you at the reunion. You guys took good care of me when I was the ticket girl for so many years!

    Hope all the rest of the pals are there to be found... Dr Che, Chris the Bartender, Dave the cook, Billy V-- haven't heard from you guys in 20 years. Saw some other friends at Rick's funeral.

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  132. For the record, there was no age limit at the Bear because it served enough food to be considered a restuarant, not just a drinking establishment.

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  133. Hi Jill
    This is Keith I hope you have a Great time at the Hilton. Iam in Mo, wish i could go but iam stuck here for that time frame.Please say hi to Carol.Chuck,Keven. and all the old bearlings.I think Camel tom is comming.
    Keith Houser My email is keithh@centurytel.net

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  134. It's going to be "Peppers Golden Bear Reunion" If you really want to see memories of the Bear skip the Hilton and go to; www.myspace.com/thegoldenbearnightclub Not everybody is excited about a celebration put on by the people who killed the Bear in the first place. I was there then , I won't be there now......

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  135. My family and I moved from Burbank, Ca. to Huntington Beach, Ca in 1978. I had surfing for PE and my old friends back in the SF Valley couldn't believe it! I was 17 then. I graduated from Edison HS in 79'. A few years later I joined a band called "Kane" formerly “Citizen Kane” as lead guitar. We played the Golden Bear through out the early to mid 80's. Back then you could buy tickets across PCH on the pier next to Maxwell’s. It was a ticketron booth and they sold tickets for the Golden Bear and The HB Surf Theater, which also had rock shows! Old School!
    I knew The Golden Bear was an Iconic place to play and was always grateful to have had the opportunity to perform there. When the city of HB announced that it would be too costly to "Earthquake" proof downtown and found out that they were going to change everything, I got so pissed! They built all this crazy three story garbage stores and apartments all around. "Over smoked" project I called it! They opened the New Golden Bear on ground floor of the new development below “Louise’s”. The place was just some new looking sports bar with NO CHARACTER! . They also built condo's right next door as well. How smart was that? The New Golden Bear was destined to fail. I believe HB city council deliberately set it up that way. I attended a few shows there but within a few months, new condo owners complained of the loud music and they shut the Golden Bear down for good. I don't think it lasted three months. I have moved to Seattle, Wa. since and long miss the "Old Huntington Beach" Why didn’t they leave HB like the way they left downtown Seal Beach?

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  136. My best friend and partner Rick Babiracki owned the Golden Bear with his brother Chuck and wife Carole from 1974-86. I was a college rock reporter then covering concerts at the Bear. After interning at A&M Records and working at Capitol Records during the '80s, I moved back to the O.C. and went to work as Director of Publicity for Peppers Golden Bear where I was teamed with Rick as Director of Entertainment. He despised working with the City of HB and agreed to let them use the name as long as he was on staff and had a say into how it was built. Of course, the new club was nothing like the ol' folksy club. It was state-of-the art with high tech equipment. The sound system blew away the theaters they opened above us which led to the new Bear's closing over decibel wars. For the record, it lasted 10 months... from August to May 1991. You can't ever compare the two venues because it was of different eras. What I cherish about both clubs was the historical music performed on both stages!
    Rockin' On,
    Bella Lagmay-Funk

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  137. TONE MASTER...
    It won't be a PEPPERS GOLDEN BEAR REUNION as I doubt anyone from that era is coming. Maybe not even myself. I'm on the East Coast in Washington, DC and in September will be in Hawaii. I'd rush back for the reunion but just may pass. I attended the first initial meeting of the City committee but was left out of the loop thereafter. My partner, former owner Rick Babiracki would never have approved of the high ticket price($87;$40 more for a burger/sandwich meal). The ol' Bear prices were "low dough" and for the amount of bread the reunion price is, you'd think the bill would be headlined by more big-time national acts that previously played there! If I'm back on the mainland in time, I'd go just to see ol' friends!

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  138. I think the reunion is going to be fabulous and don't mind the prices. Just to be there celebrating the GB and all the many lives it touched will be great fun. I hope lots of people show up and support it. If so, perhaps there will be more reunions in the future. Count me in!!!

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  139. I can't believe I read this whole blog! I loved the trip down memory lane... I went to the GB during my high school years quite a few times. Saw Pat Paulson, the NG Dirt Band, Butterfield, hated that I missed Janis! Did see Tim Morgan @ the Prison & the Rouge et Noir, as well, & have two of his albums.
    From the Destruction of the the quaint old city I got a beautiful arched stained glass window that I don't think is from the Bear, but am not sure - it was a gift from someone else that took it from the rubble.
    Am interested in the reunion - hope it's like the (very good) old times, & not like another corporate money-grabbing scheme.

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  140. Well went to the Golden Bear reunion all weekend and it was a total blast! saw many old friends and revisited some great memories! The music was fantastic,and even though I ruffled a few feathers awhile back nothiing could ruin what I felt for the Bear itself,I so hope to be able to reconnect with many from that time once again,The music was exceptional,why clubs like the Bear had to see the end is such a crying shame! I feel so lucky to have been there! P.S. George the real deal, wasn't there and he deserved to be there more than anyone! Love you George, hope to see you soon!.....ellen!

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  141. Soon after Ricks death Chuck and I received a tape that was sent to the funeral home and then forwarded to us. It had to be one of the nastiest things ever said to a grieving widow and brother. How she was glad Rick was dead and couldn't wait for Chucks passing. And I'm being kind at the moment. I still have it. Maybe I should have brought it with me to the re-union so every one could hear it as the voice was recognized by a few people. So I hope you had a good time because you did ruffle a few feathers.
    CathieCretney-Babiracki

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  142. You're being kind Cathie, very kind, and showing great restraint.

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  143. Frankly Cathie, I don't know you, it was meant for Chuck. As to being nasty? I learned that from the Babiracki brothere! I have by the way a hand written document written by your late husband instructing me what i was to say in court when he was sued for beating up some guy in the club! I wouldn't commit perjury so he called me some very nasty thing himself! That and the reign if terror just working there, you didn't seeit my dear so don't believe everything you hear! Not to mention being shorted for years when they didn't even pay min. wage! The bullying, the sexually harrassing the waitresses, well so you show restraint! Bully for you! As for Chuck,i kind of felt sorry for him last week, why, I don't know but he is still the same,I almost apologized being the better person, but he doesn't deserve one in point of fact! so for those who think I was in the wrong you had to have been taught by experts!

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  144. This is Clutch. I worked in security for about 5 years.I wAs at Rick and Chucks House Drinkng John Courage and playing pool. I had received a call that my Father had passed away. I was a mess Rick and Chuck got me on a plane to Mo. When I went to the chuch for the funeral There next to the alter was the biggest set of flowers in the Church signed from the Bear. They were always there for me. God Bless.
    Clutch

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  145. Speaking ill of the dead: How sleazy. You never had the guts to stand up to Rick, so now you're going to terrorize his widow and brother? What kind of slime are you?

    Allen B
    Huntington Beach

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  146. Stand up to Rick? Are you serious? YOU never needed a paycheck obviously, or were in fear of someone! Terrorize? Unless you were there to witness what went on, you have no idea what went on! so call me what you will, I spoke up hoping at least to get it off my chest after all those years!

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  147. I was a young surfer who would work part time doing any thing I could at the Bear. I got to know quite a few of the waitresses. This one sticks in my mind as being a coniving little B. Always trying to stir things up. Rick, Chuck, Carole and Kevin were always kind to me. They always made sure I had something to eat every day as I was quite poor. Rick would toss an extra few bucks my way every once in awhile and bougt some shoes for me when he noticed how bad mine were. I met Cathie a few years later when I was watching a foot ball game (GO VIKES, thats for you Rick. She is one of the kindess, loving to a fault persons I have ever me. For this person to make her and Chuck to re-live all the pain is insane. Grow up little girl. It's time you graduated High School. Allen B. is right it is sleazy. I guess some things never change. At least you haven't. Get over yourself. I saw you at the re-union hanging on Ricks daughter he never met. So you hate the man yet you have to pull that crap. Ricks daughter found out about you later. She;s really a cutie. Has his blue eyes and poor thing his nose. If you want to start throwing stones girl you better take a good look in the mirror because you are not getting a pitty party from me. I'd like to know just what kind of slime you are too!!!!
    JT

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  148. Iworked for George Nikas and Rick and Chuck too, but left before all this happened, thank god. What I learned from working there was that Rick and Chuck, like all of us--- were imperfect. I don't think that they had worked with people a whole lot, they certainly seemed unable to see things from an employee's perspective. Were some of us mistreated? Yes, we sure were. The drugs and booze were in abundance in that office most of the time, and some really creepy things happened in there--I remember Rick trying to pimp me and and at least one other girl out to members of bands and business friends of his. He failed with us, I don't know about the other girls. I could go on with this, but that was a long time ago, and I don't see the point. The Bear was a great place to work when George owned it, and I'm sorry it all ended this way, with bitterness and bad feelings. I was lucky and got out before the roof caved in, and I understand that we all had to make a living somehow--- but the things that went on in there back then would never in a million years be tolerated today. That said, yes the G.B. was a great place to hear some really good music, and it will be missed by many---probably not too many former waitresses though.

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  149. I didn't go the reunion, but I do remember The Golden Bear with fondness. I also remember Ellen as being the waitress for my table. I remember because one night as I was leaving the Bear I was jumped and beaten up quite badly. The guys took my wallet and keys after nearly killing me and a passerby called for an ambulance. I guess Ellen heard about the conflict and several days later came to visit. Not only was she empathetic but sincerely concerned with my progress and recovery. I was new to California and these visits from a very nice and good looking woman were truly appreciated.
    The comments posted here are consistent with stories I heard from my cousin, whose sister-in-law worked there at the time. Most of the comments on this blog are embarassing and apotheosize a guy who was merely one of number of petty tyrants. You should be ashamed. Also, no offence, but your vocabulary and spelling skills could use some work. I wouldn't be too quick to judge a former employee if you weren't there to witness what went on yourself.

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  150. Hey "Anonymous" You can use a little help on your spelling too: 'embarrassing' and 'offense'

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  151. It sounds like Ellen is getting her friends to post nice things about her. It's just too much of a coincidence that the person who Ellen visited after a beating "just so happens" to come on here, read the recent comments, and post their story. Nice try Ellen.

    Nobody said you weren't treated badly, but the time to settle the score wasn't at Rick's Funeral. Get it? It's tacky and sleazy. And you keep the sleaziness coming.

    Allen B

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  152. Anon comment 1, check your dictionary. Have you completed any schooling?
    Anon 2 comment:
    Do you believe everyone is as solipsistic as you? I read the blogs and found some of them, yours, reprehensible. Get a life. Stop belittling others.

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  153. OK People,
    This has got to stop. All it's doing is making a place that is supposed to be a fun place to remember horrible. Ellen, get a life, if you are still holding a grudge for something that happened over 30 years ago you need to do something for yourself or you will be a person that no-one wants to speak to because of bitterness when you're old and grey.I happened 30 years ago OK. And yes it is still fresh in the minds of those who lost Rick not just 4 years ago what that tape said. Enough is enough.

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  154. Regarding what goes on behind the scenes. You have got to be kidding. I use to book bands at various venues back in those days. The bear was no different than any other place except one thing. I am female and some of the Venues would only let my bands play there if I slept with them. Needless to say they didn't play at those clubs. Played the bear many times though. These were all local bands

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  155. Lets veer the subject back to what a great contribution the Golden Bear made to HB and in all of our lives! The feeling of being a young girl who LOVED music and couldn't wait for the newspaper to come out with the Golden Bears' advertisement for the upcoming shows, was something I will NEVER forget! Lets put to rest all this bickering, it is taking those wonderful memories and tainting them. Life is too short to focus on all this negativity. None of us are perfect. I could go back & dredge up everything from the past. What good would that do? The Golden Bear was a special part of our younger years and lets not forget it!

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  156. I'm With you on that

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  157. The '2009 Golden Bear Reunion Concert Series' was AWESOME!! I had the time of my life... both nights. To all those who devoted themselves to making this project happen: A Million Thanks!! The weekend was a huge success and a great time was had by all. This was all due to the hard work of Kevin and Carole Kirby, John Erskine, Jim Washburn, Laurie Payne, Janeen Laudenback, Kate Hoffman, the entire Golden Bear Reunion and HB Centennial Committees.

    Do we have to wait another 100 years for a reason to do this again? I hope not!

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  158. Sounds good to me Robert. Chuck had a great time meeting up with old friends. We were supposed to go the 2nd day but didn't make it. Thanks again to Carole and Kevin. Ricks daughter also had a wonderfull time. To bad she never got to meet him.
    Cathie Cretney-Babiracki

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  159. Does anyone know where to find photos from the reunion? I'd love to see them!

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  160. And a review of the shows...maybe the OC Register's review. I looked for it in the newspaper, but never found it. I'd love to hear about Honk and the other groups that performed!

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  161. Look on line for Jim Washburn. He may have written a review. Some pics were in the Wave. I think they are from the Saturday show. They had a camera man from KOCE there. He was also at the book signing for Robert. Does any one know how we can get copies or when they might be on TV?

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  162. Couldn't make it to the reunion and would be glad to see some pictures. Anyone knows of a website with pictures?

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  163. I want to Thank Tow Master for his Awesome My Space Memories of GB, From the girl that lived on First Street, Your Friend, Johnna Royer aka-Shawna.

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  164. I visited an aunt and uncle in Long Beach in 1971 and heard that Seals and Crofts were playing at the Golden Bear. I had seen them in an interview on TV where I was living in Wisconsin and was hoping to see them live some day. The first show was sold out to my disappointment but the owner said there would be a second show and when I told him I was there from Wisconsin he told me to come around to the back door later and he would have a good seat for me. It seemed he may have been Italian or Greek. When I returned for the second show at the rear door he took me to a table right near the stage. The show was so enjoyable and I will never forget the way this man made me feel about being at his club, The Golden Bear. What a delight this was. I have never forgotten it.

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  165. jack,berry,dona sargent,james carr,mike ellis,bobby ellis,vern freizen.December 23, 2009 7:18 PM

    please somebody from the late 60s and 70s email me at cactusjack4chevy@yahoo.com old days golden bear,the cave,finnagans rainbow...ect. looking for old pics,old movies reels,ya know what i mean.we were very popular there in those days,I just would like to see some of the good old days or talk to some one who was there at that time in life also.....time is almost gone now!! ya know.

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  166. used to hang out in front of the golden bear for years, sometimes even bought a ticket...1963 thru 69... at night during the week h.bch. was a ghost town...the only thing open was a 'save you soul' place that gave you free donuts and sandwiches....my sister lili worked the ticket window for a few years....the salty cellar was the club a few doors down...underground, beneath the car dealership display room...saw dick dale and the deltones and my favorite surf band...eddie and the showmen at the pavilon at the begining of the pier....anyone remember 'the magic mushroom? on pch north of main about 3 or 4 doors down....the good old days when you could take the tram to the end of the pier for free and fish all night if you wanted to...ahh...the way it was

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  167. I got to play at the Golden Bear a few months before it closed. The coolest thing was the green room (dressing room) The walls were covered in autographs from the people that had played there. I was I'd taken a picture of it. It was Rock n Roll history.

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  168. Sad to read about the Golden Bear being torn down back in 1986. I was fortunate enough to go there a ton of times in the late 70's and 80's when the New Wave / Punk scene was starting up.

    I saw bands like the Plimsouls, 20/20, the Blasters, and even the Knack before they hit it big.

    Other acts from the 60's like the Ventures and memebrs of the Byrds also put on a great shows there.

    My brother went there when they booked the Dickies and the Weirdos. I didn't go for some reason but, my brother said that the GB was in a shambles after the show.

    I went there a few weeks later seeing McGuinn, Clark, and Hillman and I asked one of the workers there when they were getting the Dickies and the Weirdos back. He asked if i was there but, I told him my brother was and he said it was just nuts. He said neither of those two bands would be coming back.

    I remember the GB would let us bring cameras in. I still got some photo's from a McGuinn, Clark, and Hillman show.

    It was a great venue and there was nothing like leaving the show out to that fresh ocean breeze.

    Sad to hear about places like the Golden Bear and Perkins Palace being torn down or converted to condos. Places like these and the Starwood (which didn't last too far into the 80's if i remember right) where cool venues for concerts.

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  169. Anyone remember a restaurant about a half mile south on the same side of the street as the Golden Bear, a coffee shop, shaped a little bit circular? We would always eat there for some reason before the shows. Maybe it was a Spires. Still trying to figure out why we didn't just eat at the GB. Oh well...

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  170. I came to Huntington Beach from Chicago in 1969 after meeting some HB folks at Newport '69. I spent most of that summer living in the back of the record store on Main St. just down the alley from the Golden Bear. We used to leave the back door open and listen to all the music from the Golden Bear. I also remember going to see several groups there. What a shame that it was torn down. The last time I saw it was in the early 80s when I was passing through the area. Everything around there had already changed so much I had trouble finding and recognizing places I had remembered.

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  171. MY BROTHER, ( Paul Hamilton ) used to work at the Golden Bear.
    He worked all of the lighting for every show.
    Getting to know and eventually work with these people who played that gig gave him one of his great breaks in show business (which he still has a great career in.) He now runs his own recording studio in Avon Illinois.
    Tom Hamilton

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  172. I remember going there with my friends in the early to mid 80's. I saw Oingo Boingo,20/20, The Plimsouls and Tommy Tutone to name a few. The place was always jammed but the audience was cool and never got on your nerves. There will never be another place like it because land is so expensive now by the beach that no nightclub will be able to survive :( I also remember that smelling that ocean air coming out of the nightclub. What a great time that was in my life!

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  173. A buddy of mine, Marty Stewart, and I used to go to the Golden Bear in the late 60s and early 70s all the way from Mountain Home Village, CA. on Saturday nights. We were big fans of the Ice House Blues Band and would go and see them play wherever they were. They were a rag-tag bunch of grocery store employees from Alabama who played the best blues I have ever heard. Those were the daze!

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  174. I remember a band called Let's Eat headlining regularly at the Golden Bear from about 1978 to 1982. They were a great band and the singer, Deborah Rose, was a force of nature.

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  175. Let's Eat is now "The Undecided"

    http://www.thesiteguy.com/theundecided/bandbio.htm

    they still play!

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  176. My mother opened "The Magic Mushroom" when my sister and I were in high school. We kind of adored it and yet at the same time were kind of embarrassed that out mother (who by the way played concert piano and was the accompanist for HBHS choir)had opened a HEAD SHOP!! I remember smoking banana peels with Eric Burden and going to Love-In's wearing my old jobs daughters robe all painted up at Griffith park.. Fun times! RIP Mom..aka Keryl <3

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  177. See The old Bear on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=117908487125&ref=ts

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  178. Or check it out on Myspace at;

    http://www.myspace.com/thegoldenbearnightclub

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  179. Lived in Huntington around 1972 and got to see Taj Mahal and the Butterfield Blues Band at the Golden Bear. Remember being at a front table and Mike Bloomfield (RIP), Butterfield's lead guitarist, sat down with us! Used to sit outside the Salty Cellar on a warm summer night listening to the Lovin' Spoonful. The Huntington cops got rough later on, busting "longhairs" on the pier for no reason. But the beach and the music were tight.

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  180. I worked at the Salty Cellar in the spring of 1967. I never saw the cops hurt anyone. I had real long hair, no issues ever there. A short time later a lot of peace loving longhairs were apparently replaced by new longhairs who were a pain in the ass for all of us. Phonies. Just punks who let their hair grow long and dirty.

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  181. i'm writing from hawaii but in the early 70's i and my kids lived in huntington beach on 3rd st. - just around the corner from the golden bear - yeah - the energy from the bear could be felt and we used to go and sit at the back door and listen to the music - sence i found this site i've been so home sick for those days living by the bear - and the beach and pier in the winter - used to live on 10th street too - does anyone remember the pizza place and a guitarist named john who played there? aloha huntington back in the day!

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  182. I managed to go to the Golden Bear 3 times in the early 80's before they closed. I saw Al Stewart, Strange Daze (A Doors tribute band), and a group (and I can't believe I remeber this) called the... Daddy Oh's.

    What used to be on the right (south) side of The Golden Bear? It was boarded up when we went there.

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  183. it was a part store. for cars and trucks.

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  184. My name is Benton. I turned 21 Cooking at the "Bear" with Ian and Sylvia. Peter Tork was washing dishes and my friend John was bartending. It was Sept. 1965.Iworked there trough 66 for Del Kauffman. Ilater worked there for 2 stents in the70's. I also was there from 84 till the Bear was closed Jan. 29, 1986. Hello Ellen. I still love Ya. Hellos go out to Carole,Kevin, Camel Tom, Chuck, Keith, Lynn, Sally, Sue, Billy V.the greatest soundman ever, Donna, Mark D....When the Bear closed I had to get a real job. I recently retired from the post office and moved to Bozeman, Montana. My email address is b.tasbury@q.com I really miss you guys and The Golden Bear

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  185. I saw a few shows in the 70's. A great place. Camel, Country Joe McDonald, David Crosby, Tom Johnston, McGuinne-Clark-Hillman, Savoy Brown and Spirit. I'm sure I saw more, but who can remember them all? Someone earlier asked how Spirit was. Fantastic.

    Dean

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  186. My late fathers band, the Blues Syndicate was the house band at the Salty Cellar from the day it opened and for at least a year following. Orginal Members were Mike Dempsey (leader) Rhythm Guitar, Cole Williams Lead Singer, Tony Wallace Drums /Lead Singer, Glenn Bates Bass player, Craig Caron Lead Guitar (deceased). Later Fred Gonzales was added at keyboard and another guitarist was added & Caron took over at bass. Manager was Dorothy Heins (mikes mother).

    Caron split off from the Blues Syndicate in 1970 and started a group called BOA which was the house band at Robert August's "Endless Summer" club on Beach & Atlanta for over a year. Group members were Craig Caron - guitar, Marjo Caron - bass, Bert Cardon - guitar & Butch Wagstaff - drums. Band broke up in 1973.

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  187. Heard Dave Mason play there it seems like a week or two before it closed. Reading all the comments does make you homesick for that area. The 70's-80's there was so awesome!Funny how so many of us remember that smell of the ocean coming out of the Golden Bear. Loved that place! Dawn

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  188. JonnaRoyer Born in HB Now live in Hawaii Still miss HB and the GB ! Moved to Hawaii in 73.Still think of HB as No Ka Oi ( the Best!) The Best of memories the best of times !

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  189. I can't believe it....finally heard of someone who remembers the Magic Mushroom and it's the owners daughter. used to come in from the scorching summer sun and go to the 'black light' poster room to cool off on the cold cement. and the curved restaurant was the HBch Inn, i worked there for a few years. also the Pavilon at the end of the pier was a wooden floored roller ring prior to a dance place. brian "mighty mouse"

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    Replies
    1. I remember the Magic Mushroom. I lived in Costa Mesa and went to Estancia HS. The backroom was the first time I experienced black lights and smelled incense!
      Also saw the 5th Dimension at the Cellar.

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  190. continued: the Pavilon had a floating dancefloor the same as the Rendezvous. think it burned down few months after Rendezvous burned down...hmm does anyone remember "the preacher" under the pier or Dickie on the end of the pier with an iron tied to a rope? both mid 60's how about the card club room on the pier? brian

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  191. bill carstensenJune 05, 2011 12:02 PM

    My old stomping grounds!!!..the golden bear which was right next door to the teen and twenty club where the battery operated crabgrass was the house band...i was in dr prism's building block...and we worked with battery operated crabgrass..Ed Gibson let me use his ric 12 once in a while...we did alot of Byrds covers...GREAT GUY!!!GREAT CLUB!!!.......

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  192. I found this site while perusing the web reminiscing of good memories growing up in HB in the 1970's.
    I'd steal away at night and ride my bike down PCH from Golden West St to the Bear to listen for what was going on inside. Being a teen, I (usually) could not go in (very far), though I would hang with the door guys who would open that stage door and let me watch for a while, the performers right there not very far away. This was not a stadium, but an intimate gathering of those coming close with the performing artists. That was very cool, back when Main St was not so glamorous, in fact somewhat seedy (as was Newport at the pier), but it possessed character up the ying yang. Great memories. Loggins and Messina, etc.
    So now I reside in a community up north in the Santa Cruz area, possessing some of the same charm HB once had. But I will *never forget the Golden Bear*.
    So really, redevelopment is necessary, as all must change, but tearing out the whole downtown, that was a sad (or)deal, and a permanent loss to the community.
    Does anyone out there have the guts to bring back the Bear? That hangout was a glimmer of a rich bygone era.

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  193. The night before Peter Gabriele did his show at the Golden Bear, my ex-husband was outside the venue so we could watch one of the best up-close-and-personal show of my life. Never had I been so close to any performer. Gabriele walked on the cafe tables and shook hands with the audience. Gabriele's "Shock the Monkey" tour was fabulous, he had shaved his hair very short and he had the sexiest little saxophone player on stage with him. Ahhhh Sweet memories.

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  194. I was lucky enough to actually work the sound and lighting boards for an opening band there before it was demo'd. I remember climbing up the laddered post to the perch where the gear was housed. I can still recall telling myself my memory of the vantage point I had that night should be remembered and cherished. It is.

    I saw Larry Carlton there twice as well.

    When the city of HB was 'redeveloping' the area, the GB was rebuilt within the walls of the new mega-complex ...right next to the movie theaters. The theater management complained the bands were too loud and thier patrons couldn't hear thier movies. Edwards Theaters was a bigger tenant then the GB and guess who won? The Golden Bear was forced to close thier doors forever....In actuality, the new facility was of course sterile and cold...like all mini malls. The irony is now the theaters are gone too and the space has been turned into offices...which sit empty. Downtown HB has turned into starbucks/jamba juice hell. OP Pro anyone?

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  195. I saw JACK MAC AND THE HEART ATTACKS There and will never forget it. What a place

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