Thursday, January 24, 2008

Buffalo Bill of Santa Ana

CoxPilot submits another memory of a guy who looked like Buffalo Bill, that lived in the some apartments behind the Pep Boys in Santa Ana, near the old City Hall building...

I grew up in Santa Ana, and when I was about 10 or 12 (around 1950), my friend and I would ride our bikes to the old West Coast Theater to see the free show on Saturday mornings. We decided to return to the South side of S.A. via the alley behind the old City Hall and Pep Boys. There we encountered a man that lived in some small one room appartments behind Pep Boys. He looked just like Buffalo Bill (hat and all), and invited us to see his gun collection. (Yes! I know. Not something that you would want a child to do today.) The gun collection was VERY extensive, and covered every wall of his sitting room. We didn't stay long, and I never found out his name. Does anyone know of him, or who he might have been?
I certainly don't remember anything of this guy, but this memory does remind me of the time I grew up in San Diego, when between the ages of 5-7 years, my friend Mark and I would get to know all the strange characters that lived in the area.

Like he says, it's probably not something a parent would allow their kids to do these days, but back then, you could visit with all the freaks and they'd have fun showing a couple of kids what their "shtick" was all about.


  1. I don't remember hearing about this old fella, but I do remember a strange resturant that was on Grand or Main at Chapman, back in the late '60s, I think. It was called "Buffalo Bills', and it was strange because, although it was a family resturant, I don't recall any windows in it at all, and back then, only bars and places that served alcohol were the usual windowless establishments. But I do remember the decor was fascinating- lots of Western themed items.

    The restaurant seems to have not done well, because I don't remember it being very busy, and when it closed, it sat empty and sad for a long time before it was taken down and a store built in its place.

  2. His name was Larry, and there was a write-up on him in the Register when he in the '70s. Long white hair and a Buffalo Bill goatee and moustache were his trademark. When we cruised Santa Ana at night we would see him a lot in the early 1960s. We just called him the "night tripper". He was a friendly and sociable sort. Another character about that time was the old-timer with a long, dark ruffled beard who rode a rusty bicycle with a basket up and down Main St., Santa Ana, dressed in WW2 fatigues and a steel pot, with a defunct M1 rifle. I never learned his name, but it was always fun to see him and wonder who he was! He was cantankerous and didn't like to talk to kids.


Custom Search