Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Army Navy Surplus Store Garden Grove

Mark White submits his memories of working at his father's Army Navy Surplus store at 9651 Garden Grove Blvd (between Gilbert and Brookhurst) during the 1950s...

I grew up in Garden Grove and grew up in my Dad’s Army Navy Surplus Store at 9651 Garden Grove Blvd, today it is a Korean Restaurant. I worked there from the middle of elementary school, the 1950’s, first sweeping and straightening up sections. On a Saturday I might sweep the store, using oiled sawdust and then be in charge of straightening all of the electrical section or camping gear or to stock the tools. I loved it.

Outside the door was a red Coca Cola Vending machine Dad had purchased, yes as surplus, and then purchased the 12 oz coke and stocked it himself. He would make his kids, me, buy a coke after being paid for working. With that you should have decent insight into my Dad. Every Saturday until I was on “payroll” he would buy me lunch from Zestos across the street. I can smell Zestos now. In my humble opinion, Zestos and In-n-Out ran neck and neck.

One anniversary for he and Mom, he bought a gorgeous ship's barometer and temperature set. Done in wood and brass it was beautiful on my mothers den wall. He came rushing home months later and took both telling my mother he could pay the mortgage with the money he was going to make on the set. That was Dad.

The store had camping gear, canvas, clothing, work shoes and much much more. Today Kids love Dickies. We sold the real thing, grey and tan work pants. Men from all over would come at regular intervals to buy their “gear”. When a customer my Dad recongnized as a Dickies customer would walk in the door, Dad might rush to the clothes section grab the size 40 waist 32 in seam the man would need and have the pants set for display. “Walk around the store and see what else you need and get these in a box in a moment”.

When we got Levis and army gear was popular in the sixties... I was in heaven. “What size in men’s pants do you think I need”, would ask a lovely Rancho Alamitos Senior Cheerleader. “Oh, well, turn around and let me guess”. My Dad said, “always guess two sizes smaller and hand them the proper size and one size bigger, when the young customer says these are too big for me it makes them feel good”. What a great job... What a great job, sorry lost it for a sec with some awesome memories.

Everyone from babes to boys scouts came in that store. I included a picture, I am thinking the year is 1959. My Grandfathers black Cadillac is on the side, my Dad’s truck is in front of the store. The coke machine is visible just to the right of the door in front of the store. Sorry no pictures of the soon to be hippie kids buying jeans but it sure is a hoard of wonderful memories for this Orange County Kid.

army navy surplus store garden grove 1950s

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Memory of Fess Parker

Fess ParkerLast March, an OCThen reader submitted a memory of meeting Fess Parker, the actor of the Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone television shows...

I saw in the newspaper today of the passing of Fess Parker and it brought back memories of meeting him in the 1960s.

At that time I was working for an FBO at what was then Orange County Airport, and on this day I was in the office when a single engine piper taxied up and parked on our transit line. The pilot got out and started walking up to the office. I noticed the rotating beacon on his aircraft was still on so when he walked into the office I said to him "You're going to have a dead battery when you come back."

He was kind of taken back by my comment and said, "Why is that?" I said, "You left your master switch on", as I pointed out to his aircraft with the beacon going round and round. He replied, "Oh wow thanks so much", as he rushed back out to turn it off. At that point it still didnt register who he was but he had a pony tail and was probably 6ft 6 inches tall and I thought he looked like the oldest hippie I had ever seen (this was the late 60s remember).

He came back in and said "Thank you so much for catching that, you saved me a lot of trouble." It was then that I reconized the voice and face as Davy Crockett.

An FBO, by the way is a Fixed Base Operator, similar to a service station for aircraft.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Buck's Antique Clocks - Costa Mesa

Last March, an anonymous OCThen reader submitted a note regarding the remnants of an old clock shop in Costa Mesa, and wondered if anyone can provide more information...

Last week I noticed something that piqued my curiosity. On Newport Blvd. at 17th Street in Costa Mesa.-on the south-east side of the street, the old, small Van's store sign was removed. (Van's moved to a newer and much larger spot.) Underneath the old sign, and looking very old, faded letters appeared. It says what looks like: Buck's Antique Clocks--a family tradition since 1892. Next to it faded letters that say: Escapade. Can any of you old-timers remember this clock shop? And the shop next door? I want to go get a picture before they paint over or demolish it. There are so few remnants of the past...

UPDATE: OCThen reader Gaye submitted the following photo illustrating the remnants of the old Buck's Clock and Escapade signs..

buck's clocks

Friday, October 01, 2010

Carrie Wicket Clothes Store

A couple of OCThen readers share their memories of a 1960s and 70s clothing store located at the Orange Circle called "Carrie Wicket"...

Anonymous said...
Hello! Does anyone remember a girls (young womens) clothing store on the "Orange Circle" in Orange named "Carrie Wicket"? An old friend and I were talking about our days at Santa Ana Valley High School in the late 60's, and what a great store Carrie Wickets was. In the 70's, they opened a mens store across the street called "Sir Wickets".....I remember we could always find cute clothes at Carrie adays, you could spend a whole day at any mall and not find a thing to buy! Love those olden days!

Janie Elsey Campbell
Class of Santa Ana Valley, 1968

Anonymous said...
Yes! I recall Carrie Wicket's! My mom bought me a lemon yellow linen pantsuit that I got lots of compliments on. I was 13 or 14. Wasn't it a little upscale? At least it seemed like it at the time. If I remember correctly the racks were always well stocked and the sales ladies were very helpful. I hadn't thought of that store for decades. Thanks for the memory!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Buena Park Home Town Days

An anonymous OCThen reader submits memories of Buena Park's Home Town Days, the predecessor of Silverado Days...

Prior to Buena Park's Silverado Days there used to be a celebration called "Home Town Days". This was typically held around May of each year.

My memories are from the late 40's to the early 50's. A parade was held and it went down Grand Ave. (Now Beach Blvd.) Local merchants and businesses would have entries in the parade.

The theme was cowboy and western and nearly everyone would dress up like cowboys and cowgirls.

They had a requirement that all men in town were required to have a beard of at least 1/4-inch long growth. If the men were caught in town without such a beard they would be arrested by the Home Town Days Sheriff or deputies and be put into a makeshift jail/cage until their trial came up. They held a kangaroo court. I can't recall exactly what it took to get out of jail but I remember the judge and the trials.

I think the celebration lasted for a few days.

Home Town Days stopped being celebrated in the mid 1950's.

It was in 1957 that the name Home Town Days was dropped in favor of Silverado Days, to coincide with the city's plans to adopt a western-style theme in downtown.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wendy Ward Charm School Memories

wendy ward charm school advertisementTammy submits her memories of attending Wendy Ward Charm School in Santa Ana...

I grew up in Santa Ana, and one of my fondest memories is of attending the Wendy Ward Charm School which was located in the Montgomery Wards on 17th Street. Every Saturday we trekked upstairs, through the furniture department and spent a couple of hours learning how to paint our nails, walk and sit with good posture and conduct ourselves like ladies. Lots of lights and mirrors, costumes and instructional posters made that space very glamorous to my 10 year old girlie side.

Serena, with the big blond hair and long red-lacquered fingernails was our instructor. The best part was when we got to go downstairs to the girls department and pick out 3 of the prettiest outfits we could find (and matching shoes of course!), which we then modeled during a fashion show on a Saturday afternoon. They had stage risers set up and music playing. I loved it!!

Wendy Ward Charm School was something exclusive to Montgomery Ward's stores, and was offered at many of their locations across the country. The program started in the mid 1960s, and each graduating class would model themselves in a fashion show.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bank of America Irvine & Placentia Burning 1970

In 1970, the Bank of America in Irvine burned down at the hands of arsonists. It happened only six months after the Bank of America in Isla Vista was burned down by protestors, and just a couple months after another branch in Placentia. After the Irvine burning, people began to refer to 1970 as the year of the BofA Burnings.

An anonymous OCThen reader submitted the following memory, which caused me to do some research...

Who out there remembers in the 1960's in Irvine across the street for UCI there was the Town Center. It had a Tick Tock Market, one of the first Kinko’s, a Jolly Rogers restaurant and a Bank of America. The Bank was bombed as a protest to the Viet Nam war. I was just a little kid, but I remember seeing the bank destroyed.

I found a couple of LA Time articles that tells the story of the bank burning...

Front Page of LA Times, Tuesday, October 27, 1970

Photo of burned bank, caption:
`BANK RUINS AT UC IRVINE - A revolutionary slogan adorns wall at Bank of America branch where arsonists poured flammable liquid under a door and set it afire just after midnight Monday.

Arsonists Leave Radical Signs After Burning UC Irvine Bank
by Bob Gettemy and Dial Torgerson
Times Staff writers

Arsonists painted revolutionary slogans on the Bank of America branch at UC Irvine early Monday, then set it afire and fled. The bank burned to a shell at an estimated loss of $125,000.

It was the third Bank of America branch attacked in California this year. The Isla Vista branch near UC Santa Barbara was burned by rioters last February. Fire bombers damaged the Placentia branch last August.

UC Irvine's student and offical community condemned the latest arson.

The Irvine branch on Campus Drive, facing the entrance to the main part of the UCI Campus, was set afire shortly after midnight.

Handwriting on the Wall

Firemen at the University Fire Station, a quarter mile east, got the call at 12:13 a.m. They could see the flames when they rolled from the station. When they got to the bank two minutes later it was burning wildly.

The arsonists were gone. But they had left their handwriting on the wall: "All Power to the People." it said in spray paint on the tile facade of the burning building.

Firemen could not save the bank, but halted the flames before they could reach a bookstore adjacent to it.

Investigators found that in inflammable liquid-probably gasoline-had been poured under the west door of the bank and set afire.

Bank officials reacted quickly when informed of the bank's destruction. The head of a firm which provides temporary structures was awakened at 2:30am and told to get a replacement rolling.

Sheriff's detectives took into custody two signs carefully posted on the lawn of the bank branch. One, referring to a confrontation between young people and police Sunday at a Fullerton park closed by city offials read "Pigs Get Out of Hillcrest."

Another, apparently referring to Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, charged with murder in Connecticut, said: "Free Bobby and Police Prisoners."

The bank was still smoldering as students began to appear for classes in the 6,000 student campus. The smell of wet ashes drifted across the campus. Students watched firemen salvaging amid the ashes and student spray-painted slogans on the concrete shell.

"Oink of Amerikkka" it said, in the triple-K, radical version of the word America. "Death to the Pigs." The writing was neat, and the handwriting style almost feminine.

"This is ridiculous," said one student, Karen Cruise of San Clemente, a senior in drama. "The people who work in the bank shoudn't suffer for anything that maybe some dissidents think of the Bank of America may be doing in an imperialistic way."

As the worlds's largest commercial bank, the Bank of America has long been a target for antiestablishment factions. The Associated Students of UC Santa Barbara referred to it as "a symbol of capitalistic exploitation" and withdrew its funds from the Isla Vista Bank branch prior to the fire there.

After the Isla Vista Arson, Bank of America Board Chairman Louis B. Lundborg told a news conference a temporary structure would replace it. "We refuse to be intimidated," he said.

Later, a larger, fireproof Isla Vista branch was opened.

The reaction by bank officials to the Irvine arson was immediate. By morning, Vic Wahlman, foreman of the Santa Rosa firm which provides temporary bank structures, was bringing four trailerized modular units to the lot next to the gutted bank.

The four pieces were fitted together to make a 40-by-60-foot bank branch which was the duplicate of the one used earlier at Isla Vista.

Bank officials said crews would work all night paving the parking lot and getting the bank ready to open at 10 a.m. today. There were two reasons. The stated reason: for the convenience of depositors. Unstated was the bank's determination not bo be intimidated by arson.

"All our records were in safes. So was all the currency. The records and currency were temporarily moved to the Corona del Mar branch, and will be moved back in time for the opening," a bank spokesman said.

On the campus, meanwhile, students reaction to the burning was equally prompt and, seemingly, unanimously opposed to the vandalism.

Chancellor Daniel G. Aldrich (later UCSB acting Chancellor after Huttenback) was joined by executive officers of the Associated Students; the executive council of the Academic Senate; the UCI Black Caucus; Mecha, a Mexican-American student group; the Irvine Chicano Employees Organization; the Council of Campus Employees, and the student resident hall Council of Presidents in a statement condemning the arson. It said:

"It is abhorrent to me, as I am sure it to all responsible members of the campus community, that anyone, whether students or others, would engage in senseless destruction and terrorist activity of this kind.

"We are mindful that there are those who will simply condemn the university and its students without regard to the fact that the university and its students are also the victims. We feel it is necessary to assure the community at large that acts of violence against persons or property are inimical to the university and ar not condoned."

The UCI Student Senate passed a resolution concerning the bank fire.

And several hundred students signed a petition stating thy "abhorred destruction" of the bank and offering their help in cleaning it up.

Page C1 of LA Times, Tuesday, October 27, 1970

UC Irvine Students Disgusted, Apprehensive
Over Bank Arson

Destruction Widely Condemned as Senseless, Thought to
Be Work of Outside Forces; Further Incidents are Feared

By Scott Moore
Times Staff Reporter

IRVINE-Reaction Monday at UC Irvine to the Bank of American burning was a mixture of disgust and apprehension.

Few tears were shed for the bank itself, but the apparent act of arson was widely condemned as senseless. And may feared it may presage further incidents.

It was commonly thought ont he 6,000-student campus that the bank incident was not the work of Irvine students.

Some campus activists suggested it was the work of the far left Weatherman organization, a militant group which has been linked to similar incidents throughout the nation.

Several factors were mentioned as indications UCI students probably were not involved.

--UCI students never have been known to advocate terrorism. In recent months terrorism has been considered by many radicals as counterproductive to social change because of the repression it produces.

Wall Slogans

--Spray-painted scrawlings such as "All Power to the People" on the bank's walls during the burning incident are not characteristic of UCI activists. "We like more witty, sophisticated things," noted one student.

--Since classes began earlier this month issues fostering studnet activism have been largely absent from the campus. "I thought this was such a placid campus," remarked one professor.

Radical students appeared particularly upset because they have been arguing against acts of terrorism for some time. "The revolution isn't going to start here at UCI," said one activist.

Ironically, a group of students had met shortly before the burning took place to plan a campuswide forum in two weeks on the subject of "Terrorism and Social Change." Purpose of the program was to disclaim acts and advance other means of achieving social change.

As a result of the burning, the program was moved up to Friday from its original date.

Numerous student and faculty groups, as well as the school administration, issued strong statements condemning the burning.

Several hundred students signed a petition stating they "abhorred destruction" of the bank and offered their help in cleaning it up. The petition was circulated during morning lecture classes by Jeff Swarz, a 20-year-old senior in biology, who said he accumulated between 500 and 1,000 signatures.

Throughout the day Monday, students wandered by the gutted bank building to view the destruction for themselves. They watched silently as workmen erected a wooden barricade around the building.

The bank is located in the Irvine town center, a cluster of private businesses directly adjacent to the campus.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Al's In-n-Out (Quick Snack) Burger, Santa Ana

During the 1950s and 1960s Al's In-n-Out (Quick Snack) served up memorable burgers, fries, and shakes on Main Street, near present-day Lathrop Jr. High. Later on, the establishment found itself in a legal battle with another burger chain of the same name.

A couple of OCThen readers submitted some memories recently...

The 1960's Does anyone remember The "In N Out" (not affiliated with today's chain) on Main St in Santa Ana - near Lathrop Jr. High - Best French Fries in the world.

I think EVERYONE remembers the In-and-Out (Quick Snack) on main. Check out all the comments on this site about it. There even used to be a U-Tube video from the '50s, but I think it was finally taken off. A good friend of mine (Roy Ross) delivered meat to them.

I found several comments posted here on OCThen about Al's In-n-Out...

July, 15, 2007...
Two hamburger stands are at the top of my list. First, the In and Out on south Main St. in Santa Ana. Even the teachers from SAHS ate there. Al made the best french fries...Also there was an A&W drive through somewhere on south Bristol in the early 60's. We would stop there to get a frosty mug on the way back from the beach. Anyone remember where that was?


November 11, 2007...
Bob's comments regarding Al's In and Out on main and the old A&W are remarkable. I grew up in Santa Ana and Al's was the place. As a little kid of 8 or 9 I would walk to Main Street from Linda Way (Monte Vista School) to visit the Library, Santa Ana Hobby Shop, SAR, Jerry's Flying Hobbies and so much more in that little corner around Main and McFadden. Try explaining that there was a great In and Out before the current In and Out and you can find out who is one of the SA/OC oldtimers! But there was a couple of others, remember Fabulous Eddys? and what was that other big drive in on main, down near Edinger?? Russ's Burgers?? And the Zoo for a summer treat out near Corona Del Mar and who can forget the original Orange Inn and the Smoothies out on the coast highway across and down from the hourse ranch.

Thanks for the mems!

Dan Bleskey
SAV 72
SAC 75

November 20, 2007...
To Dan B: I grew up in Santa Ana (1947 - 1985) and we lived on So. Olive right off of Edinger. Jerry was a good friend and I worked with him later in life. I also was good friends with the Palmers (Frank's Hobbies on Main, across from Pep Boys). Al's Quick Snack (In-and-Out) was at the top of the list, but Mel's on the coast hiway was where you showed you car. I live in the South Carolina now, and we have a Zesto's a block away.

March 6, 2009...
As others have said: Al's In And Out (before he had to change the name after a legal battle with guess who?) had fantastic fries.

Do you have memories to share about Al's In-n-Out?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hank's Restaurant, Newport Beach

Anonymous remembers a restaurant called "Hank's" in Newport Beach during the 1970s...

Does anyone remember a restaurant called Hank's in Newport Beach? It was on a corner, down the street from where the pier is. It had the best fish and you could just walk in off the beach, very casual. This would have been during the 70's.

I did some Googling on this, but couldn't find any info. Considering this was in the 1970s, there's probably little information online.

But if you remember it, please comment.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Did the Beach Boys Play in Garden Grove?

Anonymous believes he saw The Beach Boys perform at the grand opening of a building supply store during the 1960s, and wonders if anyone else remembers that...

Back in 1960 when I moved to Garden Grove, there was a building supply store on the southwest corner of Westminster and Brookhurst, the name which I cannot remember. Anyway, for some reason, I distinctly remember for the grand opening, a band performing in the parking lot. The name of the band was the Beach Boys. I remember the band passing out albums and I believe the picture had the band on a jeep-like vehicle with palm fronds on the roof. Surfin' Safari? According to, this album was originally released in 1962.

Am I hallucinating? Is this a false memory that over time has become real?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Yorba Room at Buffum's

An anonymous OCThen reader remembers going to the Yorba Room at Buffum's for lunch...

Is there anyone who remembers the Yorba Room at Buffum's? I lived in Santa Ana from 1954 thru 1962. As a special treat, my mother took me there for a Monte Cristo sandwich after she went shopping....There were beautiful murals on the walls of historic scenes of California, done beautifully in sophisticated muddy was an orange tree that had 3 dimensional oranges sticking out. It made such an impression on me...I am an artist today and would love to see a photo of that room....I don't think any exist.

I do remember the Buffum's in Santa Ana off of Main St., but I never went there. However, I remember when K-Mart used to have cafeterias, and my mom and I would eat lunch there.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

German Style Homes in Orange County

Lori, who moved to Orange County in the mid-1990s, asks about German style architecture throughout the county...

Hi Steve,

Found your website while researching a type of home architecture/design that has me wondering about something ever since I moved to OC in the mid 90s. Maybe you have some ideas...

I have roots in Bavaria. My dad was born and raised in the southern part of Germany right at the base of the Alps. I have noticed that many, many homes in OC have what looks to me like a "chalet" type of design. "A" shaped frames attached to the front of houses, with scalloping around the edges (that seems to simulate snow) and window shutters that remind me so much of Swiss/Bavarian stlye chalets that were built specifically to keep snow from piling onto roofs. The OC homes look like little versions of those types of buildings.

My curiosity is this: Were these homes designed with the chalet look in mind, and if so why? I'm not even sure what era they come from but if I had to guess it would be maybe 50s or 60s? The only remotely possible reason that I can think of (since seeing chalets in sunny southern Ca. seems odd) is that it had something to do with Disneyland and the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride. Perhaps when Disney opened the ride it caused an interest in all things Swiss? And from there the developers perhaps started building subdivisions with that type of design?

I'd love to hear what you think. I've googled here and there and just can't seem to find anything specific.

Thank you!

P.S. I think I'll start taking photos of the homes so that I can show people what I'm talking about...

She mentions Disneyland, which if course is in Anaheim, and Anaheim of course was originally a German settlement.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Strawberry Festival and Fields of Orange County

An anonymous OCThen reader remembers the Strawberry Festival and several other "freakin cool" stuff that was unique to Orange County...

Alot of people dont remember the things that were soo freakin cool and unique to OC, like Costa Mesa's fish fry parade on Harbor, or Knotts Scary farm back when they could chase you down the street, remeber how awsome the OP pro used to be?, how about the strawberry festival, best of all- the strawberry fields, I remember riding bikes with a bunch of buddies and sneaking onto the strawberry fields and just feasting on those bad boys until the guy with the whip came and chased us away.
Does anyone remember the jungle jumps in Los Alamitos?
Good times, glad I grew up in the "real" OC!

I used to remember the Christmas Parade that would run through downtown Santa Ana in the 1980s. I used to work at the central library there, and would crawl up to the roof and watch the parade from there.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Over The Line in Garden Grove

Mike Floyd submits memories of growing up in Garden Grove during the 1950s, and playing a game called "Over the Line"...

My name is Mike Floyd and our family moved to Garden Grove in 1953 from Lakewood, Cal. I have many, many memories of growing up there but will focus on one.

Most of my friends played sports and we loved playing "Over-the-Line" at Garden Grove's JV field. Four can play so it was easy to get a game up. We would ride our bikes and play ball for a two hours and the best part of the game was that if you hit a ball over the 12 foot chain-link fence for a home run, you'd have to climb it and get the ball back. The great part was there were apricot and peach trees back there and we'd always raid them for snacks until the owner would come running out yelling. I think his name was Earl Culp.

Then, about noon, we'd ride down to downtown and get some carmel corn and a snow cone at some little shop on Euclid. The old guy always ground out the ice fresh so you really got a real slushy cone.

Then, we'd ride over to Wheelers and Phillips and get a Hollywood Bar and a double cola and go lay under the shade at Euclid park and really relax. I think since we had bombarded our systems with sugar, we'd never want to start another over-the-line game.

I remember Judkins Music and Priscilla's Cake Box and Raisins Market on Harbor and of course, Belisles, with the greatest fresh Strawberry Pie ever... and the Cape Cod House, north of Chapman on Harbor where I always got some unbelievable abalone.

I lived there from '53 thru '64 and I could probably write book on all the memories. This is a good forum. Maybe I'll write about all the tough guys that went around looking for fights. Or my famous fight by the bus barn at Garden Grove High in 1961 with Danny D'Bruin...yeah, that's a classic.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Puppeteer at Knott's Berry Farm

Anonymous asks about a puppeteer who worked at Knott's Berry Farm in the 1960s, and wonders if anyone has more information on him...

We would drive from the valley (Covina) in the 60's to have the fried chicken dinner and pie. At that time the only rides were the train and stage wagon. But what I remember most was the Puppeteer. I know he was an immigrant from Eastern Europe, and he put on a great show. Can't find any information on him.

I was able to find some references to puppet shows at Knott's in the 1960s in the comments of other posts here on OCThen...

Anonymous, March 30, 2007...
I have a memory, I think, of old Punch and Judy puppet shows being put on, and wonder if anybody can corroborate that.

Anonymous, May 21, 2008...
Just looked it up. The puppeteer was a man named Tony Kameny and the puppets were definitely Steiff.

Anonymous, May 8, 2009...
I mostly remember watching the puppetier, he was from Poland or someplace, but we would sit there for hours.

Anonymous, April 5, 2010...
I also fondly remember the many performers and acts such as the puppet show held in the old circus wagon at the front of the park! The puppeteer was Tony Kemeny, an orphaned immigrant from Hungary that had been stricken and paralyzed with polio as a child and spent most of his life as a prisoner of war in Nazi and Communist camps until he escaped and later made his way to the US. He became quite famous and his life story is documented in an inspiring book entitled “A Puppet No More”. Google on his name for full details.

Angela, May 1, 2010...
Our family friend Tony put on puppet shows there.

Ahh, the value of such great comments and commenters!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

George Key Ranch, Placentia

Anonymous recalls running through George Key Ranch in Placentia while it was still owned by him...

Mr. Key's garden, Placentia early 1960's. I recall getting "caught" while running around in his large garden with it's massive trees and little dirt trails leading in many different directions. He was very nice to us, telling us we could play in his garden, but that we needed to stay on the dirt trails. Placentia was just starting to build new tract homes nearby. I found a website about the house and gardens. It's now part of the O.C.Parks Dpt. at 625 N. Bastanchury Rd.

There's a lot more to read about George Key Ranch here..

Friday, September 17, 2010

Helicopters Flying From Disneyland

OCThen reader Marc offers up memories of watching Los Angeles Airways fly their helicopters to and from Disneyland...

Okay, here's an obscure one for ya:

I moved to Anaheim in 1967. We lived off of Wilhelmina, near Sycamore and East Street. On weekends we would go to the Disneyland Hotel and watch helicopters taking off from a large, paved heliport across from the Hotel. Does anybody remember this?

The helicopters were from Los Angeles Airways and they were silver. They were Sikorsky S-61 models I believe. They used to provide service from/to Disneyland Hotel from the Los Angeles area.

There were two or three serious crashes in the late 60's and they went out of business and bulldozed the heliport. It became parking for Disneyland hotel and today is under the outdoor parking net to the gargantuan new parking structures that serve Disneyland. Great memories watching those helicopters come and go. It seemed so exotic to us kids then.

Photo courtesy of

Another OCThen reader, CoxPilot, offers up a memory of his own...

I took one of the L.A. Airways flights from Disneyland to L.A.X. in 1960. In those days the helo took off from the Disneyland parkinglot, just next to the employees entrance. They used the old piston driven Sikorsky H-34 machines then. I think they upgraded the following year when they moved the landing pad over to the hotel.

Another reader, George Anstadt recalls the same...

I remember there use to be a helicopter shuttle from Disney Hotel to LAX. It was a big chopper that held about 30 people. That was a fun ride before the big plane ride which as a kid made the event more special.
George Anstadt

Finally, Buck Kharma weighs in...

Who remembers the horrific helecopter crash in the Downey area? The helicopter left Disneyland and went down killing all on board. My aunt worked at Wonder Bowl in Downey, and the crash site was near there, as I walked over and surveyed the wreckage. The crash was in LA County, but departed from Orange County, 1968 or 1969, I still have the news story, somewhere.

You can read more about Los Angeles Airways and the crash of Flight 417 here...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Witch of Westminster

Anonymous offers up memories of growing up in Westminster during the 1960s and 1970s, and mentions "the Witch of Westminster"...

westminster in the 1960's and 70"

Do you remember Hoopers cleaners, Thrifty five and dime (drug and discount store), the pet shop, Cress, Tony's fish market, Builders Emporium, Edwards Cimama, and how about the Copper Penny right on the corner of Goldenwest & westminster blvd? now at that time .75 cents got you in to a movie, a nickel got you a scoop of ice cream, and a short walk into the track just east of Goldenwest down Cedar st. got you a look at the Witch of Westminsters house. Do you remember her? she was just a sweet little old lady who many people had made lots of rumors about. one day I went to her great big yard and got the scare of a life time as she screached very loudly "get out of my yard"! I was about (10) years old, and I had found out that I had a peeing problem after that as well. thanks for the memories.

I think each of us as kids remember someone like that. When I was six years old living in the North Park area of San Diego, we had the "cat lady", an eldery woman who lived with an unbelievable number of cats. You never heard from her, except on rare occasions when we might catch her walking out of her house to her car.

And then when I was eleven, in the City Heights area of San Diego, we had a old lady named "Abby", who was actually a very nice lady, but all the kids spread some rather evil rumors about her involving children, ovens, mysterious bones found in her trash, and we ended up developing this unfounded fear for her.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Disneyland Hotel Murder in 1969

An anonymous OCThen reader recalls hearing about a murder that took place at the Disneyland Hotel in 1969 and wanted to know if any has more info on it...

Does anyone remember a murder in July of 1969 at the Disneyland Hotel? A man was found dead inside his room. I just read about it in a book but cannot find any information of this case anywhere. I'm guessing Disneyland did a good job of "erasing" all reference of it for their public relations image. But it wasn't that long ago, maybe some of you might remember hearing/reading about this in the news?

Perhaps if Anonymous could provide the name of the book, and any other details it provides, it might put some Googlers to work.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Favorite Restaurants in Orange County

OCThen reader Andylynne remembers all of her favorite places to eat in Orange County...

Orange Co. was a wonderful place to grow up. I grew up on Vista Del Gaviota, and Black Oak Rd. Orange Co. Gave me many memories of the great restaurants we used to frequent. Does anyone remember the Cape Cod house on Harber Blvd I think? We used to eat out on Saturday evenings. There we so many great old restaurants. The snack shop in Orange, The chicken pie shop in Ahaheim. The first Sizzlers where you had to order from the window, and go pick up your food.

Any one remember Save-On Drugs ice cream? Every Friday after dinner my mom took me for an ice cream cone, at least during the summer. The Chili Pepper in Santa Ana. And Gilmores restaurant and minature golf on Lincoln ave. We ate at Knotts Berry Farm for chicken for special events. Don't forget the Boysenberry pie, it was my favorite.

I remember one of the first Mc Donalds, and of course Burger Chef. I forget the little pink hamburger stands name, across the street from Chapman College (University now) their burgers were the best! I remember when the first Marie Callandars opened on Tustin ave. and Then Polly's pies with the burger and Pie special. Then there was the very politically incorrect Sambos restaurant, I loved the border around the ceiling. And last but not least for me THE Pancake house in orange not I-HOP, but the one in the big old house where you ate German pancakes, Lingenberry pancakes, and even good old fashioned regular ones. I never did get a taste for I-Hop until much later.


One of my favorite places was BJ's Pizzeria, (we used to call it Chicago Pizza Factory) just off of 17th St and Bristol in Santa Ana, which was the original location of the now renamed BJ's Restaurant and Brewery. They had sawdust on the floor and red & white checkered table cloths. That location is now gone, and I under the original owners are no longer in charge.

Also Rubino's Pizza, which had a several locations in OC, but namely the one in Santa Ana on Main St and MacArthur.

Read previous memories on this subject...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mr. Beyer's Merry-Go-Round Truck

Bonnie submits a memory of the merry-go-round truck that used to offer rides for 10 cents...

Hi Steve, I grew up in Santa Ana in the 50's and 60's. We lived on Oak Street and then in the mid 50's moved to Bristol Street. I attended Edison school and after the move Glenn Martin. I attended Smedley Jr. High and then we moved to Ventura.

I found your site today, after finding an item on Craigslist. When I was a little girl a man named Mr. Beyer drove a truck around town with a little Merry go Round on the back. It cost 10 cents to ride the Merry Go Round. I went to school with his son Richard. Anyway, I was looking on Craigslist today and there is Mr. Beyers Merry Go Round truck for sale for $9,999.

In later years he would dress like a clown and people would hire him to bring the truck to birthday parties. In fact my children attended a birthday party in the 90's and there he was!

In the 1960's my dad open a billiard room, called the Bristol Cue. It was in the shopping center on Bristol and McFadden. It was quite the hang out for teenagers. It was during the Vietnam war and many of the young men were drafted but kept in touch with my dad, Neal Crooks. I have lots of memories of Santa Ana, those are just a couple. I really am enjoying reading all the comments. Sincerely, Bonnie

I managed to find the Craigslist ad Bonnie mentions. It's described as, "12 Horse Merry-go-Round mounted on Truck with Built in Music Player. Colorful Hand painted Antique wooden horses well preserved, excellent condition."

merry-go-round truck

merry-go-round truck

merry-go-round truck

merry-go-round truck

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mississippi Moonshine in Anaheim

OCThen reader Jim T asks about an old friend named "Mississippi Joe" who worked at the Mississippi Moonshine in Anaheim...

I'm tyring to locate an old friend of mine nicknamed "Mississippi Joe" that worked as a bartender at the Mississippi Moonshine on Katella Ave. in Anaheim, CA back in the mid to late 80's. If you know his whereabouts, please contact me at I used to play pool and chess with Joe and he was quite a character. Later he worked at a bar called Cheers West that was located in the Hotel 6 in Anaheim.

I believe the Mississippi Moonshine was between Harbor and Clementine, next to the Super 8 Motel. Now it's the Anaheim Gardenwalk parking structure.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

91 Freeway Widening Santa Ana Canyon

An anonymous reader asks about a set of stairs and a waterfall visible off the 91 freeway at the Santa Ana Canyon...

With the 91 freeway widening in Santa Ana Canyon a Ste of stairs and other rock walls are visable. Anyone know what was here in the bygone days?

Also a Waterfall is now visable. This should be a traffic stopper in the rain.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Monkey Island of Buena Park

OCThen reader by the handle of "VAS Buena Park CA" asks if anyone remembers or has information about Monkey Island in Buena Park...

Monkey Island:

I have lived in Buena Park all of my life. Back in the 1950's when I was a kid we used to visit a place called Monkey Island. It was actually in La Habra on the corner of Imperial Highway and Idaho Street (the northeast corner). See map of location at

At this location there was a man made lake with a small island in the middle. On this island there were several monkeys. They had exercise bars to play on, swings and maybe even a tree. I think that they even had a patio cover shed which allowed them to get out of the sun and rain.

My mom would drive us up there and just park the car. We would sit, have lunch and enjoy watching the monkeys playing.

Several of my old friends who still live in O.C. do recall going to this place as children.

Does anyone else remember this place? Does anyone have any photos of Monkey Island?

I don't recall a monkey island in Buena Park, namely because I spent most of my time in Santa Ana and El Toro, and because I wasn't around in the 1950s. But I did find a mention of a "monkey zoo" near Raymond Ave in Buena Park, published on an earlier memory here on OCThen...

I remember the monkey zoo off of Raymond too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Burning Trash in the Backyard

Anonymous submits various memories of living in Garden Grove during the 1960s and 1970s, and interesting, includes a memory of using an incinerator to burn trash in the backyard...
I was born in Anaheim, Garden Park Hospital, a little local small hospital now gone, but grew up in Garden Grove in the 60's and 70's. Went to Gilbert Elementary (still there), Zeyen Elementary, Marie L. Hare, and Rancho Alamitos.

When I was really little I remember that our phone number had a word at the beginning. Ours was R-I and then the rest of the number. Our phone number area was called Richmond (R-I). Also, we had a party line on our phone, so we could overhear our neighbors conversations on the phone, of course, we were suppose to be respectful of their privacy, and you were not suppose to talk over 10 minutes at a time.

I also remember that we had an incinerator in our back yard to burn trash, eventually the city made it illegal, and then we took our trash to the dump, which is now Irvine!

I remember how Turtle Rock used to be very visible from miles around.

Some other memories:

Big Bernies Delicatessen: They had great sandwiches and pickles.

Piccolio's Shoe Repair: That man scared me as a child, he didn't like children.

Copper Penny: Both of my older sister worked as waitresses at that restaurant, everyone tried to dig the pennies out of the counter!

I really didn't think much at the time that I was living in such a wonderful community, but now that I think back, that was a wonderful time!

When we moved into Santa Ana in 1978, we had an incinerator in the backyard too. We didn't use it for trash burning however. But I thought it was cool we were one of the few houses left that still had one. My dad ended up converting it into a strawberry planter.

But I remember from 1969-1971, we lived in Yokohama, Japan, just on the outskirts of town. The city did not offer trash service out there. So, the neighbors would bring out their trash each week and dump it into a large steel bin, and then set it on fire.

This was the opportunity for neighbors to mingle and talk and get up to date with everybody. Neighbors would bring out snacks, drinks, and hors d'oeuvres they made specifically for the occasion. It was like having a block party. If we hadn't had the neighborhood trash-burn, I don't think neighbors would have ever gotten to know each other.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Bean Hut of Anaheim

The Bean Hut was a drive-in fast-food joint located in Anaheim on Anaheim Boulevard. During the 1950s and 1960s, it was the place for local youth to hang out and be seen, kinda like Mel's Drive In on the Happy Days sitcom.

This place was before my time, but had heard other people talk about it. It's a dentist office now.

A couple of OCThen readers submitted some brief mention of it...

Anonymous said...
60's, the Bean Hut in Anaheim or the Rhythm Room in Fullerton, anyone remember?

MicketyMick said...
Man I miss the Bean Hut! North end of Anaheim Blvd. I think it's a dentist's office now :(

Lots of great eating places like Belisle's shut down leaving us with only chain restaurants. Speaking of which, I'm happy to say that a NEW Farrell's is being built in Mission Viejo, and should be open at the end of October 2009. As much as I shouldn't have ice cream, I am SO going.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Summer Love at Disneyland

I don't know if it still happens today, but it used to be that Disneyland was utilized as a babysitter of sorts. When parents wanted to free themselves of the kids and spend some time alone, they would drop them off at Disneyland.

The kids would have fun all day long, and the parents picked them back up in the evening.

My parents never dropped me off at Disneyland. I was 12 years old when we moved to Orange County, and my little brother was a year old. So I just old enough to take care of myself, and take care of my little brother. My parents took advantage of that.

Mark of Cabernet and Chocolate submits his memories of getting dropped off at Disneyland and meeting his girlfriend there...
I believe I was in Junior High when I discovered that Disney was a great place. Why? Well, you could get dropped off at the "Park" and parents thought it was safe. Remember, they had those giant security guards in the sixties. Even better, was that the parents of girls thought Disney was safe. No parents, safe place and girls, Disney was a great place.

In the summer of 1965 I met Sharon. She was from Granada Hills. Her parents thought Disney was safe and would drive down the 5 to drop her off and then would go to a local spot they like for "dinner and dancing". Sharon was gorgeous, blond, tan and so very cute. It was puppy love at first sight. We rode rides, we watched can can dancers and even better we rode the "dark" rides.

If you lived in Orange County you know what I mean. How many times can you co "up up and away" on the Peter Pan ride in one night.

Every Saturday I would meet her at 7pm at the gate. And at 11pm she would scamper like Cinderella out the gate and back to Granada Hills. She was my first romantic, bells and whistles kiss. I feel for her. Then one Saturday she did not show. I found out later her parents had found she was hanging out with older boys. I was 14 she was 13. I called her and she professed her love and frustration but I never saw her again. I called her once, still had the phone number, she had a boyfriend and I was in love with a girl from Santiago, but wow, those Disney Delights.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Doctor's Hospital of Santa Ana

A couple of OCThen readers submitted memories of Doctor's Hospital in Santa Ana, on 17th Street. I don't particularly remember this place, but based on my Googling, I think they're talking about the building where Kindred Hospital now sits, in the old Honer Plaza, across from Santa Ana College.

Kindred is now a long term acute care facility. But I do remember there being a county-run clinic nearby, or sharing the same building.

Anonymous said...
I was stationed at El Toro 56-57-58 and shopped at the Market Basket grocery in Tustin. Is it still there? Red Hill Ave in Tustin you could see the base on a clear( El Toro) day. Also does anyone know if the Doctor's Hospital on 17th street in Santa Ana is still there or not? My oldest son was born there in Feb,1958. I took him there on one of my trips and took his picture in front of the hospital. Dr. N. John Thysell was his Dr. Just curious. Loved southern California back then. Went to Newport Beach and Laguna Beach a lot. Lots of good memories

Leslie said...
How well I remember Dr's hospital. All four of my children were born there, and Dr. Thysell was my doctor also.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Little Diner at Orange County Airport

Back when John Wayne Airport was still Orange County Airport, the old Eddie Martin Terminal was also a place where people could go just to watch the planes take off and land. There was a diner inside the little terminal that offered people a view of the landing strip.

I remember as a kid in the 1970s I would take flights up to Seattle, and sit inside the terminal watching the planes. In those days, I wanted to become an airline pilot. We would walk out on the runway, and climb the stairs to a waiting AirCal Boeing 737.

I remember in the late 1980s, in last years of the terminal, my girlfriend (now my wife) went there one night just to do that, eat a little something and watch the planes.

The new Thomas F. Riley Terminal has eateries inside too, but because of heightened security, and costly parking fees, airports are no longer a place to marvel the airplanes anymore.

A couple of OCThen readers share their memories of eating inside the old Eddie Martin Terminal, and watching planes take off...

Mr Vintage said...

Does anyone else remember the little diner at Orange County airport back on the early 60s that had a lunch counter and booths? There were many model airplanes hanging from the ceiling and we used to go there just for lunch and to watch the planes. I also remember that there were stables down at the end of the runway where we would go and visit and feed carrots to the the horses in the stalls. Of course all of the area around the airport was mostly grassy rolling fields. It has certainly changed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I remember the diner! When sitting at the booths you had the best view of the airplanes coming and going. And you walked right out to the planes to board. There were no tunnels to walk thru. Long Beach airport was similar until a few short years ago. Now John Wayne airport is fancy and hectic...but still way better than LAX. (Unless your plane is late and because of the sound curfew (10 or 11pm) you must land at LAX and your friend who is supposed to pick you up is waiting at John Wayne or the taxi you were going to hail to take you 10 minutes to your home now will cost over $100 to deliver you from LAX to OC) Other than that, like the convenience of the new airport!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Roller Garden in Garden Grove

Anyone remember skating at the Roller Garden in Garden Grove? It was located on Haster & Garden Grove Blvd, right by the 22 Freeway. I never went there, but drove past it all the time. Since I lived in Santa Ana, I always went to the Skate Ranch, though I also visited an outdoor skating rink at Camelot (Scamalot).

I've seen references to this skating rink being called both Roller Garden and Roller Dome. I'm not sure which was the official name, or if this rink had different names over time. Maybe someone knows the answer to that.

A couple of OCThen readers share their memories of the Roller Garden...

Chris said...

Does anyone remember a steakhouse in Garden Grove or Westminster called Mother, Jugs, Beef and Brew? My friend Kathy Lester used to sing there occasionally. I lost contact with her years ago so if you know of her please let me know.

Also, are there any skaters from Roller Garden in Garden Grove at GG Blvd. and Haster? It's gone now but in the late 60's and early 70's we had a blast on the weekends there.It was such a big part of our lives.

I want to say this is my favorite site. Love reading about all the things I forgot about but it breaks my heart that they're gone forever.

Pat /pismo beach said...

Chris, I remember the Roller Dome skating rink on gg blvd and haster. All of us from that general area would skate there on Friday and Saturday night in the late 50's and 60's. I couldn't wait until I was old enough to stay for the second session starting at 10:30pm. My parents bought my sister Melody the best high top percision skates from their skate store in the office area. Our friend Jody use to sing live sometimes while the owner played an organ up in the attic. We would go to "sock hops" once in awhile and dance in our socks on the rink floor during special times of the year. Remember the snack bar where you could get pizza or a sucide drink ( coke, rootbeer, orange mixed together). That was bad tasting, but we ordered it anyway. The men's bathroom offered black plastic combs from a machine for 10 cents and they would always break when you sat on them. My sis took lessons and entered several skating tournments (doubles) where we would travel to other cities like Bakersfield for competitions. Do remember any names of the people you knew there? Thanks for the post.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Remembering Pup 'N' Taco

Pup 'N' Taco was one of those "crossover" fastfood joints that came up during the 1950s when fastfood mexican was an experiment. The chain offered hot dogs and tacos.

Wikipedia has some more history on Pup 'N' Taco.

I never liked the place, I seem to recall the french fries being very salty. And at the time, my dad was really into Taco Bell, back when they still had those faux adobe buildings, and the "Bell Beef" (I can't remember exact name) sandwich, which was basically a taco meat sloppy joe.

I remember a Pup 'N' Taco in Santa Ana on the corner of Harbor and Edinger. I think a Taco Bell sits there now.

Anyways, a couple of OCThen readers share their memories of Pup 'N' Taco...

JJohnson said...

One of my vivid childhood are the Pup 'n Taco food chain and Taco Tio food chains. I did a Google search and Wikipedia has some pretty cool links on Pup 'n Taco. You can even get buy retro Pup 'n Taco t-shirts there. Anybody else remember Pup 'n Taco these?

Lee said...
I remember the old Pup 'n Taco commercial jingle, "I'm Pup, he's Pup, I'm Taco!" The animated hot dog and taco would be singing and dancing around on TV. I actually applied for a job at Pup 'n Taco on Westminster Blvd, but instead took a job at the Mobil gas station on Westminster and Beach Blvd.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Remembering Capistrano Beach Club

Doug offers his memories of Capistrano Beach Club...

Does anyone remember the old Capistrano Beach Club in the 1960's, located at 35001 Beach Road, where the basket ball and other courts are today. This is where the olympic size swimming pool once was. The club was one of William Doheneys mansions back in the early part of the 20th. Century, The building was torn down in about 1970 due to repair needs. My parents belonged to that club and would take my brother and Me there every week during the summer in the early to mid 1960's. They had a wonderful seafood buffet and a band. My parents would dance there and enjoy the evening and my brother and I would explore the beach at night.

The California State Parks has a pamphlet regarding Doheny State Beach which mentions Capistrano Beach Club...

During the 1920s, his son Edward L. (Ned) Doheny, Jr. began development of 1,000 acres in the Capistrano Beach area and built several large residences and three local landmarks: Capistrano Beach Club, a pier and a gazebo. The son died in 1929 in a tragic shooting at the home his father had built for him, the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. The father's health suffered from events of the 1920s, and he died in 1935.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Robert Schuller's Drive-In Church

I didn't know this, but before Robert Schuller occupied the Crystal Cathedral, he used to lead his congregation at a drive-in movie theater. A couple of OCThen readers share their memories...

Anonymous said...
Does anyone remember the old drive-in in Garden Grove where Dr. Schuller used to hold his church services on the roof of the snack bar? When you went into the drive-in you would stop a get one of the speakers for your car. I remember this being back in the late 40's.

Pat / pb said...
Old drive-in-church in Garden Grove. In the 60's we would walk through the orange grove across GG Blvd from where we lived and explore.Somewhere in the middle between gg blvd and chapman we came upon an old drive-in that looked like a ghost town. No signs of life and run down. I was 12 years old and went to Riverdale Elementary School. I think the entrance was off of Luis? Sometime around then and 1966 , Robert Shuller leased or bought the drive-in and turned it into his church. When we were in the 10th grade at Santigo High, we would drive to the church service sometimes on Sunday, grab a speaker for our window and listen and watch Shuller deliver his sermon standing on the roof of the snack bar with a single mike. Smoke and be in church at the same time, at a drive-in during the daytime. What a trip!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Blue Note Music in Santa Ana

An anonymous OCThen reader submitted the following memory of a favorite little shop in downtown Santa Ana...

After school in 1967 and 68 I sometimes wandered around downtown Santa Ana, "exploring." There was a marvelous place called The Little Shop, which featured an amazingly random collection of items such as used comic books and 10-cent popcorn. There was also a "psych shop" (on Third or Fourth Street I believe) with an excellent blacklight poster room as well as pipes and papers and where one could meet real Hippies as well as the occasional Hell's Angel....

This jogged my memory of a small music store I used to frequent in my high school days called "Blue Note Music" also in downtown Santa Ana. I haven't been in a long time, so I don't know if it's still there. But it was on Broadway and 3rd street. This would have been the early 1980s.

But it sold musical equipment, all acoustic stuff, as well as old sheet music and old LPs. I still have some old 1930s era sheet music framed and hanging from my office wall from that place. The store was always dark inside and smelled like a musty old attic.

I bought a harmonica from that store too.

The guy that used to mind the store was this old guy who seemed like he had seen it all and done it all and was now content to sit inside this little store, with a cup of coffee, and look through the window and watch the world the pass by.

I wonder if there are still stores like this?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wild Punk Parties in Santa Ana

"Xpunker" recalls a time in Santa Ana where there were some pretty wild punk parties...
Does anybody out there remember the punk parties at the "white house" in santa ana located on first st between bristol and flower in 1990-1991? That was when the punk scene was out of control in the OC. This guy I think his name was Rudy threw the wildest parties in that part of town. Live punk bands like Violent Outrage, Dogma Mudista, MFR and Total Chaos with a crazy mosh pit in the backyard of an empty house. Thanks dude for the great times.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Serna's Mexican Restaurant - Dana Point

Isaac O. remembers eating at Serna's Mexican Restaurant in Dana Point...
anyone remember sernas mexican resteraunt? on pacific coast hwy. in dana point across the street from capistrano beach back in the 1960's - 1975 the owners lupe serna and daughters martha and [ cora a.k.a. guerra]
excellant tacos enchilladas chili rejguennos
good old memories and food. thy were my cousins
we got to eat for free, mmm, i miss them all,l.o.l Isaac O.

Dana Point seems to have some really good mexican restaurants, most notably Olamendi's, a favorite hangout of President Richard Nixon, and El Patio. As for Serna's Mexican Restaurant, I've heard of it. But I did a Google search and found a post saying that there was a Henry's Mexican Restaurant in Dana Point, that was run by a Serna family.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A "Captain's" Restaurant in Seal Beach

Anonymous remembers going to a restaurant in Seal Beach named "Captain's" something, but can't recall the whole name...
I've lived in Orange County since 1982, but in the LA area since 1959. Back in the 60's, when my Aunt & Uncle lived in Los Alamitos, we used to go to a restaurant on the water in Seal Beach. My best recollection was that it was called The Captain's Inn or Table. I believe it's long gone but have never been able to find any information about it, or even confirm the name. Even my cousins don't remember it.

The same conversations went on for years about a drive-in that I remember being located at the corner of PCH and MacArthur. I finally found an online reference to The Zoo, though my cousins still don't recall it.

I'd really love some help with the 'Captain's' in Seal Beach.

I think he's talking about Captain Jack's Prime Rib & Seafood, which is technically in Sunset Beach, just south of Seal Beach. Captain Jack's has been there since 1956, so it would have been in the time frame.

But Captain Jack's is still in operation.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Which Park Had This Aluminum Slide?

OCThen reader "Billy" writes about a long aluminum slide he remembers as a kid, but can't remember where the park was. He wants to take his kids there...
Hello, Steve
Stumbled across your site. Wow! I was born in Garden Grove and lived in Buena Park and Fullerton till '77. I always returned and visited often for I had the best memories living here. My late great mother use to take us to all sorts of parks, beaches, shows and events all the time. Loved being out and about!!

Recently I moved back and I remembered a special park my mother use to take us to. It was in the hills somewhere with a very long aluminum slide (at least it was long when I was 3 or 4 years old) and it was embedded into the ground. The slide started on top of a grassy area. As you slid down, you could not see the area you started from and eventually ended up in a sandy playground with a 15ft long (I think) horizontal ending. I remember it being a long ride. Still to this day I remember it fondly. I remember riding with my mother, brother and sister. My dad does not remember this park for he worked long hours. I have been driving all over OC and can not find this place. I have children of my own and would LOVE to have them relive the memories I once did and ride the slide again for my mom....

Cool Web Site!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chicken Delight of Buena Park

John Burton asks if anyone remembers the Chicken Delight restaurant in Buena Park...
Does anyone remember The Chicken Delight on the corner of LaPalma and Knott in B.P.

Actually, another OCThen reader, "Amber" recalled the same restaurant in a memory I posted last April entitled, "Memories of Anaheim in the 1960s"...
I remember "..don't cook tonight, call Chicken Delight.. we deliver.."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Newport Elementary School - Memories

Anonymous submits some memories of attending Newport Elementary School...
Newport Elementary; sand in the hightops that weren't allowed in the house; watching epic pipeline comes to newport from the blacktop during recess and lunch; looking for the witch on the corner house south of the school; fifth grade beating the "murderers row" sixth grade softball team; went there kindergarden to sixth grade; we performed "gloria" on our final day in the auditorium; thank you all for the memories!

And another anonymous reader has this to share as well...
Does anyone remember Miss Moyer at Newport Elementary? She dove for my foul pop-up and skinned her knee on the blacktop! It was fourth grade she taught; Quite a looker and a fine athlete.

Anyone out there attend Newport Elementary?

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Park With a "Dragon Slide"

Norkio remembers a park that had a "dragon slide", and wonders what the name of the park was...
I have wonderful memories of a park that I never really knew the name of. We called it Dragon Park because it had the Dragon Slide! It was a long cement slide that wound its way down the side of a hill and the bottom was the dragon's mouth. Along side the slide were well tended bushes, and behind the bushes were the "secret" trails we would use to sneak up on our friends. We often took a picnic and played there all day. This was during the 70s although I have no idea where in OC this park is. I would love to know the name of it since it was such a magical place for kids!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Model Airplanes at Carbon Canyon Park

Anonymous writes about flying model airplanes at Carbon Canyon Regional Park...
Does anyone remember flying control-line (U-Control) model airplanes at Carbon Canyon Regional Park? For a few years after we moved to OC in 1976 my husband was involved in the hobby with some guys he worked with. My baby son and I usually tagged along on their outings. The planes were fast and had noisy gas engines, so they needed a big open area away from homes.

We went to Carbon Canyon today for the first time since his flying days, and we couldn't find anyplace there that looked as though it could have ever accommodated such an activity. So we were wondering if anyone else's flying memories were better than ours.

The park actually had 2 or 3 large concrete "donuts" specifically made for the sport.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Banzai Mini Cycle Park in Anaheim

Anonymous remembers the Banzai Mini Cycle Park ...
Anyone remember Banzai Mini Cycle Park? It was across Walnut from Angel Stadium where a fire training facility is now. Right next to the Santa Ana River. They only allowed bikes of 100 cc's or less if I remember right. I had a Suzuki 90 at the time so I spent some time over there.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Wild Wild Wet in Anaheim

Anonymous asks if anyone remembers going to Wild Wild Wet...
Does anyone remember "WILD WILD WET" the waterpark that used to be off of the 5 freeway in Anaheim? It was located at the site where the BANCO POPULAR building now stands. It was next to the Sheraton Hotel.

This would have been in the 1970s and early 1980s. It was a concrete water slide in Anaheim, right off the I-5. I never went there, but I remember seeing the ads, and the television commercials for it. My wife went there once.

Also, another reader, "Daveondemand", submits a memory of going to a water park, but can't recall the name of the park. I believe he's also remembering Wild Wild Wet...
I recall a small waterslide park located just North of Ball road and what used to be Manchester (now Disneyland drive or something like that). Does anyone remember what it was called or seen any pictures of it? Currently, there is a Banco Popular building where I think it used to be along with that expressway that leads directly from the 5 fwy into the "Disneyland Resort Megastructure" I remember going to this water park in the early 80's and wiping out really bad. It felt like I swallowed half of the pool...There were so many other entertaining things to do in that general area i.e the mini golf place across the street from Disneyland on Harbor (next to what used to be Melodyland"), and the "slic Track" go-karts off the 5 freeway next to the Corvette Mike's original location between Ball and Lincoln...ahhh the memories

Thursday, January 21, 2010

When John Wayne Visited Knotts Berry Farm

Anonymous describes when John Wayne visited Knott's Berry Farm to be the first person to ride the Log Ride...
When I was 16 I got my first "real" job. I was a bus boy at the Steakhouse at Knotts berry Farm. My first girlfriend, Charlene Scott worked at the grill. But that's another story.

It was 1969 and they were just completing the log ride. It was really cool. They let us ride it all we wanted after work.

Well, John Wayne came one day to dedicate it by being the "first" one to ride it. Anyway I was at the time clock punching in and to my suprise Mr. Wayne was walking straight for me. It was just him and me. I was so stunned I just stared at him. He looked at me and smiled and said "Well, howr you!" I really don't remember what or if I said anything.

Later on I took a break in our common break room where I watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Lost Community of Bryant

Anonymous writes about living in an old community called "Bryant", near Garden Grove, during the 1950s...
My folks bought a home in the old Highland Subdivision (basically the homes between Chapman and Orangewood and Magnolia and HWY 39) in 1953. We lived on Dale Street a few houses down from Orangewood.

I was the first kindergarten class to attend Bryant Elementary School which opened in 1956. The school was named for the old farming community Bryant that use to be there in the 1940's. I attended elementary school there and later went to Marie L Hare Intermediate. Dale Street was the boundary between Garden Grove and the County that still had an Anaheim address. Our neighbors across the street were in Anaheim and we were in Garden Grove.

I also attended Rancho Alamitos and remember it being built. To the west of Rancho use to be a dairy farm and when playing out on the fields you could smell the cows.

I am posting because I read a comment about Atlantis Land. I remember it very well although I didn't not play there because it was too far away. It was tucked within the park where Bolsa Grande High School is. I remember the grand opening because the Garden Grove Theater played the 1961 Geopge Pal movie Atlantis the Lost Continent.

One of my earliest memories is standing in a huge line filled with kids wanting to see the matinee showing of the 1958 7th Voyage of Sinbad at the Garden Grove Theater. There was a vacant lot next to the theater and a line of kids encircled the entire lot. In fact the first matinee was sold out and we had to wait for the 2nd showing but that's what you did. Mom gave me 50 cents and I bought admissions and popcorn with that.

Lots of good memories at the old Garden Grove Theater at the old Garden Grove Plaza.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Old Restaurants of Orange County

Anonymous writes of some old restaurants in Orange County that perhaps no longer exist...

This is a great web site! I'm always remembering old restaurants in Orange County that bit the dust years ago. What a time trip!

During the 1960s and 1970s, one of my favorite restaurants was Kono Hawaii. My most vivid memories of that place were the entertainment and the delicious ginger salad dressing. Actually everything they served was of impeccable quality, including the Mai Tais!

In the late 1970s, all the employees at Ford Aerospace would trek over to the Gorda Liz Restaurant in Newport Beach for lunch. I was sad to hear about it's closing. That was truly a one-of-a-kind place! Another popular restaurant with the Ford crowd was Isidore's in Newport Beach on Pacific Coast Hwy. I remember that their buffet was pretty good.

One restaurant no one here mentioned is the old Ricky Rickshaw Chinese restaurant near John Wayne Airport circa mid- to late 1970s. They had a fantastic Chinese chicken salad, and their chicken curry was good, too!

El Paso Cantina on Harbor & Adams had a wonderful chicken enchilada with verde sauce, and my husband still mourns the loss of those perfect flour tortilla chips they would serve with the salsa!

I often went to Baxter's on Walnut Avenue and Culver during the 1980s. I always ordered the "Parisian Picnic," which was a Caesar salad with fried brie, along with Baxter's special sweet bread. (This is making me salivate!)

Over the decades, I've also missed Seafood Broiler, Belgian Waffle, and Jolly Roger.

Mama Cozza's and Salvatore's were mentioned in here, and I remember those as being outstanding restaurants. I remember that Salvatore's would give you food for an army!

Carls Jr. is still with us, but do you remember that Italian baked potato they used to serve at the South Coast Plaza store in the late 1970s? They would mash up the potato, adding butter. Then they would top it with marinara sauce, black olives, green onions, and Italian sausage rounds. Too bad they stopped serving those, but of course, I had to invent my own!

I can add to that list, the original BJ's Pizzeria, on 17th street in Santa Ana, just a block east of Bristol. We used to eat there in the early 1980s. It was the first restaurant in the current BJ's Restaurant and Brewery. That location is no longer there, but they used to have red & white checkered table cloths, and saw dust all over the floor.

Of course, who can't remember The Barn, on Red Hill Ave and Edinger in Tustin?

Monday, January 18, 2010

When Tumbleweeds Drew City Boundaries

Anonymous talks about her memories of growing up in Orange County from the late 1960s to the late 1970s, and lists out a laundry list of items she recalls...
Hi, I've grown up in OC all my life. From the late 60's on...

I remember up until the late 70's you could drive down Beach Blvd. and head north and see where each town began and ended. There would be a few small buildings, then tumbleweeds, then more buildings, then tumbleweeds, and so on...

as a little girl, I had seen the "caller" the old man who would jump in the street and yell at you to go to the Pottery Shack in Laguna Beach (jumped out right in heavy traffic too); Farrell's and A&W on Beach Blvd.(with real glass frosty mugs, tray hung from your window as you ate in the car; Back Alley Pizza at Magnolia and Adams-the inside was all mirrored with a road and real curbs on the floor, great pizza; Japanese Village and Deer Farm in Buena Park; Movieland Wax Museum; The alligator farm; the old drive-in movies on Beach Blvd and on Brookhurst sts; when you could go to the beach and park across pch on the sand,there was nothing there just a street light to cross the street; Lion Country Safari (now wild rivers)Naugles in HB became Arby's on Brookhurst, when they started building "restaurant row" of fast foods there.

You used to see horses being ridden up and down Magnolia in HB (and the tumbleweeds)until the OC bus system went in... Leonards dept store; Toy City; Kmart across the street-when you enter the store, there was a greeter, and a counter where they sold sub sandwiches, butter toffee peanuts, etc. and a cafe at the back of the store where you could have taquitos, burgers etc. and get a dessert ice cream in a plastic football helmet-my brother collected a lot of those... Farrell's pig's trough-my brother got the ribbon...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Old Landfill or Pit in Fountain Valley

Anonymous writes about memories of playing in a landfill or pit in Fountain Valley during the 1970s...
i grew up in Fountain Valley in the 70's and i remember going to kind of like a land fill/pit, but it was a place that kids could come and build forts. You would climb down/repel using a rope and down in this pit/land fill, it was really huge there were pieces of scrap wood all over the place and kids would build forts sometimes 2 to 3 story forts. You could always add on to existing forts. There also was a huge lake there and you could float out on it using old cable spools. there also was a big rope swing. Does anyone remember this????

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