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.

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