The Time Ranger | Sex wax, movie stars and epic bug attack
I’m going to share something funny, both weird and “ha-ha”. From all the trips I take in my job, I ALREADY know what to expect on this weekend’s hike in SCV history. And it’s so cool, I smile and can’t wait to wander the time vortex and see it all again.
It’s a great week with a lot of gee-whiz material you can use to corner people at the next meeting. That’s right. I said “date”. Live dangerously. Approach within 5 3/4 feet of someone.
RETURN WHEN AND THEN CERTAIN
HELLO ANOTHER HISTORIC HART MASCOT NAME – Olympic star Wa-Tho-Huk was born this week in 1887 in Oklahoma Territory. There is a debate whether it was May 22 or 28. Wa-Tho-Huk, translated as “Bright Path,” pulled off a staggering feat, winning both the pentathlon and the decathlon at the 1912 Olympics. He was one of America’s greatest athletes of all time and will come. later to Newhall to shoot several films in Placerita Canyon. Most know him by his American name – Jim Thorpe.
TALKING ABOUT WEST BIRTHDAYS – Marion Robert Morrison was born May 26, 1907 in Winterset, Iowa. He too spent a lot of time in the Santa Clarita Valley, filming westerns. Most know him by his stage name John Wayne.
SURE WAS A QUICK REVIEW – Legendary director DW Griffith spent much of March and April at Camulos Rancho, filming “Ramona”. It was adapted from one of the most important novels in American history, and interestingly, author Helen Hunt Jackson drew inspiration from her book while staying in Camulos. On May 23, 1910, Griffith launched the classic film to star-struck crowds across the country. People were lined up around the block to watch the movie.
MAY 22, 1921
FREE LIGHT SHOW – A century ago, we said goodbye to one of the strangest and most unique celestial exhibits since the first Anasazi entered the SCV over 5,000 years ago. The special atmospheric conditions have brought locals here and in Southern California to witness the nearly full and vibrant Northern Lights, or the Northern Lights. And no. You can’t mumble, “global warming”.
WELCOME TO THE HOTEL, er… PARC FRAZIER? – May 21 was the grand opening of one of Southern California’s most exclusive resorts, the Lebec Hotel. Just a half hour drive north of here, it was originally known as Hotel Durant. It can be confusing, so be careful. The ORIGINAL Hotel Lebec was built in 1916 to accommodate travelers on the brand new national highway, the Ridge Route. Owner Thomas O’Brian later partnered with car dealership Clifford Durant to build a chic 100-room supposedly “fire-retardant” hotel. It would become a famous getaway for Who’s Who from Los Angeles and your ordinary weary traveler weary of the variety of gardens. The Durant hotel boasted of electricity and “a telephone in every room!” About a year later, Foster Curry, of Curry Lodge in Yosemite fame, bought the digs and made other improvements. The “fire retardant” promise? Several buildings and outlying huts burned down in a 1923 fire started by the explosion of a stove. Historian Alan Pollack noted a rather dark and ironic piece of information: “An association of adjusters had just left the hotel the day before the fire, after completing a three-day convention.”
TALKING ABOUT FIRES – Our town hall was completely burned down on that date. Mrs William Mayhue, wife of the agricultural mogul, woke up before dawn to the flames twinkling in her bedroom window. The alarm was quickly sounded and volunteer firefighters from Newhall and Saugus rushed to the scene. But the old Conrad’s Hall, built in 1908 by Charles Conrad, quickly burned to the ground and firefighters focused on keeping other nearby buildings sprayed with water. Conrad had just sold the building to MA Culver two months earlier. What made the fire suspect was that it was the third room to burn to the ground in the previous 18 months. Another Conrad Hall was burnt down in 1919 and the Honby Dance Hall was burnt down. Add to that, there were two fires in the pool hall around this time, bringing the total to five suspicious fires involving entertainment complexes. I have already told the story of a jealous young man who claimed a beautiful young girl. The story was that he hated that she was having a good time and kept burning Newhall hot spots.
SAUGUS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. AND FIELD OF POTATOES. – On that date, Sgt. TJ Fowler crashed his Curtiss biplane into a field of Saugus potatoes. His gear became unbalanced and Fowler almost made a perfect landing. In the end, the nose tipped forward and the propeller came off.
MAY 22, 1931
PENNY ANTE – Southern Pacific celebrated summer vacation and gave cash-strapped railroad drivers a special deal – a penny per mile to any destination. Seriously. You can take the train from Newhall Depot to Saugus Depot for 2 ¢. Beats walk.
MAY 22, 1941
IT WOULD BE EASIER TO TIMPER SECTION 8 – Clarence Compton, conscientious objector to military service, was considering any military service. While he couldn’t take another’s life, he committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in a distant canyon.
Farewell, our German neighbors – A few months before we went to war with Germany, Saxonia Park in Placerita Canyon hosted a German festival. The multi-course dinner, games, refreshments and dancing were only 40 cents. Saxony was THE great place for Germanic parties and people of that ancestry or interest flooded the SCV by the thousands – that is, until 1941. In December, after Pearl Harbor, the park was converted. in a military camp.
MAY 22, 1951
GO DRAG. – A Los Angeles drag racer, in his bloated coupe, set a track record on the old 6-S Ranch strip in Canyon Country, scorching the quarter mile and hitting 115 mph. Nope. It wasn’t Pat Arman. It was just a baby.
MAY 22, 1961
ODDBALL BURGLARIES – Villains have everything from booze to – get this – 150 used generators from the old Barker / Nochester garage in Mint Canyon. What the hell are you doing with 150 used car generators?
MAY 22, 1971
AH, CHILDREN… – Four 16-year-olds have been arrested for a series of 47 burglaries here. Lots of spare change and cash amounted to over $ 1,000.
ADIOS, DEAR IDA – On this date, Ida Edwards died. The Val Verde matron made headlines two years earlier. When she returned home from Oklahoma, she found that the county had “accidentally” condemned and bulldozed her home. For a while she had to live in a puppy tent donated by Boy Scouts. A group of citizens and Newhall Land passed the hat and built a brand new home for him.
GO POSTAL – The cost of sending a letter has increased – to a dime. Ouch.
SOLOMON’S WISDOM – Judge Adrian Adams ruled on a case in which a couple were accused of disturbing the peace and quarreling with neighbors, Adams ordered the couple to write a 500-word essay on the subject: “How Mahatma Gandhi Would Have solved the problems in my neighborhood. The defendant, Ms. Flo Harsla, was to write the book on how she would make her neighborhood a better place. The Harslas, who had children aged 8 to 19, were found guilty of sparking feuds ranging from curse to punches.
IT’S A CINCH – A plague of Old Testament proportions struck SCV 50 years ago. Hundreds of thousands of bedbugs have invaded the valley, penetrating everything from people’s hair to their pancakes. A housewife in Valencia complained about literally having to sweep her bed before falling asleep. The agriculture department unfortunately noted that the only thing other than building a ditch around your house (little robots don’t like water) is to wait for them. Bedbugs are migratory and only stay in one place for a maximum of two weeks.
BACK TO OUR GOOD DAYS OL ‘CARNY – Some of you elders will remember it: the Jaycee Fair. It opened this week, half a century ago. It was an old-fashioned country fair, with rides and games that no ordinary human could win. They had a battle of bad local garage bands, grease pole climbing contests, pig calls, and a yo-yo and beer drinking contest. It attracted over 50,000 people. We no longer have the fair.
MAY 22, 1981
THE FASTER GEL – Saugus Schools Superintendent James Foster attempted to shut down Valley View Elementary School. Reason? Not enough kids, too much overhead. VVE only had 175 students enrolled, although the campus was built to accommodate 500. The move has been called, by some, “Foster’s Folly”.
SEX WAX – Last week I had dinner with former Canyon Football coaching legend Harry Welch and we chatted about the following. There was a large protest rally at Canyon High. About a hundred students have come together to express their displeasure at the administrative ban on these “Dolfin” short shorts that rise high on girls and “Sex Wax” T-shirts on boys. In addition to the theater, Deputy Director John Schirmer confiscated two rolls of film from a Signal photographer. John then returned the film.
THESE Wacky CALARTIANS – CalArts held their 11th annual graduation ceremony and, as usual, it was a hoot. A graduate, after graduating, jumped into a magic box and asked friends to push the sword through. Another accepted a diploma in handcuffs, giving CalArts president Bob Fitzpatrick the key to freeing him. Another had an ax in her head and fake blood – a budget cut joke. Yet another gave a two-word speech: “Beat Julliard!”
MONTANA IN ENGLAND –Local cowboy Montie Montana and his wife, Elly, were preparing to meet a very special host – the Queen of England. Montie was asked what he plans to tell Elizabeth. His response: “Hi, ma’am. Of course nice to see you. Do you have vittles in the house? Oatmeal and gravy? Montie never really gave that speech, but he’s famous for – to the horror of the Secret Service – stringing up President Dwight David Eisenhower.
Welp. Unless you’re not careful or fell asleep in the saddle, which I guess falls under the category of not paying attention, I bet you are all a little smarter after crossing the time of today throughout history. It was fun, right? See you in seven. We’ll do it again. Until there –vayan con Dios amigos!
Boston has started its own publishing house, John Boston Books. The first is a three-volume set titled “Ghosts, Ghouls, Myths & Monsters – The Most Haunted Town in America”. It would be us. In the meantime, you can purchase Boston’s “Melancholy Samurai”, “Naked Came the Sasquatch” and more of his books at bit.ly/John_Boston. If you liked the book you wouldn’t mind leaving a 5 star review at all.