Monday, August 04, 2008

Richfield sign, Dana Point, & Newport Pop Festival

Boxcar Mike writes, "Recently you posted an early picture of Dana Point... If you look at the right side... you can just barely make out the old Richfield Oil Company tower that stood on P.C.H. for many years... On the sides facing north and south, the company printed the word RICHFIELD in about five foot high block letters. Just below the Richfield sign was the word SERVICE, printed horizontally. The tower was quite a landmark, but at night that thing was spectacular. Blue neon outlined each letter and the supports of the tower. It was so bright you could see it long before you got to the gas station. Even boats and ships could see it out at sea. When Richfield merged with Atlantic Oil to form ARCO, the tower remained for several years, although the original station had been enlarged and was now an ARCO station... I was wondering if you might know where I might get a picture of it."
This 125-foot tower appears in a number of photos in Doris Walker's recent book, Images of America: Dana Point. I've posted details from two of the photos above. The image on the left is from about 1930, and the one on the right is from the 1960s. This landmark was one of 36 such towers which Richfield constructed 50 miles apart along the California coast. It was removed in the early 1970s. See Doris' book for more great Dana Point landmarks.
Do you remember the 1968 Newport Pop Festival? Don't feel too bad. Most of the people who attended can't remember it either. Even if a few attendees weren't stoned, I suppose they worked hard to forget the sweltering heat, mud, lack of fresh water, thousands of sweaty/smelly hippies, and performances by Tiny Tim and Sonny & Cher. Sunday's Register featured an article about this mostly-forgotten event, which took place at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, and also featured the Grateful Dead, the Byrds, Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane, and Country Joe and the Fish.
The same section of the paper also featured an article about past Olympians from Orange County.


Viewliner Ltd. said...

I remember driven past the Richfield tower sign many, many times on the way to San Juan Capistrano where my father worked at the El Adobe restaurant. I don't remember the Pop Festival. I was in the Army then.

Chris Jepsen said...

El Adobe's still my favorite place to eat in SJC. I believe it's still owned by Richard O'Neil. There's a lot of great history behind that place, dating all the way back to the Mission Era. I'll have to write about it sometime.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Newport Pop Festival. I was 13 and specially made some bizarre long caftan that was the worst thing I could possibly wear. It was so miserably hot and people were packed in so close you couldn't get up and out to use the restroom or get water (which apparently they forgot to supply anyway). I don't remember any of the acts but not because I was high----I think I had sunstroke! Glad to know I saw the Grateful Dead and others!

rockdad said...

I was at the Newport Pop Festival at the OC Fairgrounds back in '68. Not sure which day I was there, maybe both, but most people don't remember there was a second stage facing the main stage where groups played between acts on the main stage.
Both Lee Michaels and Superchief played on this second stage. I auditioned on bass guitar for Superchief back in the 60s.

Speaking of local gigs, an unknown band named Led Zeppelin OPENED for Lee Michaels at UCI, I think it was 1967, before their first album came out. My wife was at that concert. And I remember Alice Cooper opening for my favorite local group, the Stack, at various events. The Stack went on to release one album which was poorly produced. I have a live tape of them playing in 1969 at the Tustin High School Auditorium. An amazing band.

rockdad said...

Newport Pop Festival, August 3-4, 1968

Saturday, August 3, 1968

Alice Cooper, Canned Heat, Chambers Brothers, Charles Lloyd Quartet, Country Joe and the Fish, Electric Flag, James Cotton Blues Band, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Sonny & Cher, Steppenwolf, Tiny Tim.

Sunday, August 4, 1968

Blue Cheer, Eric Burdon & The Animals, Grateful Dead, Illinois Speed Press, Iron Butterfly, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Byrds, Things to Come.

rockdad said...

There was also another festival in 1969 I think, during spring break, called the Palm Springs Pop Festival. I remember especially Canned Heat was fabulous and James Gurley, formerly of Big Brother and the Holding Company, had his guitar stolen and there were repeated pleas over the PA system for whoever had it to return it for a reward, no questions asked. Also, Buddy Miles played but was loudly booed when he removed his shirt and exposed 350 pounds of flab while singing soul - not what the crowd came for!

Ted said...

Man, this is too funny. I was also there, at the age of 13. I don't remember who I saw either, except that I went on Sunday because Eric Burden and the Animals were scheduled for that day, and I wanted to hear them play Sky Pilot.

Because their set was cut short on Saturday, Country Joe and the Fish were given extra time on Sunday. Coupled with the fact that the show ran behind schedule anyway, by the time the Animals came on stage I had to get back to my pickup point to go home. As I walked along the outside perimeter of the fairgrounds I heard Eric Burden in the distance belting out Sky Pilot. Man, was I bummed to be missing it.

Flash forward 35 years: The KLUV Oldies Fest in Euless, TX -- featuring Eric Burden. The KLUV dj came out to announce the group, prefacing it with, "How many vets we got here tonight? You know, Sky Pilot and all."

I turned to my girlfriend, all grins, and said excitedly, "You hear that? They're gonna play Sky Pilot?"

Burden came out, sounding great as ever, and went through every Animals song I knew, and a few I didn't. But no Sky Pilot. Yeah, all right, he's saving it for the end.

"Thank you. You've been a great audience."

Oh, yeah, even better. Encore - Sky Pilot . . .
Wait. Where's he going. Why's the dj coming back on stage? Why are the lights coming on?

What the . . . ?

NO SKY PILOT!!!!!!!!!!


I waited 35 years for closure.

And still I wait.

Ted said...

Rockdad said: Speaking of local gigs, an unknown band named Led Zeppelin OPENED for Lee Michaels at UCI.

UCI always seemed to be ahead of the curve in booking star acts before they really caught on bigtime. I remember (I think - LOL), in the eighties seeing ads for concerts by Missing Persons and Andreas Vollenweider with ticket prices that reflected their at-the-time lack of national prominence.

Bruce said...

Led zeppilin, Lee Michaels, Hard luck Boy Played at UCI Thursday May 1, 1969 General admission $3.50. I was pushed through the entrance door with my complete ticket in hand that I still have. Ticket #1530.
I have my ticket stubs Sat & Sun from the Aug. 3 & 4 1968 Newport Pop Festival along with the 48 page program book as well. They are great to look back on as a senior citizen when the brain begins to fade and you begin to remember that you were a party animal.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how many other 13 olds were there! I thought I was the only one. I too went at 13 with my older sister and her boyfriend when my parents were out of the country or they never would have let me go. I remember Sonny & Cher being booed and seeing Tiny Tim, Country Joe & the Fish, and many others. It was ungodly hot and people were trying to jump over the fence to get in got beat back by the police. I seem to remember water being trucked in.

TK Major said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TK Major said...

Zep at UCI, The Stack (almost everywhere), Country Joe & the Fish at the original Newport Pop (I only made Saturday, but at the Newport '69 festival in Northridge, I made all 3 days), Chicago Transit Authority at that old hall at the OC Fairgrounds, Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead at still-secular Melodyland, Jefferson Airplane, the Collectors, CTA, and others at Long Beach State, The Mothers of Invention and Alice Cooper at Fullerton... going way back, my first 'grownup' concert, Dave Brubeck at Fullerton JC (my dad had to drop me off and pick me up... I was in jr high, myself)...

Good times in a land so far away you just can't get there anymore...

Chris Jepsen said...

Wow! Led Zepplin played UCI? With all Zepplin's Tolkien references and all of UCI's Tolkien references, it must have been like a big ol' Middle-Earth hoedown!