Sunday, October 30, 2011

Orange County costumes

Okay, here's my favorite Orange-County-history-related Halloween costume so far this year. This is Jody Daily at yesterday's Anaheim Halloween Festival dressed as the former Anaheim Chamber of Commerce spokescritter, "Andy Anaheim." This character was created for Anaheim by Walt Disney Studios in 1954, as the opening of Disneyland drew near. The image below is a 1955 newspaper ad for the Festival featuring Andy dressed in his own costume: Davey Crockett!
Learn more about Andy Anaheim on Kevin Kidney's always delightful Miehana blog.

Feel free to email me photos of your own Orange-County-history-related Halloween costumes so I can share them here. I will post the best 20 or 30 received.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween at the Orange County Archives

Yes, it's Halloween at that hub of history, the Orange County Archives. This is, of course, a pretty easy report to file, because I work there. But I thought this might be a good time to introduce you to Archie the Archives Cat. Archie is a life-sized photo of an orange tabby cat, adhered to a magnet, which is, in turn, stuck to the side of our best library cart. It wasn't enough that County Archivist Susan Berumen introduced Archie to the Archives, but she also has little outfits for him, depending on the season and the holidays. Some of them are fairly amusing. He's wearing his Halloween ghost costume in the photo below, along with a top hat and handlebar moustache. Perhaps he is a "steampunk" ghost cat? I may share more of his other seasonal attire in future months,... Depending on how desperate I am for bloggable material.
The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed the gold witch trophy in the photo at the top of today's post. A closeup is provided below. Although its unclear who originally won this trophy, or when they won it, we do know it's an old trophy for the best "Horse Drawn Entry" in the traditional Anaheim Halloween Parade. I sort of had to talk someone into donating this to the Archives, and I'm so glad I did.
For those who want to use the Archives to dig into the history of Halloween in Orange County, we luckily have plenty of old newspapers, history books, and historic photos. The image below is a 1940s newspaper clipping about the Anaheim Halloween Parade, given to us by the family of the late Orange County Supervisor, James A. Baker. Supervisor Baker is shown on horseback as the grand marshal. 
Have a happy Halloween! Put up decorations and pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters, or at least go out and do something that adds to the kooky/spooky fun. If you don't, the Great Pumpkin may question your sincerity.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sputnik comes to Laguna Beach for Halloween

Got your Halloween costume ready? The two old ads in today's post both come from the Oct 29, 1957 edition of Laguna Beach's South Coast News. Both ads also reference Sputnik -- a subject I'll get back to in a moment.
The newspaper's editor clearly liked the large photo in the Zenith ad (above) as much as I do, and ran it again, a few pages later, in a features section, with the following caption:
"SPACEMAN VISITS! It's not Superman. And it's not an over-grown 'trick or treat' operator practicing for Thursday night's Halloween festivities. It's popular Laguna businessman Roy Arntson modeling a Zenith Space Commander helmet about town Friday."
Space travel was a popular topic for fiction in the 1950s, but it was still theoretical. In 1957, crazy-looking helmet designs like this seemed as reasonable as any other design. But that would soon change.
Just weeks before these ads appeared, on Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first man-made satellite -- called Sputnik 1 -- into Earth's orbit. Unlike today's complex satellites, Sputnik did only two things while in orbit: 1) It beeped at a radio frequency that could be heard on short-wave radio, and 2) It sent metaphorical shock waves through the free world.

The free peoples of Earth were shocked at what seemed proof of Soviet technological superiority. And of course, the commies took the opportunity to gloat. Indeed, Sputnik served as the opening salvo in a "space race" between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

Unhappily, that race (and the technology it generated) paralleled a more critical arms race that threatened to destroy the world. If the Soviets could send satellites around the world, couldn't they also send atomic bombs into our backyards? Talk about an extra-scary Halloween surprise.

More happily, the space race also led the U.S. to create ARPA, which gave us the Internet, and NASA, which gave us all kinds of great stuff, including Velcro, an understanding of the structure and history of the universe, Tang, modern telecommunications, freeze-dried ice cream, solar power cells, pens that write upside-down, and astronauts walking on the moon. 

Strangely enough, Sputnik also led to a bunch of new words, including "beatnik" (coined by writer Herb Caen in 1958), "refusenik," "peacenik," "computernik," and "neatnik."

For the record, Sputnik's beeping stopped when its battery died; Just three days before these ads were printed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New O.C. "History Hikes" & San Juan Hot Springs

If you're reading this blog, I assume you have at least some interest in Orange County history. Do you also enjoy the great outdoors?

If so, you should check out the Orange County Historical Society's (OCHS) first "History Hike," which will take place on Nov. 20th. This first trek will be to historic (and seldom-seen) San Juan Hot Springs. From a sacred Indian site to a century of different resorts at this location, these springs have been drawing visitors for thousands of years. The buildings that once stood here (as shown in the 1890 photo above, courtesy the Anaheim Public Library) are long gone, but ruins can still be found, as can the occasional ancient artifact. And of course, the hot water still bubbles and flows.
The color photos above and below come from my last visit to the springs, with a fascinating group of historians, archaeologists, and local Indians. The area is quite beautiful.

About the History Hike program, OCHS writes,...
"To help expose, educate and connect people to Orange County’s fascinating history, the Orange County Historical Society is launching a new program — Orange County History Hikes. These hikes will take place at least a couple times per year, and are open to the public. Each hike will showcase an Orange County historical destination, allowing history and hiking enthusiasts to see some of these destinations in a new way. Hikes will vary in distance, topography and difficulty, but will stay within a range that most reasonably fit people can accomplish."
For a lot more information about this event and how to sign-up, link on over to Colleen and Jeff Green's great blog: Greene Adventures

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vampires in Orange County

You did know there were vampires in Orange County, didn’t you? Well,… vampire bats at any rate.

Although our State and Federal governments agree that vampire bats live only in Central and South America, other sources indicate that vampire bats can be found in Southern California and Texas.

Jim Sleeper’s 3rd Orange County Almanac of Historical Oddities backs this up. Jim writes, “Several well documented cases reveal [vampire bats’] presence in O.C. In December, 1896, ‘a vampire bat of enormous size’ was killed by a farmer named Bandini on the Irvine Ranch after menacing his family several nights running with its eerie flapping and piercing cries. In September of 1908, a family on South Lemon in Anaheim reported the death of a vampire bat after a brief but desperate struggle with its cat. ‘The body measured 7-inches long, while its wings stretched 21-inches from tip to tip.’”

Sure, that was over a century ago, and there haven’t been a lot of sightings since then. But they might be coming back! Now the government – this time wearing its Centers for Disease Control hat – warns that “the range of these bats might be expanding as a result of changes in climate.”

So if you’re attacked by vampires you can blame Al Gore for inventing climate change. Or was that the Internet he invented? I can never remember which.

[The image above is an 1882 cartoon depicting the landlords of San Francisco as vampire bats. It's really the only image relating to both California and vampires bats that I could find.]

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Knott's, Fullerton, place names, silent films, etc.

Today's image was the cover of the Fall 1973 issue of the Knott's Berry Farm employee magazine, The Knotty Post. (Note that it was a real magazine, not just a newsletter!) This issue corresponded with the very first Halloween Haunt at Knott's, which makes it a bit more significant than some. Besides, with a rocket-powered witch and a grizzled prospector (another appearance by Whittles) on this cover, what's not to love?

At Casa Romantica in San Clemente, Oct. 26, at 7pm, Jean Pasco and Susan Berumen of the Orange County Archives will give a talk about the creation of the Archives' “On Location: Orange County in Silent Film” exhibit. (Part of the exhibit is currently on display at Casa Romantica through the 26th.) The evening will include a showing of the first movie shot in Orange County: "Two Brothers," featuring Mary Pickford, Mack Sennett, and Mission San Juan Capistrano. Adults $7. Students/Children: Free.

I'm told the new Fullerton History Room at the Fullerton Public Library has already been open for business for a while. The room has moved to a larger space on the main floor rather than the small-but-much-loved nook upstairs. Check their new website for hours of operation.

Is seems strange that these "History Rooms" at city libraries lose their names when they move. When Anaheim's moved, it stopped being the Elizabeth Schultz Room. Now, Fullerton's collection no longer has Albert Launer's name attached to it. But in both cases the collections moved into a larger and better space -- and that's the really important thing.

Speaking of the Fullerton Public Library, they will host historian Phil Brigandi on Oct. 25th at 7pm. He'll speak about Orange County Place Names A-Z. Phil will also be among the many notable speakers at this weekend's CCPH Conference in Riverside.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dana Point, El Toro, Newport and gambling ships

The Dana Point Historical Society will celebrate (a little early) the 100th birthday of longtime Capistrano Beach local Bertha Henry Taylor at the Dana Point Community House on San Juan Ave., Oct. 26, 7pm. Taylor will share her memories of the area in the 1950s. Also, Society member Mary Crowl will explain DPHS' oral history program.

Speaking of Dana Point, three 1928 "Woodruff Homes" on Avenue of the Blue Lantern have been placed on the city's Historic Resource Register. If you'd like to drive by for a look, they are at 33771, 33792 and 34051 Blue Lantern. Sidney Woodruff tried to develop Dana Point in the late 1920s, and these homes feature the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture he envisioned for his new community. Woodruff is better known for developing a residential area in Los Angeles called Hollywoodland, which he advertised with a huge sign atop Mount Lee. You may have seen it. (The letters "L-A-N-D" disappeared a long time ago.)

The photos in today's post come from the City of Dana Point and depict the clifftop gazebo at the end of Blue Lantern during the late 1920s. I assume those are real estate salesmen gathered together for a big sales pitch in the photo below -- unless they aren't.
The Saddleback Area Historical Society will hold their annual Pioneer Roundup on Oct. 23, 2-4pm at Heritage Hill Historical Park in El Toro. Members of local pioneer families attend this event "to greet long-time friends and reminisce about old times in the Saddleback Valley. Come meet them, hear their stories and learn about the early days of the area."

The re-re-resurrected Newport Beach Historical Society and the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum will present a lecture by Ernest Marquez about his book, Noir Afloat, at the Nautical Museum, Oct. 27, at 7pm. Marquez will discuss the gambling ships that once stood off the coast of Newport and the rest of Southern California. For details and reservations, visit the Newport Beach Historical Society's NEW website.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Changes at the Placentia History Room

The photo above shows the wonderful Placentia History Room at Placentia Public Library in 2005, during the presentation of a printed oral history to Fred Agurrie. (Photo courtesy Placentia Library District.)

Pat Jertberg, Marie Schmidt and Pat Irot -- the three volunteers who created the Placentia History Room in 1991, and who contributed the lion's share of what's been accomplished in there in the 20 years since -- have "retired." This follows closely on the heels of the retirement of Gary Bell, the librarian who staffed the collection in recent years.

Pat Irot recently wrote a friend about the story of Placentia's community historical collection:

"The Placentia History collection might NOT have happened had not the Board of Trustees questioned the use of a room called 'The California Room', so designated with the opening of the building in 1974.

"...As President [of the Friends of the Placentia Library], I...did an inventory and reported that the room was somewhat a 'warehouse' for things historical. The Trustees accepted my suggestion to rename it the Placentia History Room, and I dug in. It was 1991.

"Bringing organizational skills to the task but no knowledge of local history, I enlisted the assistance of our city's Historical Committee, with the result that we became a volunteer staff of three, each contributing to the work our individual talents. In a search for direction, I visited as many as ten libraries with history collections, asked questions, and got ideas. My visit to the Santa Ana Library History Room resulted in an invitation to attend the upcoming Heritage Coordinating Council meeting. At that and subsequent meetings, we were welcomed and encouraged, and we learned from each other.

"...We created an archive of text and media. We sought a complete collection of local high school annuals and created a local authors collection. Donations were sought. Organizations and agencies in the community were urged by our presentations to maintain an archive or deposit their materials with the Placentia History Room. As additional assistance became available...we directed the activity of interns from CSUF and volunteers from the community.

"After thirteen years with just volunteer staff, the library extended its support by assigning a reference librarian for ten hours per week. A welcome action, this provided a staff presence to serve patrons and to communicate History Room needs to library administration.

"At our departure, we provided a verbal and hardcopy report of the current status of holdings to the Library Trustees and to the City Council which included CDs and flash drives that held our EXCEL program cataloged inventory. With the report, we highlighted major projects that were accomplished as the result of Placentia History Room's archives. These include four published books, a Power Point program on Placentia, two DVDs and the recent 'Placentia History Wall' on display in our City Hall. The archives have [also] provided background material for several Downtown Renewal projects. For the school district, we have written local history information for Third Grade Teacher curriculum along with short histories of Placentia schools and also bio's of their namesakes where applicable. And participation in the Calisphere photo project was made possible as a result of our extensive digitized photograph collection."
The people of Placentia should know what a treasure they have in the Placentia History Room, and should know what treasures they're losing with the retirement of Pat, Marie, and Pat. Moreover, it's now time for the next generation of Placentians to step up to the plate and keep things going.

This story is a great example of how it's not always the people you expect who end up making the biggest difference when it comes to local history. None of these three ladies (to my knowledge) had degrees in either library science or history. But they're sharp, learned fast, were self-directed, and accomplished something worthy of a whole community's respect and admiration. (Although they certainly weren't fishing for it or expecting it.)

Never underestimate the power of volunteers. Yes, sometimes you'll run across a dud, but often they turn out to be the best "employees" you ever had.

More North O.C. history

Here's a shot of from Jack Lindquist's talk at Thursday's OCHS meeting. He's an outstanding speaker, as you'd expect. Our members had some good questions for him too.

Interested in another historical program? The Fullerton Public Library will host a program entitled, "Fullerton's Fender Guitar Legacy," tomorrow, Wed., Oct. 19th, at 7pm. Here's the blurb they sent me:

"Leo Fender was born at his family ranch on what is now La Palma Ave. in Anaheim. While attending Fullerton High School in the 1920s, he turned his hobby, electronics, into a radio repair business. By the early 1940s, he was designing and creating electric guitars and amplifiers at his downtown shop. This talk by Richard R. Smith, curator of the Fullerton Museum, will detail Fender's success story and his contribution to music. Smith is the author of Fender: The Sound Heard 'Round the World, and is a distant cousin of Fender."

The Library is located at 353 W. Commonwealth Ave. They also have more local history programs coming up, which I'll post about soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Disneyland history reminder!

Don't forget to come hear Disneyland's first president, Jack Lindquist, share his memories at the Orange County Historical Society's meeting tonight, Thursday, Oct. 13th, at 7:30 p.m. Link for details.

This photo of Disneyland's Jungle Cruise under expansion in 1958 comes courtesy the Anaheim Heritage Room at the Muzeo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How many names does one place need?

Earlier this month, the folks at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy offered a bunch of Orange County bloggers (including me) the opportunity to go on a special tour. Unfortunately, I could not go myself. However, friendly neighborhood historian Phil Brigandi went on behalf of the O.C. History Roundup and came back with photos and some interesting observations about one of the sites they visited. So, without further ado, here's Phil!:

"On a recent tour of some of the 20,000 acres deeded to county parks last year by the Irvine Company, we stopped for lunch at what our guide told us had once been called Bolero Springs, but which they now call Box Springs. It is one of the few year-round, dependable water sources in the Limestone Canyon area and made a peaceful spot to pause for our picnic.

"The springs undoubtedly had an Indian name, since there are oak trees, and bedrock mortars in the area. To Spanish speakers, it was originally known as Agua Chinon.

“'Before [lime] kilns were built in Limestone Canyon [in 1862],' Don Meadows tells us in his Historic Place Names in Orange County, 'the canyon was called Cañada de Agua Chinon or the Canyon of Curly’s Spring, because high in its headwaters was a spring beside which a Negro had his hut.' (In Spain, Chino meant a Chinese person, but in California it was sometimes used as a nickname for anyone with curly hair.)

"Another watercourse, running south of the springs, is still known as Agua Chinon Wash today. 'The name was misapplied,' Don adds, 'under the supposition that Agua Chinon Spring was located at its upper end.' In fact, it leads up into The Sinks.
"For the story of Bolero Spring, we must turn to Terry Stephenson’s classic Shadows of Old Saddleback. Judge J.E. Pleasants (1839-1934), ...described for Terry how he used to go out in the 1860s to rope bears with the vaqueros from the José Sepulveda’s Rancho San Joaquin. One of the cowboys, Terry relates, 'was nicknamed Bolero because he was too fond of telling great stories of his achievements.' He assured all of them he would rope a bear that day.

“'[L]oudly bragging and extolling his prowess, Bolero led the way under the sycamores and oaks, scrambling through thickets of poison oak and sumac, over rugged points of rocks, down into arroyos and up steep hillsides, following the dim trails left by deer and wild cattle.'

"But when he finally met a bear near the springs, his horse 'knew nothing about bears except that he did not like their odor, and … jumped straight in the air … [and] tore madly through the brush and was instantly out of sight,' despite Bolero’s best efforts to rein him in.

"The other riders managed to rope the bear, and when they met their friend on down the trail, 'Derisive shouts greeted Bolero, and all day and for many days thereafter, Bolero had to meet their jibes and laughter…. Among the vaqueros from that day on, it was "Aguaje de Bolero," Bolero’s spring....'
"(The name later spread to a nearby peak, where for many years a forest fire lookout tower was located.)

"Bolero means 'liar,' or 'braggart,' Jim Sleeper explains in his A Boys’ Book of Bear Stories. Continuing on in a footnote (where some of the best Sleeperiana can often be found), he adds, “I’ve always thought Terry did more justice to this ‘Bolero’ story than it deserved…. The name Bolero on maps seems not to pre-date 1923.”

"But legend or not, either Chinon or Bolero has a long history. The switch to Box Springs seems to be a recent one, and perhaps it is not too late to undo it. Surely there must already be a “box springs” in almost every county in California.
"If you’d like to visit this beautiful spot, the Irvine Ranch Conservancy has a guided hike going out on Sunday, November 6. Registration is required; you can find all the details on their website:

"Each month, portions of the preserve are open for public access as well. The next 'Wilderness Access Days' will be Saturday November 5 and Saturday December 3. The guided tour will be coming in from the Agua Chinon side. You can come up Limestone Canyon from Augustine Camp (just beyond Irvine Lake) and turn right at the watering trough towards Loma Ridge Road. From there it’s less than half a mile to the springs – about a ten-mile roundtrip. Along the way you pass an overlook for The Sinks, Orange County’s 'Miniature Grand Canyon,' which is well worth a visit."

Thank you Phil, and big thanks to the Irvine Ranch Conservancy for letting O.C. Roundup tag along.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

A-haunting we will go!

Here's a 1954 photo of some of the workmen who built the Haunted Shack at Knott's Berry Farm. Concessionaires Les and Pauline Wilson opened this attraction on June 19, 1954. The Knott's "company line" was that the shack had been brought from Esmerelda, Nevada. In fact, it was built from scratch and was based on the "Mystery Spot" roadside attraction in Santa Cruz. A corny-on-purpose attraction, it featured a lot more humor than paranormal activity. It became a signature Knott's attraction and was enjoyed by all ages. Sadly, the Haunted Shack was closed in September 2000 and was demolished two months later. A barrel of "baby rattlers" from the shack can still be found just down School House Road, near the entrance to Boot Hill. To experience a smaller but very similar "Haunted Shack," visit the town of Calico, California.

The Santa Ana Historical Society's annual Historical Cemetery Tour will be held Oct. 22, 10am-3pm at Fairhaven Memorial Park/Santa Ana Cemetery. This year's guided historical tour is entitled, "Ain't We Got Fun? Amusements in Early Orange County." (What?... Don't you always think of fun and cemeteries being inexorably linked?) Costumed actors will portray historic figures, sharing stories from Orange County’s past. For more details, see their website.

The San Juan Capistrano Historical Society holds a Ghost Tour of their town (considered the most haunted city in California!) on the Saturday before Halloween each year. "Be prepared for creepy tales of big black dogs, strange monks who have lost their heads, ghostly tales about a lady in white and other goings on." I haven't seen an official announcement yet this year, but you might want to contact them now if you're interested. Call 949-493-8444 to make reservations.
As long as we're talking Halloween, I'm going to drift off topic and ask for your help. I'm looking for someplace in Orange County that carries old-fashioned paper Halloween decorations made by the Beistle Company. They look like this:
The Beistle Company was founded in 1900 in Pittsburgh, at a time when most paper decorations (and most good color print jobs in general) came from Germany. The company is still owned by the same family today. The designs have been refined a little over the years, but they still definitely have a strong early-20th Century look that's perfect for October historical society meetings, and of course, for my own home. (I'm also pretty sick of all the blood and gore in modern Halloween decor.) So, if you've seen these for sale around O.C., please let me know. I've already looked at Party City and my local drugstore with no luck. (And please don't tell me I can buy them somewhere online. I hate buying things online.)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

P.O.ed and looking for docents in Orange

Want to help save the historic Plaza Post Office in Orange? Mayor Carolyn Cavecche writes, "The Plaza Branch and Olive Post Office Optimization Study has begun: The outcome has not been determined, but the USPS is looking for community input before making a final decision to keep both or either branch open. The Community Meeting for Orange input is October 6th at 6 pm at the Orange Post Office at 1075 N. Tustin St."

The endangered Plaza Branch, shown above, is located on the corner of Lemon St. and W. Chapman Ave. Adding to the Mayor's comments, our lovely Orange correspondent writes, "This is the oldest working post office in all of Orange County and there is a threat that the USPS is going to close this branch and auction off the property..." She says many locals fear the property will end up with some sort of inappropriate reuse.

With the threat of the entire U.S. Postal Service going belly-up, this may be just the first in a long string of attempts by communities to find appropriate forms of adaptive reuse for these historically significant buildings. Orange County is lucky to have some really amazing post offices, including Spurgeon Station in Santa Ana, the Plaza Branch in Orange, the Fullerton P.O. (with its wonderful WPA mural), the Main Street P.O. in Huntington Beach, the Wild West-themed branch on Balboa Island, and numerous others.

Let me suggest the following to communities that may suddenly find themselves with an empty historic post office someday soon: How about a museum dedicated to the history of your city? These old post offices are made mostly of non-flammable materials, are located in community hubs or prominent locations, are already ADA compliant, have loading docks and plenty of storage space, and are already historically significant in their own right. What more could you ask for in a museum building?

Speaking of Orange, the Old Town Preservation Association (OTPA) is looking for docents to staff Chapman University’s Elliott Alumni House (formerly the Victorian Tea House) at 204 North Olive St., during their bi-yearly historic homes tour on Nov. 5th and 6th. Shifts run from 10am to 1pm and from 1pm to 4pm. They need approximately five docents per shift, for a total of ten docents per day. Volunteers will be given one free ticket to the home tour. If you're interested in helping, contact lead docent Sue Vaurs via email.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Muckenthaler event and a new history class

The Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton (shown above, when it was still a home) will debut a new historical exhibit on Oct. 6th, 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The exhibit relates to the Muckenthaler family and aspects of the history of  North Orange County. They also recently published a book about the founding families of their institution, "who played an instrumental role in the founding of many of our cities, Anaheim, Yorba Linda, and Placentia included." For more information, see their website.

Diane Ryan, who has taught classes in Orange County history for years, is now introducing a new class entitled "Historic Southern California Landmarks & Early Pioneers." She writes, "Come learn about some of the historic landmarks in Southern California, and the early pioneers who helped to shape this part of the state. A few of the pioneers we will become familiar with include Henry Huntington, James Irvine, and Richard O'Neill."
The class will run on Thursdays, from Oct. 20th to Nov. 17th, 9:30-11:30am, at the Oasis Senior Center in Corona del Mar. The total cost is $45 (plus a $2 materials fee to Diane on the first day of class). To sign up, or for more information, contact Diane via email.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Disneyland's first president coming to OCHS

Did you ever want to know what made Disneyland tick over the past 56 years? I'll bet the first president of Disneyland, Jack Lindquist, could tell you. Disney Legend Lindquist will be the speaker and guest of honor at the Oct. 13th meeting of the Orange County Historical Society. He will speak, take questions from the audience, and sell and sign his memoir, In Service to the Mouse, with book proceeds benefiting OCHS. The program will begin at 7:30pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. The program is open to the public, free, and will include light refreshments.

In 1955, while working for an advertising firm for one of Disneyland’s corporate sponsors, Jack got the chance to visit the park before it opened to the public. He immediately fell in love with the place.

One month later, Walt Disney hired Jack as Disneyland's first advertising manager, where he promoted some of the most creative marketing efforts ever, including E-tickets, Date Nite, the Magic Kingdom Club, Disney Dollars, Disneyland’s “Tencennial” celebration, massive prize giveaways, and even cornfields shaped like Mickey Mouse.
“Jack wrote the ‘bible’ for the amusement industry,” said Disney Imagineering Vice-President Marty Sklar. “He bet his job on some of the wildest ideas ever, [and] now they’re all textbook classics.”

Over his 38 years with the Disney Company, Jack worked his way up the ladder, becoming vice president of marketing for Disneyland and Walt Disney World, vice president of marketing for Walt Disney Attractions, executive vice president of marketing and entertainment, and more.

In 1990, Jack was named president of Disneyland, a position he never anticipated but which he calls "the best job in the world!"

As president, he continued to take risks -- some successful, and some less so -- but always with his characteristic humor and joie de vivre. He was known for an affable and relatively hands-off management style – the success of which might have surprised Walt Disney himself.
We’ll leave it to Jack to tell you what his years as president were like when he speaks on Thursday of next week. He says he'll be covering a lot of ground, including "the historical perspectives regarding Disneyland” as well as interesting background on “Anaheim, the County of Orange, ...major league sports in Orange County,” and more.

Jack Lindquist retired in 1993 and remains one of the most fondly remembered executives in the park’s history. In recent years he has worked as a consultant on various projects and worked on his memoirs. And yes, he still lives in Orange County.

Hope we'll see you on the 13th! Wear your mouse ears if you got 'em!

(My apologies for swiping a few good lines from the inside flap of Jack's book.)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Boy Scouts, Costa Mesa, and more Home Savings

Today's photo shows a portion of the campgrounds at the National Boy Scout Jamboree on the Irvine Ranch in 1953. This land is now part of Newport Beach.

Local historian Phil Brigandi will speak on the subject of his book, "On My Honor, A Century of Scouting in Orange County," at the Oct. 16 meeting of the Costa Mesa Historical Society. Doors open at 2pm with the program starting at 2:30. Free admission and refreshments. The meeting will be held at 1870 Anaheim Ave., near the northwest corner of the Lions Park complex.

On Oct. 23, the Autry Museum in Griffith Park will host a bus tour entitled "Art Along the Valley: The Home Savings Bank Art Project." ($25 for Autry Members / $35 for Nonmembers.) From their website:
"For more than three decades, beginning in 1952, Millard Sheets created artworks to decorate Home Savings and Loan banks, studding their iconic properties with mosaics and murals. The images told a multiethnic and multicultural version of California’s history. Adam Arenson, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Texas at El Paso, has written extensively on these public/private artworks and will lead a bus tour to six mural locations in the San Fernando Valley that speak to the portrayal of Mexican Americans in public art. Includes box lunch."
Why only Mexican Americans? Your guess is as good as mine. But this tour could be a good way to see another portion of this massive public art project that included all the Home Savings buildings in Orange County as well. Link over to the Autry for more information or for tickets.