Friday, April 26, 2013

Weinermobile, Floral Park, Gospel Swamp & Fullerton College

SoCal music scene, 1969: A sidewalk jam session. (Photo by Doris Walker, courtesy Brent Walker.)
The photo above hails from Capistrano Beach, 1969, and shows actor Jerry Maren (Gerard Marenghi) as "Little Oscar," showing young Blair and Brent Walker how to play their new Wiener Whistles. (No snickering, please. This is a serious blog.) The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was visiting Capistrano Valley Shopping Center, at Doheny Park Rd. and Victoria Ave., which was built two years earlier and which featured a Vons grocery store and a Thrifty drugstore.

Maren traveled around in the Wienermobile (shown below) promoting Oscar Mayer hot dogs in the 1950s and '60s, but was also known for helping organize Little People of America, and for roles in many films. Today he is one of only three confirmed surviving Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz. (He presented Dorothy with a lollipop on-screen.)

He also had uncredited rolls in TRON, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Hello Dolly!, Planet of the Apes, Spaceballs, and the infamous all-midget Western, The Terror of Tiny Town. HE was also a regular on the bizarre Sid & Marty Croft show, Lidsville, and also portrayed the Hamburglar and Mayor McCheese in a series of McDonalds commercials that stole their look from the Kroffts' H.R. Pufnstuf.
The Weinermobile has appeared throughout O.C. over the decades, including in the 1967 Santa Ana Christmas Parade.
This weekend, April 27-28, will mark the 21st annual Floral Park Home & Garden Tour, in Santa Ana. This really is one of the nicer home tours offered in a historic Orange County neighborhood, and I'd recommend it to anyone. In addition to the tour of numerous "vintage homes and gardens," there will also be an antiques market, and a display of classic cars. Check out the details and ticket information on the tour website.

And now it's "mea culpa" time... In my last post, I said I didn't think that Carolyn Schoff -- the leading authority on the history of Gospel Swamp -- was involved in the Gospel Swamp History Festival tomorrow at the Heritage Museum of Orange County. Well, it turns out I was wrong. Carolyn will present a program entitled "What is Gospel Swamp?" at 11:45am & 2:15pm, April 27, on the museum grounds. It should be an interesting program in what will undoubtedly be a fun day. I apologize for the incomplete information I provided early.

The museum offers this information about Carolyn: "Carolyn Schoff was born in Orange County and raised in Gospel Swamp. After completing her graduate studies in Anthropology, she returned to the area 20 years ago, only to discover that her ancestors, the Forrest family, settled in Gospel Swamp in 1876 only a few miles from her home today. She has been fascinated with unraveling the history and mystery of Gospel Swamp ever since."
Fullerton College mascots Henrietta & Herbie Hornet, 1956-57. (See? I TOLD you this was a serious blog.)
Tomorrow is also the opening reception for "Legends and Legacies: The First 100 Years of Fullerton College" at the Fullerton Museum Center, 301 N. Pomona Ave. The exhibit "explores the historical, social, and cultural growth of the college and its relationship with Orange County through personal histories and collections." The reception begins at 6pm, and includes live entertainment, light refreshments, and a discussion with curators Carlota Haider and Christina Hasenberg. Tickets are $10 for the general public and free to museum members. The exhibit will remain on display through July 14, 2013. See the Fullerton College Centennial website for more information.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the late '50's my mother took us to a supermarket in La Mirada where the Weinermobile was making an appearance.

My sister and I were both handed Weiner Whistles by Little Oscar himself.

Through the years I would catch sight of the Weinermobile either on the road or parked somewhere.

Any idea where it is today?