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Roger Anderson and the Reader

Truth about Ramona, Birth of Beat Farmers, San Diego silent films, infamous Altamont, family letters, far East County towns

People here will also tell you that life in the city — the San Diego-El Cajon grid — is scarcely worth living; they will extol the virtues of mountain life. But keep them talking long enough, and you’ll hear inklings of other things. - Image by Earl S. Cryer
People here will also tell you that life in the city — the San Diego-El Cajon grid — is scarcely worth living; they will extol the virtues of mountain life. But keep them talking long enough, and you’ll hear inklings of other things.

Roger Anderson grew up in El Cajon, was part of early San Diego rock scene, wrote for alternative weeklies, and served as art director for the Washington Post. He died in January, 2003 in Baltimore, Maryland at the age of 53.

Editor's picks of stories Anderson wrote for the Reader:

Mission San Luis Rey. "She was never in Ramona! She was in San Diego and went out to San Luis Rey and traveled up to Hemet and Riverside, but she never came through here."
  • Was Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona real?

  • Generations of young American women wept copious tears at Ramona’s sad plight; three movie treatments (including a silent by D.W. Griffith and a sound version starring Loretta Young and Ramon Navarro) were made; at one point there was talk of a full-scale opera; and the book was required reading in California schools until well into the Fifties. (Sept. 29, 1988)
Jerry Raney: "The guy from Iron Butterfly, Darryl DeLoach, for instance — he had this Hollywood guy who wanted to be our manager."
  • Birth of the Beat Farmers

  • Jeerry Raney: "I went off and started a band in 1966 called the Jesters that played a lot of places like the Hi Ho Club out here on Fletcher Parkway. It used to be the Roaring Twenties nightclub, then it was the Hi Ho Club, now it’s a bunch of theaters. That band turned into the Dark Ages, and the Dark Ages became the house band at the Hi Ho Club. Lester Bangs used to come and sit in on harmonica." (March 6, 1989)
Alan Dwan at Flying A movie studio in La Mesa. As Dwan related to Peter Bogdanovich in his book Alan Dwan: The Last Pioneer, “So I got the actors together and said, ‘Now, either I’m a director or you’re out of work.’"
  • When silents were golden

  • I’m at the La Mesa Historical Society. They’re preparing to show me a rare print of a one-reel silent film made in Lakeside in 1911. The film, entitled Three Million Dollars, was directed by Alan Dwan, who had a very long and illustrious career as a film director. He made such well-known talkies as Heidi, starring Shirley Temple, and The Iron Mask, which starred Douglas Fairbanks. (Sept. 7, 1989)
More fights were going on, and David Crosby was saying, “Let’s try to be brothers and sisters to each other, now, come on!”
  • Lester Bangs and me on Altamont the day the music died

  • "We’re getting word that the free Rolling Stones concert planned for San Francisco is on,” the radio DJ said after spinning some platter. “The site is the Altamont Speedway some distance outside of the city, near a place called Livermore, and the time is tomorrow — December 6, 1969, a day that may possibly live in infamy. (Dec. 14, 1989)
  • My grandfather in Point Loma killed himself

  • Soon after his birth, the family moved to Southern California and bought a house on Point Loma. Arthur retired from civil engineering at the age of 35 to live off proceeds from his family’s holdings and gave the rest of his life over to love of the sea and sailing. When the Depression came along, it wiped out much of his substance. (May 25, 1989)
Helen, owner of Bankhead Springs, has only two of the houses rented out because, she says, she has a hard time finding “good renters."
  • Dots on the map

  • Today, 30 years after Interstate 8 sluiced off most of the traffic, some remnants of that old Highway 80 remain in San Diego County. From Park Boulevard, you can drive El Cajon Boulevard into La Mesa, make a short detour on the freeway, rejoin the boulevard in El Cajon, continue on as it changes to Main Street, and follow Main Street east till it becomes the road now known as Old Highway 80. (Feb. 22, 1990)
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People here will also tell you that life in the city — the San Diego-El Cajon grid — is scarcely worth living; they will extol the virtues of mountain life. But keep them talking long enough, and you’ll hear inklings of other things. - Image by Earl S. Cryer
People here will also tell you that life in the city — the San Diego-El Cajon grid — is scarcely worth living; they will extol the virtues of mountain life. But keep them talking long enough, and you’ll hear inklings of other things.

Roger Anderson grew up in El Cajon, was part of early San Diego rock scene, wrote for alternative weeklies, and served as art director for the Washington Post. He died in January, 2003 in Baltimore, Maryland at the age of 53.

Editor's picks of stories Anderson wrote for the Reader:

Mission San Luis Rey. "She was never in Ramona! She was in San Diego and went out to San Luis Rey and traveled up to Hemet and Riverside, but she never came through here."
  • Was Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona real?

  • Generations of young American women wept copious tears at Ramona’s sad plight; three movie treatments (including a silent by D.W. Griffith and a sound version starring Loretta Young and Ramon Navarro) were made; at one point there was talk of a full-scale opera; and the book was required reading in California schools until well into the Fifties. (Sept. 29, 1988)
Jerry Raney: "The guy from Iron Butterfly, Darryl DeLoach, for instance — he had this Hollywood guy who wanted to be our manager."
  • Birth of the Beat Farmers

  • Jeerry Raney: "I went off and started a band in 1966 called the Jesters that played a lot of places like the Hi Ho Club out here on Fletcher Parkway. It used to be the Roaring Twenties nightclub, then it was the Hi Ho Club, now it’s a bunch of theaters. That band turned into the Dark Ages, and the Dark Ages became the house band at the Hi Ho Club. Lester Bangs used to come and sit in on harmonica." (March 6, 1989)
Alan Dwan at Flying A movie studio in La Mesa. As Dwan related to Peter Bogdanovich in his book Alan Dwan: The Last Pioneer, “So I got the actors together and said, ‘Now, either I’m a director or you’re out of work.’"
  • When silents were golden

  • I’m at the La Mesa Historical Society. They’re preparing to show me a rare print of a one-reel silent film made in Lakeside in 1911. The film, entitled Three Million Dollars, was directed by Alan Dwan, who had a very long and illustrious career as a film director. He made such well-known talkies as Heidi, starring Shirley Temple, and The Iron Mask, which starred Douglas Fairbanks. (Sept. 7, 1989)
More fights were going on, and David Crosby was saying, “Let’s try to be brothers and sisters to each other, now, come on!”
  • Lester Bangs and me on Altamont the day the music died

  • "We’re getting word that the free Rolling Stones concert planned for San Francisco is on,” the radio DJ said after spinning some platter. “The site is the Altamont Speedway some distance outside of the city, near a place called Livermore, and the time is tomorrow — December 6, 1969, a day that may possibly live in infamy. (Dec. 14, 1989)
  • My grandfather in Point Loma killed himself

  • Soon after his birth, the family moved to Southern California and bought a house on Point Loma. Arthur retired from civil engineering at the age of 35 to live off proceeds from his family’s holdings and gave the rest of his life over to love of the sea and sailing. When the Depression came along, it wiped out much of his substance. (May 25, 1989)
Helen, owner of Bankhead Springs, has only two of the houses rented out because, she says, she has a hard time finding “good renters."
  • Dots on the map

  • Today, 30 years after Interstate 8 sluiced off most of the traffic, some remnants of that old Highway 80 remain in San Diego County. From Park Boulevard, you can drive El Cajon Boulevard into La Mesa, make a short detour on the freeway, rejoin the boulevard in El Cajon, continue on as it changes to Main Street, and follow Main Street east till it becomes the road now known as Old Highway 80. (Feb. 22, 1990)
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