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A select view of San Diego history

Marilyn Monroe at the Del, El Cajon's Lester Bangs, drive-in theaters, the dark pre-history of Gaslamp, where African-Americans settled first in San Diego

In December 1946, soon-to-be-murdered actress Elizabeth Short was found sleeping at the Fox Aztec by a clerk, after a screening of The Al Jolson Story.
In December 1946, soon-to-be-murdered actress Elizabeth Short was found sleeping at the Fox Aztec by a clerk, after a screening of The Al Jolson Story.
  • My Highschool Days With Lester Bangs

  • When Lester Bangs moved to Detroit to join the staff of Creem magazine, we kept in touch with letters and phone calls that came less and less often. The last times I saw him were during a boozy visit to El Cajon at Christmastime in 1973 and, briefly, in 1982 when he came to his mother’s funeral. After he moved to New York I lost contact with him, and whatever lifestyle he lived or adventures he got into I only heard about long after the fact.
  • By Robert Houghton, July 13, 2000
Bruce Springsteen and Lester Bangs, 1975. Lester returned to town to spend the Christmas of 1973 with Andrea, who had an apartment in El Cajon. It was a festive time, and Lester wore an expensive new sport coat and much cologne from the many Christmas gifts he got from the Creem staff. He had put on so much weight that he looked obese.
  • Before It Was the Gaslamp

  • One day, he's a lauded real-estate visionary being handed the key to the city by Mayor Frank Curran. Then, he's battling city officials as they appropriate his downtown properties in the name of some barely imaginable civic Xanadu being dubbed "the Gaslamp Quarter." He entertained the rich and famous in his Hotel San Diego suite full of priceless memorabilia and was romantically linked to actress Rose Marie, though he was actually a closeted homosexual and co-owner of California's notorious Pussycat chain of porn theaters.
  • By Jay Allen Sanford, June 21, 2007
Dan Whitehead: "Tate liked to stay in the shadows. He was always so secretive. There were those of us who wondered if it wasn't really Tate who actually owned the company, and Miranda was just a figurehead."
  • One Hundred Years Ago

  • The first car won’t make the trip from Los Angeles to San Diego until this coming April. An L.A. artist named Oliver Lippincott will be the driver, and when he pulls up to the poorhouse in Mission Valley to take on some water for his machine, a few of the crippled old men will spread the word about the extraordinary mechanical visitor. All the inmates of the place will surround it, exclaiming in surprise and astonishment, and one old man, more venturesome than the rest, will inadvertently open the throttle valve.
  • By Jeannette DeWyze, Jan. 6, 2000
Outside saloon, 14th and K streets. By 1888, observers were counting 120 bawdy houses and more than 70 bars downtown.
On November 14, as Mary Munroe was walking along National Avenue, she started to step out over the electric-car tracks when she was struck with a great force from behind.
  • None Darker Than Me

  • People of color were beginning to move into Sherman Heights and Golden Hill. There were colored Civil War veterans who lived in Golden Hill — Robert Tillman and Alexander Luckett and his family. There was another colored man who owned the Palm Nursery. Many colored people lived downtown — particularly the longshoremen, washerwomen, day laborers, teamsters, barbers, and grocers. A colored watchmaker from Georgia named Meadows was planning a store on Fifth Avenue.
  • By Barbara Palmer, Aug. 2, 2001
  • The White Mask: Marilyn Monroe and the Hotel Del Coronado

  • For Union reporter Alfred Jacoby, shark sightings and Monroe on the beach fit hand in glove. The Wednesday, September 10, edition detailed how on the previous day Monroe, escorted by two Coronado police officers, made the “100-yard trek” to the ocean. Arthur Miller “was close at hand when she walked out of her makeup tent; he walked with her to the beach; he met her when she came dripping from the ocean; and he walked back to the tent with her.”
  • By Thomas Larson, Sept. 4, 2003
Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis. The saxophone-toting glamour-boy Joe, played by Curtis, and his buddy, the bass fiddle–plucking neurotic Jerry, played by Lemmon, are broke and desperate.
  • Field of Screens

  • The first drive-in theater I snuck into in San Diego was also the first one built here, the Midway, on the northwest corner of Mission Bay Drive and Sports Arena Boulevard. It was December 1979, and I was already camping out for concert tix in the nearby arena parking lot (Frank Zappa, well worth the cold 'n' cramps). Friends held our spots while three of us went down the road to attempt sneaking into the single-screen Midway to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture,
  • By Jay Allen Sanford, July 6, 2006
Rancho Drive-In, at the corner of Euclid and Federal, featured a mural on the back of the Rancho's green screen tower which depicted a Mexican village, cacti, and a campesino with his ox cart. The ox's head moved up and down.
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Let the wine make itself

“Let’s get cracking. It’s time for racking!”
In December 1946, soon-to-be-murdered actress Elizabeth Short was found sleeping at the Fox Aztec by a clerk, after a screening of The Al Jolson Story.
In December 1946, soon-to-be-murdered actress Elizabeth Short was found sleeping at the Fox Aztec by a clerk, after a screening of The Al Jolson Story.
  • My Highschool Days With Lester Bangs

  • When Lester Bangs moved to Detroit to join the staff of Creem magazine, we kept in touch with letters and phone calls that came less and less often. The last times I saw him were during a boozy visit to El Cajon at Christmastime in 1973 and, briefly, in 1982 when he came to his mother’s funeral. After he moved to New York I lost contact with him, and whatever lifestyle he lived or adventures he got into I only heard about long after the fact.
  • By Robert Houghton, July 13, 2000
Bruce Springsteen and Lester Bangs, 1975. Lester returned to town to spend the Christmas of 1973 with Andrea, who had an apartment in El Cajon. It was a festive time, and Lester wore an expensive new sport coat and much cologne from the many Christmas gifts he got from the Creem staff. He had put on so much weight that he looked obese.
  • Before It Was the Gaslamp

  • One day, he's a lauded real-estate visionary being handed the key to the city by Mayor Frank Curran. Then, he's battling city officials as they appropriate his downtown properties in the name of some barely imaginable civic Xanadu being dubbed "the Gaslamp Quarter." He entertained the rich and famous in his Hotel San Diego suite full of priceless memorabilia and was romantically linked to actress Rose Marie, though he was actually a closeted homosexual and co-owner of California's notorious Pussycat chain of porn theaters.
  • By Jay Allen Sanford, June 21, 2007
Dan Whitehead: "Tate liked to stay in the shadows. He was always so secretive. There were those of us who wondered if it wasn't really Tate who actually owned the company, and Miranda was just a figurehead."
  • One Hundred Years Ago

  • The first car won’t make the trip from Los Angeles to San Diego until this coming April. An L.A. artist named Oliver Lippincott will be the driver, and when he pulls up to the poorhouse in Mission Valley to take on some water for his machine, a few of the crippled old men will spread the word about the extraordinary mechanical visitor. All the inmates of the place will surround it, exclaiming in surprise and astonishment, and one old man, more venturesome than the rest, will inadvertently open the throttle valve.
  • By Jeannette DeWyze, Jan. 6, 2000
Outside saloon, 14th and K streets. By 1888, observers were counting 120 bawdy houses and more than 70 bars downtown.
On November 14, as Mary Munroe was walking along National Avenue, she started to step out over the electric-car tracks when she was struck with a great force from behind.
  • None Darker Than Me

  • People of color were beginning to move into Sherman Heights and Golden Hill. There were colored Civil War veterans who lived in Golden Hill — Robert Tillman and Alexander Luckett and his family. There was another colored man who owned the Palm Nursery. Many colored people lived downtown — particularly the longshoremen, washerwomen, day laborers, teamsters, barbers, and grocers. A colored watchmaker from Georgia named Meadows was planning a store on Fifth Avenue.
  • By Barbara Palmer, Aug. 2, 2001
  • The White Mask: Marilyn Monroe and the Hotel Del Coronado

  • For Union reporter Alfred Jacoby, shark sightings and Monroe on the beach fit hand in glove. The Wednesday, September 10, edition detailed how on the previous day Monroe, escorted by two Coronado police officers, made the “100-yard trek” to the ocean. Arthur Miller “was close at hand when she walked out of her makeup tent; he walked with her to the beach; he met her when she came dripping from the ocean; and he walked back to the tent with her.”
  • By Thomas Larson, Sept. 4, 2003
Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis. The saxophone-toting glamour-boy Joe, played by Curtis, and his buddy, the bass fiddle–plucking neurotic Jerry, played by Lemmon, are broke and desperate.
  • Field of Screens

  • The first drive-in theater I snuck into in San Diego was also the first one built here, the Midway, on the northwest corner of Mission Bay Drive and Sports Arena Boulevard. It was December 1979, and I was already camping out for concert tix in the nearby arena parking lot (Frank Zappa, well worth the cold 'n' cramps). Friends held our spots while three of us went down the road to attempt sneaking into the single-screen Midway to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture,
  • By Jay Allen Sanford, July 6, 2006
Rancho Drive-In, at the corner of Euclid and Federal, featured a mural on the back of the Rancho's green screen tower which depicted a Mexican village, cacti, and a campesino with his ox cart. The ox's head moved up and down.
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