Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Black California License Plates (1963)

Just so you know, if you have a car purchased before late 1970 in the state of California, it originally had a set of black license plates like the one pictured at the left. If you're lucky, the car still has the old tags. They're still good.

In fact, since 1963, when the black plate made its debut, there have been six different major changes in general issue license tags issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles of the State of California.

Some people like to have only one license plate. Why? I don't know. But there are some states which only issue one plate. If they are fleeing from the police, they will often steal a front license plate from a California vehicle to make them look less guilty. I've had this happen three times. I have since learned it's a good idea to get bolt locks to prevent this from happening. It's $7.50 to get a new set of tags and if it happens often, it can get mighty expensive...

Here is a list of states and other jurisdictions of the United States and the number of plates they currently issue:
  • Alabama-1
  • Alaska-2
  • American Samoa-2
  • Arkasas-1
  • Arizona-1
  • California-2
  • Colorado-2
  • Connecticut-2
  • Delaware-1
  • District of Columbia-2
  • Florida-1
  • Georgia-1
  • Guam-2
  • Hawaii-2
  • Idaho-2
  • Illinois-2
  • Indiana-1
  • Iowa-2
  • Kansas-1
  • Kentucky-1
  • Louisiana-1
  • Maine-2
  • Maryland-2
  • Massachusetts-2 (1 in 1978-88, which are still valid)
  • Michigan-1
  • Minnesota-2
  • Mississippi-1
  • Missouri-2
  • Montana-2
  • Nevada-2
  • New Hampshire-2
  • New Jersey-2
  • New Mexico-1
  • New York-2
  • North Carolina-1
  • North Dakota-2
  • Northern Mariana Islands-2
  • Ohio-2
  • Oklahoma-1
  • Oregon-2
  • Pennsylvania-1
  • Puerto Rico-1
  • Rhode Island-2
  • South Carolina-1
  • South Dakota-2
  • Tennessee-1
  • Texas-2
  • Utah-2
  • Vermont-2
  • Virgin Islands-1 (Did you know that this is the only U.S. jurisdiction where traffic moves on the left, instead of the right?)
  • Virginia-2
  • Washington-2
  • West Virginia-1
  • Wisconsin-2
  • Wyoming-2

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Two Route 66s through San Bernardino...

Most of you from around San Bernardino know the story of how the McDonald brothers moved to California from New England to California, where they tried running a drive-in restaurant in Arcadia. They moved to San Bernardino, where they thought it would be better, but it was no different.

The books (and the brothers) always said something about both establishments being on US 66.

Those of us who grew up after the freeway was built (originally I-15, then I-15E, now I-215) remember that Business Route US 66 (the old highway) joined Business Route US 395 at the corner of Fifth Street and Mount Vernon Avenue. Past Highland Avenue, the route moved to Cajon Boulevard where it left San Bernardino.

But there was also a City Route, which was discontinued when the freeway was built: At the intersection of Fifth Street and Mount Vernon Avenue, City Route 66 continued eastward to E Street. At E Street it went north until it hit Kendall Drive, which almost paralleled Cajon Boulevard, but at the end, when Kendall met Cajon, that was where the City Route ended. That was until 1964.

And it was on this road that the original McDonald's was located.

From 1964 to 1982, the section of this route from Highland Avenue to the Interstate was marked as California State Route 206, which didn't include the former McDonald's site.

Now, if you can find an old Riverside-San Bernardino Street Map, which you probably got for free at a Signal Gas Station in 1961, you can see what I mean.


Frank W. Woolworth (1852-1919) was the first major discounter in the United States. His was a success story that actually worked...

However, in the 1980s, the company wasn't doing so well... The company owned Kinney Shoes and the Foot Locker. It tried to outdo Kmart and Walmart with its Woolco chain.

San Bernardino had two stores downtown. One was in the Central City Mall (now the Carousel Mall, Berdoo's infamous monument of an idea gone horrible.) The other one was at the corner of Fourth and E Streets. The company fought to keep the E Street property. Unfortunately, even though the contract would expire in 12 years, the chain completely shut down.

Woolworth's had one of the better lunch counters. Only Grant's was better.

Der Wienerschnitzel

I have some sad news for you but it might seem a little late:

There is no such hot dog stand as Der Wienerschnitzel...

Actually, it hasn't existed since 1977, about the time the stands started selling hamburgers. They dropped Der... Now it's just Wienerschnitzel...

The chain started by John Galiardi in 1961 in the Wilmington neighborhood of Los Angeles and is probably the closest thing we have to a national hot dog chain. They do not serve the Austrian veal specialty, Wienerschnitzel. They never did. And they never will...

But one of my favorite sayings: Name changes never happen without a reason. In Der Wienerschnitzel's case, it was the addition of hamburgers...

Here is the original menu... Everything was 15 cents, except the Polish Sandwich, which was 45 cents... very expensive at the time...

  • Mustard Dog
  • Chili Dog
  • Kraut Dog
  • Relish Dog
  • Polish Sandwich
  • French Fries (actually offered later)
  • Soft Drinks

Later, a Ketchup Dog was offered, but most window people would sell you a Mustard Dog without mustard with a couple of ketchup packets. For a hot dog purist like me, I still don't know why they don't still do that...


Safeway was one of the biggest supermarket chains, not just in the United States, but the world. In 1979-82, when I was stationed in Berlin, Germany, when the Army band was on a trip to Hamburg, I can remember visiting a Safeway supermarket there that even had Cragmont soda pop!
On trips to Ecuador and Indonesia, I saw Safeway brand names at grocery stores there. More Cragmont soda pop!
I don't know what happened but the whole chain went crazy a couple of years after I got out of the Army in 1986. All the old Safeways became Vons. For a few years it was as if there were no Safeways in Southern California (they linger on in NorCal). And then, in the mid 1990s, they dropped most of the Vons brands and replace them with Safeway house brands. Some of the old names were gone. There was something quaint about Mrs. Wright's Bread. But they still had Lucerne milk. Which meant that Jerseymaid milk was gone. They kept that name for the ice cream.
By the way... I don't know if the building is still there, but there used to be a Safeway at the corner of F and Ninth Streets in Colton. While they were building the new library on Ninth Street, it served as a holding area for the books...
Safeway is gone in Germany. It was taken over by Morrison's in the United Kingdom and by Woolworth's (no immediate relation to the former F.W. Woolworth chain in America...)
The old library on La Cadena Drive (Eighth Street) is now the Colton Museum... More about that in a future posting...

Canada Dry Jamaica Cola...

It had more caffeine than a cola had a right to have. Made by Canada Dry, we were able to get it until the Coca-Cola Bottlers of San Bernardino started selling Canada Dry flavors (it would be many years before we got Fanta.)

A few years after this, I did see Jamaica Cola in other parts of the country but I think it's gone now.
This was one of the last cans. I remember it having a much prettier one than this.
Canada Dry ended up resorting to selling only mixers like club soda, ginger ale, and tonic water. They had wonderful fruit flavors and root beer.
Too bad it's all gone.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Life in 1975

  • Richard Nixon was President of the United States.
  • Jerry Brown was Governor of California.
  • The War in Vietnam was over April 30, 1975.
  • Generalisimo Francisco Franco died.
  • The First National Tuba-Euphonium Symposium-Workshop was held at the University of Illinois, Urbana, in May 1975. (I attended it.)
  • Students at Colton High School usually listened to KFXM (590 kHz) or KMEN (1290 kHz). A few liked KCKC (1350 kHz). Bill listened to KNX (1070 kHZ) and KPRO (1440 kHz).
  • The University of Southern California beat Ohio State University 18-17 in the Rose Bowl.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Minnesota Vikings 16-6 in Super Bowl IX at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.
  • Bobby Unser won the Indianapolis 500.
  • The Golden State Warriors beat the Washington Bullets, 4-0 games, to win the National Basketball Association championship.
  • The Cincinnati Reds beat the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
  • AM America (now known as Good Morning, America) debuted on ABC.
  • Rod Serling, creator of the Twilight Zone, died June 28, 1975, at the age of 50.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest won the Oscar for Best Picture. Jack Nicholson won Best Actor, Louise Fletcher won Best Actress, and Milos Forman won Best Director, all from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
  • W.T. Grant's went out of business.
  • The original Jeopardy! TV game program went off the air.
  • NBC afternoon soap opera Another World went from 30 minutes to a full hour in January.
  • A Christian contemporary FM radio station, KQLH, went on the air. Today it is CBS-owned KFRG--K-Frog.
  • Average price of gasoline--44 cents a gallon.
  • Average house rent--$200.00 a month.
  • Average income--$14,100.00 annually.
  • Average new car price--$4,145.00.
  • Average price of a new house--$44,500.00.
  • First class postage stamp--10 cents.
  • One Dozen Eggs--77 cents.
  • One Gallon Milk--$1.57.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

E Ticket

An E Ticket is something different than an eTicket. This is a Disneyland E Ticket. Those rides and attractions listed were the most expensive when each required its own admission ticket.

The nice thing about this was the admission price to the park was a lot cheaper and we could go more often. That's a good reason to promote season tickets.

They stopped using these in 1982. Southern Californians looking for cheap adventure had to go elsewhere.

Disneyland Miniature Golf Course

I never went there. Most people remember it. I always wanted to go there but I never got the chance...


Los Angeles Herald-Examiner

It was the last newspaper that used children to deliver it. It took about two hours less to read than the Los Angeles Times. It was owned by the (in)famous William Randolph Hearst Jr. And the comics were much better than the Times, too.

But it came out in the afternoon and no one wanted an afternoon paper. When they started it as a morning paper, it didn't take hold, and the paper went out of business in 1989.

Howard Johnson's Restaurants

Did you know we had a HoJo's in Colton? Clam rolls in the land of burritos and taco burgers. Actually, it was a nice change of pace. Too bad you can't eat there anymore.

American Bandstand

As a kid growing up in the 1960s, we had a lot of the teen dancing shows. They weren't a lot like the music shows that air here in the Philippines. Once these programs were over, they were over. The shows that are on now seem to linger on for minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years afterwards.

Bandstand was one such local show that was seen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, beginning in 1952. It had a number of hosts until Dick Clark (1929- ) took the reins in 1956. Until 1957, it was seen only on WFIL-TV, channel 6, in Philadelphia (now WPVI), when it went out every weekday afternoon to ABC affiliates throughout the country. The name was changed to reflect this: American Bandstand.

The program didn't specialize in any one area of music. Performers of all genres of music that appealed to young people appeared on the show.

In 1963, the show began running on Saturday, after the morning cartoons. At that time, the live broadcasts were now being taped ahead of time. The weekday shows gave way to soap operas.

In 1964 the show moved to Los Angeles.

Dick Clark stayed with Bandstand until 1989, when it had one more host, but he remained the producer. He ended up producing specials, game shows, and documentaries. Bandstand went off the air in 1989.

Today he's best known for his New Year's Eve TV show, in which he didn't appear after he had his stroke, but now at age 79, he remains active.

Dyed Chicks for Easter

Being a devout Christian, I never celebrated Easter in the Pagan way with egg hunts and chocolate bunnies (except after Resurrection Sunday when I could get them at a sizable discount... I do like Chocolate).

I never understood why someone would want to dye baby chickens different colors. And I was a sadistic kid growing up, too. I loved to dye the dog's hair with Kool-Aid (pink and green were the best colors for our beige poodle).

But to dye a chick... I'm not an animal rights advocate, but that's cruel and sick...

And they still do it here in the Philippines. This is Holy Week.

Telephone Answering Machines

Living in Asia, where most people don't have a landline phone, they aren't much fun.

For a while, they were a lot of fun in America. But, like Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, it was a fad bound to die within a few months.

My favorite line was to record my message:

"Hi. You've got me when I can't come to the phone. Please leave your name, number, and a short message after the tone. Thanxcelot!

And that was supposed to be the end of the message, but I pretended to make a mistake in recording...


Nowadays, if you have Voice Mail, you don't need the machine and that works even during a power failure.

Bank of America

It began in 1904 as the Bank of Italy by Amadeo Giannini in San Francisco, California. After merging two banks together to form the Bank of Italy and America in 1916, it was shortened to the Bank of America in 1929. It managed to branch out of California in 1967. And it had its own credit card, the BankAmericard. That became Visa in 1975.

With all the bank mergers that took place in the last thirty years, it isn't a wonder that the Bank of America was bought by the former NCNB (North Carolina National Bank), when it was still known as Nations Bank. Since the Bank of America was an older and more reputable institution, it took on that name.

It's not the same as the Bank of America that existed when I was younger. That was a California bank. It's now based in North Carolina.

Walt Disney's School Bus Lunch Box...

When I started school, this is how I took my lunch. Do you know they wanted seventy bucks for this thing on an auction website?

By the way, most schools would ban this lunch box today because it's made of metal and could be a weapon. You could do the same thing with a plastic box, too. (By the looks of the dents in this thing, it looks like it had been used as a weapon once or twice!)

Made by Aladdin Industries in Nashville, Tennessee, which made the first character lunch box, which pictured Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd.)

Cigarette Commercials on TV

In the United States, these were banned in 1971. It is my belief that this was one of the factors to make my native country one of the lowest per capita of tobacco users in the world, if not NUMBER ONE.

No one in this part of the world (I live in the Philippines) believes that this is so, since they see it in the movies. Having worked with movie actors on several projects let me put it to you this way:

They will not smoke in the movies unless the script calls for it... Smoking is such an addictive practice that the actors cannot just stop. It's a pitiful web.

The LoyalTubist has been smoke free since 1977.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Pink Panther Flakes

Do you remember eating these? I do. They were nothing more than corn flakes dyed pink. When you poured milk on them, the corn flakes turned back to their original orange and the milk turned pink, but it tasted great!

I like soggy corn flakes.

Mount Slover

Isaac "Cristobal" Slover (1780-1854) was killed by a bear on top of the mountain that later bore his name. For the next 140 years following, the elements to make concrete and cement were dug off this hill. Students and teachers at Colton High School, which is located not far from the site, often had to brace themselves often for the explosions which occurred when they were trying to blast rocks.

Slover was buried under a pepper tree at Agua Mansa Cemetery. The blasting operations ceased just prior to the end of the twentieth century.


I'm allergic to Nutra Sweet (Aspertame). I can't stand saccharin. Someone please tell me, since scientists say there's nothing wrong with cyclamates, why they are using them in Canada and the United Kingdom but they're still banned in the United States?

Been banned since 1969...

Colton Junior High School

Our colors were purple and blue, but you never saw the two colors together. I was a student at Colton Junior High School from September 1969 to June 1971. I was a band geek. I was one of two tuba players in the band. For me, it was grades 7 and 8. We in Colton got into high school a whole year ahead of Redlands, Fontana, Rialto, and Corona. They stayed in junior high for their ninth grade. Colton, Riverside, Alvord, Jurupa, and Chaffey all had four year high schools.

Today they're all four year high schools.

Most of the "junior high schools" are now "middle schools" and incorporate grade 6, so they're all three year schools.

Junior high school is no more.

Colton High School Yellow Jacket Marching Band

Call me a party pooper, but I hate the latest stuff on the band scene. I loved it when I was in school and the band did band reviews on fall weekends (and a couple in spring, too).

Band reviews were parades which featured only bands competing against each other. You didn't have to pay to watch a band review. It was out on the street. The bands played a standard military march in a military formation. Nothing could be simpler or more elegant. And it was fun...

There are still a number of band reviews still going on. Southern California doesn't have anymore spring reviews.

The most memorable ones: the El Primero Band Review in Santa Monica, the Maytime Band Review in National City, the Autumn Band Review in San Diego, and the All-Western Band Review in Long Beach are only memories. There are still band reviews in Arcadia, Chino, La Palma, and a few other places.

But you won't find Colton there anymore.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Colton Piano Company

Vern Schafer had a piano store in Colton. I went to school with his kids (through junior high). After that time, he began to make it into a chain. There were stores in Colton and several locations in the Los Angeles area. Then it suddenly vanished.

In case anyone from Colton was wondering, Colton Piano Company is alive and well in Northern California, far from Colton, in the San Francisco Bay area.

Nice, huh?

Colton, California - - the HUB City

When I moved to Colton from Oceanside, I noticed how proud the Coltonites really loved the town's nickname:

the HUB City...

What did this mean?

A few years before we moved there, there were two main highways which intersected in them middle of town.
  • US 70, US 99 - - I Street (now Valley Boulevard)
  • US 91, US 395, California 18 - - Eighth Street (now La Cadena Drive)... the truck route turned east on I Street to Mount Vernon Avenue (former 14th Street)

When they put in freeways, Highways 70 and 99 became Interstate 10. It was the San Bernardino Freeway west of the Colton Interchange and the Redlands Freeway to the east of it. Highways 91, 395, and 18 became Interstate 15 to the north of the Colton Interchange and was known as the San Bernardino Freeway. South of it, it was known as the Riverside Freeway.

A few years later, when it was decided to make Interstate 15 go all the way down to San Diego, they rerouted Interstate 15 NOT to go through Colton. This changed a lot. The new Interstate designation of the road became first Interstate 15E (E for East), then to Interstate 215, making it not a primary Interstate, but a secondary one.

Suddenly, Colton was no longer the HUB City. Even Larson's Hub City Drug Store dropped "Hub City" from its name and became Larson's Drug Store.

Roy Rogers Museum

Located in Victorville, California, it was one of the most inspirational places I ever visited: the Roy Rogers Museum...

Born Leonard Slye in 1911 in Cincinnati, Ohio, he became a cultural icon of life in the American Southwest... the King of the Cowboys! Roy Rogers!

The museum was wonderful. These guys kept everything. Cereal boxes with Roy's picture on the front. His old clarinet he played in high school band. Drawings his kids did in school. This was the world's largest refrigerator door! I could spend hours in this place.

It closed down in 2002 in Victorville, having originally been located in Apple Valley, where Roy and wife Dale Evans are buried. Roy died in 1996 and Dale died in 2001 at the age of 88. Their grave is located at Sunset Hills Memorial Park.

Everything moved... including the taxidermized remains of Trigger, Buttermilk, and Bullet...

And it all moved to Branson, Missouri, in 2003...

The museum in Victorville is now the local office of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Victorville's police department.

Roy Rogers Fast Food

It was started by Marriott in 1968 in Falls Church, Virginia. To be honest, it had very little to do with a cowboy star, except that the company paid him to use his name.

The menu included burgers, roast beef sandwiches, fried chicken, and a lot more. Roy's picture was everywhere.

There used to be several outlets in Southern California. But it always was an East Coast chain... only those of us who lived on the other side of the country never realized that. For some reason (and I've looked everywhere) the chain suddenly disappeared from the face of the West Coast in the early 1980s.

It was a tremendous shock for me, when the Army sent me to Fort Dix, New Jersey, to find a Roy Rogers hamburger stand in nearby Wrightstown. It's gone now, since the nearby post was taken over by the New Jersey National Guard. But you can still find Roy Rogers in the area.

Even in Times Square, New York City.

Kenny Rogers Roasters

Kenny Rogers began his Roasters restaurant chain in 1991. Within four years the restaurant had locations in Asia, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and other countries.

Sadly, there is only one Kenny Rogers Roasters location in the United States, at the Ontario Mills Mall in Ontario, California, not too far from my home town of Colton.

I now live in Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao, in the province of Misamis Oriental, the Philippines. We don't have a Roasters. The nearest one is about twelve hours south (by bus) in Davao. Besides the Philippines, they still have locations in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. They are also in Brunei and China and will soon be in Dubai and Australia.

Cucamonga, California

Cucamonga was a real place that ceased to exist when it incorporated in 1977, joining the other unincorporated communities of Alta Loma and Etiwanda. Since it took the name Rancho Cucamonga, the former Cucamonga handle was completely forgotten.

It was famous for wine. All but one of the vineyards are gone. Today it's a residential, retail, and light manufacturing area. The Metrolink commuter train station, near the Epi Center baseball park for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (of the California League) is on Jack Benny Drive...

"Train leaving on Track Five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cu-ca-monga!"

TV Editorials...

Remember the days when the news would end five minutes early so some old guy would tell you how he felt about something that didn't make any difference to you?

Boy, I sure miss those days.

This is a picture of Van Sauter, who used to give editorials on Channel 2 in Los Angeles several times a week.

Foremost Milk

Foremost began as a project of James Cash Penney (JC Penney? Right!) Foremost was actually the name of his prized bull, Langwater Foremost

Foremost became a national dairy in the 1950s with Foremost milk being sold in all 48 states, plus three territories (Alaska, Guam, and Hawaii.) 

Today Foremost milk is sold by several companies using the name. There is a Foremost Cooperative based in Wisconsin. There is a Foremost Dairy working out of the Coca-Cola plant on the island of Guam. In California, Foremost milk is produced by Heartland Farms. And Foremost milk is also sold in Malaysia, the Netherlands, and many other countries around the world by Friesland Foods.

World Trade Center - - NYC

I lost friends there. 

Mirafone Tubas

Miraphone was one of the first German musical instrument companies that surfaced after the end of World War II. Using patterns from pre-war German and Czech (Czechoslovakian) tubas , the company began in Bavaria in 1946. 

They looked for a market outside Germany. In the late 1950s, they looked to America. This was the time when Tommy Johnson (1934-2006) began playing for many cartoons and television shows in Hollywood. So working with the Lockie Brothers (which distributed foreign musical instruments), Tommy became the company spokesman and was featured in a few of the magazine ads.

The spelling of Miraphone was changed to Mirafone for the American market. Mirafone had warehouses in Downtown Los Angeles and the Sun Valley neighborhood of L.A. before moving to Santa Clarita (Valencia), California, in 1990. Then the outlet was sold to a Netherlands percussion company and moved to suburban San Antonio, Texas. A few years later, Miraphone stopped with the idea of having a warehouse in the United States and did all its work from Waldkraiburg, Germany. 

My fellow tubists argue with me (I own a 1962 Mirafone 186-5U CC) but I think there is a difference between the Mirafone and the Miraphone tubas. But no matter now... they only make Miraphones now.

Miraphone's website.

Busch Gardens (Los Angeles)

Anheuser-Busch (makers of Budweiser, Michelob, and Busch beers) opened a brewery in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles in 1954.

Twelve years later a family amusement park was put in with the beer making stuff.

Busch Gardens lasted just a few years. Its great magnet was the offering of free beer. All the beers that Busch made could be had just by showing a driver's license (for anyone over 21 years of age.)
Supposedly the kiddies were supposed to have fun. But I'm sure the ride home was hellish. 

Hoffy's Hot Dogs

Hoffman Brothers was one of the greatest meat companies in Los Angeles. They made terrific hot dogs and bacon. But the message of how great their meat was wasn't getting out.

So, in the 1970s, they hired Pat Boone as the company's comercial spokesman. In Los Angeles they surpassed Oscar Mayer, which had been the leader in hot dogs, thanks to national advertising.

But Pat got into other things. 

You can still buy Hoffy's hot dogs at most Los Angeles area supermarkets. But Hoffy's best are not available to the general public, except as prepared hot dog sandwiches served at Pink's in Hollywood. These are the kind with a natural skin... the kind that crunch when you bit into them!

New Coke

Do you remember this? In 1985, after being beaten mercilessly by Pepsi Cola's marketing techniques the folks at Coca-Cola had the wild idea that they should make their drink more like Pepsi.
Coke's formula was virtually unchanged since the amount of coca leaves was diminished early in the twentieth century. But Coke was suffering. So they all threw their hands up and came up with a new product which wasn't as good.
Sales plummeted. Less than three months later, Old Coke (now called Coca-Cola Classic) reemerged on the shelves. 
Did you know, they kept New Coke (later known as Coke II) on the market until 1990?
By the way... For those of you who say there is no difference in Coke and Pepsi: Coke has an overwhelming flavor of lemon juice. In Pepsi, it's cinnamon.

California Baptist College

It began as a small school on the grounds of the First Southern Baptist Church in El Monte, California in 1950.  In 1955 an old folks' home in Riverside opened and it became the campus of California Baptist College. For years, they offered only Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in a number of subjects. After about thirty years in existence, they offered a Bachelor of Music degree (known as the LBM, the Long Bachelor of Music program, since most students couldn't do it in less than five years.)
After dropping out of college in 1978, spending seven years in the US Army, I entered Cal Baptist (CBC) in Spring Semester 1986. I graduated with the Bachelor of Music degree in Tuba Performance in 1989. I believe I am the last person to have earned that degree. It was eliminated a few years later. 
For years the college had been trying to get bigger. We always seemed to have an enrollment of 666 students, not a good number for a Christian university. In the 1990s, a new president was elected to head the institution and eventually the name was changed to California Baptist University. Today there are over 4,000 students and, while it does not offer a Bachelor of Music, it does offer a Master of Music degree... and about 20 other graduate degrees.
As far as the changes, for a family man struggling to get through college, I liked the older school better. It helped me to grow up with a small, tight knit community, with whom I wasn't always so afraid to make mistakes.  
I didn't go to CBU. I went to CBC.

Dressing up to go out

There was a time when, if you wanted to go out, you had to dress up. Even if you were going on vacation, whether you were a passenger on an airplane or a train, you had your traveling suit (most people had two or three). I can remember seeing people in 1963 wearing curlers at the supermarket (I was five or six at the time.) I thought that was absolutely rude.

Why did people dress that way? It goes back to our rural roots. We'd dress down to stay home and dress up to go out. No one wanted to see what we wore at home when we were shopping, even if we were just going out to get a couple of onions and a half gallon of milk.

With the urbanization of America, we began to dress down a lot more. The hat industry suffered. Did you know there was a time when you didn't go out unless you were wearing a hat? I usually do wear a baseball cap when I'm out today. But that's not exactly what you call dressing up to go out. That's play clothes.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Master Charge

As I have often said, "Name changes don't happen for nothing." A credit card began in 1966 as a competitor for the BankAmericard. It was the official credit card for a group of banks known as the Interbank Card Association. The banks included:
Bank of California
Crocker National Bank
United California Bank
Wells Fargo Bank

All of these banks were in California. The credit card was Master Charge - - the Interbank Card. In 1974 banks from other parts of the country were added. The name was changed to Mastercard when the card became international in the 1990s.

Montgomery Ward

Aaron Montgomery Ward (1844-1913) published the world's first mail order catalog in 1872. Thirteen years after his death, the mail order business became a retail store. Although Sears Roebuck copied Ward's idea of a catalog in 1896, Ward's would struggle for the rest of it's existence as a sales business by its competition with Sears.

Ward's stores started in 1926. The company was very big with private brands (Skips sneakers, Airline electronics and musical instruments, Brent men's clothing, Hawthorne bicycles, etc.)

Ward's (later Wards) was the first retailer to use the expression:

----------------------Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.

By 1883, Ward's catalog was known as the Wish Book. Sears would later copyright that term for that company's use.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, the story and the song, were both written for Montgomery Ward promotions in 1939 (the song in 1948 by Johnny Marks).

The company had several owners from the 1960s on, including Mobil Oil and General Electric. It was General Electric which suggested liquidating the company in 1999 and putting the whole thing up for sale.

In 2004, five years after the original company went out of business, the Wards name was put onto an Internet business at wards.com.

CBS Radio Mystery Theater

It started on New Year's Day 1974. The host was E.G. Marshall. CBS was the last network to have regular radio drama. The last shows CBS aired as part of the Golden Age of Radio were Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, in September 1962.

Himan Brown (born 1910), who had done many radio shows was in charge of its production. For most of its run, the CBS Radio Mystery Theater aired seven times a week.

As a soldier, I never got to listen to it when I was in basic training (we went to bed before 8:30 at night and never thought of anything like radio). I heard it when I wasn't busy at the School of Music (Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base) for my advanced training. My two roommates would always enjoy it. When the Army sent me to West Berlin, everyone listened to it. It came on at 6:00 on AFN (American Forces Network) Berlin. They also played other current programs such as the Bob and Ray show that was playing on NPR (National Public Radio) at the time. After all that, then we got to hear four hours of Old Time Radio. I treasured everything I heard.

Actually, my best recollections of the CBSRMT were when I was a high school student. We had two choices to listen to it: It first came on KNX (1070 kHz, Los Angeles) at 9:00, just before they had an hour of Old Time Radio. It also came on at 11:00 on KPRO (1440 kHz, Riverside... this wasn't the same KPRO station on the air today) just before it went off the air. The family usually opted for the later broadcast and the five of us had four radios (my parents shared one) and we all went to sleep as the Radio Mystery Theater gave us a bedtime story.

Family togetherness.

German Democratic Republic

I was stationed with the 298th Army Band of the Berlin Brigade from October 1979 to January 1982 as a tuba player. For an American soldier in his first assignment, it was a most unique one. We couldn't do our duties until we finished School of Standards classes. And those classes filled up quickly. My class wasn't scheduled until a week before Thanksgiving, so the only work I was allowed to do before that time was rake leaves or be a relief guard (charge of quarters) at night.

The band had gone to Moscow (Soviet Union) for a few days. There were only a few people who could work as charge of quarters. I raked leaves from about 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM. As soon as I raked a pile, the wind blew more down. It wasn't much of a job but it kept me busy. It was steady, predictable, and the weekends were free.

My first weekend, I bought a day ticket on Saturday that was good for all of the U-Bahn trains (subway). I picked up a system map and planned all the places I was going to see. I didn't have a guide book or anything. I've never been to scared to explore a new place. My plan was to get off at every station and get off, exploring the place thoroughly.

Everything went well until I got off at the Friedrichstra├če station. Things looked very strange. The police didn't look like West Berlin police. I saw uniforms I hadn't seen since I had ridden the American Duty Train from Frankfurt am Main. I was now in EAST BERLIN!

Now it wasn't forbidden for me as an American soldier to be in East Berlin. There were certain rules I had to follow: Either I could have a pass and wear my dress uniform (without a name tag) or I could be on leave with leave orders, a passport, and the proper visa and NOT be in a uniform. I didn't have either of those. I was wearing a blue Pendleton wool shirt, Levi's jeans, hiking boots, and a Greek seaman's cap. My identification was my Army ID card.

Shortly after I got to the station, I felt really bad and had to go to the toilet. I looked around and saw those beautiful letters: WC. Once finished, I heard a train going the other direction. I paid the washroom attendant the fee in West German marks (which was allowed) and headed back home.

Looking at the map when I got on the train, I saw the Berlin Wall was well marked but I was too stupid to know what it was. Rather than finish my "tour" I took a train to Kuf├╝rstendamm where I went to Burger King and ate two Whoppers.

Later, I would spend lots of time in East Berlin, but I never told anyone about my first trip until after I was discharged out of the Army, after 1986. I was so scared something would happen to me.

Now that I look back at it, I'm surprised I didn't get in trouble.

Victoria Guernsey

Here's a bit about my past:

When I was born, I was born in Riverside, California, but my parents lived in the neighboring community of Sunnymead (which is now part of the city of Moreno Valley... like many things in my life, much of where I lived isn't there anymore... which I personally find fascinating!)

My dad worked in migrant agriculture, working for the Davis Brothers Produce Company. He moved wherever the potato crop was going.

The moving got to be too hectic for him, so after my sister was born in December 1958, he was given a job that would keep him in one spot, the Victoria Guernsey Dairy in San Bernardino. There were actually two dairies. One was on Base Line Street in Highland. The other was at the corner of Ninth Street and Waterman Avenue. He worked at the latter and they let us park our trailer house there. As a toddler, I spent a lot of time on the fence behind my house, watching calves get born. My dad often took me with him on trips he made in a huge International Harvester combine truck, which was used for everything from feeding the cows, to picking up orange juice at the Vita-Pakt plant in Covina, to taking cows that wouldn't produce milk to the slaughterhouse. Yes, I did get to see the cows get killed. I still remember what I saw. And, no, I'm not a vegetarian.

Dad got tired at being at the beck and call of the dairy. When a job for experienced workers were called for the Santa Fe Railroad in 1961, the first thing he did was go to the hardware store and bought every tool the job announcement said he was supposed to have, plus a toolbox. Then he left the tools out in the rain one night to get some "patina." The next morning, he carefully dried them, but they didn't look new anymore. He went to the interview with his toolbox and was one of the first men hired.

At first, we moved to Corona (which neighbors Riverside) and he lived during the week in an outfit car (an old passenger coach turned into a rooming house) in San Diego. Later, we moved to San Diego, where my brother was born in 1962. (We lived there from late 1961 to August 1962... then we moved up the road to Oceanside...)

So now you know more about my past...

Victoria Guernsey quit producing milk in the early 1970s. The place where my family used to live became a Kmart store in about 1973. Then it went out of business and many businesses have occupied that spot since that time...

Phone Booths

Do you remember phone booths? I was probably the last person on the face of the earth to get a cell phone, which actually coincided with my ex-wife suing me for divorce. I can remember how difficult it was to look for a working pay phone...

When I lived in Indonesia, there were two kinds of phone booths... the kind that took coins and the kind that took phone cards. The card type were always easier to use because you never knew how long your 5,000 rupiahs was going to last for a call.

Living in California, having a cell phone made sense. When my Volvo broke down in the middle of the desert, for example, I didn't have to get out of the car and walk a 30 mile round-trip to the nearest Shell station to get a tow. No, all I had to do was get my cell phone and my Automobile Club card. I could get back home, refreshed and not exhausted.

I don't know why I didn't get a cell phone earlier.

Phooey on phone booths.

7up Gold

I'm probably the only guy that liked this stuff. It came out in 1988. It was called "spice soda." When I lived in Berlin, Germany, it was my tee-totaller days (yeah, I know... bummer living in Germany and not being able to drink beer!) But I loved the German soda pops! They had something called Kreutzer, which had a very unsweet flavor. (For those of you know don't know, except for cola and some chocolate, I'm not too fond of sweet things, except pretty young women! I prefer savory.) This stuff was great.

Some 7 Up purists didn't like the fact that this stuff had caffeine (more than Coca-Cola) and you couldn't see through it.

When word came out late that year, I tried to buy up as much of the stuff as I could afford. Alas, when it was over I went back to drinking my Coke.

Pay TV

This was a precursor to such services as HBO and Cinemax. It worked like this: You wanted to watch uncut movies at home. And this was long before low priced videocassettes had been introduced. You called up one of the Pay TV providers. The Los Angeles area had three...
  • Z-Channel (began in 1974, used a low power channel... not available outside Los Angeles)
  • ON-TV (began in 1977, used facilities of KBSC-TV, channel 52, in Glendale)
  • SelecTV (began in 1978, used facilities of KWHY-TV, channel 22, in Los Angeles... in 1984 it merged with ON-TV and broadcast on channel 22)

Charges were $19-25 a month (more if hard core pornography was desired). At first, channels 52 and 22 showed their regular programming and at 7:00, the picture would become scrambled, prompting subscribers to turn them on and watch movies until the next broadcast day began at 6:00 AM. In the wee hours, there would be another scrambling of the picture, for the porn subscribers.

In the movie. American Pie (1999), one of the characters is seen trying to watch scrambled movies. It was pornography on over-the-air pay television. Now you know.

Pay TV ended in 1991, when everyone started getting cable.


Started in Santa Barbara, California by Sam Battistone and Newell "Bo" Bohnett, it was named "SamBo's" after themselves. Soon it became tied up with the story of a dark skinned boy who liked to play with tigers. Pictures depicting this story were placed all over the restaurant.

Other Sambo's began to appear all over the country. At their height, in 1979, the chain had 1,200 restaurants in 47 states.

But some groups viewed the Sambo name as being pejorative. New stores couldn't be built because the local governments wouldn't let a racist name like that be used in their community. The company began losing money fast. They tried a couple of name changes for new outlets: The Jolly Tiger and Sam's. But nothing worked. Bankruptcy happened very quickly.

By 1982, only one Sambo's was left... the original one at 216 W. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara. And it remains open today.

For those who didn't know, while the chain went out of business, the restaurant itself never shut down!