Weird SD

Tiny barber subdues hairy patronOne of my favorite discoveries upon moving to New Jersey in 2001 was Weird NJ, a magazine in which Jersey veterans of about our age and funkiness trade stories about bizarre locations and legends of their youth. (The publishers have recently extended the franchise nationwide and beyond, but I find the other editions lack the authenticity of NJ punks trading ghost stories.)

With all due credit to this brilliant concept, I thought we should start our own list of eccentric San Diego County landmarks and local legends. What places and stories gave you goosebumps? What byways did you explore — and live to tell the tale?

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163 Responses to “Weird SD”

  1. Mmrothenberg Says:

    The Moaning Indian: I fear massive North County development has altered the landscape and erased this effect, but back in the day a natural wind tunnel stretched across Highway 5 just north of where it merged with 805.

    Crossing this invisible line in the northbound lanes, you could briefly hear a faint hooting noise that I’d been told was the cry of a Native American whose grave had been paved over by the freeway. When I drove passengers back from downtown at night, I’d tell that story, timing it just right so the faint, mournful “hoooooooo” could be heard when I got to the part about the dead man’s cry.

    I believe that a class of UCSD geology students went out to study this phenomenon — and were never heard from again! (OK, I think they were … But that would add a great little “Blair Witch” twist to the tale, wouldn’t it?)

  2. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    How about the pentagram tower in Presidio Park?

  3. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Kristen: The pentagram tower we gathered around of many an evening was one of the first landmarks I thought of. What was that structure? A pumphouse? A recruiting station for the Church of Satan? Who knew?

    A quick search reveals that this tower has been the focus of investigations into the paranormal:

    “Just below the museum is the public parking lot with a small two story building often referred to as ‘the guard tower.’ On the very top is an area with a brick pattern in the shape of a pentagram. It has been used by ignorant people as a place for black mass and satanic worship. The building was not constructed for that purpose but a non secure public place with a pentagram built into it tends to draw that element.

    “Our investigation was centered around the tower, along the adobe wall that flanks the parking lot and down the hill to the chapel ruins where the cemetery was. We were armed with E.M.F. meters, non contact infrared thermometers, several cameras and a couple sensitives. … We identified an area of activity around the tower and at the break in the adobe wall. We took continual readings with the EMF meter. … The greatest reading occurred in the walkway that goes through the adobe wall and also at the base of the stairs by the tower.

    “We got some interesting readings with the IR thermometer. There were several spots that were unusually cold. … We took photographs of these spots and had evidence of orb activity.

    “Our sensitives both stated that they could feel a presence in the area that was strongest by the wall. Surprisingly there was little activity in the church ruins where the cemetery had been.”


  4. matt johnson Says:

    What about the Proctor Valley Monster? Or the devil worshippers in Descanso? Does anyone else recall either? Where did the latter come from? When I was a kid, I was deathly afraid of Charles Manson being released from prison for some reason. Then we had the Hillside Strangler in L.A. (?)(wasn’t Battalion of Saints “I Wanna Make You Scream” about him?), and the Zodiac Killer in the Bay Area. That was also a big source of concern as a kid in the seventies, serial killers. That, and no sixth grade camp. Prop 13.

  5. Paul Kaufman Says:

    quoting Matthew:
    “Our sensitives both stated that they could feel a presence in the area that was strongest by the wall.”

    It’s Garris, man! He’s sending blue love rays!

  6. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>It’s Garris, man! He’s sending blue love rays!

    Jinx, Paul — I was thinking it was the disembodied spirits of all those rock stars Steve Garris zapped …

    We also need to consider the Midget Houses of Mount Soledad. Some say they’re merely a legend … Others call them an optical illusion … But I’ve heard that curious gawkers have been dragged out of their cars and beaten senseless by angry little people who still occupy these homes!

    PS: Read the comments on the Midget Houses link above … This is one of the most poetic things I’ve ever read: “I don’t believe that is all there is to ‘Midget Land.’ I am a San Diego native & I think it’s heaven on earth.”

  7. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Matthew: Thanks for the chilly info. I’ve had some strange experiences in Presidio Park. One I remember clearly. Tommy Clarke and I had a studio in the Old Town Jailhouse Motel (owned by SD Councilman and Racine & Laramie Tobacco proprietor Jeff Mogilner who was also Ingrid Freedom’s stepdad). We frequently took walks through Old Town at night, including the graveyard and Presidio Park. One night there was a bit of fog drifting though so the visibility wasn’t so good, we both had the same hallucination of robed figures gathering in the shadows. Except we were sober at the time so maybe not hallucinating but a mutually shared vision? Whatever it was was freaky enough to send us running home.
    I’ve heard there is an indian burial ground there as well.
    Matt: I think the Nightstalker was in SD in the 80’s. Richard Ramirez. He was in the Bay area around the time the Morlocks relocated. Then he came down south. We had to make sure to lock our windows at night.

  8. Mmrothenberg Says:

    One Nightstalker victim was named Peter Pan, which created quite a haunting image.

    Was southern California, like, the epicenter of serial killers during the ’70s and ’80s? What was that all about?

  9. Dave Ellison Says:

    When I was a kid I saw a local news program where they were walking underground through tunnels that had once been streets in downtown SD. There were storefronts with hitching posts to tie up your horse. I dont know what was holding up the ground above them, or why it hadn’t all been filled in. I was unfamiliar with downtown at the time, but later on I always wondered where exactly they were, and if they could still be accessed.

    Then of course there was the story about the 3/4 size houses on the other side of Mt. Soledad, built by actors who played munchkins in the Wizard of Oz. I was told by my friends in elementary school that if you drove down their street, they’d shoot at you.

  10. Dave Ellison Says:

    oops…I missed Matthew’s post about the houses…sorry

  11. Dave Ellison Says:

    This, of course, proves that they exist.

  12. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>Tommy Clarke and I had a studio in the Old Town Jailhouse Motel (owned by SD Councilman and Racine & Laramie Tobacco proprietor Jeff Mogilner who was also Ingrid Freedom’s stepdad).

    Kristen: This is one of those sentences that just keeps making its own gravy! There are, like, a dozen delightful tangents packed into one coherent, grammatical missile. Mucho kudos!

    Matt Johnson: What was the Proctor Valley Monster?

  13. Dave Ellison Says:

    In all the years I lived in SD, the weirdest thing I ever saw was in the 90s. My description of it won’t do it justice.

    There’s an old theater on Rosecrans that had been converted into a Bookstar (chain of book stores). Sharing a parking lot with this was an old warehouse building that someone had turned into a giant supermarket of candy products. The owner was trying to create a circus theme for it with, like, a $50 budget. One entire side had these midway styled booths…only they all had a bunch of junk stored in them. There was a room in the back with some pinball machines in it, though he kept to lights in the room turned off. They guy himself dressed in full circus clown makeup and suit, which was the opposite of the place itself…which seemed dismal and depressing.

    The building didnt face Rosecrans, so there was no way anyone was going to see it and come in. I felt sorry for the guy, so I bought an icecream bar. When I got outside, I tore off the wrapper and found that the ice cream had melted, seeped out of the chocolate coating and froze back up…so I threw it in the trash.

  14. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Damn, Dave — Fellini meets Bergman!

    I always wanted to call a candy store ‘Round the Corner Fudge.

  15. Paul Kaufman Says:

    wasn’t there a large series of laughs about this Pillsbury offering?:

  16. Mmrothenberg Says:

    OK, I found the Proctor Valley Monster online:

    “The third-hand, word-of-mouth accounts and the Internet sources that continue resuscitating the myth describe an elusive 7-foot-tall hairy beast that walks upright.

    “The Bonita Museum has a ‘footprint’ of a monster. Docents don’t know exactly how it came into the museum’s collection, but it’s a thin concrete casting measuring about 18 inches from the tip of the big toe to the pointed heel and looks like an elongated baseball mitt missing its web.

    “Decades ago, Proctor Valley was as fertile a place as any for such cryptozoology. How else to explain the missing goats, the gored cattle?

    “‘It was a story that got better and better because it was on the edge of town. It was close, but it was so far,’ said Chula Vista school board member Cheryl Cox, who remembers the tale from her high school days in the 1960s.”

    I’m not finding Descanso devil worshippers, Matt … Tell the story!

  17. Toby Gibson Says:

    Homegrown some number or other had a song who’s chorus said, “You don’t dilly-dally in Proctor Valley”.

  18. Ray Brandes Says:

    Dave-I was teaching at Point Loma High School in those days, and spent many hours at the former Loma Theater Bookstar and adjacent Pannikin. The place you are referring to was a candy store that had moved from Ocean Beach, where it had gone out of business due to the fact that kids could easily enter the store and leave with pockets full of candy, completely unnoticed by the clown couple who owned it. They moved it behind the bookstar, in a half-assed attempt to create some kind of kids hangout, but alas, had the same problem with theft. The boxes of candy were covered in dust, and they had stockpiles of merchandise which had been discontinued over twenty years ago. They were former (though I think once you are a clown you are always a clown) and he had a white cadillac with a clown painted on the side he used to drive around town and scare children and small animals with.

  19. Ray Brandes Says:

    The Night Stalker never made it to San Diego officially, although he did relocate in SF for a time and kill a couple of people up there. He was active during 1985, when the Cavern in LA was at its peak, and I remember getting a lot of inside rumors from the folks hanging around at the time. For a while, many though he only hit brown houses near freeway offramps, or some similar nonsense.

  20. Toby Gibson Says:

    My cousin is a clown. No shit.

    Clowns always scared me. Mimes too. Mimes are evil purveyors of scary shit.

  21. Tom G Says:

    The candy man was Buford, who along with his wife Bernice, first opened their store in OB across from the main lifeguard tower. The always wore identical outfits. The beach location was by far the most successful due to the localized strain of munchies. He was a clueless, but funny, old fart. I saw him and Bernice once in Stumps, a grocery store. There were lines at all the check-outs and they were trying to decide which line to get in. In his loud bellowing voice, he said “eeny meeny miney mo, catch a nigger by the toe…”. All the people in line turned around horrified. And he and Bernice didn’t even notice.

    Here’s a thing from Roadside America

    Before his candy stores down here he had a place in Seattle called the Hat n’ Boots:

    A mention in Citybeat:

    From the Ocean Beach Historical Society:

  22. Matthew Rothenberg Says:

    A grocery store called Stumps sounds like a tale in itself!

  23. Matthew Rothenberg Says:

    And Kristen: I still want to hear about the Old Town Jailhouse Motel! And Racine & Laramie Tobacco … Did some of our friends work there, or am I mistaken?

  24. Jeremiah Cornelius Says:

    Racine. Tom Clarke worked there -- Paul Howland also mixed kegs of aromatic pipe tobacco for the house blends. He’d smell like cherry-flavored, Virginia burley for days!

    I was partial to little, crooked, anise-flavored cigars they imported from Italy. That and the Fribourg & Tryer cigarettes -- which disappeared from the US forever -- gone with that era. The F&T snuff-shop was in London, near St. James on Haymarket for 250 years- and are now closed up.

  25. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Here’s a tangent, but one I think many will appreciate: Searching “strange San Diego” to research more items for this thread, I just came across a 1971 piece by Lester Bangs I’ve never seen before that describes the Velvet Underground’s 1968 performance at San Diego’s Hippodrome club.

    “(…) the song I remember most particularly was one they did at a strange San Diego concert in 1968. They were on with Quicksilver Messenger Service, and much of the audience was apathetic or put off; they wanted those California acid-vibes instead of what they took for cold New York negativism. …

    “That was a quite night, though. In a way it was the ultimate Velvet Underground concert. The audience was terrible; those that weren’t downright hostile kept interrupting the announcements between songs to yell out what they wanted to hear, like ‘How about “Heroin”!’ and even ‘Play “Searchin’ For My Mainline”!’ But right in the middle of all these bad vibes, the Velvets launched into a new song that was one of the most incredible musical experiences of my concert career. … ”

    I’ve always been intrigued by the Hippodrome and by the notion of the VU playing San Diego at all — I never realized Lester Bangs himself was an eyewitness!

    I guess this does fall under the heading of “weird San Diego legends”!

  26. Andy G Says:

    I could go on about weird shit in San Diego all day.

    Look up Questhaven to start ( Rumor was that before the Xists bought the place it was run by a coven.

    The Presidio is a hell of a creepy place. There is at least one Indian burial ground there for certain that was being open-dug by anthropologists right around the heyday of 1984-5. The dig (basically a large patch of open dirt maybe half the size of a football field and roped off with thin cord) was also the home to thousands of those giant black stink bugs. One after-midnight encounter with the crawling ground is forever burned into my mind.

    Meanwhile the pentagram tower was indeed a place where active groups DID perform rites. Kristen: you may have actually seen robed people that were having their ceremonies there. Pat once told a great story about the tower and something his father did there that involved a magic circle and a lost child but I won’t step on that one. I’ve burnt candles and incense there myself even.

    Oh, and Tiny Town on Mt. Soledad did exist. I have seen it. I have been there. Twice. Sober. It was only 4 or maybe 5 houses but they were all smaller than normal houses, built to scale. The story was that several Munchkins settled there after Wizard of Oz wrapped. I have no reason to doubt this because I have seen it cited in places as a footnote about the making of Oz. I believe the houses have been torn down though.

    Anyone have any recollections of Tokers? The storm drain system crisscrossed all of North Park but connected all the way from Lake Murray to Balboa Park? The openings around 163 were pretty creepy. There were always stories of kids going all the way from one end to the other, sometimes flavored with the usual “and they were never seen again” spices.

    How about Suicide Bridge? It’s hollow and filled with artifacts from the time it was built; rusty broken tools and such. One of the doors at the bottom of a leg was open from about 1981-5. We used to party there and then head off to the archery range for some drunken compound bow tomfoolery. Hobos slept there and there were a number of stupid stories connecting the bridge to ghosts and people jumping.

    That’s enough for now…

  27. Jeudi Says:

    For you North County Inlanders – wasn’t there a ‘ghost lady’ of the Del Dios Highway, near Lake Hodges? I recall a legend of her stepping out in front of your car, all in white, trying to run you off the cliff. Of course, it sounds like the kind of myth that every dark, winding road in the country has.

    Funny, I’d never heard of the Proctor Valley Monster until a couple weeks ago, when my husband (who grew up in I.B.) told me about it. And now here it is again.

    On another note I’ve been sneaking in on this space for a while, I finally thought I’d post. Most of you probably don’t remember me but I most definitely remember (and idolized!) all of you, I was kind of a wallflower then (a band I also idolized). I didn’t start getting out of Poway for shows until about 1982 (GVW days?), but before that I lived through the Skeleton Club days vicariously through my supercool big sis (posted here as Cat Mc).

    Hope you don’t mind me joining in!

  28. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Matthew: Kudos accepted. Those were some tangents from my grammatical missile launcher, aka, my mercurial mind :) ha.

    Racine and Laramie. Tommy worked there for a few years and got jobs for both Leighton and Jeff Lucas, Jeff doing the company accounting. I think Paul worked there as well and for a small period I even went in and mixed pipe tobacco in the big barrells. Everyone had to dress colonial so for the Morlocks, just pull back your hair and you’re in business, right? I know everyone appreciated the “discount” on cartons of cool euro cigarettes. Dunhills, Rothmans, Balkan Sobranis, Sputniks. And Jerry got this awesome sherlock Calabash pipe…

  29. Dave Ellison Says:

    Hey Jeudi… glad you found us here.

  30. Matthew Rothenberg Says:

    Kristen: “Jailhouse Yahtzee with the Wallflowers!” = awesome album title!

    Jeudi: Glad to have you (and your sister) aboard! :-)

  31. Dave Ellison Says:

    What about the crazy woman on public access that thought she was from outer space? She had a big beehive hairdo with christmas tree lights in it, and would just stand there in front of a background of “stars” while her echo-y voice read her nonsensical writings about space and aliens (as though she was communicating to you through her mind, I suppose).

    She had some sort of “foundation” that had a shop in El Cajon that sold books she wrote and published herself about the same crap.

  32. Jeudi Chilson Says:

    Dave -- The Unarians, of course! Apparantly they’re still around, but I can’t imagine she’s still alive. Here’s a link to her videos

  33. Mmrothenberg Says:

    To the list of liminal San Diego religious visionaries, let’s add Escondido’s own Dr. E.H. Bronner, promulgator of fine soaps and “Moral ABCs.”

    (Check it out! Searching for Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap links produced this spot-on soap-label quote generator.)

  34. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Jeudi: Oh, my gosh! That Unarius video does take me back. … Can anybody tell me if there was any direct link between the Unarians’ extraterrestrial millenarian riff and Heaven’s Gate, the tracksuit-wearing, comet-gazing suicide cult from Rancho Santa Fe?

  35. Tom G Says:

    I spent a few hours at the Unarian center with some people from the LA band Monitor (who were obsessed with Nikola Tesla) and Boyd Rice back around 1980. They practically worshiped Tesla and had this elaborate model city of the future with a Tesla coil the size of a water tower. The guy we talked to was a Unarian and a philosophy professor at Mesa College. He showed us photos of him dressed up for some ceremony with this huge teepee shaped gown with hundreds of Xmas lights sewn into it. He was convinced tha Michael Uhlenkott (of Monitor) had worked with Tesla in a former life (they’re also big on reincarnation). Very pleasant people, but it was a little creepy.
    Ruth Norman (Uriel) passed away several years ago.

  36. Toby Gibson Says:

    More about punk and Doctor Bronner’s:

  37. Ray Brandes Says:

    Perhaps this is way too much off topic, but Ruth and the Unarians reminded me of eighites and nineties public access television is San Diego. Yourself presents was comedy gold! For those of you who never saw it, the show was a local “music video” show hosted by Yourself, a man on guitar and a woman on blistering flute solos who sang disonant harmonies in songs about God knows what. State of the art video effects from 1979 made the show even more brilliant. I saw Deadbolt on the show a couple of times, plus the Steve Medico group, Electrocrypt. Not surprisingly, the couple were head of the San Deigo chapter of NORML. Just before the show came on, there was an incredibly creepy homemade show called “Cheerleading Makes School More Fun,” or something to that effect. An overly enthusiastic old man would travel to local cheerleading competitions to interview the cheerleaders.

    Racine and Laramie Ltmd in Old Town was in a block of buildings which were rebuilt on the site of the original buildings, which were excavated by my father and students from USD back in the seventies. I spent a lot of time on those digs. The adjacent house, the Machado-Silva house, was built by one of my great great grandparents.

  38. matt johnson Says:

    Dr. Bronner’s soap rules! It’s hemp based, with great “flavors” and you can use it to wash your car (or anything else), too! I swear by it.
    How many people used to scale the fire escape of the El Cortez when it was closed down? I was introduced to it by Jeff (“Mod”) Mummert, who was intent upon getting into the Sky Room, cuz Elvis had played (stayed?) there. During a later trip with Paul H. and, who was it,… little Bridget? Anyway, our visit was cut short by the elevator coming up. I guess they had a security guard there. When the girl and I got back down the fire escape (Paul had gone ahead), the cops were there waiting for us by my van, which had open beers in the console. They said that they had run into another young man (Paul) shortly before us, who had a really bad attitude, and they hoped we weren’t going to be as difficult. No, we explained, we were there to admire the historic wonder of this San Diego landmark we had heard was going to be torn down. They let us pour out the beers and go. I remember there being skaters at the pool more than once when we scaled the El Cortez.

  39. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Toby: Watching that film about the Newport Beach PD arresting the Germs’ Don Bolles for GHB possession, I kept thinking the soap tested positive for GBH! LOL

  40. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>I lived a few blocks fron the Unarian Foundation and passed by a lot as Amvets and the Salvation Army stores were right around the corner. We shopped there quite a bit when I was young and I didn’t really know at the time it was considered cool.

    I’m going to throw in a gratuitous reference to the “Where’d you get those clothes??” thread … Chock full of thrift-shop lore!

  41. Ray Brandes Says:

    Someone posted a comment on the Youtube Yourself video, referring to them as “The Jefferson Wheelchair.”

  42. Jeudi Chilson Says:

    Does the legendary OB Spaceman count as Weird SD? Or was he just an odd neighborhood dude? I can’t give him the justice he deserves, especially when his personal friend Tom G is here.

  43. matt johnson Says:

    I don’t have anything to add about Descanso. I was hoping it would ring a bell with someone else. I just remember staying with friends who had moved to Alpine at the beginning of the ’80s, and there being rumors about the “devil worshippers” (or was it a witches coven? -- indistinguishable to my young mind) in Descanso. Maybe it was an East County thing. Larry H., any help here? Goats heads and/or mutilated goats (or was it cattle?) also seemed to play a major role in the story…

  44. Toby Gibson Says:

    My dad lived out in Dehesa, Dulzura, Jamacha- anywhere he could get away from people. He used to take us hiking all over out there Descanso, Harbison Canyon, Jamul, Campo, El Cap Reservoir, Barret Lake- he’d get keys to gates from people we knew and we’d drive all over the back country behind El Cajon and Santee, between Julian and Ramona, between Poway and Escondido and Ramona. We never had any trouble really except dogs. Especially around Dehesa- there were some indians out there that did not like anyone coming around- for whatever reason- and dad used to carry a .357 when we hiked out there. We found plenty dead livestock around there too.

    We used to hike around and go rock climbing, looking for arrowheads and rattlesnakes and the last California Brown Bear that was supposed to be living around Mount Woodson (Ramona). When I got older and went to stay at my dad’s I’d camp out a lot wherever, just doing a walden pond kind of thing and getting as close to the earth as possible. I had a live trap that I’d set just to see what I’d catch. I always let the stuff go. I mostly caught Raccoons, skunks and Possums. I did see a black cat about the size of a large puma once when I was about 10, just below Barrett lake dam.

    The sky was huge back then, and there were way more stars the closer you got to Palomar Mountain Observatory or Mount Laguna. Absolutely beautiful country- enchanting. I listen to the way Dave Alvin sings about El Cap and I completely understand. I got to drive around Borrego and Ocatillo Wells before they put all the restrictions on where you can and can not go. I ran into a guy in the middle of the desert driving a narrow guage train down the abandoned railroad tracks, and I got to see several (rather inconsequential) ghost towns and many abandoned mines.

    The spooky places for me were around four corners and out on the La Jolla indian reservation. We knew people from there but I never felt that safe. Also out behind Crest (the first home I remember was in Crest- it burned down in the fires of 70) I always felt like I should walk very softly and show some respect- more so than usual. Some places just had a quality that instilled humility and caution in a person. Mostly it was places where there was no one within earshot, two hills past where anyone goes. As a kid (being completely egocentric) I always felt like I was the only one who’d ever been there. I liked that.

    If I were going to live in California again, I’d as much time as possible exploring the middle of nowhere.

  45. Paul Kaufman Says:

    -One of my favorite Weird SD stories, from this site:

    (from an article called
    The Rise and Fall of
    by Saint James Wood
    edited by Henry Yu)

    “Another one of our moneymaking schemes was to go into the Julian Mountains, chop wood and sell it. We still had a lot of the LSD unfortunately. So basically we had about 30 or 40 punk rockers with chainsaws and a lot of LSD running around in the woods, in the dark for two or three days. A lot of wood was cut and some money was made but things went terribly wrong.”

  46. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Paul: “But”??? LOL

  47. Toby Gibson Says:

    Bobo: “whpt?” MLBBCDFG213HL! Har!

  48. Toby Gibson Says:

    I meant, “HJAR”! Squared!!

  49. Dave Ellison Says:

    hahaha…I havent thought of the couple with the flute woman in years. Its all coming back to me now.

    There was a public access program called The Music of Life that I’d watch sometimes. It was just jazz players jamming the whole time…it was actually pretty good. I remember a guy on there who’d play two saxaphones at once. I even remember their theme song “…so wont you listen to…the music of life…its playing…..oooooh everywhere”

  50. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Does anyone remember the orange SPACESHIP BUILDING that used to be off of Fourth and Brooke in Hillcrest? I took my husband to go see it and it was gone! He’s like: “sure you saw a ufo honey..” while patting me on the head.

  51. John Chilson Says:

    Hi Kristen,

    I totally remember that space ship home -- down in the canyon? Turns out is was a Futuro home built by a Finnish designer:

    Someone actually removed it and restored it:

  52. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Hey John C.-
    Cool that you remember it. Thanx for tracking down the info.

    Ah. Futuro. Those crazy Finns! I have memories of that spaceship leaning back into my childhood. I found some used copies of the Futuro book on Amazon. Sweet design. Did you see the interior layout? Would make a fine graphic arts studio.

    Great topic Matthew! Like Art Bell meets San Diego. And what about all the haunted buildings we lived in? Or the Morlock Ouja sessions? I remember Andy Grossberg telling me spooky stories about the 2nd and Ivy residence and a quest to find Merlin in Balboa Park.

  53. Ted Friedman Says:

    yeah, jeff was alexander the great. That was a fun evening. We got to where we were supposed to be, in the rose garden and where we were supposed to wake up merlin, and, there was actually some bum sleeping there. Jeff didn’t wake him up though. Andy had this little amulet or some deal and was pointing the way.

  54. Ted Friedman Says:

    Speaking of Dr. Bronners, Don Bolles ex Germs drummer got arrested in 2007 for possession of Dr. Bronners. No shit …

    Last week, Germs drummer Don Bolles was stopped by police in Newport Beach, Calif., for driving with a broken tail light. When police searched his van, they found a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Castille Soap, which sounds like a terrible ragtime-zydeco band, but which is actually a liquid soap that contains organic hemp oil. Police responded accordingly, as evidenced by a post from Bolles’ friend’s MySpace page:

    If you are a good friend of Don’s, you know this is the only cleaning agent he uses for every thing from tooth paste to laundry detergent. The police ran a drug field test on the soap and it came up positive…He is being charged with a felony. His bail is $25,000. He could get up to 20 years in prison. This is very serious.

    According to this Velvet Rope post, Bolles was freed this morning, though he has to return to court on Friday; here’s hoping the all-too-literal Newport Police don’t catch him with any Coke products in the time being.

    Germs Drummer Arrested []

  55. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>yeah, jeff was alexander the great. That was a fun evening.

    Ted: If I recall correctly, that fun went on for days! I believe I showed up Day Three to find everyone absolutely goggle-eyed about all the freaky stuff that had been coming out of the Ouija board.

  56. David Rinck Says:

    Hey I remember those anise flavored cigars from Racine and Larame. I think they were called Zorro, but the Wallflowers called them “Zonkers”

    I also remember the punk fest up in Jullian. That was a disaster. They had to basically carry Terry Marine out of that place.

  57. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Ha. Goggle-eyed! You said it Ted. We would go back and forth talking to “Captain Howdy” for hours: “message from Satan to Leighton….message from God to Jeff”….ad infinitum.

    I think that the ouja sessions were catalyst to the SF migration-
    which was bound to happen at some point as SD was a small pond for a lot of big fish! But that’s another story.

  58. istvan Says:

    I love that show yourself presents…and the art of decorating cakes as well which was also on public access, as for weirdness it didn’t get any weirder than “ball” does anyone remember him? he was this guy who wandered up and down broadway dressed entirely in white pulling a little cart and oh yeah moaning in agony as he went along due to the very visible soccer ball size testicles he had in his pants…crazy shit. funland was a creepy little spot too, scummy hustlers looking for dope, also the roaring 20’s.

  59. bobo Says:


  60. Ted Friedman Says:


  61. BOogie Says:

    i forgot one
    what about that guy from channel 8 mac heald, you know mac heald’s san diego, remember when he got busted for posing as a doctor and “examining” poor kids in grim los angeles neighborhoods?

  62. Mmrothenberg Says:

    BOogie: We meditated on the weirdness of SD TV anchors in another thread … My most vivid detail from the Heald case was he was accused of “injecting an unknown substance” into this boy’s buttocks … The parents recognized him as the TV guy and called after he’d completed his house call.

    Soooooooo many questions — would you let a strange doctor who looks just like the guy from television into your house to poke your kid’s butt? What’s up with that?

  63. BOogie Says:

    brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……he came into a restaurant i was working in a couple of years after that with his shrink on some kind of day away from the loony bin deal and it really spooked the whole place..

    i came across this the other day where other san diego notables are listed.

  64. matt johnson Says:

    I’m just gonna follow up on the San Diego newscaster thread here: I remember Jack White being an annoyed neighbor who came to break up a punk rock party in Point Loma (?). Don’t remember many more details. I think Kenny Murray was there. Anyone remember him, with the blond mohawk? Good guy. Then he got all Kajagoogoo (sp?) at Stratus in like ’83-’84. Maybe we all did. Stratus in ’83-’84 was the shit for us Spring Valley/Casa de Oro denizens. Sean McMullen, Bobo, John Nowell, and various others panhandling in front (we got in free. John’s brother was a 91X D-jay, I’d bring records for him to spin). The spare change went towards big bottles of Tyrolia we’d pass around…

  65. Mmrothenberg Says:

    I vaguely remember the angry-newscaster-party-smackdown, Matt.

    And didn’t an ancient and irate Desi Arnaz once sic the police on us as well?

    We were rousted by all San Diego’s notables at one time or another!

  66. Joe Hughes Says:

    That Futuro home was actually on Ebay for sale around 5 or 6 yrs ago, and if I’m not mistaken sold in the 30-40 thousand dollar range. I was actually bidding on it at the time from right here in Atlanta, with hopes of relocation.

  67. bobo Says:

    matt are you talking about the guy with the scales tattood all aver and the starship enterprise belt buckle who lived on a boat and combed his hair with butter ? the spook ? later cat pads on palms of his hands and face of a catfish tattood ? he was a nice guy, better than most.

  68. matt johnson Says:

    Bobo, yep.

  69. bobo Says:

    bud ok

  70. BOogie Says:

    matt i think so man, i recall playing whiffle ball in balboa park while the north park tweekers would ride around on their bikes cracking bullwhips, good shit. i was quite the busy bee in and out of the ol roaring 20’s making…ahem…deliveries of “motivational” materials to the fine gals that worked there. peace be with you brother.

  71. Ray Brandes Says:

    In the summer of 1986 we inaugurated “Whiffley Field” in Balboa Park, around 6th and Thorn. We´d start the games around 10:00 pm, and they´d end when the sprinklers came on. At one point we had twenty or thirty people there--Tony Suarez was a stalwart, as was Morgan. Ron Silva even came out one night and I remember striking him out on three pitches, the first two “fastballs” and the last one one of those gigantic whiffle curves. He spun around like Bugs Bunny! I remember Kris Roth being there--whatever happened to her? She had the coolest car.

  72. Ray Brandes Says:

    Growing up in that area, I was obsessed with that UFO house. I delivered the Evening Tribune and would go by on my bike every day. It was definitely green, though. The owner let me in once, just to take a look, and it was really groovy inside.

  73. Ray Brandes Says:

    Speaking of UFOs, when I was about 11, I covered a couple of paper plates with aluminum foil, threw them into the air and took pictures of them with my instamatic camera. I sent them to UFO magazine with a letter detailing my sightings, and they printed it and the photos! I received a call from an Air Force colonel at home, freaked out and confessed.

    I´ve seen a couple of real ones in Joshua Tree since then . . .

  74. patrick works Says:

    Desi Arnaz had a place on the beach and absolutely HATED kids who would light fires and drink beer. But there were fire rings so we did. He’d come out and cuss at us and then this kinda nurse caregiver lady would come drag him back in.

    Now…James Cagney had a huge spread in Ramona and would let you camp there if you first sat through a long (like 40 minutes) lecture on fire safety…

    I met Sebastian Cabot at the Hotel Del Coronado when I was about 5 and “family affair” was still on the air. Gawd. I thought “he’s real!” and “he’s huge!”. I guess he was both.

    I don’t know his attitudes toward fire though. Didn’t come up.


  75. Toby Gibson Says:

    Quote: Ray Brandes said:Growing up in that area, I was obsessed with that UFO house. I delivered the Evening Tribune and would go by on my bike every day. It was definitely green, though. The owner let me in once, just to take a look, and it was really groovy inside.”

    Now there’s a topic for you- where was your paper route?

    I delivered the S.D. Union North of (Brandywine? The street that headed up to Clairemont High from Morena) from Morena all the way to Trenton- that was a hellacious shitload of hills and I suffered through it for about three months and then gave it up. Delivering the Union sucked because of the hours. Plus people were always pissy about the punctuality of their morning paper. I also helped a buddy of mine with his route which was North of PB Drive to Grand and from Like Lamont Street nearly to Mission- a pretty big route. I got shit for tips on my route but we did okay down in PB. One guy called the paper and complained that we didn’t get his paper close enough to his apartment door so a week later we stole a fire extinguisher from his apartment and filled his station wagon with that white dusty shit. Good fun.

    I think I was probably the world’s worst paper boy.

  76. Ray Brandes Says:

    The San Diego Evening Tribune, only slightly less to the right than the Union. Papers would be dropped off at the 7-11 on 5th and Spruce, where I would rubber band them and most days dump the inserts in the dumpster. My route was Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Avenues, from Maple Street on the south end to about Brooks on the north, where the aforementioned UFO was parked. It was all flat, but emcompassed a lot of high rises and office buildings, which were a drag because they wanted their papers at the doors. I could usually do the route in one trip of about an hour and a half, except on Sundays, when I had to make two or three trips. I think the pay rate was one dollar per customer per month, plus tips, which were few and far between owing to the fact that neither business owners nor the elderly were good tippers. That worked out to about $100 a month, or less than two dollars per hour. The Union-Tribune was nice enough to sell me a bag to carry the papers in. The guy who took over after me had the best name: Hamilton Smiley.

    Brandywine Street--I know that street well, having attended Toler Elementary school from K-6th grade. There was also a monster hill on a street called Ticonderoga, which I went down a few times on my clay-wheeled, Black Knight skateboard-- laying down, of course. With clay wheels you were screwed if you hit a pebble! I do miss the days before kids would go outside with helmets, knee pads, elbow bads, hazmat suits, etc. Most of the kids I teach now have never had stitches or even a good road rash.

  77. Toby Gibson Says:

    Ticonderoga is the mecca of hill bombs- rivaling most anything San Francisco has to offer. Am I remembering correctly that it was paved with cement and the city had tarred the cracks?

    There was an impressionable kid named “Dickey” who lived on Mt Laurence (last street paralelling the crest of the canyon between Clairmont High and Balboa) who would ride his bike down the hill and stick his toes in the spokes of the front wheel, doing a flyaway over the handlebars and landing on his feet, running it out onto a lawn. One day his nuts caught one end of the handlebars and that was all she wrote for dickey. He went down in neighborhood lore for getting stitches in his nuts, poor kid.

    I also remember a girl moved to our neighborhood and she wanted to show us how it was done. We warned her she wasn’t going to make the turn but she was stubborn, and she laid it over heading into a culdesac and nailed the stopsign pole going mach ten. Ambulance, concussion. We were in awe and totally sympathetic, but not impressed. I used to ride my bike or skateboard to the beach to surf, and I’d turn my board sideways going down the hill to regulate speed. Brakes are a plus. I can’t believe I used to skate down that hill with my board- total dogtown trip. I made the trip between home and Crystal Pier thousands of time. Testimonial to the durability of Kryptonic 65s.

    Soledad Mountain had some decent long downhills too. We used to partake recreationally and do hill bombs at night. That was always a quick, hairy trip.

  78. BOogie Says:

    oh hell yeah i remember zendik farms! this super creepy guy named wolf ran the joint and i had a couple a girls i knew on an intimate basis who lived out there and all they told me was that the place was all about old guys and drug addicts, they put out this scummy little newspaper for a while. i think they had to leave town and move to texas or something

  79. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Zendik Farms is online (more or less). And apparently in West Virginia now!

    Did Crash Worship hang out there some?

  80. patrick works Says:

    Rayman….Hamilton Smiley was a great friend of mine. We did time together at Roosevelt Jr. High. His older sister and brother were into :)punk rock:)
    so we got into it too…

    He and I went to see Blondie play at the Aztec Bowl. Debbie Harry sat on the edge of the stage and sang Sunday Girl and I lost my 13 year old mind right there.

    Then Ham broke his foot on the stairs and we had to go home. I hated him for that.

    I kept the concert Tshirt from that tour (graphic was just the cover of Parallel Lines) as my gymn shirt for a couple of years when I went to Gompers in SE San Diego…since the integration at that school meant you took core classes with other white kids and did PE etc with the locals, there’s a whole block or two near 47th and Hilltop NH (Neighborhood) Crips who know (or knew) me as “Blondie”.

    Anyhoo…Hamilton’s GF was best friends with Lisl former GF of Peter Meisner famous Crawdaddy guitarist. So I saw Ham and Lisl in SF.

    I did my own Union route on Golden Hill. My boss was a Puerto Rican from Lawton Oklahoma who stole us shopping carts to deliver the papers in. All downhill…we raced them (me and about 3 other paper boys) down this incredibly steep hill at 22nd and A street near the garbage haulers yard. INSANEdiego.


  81. BOogie Says:

    do you recall this guy, Captain Sticky? he drove a custom vehilce he called star trike and would run for mayor every 4 years on a platform of bringing back public execution

  82. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Holy shit, BOogie! I have not thought of Captain Sticky in more than 20 years.

    Here’s his obit:

    “As Captain Sticky, a caped cartoon character come to life, Richard Allen Pesta was hard to ignore. Massive in girth and flamboyant in personality and Superman-style costume, he proudly played the role of one of America’s wackiest watchdogs.

    “Based in San Diego, Mr. Pesta campaigned against everything from rental car rip-offs and sugar-coated cereal to abusive nursing homes, attracting widespread media attention in the 1970s and 1980s.

    “‘I am America’s only practicing caped crusader,’ he told the San Diego Tribune in 1984. ‘That is the role I desire to maintain for the rest of my life.’ ”

    Massive in Girth, Flamboyant in Personality … I’m getting new business cards made!

  83. BOogie Says:

    wow! the good captain really changed his focus later in life:
    from his obit:

    “By the early 1990s, he was promoting the Real Man’s Midlife Crisis Tour of Thailand, offering what he called “drinking, debauchery and fun stuff.” The Thai government forced him to shut it down.”

    when the thai government forces you to shut something down…holy crap.

  84. Dave Ellison Says:

    Captain Sticky wasnt the guy with the star trike… I forget that guy’s name, but he was also a magician and would perform magic tricks when he gave his campaign speech on t.v. I’ve seen him on his trike…it was made to look like the Enterprise from Star Trek. He would also reference Star Trek dialog in his t.v. speechs… or at least the one I saw.

  85. johnnychingas Says:

    What’s truly weird, and sad, about San Diego is that Blink 182 and Gary Puckett both originated there.

    Johnny Chingas (Rokin Dogs Drummer # 1)
    yep I was there before Cole

  86. Dave Ellison Says:

    Loch David Crane! What a great name.

  87. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Johnny: Welcome!!

    Blink-182 was from Poway, right? Did these people move anywhere near our orbit in their youth? (I can’t believe it, since I just Wikipedia’d them, and the oldest member was born in 1972, which would put him in middle school when we were doing our thang.) I have been asked more than once whether our old band “Noise 292″ somehow inspired the moniker “Blink-182.”

    I believe I’m supposed to shudder at the thought, but honestly … I don’t know if I’ve ever heard this band. :-)

  88. Toby Gibson Says:

    I met captain sticky at the gas station between the Headquarters and Sheldons, actually. He claimed he had cannons installed on his vehicle that shot peanut butter and jelly. If I remember correctly he looked a bit like a caped Captain Kangaroo.

  89. Mmrothenberg Says:

    I suddenly remembered this very large young man who worked at an all-night gas station in North Park around ’85 … Some early mornings, he’d be in drag, with a blond wig and, like, a muu-muu. It was kind of funny interacting with this person as a guy some of the time and a gal other times — s/he seemed pretty somber in either persona, so I did my best never to let on that anything seemed different.

    (Captain Sticky’s jelly cannon somehow dredged up this memory. Yikes!)

  90. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Rock on, Chaz! Working that isolated stretch at 3am dressed like a chick took balls of titanium. I’d’ve been scared to sit in that little booth all night in PANTS.

  91. BOogie Says:

    it pleases me this is such a popular thread

  92. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Detail: Hobo show, July 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)Kristen Tobiason took this photo while scoping out locations for our “Then and Now” series. I figured this would be the most appropriate spot to showcase it. (It’s nice to know that Weird SD endures into the present day!)

  93. Toby Gibson Says:

    As a kid I dragged around a Charlie McCarthy doll in leather jacket with a wrench in his back pocket. This was shortly after my first viewing of Cross and the Switchblade and first reading of the Outsiders.

    Boogie said: it pleases me this is such a popular thread.

    Remember Doctor Dean? I remember a couple navy brats who were frying at Doctor Dean’s MBHS performance who had a little trouble with his sway on the psyche and ended up stuttering their way through an excuse after the show got shut down early. .

  94. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>As a kid I dragged around a Charlie McCarthy doll in leather jacket with a wrench in his back pocket.

    When I was six, I received a Charlie McCarthy doll I’d desperately wanted, only to develop a terror that he was watching me from across the room, waiting to bite me with those tiny white teeth … Yeeeeeek!

  95. BOogie Says:

    you know that great film “magic” “stop the postman” “how?” with me with me with meeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!’

  96. BOogie Says:

    yes toby as a mission bay alum i do remember doctor dean, it seemed like he was the house band at mbhs

  97. Toby Gibson Says:

    Were you there when that heavy metal type girl was in the audience and under the influence of mind melting paper products and she couldn’t stop stuttering when Doctor Dean made the volunteer on stage stutter? That was a trip- the ambulance came and took her away to the laughing factory for the night. I think that was like 82 or 83.

  98. Tony suare Says:

    Dr Dean was my landlord in Pt Loma. I can’t remember his real name, as the rent checks went to his property company. I do remember the giant hairpiece dyed black to obtain a long lost youth. His ads in the Reader for his Hipnosys shows were a regular feature.

    Thrifters might be acquianted with Dr. Deans recording career on a self financed series of LPs. One was an LP of jazz/musical standards. The other, a hypnosis-related LP, complete with a roving eye. Kinda like a googly eye. Only, like Hypnotic….He called his label Revere Records
    Dr Dean also financed a very sought after soul picture sleeve 45. The artist is Jessie Davis, who has been a fixture on the piano bar circuit locally for the past 30 years. He routinely has an ad for his gig in the Reader. Who’d think a record geek from Warwickshire in the North of England would plunk down $1465 for a slice of San Diego Soul?

    from the description of the auction:
    On Revere 268, Northern Soul record is a M- stock copy by Jessie Davis. The songs are “There’s Room For Me” and “It’s Too Late To Be Sorry”. Both the record and picture sleeve are in excellent condition. Although the number on this record is different in the Manship guide, this record is listed in the Jerry Osborne book with the number 268 and a value of $1200 with no picture sleeve.
    The “A” side, “There’s Room”, is in near mint condition, both for appeance and play. “Too Late” plays mint, looks M- with two l/4″ marks in the vinyl, at the outer edge which don’t affect play. Here’s your chance to own a record few people have seen. This would be a great addition to your Northern Soul collection.

  99. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    I stumbled upon this talented couple whilst searching for the remains of the now extinct Funland. I had forgotten that the Westin Hotel swallowed the whole lower Broadway strip. It is comforting to find elements of the past which still illuminate their former glory.

  100. Tony suare Says:

    i didn’t take many photos of those times. But, I do have photos of us playing whiffle ball with Dave Klowden, Morgan and the UK visitors debbie and ______. We taught a few of the Australians from Corduroy records the rules of Whiffley’ field.
    I have to go to storage and dig em out.

    “whiffley field”.

  101. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>I stumbled upon this talented couple whilst searching for the remains of the now extinct Funland.

    I fantasized that this might be Buford the candy clown and his bride Bernice, hanging doggedly onto a spoke of the Wallflowers’ grinding wheel.

  102. BOogie Says:

    yes i certainly do remember that girl and that (mind melting paper products) as well, it’s funny but just that morning we got baked together before the bus came and picked us up and we shared inputs on her walkman so we could both listen to kill em all, they grow up so fast!

  103. Erin Marie Says:

    Pentagram tower in Presidio Park: One night in the early 90’s my mom drove some of my friends and I up to the tower at night to give us a scare. We would do this when I had slumber parties, and we would usually get out and go up to the tower. However, on this particular night while we were passing the actual Presidio, there was a man sitting in his car screaming and pulling his hair out, it was weird, and may have something to do with what we saw next. As we pulled into the parking lot where the tower is located we could see a glow coming from the top of the tower as we drove closer hooded figures started to stand up from the top of the building. As we reversed out of there as fast as we could one of the figures started running towards the car. Needless to stay we never made that trip again.

  104. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>As we pulled into the parking lot where the tower is located we could see a glow coming from the top of the tower as we drove closer hooded figures started to stand up from the top of the building.

    Erin Marie: A decade earlier, Kristen Tobiason reports, she saw “robed figures gathering in the shadows” in Presidio Park. That does qualify as weird in my book!

    Anybody else know anything about shrouded figures haunting that acreage?

  105. BOogie Says:

    i dont know but it sounds like that movie where warren oates and peter fonda go camping in a winebego and meet up with an entire town comprised of satanists

  106. AndyG Says:

    Some group from some occult store in Chula Vista that I shopped at occasionally in the early 80’s “practiced” there. That’s how I first heard about the pentagram I think. I imagine anyone too cheap to paint their own pentagram (or lacking the real estate) would appropriate it as their own. Hooded robes though? Wow. Props and everything! Nice.

  107. Steven Dietz Says:

    Buford the Candy hustling clown,

    I remember his place well in OB. He was no saint. By 1984 he would also sell you crystal meth. I know, I bought some.

    Later in life I saw his weird ass fun factory by the landmark theatre. Dave Ellison your a braver man than I. I wouldnt set foot in that place. Flash forward about 10 years and all of a sudden he reapears for a brief, and final encore. Buford and his daughter re-open a candy shop at the mini mall in Point Loma a few doors down from the Souplantation.

    My wife and I walk in with my then 4 your old son. As soon as we see him we just think, “Oh shit”. There he is, in a wheel chair sucking on a tank of oxygen. Waving to my kid and asking him, through his breathing mask, to come to him and have some free candy.

    We bail. Just a few months later we see his feet sticking out the back of his beat up 70’s Caddillac, with the faded clowns still painted on the sides, while his daughter appears to be trying to resusitate him.

    Maybe that was the end of Buford. Good ridance.

  108. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>There he is, in a wheel chair sucking on a tank of oxygen. Waving to my kid and asking him, through his breathing mask, to come to him and have some free candy

    Steven: I’m thinking Dennis Hopper should play Buford in the movie …

  109. BOogie Says:

    a double dose of weirdness, back when channel 51 first began there was a guy called Uncle Al who hosted the nightly movie show and just like another san diego media personality he had a forbidden hunger for young boys, shortly before he was exposed he had none other than Buford as a guest on his show, buford was completely out of it, or so i though because when i prank called the show as i often did, buford interrupted my telephonic hi-jinks by bursting into song, he sang “smarty marty had a party no one came but marty”…he sure showed me!

  110. Dave Ellison Says:

    Funny coincidence… I was just checking out some songs by Dylan Rogers’ band, Sonic Love Affair. There’s a song called Dirty Kids (about hanging out in OB) with the line “Lets go to Buford’s and get some snacks.”

  111. Steven Dietz Says:

    Hello all,

    I remember that reporter who got busted for child molestation. Mac heald I believe. He was actually caught on camera by SDPD posing as a Doctor telling kids he needed to examine them.

    My father used to own a small movie poster shop on Voltaire in Point Loma, “Cinemania” from 83 to 84. I was there when Mac Interviewed him for a human interest spot on the local news. I was not offered an exam but at 16 I was past my prime I guess.

  112. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Steven: Indeed we’ve noticed how peculiar some San Diego TV news personalities were.

    I’m going to mention another interesting member of that group, but one I think is pretty cool, not creepy and crazy: Bree Walker.

    We all knew her as a pretty blonde newscaster — but it was a surprise to learn that she was born with ectrodactyly, a birth condition that fused her fingers and toes together so they resembled crab claws.

    “Established and well into her career at the ABC affiliate KGTV Channel 10 in San Diego, Walker decided to go public with her ectrodactyly after previously keeping her deformed hands hidden inside a pair of glove-like prosthetic hands. With her hands now clearly visible, she continued her successful newscasting career at KGTV, moving up to the larger rock station KPRI FM. She started her television career in 1980 at KGTV as a consumer advocacy reporter. …

    “Walker was watching the show Carnivàle, an HBO television series about a Depression-era carnival traveling through the Dust Bowl, during its 2003 season. She noticed that no cast member had ectrodactyly. She requested, created, auditioned, and won the role of Sabina, The Scorpion Lady.

    “Bree’s portrayal of Sabina occurred in three episodes during the 2005 season. She showcases her webbed hands as the series probes public attitudes toward persons with highly visible disabilities. In Walker’s own words: ‘I really get to be me.’ Walker based Sabina on characters she knew existed in the 1920s and 1930s carnival sideshows with names like Lobster Girl or Lobster Boy. These were typically the best jobs persons with ectrodactyly could have, with most others being hidden away. …

    “Walker currently hosts a progressive talk show on KTLK AM 1150 in Los Angeles on Saturdays from 2 to 4 p.m. Pacific Time.”

    I’m trying to see how I can use the term “glove-like prosthetic hands” in conversation! :-)

  113. Steven Dietz Says:

    One other thing, about Stumps market in OB. My 80 year old Scottish father in laws favorite one liner is, “Dont shop at stumps they charge an arm and a leg”

    Sorry, I had to share that one.

  114. Dave Ellison Says:

    KPRI bumper stickers were popular at Poway High… usually with the letters rearanged to spell PRIK… they went along with the In n’ Out Burger stickers modified to read “In n’ Out urge”.

  115. Jeremiah Cornelius Says:

    “Hi… I’m Bree!”


  116. Dave Ellison Says:

    I admire her though… imagine keeping your cool and being totally professional when you’d probably rather strangle someone:

  117. Jeremiah Cornelius Says:

    He’s Claaassssy!

  118. Tony suarez Says:

    “Stay classsy, San Diego”

  119. Paul Fehlman Says:

    The rumor/legend was right. I don’t remember if was KGB, KPRI, or even B100 (oh shite, remember B100 Shotgun Tom), but I vividly remember the commercial. It was a closeup of her lips heavily covered in red lipstick mouthing the backround track of various different DJ’s (all male) going through their DJ spiel for about 25 seconds before they pulled back for you to see her face & ridiculously tight T-shirt saying “Hi, I’m Bree….”

    Could you imagine how much bongwater would have blown out the wrong end of the bong if they had pulled back further to reveal her ectordactyly? That would have been very classy.

  120. Mmrothenberg Says:

    We should write a Bree Walker song for the Che Underground reunion … It could be like Joey Ramone’s homage to Maria Bartiromo!

  121. Dave Ellison Says:

    >>>”…even B100 (oh shite, remember B100 Shotgun Tom)”

    He’s still a DJ here in L.A. (or maybe he’s on tv, I cant remember) …same hat, same stupid sound effect with his voice, the whole deal. He doesn’t look any older, either… it’s weird. Around 1974, he had a game show for kids on a local SD station called Words A Poppin’. Someone in my 4th or 5th grade class was on it and won a giant inflatable pack of Wrigley’s gum.

  122. Jason Petteway Says:

    Yikes, Shotgun Tom. I had almost completely suppressed all memory of him.

    Bree Walker became a news anchor in LA along side Michael Tuck, another San Diego veteran. I was living in LA near Korea Town when the whole Rodney King riots went down. Their news reporting was the most panicked of all the stations. It was total “run for the hills, the Black People are coming to kill you!” coverage. The studio was apparently close enough to the action that they were completely freaking out about being attacked. It was so bad yet at the same time terribly funny that I recorded it (alas on my trusty betamax!).

  123. dylan rogers Says:

    As a kid I thought Bree was kinda hot.
    I hear she married a pro football player, proof that not all jocks are not swallow dick heads.

  124. Ray Brandes Says:

    How do you spell that noise Shotgun Tom used to make, anyway?

    He’s been around forever, but always seemed to have been relegated to the B squad. Last time I saw him he was still wearing that ridiculous hat and “DJing” at the Corvette Diner. He can’t hold a candle to my favorite LA radio personality of all time, Dick “Huggy Boy” Hugg, who died a couple of years ago at 78. I spent many a night with the windows steamed up in my car listening to hundreds of Sad Girls and Spiders make dedications of “I’ll Always Love My Mama” and “I’m Your Puppet.” His voice was like honey.

  125. Paul Kaufman Says:

    I would translate Shotgun Tom’s signature riff as:


    I forget- was he also on KCBQ for a while? That was the first station I listened to when I first learned how to operate a radio, liking that new McCartney tune “Uncle Albert”.

  126. JohnC Says:

    Huggy Boy! Totally remember getting a faded a.m. signal down in IB at night and listening to his show. Ray’s right: lots of low and slow songs. The Intruders seem to be on every half-hour.

    So, does anyone remember PD5? The all-cop band that played the junior high circuit in the late 70s? They played a couple times at Mar Vista Jr. In uniform.

  127. Dave Ellison Says:

    The only thing that was advertised on Huggy Boy’s program was his own (or the station’s own) Oldies Reunion Record Package. The really long commercial would included snippets of the songs on the 3 or 4 record set (the same songs he played on the show)… after that went on for about 10 minutes, he’d say “Heard enough? Well here’s some more from the OLDIES REUNION RECORD PACKAGE!” and he’d play another 10 minutes of song snippets. It was C.O.D. delivery and he’d say “Please don’t order this if you don’t intend to pay for it.”

  128. mike stobbe Says:

    Shotgun Tom was , up untill recently a regular at the Antique Row Cafe on Adams Avenue . He did a little taped bit for them that they play on the radio there while you eat .

    I haven’t seem him there in a while so I hope all’s well with old Shotgun .

    Antique row cafe now occupies the old building that used to be the Boiler Room in the mid 90’s , a shitty little dive that adh punk bands off & an .

  129. Tom Ward Says:

    There was a place I thought was weird without ever having been there. I believe it was called “Marshall Scotty’s Playland Park.” I only knew it from the TV ads.

    Was reading through this thread for the first time today. Regarding Bree Walker, I recall she covered the showing of Quadraphenia at the Ken Cinema in 1984. Surely someone must have that clip? I would get a laugh out of seeing myself in it. I was waiting around the front door, waiting for the scooters to arrive, and they filmed me voguing or whatever in the entrance. A few minutes later, the equivalent of an armored column rode up--motorized infantry? I think it was about 75 / 80 bikes. Maybe someone counted. Anyway, Bree was the reporter who covered the event. I expect others have memories of that event--which could equally go into the scooters thread or the one specific to the Ken…but it’s weird San Diego, too. Our scene as a whole would have been an element in the weirdness. We had pilgrims coming to see us! And the evening news, too. Anyone have that clip? Was it Channel 8?

  130. Dean Curtis Says:

    Wow, I forgot about Marshall Scotty’s Playland Park! I used to ride a bike a lot in the 70s in Jr High and High School on back roads of SD. The amusement park from 1956 was on old highway 80 in Flinn Springs near Lakeside. There were some great old buildings in Flinn Springs then that had wooden sidewalks. I remember seeing it still open for business in the early 80s when I would take scooter rides into the back country. It closed in 1983.

    Old highway 80 has many great sights that would fit in this category. There’s a few mentioned in this SD Union article, but I think the best ones are farther out past Pine Valley (like Desert View Tower in Jacumba).

  131. Simon Says:

    “It’s Marshal Scotty’s Playland Park for family fun! FAMILY FUN!!!”

    Never went there, but you’ve brought the radio jingle a-jingling back into my mind. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

  132. Ray Brandes Says:

    I’ve never been there either, but I have passed by it enough times. I believe the rusted skeletons of abandoned rides and a weather beaten metal sign swinging on a single hook are all that remain, like a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by the ghosts of fifties cowboys and junky carnies.

    And just who was Marshal Scotty? Was he an authentic federal law enforcement officer?

  133. Boowaa Says:

    The Moaning Indian: There was often an unexplainable fog in this area as well. Turns out the military has two very large tunnels that go under the freeway for coastal access that cause these effects.

  134. James Harrell Says:

    Adding a comment on something from way up the list: i just got back from the Anti 8 Protest March. When we got downtown, I saw the Star Trek Trike! I personally had not seen it in many, many years. Unfortunately, it had been driven there by a big hairy prospector looking guy, who was counter protesting, and proudly sporting his “Minutemen” T-shirt as well.

  135. vj Says:

    just spent an hour reading about all of your adventures…. I work across the street from the ROCK Palace and was snooping around it today. The lone store (tv guy) is the only thing there now and he said the owner doesnt want to rent it out. . I was only in 5th grade in 85 so wasnt able to stay out so late like you guys… but enjoyed reading about it.
    BTW.. the renegades were pretty solid!

  136. Jen Wanner Says:

    Comments about above, and the trip down memory lane (hi to everyone I know):

    “Nightstalker” Richard Ramirez may not have killed anyone in SD, but 1984-1985 there were daily stake-outs in front of his parent’s house near Emerald Jr. High, we mocked them from the bus, so obvious!

    My grandma lived in Pt Loma her whole life, and she had the same “arm and a leg” joke about Stumps Market. It turned into Stater Bros. I think.

    “Brenda Spencer” went to Patrick Henry Jr. High. How Bob Geldof heard about her and wrote “I Don’t Like Mondays,” who knows. The “Child Molesters” song about her is much better I think. One of the first highly-publicized school shootings, about 1977-88 I think.

    Anyone remember the T-shirts “PSA Rocks San Diego” as a spoof on Bree’s lips commercials. The San Diego Chicken started on KGB and was hired by the Padres also.

    So many haunted house stories! There’s a weird house on the side of Mt. Helix that we were afraid of, kinda looked like a run down castle. And we weren’t allowed to explore the caves off Sunset Cliffs, there were people or things that ate kids down there? Probably just to keep us from wandering off.

    My family used to own property in far-east SD, my great grandmother was one of the first Indian reservation teachers at age 16. They lost the property in the Depression, but there was a quartz mine there, story was that anyone that found it was killed or cursed, and it’s been lost in the generations because no one knows exactly where it was.

    There was a mountain near Cuyamaca College or Jamul direction, from a clear day you could see it from pretty far west, and we were always told that it looked like a sleeping woman because the was guarding the Indian graveyards and property. As I remember, she is laying on her left side, head facing south, with some kind of shawl or veil down to her waist.

    OB had the Spaceman and the Cat Woman. (MMM, Hodads.) Casa De Oro had Chester the Molester who’d offer $50 for girl’s underwear, and a weird punk rock guy who stood in the middle of the street and screamed at cars. Casualties of the Reagan sanitarium release. There was another mildly retarded guy who stole a stack of papers from the vending machine, then delivered up our street and sold for face value, clever.

    OK, that’s enough for now.

  137. mcc Says:

    nice keeping this thread going jen~
    my house is not what you’d call spooky but the ghost of Leon Cuevas
    resides here…..along with Lester Ackmann and his wife Mrs. A.

  138. Tobylifehater Says:

    Re: Brenda Spencer- just an odd aside.

    I was working in a small but super neat and kinda posh hotel in Waikiki- kind of a catch all guy, ran a department but handled security (kind of) and handled stuff the front office manager didn’t feel comfortable handling when the GM was gone (which was about half the time, which was fun for me- but that’s another story.) So Lost is being filmed here, and I’m pretty much oblivious to what’s on TV today. So Someone says how they LOVE Mondays (facetiously) and I reply, “I don’t like Mondays!” and this pretty blonde across the lobby says, “I love that song!” with a distinctive British accent. I reply, “This is Waikiki- probably you and I are the only people in this lobby that knows that song.” And we end up exchanging words for the next few days while she waits for her driver each morning. Pretty lady, nice enough- though I had to explain the whole Brenda Spencer thing to her as she is a little young and British and had no reason to know about that unless she’s a Boomtown Rats buff (which judging by her rhetoric about the band, they are very well respected by 30-somethings in Britain.) Turned out she is an actress (her name eludes me now- Blonde, very pretty, British and married) who is on LOST and was on E.R.

    She was super nice. I love when Hollywood stars are all human and kind and I don’t even know who they are. (I had another run in backstage at Elvis Costello with the Honolulu Symphony- had dinner with two of the Lost cast and had no idea, because I hadn’t seen it yet- my then GF told me later, and I was like, “Whatever”. Later the first two seasons were one of my fave scifi TV shows ever. They lost me on season 3.)

  139. Ray Brandes Says:

    Yes, thanks Jen. This is one of my favorite threads, and I’m glad to see it revived.

  140. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Interesting Bree Walker documentary …

  141. mcc Says:

    i think it’s always a good thing when we’re able to learn from the pain of others.
    it’s probably saying something about her strength of character and poise,
    that the night i met her guarding the roxy music backstage entrance……
    i never even noticed her hands.

  142. Jen Wanner Says:

    Had another thought, what about all the goofy people and promotions. There has to be a reason Iron Butterfly and Frank Zappa were both from SD. Something in the water maybe…?

    There are four summers that stand out in my mind, probably remembered today because there are so many LA fires and it’s lightly “sprinkling” ashes through the haze since this morning.

    The first was about 1987 when the Padres won the western conference title, there was an earthquake every other day, and Normal Heights burned along I-8 for the first time anyone could remember. Like the world was ending but everyone was honking and happy and the “city was one.” I don’t ever remember a time like that before or since.

    There was a radio promotion about the same time when one radio station (forgot which) ran a promotion that they only played versions of “Louie Louie” for about 3-4 days straight. I haven’t been able to listen to the song since. It was entertaining for about the first… day. HAHA.

    The third was when 91X was still “The Cutting Edge of Rock” transitioning into “Rock of the 80s” and they had a TV show. First time I saw INXS videos and many others, because Diamond Vision cable only had about 5 channels then. ANYWAY, they ran a promotion and the whole city went crazy trying to win. I’ve forgotten the prize, but the context was along the lines of “most original use of 91X logo.” People covered their cars in black & yellow stickers. There was a house near 94 & Avocado exit that was painted black, and even the oranges on the trees had logos on them. This promotion went on for weeks and was covered by news stations as people tried to one-up each other.

    The last is a bit more esoteric. My family owned a little “shack” that could just barely be called a house in Crest. It was probably built around the 1920s as a one-room place that had rooms added hodge-podge, and was next to probably the last undeveloped lot of a very thick grove of eucalyptus trees. The rest of the area became those McMansions that span from edge-to-edge of the lot, and this little house always looked like it was one sneeze from collapse. My mom put a lot of money into it to re-do the front porch, etc, but it never fit. SO— wouldn’t you know that the little shack was the ONLY house standing after that 2003 fire burned the whole hill down. No lie, I drove down Holly St a couple weeks later, and the next closest thing to a “structure” was a burned out car next to a falling down chimney, the rest of the hill looked like ashy pictures of the moon. The house was sold in about ’06 to someone who couldn’t get enough financing fast enough to rebuild their home and wanted to just start over, but it’s probably still there.

    There are other weird sightings that stand out in my mind, like seeing a very skinny guy dressed in his thrift-store best walking two very tiny chihuahuas at about 7am on the SDSU campus. (This was about 1991-2 before anyone had heard of the Black Crowes.) I also worked the Daily Aztec night shift for 3am rewrites twice when a girl committed suicide jumping off the structure above “The Pit” parking lot, and when Curt Kobain’s suicide broke. Those may have all been the same semester too come to think of it.

  143. mcc Says:

    a couple friends of mine (at the time) don and julie (forget their last name now) won that 91-x contest with a 30 and 15 second claymation video using a song i wrote for the PaNGS. this sweet couple won $25,000 which served as the downpayment towards their house, ronnie my guitarist who edited the thing got 10% of that and i didn’t even get a personal thank you from them or a 6-pack.

    hey…that’s rock-and-roll baby……

  144. Dave Doyle Says:

    Jen, Concerning Brenda Spencer… Her deeds were taken out on Grover Cleveland Jr High in San Carlos, just around the corner were I lived in the late 90’s on Lake Aral Dr (near Lake Murray Bl). A quick check indicates a name change to Momentum Middle School

    An old boss I had went there at that time and gave a little inside on the story as I always wondered why Cleveland looked like a ghost town when I walked the dog past there. He recalled Spencer as a loner/outcast type who spoke little in the classes he had with her. I think he even remembered the make and model of rifle she used…

  145. mcc Says:

    and to think some find little inspiration in el cajon.

    all you have to do is dig.

  146. Dave Doyle Says:

    ^^^Ruth Norman… Need I say more?

  147. Paul Allen Says:

    Brenda Spencer shot at kids at Cleveland Elementary. According to Wikipedia, when asked why she did it, she said, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” I never heard the second part before. Pretty chilling.

    I had never heard about the shootings at Santana High in Santee in 2001 until now either.

  148. JAS Says:

    Poster for Velvet Underground at the Hippodrome, from upcoming cover feature in the San Diego Reader “Long Gone Concert Halls” --

  149. JAS Says:

    Here’s a Captain Sticky comic strip I did awhile back -- I heard from the guy who has the StickyMobile now, and it’s mostly stripped to junk. He sent me one of the few photos that seem to exist of the Mobile in its heyday (tho more may turn up online eventually), which I referenced for the comic strip.

  150. gary heffern Says:

    either i’m blind or its old age…or the damn poster is too hard to see…but is that velvets poster with quicksilver messenger service opening? because when i saw those guys there quicksilver was the headliner…or did they come back another time around? heff.

  151. Martin T Says:

    I am old enough to remember the Proctor valley monster.
    My dad used to drive us out to Proctor Valley road at night and scare the hell out of us.

    Does anyone remember the billboard that had the image of that murdered little girl on it?
    It was on Main st. in Chula Vista.
    There were thousands of people flocking to this place every night.
    I saw an image but it was Siouxsie from Siouxsie and the banshees…

    Once I went hiking on Tecate Mountain and I felt something creepy, like we were being watched.
    I never wanted to go back it was so creepy.
    Later I found out that the local Indians consider the place haunted.

    I always thought Mac Heald was weird and I used to tell my mom so.
    She said I was just being mean, so when he got busted I got to tell her, “I told you so.” One of the few times I have ever been able to say that to her.

  152. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>Does anyone remember the billboard that had the image of that murdered little girl on it?

    Martin: Ray Brandes gave us a whole post on that one … Check it out here …

    “Mac Heald’s Army” would be a great band name!

  153. Martin T Says:

    Great write up on the billboard!

    So if you were a avid Mac Heald’s Army listener, would they call you part of the “Bum Brigrade”?

  154. Kusandra Says:

    Anyone remember Eddy Aladray’s ANA (Sp?). He did adds with Muhammed Ali. The commercials were quite sad. I always wondered what the connection was. It seemed weird because Ali couldn’t have been paid much for such a local ad. I think the place was on El Cajon Blvd or University Ave in Old Hillcrest (pre-Ralphs shopping center).

    Also, remember Uncle Ed? He had a tv show on channel 9. My friend was on that show talking about old rock and he was “the middle mojo”. Uncle Ed was later arrested for molesting boys.

  155. Robin Says:

    I met Uncle Ed in gay Denny’s. He was hilarious. And, apparently, also a dangerous predator.

  156. Jay Allen Sanford Says:

    I found Captain Sticky video footage, not from the Real People TV show but from some insane Spanish TV show -- lots of great shots of the StickyMobile too, inside and out. I wonder who the guy is he hits in the face with a pie in front of the Civic Center?

  157. Mmrothenberg Says:

  158. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Note the San Diego connection:

  159. Mmrothenberg Says:

    If FONO had only thought of this!

  160. MadMike Says:

    my sister shari and my mother both worked for captain sticky…
    some sort of kelp business
    he died a few years back now

  161. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Pernicano’s parking lot opened??

  162. Mmrothenberg Says:

  163. Dan Says:

    Here’s an interesting article about the time in 1986 when Capt. Sticky’s house was raided for letting a porn crew film there. He wasn’t charged, but the police arrested the producer, one “Ronald Jeromy Hyatt”

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