Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Back to the Old Stomping Grounds

Original Tommy's at Beverly and Rampart, photo from the 1970s

I really admire those bloggers that can pound out material everyday. I escaped to the southland for a mini-vacation and now realize that I should have pre-prepared a posting or too. I don't lack material, it's just that there's no time. There are too many places to go, there just isn't time to dedicate a few hours to this.

I come back to Los Angeles maybe 2 or 3 times a year. Usually it’s during baseball season to take advantage of catching a Dodger game or two. But yesterday morning, we got up at 5 a.m. and traveled back to my old stomping grounds in the dead of winter. So here I am, with so little time and so much to see.

Do I go out for a Tommy’s Burger? What about Philippe's? Or my favorite Mexican restaurant, “El Tepeyac” for a Manuel’s special? I’m tempted to stop by Chavez Ravine, just for a look. But there are others with me who won't go for that. Then there is the old neighborhood. I usually drive through it real slow and check out all of my old haunts. It’s a trip through nostalgia and when I used to go back with my kids, they usually didn't have much patience to accompany me to all of these strange places.

They'd get the old travel log speech from me as their eyes roll to the back of their heads:

“That’s where I used to have Little League practice?”

“When I was a Cub scout, we would go to that chalk hill over there and dig for fossils.”

“Did you know they filmed “Back to the Future” at that mall, yeah, right there is where Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd escaped from the Libyan terrorists. That 24 hour Fitness used to be a JC Penneys.”

Scene from Back to the Future filmed at the Puente Hills Mall, 1980s

Puente Hills Mall Today, almost from the same vantage point.  JC Penney's has been replaced by a  24 Hour Fitness

“This is the short cut we’d take when coach would punish us and make us run several miles.”

“You see where those houses are on the hill? We used to catch snakes up there.”

Andy Etchebarren used to have a liquor store right here. In 1971 he came with several members of the Orioles here to sign autographs. It was a big deal, they were the defending champions at the time.”
Brooks Robinson, Andy Etchebarren and Dave McNally celebrate their '66 World Series victory against the Dodgers.  Those three appeared at Etchebarren's Hacienda Hts. liquor store in 1971 along with Jim Palmer and Davey Johnson.
I love coming back. It was a good place to grow up. But, it gets old for them.


If you get a chance, go take a look over at a fantastic new blog:


Bobby Crosby, referred to by Randy Wolf as “the You Tube guy,” has started a blog, and it’s a good one. I won’t post links to his YouTube videos because I’m sure he’ll be doing that a lot in the future, but if you want to see them, you’ll find them under the moniker, “Dodgerfilms.”


  1. Ha! I'm the same way when I drag my family through my old SoCal haunts. I worked near Puente Hills Mall in the late 90s. I remember that exact angle in your photo because once I drove around the mall's parking lots trying to visually figure out the shooting angles from the movie. I was last there around 2006 and it has changed a lot.

  2. That's pretty good that you found it. Not easy to spot initially.

  3. Okay, this is random. I was born/raised in HH and I've been searching to see if Chalk Hill and it's fossils are still accessible. I found your page and you mentioned it...any idea where exactly it is/was? Trying to take my son's scout troop there for a fossil hunt.

  4. I don't live in HH anymore, but the last time I checked, Chalk Hill was close to being a developed area. There was a miniature golf course and Malibu Grand Prix close to it, so you could drive to the foot of the hill. You might want to drive by and check out if the hill is accessible now. Great idea for a scout outing.