Shakespeare lives at the Old Globe Theatre.

old globe theatre in san diego

Now back to our walk in Balboa Park!

You’re looking at the Old Globe Theatre. It’s modeled after the original Globe Theatre in London, where Shakespeare enjoyed watching many plays that he’d penned. This beloved building is a popular San Diego landmark.

The Tudor-style building was originally constructed in 1935, and was first used for the California Pacific International Exposition to stage Shakespearean plays. In 1978 it was burned down by an arsonist. A nearby festival stage was quickly erected so that performances could go on, then the Old Globe was rebuilt with the generous help of many San Diegans.

Since 1949, The Old Globe has hosted an annual summer Shakespeare Festival. During the summer and winter, the theatre puts on about 15 different shows including modern plays, comedies, musicals and classics.

Many productions that originated here have gone on to Broadway. These shows have won nine Tony Awards and almost 60 nominations!

Karen and Donald Cohn Education Center near Old Globe Theatre.
Karen and Donald Cohn Education Center next to Old Globe Theatre.

Lawn bowlers enjoy Sunday in Balboa Park.

san diego lawn bowling club in balboa park

Every weekend, folks dressed in white are out on the bowling green near the west end of Balboa Park. The San Diego Lawn Bowling Club must have a pretty good membership, because I’ve seen scores of players all out enjoying the sport at the same time.

I usually linger for a couple minutes to watch a game unfold. Excellent accuracy is required to win.

A game has ended and the scattered balls are collected.
A game has ended and the scattered balls are collected.
Keeping score on a lazy, sunny weekend day.
Keeping score on a lazy, sunny weekend day.
Sign provides info about free lawn bowl lessons.
Sign provides info about free lawn bowl lessons.

Big movie stars seen at Hotel Del Coronado!

photo of clark gable at hotel del coronado

Over the decades, many of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars have stayed at the world famous Hotel Del Coronado. Most checked in for personal pleasure; others were working. The Hotel Del Coronado has been used in the filming of over a dozen movies.

Outside the hotel, a few steps from the sidewalk, you’ll find a glass display containing photos of movie superstar guests. I tried to take a bunch of photos, but most didn’t come out so great.

In my first decent pic, you see a photo with the caption: Screen legend Clark Gable stayed at the Del during the filming of Hell Divers, shot in 1931.

tony curtis, jack lemmon and marilyn monroe at hotel del coronado

I also recorded a photograph from 1958 of the acting trio starring in Some Like It Hot. The caption reads: Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe proved to be a winning combination for Billy Wilder’s romantic comedy.

And here’s a third photo (which I took on a later date) with the caption: Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe’s steamy love scenes still heat up the screen more than fifty years after the 1959 film was released.

Photo of Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe movie love scene.
Photo of Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe movie love scene.

Here come even more pics!

Esther Williams and sons on the beach.
Esther Williams and sons on the beach.
Rosalind Russell out in the water.
Rosalind Russell out in the water.
Kirk Douglas seems to have quite an appetite!
Kirk Douglas seems to have quite an appetite!

Mexican cafes and cantinas in Old Town.

Just one of many colorful eateries along San Diego Avenue.
Just one of many colorful eateries along San Diego Avenue.

These pics offer a sample of the sort of Mexican-themed eateries one encounters in the commercial part of Old Town, which runs several blocks south of the State Park along San Diego Avenue. Lots of seating outdoors, an eyeful of festive colors and a cool, laid-back Southern California atmosphere.

Eating great Mexican food outdoors in San Diego's Old Town.
Eating great Mexican food outdoors in San Diego’s Old Town.
Fountain and splash of color in courtyard of an Old Town restaurant.
Fountain and splash of color in courtyard of an Old Town restaurant.
Keep Calm and Drink Tequila.
Keep Calm and Drink Tequila.
Old Town pedestrians can buy hot buttery tortillas.
Old Town pedestrians can buy hot buttery tortillas.
Ladies prepare fresh tortillas for people passing on the sidewalk.
Ladies prepare fresh tortillas for people passing on the sidewalk.
Bienvenidos a Old Town! Where great food and a festive atmosphere mingle with San Diego's rich, colorful history.
Bienvenidos a Old Town! Where great food and a festive atmosphere mingle with San Diego’s rich, colorful history.

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Robert Plimpton plays the Spreckels Organ.

Robert Plimpton at the Spreckels Organ.
Robert Plimpton at the Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park.

Who’s that person at the microphone in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion? It looks like Robert Plimpton, San Diego’s Civic Organist Emeritus! Most of the time he uses his amazing musical talent as resident Organist of the First United Methodist Church.

Robert Plimpton was San Diego’s official Civic Organist from 1984 to 2000, when Dr. Carol Williams (first woman in the United States to be appointed Civic Organist) took his place. She happened to be out of town, so he returned for last Sunday’s free public concert in Balboa Park . . . and played magnificently, of course!

I tried to get a good photo of the organ’s enormous pipes, but the images turned out too shadowy. I’ll try again at some future time!

One plaque at the historic Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Dedicated to the people of San Diego and all the world, by the philanthropist Spreckels brothers in 1915.
A plaque at the historic Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Dedicated to the people of San Diego and all the world, by the philanthropist Spreckels brothers in 1915.
View of Spreckels Organ Pavilion from Japanese Friendship Garden.
View of Spreckels Organ Pavilion from a spot near the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Bust of John D. Spreckels watches organ concerts behind benches.
Bust of John D. Spreckels watches organ concerts behind benches.

Here’s a photo I took in late 2015, during Balboa Park’s yearlong centennial celebration.

Patricia McAfee, mezzo soprano, and Robert Plimpton, San Diego Civic Organist Emeritus, perform during A Tribute to Kate Sessions, "The Mother of Balboa Park" concert on November 8, 2015.
Patricia McAfee, mezzo soprano, and Robert Plimpton, San Diego Civic Organist Emeritus, entertain a Sunday afternoon audience during “A Tribute to Kate Sessions, The Mother of Balboa Park” concert on November 8, 2015.

Umbrellas add color to Sunday organ concert.

colorful umbrellas at sunday organ concert

It must be around two o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. Time for the weekly free concert at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

Crowds gather in the sun under colorful umbrellas to listen to the majestic sound of the Spreckels Organ, one of the largest outdoor organs in the world. The city of San Diego employs an official Civic Organist, none other than Dr. Carol Williams, one of the top performing organists in the world! Each Sunday she plays classical music, jazz, marches . . . and occasionally one of her excellent original compositions. The Spreckels Organ Society helps to raise funds to keep the tradition of free public concerts alive. It’s a tradition that has lasted a hundred years!

The beautiful Spreckels Organ Pavilion is used for various concerts and events throughout the year, including the yearly December Nights festival around Christmas. It’s also a favorite venue for wedding photography. The ornate, elegant architecture makes it interesting to visit even when the stage and benches are empty.

Organ lovers enjoy shade under the San Diego sun.
Organ lovers enjoy shade under the San Diego sun.

Padres fan gear vendor outside Petco Park.

padres fan gear vendor outside petco park

Late this morning, loads of Padres fans anticipating a great baseball game were entering Petco Park from its east side. Before filing through the gate and past the cool new Jerry Coleman memorial, they passed this colorful vendor. All sorts of Padres gear was on display for supportive fans.

Sunny summer days of baseball are full of life, sounds, smells, color and pageantry. Going to a Padres game in San Diego is always a fun experience, win or lose!

Padres fans converge on Petco Park for another baseball game.
Padres fans converge on Petco Park for another baseball game.

I took a couple more related pics at the beginning of the 2015 season…

Any vendors at this entrance on opening weekend of the 2015 season are hidden by lots of excited fans!
Any vendors at this entrance on opening weekend of the 2015 season are hidden by lots of excited fans!
This smiling entrepreneur set up shop on a sidewalk a couple blocks from Petco Park.
A smiling entrepreneur set up shop on a sidewalk a couple blocks from Petco Park.

Dick’s Last Resort in the Gaslamp.

dick's last resort in the gaslamp

Here’s a photo taken on a weekday morning of Dick’s Last Resort in the Gaslamp. This wacky bar and restaurant chain with an intentionally-trained-to-be-obnoxious staff is jam-packed with all sorts of colorful customers most evenings and especially on weekends. Beer and good times are known to flow freely here!

Here are a couple more pics from other days:

Dick's Last Resort seen from across Fourth Avenue.
Dick’s Last Resort seen from across Fourth Avenue.
A very dour, funny unshaven dude with beer mug.
A very dour, funny unshaven dude with beer mug.

Gaslamp Quarter, Historic Heart of San Diego.

gaslamp quarter, historic heart of san diego

The Gaslamp Quarter is not only the Historic Heart of San Diego, as the iconic sign proclaims, but it has become the center of entertainment and dining for downtown’s burgeoning nightlife. The popular Hard Rock Hotel, seen in this photograph, is but one of scores of cool attractions lining bustling Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Avenues between Broadway and Harbor Drive. Pouring even more life into the Gaslamp is nearby Petco Park, the San Diego Convention Center and Horton Plaza.

This area of town, a few decades ago, had become the home to vacant old buildings, half-deserted warehouses and seedy bars attracting lonely sailors homeported in San Diego. Many say the catalyst for its modern transformation was the establishment of Croce’s restaurant and jazz bar on Fifth Avenue in 1985. The popular Croce’s was created as a tribute to legendary singer Jim Croce by his surviving wife Ingrid.  As of 2014, Croce’s has moved to a different location on Bankers Hill.

Just a typical view of the always lively Gaslamp.
Just a typical view of city life in the always lively Gaslamp Quarter.
Fun, elaborate architecture can be seen all over the historic Gaslamp.
Fun, elaborate architecture can be seen all over the historic neighborhood.
People dine at restaurant in old Gaslamp building.
People dine at a restaurant in the heart of the Gaslamp district.
Bar patrons watch a soccer game.
Bar patrons watch a soccer game in style.
People stop to enjoy a treat at Ghirardelli's.
People stop to enjoy a treat at Ghirardelli’s.
Colorful stuff for sale in a Gaslamp store window.
Colorful stuff for sale in a touristy store window.
Plaque tells a bit about the Louis Bank of Commerce.
Plaque tells a bit about the Louis Bank of Commerce Building.
The legendary Louis Bank of Commerce Building attracts much attention!
The legendary Louis Bank of Commerce Building attracts much attention!
Wyatt Earp operated a brothel in this fancy building.
San Diego’s first granite building shows Baroque style architecture.

The two photos above show the Louis Bank of Commerce Building. In the late 1800’s it became home to the Oyster Bar,  one of four saloons and gambling halls operated by Wyatt Earp when he lived in San Diego.

Wyatt Earp's Historic Gambling Hall and Saloon.
Canopy reads: Wyatt Earp’s Historic Gambling Hall and Saloon.
Nesmith-Greeley Building was built in the Romanesque Revival style.
Nesmith-Greely Building was built in the Romanesque Revival style.
Nesmith-Greeley Building had office of first woman attorney in California Bar Association.
Greely Building contained office of the first woman attorney in California Bar Association.
Elegant doorway of the 1888 building.
Elegant doorway of the 1888 building.
I.O.O.F. Building's cornerstone contains a stone from Soloman's Temple!
I.O.O.F. Building’s cornerstone contains a stone from Solomon’s Temple!
1882 Independent Order of Odd Fellows building.
The 1882 Independent Order of Odd Fellows building.
Closer view of the Classical Revival style I.O.O.F. building in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Closer view of the Classical Revival style I.O.O.F. building in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.
San Diego's historic Old City Hall is an 1874 Florentine Italianate building.
San Diego’s historic Old City Hall is an 1874 Florentine Italianate building.
Two floors were added to Old City Hall to accommodate San Diego Public Library in 1887.
Two floors were added to Old City Hall to accommodate San Diego Public Library in 1887.
The delightful entrance to Old City Hall.
The delightful entrance to Old City Hall.
The Yuma Building was one of downtown's first brick structures.
The Yuma Building was one of downtown’s first brick structures.
The Gaslamp's historic Yuma Building dates from 1882.
The distinctive Yuma Building also dates from 1882.
Looking down Fifth Avenue one early weekday morning.
Looking down Fifth Avenue one early weekday morning.
Grand Pacific Hotel was built in 1887 at this location.
Grand Pacific Hotel was built in 1887 at this location.
The distinctive old Victorian Grand Pacific Hotel in San Diego's Gaslamp.
The distinctive old Victorian Grand Pacific Hotel in San Diego’s fantastic Gaslamp.
Worker scrapes paint from an old building.
Worker scrapes old paint as the years roll on.
Old Town Trolley Tours bus exits the Gaslamp.
Old Town Trolley Tours bus exits the popular Gaslamp Quarter.

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Seaport Village’s historic carousel horses.

seaport village carousel horses

One of the best things about Seaport Village is its historic carousel. I like to buy a hot dog or onion rings from the nearby food court, or an ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s, then sit down at a shady table and watch families and kids flock to the merry-go-round. It’s also pleasant to take in a bit of live music from local artists who perform near the carousel on weekends.

This fun Looff carousel was built in 1895 and features over fifty colorful animals including a dragon, a giraffe, a teddy bear, a lion, and two horse-drawn chariots. Master wood carver Charles Looff is famous for inventing the uniquely flamboyant Coney Island style of carousels. In his lifetime he produced many popular carousels, amusements parks, roller coasters and Ferris wheels. Very cool!

Horse decorates exterior of Seaport Village carousel.
Horse decorates exterior of Seaport Village carousel.
Signs details long history of this Looff carousel.
Signs details long history of this Looff carousel.
The fun merry-go-round is a big favorite of young and old alike.
The fun merry-go-round is a big favorite of young and old alike.
People enjoy a perfect day near the Seaport Village carousel.
People enjoy a perfect day near the Seaport Village carousel.

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