Celebrities, giant chickens, and history in Carlsbad!

Did you know the historic 1914 Twin Inns restaurant in Carlsbad hosted a variety of celebrities over the years? (Including Groucho Marx, who took the occasion to promote his latest movie Duck Soup.)

Did you know the restaurant’s big plaster chickens along Highway 101 were featured in National Geographic Magazine?

Did you know the first Carlsbad City Council meeting took place underneath the restaurant where a teen hot rod club met?

Did you know the Twin Inns provided take out chicken dinners that were packed inside a hollow loaf of bread?

I learned all this and more during a visit to the Carlsbad Historical Society‘s museum, which occupies the old Shipley-Magee House at 258 Beech Avenue.

Walking through rooms filled with fascinating exhibits, I discovered several displays that celebrate and remember Carlsbad’s famous Victorian restaurant.

Should you visit the museum, you’ll find a glass display case that contains an elegant Twin Inns guest register. And examples of the Blue Willow pattern china that diners might remember. And you’ll see old photos of the architecturally amazing building and some very beautiful artwork.

Photographs I’ve taken of Carlsbad’s landmark Twin Inns building can be found here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A major Hollywood star’s connection to the Gaslamp.

To Kill a Mockingbird. Moby Dick. The Omen. Cape Fear. Roman Holiday. Twelve O’Clock High. The Boys from Brazil. The Guns of Navarone. Spellbound. The Yearling. Gentleman’s Agreement. On the Beach. The Snows of Kilimanjaro.

Gregory Peck was one of Hollywood’s very biggest stars.

In 1962 he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. During his film career, he received five Best Actor nominations.

Gregory Peck was born in La Jolla. He attended San Diego High School and San Diego State University (then called San Diego State Teacher’s College).

His father, Gregory Pearl Peck, was a chemist and pharmacist–who worked in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Market Street.

The McGurck Block, 1887.

From 1903 to 1984, the Ferris and Ferris Drug Store occupied this building. For a long time it was San Diego’s only all-night drug store and, for a period of time, actor Gregory Peck’s father worked as the night druggist. The building was also used as a post office and as a ticket booth for the Coronado Ferry. The upper rooms of this three-story Italiante [sic] Revival building were used for rented rooms and became known as the Hotel Monroe in 1929.

Gregory Peck with his father, from Photoplay (1945). Public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The cool Chameleon Jump Suit at UCSD library!

Check out what I discovered today while wandering inside UC San Diego’s Geisel Library!

The very cool Chameleon Jump Suit!

The life-size figure in scaly green body armor was modeled after the time-traveling character in a popular 1998 computer game. “The Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time” was entertaining software created by Presto Studios, a company founded by UCSD alumni. You can read more about it here!

Even though I never played that particular computer game, I know a number of my readers love Comic-Con and popular culture, so I thought I’d share these photographs for everyone’s enjoyment!

I’m taking Comic-Con week off from work again this year, so stay tuned for lots of cool photos during 2022 San Diego Comic-Con coming up in July!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Frankenstein monster and his bride invade City Heights!

The terrifying Frankenstein monster and his bride have invaded City Heights!

The rampaging pair are frequently spotted near University Avenue, in the alley just east of the North Park Car Wash.

This graffiti version of classic Hollywood monsters was painted by Ground Floor Murals, the artists who’ve created San Diego Padres players murals all around the city.

Keep your eyes open! Be careful which alley you walk down, because you might encounter the fierce bride of Frankenstein and her monstrous groom!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Unexpected movie star in the Gaslamp Quarter!

San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter has attracted celebrities from all around the world, particularly during big international events like Comic-Con. But did you know there’s one movie star that calls the Gaslamp home?

Walk down Fifth Avenue past the 7-Eleven and you’ve spotted a “movie star” that has appeared in two films. The convenience store occupies the 1930 Manila Cafe building, which was used as a “backdrop for scenes in the movies In God We Trust, with Marty Feldman, and Writer’s Block, with Morgan Fairchild.” That’s what a corroded historical marker by the 7-Eleven’s front door reads!

According to this article, the old Manila Café building has been occupied by a variety of restaurants over the years, and by a billiard hall during World War II. In 2014 the exterior was renovated, but the roof with its red Spanish tiles and Asian contours, and the building’s distinctive upper story, haven’t changed.

Have you watched either movie? Have you spotted San Diego’s “famous” Manila Cafe building in the background?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Del Mar history in a pocket park.

A pocket park near the corner of Camino Del Mar and 15th Street features a series of banners that illustrate local history.

Pedestrians coming down the sidewalk have the opportunity to rest and view photos from Del Mar’s past in this quiet nook near L’Auberge Del Mar, across 15th Street from Stratford Square’s distinctive Tudor style building.

Last weekend I enjoyed a look at these fascinating historical images and descriptions, which are provided by the Del Mar Historical Society. I took photographs of the banners, moving from left to right.

Then I spotted a friendly sea lion perched on a nearby bench!

To learn more about Del Mar’s history, including how the North County beach town got its name from a once-popular poem titled “The Fight for Paso Del Mar”, check out this website!

The history of Del Mar begins in 1885 with the new California Southern Railroad, connecting Los Angeles to San Diego. The first hotel, opened in 1886, was Casa Del Mar. The Natatorium at the end of 10th and 11th Street featured a dance pavilion on the beach and a large saltwater swimming pool.
A 1000 foot pier was built in 1912 near the end of 15th Street. When it became too damaged by the passage of time and many storms, it was demolished in 1959 by the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team!
The Hotel Del Mar (originally called the Stratford Inn) attracted the rich and famous after Bing Crosby built the Del Mar Racetrack in 1937. Parties featured entertainers such as Bob Hope, Al Jolson and Danny Thomas. Frequent guests included Buster Keaton, Mickey Rooney, Betty Grable, Lucille Ball, Jimmy Durante and many others.
Photos of celebrities at the Del Mar Racetrack, including Ava Gardner, Ronald Reagan, J. Edgar Hoover, Cary Grant and Red Skelton.
The Stratford Inn opened in 1909 and attracted Hollywood’s silent film stars. It was finally demolished in 1967. The posh L’Auberge Del Mar, which stands on the site now, was featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
This is Sally the Sea Lion!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Colorful banners celebrate Italian Americans.

Jim Croce.
Jim Croce.

Occasionally, over the years, I’ve shared photographs of colorful banners hung from street lamps in Little Italy. Many can be found along India Street. Most celebrate famous Italian Americans.

The face you see might be of a popular musician, or an Oscar winner, or an inventor, or a Major League Baseball player, or a religious leader, or a powerful politician or businessman . . . you get the idea.

During walks through Little Italy in the past few weeks I noticed many banners that I hadn’t photographed yet.

In no particular order, here they are:

Mother Cabrini.
Mother Cabrini.

Bruce Springsteen.
Bruce Springsteen.

Jerry Lewis and Frank Busalacchi (San Diego restauranteur).
Jerry Lewis and Frank Busalacchi (San Diego restauranteur).

Vito Marcantonio.
Vito Marcantonio.

Fiorello La Guardia.
Fiorello La Guardia.

Louis Prima.
Louis Prima.

Dana Reeve.
Dana Reeve.

Al Pacino.
Al Pacino.

Francis Ford Coppola.
Francis Ford Coppola.

Jimmy Durante.
Jimmy Durante.

Giada De Laurentiis.
Giada De Laurentiis.

Joe Pass.
Joe Pass.

Russ Columbo.
Russ Columbo.

Robert Mondavi.
Robert Mondavi.

Jennifer Capriati.
Jennifer Capriati.

Roger Enrico.
Roger Enrico.

Ernest and Julio Gallo.
Ernest and Julio Gallo.

Frank Capra.
Frank Capra.

Carlo Vinci.
Carlo Vinci.

Dean Martin.
Dean Martin.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Star Trek humor and history in South Park!

Funny comic panels featuring Star Trek characters, standing near Captain Kirk's Coffee in South Park.
Funny comic panels featuring Star Trek characters, standing near Captain Kirk’s Coffee in South Park.

It was hot today as I walked through South Park, so I stopped at Captain Kirk’s Coffee to get an ice cold green tea. And look what I saw and learned!

All sorts of humorous Star Trek imagery can be found on and around this popular sidewalk coffee shack!

The super nice people who served up my green tea explained they’ve been there for many years now. Then they told me something amazing that I didn’t know. Whoopi Goldberg, before she became a superstar, worked at The Big Kitchen just a block south of Captain Kirk’s Coffee! They said she signed her name on a wall of The Big Kitchen, and while the interior has been repainted many times over the years, her signature remains untouched.

Among her many big Hollywood roles, you might recall that Whoopi Goldberg played Guinan in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and in the films Star Trek: Generations and Star Trek: Nemesis.

Captain Kirk's Coffee by the sidewalk in South Park.
Captain Kirk’s Coffee by the Fern Street sidewalk in South Park.

Various spaceships have landed or crashed atop the roof of Captain Kirk's Coffee.
Various spaceships have landed or crashed atop the roof of Captain Kirk’s Coffee.

At the front counter. Bean me up Scotty!
At the front counter. Bean me up Scotty!

Big Kitchen Café in South Park, where Whoopi Goldberg worked before becoming a Hollywood superstar.
Big Kitchen Café in South Park, where Whoopi Goldberg worked before becoming a Hollywood superstar.

Star Trek meets Star Wars in these silly panels.
Star Trek meets Star Wars in these silly panels near Captain Kirk’s Coffee.

Whoopi Goldberg as Star Trek character Guinan says: I miss Judy's delicious coffee cake at The Big Kitchen.
Whoopi Goldberg as Star Trek character Guinan says: I miss Judy’s delicious coffee cake at The Big Kitchen.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Galactus and three big celebrities spotted!

A big lineup of cosplay superheroes in the Gaslamp Quarter during 2019 San Diego Comic-Con!
A big lineup of cosplay superheroes in the Gaslamp Quarter during 2019 San Diego Comic-Con!

Galactus and three big celebrities, all spotted on Friday morning! Prepare to be stunned, stupefied and utterly amazed!

You never know who (or what) you’ll see while walking about San Diego Comic-Con!

Dude Vader cosplay.
Dude Vader cosplay.

Dude Vader is a local cosplayer who has recently begun making his elaborate costumes with 3D printing.
Dude Vader is a local cosplayer who has recently begun making his elaborate costumes with 3D printing.

Silver Surfer is taking a moment to rest. I wonder if that means Galactus is coming...
Silver Surfer is taking a moment to rest. I wonder if that means Galactus is coming…

Lennie James, who plays Morgan Jones in The Walking Dead, talks with VIPs at the DeadQuarters offsite during 2019 Comic-Con.
Lennie James, the actor who plays Morgan Jones in The Walking Dead, talks with VIPs at the DeadQuarters offsite during 2019 Comic-Con.

Hogwarts students cosplay. The first guy denied he's Cedric.
Hogwarts students cosplay. The first guy denied he’s Cedric.

Little Shop of Horrors cosplay. The most original cosplay I've seen so far during 2019 San Diego Comic-Con!
Little Shop of Horrors cosplay. The most original cosplay I’ve seen so far during 2019 San Diego Comic-Con!

Wonder Woman cosplay. She was in a hurry to vanquish a villain down the street.
Wonder Woman cosplay. She was in a hurry to vanquish a villain down the street.

Super powered folk seem to be everywhere during Comic-Con!
Super powered folk seem to be everywhere during Comic-Con!

Yikes! Joker spotted me.
Yikes! Joker spotted me.

Captain Marvel is arriving in the nick of time.
Captain Marvel is arriving in the nick of time.

Freddy Krueger cosplay.
Freddy Krueger cosplay.

Freddy Krueger checks his phone.
Freddy Krueger checks his phone.

I was told with absolute sincerity that this puppet is a big YouTube celebrity.
I was told with absolute sincerity that this puppet is a big YouTube celebrity! Now do you believe me? You thought I was joking?

The Krusty Krab Funfair is that way.
The Krusty Krab Funfair is that way.

Doctor Strange and Loki cosplay.
Doctor Strange and Loki cosplay.

These guys informed me they're the Brothers Burns.
These guys informed me they’re the Brothers Burns.

Conan O'Brien lounges on a yacht during Comic-Con.
Another big celebrity sighting! Conan O’Brien lounges on a yacht during Comic-Con.

Mexican Deadpool cosplay.
Mexican Deadpool cosplay.

Die, Bart, Die.
Die, Bart, Die.

Luigi cosplay.
Luigi cosplay.

Thor, Scarlet Witch and Captain America cosplay.
Thor, Scarlet Witch and Captain America cosplay.

Venom cosplay.
Venom cosplay.

Take a ride on this Nerd Chariot.
Take a ride on this Nerd Chariot.

Hellboy cosplay.
Hellboy cosplay.

Scarlet Witch and Shazam cosplay.
Scarlet Witch and Shazam cosplay.

Super awesome Black Widow and Galactus cosplay!
It’s the coming of Galactus! Told you so! Awesome Black Widow and Galactus cosplay!

Well, I spotted Galactus and one real celebrity. That's the best I could do.
Unless that’s a celebrity secretly disguised under those big ears, I did manage to spot Galactus and one real honest-to-goodness celebrity this morning at 2019 Comic-Con. That’s the best I could do.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Scenes at Spreckels Organ on Silent Movie Night.

People gather in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion well before the start of Silent Movie Night.
People begin to gather in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion well before the start of the Silent Movie Night concert.

This evening I headed into Balboa Park to enjoy Silent Movie Night at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. This special annual event, featuring a silent movie accompanied by the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ, is part of every International Summer Organ Festival.

The organist this evening–for the second year in a row–was Steven Ball, who plays the world’s largest indoor pipe organ at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Among his many accomplishments, he might be best known for being the organist at the Miss America beauty pageant!

The hilarious movie tonight was Safety Last (1923), starring physical comedy genius Harold Lloyd, who ranks with Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton as one of the most popular silent movie stars. I was interested to learn Harold Lloyd graduated from San Diego High School, which is located in Balboa Park, less than a mile from the Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

About an hour before the concert, I watched people arrive and claim their spots around the pavilion. Unable to sit still that long, I spent a few minutes wandering around nearby areas of Balboa Park, photographing the sun’s last rays in trees and on beautiful buildings.

The screen is set up. The concert will begin with selections by organist Steven Ball. Once darkness falls, the silent movie Safety Last will begin, accompanied by the Spreckels Organ.
The screen is set up. The concert will begin with selections by organist Steven Ball, including Hooray for Hollywood. Once darkness falls, the silent movie Safety Last will begin, accompanied by the Spreckels Organ.

The 31st Annual International Summer Organ Festival in Balboa Park features many of the world's top organists.
The 31st Annual International Summer Organ Festival in Balboa Park features many of the world’s top organists.

Safety Last, 1923, is a comedy that features silent screen star Harold Lloyd, who graduated from nearby San Diego High School.
Safety Last, 1923, is a hilarious, crazy, heartwarming comedy that features popular silent screen star Harold Lloyd, who graduated from nearby San Diego High School.

Lots of people have already staked out their spots on benches and lawn chairs over an hour before the program begins.
Lots of people have already staked out their spots on benches and lawn chairs over an hour before the program begins.

The Spreckels Organ Society Beer Fest inside the nearby Japanese Friendship Garden raised funds to help keep free organ concerts alive.
The Spreckels Organ Society Beer Fest inside the nearby Japanese Friendship Garden raised funds to help keep free organ concerts alive.

I heard bagpipes at the nearby International Cottages. When I investigated, I discovered the House of Scotland Pipe Band was outside practicing.
I heard bagpipes at the nearby International Cottages. When I investigated, I discovered the House of Scotland Pipe Band was outside practicing.

Meanwhile, more people were streaming into the Spreckels Organ Pavilion with about an hour still to go.
Meanwhile, more people were streaming into the Spreckels Organ Pavilion with about an hour still to go.

Some folks are already getting some snacks to enjoy during the concert and silent movie.
Some folks are already getting some snacks to enjoy during the concert and silent movie.

As late light illuminated the buildings of Balboa Park, I walked about to take photos. Here's the House of Hospitality from the Plaza de Panama.
As late sunlight slanted onto the buildings of Balboa Park, I walked about taking a few photos. Here’s the House of Hospitality from the Plaza de Panama.

Here's the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Here’s the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Here's the Bea Evenson Fountain and Fleet Science Center.
Here’s the Bea Evenson Fountain and Fleet Science Center.

When I returned, the crowd had grown! Every year Silent Movie Night draws about 3000 people.
When I returned, the crowd had really grown! Every year Silent Movie Night draws somewhere around 3000 people.

Ten minutes to go, and on come the magical lights of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion! I put my camera away and enjoyed a great time.
Ten minutes to go, and on come the magical lights of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion! As twilight arrived in Balboa Park, I put my camera away and enjoyed a great time.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!