Top Gun fans vs. reality on USS Midway!

Yesterday a large group of dedicated Top Gun movie fans from a Facebook group visited the USS Midway Museum.

They all were having a blast, some wearing movie-inspired flight suits, checking out exhibits at San Diego’s popular aircraft carrier museum, taking photos near an F-14 Tomcat fighter jet, before heading off to dine at Kansas City Barbeque, where the bar scenes in Top Gun were filmed.

It was interesting to watch their enthusiasm for the classic movie, whose sequel Top Gun: Maverick will be debuting in one week on May 24. I loved the original Top Gun when it came out in 1986, myself!

As I toured the USS Midway yesterday, I noticed a variety of connections the historic aircraft carrier and its present-day museum have to the actual TOPGUN aviator school and its pilots depicted in both the original and upcoming movie.

An F-14 Tomcat on the flight deck of USS Midway. These fighter jets co-starred in the original Top Gun movie, providing exciting, incredible visuals.
A fan group is photographed during their Top Gun Days event aboard USS Midway in San Diego. Three actual Navy pilots pose in front.
Nearby on the flight deck is an F/A-18 Hornet. This fighter jet was used as an adversary during the original Top Gun. The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will be flown by the characters of Top Gun: Maverick.
One of the pilot ready rooms inside the USS Midway aircraft carrier. VFA-151 Ready Room One is where F-18 pilots gathered for briefing before and after flights.
A look inside USS Midway’s F-18 ready room. During Operation Desert Storm, F-18 Hornets were launched from this long-lived aircraft carrier, which was built at the end of World War II.
What it would have been like sitting in the F-18 ready room. The characters in Top Gun: Maverick are F/A-18E/F Super Hornet pilots, part of a special detachment aboard an aircraft carrier.
White board at front of the ready room, with mission and aircraft details.
An exhibit aboard the USS Midway Museum details the history of TOPGUN, originally the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School located at NAS Miramar, aka Fightertown USA.
Exhibit concerns TOPGUN – The Early Years.
The Navy Fighter Weapons School was established on March 3, 1969 at NAS Miramar in San Diego, California. TOPGUN’s objective was to develop, refine and teach air combat maneuvering tactics and techniques to selected fleet air crews…
Museum exhibit video shows the Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System TACTS in operation.
Visitors to the USS Midway Museum can climb into an F-14 Tomcat cockpit, located on the Hangar Deck.
Maverick call sign painted by the cockpit of the F-14 Tomcat.
The two-seated cockpit’s front seat, where an F-14 pilot sits facing his flight controls. The bubble canopy gives the pilot all-round visibility.
The rear seat of the F-14 cockpit, where Goose in the original Top Gun movie flew. This is where the fighter jet’s Radar Intercept Officer sat.

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!

Evel Knievel’s Stratocycle at Automotive Museum!

The San Diego Automotive Museum is an incredible place every auto enthusiast must visit. In addition to unique and rare cars they have lots of great motorcycles, too!

One motorcycle now on display is Evel Knievel’s “Stratocycle” from the 1977 movie Viva Knievel!

The uniquely modified motorcycle–a Harley Davidson XLCH Custom Sportster–has wings and a rocket-shaped exhaust. The Stratocycle is so cool it was adapted for a popular toy!

It had been several years since I last experienced the San Diego Automotive Museum. The current displays are more awesome than ever. Walking around, your eyes will pop out of your head!

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster.

You might notice I’ve been visiting many local museums the last couple of weeks. I’m taking advantage of the San Diego Museum Council’s “The Big Exchange” reciprocal free admission program. It lasts through May 18, 2022. Learn more 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!

Stars shine brightly in Balboa Park!

This evening I headed to Balboa Park to watch The Sky Tonight at the Fleet Science Center’s giant domed IMAX theater.

Every first Wednesday of the month, the Fleet’s eye-popping, jaw-dropping The Sky Tonight astronomy presentation coincides with Stars in the Park, a fun, educational outdoor event hosted by the San Diego Astronomy Association.

When I stepped out of the theater, with a sense of renewed wonder at the immensity and beauty of the universe, night had fallen, and I gazed through several telescopes at the distant stars themselves.

But prior to all this, well before the sun set, I saw other stars all around the park…

Two brightly smiling members of the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society’s Realm of Andor. They usually hang out on Sunday afternoons at Balboa Park’s Morley Field.
Indy is a shining Balboa Park star on a fine Wednesday evening.
Look! Another musical star!
Like planets orbiting the sun, kids were running around the Bea Evenson Fountain.
Another star poses and smiles on El Prado!
Options For All, an organization that serves adults with disabilities, welcomes those arriving for a special movie screening in Balboa Park.

A short film titled Climb premiered this evening at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.

According to its description, the film is based on a day in the life of the adaptive team, which consists of four rock climbers with disabilities at the Mesa Rim Climbing Center. Learn more at the Options For All organization’s Facebook page here!

One of the film’s stars smiles by the Climb movie poster. That’s her climbing in the upper left corner of the graphic!
Stars that are light-years distant from Balboa Park would become visible after nightfall. Members of the San Diego Astronomy Association set up a powerful telescope for public observation of the sky after dark!

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!

World’s longest running IMAX film projector!

The world’s longest running IMAX film projector is on display in San Diego’s Balboa Park. That’s because this venerable old projector operated for 48 years at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center!

Tonight I headed over to the Fleet Science Center to watch The Sky Tonight, a once-a-month astronomy presentation on the giant space-like IMAX dome. As I waited in the theater lobby for the show to begin seating, I noticed the historic projector on display to one side, behind an open curtain.

A gentleman briefly explained the projector’s history. The very durable, then state-of-the-art projector was originally installed in 1973. It was the second IMAX projector made. Apparently nobody knows what became of the first!

When I got home, I found this link to a great article concerning the projector, and its replacement last year with a new, improved IMAX Laser digital video projector.

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!

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Comic-Con Museum’s Star Trek exhibit expands!

The amazing Star Trek exhibit at the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park has expanded!

The special exhibit, titled Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary, includes original costumes, props, historical documents and artifacts related to the creation of Star Trek. The life, writings and visionary efforts of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry are highlighted.

I blogged about the exhibit the weekend it opened here.

Well, check out what I saw today!

New additions include costumes worn by actress Majel Barrett, primarily from her role as Lwaxana Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Majel Barret was Gene’s wife. You might recall she also played nurse Christine Chapel in Star Trek: The Original Series. Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was often called the First Lady of Star Trek.

In addition, amazing works of Star Trek art now decorate one museum wall! These large, inventive LEGO brick character portraits and scene recreations, assembled by a master builder, will blow your mind!

I visited the Comic-Con Museum today to listen to an interesting Will Eisner Week panel concerning the use of comic books and graphic novels in education. I’ll blog about that shortly!

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!

La Mesa’s famous movie history remembered!

In the early 20th century, La Mesa was home to the American Film Manufacturing Company. Some of the most popular movies of the time were filmed around San Diego!

The historic Wolf Building, at 8360 La Mesa Boulevard, has a plaque that recalls how the city was a pioneer in early motion pictures. The American Film Manufacturing Company made this new building and adjacent lot its home from August 1911 to July 1912. They created over one hundred “Flying A” Western “one-reelers” while in La Mesa…

According to this Wikipedia article, Flying “A” made over 150 films in San Diego County. The films were usually western adventures, comedies or an occasional local documentary…

The popular movie actors would make appearances at La Mesa parades and public events.

I’ve photographed the Wolf Building as it appears today. The Corner Store shoppers who haven’t read the nearby plaque probably don’t realize they’re experiencing a bit of motion picture history!

Also, I’ve posted two public domain images. The advertisements from the American Film Manufacturing Company are dated a few years after the studio departed La Mesa for Santa Barbara.

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!

Spider-Man comes home to San Diego!

The first reviews of Spider-Man: No Way Home are coming in and it’s going to be awesome! By all accounts the movie is going to be an epic multiversal thrill ride that brings laughs, tears, fond memories and cheers! Are you stoked, too?

Did you know that Spider-Man makes his home in San Diego? It sure seems that way. Because I see him in the city frequently. At least, I see a lot of him when Comic-Con comes around!

Enjoy this collection of Spider-Man cosplay photos that I’ve taken over many years of walking around downtown during San Diego Comic-Con. If you’d like to see hundreds of cool photographs of Comic-Con related stuff, just click 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!

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!

Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek at the Comic-Con Museum.

The Comic-Con Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park opened this weekend. One of the museum’s inaugural exhibits is titled Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary. Gene Roddenberry was the creator of Star Trek.

Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary celebrates the achievements of a writer and producer whose storied life was filled with optimism about the human race and our shared future. That optimism was embodied in Star Trek, and is one very big reason why generations of fans have loved the many television series and movies in the enduring science fiction franchise.

I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and reruns of the original Star Trek series. I loved the space travel, strange new worlds, sense of wonder and discovery, how Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov . . . Picard, Riker, Data, Deanna, Geordi, Beverly, Worf . . . and a family of diverse characters overcame strange, sometimes daunting challenges, mostly using their moral sense and intelligence, never losing their faith in the potential good of humanity.

I loved the philosophical themes and the alien encounters. It all was fun, original, thought-provoking, exciting. I still enjoy watching the original series, even if the special effects are dated. My attachment to Star Trek is permanent. Like legions of other fans.

So, obviously, I was excited to view this major exhibit at the newly opened Comic-Con Museum. Gene Roddenberry’s creative genius and humanity is on full display–his writings, sketches, quotes, screenplays–plus there are original props and costumes from Star Trek.

If you’re a fan of Star Trek and happen to be in San Diego, this is a must see exhibition.

Here’s a little of what you’ll discover…

A colorful pathway through the exhibit details the life of Gene Roddenberry. He was a World War II pilot, police officer and Hollywood writer, before launching his enduring idea of Star Trek.
Original costumes from Star Trek productions on display.
The optimism and imagination of a curious mind are recalled.
Lexoriter word processor used by Roddenberry writing scripts for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Roddenberry’s personal film projector used to screen Star Trek episodes at home.
Historical documents, letters, artwork and scripts are displayed, pertaining to the creative work of Gene Roddenberry.
Lyrics to the musical theme from Star Trek written by Roddenberry.
Star Trek communicators foresaw today’s cellphone technology. “The Menagerie” script of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, Gene’s wife and actress who portrayed Nurse Chapel.
May Gene Roddenberry’s hopeful, positive world view Live Long and Prosper!

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!

Gaslamp chalk art promotes Comic-Con cosplay!

I spotted some cool chalk art this morning as I walked through San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. Star Wars characters and a Ghostbusters graphic had been created in front of the Blarney Stone Pub on Fifth Avenue.

It appears the chalk art promotes a Star Wars/Mandalorian cosplay contest at 9 pm on Friday, during Comic-Con Special Edition. I’m not sure if it will be held here or elsewhere.

I took these photos of the artwork…

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!