Welcome to This Date in Seal Beach History

This blog project is devoted to exploring Seal Beach’s past one day at a time.  It is individually run and maintained and is not affiliated with the City of Seal Beach or the Seal Beach Historical Society.
If you want to share posts or images from This Date in Seal Beach, please credit the site and share a link back to us if possible. The writing is copyrighted and all rights are reserved, so please do not share the work done here as your own.
Each post has a comment section, but you can contact me directly at mike@sealbeachhistory.com
If you enjoy the posts, the vintage photos, and the research shared on this blog, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.
Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal by click here to visit my Paypal donation page. Thank you.
This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, totebags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.
My sincerest gratitude to all the people have donated to this project so far. Here’s the current list of the This Date in Seal Beach sponsors. I’ll add more sponsor names as donation come in.

– Michael Dobkins

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July 16th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1938, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed into Seal Beach at 11:40 a.m. on his way to San Diego for a west coast fishing vacation.

The Presidential motorcade stopped briefly in Seal Beach as a Los Angeles County patrol car guard passed escort duties to Orange County police officials for a forty mile trip through the county on a coast highway lined with throngs of cheering crowds and patriotic decorations. Accompanying President Roosevelt on the motor trip was Senator McAdoo and his wife.

– Michael Dobkins


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If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

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July 15th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1950, the Long Beach Independent’s Round The Town column mentioned that trombonist Turk Murphy and his Dixieland crew were playing a long-term gig at the Garden of Allah and hoped “the building was a solid as the music.”

Turk’s gig at the Garden of Allah started on July 1st when he took over for Pee Wee Hunt. A July 8 Round The Town column also mentioned Turk by mentioning rumors that “the “Garden of Allah out Seal Beach way is having foundation trouble. That old Dixieland man, Turk Murphy, has had the joint shaking for weeks. Regardless of whether the masonry can stand the jive, the customers never seem to get enough.”

For all you twenty-first century hepcats, here’s Turk’s band playing “Canal Street Blues” in March 1950:

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

 

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July 14th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1960, the new lifeguard headquarters went into service on the Seal Beach pier. 

The new headquarters enhanced lifeguard effectiveness in two ways. The higher vantage point from the pier allowed better visibility of distant swimmers and sharks venturing near to shore. The new headquarters and the seven lifeguard towers on the beach were also equipped with telephone for faster and more detailed communications and coordination between the stations. Previously the lifeguards used signal flags to communicate with each other.


2019 Addendum: I received this response from Steve Seymour to this post when it ran originally in 2017:

I think the tower in the pic is the 10th St Hq on the beach. Then it moved to 8th St on the beach, and after that to the current location, except it was single story with a rooftop observation deck accessed from street level where police bldg is now.   The tower on the pier, tower “zero”, was built mid 70’s I believe, and was never a headquarters.

The image above is from a July 14, 1960 Los Angeles Times story. The photo caption identified it as the new pier tower, and the article refers to it as a new headquarters that will help coordinate with the beach towers.

What Steve suggests seems likely when you consider the odd angle the jeep is parked. It makes more sense as being parked on the beach that being awkwardly positioned on the pier. Perhaps an editor who was never on the scene misidentified the photo and assumed that the pier tower was the new headquarters.

As for the pier tower, it might have rebuilt or remodeled in the 70s, but it was definitely there in the sixties as shown in the aerial photos below.


An added benefit for obsessive Seal Beach history buffs (like myself) is that photos showing the pier without a lifeguard tower can now be dated to no later than 1960. For example, this popular postcard was postmarked in 1962, but I’ve always suspected the photo itself was taken a few years earlier in the late 1950s. Now we know it was taken before the tower was built on the pier. 

The tower stood on the west side of the pier as shown in this November 1963 photo.

Here’s a closer view of the pier from the same photo.

This tower was destroyed in 1983 when the pier was washed away by high surf. The current tower on the rebuilt pier was moved to the east side where it still stands today.

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

 

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July 13th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1951, the Covina Argus ran this Pacific Electric advertisement prominently featuring a bus, not a red car trolley, as a speedy ride to Seal Beach and other beachside destinations.

Today we remember Pacific Electric through a romantic haze of nostalgia as an intricate rail system of street cars, but as the Pacific Electric approached mid-century, the company tried to change with the times by shifting as much as it could to non-rail motor buses.

July_13_1951_PE_ad

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

 

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July 12th in Seal Beach History

Gus Mann's Jewel City Cafe

On this date in 1919, a new show had its grand opening at Gus Mann’s Jewel City Cafe. With a new show by Mr. E. G. Wood, America’s foremost revue producer, King Luitpold-worthy meals by Monsieur Alfred Verme, and a jazz orchestra that inspired foot misbehavior, Gus Mann was spinning the human interest story of 1919!

July_12_1919_Jewel_City_Cafe_Show_Opening

Researching Seal Beach history means exposing yourself to a lot of bombast over the years, but Gus Mann (or the copywriter he hired) had a self-promotional style unique even to Seal Beach.

What is unusual about this particular ad campaign in Seal Beach history is that over the decades, many businessman, salesmen, and promoters come on to the scene, make wild claims about the overwhelming success that Seal Beach (or Bay City) has become and tries to convince buyers to invest before Seal Beach opportunities become scarce and expensive. This is the standard Seal Beach pitch: Biggest! Most-est! Best-est! Buy now! Now! Now! NOW! Gus takes a gutsier marketing tact. 

First, Gus does something that no one else seems to ever have done: he acknowledges that business has not been as successful as hoped. In fact, his friends are advising him to quit. Gus will have none of that. So now he’s a bit of an underdog now, fighting against the odds. He’s going to give it another go and work even harder this time to entice you to the Jewel City Cafe. How can you resist?

We’re not saying that Gus Mann abandoned the good ol’ Seal Beach hyperbole. In the days leading up to the grand opening of this show, he paid to insert two or three sentence items into the news columns of the Santa Ana Register. 

July 8th 1919

July 8th 1919

July 9, 1919

July 9, 1919

July 11, 1919

July 11, 1919

July 12, 1919

July 12, 1919

Even after the opening, Gus spent most of July 1919 promoting the new show.

July 16, 1919

July 16, 1919

JUly 26, 1919

July 26, 1919

Gee, do you think Mrs. Ima Hostess and Mrs. R. U. Slender were real people?

July 31, 1919

July 31, 1919

So was this campaign successful? Like so many endeavors in Seal Beach’s past, the promotional sizzle was fantastic, but the steak ended up being all gristle. 

Jewel City Cafe– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

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July 11th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1920, a Hindu, Salen Shonka, was arrested on a vagrancy charge because he walked about the streets of Seal Beach “at late and unusual hours without apparent reason,” according to the Santa Ana Register.

Mr. Shonka, who operated a fortune-telling booth in Seal Beach for several years and claimed to own property in town, pleaded not guilty the next day and demanded a jury trial via his lawyer, G. M. Spicer. Mr. Shonka was released under $50 bail and assigned a trial date of July 21.

Unfortunately, no follow-up story was printed, so Mr. Shonka’s fate remains a mystery.

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

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Bonus July 10th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 2019, a bonus “This Date in Seal Beach History” update was posted.

We’re more than halfway through 2019 with 191 dates covered with at least one post. This year, I’ve written 46 new posts to fill in blank dates or to supplement a date where the original post was, well, duller than I would like. I’ve also been adding new photos and research to old posts for a little extra value to the reruns.

Currently the blog is rerunning previously written posts until mid-September, and I still have 27 new posts to research and write to cover blank dates in September, October, and November. When I finish writing those, I will be done with this project except for adding new material to rerun posts and writing a single February 29 post in 2020 for the leap year.

There’s still enough material and Seal Beach history to do at least one more year of dates, but I won’t be coming back to Seal Beach history for at least two years, and I’m not sure I’ll do it the same format. I’ll see how I feel about it in 2021 if I’m still around.

In the meantime, we have 174 Seal Beach history posts to enjoy between today and New Years. If you’ve enjoyed the work I’ve done so far, please consider making a contribution towards my research and image processing costs at my Paypal account here.

For the rest of July, I’ll be researching and writing 11 new September posts, including the long-promised post on the day Seal Beach kicked Billy Jack out of town.


There’s also been a lot of interest lately about Seal Beach’s role in the Apollo program due to the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20. You can find posts about Apollo here.

Two months after the moon landing, Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins visited the Rockwell (now Boeing) Facilities in Seal Beach. The visit was covered in this post for September 26, 1969.

About fifteen years ago, I won an auction for 67 slides of the Armstrong and Collins visit from the estate sale of the unnamed photographer. Some of the slides from the auction can be seen in the September 26 post. Those slides had been in storage for decades, and the scans I did picked up every scratch, dust speck, and bit of dirt that had accumulated on the slides over those decades. Also the images had faded some, making the final scanned images less than ideal.

So, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Armstrong and Collins visit, I’ve started to slowly do some image restoration on the 67 scans in Adobe Photoshop. Here are a couple examples from the past week:

This is the original scan with hair, scratches, and specks of dust and dirt. It was overcast when these photos were taken, but the image is darker than necessary. (Click on the images for a larger view.)

Now all the scratches and specks have been removed from the image. This was done by magnifying the image from 150% to 400% in Photoshop and going over each inch using imaging tools that replace the damage with colors and textures immediately adjacent to the damage. Care must be taken to not to destroy or distort the actual image while restoring it.

With some adjustments in Photoshop’s exposure tool, the audience in the foreground is a little more visible and distinct. It was an overcast day, and care must be taken to preserve the reality of the day when making adjustments.

Some minor adjustments to the colors to bring out a little more vibrancy and this image is restored.

All of this image editing was done without making any permanent changes to the original scanned file. It remains available for comparison purposes and for future restorations with improved tools (and perhaps better skilled restorers using those improved tools.)

This next image presents some different restoration challenges.

This image also has hair, dust, dirt, and damage, but it’s little hard to see the damage because most of the image is obscured by the darkness in the foreground.

Visible damage has been repaired, but the image remains too dark. You can barely see Neil Armstrong in the center greeting the audience.

After some fiddling with the exposure tool,  you can now see details and colors that were missing from Neil Armstrong, the crowd, and the ground itself. More damage became visible after this adjustment, and those specks and scratches were also repaired.

This may be a matter of taste, but I didn’t feel comfortable that the exposure tool made the Rockwell buildings hazy and misty in the background. It’s a nice artistic effect for movie cinematography, but I didn’t want to lose the historic truth that this was an overcast day. So I masked the crowd in the foreground and made it a distinct layer preserving the the exposure adjustments that I had made.

The edge of the crowd was then feathered slightly so there wouldn’t be as a hard edge when the layer was placed atop a background layer.

The buildings in the background are brought back in their own distinct layer behind the crowd’s layer. The background layer’s exposure is not adjusted, so the overcast light still has an impact on the image of the buildings, making them darker and more solid.

The colors get adjusted slightly for more vibrancy, and the restoration on this image is complete. (Although the boy’s cheeks in lower left corner might be rosier than they actually were in 1969, I’m not going to fiddle with it).

And there you have it — a little glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in preparation for a post on this blog. You’ll be able to see the rest of the restored photos on September 26.

– Michael Dobkins

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July 10th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1959, the Long Beach Independent ran the following advertisement for the opening of Boatswain’s Locker. Note that the address given is 10 Bolsa Avenue.

Today’s locals think of Bolsa Avenue ending at Main Street, but if you look at a map of Seal Beach, you’ll see that Marina Drive continues the path of Bolsa Avenue to the west end on town and crosses the bridge to join Long Beach’s North Marina Drive. Before the Long Beach Marina was built in the late fifties and early sixties, Marina Drive was known as Bolsa Avenue.

July_10_1959_Boatswains_Locker_OpeningMost recently this address belonged to the now closed Ca Everglades and still belongs to  So Cal Sports and Marine Repair.

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

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July 9th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1940, the following ad ran in the Santa Ana Register.

July_9_1940_Psychic_Reader

Just think. Seventy-five years ago, the world’s most eminent business and social advisor did business in Seal Beach at 115 3rd Street, and, even though she stood at the top of her profession, she would not charge her low price of fifty cents unless her customer got the truth.

We wonder. Did Wonderful Louise ever talked shop over lunch with our “Young Psychic Reader?”

This ad ran for a few weeks in July 1940, but the 115 3rd Street shows up in the newspapers a few times over the next thirty years.

In 1943, a classified ad showed the resident at this address was selling a 1935 two door for $100, and then twelve years later, 1955’s resident advertises a rattan furniture set, a Kenmore washer, a Kenmore deluxe iron and a chest of drawer for sale in the same paper’s classifieds.

In November of 1962, the Long Beach Independent article actually names the person living at 115 3rd Street. Artist Dick Swift, an associate professor of art at Long Beach State College, won the Rocco Di Marco purchase prize art award and got his name and address in the local paper.

In 1969, Hayre S. Vurgun, formerly of 115 3rd Street, Seal Beach, California, posted a non-responsibility notice in the Long Beach Independent to disavow any debts, liabilities, or obligations incurred by anyone other than himself.

Finally (in more ways that one), the Long Beach Independent reported that James V. Marousek, 77, of 115 3rd Street, Seal Beach, died on June 15, 1970.

Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

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July 8th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1974, the Long Beach Independent ran the following ad for Joseph’s Unisex at 321 Main Street, the current location of Baytown Realty.  

July_8_1974_Josephs_Unisex– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

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