Article from the 6/23/2017 Catalina Islander

"INTERESTING/UNUSUAL QUESTIONS/COMMENTS CONCERNING CATALINA ISLAND"
Getting off the boat, "Where is the ocean and where is Avalon?"
"Where is the bridge connecting Catalina to the Mainland?"
"Where do you rent fish food?"
"Can you drink the water here?"
"What is the primary language spoken here?  English?"
 
 
MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE OCEAN:  Over the last two columns, I have shared my feeling about "Mother Ocean" (you can check out these columns and ALL of my past ones, www.catalinaislandman.com), but I have forgotten to talk about actually being in the action.  I have been "told" that I started swimming at around 18 months.  I would be down at the beach and crawl to the water's edge, get wet, go back up, come down again, REPEAT!  As the harbor rarely experienced waves of any consequence, this maneuver was quite safe.  Eventually I made it down and stayed for a while.  I have always LOVED to swim beneath the surface, rather than above; more like a dolphin than a sea lion.  "Duke" Fishman used to call me "Champ" and claimed that he taught me to swim, and he had for countless others, but I am afraid that he was amiss with his recollections this time!
MY FIRST PARADE:  As many of you know, I "came out" on May 21, as part of a community celebration of my 70th birthday (really May 24) and my attempt at a "legacy" to be the "voice" and "poster child" for those desiring to make their own journeys of self-realization.  On June 11, starting at the "Wrigley Stage" and ending up at the Casino, there was a "LGBTQ EQUALITY MARCH" and I attended!  My new roommate, and new Senior Assistant Manager of our local US Bank Branch, Lesley Surratt, offered to accompany me on this first endeavor into my acceptance of myself!  It was a GREAT experience!  There were approximately 150 participants from across the country, most from the mainland, but we had a respectable local turnout.  As Mayor Ann Marshall was at my personal "celebration" as well as participating in this event, she made public mention of my "coming out", which was met with quite a positive response.  It was also acknowledged that a number of "straights" were there, including Lesley, to show their support and solidarity!
NEW BUSINESSES:  I am proud to include Jon Council among my good friends and he has just opened up his "Avalon Diving History Exhibit and Marine Animal Rescue Program" at the Casino, location of the old Art Gallery.  Although only seeing it briefly, I was taken by ALL of the memorabilia that he had amassed and he was even showing old episodes of "Sea Hunt", which were shot off our coast!  Admission is FREE, but donations are happily accepted to help defray the costs of his rescue missions.  A MUST SEE!
Jeremy Eldridge and Justin Ganoe have just set up a new business, "Inno-Vapor"/"Catalina Vapor Shop", at the 161 Metropole, just up from the "Hermosa Hotel".  Let them share their "tobacco free" concept with you.  Opening Saturday, June 17.
 
"BLESS THE BEASTS AND THE CHILDREN"
 
Since 1909, and not a single year has been missed, over 500 movies and television shows have been made on Catalina Island!  Needless to say, I have seen my fair share of these productions.  As Dad was Mr. Wrigley's "Chief Engineer", I was driven all over the Island on a regular basis and so was privy to these filmings, no matter where they were shot.
My earliest recollection was in 1952, when I was 5 years old.  They were shooting "MISS SADIE THOMPSON" at the "Isthmus"/"Two Harbors".  It was an updated version of "RAIN" and "SADIE THOMPSON", both classic films made on Catalina.  A beautiful starlet by the name of Rita Hayworth was the star and I remember seeing many "big people" watching her as she would run down the beach, SCREAMING and then go back to where she started and run down again and scream again!  She did this a number of times, but NO ONE went up to her to find out what was wrong or try to help her!  They just stood there SMILING, especially the men, including my father!  I was terribly upset and kept asking Dad why nobody was helping her and he kept telling me to keep my voice down!  Only much later did I find out that this was "only a movie" and she was rehearsing her "scene", until she did it "right".  NOW I UNDERSTOOD!
Skipping ahead 20 years, for those of you old enough to remember the early '70's and the singer, Karen Carpenter, you must  remember the song that she and her brother, Richard, made popular, "Bless The Beasts And The Children".  It was the theme song for the l971 Stanley Kramer film by the same name.  It never really made it big at the box office and I have yet to find ANYONE who remembers seeing it when it was first released.  Although it did have some memorable "Catalina" scenes making it worth your while to locate and watch,.
Like 99+% of all productions made on Catalina, no recognition was given as to the actual location.  This movie was hardly the exception!  The story was supposed to take place in Prescott, Arizona, of all places (we've been used for the South Pacific, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexico, Africa, Greece, Mid-West, SO WHY NOT ARIZONA!?!
The plot is unique and actually has a message.  Throughout the U. S., there were, and unfortunately still probably are, ranches where exotic animals are kept and then "Great White Hunters" are permitted for exorbitant amounts of money to shoot these "enclosed" tame animals, like "shooting fish in a rain barrow (boy, you don't hear that old expression much anymore, but, remember, I AM OLD!). 
In this case, these "wild animals" were "North American Bison".  In the story, there is a summer camp set up to handle delinquent teen-age boys and attempts are made to turn their lives around by making them work.  It just so happens to be near one such "game hunting preserve".  The boys, one of whom was TV's "Lost In Space" star, Billy Mumy, find out about this practice and decide to release the bison before the hunters have the opportunity to kill them. Of course, that is ALL that I am going to give away of the story in hopes that you might want to watch the film yourself.
The movie was shot in the Interior, about a ten minute drive just East of Two Harbors.  If is where you can still find fenced in areas and where deer and bison used to be corralled and moved up shuts to board trucks for passage to the mainland.  This boys' camp was set up across the road so that the movie company didn't have to do much relocating.  The poor bison were herded into an enclosed area, which had been known to flood. The local "cowboys", which we still had at the time, had to stay with these scared animals to guard them against getting hurt.  You see, our bison rarely stampeded or had any reason to, so to make them run, low level charges were set off  around them!  PRE CONSERVANCY!
Along with myself, my father, "Duke Fishman", Carolyn Bostrom, and her daughter, Patricia Hayes, and others stationed ourselves across the road from all of this action.  I decided to obtain a better vantage point, so I climbed up a tree (some think I have been up one most of my life!).   Whenever Mr. Kramer would direct a "shot", I would yell out to him, "Stanley, that was good, keep it!" or "Better shoot it again!"  Mr. Kramer would then turn around and give me a dirty look, but as we were on "company property", and away from the "action on the set", he really wasn't in the position to impede my constructive suggestions, except to produce a very "forgettable" film!  Maybe if he had taken my comments into consideration, he might have produced a better product.  Well, this was my first and last movie that I ever "co-directed" and I guarantee you WON'T see my name in the credits!
Would LOVE to get feedback on this or any of your other thoughts, directly, chuckliddell.catalina@gmail.com