Sunday, February 23, 2014

If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It -- Go Cross Country Skiing

In the mid 1970s waxless fiberglass cross country skis became popular when European manufacturers such as Fischer, Rossignol and Bonna began importing them to the United States.

I had done my fair share of back packing in the 1960s and 1970s, so after watching the 1976 Olympic Games at Innsbruck I decided what better way to explore mountain trails than to cross country ski them.

In the San Fernando Valley -- where I lived -- lots of wilderness outdoors shops like Sports Chalet, Adventure 16 and Sports Limited began stocking cross country skis, boots, and poles.

In those days the suggested method of sizing cross country skis was to stand with your armed raised and then measure from your wrist to the floor.  For me that meant about 79 1/2 inches or roughly 202 centimeters.  I ended up with a beautiful pair of 205cm Fischer "fishscale" touring skis with 3 pin bindings, a pair 145cm bamboo poles, and Euro size 45 Alpina boots.

My daughter took to the sport like a fish takes to water, so in no time at all we were skiing local trails at Wrightwood, Mount Pinos, and Big Bear Lake.  By the late 1980s my daughter was off to college, and I had started new business, so our cross country skiing days came to an end.  By the time I moved to Chatsworth in 2000, the skis were just so much extra baggage, so I sold them in a garage sale.

It's funny how time changes things and you come to regret decisions made in haste.  I enjoyed watching the cross country skiing and biathlon events at the recent 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.  And, now wish I hadn't sold my old cross country skis several years back, so I went on eBay to see if I could buy replacements.

Quite a bit has changed in XC ski gear since the 1970s, and I was immediately confronted with the problem of which are the best bindings to buy.  The choices included 75 mm, NNN, SNS, NIS and 3 pin bindings from the old school.  I figured "if it ain't broke don't fix it," so I bought a used pair of Fischer 200cm waxless skis with 3 pin bindings, a pair of Exel 145cm poles, and preowned boots all from one eBay seller.  For less than $185.00 I was equipped and ready to hit the trail.

Because of the drought in California the closest place to XC ski is Mammoth Lakes -- a six and a half hour drive north.  Tamarack Lodge at Mammoth Lakes has a wonderful cross country ski center that utilizes summer campgrounds as winter XC ski trails.  The setting is absolutely breathtaking and there are over 20 miles of trails suitable for all skill levels.

You can even rent skis and take a lesson from professionally trained instructors to learn -- or renew -- cross country skiing technique.

My advice is -- if you are in your 70s -- don't lament the things you once did and just go do them again.

- • -

By the way -- the old school 3 pin bindings may take a little more work to put on, but I'm told they give you a tad more control of your skis.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- Richard Boone

Richard Boone (1917 - 1981) was an American born film and television actor who starred in over 50 films.  He is best known for his roles in B-Westerns and for starring in the TV series "Have Gun – Will Travel."

Richard Boone's Santa Susana locations filmography includes:

Hombre (1967) - Paul Newman, Fredric March and Richard Boone (Bell Ranch) 20th Century-Fox

The Robe (1953) - Richard Burton, Jean Simmons and Victor Mature (Corriganville) (Iverson Ranch) 20th Century Fox

"General Electric Theater" (1953) TV Series -- episode Love Is Eternal (1955)

"Have Gun – Will Travel" TV series -- Richard Boone as Paladin (226 episodes, 1957-1963)

"Playhouse 90" (1956) TV Series -- episodes: Tomorrow (1960); The Tunnel (1959) and The Last Clear Chance (1958)

"Cimarron Strip" (1967) TV Series -- episode: The Roarer (1967)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

RIP Shirley Temple Black (1928–2014)

Shirley Temple Black (1928–2014) RIP.  You gave us great joy with your wonderful films.  A few were lensed in Chatsworth:

Wee Willie Winkie (1937) - Shirley Temple, Victor McLaglen, C. Aubrey Smith (Iverson Ranch) 20th Century Fox

Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937) - Eddie Cantor, Tony Martin, Roland Young - 20th Century Fox

I'll be Seeing You (1944) - Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten, Shirley Temple (Chatsworth) Dore Schary Prod.

Fort Apache (1948) - John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple and Pedro Armendáriz (Corriganville) RKO

The Story of Seabiscuit (1949) Shirley Temple, Barry Fitzgerald, Lon McCallister, Rosemary DeCamp (Marwyck) Warner Bros.

She was an American icon that went from a child star during the 1930s to a US Ambassador in the 1960s.  FDR once said of the Depression-era cutie, "As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right." 

One of my all-time favorite Shirley Temple films is John Ford's "Wee Willie Winkie" (1937) which was filmed at the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- Lloyd Bridges

Lloyd Bridges (1913-1998) was an American born film and television actor.  Bridges appeared in more than 200 film and TV titles.  He is the father of actors Beau Bridges and Jeff Bridges.

Lloyd Bridges' Santa Susana locations filmography includes:

The Son of Davy Crockett (1941) starring Bill Elliott, Iris Meredith, Dub Taylor (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

West of Tombstone (1942) starring Charles Starrett, Russell Hayden, Cliff Edwards (Brandeis Ranch)(Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Shut My Big Mouth (1942) starring Joe E. Brown, Adele Mara, Victor Jory (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

North of the Rockies (1942) starring Tex Ritter, Lloyd Bridges, Bill Elliott (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Pardon My Gun (1942) starring Charles Starrett, Alma Carroll, Arthur Hunnicutt (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Hail to the Rangers (1943) starring Charles Starrett, Arthur Hunnicutt, Robert Owen Atcher (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Saddle Leather Law (1944) starring Charles Starrett, Dub Taylor, Vi Athens (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Calamity Jane and Sam Bass (1949) starring Yvonne De Carlo, Howard Duff and Dorothy Hart (Iverson Ranch) Universal

Colt .45 (1950) starring Randolph Scott, Ruth Roman and Zachary Scott (Iverson Ranch) Warner Bros.

Little Big Horn (1951) starring Lloyd Bridges, John Ireland and Marie Windsor (Iverson Ranch) Lippert

The Tall Texan (1953) starring Lloyd Bridges, Lee J. Cobb, Marie Windsor (Iverson Ranch) Lippert

Apache Woman (1955) starring Lloyd Bridges, Joan Taylor, Lance Fuller (Iverson Ranch)(Corriganville) American Releasing

"Playhouse 90" (1956) TV Series -- episodes: Clash by Night (1957), Heritage of Anger (1956)

"Zane Grey Theater" (1956) TV Series -- episodes: starring Image of a Drawn Sword, Ransom (1960), Wire (1958), Time of Decision (1957)

"The Loner" (1965) TV Series -- 26 episodes, 1965-1966 as William Colton

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Classic Hunting and Fishing Watch Fob

During late victorian era and the early years of the twentieth century there was no shortage of popular magazines for the hunting and fishing enthusiast.  

Periodicals such as Outers' Recreation; American Rifleman; Hunter Trader Trapper; Outing Magazine, Forest and Stream, Fur, Fish and Game; and (in Canada) Rod and Gun offered wonderful tales of high adventure with rod and gun for every outdoorsman.

It was probably one of these magazines that offered this delightful bronze watch fob to its readers.  This fob came from London, Ontario, Canada, and features four linked panels with a round medallion at the bottom.  

One side depicts hunting scenes with upland game, powder horns, rifles, and hunters with dogs.  The opposite side offers fishing scenes with rods, creels, tackle, and fishermen in canoes.