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Archive for December, 2009

El Bandito Joaquin Murrieta & The Legend of Zorro ! ~

The Legendary Movie Bandito Zorro was based on a California Legend~

El Bandito Joaquin Murrieta. Was he Real? Was he Killed as some Say? Or Did he Live On in California for Many more years after his rumoured, but not Confirmed Death in the Hills of Central California in 1853 ? This is a Story that Legends, Books, Movies are Made of..and it doesn’t get any more California than That…

Depending on a California pioneer’s point of view in the mid 19th century, Joaquin Murrieta was described by some as a Mexican Robin Hood of El Dorado ~ robbing from the Rich & Giving to the Poor, while others would say he was nothing but a Vicious Desperado ~

Legendary California Bandido Joaquin Murrieta ~ 1850

So many tales have grown up around Murrieta that it is hard to disentangle the fabulous from the factual. There seems to be a consensus that Anglos drove him from a rich mining claim, and that, in rapid succession, his wife was raped, his half-brother lynched, and Murrieta himself horse-whipped. He may have worked as a monte dealer for a time; then, according to whichever version one accepts, he became either a horse trader and occasional horse thief, or a bandit…


A poster advertising the display of the supposed head of Murrieta in Stockton, CA. 1853
On May 11, 1853, Governor of California John Bigler signed a legislative act creating the “California State Rangers“, led by Captain Harry Love (a former Texas Ranger). The California Rangers were paid $150 a month and stood a chance to share the $1,000 governor’s reward offered for Joaquin Carrillo. On July 25, 1853, a group of Rangers encountered a band of armed Mexican men near Panoche Pass in San Benito County, 50 miles from Monterey. A confrontation took place, and two of the Mexicans were killed. One was claimed to be Murrieta, and the other was thought to be Three-Fingered Jack. A plaque (California Historical Landmark #344) near the intersection of State Routes 33 and 198 now marks the approximate site of the encounter.
The Rangers severed Garcia’s hand and the alleged Murrieta’s head as proof of their deaths and preserved them in a jar of alcohol.[1] The jar was displayed in Mariposa CountyStockton, and San Francisco, and later traveled throughout California; spectators could pay $1 to see them. Seventeen people, including a Catholic priest, signed affidavits identifying the head as Murrieta’s, alias Carrillo, so Love and his Rangers accordingly received the reward money.

Is This Head of Jaoquin Murrieta ? Federico says No..!

The head was displayed at Gordons Museum in San Francicso through 1906, when the earthquake of 1906 destroyed that building. The head was originally sold by Billy Henderson of the Califonia Rangers for $35, who returned with it from the Arroyo Cantua where Joaquin met his end.

Joaquin Murrieta and Murrieta’s Well

By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 5, 2009

Inscription. The legend of Joaquin Murrieta is one of the most enduring and fascinating of chapters in California history. Facts, fiction and romantic tales entangle to create a legend of unique aura that had become part of California’s folklore, especially in the Livermore Valley where Joaquin was a frequent visitor.

Trincheras, Sonora 12/4/02 Alberto Murrieta, 92 years old, was the oldest living descendent of Joaquin Murrieta. He lived by himself on a ranch outside Trincheras, Mexico

In the early 1850’s Joaquin Murrieta roamed this land. Most famous as an avenging outlaw or a Robin Hood, Joaquin Murrieta and his men were above everything else horsemen, and of the best of breeds. Wild horses, abundant in those days around the Sacramento Delta, were rounded up by Joaquin and his men and driven to Sonora, Mexico, where they were sold at high prices.

One of Joaquin’s favorite camps was at this spot because he claimed the water here was the best in the country where he rode. This fountain is over the artesian well that Joaquin Murrieta favored to water his herds of wild mustangs.

Dedicated April 16, 1995 ~ Joaquin Murrieta Chapter 13 E Clampus Vitus

Erected 1995 by Joaquin Murrieta Chapter 13 of E Clampus Vitus.

Guy Williams as Zorro ! ~ From the Walt Disney TV Series, ‘The Adventures of Zorro’, early 1960’s.

Fact or Fiction ~ In True California Style the Legend of Joaquin Murrieta inspired the First SuperHero..! Before SuperMan, Hopalong Cassidy, Dick Tracy, SpiderMan, IronMan, Luke SkyWalker, Indiana Jones or even Avatar…There was Zorro..!

Zorro was created in 1919 by pulp writer Johnston McCulley. He has been featured in several books, films, television series, and other media.

Zorro (Spanish for fox) is the secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega (originally Don Diego Vega), a nobleman and master living in the Spanish colonial era of California. Not only is he much too cunning and foxlike for the bumbling authorities to catch, but he delights in publicly humiliating those same foes.

Magazine Cover featuring an original Zorro Story-1919

Zorro (often called Señor or El Zorro in early stories) debuted in McCulley’s 1919 story The Curse of Capistrano, serialized in five parts in the pulp magazine All-Story Weekly.[1] At the denouement, Zorro’s true identity is revealed to all.

Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, on their honeymoon, selected the story as the inaugural picture for their new studio, United Artists, beginning the character’s cinematic tradition. The story was adapted as The Mark of Zorro in 1920, which was a success. McCulley’s story was re-released by the publisher Grosset & Dunlap under the same title, to tie in with the film.

Due to public demand fueled by the film, McCulley wrote over 60 additional Zorro stories starting in 1922. The last, The Mask of Zorro (not to be confused with the 1998 film), was published posthumously in 1959. These stories ignore Zorro’s public revelation of his identity. The black costume that modern audiences associate with the character stem from Fairbanks’ smash hit movie rather than McCulley’s original story, and McCulley’s subsequent Zorro adventures copied Fairbanks’s Zorro rather than the other way around. McCulley died in 1958, just as the Disney-produced Zorro television show was becoming phenomenally successful.

When I was a kid my Favorite T.V. Show was the Disney version of Zorro. He was much cooler than SuperMan or Batman, rode a Black Stallion & Always had a Foxy Senorita on his arm…

Zorro was also a California Homeboy…a True Swashbuckler sporting True California Style.. And as we know, in Calfornia image is Everything, Fact or Fiction…it Doesn’t Really Matter…


California’s BAD GIRL Punk Band – The RUNAWAYS !

California's Faux Fashionistas - THE RUNAWAYS - Creem Magazine 1976

So I thought to Myself…Federico, you’ve got a New Blog..and thus far you’ve written 2 articles on some of the Baddest Boys in California..up to a point. You Owe it to the Ladies of California to keep a Sensitive Balance to things here, so Something for the Ladies…It Turns out in my Early research on these Bad Girls, (including seeing them Rock The Cuckoo’s Nest in Costa Mesa & Whiskey a Go Go Hollywood in 1977-Yeah ! ) there is a Hollywood Biopic Movie being released in 2010 on These Lurid Ladies…

So Let’s Check Them OUT For Reals….

The Story of the RUNAWAYS…California’s First & Fastest All-Girl Punk Band…ROCK ON LADIES…!!!

The Runaways from left to right: Sandy West, Jackie Fox, Cherrie Currie, Lita Ford, Joan Jett.

Runaways Singer Cherie Currrie (r) • Van Nuys 1976 photo© Brad Elterman

Us Boys Were Stoked..! We’d been Listening to the Laid-Back Eagles, or to Get our Ya-Ya’s – The Stones & Even Stonier Led Zeppelin. But Bald-Headed Ian Anderson & Jethro Tull was a Burnout. Guys like Mick & Rod ‘The Mod’ Stewart & The Faces were getting all The Babes Like Bianca & Britt Ekland.  There wasn’t even Really L.A. Radio to Deal with Punk Rockers yet, in 1975. PowerHouse KMET, A GREAT L.A. Radio Station – Played Power Rock like Ted Nugent & Deep Purple & Glam Boys Bowie & T.Rex and then All the Girls went Ga-Ga Glam on Us. The Precursors to Punk.. The Ramones Hadn’t Hit California Yet…They were in New York with David Johansen & the New York Dolls & Iggy Pop. THEN We Heard Some Screaming Rocking GIRLS on the Airwaves- THE RUNAWAYS…AND they Were HOT..!! Their First Big Hit was CHERRY BOMB…So, Well..Yeah !! HOT GIRL ROCKERS…Rocking it in Lingerie & Heels & Shag Haircuts, Leather & Plum Lipstick…Thank You God…Finally !!

The Runaways were formed in late 1975 by drummer Sandy West and rhythm guitarist Joan Jett. They had introduced themselves (on separate occasions) to producer Kim Fowley stating their ideas to form an all-girl band. Fowley, who was always looking for the next big thing, gave Jett’s phone number to West. The two met on their own to discuss the possibilities. After rehearsing together, the pair contacted Fowley to let him hear the results. Fowley then helped the girls find the other members.

Joan Jett • Tropicana Motel, L.A. 1978 photo© Brad Elterman

Although Fowley would continue to take credit in the press for creating the band and the music, he would later admit, “I didn’t put The Runaways together, I had an idea, they had ideas, we all met, there was combustion and out of five different versions of that group came the five girls who were the ones that people liked”.

Starting as a power trio with bassist Micki Steele, The Runaways began the party and club circuit around Los Angeles. In 1976, they added 16-year-old lead guitarist Lita Ford and lead singer Cherie Currie to the lineup. Bassist Micki Steele left the group, later resurfacing in The Bangles. An unknown local bassist named Peggy Foster took over on bass but also left after only a few weeks. Kim Fowley then brought Ann Boleyn, who later went on to perform with Hellion and Detente, as the bass player. Finally, Jackie Fox (who had originally auditioned for the lead guitar spot) was added on bass, and the line up was complete.

I worked in an Industrial Park in Costa Mesa, just next to the Legendary Rock Club- The Cuckoo’s Nest. Us Boys heard the Runaways were going to play it & we were Stoked ..! Back then you had to go to a store like Wallich’s Music City or a Ticket Agency to get your tickets..No Internet for pre-sale. That’s where guys like Damone in ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont’ came from..We would go wrangle a bunch of tickets & scalp them to people during lunch in the Quad at school, we would charge like $15. instead of the $7.50 they cost us at Wallich’s. ( I think I paid around $40. for 2 tickets to see Bowie with Mick Ronson & The Spiders from Mars in San Diego…I was THE MAN with those tickets & had a Very Hot Date that night…) but, back to our story…

We made it to the Show- in my Bad new Black ’78 Chevy Van with killer Mag rims & Pioneer SuperTuner 8-Track blasting our Girls..Styled out in our Zeppelin Jeans, Platforms & Shags…

There were often confrontations with the punks from the Cuckoos Nest and the cowboys from Zubies, which shared a parking lot. The police were constantly harassing the punks. Club owner Jerry Roach fought a number of court cases in an effort to keep the club alive, and in his 1981 film on the subject Urban Struggle he suggested that perhaps this was the first time that the authorities would stamp out a fad. [1] The club was a hub of the punk rock in California. The club is notable as being home to the first slam pit. Bands such as 999The RamonesThe Damned, the New York DollsBlack Flag (band)TSOLCircle JerksD.I., and Social Distortion all played gigs there. The club was memorialized in the Vandals song “Pat Brown,” a song about a clubgoer who actually tried to run the cops into the ground.

The RAMONES - Cuckoo's Nest 1978

Runaways-1978 Looking & Sounding HOT !

In the summer of 1977 the group arrived in Japan for a string of sold out shows. The Runaways were the number 4 imported music act in Japan at the time, behind only Led ZeppelinABBA, and Kiss in terms of album sales and popularity. The girls were unprepared for the onslaught of fans that greeted them at the airport. The mass hysteria was later described by guitarist Jett as being “like Beatlemania[3]. While in Japan, The Runaways had their own TV special, did numerous television appearances and released a live album that went gold. While in Japan, bassist Jackie Fox left the band shortly before the group was scheduled to appear at the 1977 Tokyo Music Festival.[4] Jett temporarily took over bass duties and when the group returned home they replaced Fox with 17 year old Vicki Blue.

Singer Cherie Currie then left the group and Jett, who previously shared vocals with Currie, took over lead vocals full time. The band released their 4th album,Waiting For The Night and started a world tour with their friends The Ramones. Currie released a solo LP Beauty’s Only Skin Deep, produced by Kim Fowley, and began a separate U.S. tour, which included her identical twin sister Marie.


Due to disagreements over money and the management of the band, The Runaways and Kim Fowley parted ways in 1978. The group quickly hired new management, who also worked for Blondie and Suzi Quatro. When the group split with Fowley, they also parted with their record label Mercury/Polygram, to which their deal was tied. In the Edgeplay documentary, members of the group (especially Fox and Currie) as well as the parents of Currie and West, have accused Fowley and others assigned to look after the band of using divide and conquer tactics to keep control of the band, as well as verbal and sexual abuse of the band members.

Bassist Vicki Blue left the group and was replaced by Laurie McAllister. The band reportedly spent much time enjoying the excesses of the rock n’ roll lifestyle during this time. They partnered with Thin Lizzy producer John Alcock, (after Jett’s future partner Kenny Laguna turned down the job) to record their last album And Now … The Runaways.

The band played their last concert on New Year’s Eve Day of 1978 and broke up in April 1979.

The Runaways Paved The Way for Other Girl Crossover Bands like The Go-Go’s, Pat Benatar , Heart (? Borderline at best), Blondie, & looking ahead to Ladies Like Courtney Love, A TRUE Rocker in her own right. Listen to Their Music & You Will Definitely Hear The RUNAWAYS-

The First True California QUEENS OF NOISE ! Come & Get it Boys  !

Runaways-CHERRY BOMB 45rpm Single

California’s Baddest HotRodding Family • The Chrismans ~ 1948-1965

What Was the Baddest Hot Rod I ever Saw..? Jack Chrisman in his Nitro-Burning Comet Super Cyclone~Fontana Drags, 1965

Ed Losinski/Chrisman’s Garage ’32 Highboy-El Mirage Dry Lake-1949

In the early 1950’s, Compton was a Respectable, Sleepy Suburb of L.A. I know, my Aunt Ruth & Uncle Bill lived there in a little white house with roses & a Bird Bath in the backyard.

Art & Lloyd Chrisman lived in Compton, too, and the Chrisman’s Garage turned out some of the Nastiest, most Innovative, Well-Designed -Built, Fast & Feared Hot Rods anywhere.

This is the Story of the Chrisman’s – California’s Baddest HotRodders.

In 1950 Art & Lloyd had been racing a modified ’32 Ford roadster on the dry lakes like Harper & El Mirage, north of L.A., near Palmdale in the Mojave. Then in 1953 they set their sights on the Salt Flats at Bonneville & built the nastiest Ford coupe they could conjure up. Based on a 1930 ‘A’ Coupe, Art & Lloyd built a very hi-tech for its day-tube frame, dropped in an injected, bored & stroked Flathead V8, running on a 50/50 Nitromethane & Pump Gas mix – behind the driver with a sectioned, lightened chop-top body channelled over the frame, and an ingenious streamlined nose made from 2 ’40 Ford hoods laid top-to-bottom, the Chrisman’s built what could be considered the world’s first Fuel ‘Funny Car’. A design concept basically shared by all Fuel dragsters & Funny Cars racing today, over 50 years later. but no one knew that…yet.

The Chrismans roll out the very High-Tech Chrisman Coupe – ‘Straight Outa Compton’, 1952

2 Very Rare Photos ~ The Chrisman Roadster & Coupe in the Background, Bonneville

The Chrisman Coupe • Wendover Motel, Utah ~ Ready to Make History

In 1954 the Chrismans returned to Bonneville, with a new Ford V8 in the Coupe, and used its previous engine for the Roadster, now fielding 2 cars on the Salt, and sponsoring a third. It would be 15 years before other Race Teams would have the organization, skill and funding to field 2 and 3-car teams. Today it takes millions of company sponsorship dollars to do so. Sporting a new Super-Flathead V-8, with Ardun ‘Hemi’ heads, the predecessor to all current drag-racing engines, The Baddest Motor Scooter of its Day. With about 285-300 hp available, the Chrisman Coupe was approaching 200 mph on the salt.

In 1955 The Chrisman Boys returned again, this time with a blown Chrysler Hemi, capable of pushing the Coupe well over 200 mph. The Chrismans withdrew from competition after a friend was killed that day in another car. Shortly thereafter the Chrisman Coupe was sold, never to be raced (by Art & Lloyd) again. In 2008, the restored version of this car was sold at auction for over $500,000.00 and is displayed at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, not far from where it was built in the Chrisman’s Garage in Compton, not 5 miles away, 50-plus years before.

Evil Chrisman Bros. Coupe- Bonneville 1954. Nasty & Feared by the Competition.

The Chrisman Coupe set up for Drag Racing, Pomona, CA 1954 

In between runs, The Chrisman Coupe chasing the 200MPH Club at Bonneville

Jack Chrisman ‘SideWinder’ Dragster-Lion’s, Long Beach 1959

Keeping it All in the Family, along came nephew Jack Chrisman, following in his Father’s and Uncle’s footsteps…in the late 50’s, Jack built early innovative race cars for the dragstrip like the ‘SideWinder’ – one of the first with a rear-engine (and sideways-mounted, for balance), preceding the current practice not widely used until 15  years after this car was first built & ran, in 1959. About 5 years later, having earned a reputation as some of the Baddest HotRodders Anywhere, and now getting some albeit, Undercover Financing from the Ford Motor Company, Jack Chrisman stuffed a leftover 427 Big-block Ford engine into a brand-new ’64 Mercury Comet. My Mom drove the innocuous economy car street version. Jack Chrisman unleashed his Monster Comet on the Drag Strip and sanctioning body NHRA didn’t even know what to call it or how to classify it, the Ultimate Sleeper – The World’s First ‘Funny Car’. Chrisman created a spectacular Mind-Blowing Crowd – Pleaser – a California Hot Rod Revolution that would set Drag Racing on its ear, and Detroit scrambling to create cars to emulate that Evil ‘MuscleCar’ Style….The Chrisman Comet Super Cyclone. A Small, Safe-looking Family Car with a 750-horsepower Monster Motor . I saw it when I was 8 years old and, having seen a lot of Hot Rods already at that age, the sight of what looked like Mom’s Car laying down 500 feet of Nitro-burning tire smoke at 160 mph changed my life forever. The Baddest Hot Rod I ever saw.

Art, Lloyd & Jack Chrisman had and would go on to build several other Winning, Feared, and ultimately Legendary Hot Rods and Race Cars over 30 years, some of which now reside in Museums. Not all are shown here – But to me, because of their innovations – and adoption of into a sport known for design, technical innovation and  by nature, always moving forward – These famous Chrisman Dragsters are the most noteworthy.

The Compton, California Chrisman Boys, did first and best, initially without major financial sponsorship what would Evolve into the Multi-Million Dollar Industry that has become Today’s Spectacular Spectator Sport -Nitro-Burning Top Fuel & Funny Car Drag Racing- California Style.

Jack Chrisman-Nitro-Burning Blown Hemi Super Cyclone- The 1st ‘Funny Car’ -1964

True California Style…

Steve McQueen & Darryl Hannah exude true California Style…Irresistible, Alpha Individuals always ready for Action & Fun in the Sun….

McQueen with Triumph Rickman Metisse - The Guy knows his Gear

McQueen's Hollywood driveway with '63 Ferrari Lusso • Shidizzle !

Devastating Darryl • Malibu 1992

Clint, Steve & Peter Styling it in the 7o’s !


Clint Eastwood-On the Set of 2 Mules for Sister Sara-1970. There's just a Certain Amount of Style you Don't See very often anymore...in People, Clothes, Wheels...These Guys set the mark..Marilyn Manson & Justin Timberlake weren't even Specks in Space. CandyAsses.



Steve McQueen & XKSS D-type Jaquar, Trancas Beach Malibu, 1974


2nd Generation Hollywood Royalty Peter Fonda- Cannes 1978 –


Peter Fonda - 6.3 Mercedes- Pure EuroTrash Style 1978