Feeling out of it

There’s a billboard along the 10 Freeway in Ontario that I’ve been seeing on my drive into work, touting Ron White, who’ll be performing at Pechanga, and my question has been, who is Ron White? Is he a singer? A comedian?

This happens to all of us, of course, but in my case, I’m in tune enough that I generally know the names of people on billboards, or can guess from the name or context what they do, what type of music it is, whatever. But “Ron White,” with a photo of a fifty-something white man with a small smile? Could be a country singer.

Since I follow music very closely and didn’t recognize his name, though, my guess was he wasn’t a singer but rather a comic, which turns out to be the case, now that I’ve looked it up. According to his Wikipedia page, “White toured with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy as part of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.” Those guys I’ve heard of — although they have more memorable names — which makes me wonder if White is the Jose Carreras of the bunch. (You know, the third tenor, after Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.)

Still, on my next drive into work, I’ll know who Ron White is — and so will you, if you see one of those billboards.

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For its engagement at the Fox Pomona Theater in May 1933, “King Kong” was accompanied by an amazing prop: a life-sized prop from the movie of Kong’s head, shoulders and chest. (Thanks to Friends of the Pomona Fox for the great photos.)

He’s really being mobbed in the scene above. Don’t people know King Kong doesn’t like to be crowded?

* Update: Evidently the crowd was superimposed or Photoshopped atop the original photo before it got to me. More information when I get it. The Kong head really was there, as the photo below makes clear.

In making the movie, Kong was mostly an 18-inch puppet, but this prop, a hand and a foot were all made at full scale for certain scenes in which closeups and human interaction were necessary.

Note in the photos that the Fox has its original marquee (the current one was installed in the 1950s) and that whoever put up the letters forgot the “i before e except after c” rule. Click on the photos for a larger view.

After the jump is an advertisement from the May 27, 1933 Prog and a story from same day’s issue, both taken from microfilm.

“King Kong” returns to the Fox at 2 p.m. Sunday for an 80th anniversary screening. They won’t have the giant head, but they will have a modern version of a giant arm and hand, in which you can have your photo taken. Details are here. Look for more in my Wednesday column.

Continue reading “Kong!” »

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Some Crust’s well-aged shelves, new-ish door

I learned a couple of interesting facts recently about Some Crust, the bakery at 119 Yale Ave. that may be as perfect a summation of Claremont as any business in the Village.

There’s been a bakery at that location since 1916 — I’ll leave it to a Claremont expert to give me some names — with the Some Crust name inaugurated in 1978. The Feemster family bought it in 1997 and continues operating it today.

The door is notable for an aged-looking crossbar promoting Mother’s Bread. (Ray Collins, the Mothers of Invention co-founder and Some Crust regular, was once photographed pointing deadpan to the word Mother.) This isn’t the original door but rather was installed in 1993 when the movie “My Girl 2” was filmed downtown. “That was one of the things they put here for set decoration,” manager Scott Feemster told me. Could’ve fooled me (and everyone else).

Inside, however, there’s a very old touch that might not be recognized as such. The shelves behind the counter have been there roughly a century, dating to a dry goods store in that storefront prior to conversion to a bakery in 1916, Feemster said.

There’s a little old and a little new at Some Crust, but it can be hard to tell the difference.

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Restaurant of the Week: I Like Pie

I Like Pie, 175 Indian Hill Blvd. (at 2nd), Claremont

A bake shop named I Like Pie? I’m in, especially since it’s within walking distance of my house. Situated between Le Pain Quotidien and Loving Hut, two of the most frou-frou restaurants in the valley, I Like Pie faces the courtyard fountain in the new part of downtown Claremont, near the theater.

Their pies aren’t wedge-shaped and served on a plate but rather small, round and served in a paper cup, like pills at a doctor’s office. In other words, they’re cupcake-sized. Dessert pies are $4.50 and savory pies are $8. They’re displayed in cases, you order at the counter and they heat them for you if you like. There’s minimal seating, usually enough but crowded at times when movies let out.

From the savory pies I’ve had butternut squash with goat cheese and a shepherd’s pie with turkey, mashed potatoes and carrots, both with tasty fillings in a flaky crust and good for a light meal. (The shepherd’s pie wasn’t heated thoroughly but the counterman put it in again.) From the dessert pies, I’ve had dulce de leche apple and creamy pear with honey drizzle, which were as delicious as they sound. A friend had glazed apple custard and called it sweet and satisfying.

They make sweet pies in 4- and 8-ounce versions; savory pies are 10 ounces. Selection by flavor and size varies by day, but at times they also have variations such as turnovers, toaster tarts, galettes (tiny, free-form pies) as well as traditional round pies for sale in full.

I Like Pie also has scoops of Dr. Bob’s ice cream for $2 and brewed-to-order Intelligentsia coffee, so they care about quality ingredients. It’s hard to break out of the wedge-shaped Platonic idea of pie, but I have to say, this is good stuff. I like it.

The shop’s name comes from a 1941 jazz tune by the Four Clefs, “I Like Pie, I Like Cake.” Listen to it here.

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White smoke seen over Buca di Beppo

A bust of Pope Benedict is pictured above in the popular, tongue-in-cheek Pope Room at the Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant in Claremont on New Year’s Eve. The room, a feature at all the chain’s restaurants, is round, has a round table with a lazy Susan and appropriate art in alcoves and on the domed ceiling. (A friend placed his hat atop the cube, where it seems to float above the Pope’s head.)

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Walt Whitman, Upland both worth singing

In the spirit of “why not?,” as well as the spirit of trying to entice people to read my city council coverage, I melded Walt Whitman’s epic poem “Song of Myself” into my account of the latest Upland council meeting. (Probably doing a disservice to both.) One thing’s certain, nobody else has ever done it before. Read my column here¬†and let me know what you think.

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