Do you know the name and story of Biddy Mason? Not enough people do. She was brought to San Bernardino a slave in 1851, won her freedom in court in 1856 and became a nurse and midwife in downtown Los Angeles, a landowner and a philanthropist. I tell her remarkable story in Sunday’s column. It also answers the question of which historical figure with a connection to San Bernardino led me to take Metrolink last weekend, as hinted in last Wednesday’s column. Some guessed right; others guessed Wyatt Earp or Edith Head.
Responding to Sunday’s column on the KFXM tiger, reader Don J. sent me a blog post about rival KMEN, the San Bernardino station that helped bring the Rolling Stones to the United States (the subject of several columns of mine in the past year, for any latecomers).
Jason Rosenthal’s “The Southern Californian” devoted a 2015 post to KMEN’s four (in his view) claims to distinction, involving the Beach Boys, DJ John Peel, Jimmy Webb’s song “Up, Up and Away” (!) and, yes, the Stones.
I write about a former San Bernardino radio station, and its Riverside tiger, in Sunday’s column. History can be fun!
Two detailed commentaries came in about the 1970 Jimi Hendrix concert at which rioting fans got sprayed with tear gas by police. I might wish they’d come in before my June 21 column on Hendrix rather than afterward, but on the other hand, they made for a most excellent follow-up, which makes up my Sunday column.
Third in a sort-of series, I write about the Rolling Stones’ third (of four) concerts at San Bernardino’s Swing Auditorium in Friday’s column, 55 years to the day of the show itself. I’m a little amazed how much information I was able to find from various sources about one 1960s concert, although I thought that the first two times too. We’ll resume this series in July 2021, the 55th anniversary of the fourth concert.
Rick Gonzalez has been cutting hair in San Bernardino since 1957. Now 84, he closed his shop Tuesday after seeing a few last customers, some of whom have been coming to him for decades. I observe his last morning and write about it for Wednesday’s column. Above, Gonzalez works on Hank Valance, 81, a customer since about 1960.
You probably know, at least if you’re of the right age, that Sammy Davis Jr. lost an eye. But did you know he lost his eye in San Bernardino?
That happened 65 years ago. I write about that bit of notoriety, the crush of celebrities who visited him in the hospital and the star-studded benefit concert he led four years later on behalf of the hospital, all in Sunday’s column.
Trivia note: I knew about the accident after, years ago, being told that it had happened in Cucamonga and researching it only to find that was a bum tip. But I only learned about the benefit concert last summer, when I looked at Swing Auditorium’s Wikipedia entry before writing about the Rolling Stones’ concerts there. At that point I decided I needed to write about the accident’s 65th anniversary when it came up. Sometimes one column leads to another…
As promised — or threatened? — I return to the subject of the Rolling Stones in San Bernardino on the anniversary of their second concert at Swing Auditorium, Oct. 31, 1964. This has an interesting angle, as a teen who covered the concert, and interviewed the band, for the San Bernardino Sun went on to become a well-regarded rock journalist. I tell that story in Wednesday’s column.
In my third (!) column about the Rolling Stones relating to San Bernardino, two cousins tell me about a teenage adventure in which they went to LAX to see the band arrive on June 3, 1964. Their moms and siblings came along. Also, a man shares the story of watching the band flee Swing Auditorium after their first concert there, and, jumping ahead to a couple of weeks ago, a friend tells me about her adventure with the band at the Rose Bowl concert. So many adventures, all in Sunday’s column.
Because almost all reader comments for my Rolling-Stones-at-Swing-Auditorium column were squeezed out last week, I was planning a follow-up for Sunday. I wrote a few paragraphs Thursday before I headed home. And then, greeting me Friday morning was a most excellent email, plus two vintage photos, that elevated the whole effort. Read how an 18-year-old girl in San Bernardino helped turn the city on to this unknown band from England in Sunday’s column.