Column: RC deli man learns what’s good about goodbye

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Above, Guido Sciortino makes a sandwich at his deli.

Sunday’s items column begins with an update on Guido Sciortino, who was inundated with customers after word got out that he was retiring. After that, I’ve got yet another “Mad Men” connection to the Inland Valley, this time in dialogue; news of two notable Pomona concerts; and a brief account of the Daily Bulletin’s team performance (in a word, lame) in last week’s Pomona Public Library Trivia Bee.

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Cucamonga deli man Guido Sciortino never fell out of flavor

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I got to spend some time with Guido’s Deli proprietor Guido Sciortino on Monday, watching him work, seeing him interact with customers and asking questions when no one was waiting. The sign says Guido’s Pizza but everybody calls it Guido’s or Guido’s Deli, since he hasn’t made a pizza in years — one of the quirks that made this story irresistible.

He’s retiring May 31 after some 57 years of serving customers at Guido’s and his earlier post at Santolucito’s. You can read about him in my Wednesday column.

Below, Sciortino talks to Anita Schroeder and her mother, Marian Michael, whom he’s known for decades. Schroeder was soon wiping away tears. Below that, Sciortino assembles a sandwich for a customer. At bottom, the Guido’s menu; click on the photo for a larger view.

Also, you can watch a short video of a customer interaction.

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Column: Shirtless Bro: a clothes encounter with a 909 celeb

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For Wednesday’s column, I found and scored an interview with Clay Narey, the Rancho Cucamonga man who asked out a KTLA reporter live on the air at the scene of the Etiwanda Fire. I didn’t know what to expect, but Narey had more depth than you would think based on the viral TV moment. (Then again, he would almost have to, wouldn’t he?)

After our interview, I had Narey drive me up to the scene of the TV encounter. He found it without much difficulty. He took off his shirt for a photo and donned the same cap he wore that day, with its logo that reads Fragile Ocean, a clothing brand.

We also shot a short video interview. He wanted his shirt on for that, and that was fine. Watch the 60-second video here.

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‘Shirtless bro’ gives IE a black eye

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By now you’ve no doubt heard about the bare-chested, puppy-holding man in Rancho Cucamonga who, asked by a KTLA reporter at the Etiwanda Fire if he lived in the neighborhood, replied, “Wow, you’re super pretty. You want to go on a date sometime?” Reporter Courtney Friel reminded him he was live on the air.

The encounter went viral. As of Friday, the search phrase “shirtless bro KTLA” had more than 26,000 results. Here’s a good one from the NY Daily News, complete with the video, a must-watch. The video has 2.6 million views on YouTube and was featured on Yahoo’s home page (fitting since he’s the ultimate yahoo).

“Another proud moment for the Inland Empire,” I remarked on Facebook and Twitter.

“The guy has plenty of confidence,” Joe Pattison wrote on my Facebook page. “The puppy trick is a proven icebreaker.”

We journalists generally hate person-on-the-street interviews, as random people have little of interest to say, especially off the top of their head, but this one was clearly a worst-nightmare scenario. Friel was flustered, probably not by the man’s physique, but she recovered and later tweeted about the encounter, joking that the man must not have noticed her wedding ring.

She asked Twitter followers for guesses where the man might have offered to take her on a romantic outing. I suggested Fuddruckers; Jeff Trobaugh brought up Shakey’s bunch of lunch deal and others said Olive Garden.

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Column: For telethon, RC Library says, ‘Let’s put on a show!’

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Wednesday’s column is about the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library’s telethon from last weekend, an unusual amateur-entertainment extravaganza, televised on the local cable channel, that raises money for the library. I was recruited for the Trivia Challenge, not as a contestant but as a judge.

Above, Robert Karatsu, the library director and trivia master, examines the answers to one question, as do I. (Answers were multiple choice.)

One question, below, involved my hometown. If you don’t know the answer, it’s in my column.

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Oldest Cadillac resided in Cucamonga

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If you lived here pre-1973, you might recall the 1903 Cadillac pictured above from the Thomas Winery at Foothill and Vineyard in Cucamonga. Gino Filippi, of the winery family, told me: “I remember when I was young, the car was at the Thomas Winery on display for years. The Thomas Bros. sold the winery to our family in 1967. I think the car was one of a few NOT included in the sale.”

Filippi sent me a link to a Bonhams auction notice for the car, from 2007, when it sold for $337,000. It was billed as “the oldest known surviving Cadillac.”

The fledgling company’s first car was completed in late 1902. Says Bonham: “The car offered here – serial number ‘13’, the oldest known surviving Cadillac – was one of three displayed at the New York Auto Show in January 1903, the others being numbers ‘10’ and ‘11’. At that show, Cadillac’s sales manager William E. Metzger took orders for a staggering 2,286 cars and sold all three on display, ‘13’ being purchased by a Mr. Thomas, owner of the Thomas Winery in Cucamonga, California.

“The factory ledger shows the first 17 cars produced, recording that ‘13’ was the 6th to be invoiced and the 3rd shipped. Six of the first dozen cars remained unsold and may have been retained for development purposes. None is known to exist. Historical research has determined that ‘13’ was the first Cadillac to be shipped west of the Mississippi and the first sold to California.”

Isn’t that something? The first Cadillac to be shipped west of the Mississippi bypassed Anaheim and Azusa to come straight to Cucamonga.

Bonhams continues: “’13′ remained within its first owner’s family, for many years on display at the Thomas Winery in Cucamonga, until February 1973 when it was acquired by Cadillac collector Patrick Herman, who knew little of its history at the time other than it was a one-owner car.” Herman bought the car from Thomas’ great-granddaughter and transported it to his home in Utah.

A Bloomberg story from 2007 says that when Pat Herman bought the car, the winery had been sold “and the Cadillac was stored in a garage full of old refrigerators and washing machines. The car was missing numerous parts and showed the ravages of time, so the restoration, which was completed in 1989, was not a simple process.”

The car was restored in Montebello and went on to win many car show awards.

Bonhams concludes: “The three cars displayed at the New York Auto Show in 1903 were the first Cadillacs shown to the public and the first ever sold. As the sole survivor of these pioneers, ’13′ is thus a vehicle of quite exceptional importance in the history of the American automobile industry. Quite simply: the Cadillac story started here.”

An RM Auctions notice in January 2012 says the car had been bought in 2007 by John O’Quinn, and adds the detail that in 1973, the car had been in storage in Upland. RM says the car sold at its 2012 auction, from O’Quinn’s estate, for $134,750, or well under half what O’Quinn paid.

I don’t know its whereabouts, although surely some Cadillac collectors’ group knows. More importantly for our purposes, do any of you recall having seen the car in its some 70 years in Cucamonga?

Here’s a video dated 2010 of what may be the same car, or at least a similar model, being cranked into motion.

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