In Sunday’s column, I write an obituary of sorts for the beloved family entertainment center in Upland that was most recently Boomers and originally the Upland Family Fun Center but best recalled as Bullwinkle’s.
I was sorry to learn over the weekend that actor Fred Willard had died. He was a favorite of mine just as he was probably a favorite of yours. He performed a bunch of times at the Grove Theatre in Upland, of all places, where I once met him, and where some of you may have seen him and even met him. I write about him in Wednesday’s column.
As for the photo, the Grove was going to send me one but didn’t (sigh), and I wanted something more than just a generic wire-service portrait of him. So I clipped a portion of his obituary from our print edition, which had a thumbnail mug of him, and drove to the Grove for one of my specialties, holding up a photo in front of a building for a combo photo.
The sun shone through the thin paper, though. Improvising, I folded up the clipping to include only his face and name, the extra layers of newsprint behind serving to block the sun. Nice. The resulting photo is a little odd, but I’m hoping pleasantly so. Kind of like Willard himself.
Have you ever seen downtown Upland’s 40-foot pole, and if you have, have you wondered why it’s there? The historical record is scant, but I do what I can to piece together the slightly silly story, which includes a feature that fell off in a long-ago windstorm, in Friday’s column.
Lord Charley’s is the gift that keeps on giving, at least as far as I’m concerned. Here’s the latest about this restaurant that’s been defunct almost 30 years. Remember the couple mentioned here recently who had their first date at Lord Charley’s in Upland? They were given an original sign, the one bought from an antiques shop in 2016 that had also made my column. I tell about the gift of the sign and the couple’s first date in Wednesday’s column.
After beer sales plummeted, Upland mainstay Last Name Brewing teamed with Electric City Butcher to open a small market in its taproom. You can get meat, eggs and, of course, beer. “We’re all doing what we can in this strange time,” the brewery president says. I write about Dale Brothers Market in Sunday’s column.
“I want to root you on as you try to pull through this situation,” says Upland native Loraine Hemingway, who now lives in China and whose city of 2 million recently emerged from a two-month coronavirus lockdown with only one death. We exchange emails and the result is my Friday column.
Molly’s Souper, an Upland favorite for decades, is changing hands, as owner Molly Brouse has sold to a longtime employee. But she’s staying for a year to reassure customers and help the transition. “It was important to me that it go to someone who understood it and didn’t want to change it,” she told me. I write about Molly’s in my Wednesday column.
I attended Monday’s Upland City Council meeting, and those are always fun. In this one, they hired a new city manager. They also made some oddball comments. So what else is new? That’s the subject of Wednesday’s column.
I wrote in 2018 about the twin losses at Maniac Mike’s Cafe in Upland: First co-owner Mike Stewart died, then the restaurant burned four days later and had to close indefinitely. It’s now back with Stewart’s wife and daughter in charge, many of the same employees and menu, in an updated space with a larger patio. That’s the subject of my Wednesday column.
When I saw the Upland City Council was going to consider getting an armored rescue vehicle, I knew I had to be there. I write about the seeming dichotomy in Wednesday’s column.