Column: Fred Willard made frequent cameos in Upland

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.

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Column: Couple gets ye olde memento of first date

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.

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Column: Reborn airport cafe now ramping up for liftoff

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.

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