Wednesday’s column starts off with some silliness: a cameo in a made-for-TV movie (made by the “Sharknado” people) by an Ontario Police Department helicopter. After that: items from Pomona, Montclair, Upland and the cultural scene.
Three vacant spaces in downtown Pomona were being prepped Friday for filming for an ABC pilot, “White Sheep.” Roving photographer Ren sent me these images. Above, the former Bunny Gunner storefront at 266 W. 2nd St. was transformed into Kim’s Academy Martial Arts. Below, a former Mexican restaurant (and prior to that, Chung King) at 280 W. 3rd St. was being turned into Land Lock Lobster. Crews were just getting started on a third storefront at 2nd and Parcels streets.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the family comedy “follows a teenager’s struggles to be the one nice guy in a family full of jerks.”
It’s impressive the amount of effort that can go into Hollywood productions. Thanks, Ren.
Without cable, I needed a place to watch the “Bar Rescue” episode Sunday about The Palace in Upland. So I chose San Biagio’s N.Y. Pizza, which is directly across Seventh Street from the bar. In fact, the TV crew had used an empty storefront next to Biagio’s as their office during the taping back in March.
Watching the show there was a slightly unreal experience. As seen in the photo above, you could watch the episode on one wall-mounted TV (that’s some of the Palace staff on the screen) and then look out the window to see the Palace itself, the orange-tan building in the background.
Pizzeria owner Biagio Pavia watched much of the episode with me. It was late afternoon, before the dinner crowd. The enthusiastic Pavia tried to encourage a customer near the TV to watch; he claimed not to be interested, although he did chime in at times. Another couple professed polite interest.
People are so jaded in Southern California. A neighboring business is on national television right at that instant and they’re like, shrug.
Pavia, though, was curious, keeping up a running commentary of questions and comments, many of the “What is that?” variety, while I was trying to listen and take notes. I had to explain at times that what was on the screen was a commercial.
Anyway, the Palace was run by two brothers-in-law who didn’t get along, surveillance of the kitchen showed cross-contamination, the decor and vibe didn’t seem very Middle Eastern and the bartenders didn’t know how to pour a drink, or even grip a bottle properly.
The bar needed so much work, the “stress test” took place off-site, at Pomona’s Stein Haus, allowing the TV crew a full 36 hours to remake the Palace. The stress test was a disaster, with pita bread coming out of the kitchen hard as a rock and the bartenders completely overwhelmed. One was fired on the spot. Host Jon Taffer cut it short.
“You are the worst team we’ve ever seen!” Taffer shouted in frustration. Of course, reality TV hypes up the drama, as well as the results, and by the end, the brothers are friends again, the staff knows its business, the decor is lovely and business is up.
Pavia exclaimed, “They change everything, look!” as the new decor was unveiled.
I’m looking, I’m looking.
Sunday’s column begins with the news that an Upland hookah lounge, The Palace, is the subject of a “Bar Rescue” episode airing Sunday. After that, there’s two items from Ontario and one about a Claremont connection to a new album.
A hookah bar at 1276 W. Seventh St. in Upland is the latest site for a makeover by the “Bar Rescue” reality-TV series. The Palace, which has had several names over the years, is undergoing its “stress test” tonight (Wednesday) before closing under its current look. After the show’s usual blitz remodel, the new look will be unveiled Saturday.
It was just Sunday that the episode aired about Pomona’s Friar Tuck’s, now Stein Haus. But that one was taped last December. Nice to have them back in the 909, and so soon.
Friday’s column resurrects a bit of hamburger history (the best kind of history?) to talk about Burger Chef, which reappeared courtesy of the 909 in an episode of “Mad Men.” After that is an item about my vacation in St. Louis (the St. Tropez of the Midwest?) and a few Culture Corner briefs.
Above is Burger Chef as it appeared on “Mad Men,” from the site IndieWire; below is a vintage Burger Chef, location unknown, from the French Fry Diary blog.
Sunday’s series finale for Showtime’s “Dexter” included a scene in which, as I understand it, the titular serial killer, played by Michael C. Hall, left Miami’s airport. As you can see, Miami was played by LA/Ontario International Airport.
As an Entertainment Weekly blog post describes it: “Dex and Hannah leave the airport and get to his SUV, which has a rather amazingly great parking space right outside the terminal.” Close-by parking? That’s ONT all right!
(I took a photo of Joani Finwall’s Instagram photo. She wrote: “I do believe part of the series finale of Dexter was filmed in the IE! Looks like ONT in the background.”)
This commercial was filmed at B and Laurel streets in downtown Ontario. The bicycle shop isn’t real, but the antique store is. Nice to see a lot of people downtown, even if that aspect is fictional too.
* Sunday’s column begins with an item about the commercial, followed by more news from around the valley.
Reader John Bredehoft brings to our attention one of Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificent skits from the “Tonight Show” with a local angle. For the uninitiated, Carson would pose as a great seer who would accept a sealed envelope from sidekick Ed McMahon, hold it to his forehead and offer up the answer. Then, “Jeopardy”-style, he would open the envelope and read the question or lead-in.
In this May 21, 1974 segment (see the clip here), one joke involves Mount Baldy and starts about 3:15 in, but the whole thing, at 7 minutes, is fun to watch.
Question: “What happens when there isn’t any smog.”