Column: ‘Mad Men’ cooks up a Burger Chef scene in the 909

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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.

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‘Dexter’ at ONT

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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.”)

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Carson’s Carnac and Mount Baldy

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.

Sample: “UCLA.”

Question: “What happens when there isn’t any smog.”

 

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Cucamonga and ‘The Californians’

In the latest “Californians” sketch on Saturday Night Live, the character Stuart says of an old friend: “We used to go sandsailing together. I’d get up at 6 a.m., take the 118 east to the 405 north, get on the 5 and then take that to the 210 all the way out to Ranchooo Cuuucamonga.” SNL has been good about including us in this geographic survey of SoCal; a previous sketch cited Chino. Watch the whole sketch here. Thanks to reader Alicia Keetle for bringing this to my attention.

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Huell Howser charmed, amazed with his local stops

The iconic TV host, who died Sunday night at age 67, made many stops in the Inland Valley in his travels. I chatted up some who met him for Wednesday’s column.

His archives are online at Chapman University’s website, where you can search by topic or city or watch clips.

Two local stops that didn’t make my column were at the Pomona Public Library, where he did a well-remembered segment on the Goddess of Pomona statue circa 1989, and Glendora’s Donut Man, a 1999 episode set to air again at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday on KCET.

Share your memories or comments about Howser below.

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RC on SNL

“Saturday Night Live’s” soap opera parody, “The Californians,” mentioned Rancho Cucamonga this past week. Says one character:

“You’ve got to stay away from Devon. He’s no good for you. He’s broken hearts in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Santa Clarita and Redondo Beach. I don’t want him to go to your apartment in Angelino Heights.”

Every episode is like a geography lesson. And a driving lesson, what with characters discussing their exact route to get anywhere. Watch the episode here. Thanks to reader Robert Garcia for the link.

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‘Celebrity Wife Swap’ features Ontario mom

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ABC’s “Celebrity Wife Swap” isn’t my typical TV viewing (my typical TV viewing is to leave the set off) but Tuesday’s episode involved Ontario, so why not?

Former child actress Tina Yothers, who played Jennifer Keaton on “Family Ties,” lives in south Ontario. She swapped households with actress Niecy Nash of “Reno 911,” “Dancing With the Stars” and “Clean House,” who lives in Northridge.

I’d never heard of either of them or watched either series, so some of the voyeur factor was lost on me. Anyway, the alleged “country” aspects of Ontario (!) are played up, and life in similarly suburban Northridge is presented as glamorous.

Nash thinks she’s a diva, Yothers thinks she’s normal, and hijinx ensue. Somehow, though, Nash comes off as a better mother. She’s more open-minded than Yothers, willing to take a different approach to parenting based on Yothers’ suggestions, whereas Yothers didn’t want to hear it about her own kids. Kind of interesting.

If you’ve got 43 minutes to kill, you can watch the episode here.

Photo: Jason Merritt/FilmMagic

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