Escondido, CA
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Did you know?


Last week I wrote about Escondido Pride and all that we can show our civic pride and bragging rights.

What I forgot to mention is that Escondido has two of the three top tourist attractions in North County. The Safari Park, formerly known as the Wild Animal Park, and Stone Brewing and Bistro are second and third behind Legoland. Cruisin’ Grand attracts over 100,000 visitors a year but I do not know its standing as an attraction. The same goes for our Street Faires today so far known as the Grand Avenue Festival. My understanding is that the name and date are subject to change this year.

How about some “did you know” commentary. Escondido is not only a perfect location in which to live but it has been attractive to celebrities as well. Did you know that the legendary Wyatt Earp visited Escondido as an equestrian judge in the late 1800’s? My understanding is he came back for a short stay in the early decade of the 20th Century.

During the height of the silent movie era of the 1920’s one of the Keystone Cop stars built a home at the end of Montview Drive in SW Escondido. I toured the Spanish style home that sits on a knoll with a 360 degree view when it was for sale in the late ‘70’s. Today, the acreage that was part of the estate has been developed into a small subdivision. When the original home was built the location was miles from downtown Escondido offering the privacy that many Hollywood celebrities sought throughout North San Diego County. The home is still there. Not sure if it is on the historic registry.

During one of the Jaycees Christmas Parades in the 90’s I was one of the announcers. Every entrant is issued a number card which is displayed on the vehicle or the right arm of a marching group front line to assist the announcer in recognizing the entry. This particular parade I noticed a vehicle with no number and did not know what the entry was. I found out from hearing people in the crowd exclaim, “It’s Greg Allman.” They were cheering the famous musician with the Allman Brothers Band and he was waving. He had come to Escondido to visit a friend and I guess they decided to be in the parade. I have no idea how they got past security to be a part. A welcome surprise for the spectators.

Some decades ago I found out that Neil Hamilton—who played the part of Commissioner Gordon on the old Batman TV series—lived here a few years in the ‘80’s. Then along came Eric Clapton who along with his friend J.J. Cate who lived in Valley Center collaborated on an album titled “The Road to Escondido.” The album cover shows them on the side of a road holding a sign with “Escondido” hand painted n it. Like they were seeking a ride to town. Pretty cool.

In 2002, an Emmy Award winner Jerry Davis decided to make Escondido his home moving from Oxnard. He is perhaps our only resident to possess an Emmy. His award was for his editing work on the “Night Court” TV series which aired from 1984-92 starring Harry Anderson. Funny show.

Last month we lost two men who had a hand in the success of Escondido’s future and were an integral part of the fabric of our community. Graham Fleming, more known as Kim, was Escondido’s first full-time City Attorney. I met Kim at Escondido Rotary where he was also a Past President. He really enjoyed having fun as Carnac the Magnificent character made famous by the late Johnny Carson.

We also said goodbye to Don Heller who for many decades owned and operated one of Escondido’s oldest businesses Homer Heller Ford. I had the pleasure of meeting him at numerous city events and occasions. Did you know Heller Ford’s first location in 1942 was on Grand Avenue where the last business there was McMahan Furniture? Yes, in the middle of the block.

California Angels’s Mike Trout this year will earn $229,667 per game. Yeah. This week’s license plate KARO007. Hmmm is Bond, James Bond back?

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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