Why Balboa, you ask? Which town did Gilligan, Skipper, Tina Louise and the rest take off from? Where did Dick Dale & his Del-Tones, in the summer of 1961, take off from? Where did Van Dyke Parks first witness crowds of surfers pack in the Rendezvous Ballroom to see the Beach Boys one night? He witnessed this standing in front of the Prison of Socrates folk club, across the street in Balboa. And what would you say if I told you that one segment of the Pet Sounds/Wall-of-Sound musicians started life as members of the Stan Kenton Orchestra? And that their concerts at the Rendezvous are where Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and his pals would head to in the late 1940s? What locale, in the head-spinning summer of 1963, did Sports Illustrated choose to depict on its cover as the center of “The Beach Explosion in Southern California”?
Dig the Sea & Ski and Coppertone tanning lotion Pop art beach umbrellas
Let me back up for just a second. Let me tell ya how it came to me. Here’s a quotation . . .
“So listen, man . . . Paul Johnson (who played his song “Mr. Moto” at the Rendezvous with his band, the Belairs) once told me this . . . are you ready? Paul Johnson said to me, ‘You know Domenic, this whole California Myth thing . . . it’s really neat and compelling and all. But the truth is always more bizarre and interesting.'”
Balboa Peninsula boardwalk and beach, featuring summer teen fashions from the mid-’60s