Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My botched attempt at a summer romance

More from my growing up in the 60s in LA book. Take the Way-back machine to the summer of 69.

I started going out with Rhonda. She lived in Philadelphia and was just out here staying with relatives, one of whom was my friend Jay. Might this be one of those “summer romances” where you meet, fall madly in love, she goes home in September, you’re heartbroken, you remember her always, she forgets you the minute she enters the jetway? But you get laid so she may injure you like no woman ever has but screw it, you got what you wanted.

For date #1, I suggested we see EASY RIDER, a movie that had been getting a lot of buzz. The saga of two hippies (starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper) traveling across America had struck a real chord. The ending where rednecks shoot and kill them stunned and startled young audiences. It was the one “You’ve got to see this movie” movie of the summer. But Rhonda had no interest. So we saw her choice instead -- CHITTY-CHITTY BANG BANG starring Dick Van Dyke.

I got a goodnight kiss.

Since I knew that time was of the essence I decided to just pull out the stops for date #2. I offered to take her to Disneyland. That should be good for at least some hands-inside-the-sweater action. She didn’t want to go to Disneyland. She had already been there.

But she did want to go to Japanese Village and Deer Park.

What the fuck?!

L.A. had a number of animal-themed attractions back then. Jungleland was way out in Thousand Oaks. The most bizarre was Lion Country Safari. You’d drive around slowly while jungle animals roamed freely around you. Good idea to keep your windows up so the lions wouldn’t stick their heads in your car and eat your children.

In Buena Park, not far from Disneyland, was Japanese Village and Deer Park. This featured a Japanese-themed tranquil Zen-like atmosphere with gardens and koi ponds, and a tea house, and dove pavilion. Deer were allowed to wander. You can’t believe how crushingly boring this place was.

Another goodnight kiss.

For date #3 I suggested Lion Country Safari figuring I would roll down the window on Rhonda’s side of the car. But she wasn’t interested so there was no date #3.

14 comments:

richard Y said...

I remember Lion Country Safari, the Jurasic Park of its day except in your own car. Great place for the kids.

I have a Friday question if I can squeeze it in here. It is in regards to the situation when there is no studio audience to laugh at the jokes in a program, such as M*A*S*H, and canned laughter is used. How do the actors know how long to pause, for the laughter, then go on with their lines? Is (Laughter) written in the script or do they hear the canned laughter on the set at the appropriate time?

Patrick said...

LOL! Japanese Village & Deer Park! Geez, now we're dredging things up. I kept expecting to see Jerry Lewis come running around the corner in Kabuki makeup.

AlaskaRay said...

Wow, I haven't thought about those theme parks in years. I remember when, just before they went belly up, the Safari and Deer parks merged into a single operation. It was great fun driving through and watching the lions run down and devour the defenseless deer. You could even roll down your windows.

Ray

gottacook said...

Oh my god... she wanted to see Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang!? What an abomination, especially for those of us who had read the book first (in my case, at age 9 when it was new, 3-4 years before the movie came out). It was the biggest evisceration of an existing story for a movie adaptation that I've ever come across in my life - at least they acknowledged this (in a very minor way) by renaming the now-widowed hero and his children "Potts" rather than "Pott," as they'd been named by Ian Fleming, who might have stopped this had he lived past 1964 (thereby sparing the world the recent stage version as well). The whole movie seems to exist as a support for Sherman Brothers songs that have the odor of Mary Poppins leftovers. It's a wonder you got a second date, although I don't know what a post-Easy Rider goodnight kiss might have developed into...

Jeffrey Leonard said...

It was Rhonda's loss. Just think, today she could be saying "I did it with the very famous T.V. writer, Ken Levine".

Gary said...

Summer romance? What was the romantic part? Bang bang, no chitty, please. Can you believe that Cliff Lee gave up 3 earned runs to the hapless Yankees last night? Is he over the hill now? South Carolina rocks, Go Cocks!

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Japanese Village and Deer Park - a fine attraction derided by the Honorable Emperor Bob Hudson in "Ajax Liquor Store."

"Where Bambi goes, nothing grows."

- Long live the memory of Emperor Hudson

YEKIMI said...

There is still a Lion Country Safari near West Palm Beach in Florida. I remember my grandpa taking all his grandkids through it when it first opened back in 1967 and me complaining about how hot it was in the car and he kept saying "shut up, I have the air conditioner on" only to find out after the tour he didn't, he looked and said "whoops, I had the heater on after all". I assumed he was trying to make me die from heat stroke just so he could push me out a car window and watch a lion eat me. All I ended up with was an incredible headache and my first taste of Alka-Seltzer to try and fix it and my furious mom yelling at him for being an insensitive bastard for not listening to me bitch about it being too damn hot.

Jim 7 said...

Don't forget Busch Gardens, the one theme park where Dad could drink!

Tom Quigley said...

Ken, you're lucky -- I did take a date to see EASY RIDER, and after she saw the ending, she never went out with me again....

Steven E. Gordon said...

I remember Jungle Land in TO and getting locked in there after closing hours. We were let out later by a Janitor...
Also Busch Gardens when it was nothing but a skybucket ride through the brewery

Richard Y said...

"Also Busch Gardens when it was nothing but a skybucket ride through the brewery"

I distinctly remember the tour guide stating while we were hanging in the buckets that the only difference between Busch Bavarian, Budwiser and Michelob was in the length of time it brewed, 30, 60, and 120 days respectively.

te said...

Probably before your time, Ken, but there was an alligator farm in Anaheim. Also the Ocean Aquarium in Hermosa Beach (this long before Marineland in Palos Verdes). And Corriganville, the movie ranch somewhere out by Santa Susana, I think.

Remember Santa Susana?

Anonymous said...

I got to visit the original Japense Deer Park, in Nara Japan, courtsy of Uncle Sam (via the U.S. Army). Fed the little dears (deers) rice cakes. Didn't beat the free beer at Busch Gardens.