Friday, January 17, 2014
Willis in Coronado and Oz Giveaway
Christmas dinner 2013 was at the Hotel del Coronado, which relieved me of cooking duties for the second year in a row. The del has always been a favorite San Diego spot of mine, but I have noticed over the last few years that while the prices have continued to rise, the quality has sadly plummeted.
It's still a gorgeous historic building and very well-maintained, festively decorated for the season:
The Crown Room, with its amazingly huge crown-shaped chandeliers (supposedly designed by "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" author L. Frank Baum), is still a very impressive dining area:
The coved ceiling, richly covered in hardwood, is a site to behold:
Sadly, the food at the $100+ buffet was lukewarm and uninspired. Adding up the cost of the entire table's dinner, I could have cooked an extremely impressive dinner of my own at a fraction of the price (and had leftovers!). The waitstaff seemed as if they came out of a Laurel and Hardy movie, bumbling over each other (the few times they showed up to the table), attempting to figure out how many glasses of wine should be added to the check.
I will not be returning for Christmas next year.
On a much happier note, I returned to Coronado Island a few weeks later on a mission, letting Willis accompany me on my journey.
He especially enjoyed playing on the white sandy beach behind the hotel.
Nearby, Bill Pavlacka (aka "The Sand Castle Man") was building one of his masterful creations:
As you can see, this guy knows what he is doing!
In the residential area of Coronado is this park called Star Park Circle, which was the reason for my trip back to the Island.
It was at this rented home on the perimeter of the circle that L. Frank Baum wrote four books in the Oz series that he was famous for: "The Marvelous Land of Oz" (book #2), "Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz" (#4), "The Road to Oz" (book #5), and "The Emerald City of Oz" (#6, which he originally had intended to be his last book in the series until public outcry and a need for money changed his mind). As a child, I voraciously read all 14 of Baum's books, so it was pretty cool to be able to see where some of them were written.
I think Willis enjoyed it, too.
Transitioning to the movie, "The Wizard of Oz," here's an early costume test of Judy Garland, back when the studio envisioned her as a blonde Dorothy:
And how she looked a few months later on October 31, 1938, at the time that director George Cukor was briefly assigned to the film and encouraged MGM to let Judy Garland be herself:
In celebration of the 75th Anniversary of this beloved movie, Jay Scarfone and William Stillman have written a lavish book, "The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion." This lavishly illustrated hardback book contains previously unseen photos and information as well as a generously filled envelope of reproduction publicity materials from the original release of the film.
I am giving away a copy of this book for the informed reader who can tell me the name of the last book L. Frank Baum himself wrote in his Oz series. Leave a comment before Monday, January 20 at 5pm (PST) and I will draw a lucky winner from the correct answers. Check back Tuesday for the announcement and to see whether you need to supply a shipping address or not. Good luck!
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