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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K. Martinez said...

That is one cool collar you're wearin' there Willis!

I'm going to say Glinda of Oz was the last book Baum wrote in the Oz series.

Courtney Suzanne said...

I believe the answer is Glinda of OZ.

I read (and still own) all of the Oz books and I've read a few of his non-OZ books, too. He's one of my favorite authors!

I've been collecting the series of graphic novel adaptations of his work by Eric Shanower and Scottie Young. They are really wonderful if you're a fan of Baum.

Anonymous said...

A shame about the Del. I remember it fondly, but at the last visit, it was suffering from being too popular.

First I have heard about the OZ connection, fascinating stuff.

Dave, you have a great dog. Thanks for sharing.


beachgal said...

I also don't recommend the dining room at the Hotel Del any longer. I used to go there not that long ago to see an old friend of mine for a loooong time. It always was too much food for me (and the family/friends I went there with) - I tend not to do buffets. But their lunch menu in the 50s had a sandwich that I always looked forward to - a Delmonte - and they did it better than anyone else - sounds gross today - French Toast with ham and cheese, grilled in the middle - but the Del put on a 'dressing' to the sandwich that was like none other. Most used a 1000 Island - the Del used something that had lingonberries in a sweet paste - kind of like what you put on Swedish pancakes if you can find lingonberries and make it.I remember staying at the Del at least once a yr as a kid. Dad would make sure we never got one of the tiny tiny rooms that used to be in a lot of the nooks and cranies there - they were like closets or the super small rooms on the first ocean liners I recall taking over to Hawaii in the 50s. Those crown chandeliers were always a fascination. My most memorable mind pictures of the Hotel del however was just happening in on the shoot for Some Like It Hot when we were down there to stay. Despite my folks both worked in the 'flickers' industry, that shoot even held something of interest to my mom (dad - no way - he headed off to golf and look over things Navy there to fondly recall his yrs he went out of Hollywood to join the Navy in WWII). Mom and I missed our tennis lessons 2 days in a row, following Marilyn around - still remember how long it took to film a little bit in the main lobby elevator (which is still there today). We also watched some of the shooting out on the beach in front of the Hotel. Mom and I thought Tony Curtis was dreamy despite he was in 'drag' (not recalling what we called it then - but I think drag came into my vocabulary later). Jack Lemmon talked to me a few times when he was waiting off camera. I had been around a lot of 'stars' and he was not on my big old radar yet so I was left unimpressed with his conversation and thought he didn't deem me asking him to sign an autograph for me. I had Dorthy Lamore's, Lorita Young's, Cary Grant's and John Wayne's around that same time added to my book or collection of scrap paper I tucked into my autograph book. I didn't think I needed Jack's and was waiting (to be polite) for a moment to ask Marilyn or Tony for theirs! Lots of fun memories of Hotel del days as a kid - room service was always a gas to me then and they did a fine spread of that. We also usually went to the SD Zoo when there which was a highlight to me. The aviary in the 50s was like going to Tahiti I thought! This was in the days before the SD/Corn. bridge was built so you had to take the ferry over or drive all the way around.