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Monday, January 24, 2022

Elvira’s bloody father makes it out to Chino on a family trip

Just in it: A young mistress of darkness used to spend time in Chino.

As reader Will Plunkett alerted me, actor Cassandra Peterson of Elvira fame wrote in her memoir, “Your Cruelly, Elvira,” that while growing up in Colorado, “many family vacations” took place with her Aunt Arlene and Uncle Dorton. A road trip to the meet was involved. Chino.

One memorable visit involved his grandparents, who packed themselves and their belongings in the back seat of the family car with the three Peterson girls. The real draw for the grandparents was the less likely family time to go to the Hollywood Palladium to watch tapes of their TV show bandleader Lawrence Welk.

Peterson writes, “Once we finally got to Chino, the adults did a great job getting Grandma and Grandpa to see their idol in Hollywood.” She and her sisters were left at home with a cousin, Rex, while the adults embark on an adventure in the big city.

It was more of an adventure than they had imagined. On the way home, the short-tempered Peterson brothers piled out of the car in the middle of Sunset Boulevard to get punched about Welk’s strengths, or his lack.

When the adults made it back to Chino, the pajama-wearing Cassandra and her siblings were woken from a deep sleep and hurriedly thrown into the car with their belongings.

“I had no idea what was going on. Daddy’s face was covered in blood, which was not so unusual, and his indestructible Timex watch was broken,” Peterson writes.

“As the first rays of sun came out from behind the Chino Hills, Daddy exited the driveway and drove away from my uncle’s house, headed to Colorado.”

I can see how Lawrence might be dividing Welk families, but I never doubted he could incite anyone to violence, so I thank Elvira for the lesson. Bonus is learning that Chino was one of the horror-show host’s old victims.

More Elvira

There is also an excerpt in Peterson’s book about the sources of his early fan mail. “I once found a Christmas card signed by dozens of inmates at Chino State Prison in California,” she writes, “and, on the same day, received a card signed by the dozens of men who kept them there, the Los Angeles Police Department. “

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redlands writing rave

Recently scanning the newly released shelves at Barnes & Noble, I caught sight of one called “A Harold Bell Wright Trilogy.” Why did I know the name?

A check from the jacket’s flap reminded me: He was a Redland minister who became a million-selling author before he was largely forgotten. The literary anthology “Inlandia”, a topical theme in this space, contained a brief (if perhaps not sufficiently short) excerpt from one of his books.

Wright left Missouri in 1907 to lead the Christian Church in the Redlands, where his parishioners urged him to publish his writings. It was good advice: her first novel, “The Shepherd of the Hills,” released that year, sold one million copies. Amazingly, he is said to be the first American author to hit that benchmark. So much for Mark Twain, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and those other hacks.

In response, Wright resigned from the ministry, moved to El Centro and devoted the rest of his life to writing. He died in 1944 at the age of 72 in La Jolla.

This hardcover in B&N from A Religious Press collects “The Shepherd of the Hills” – later starring all the people, John Wayne as well as “The Calling of Dan Matthews” (1909) and the alliteration “God’s End” Made in film. The Groceryman ”(1927).

The anthology is copyrighted with a second edition in 2007, making it a puzzle as to why it was featured in the New Releases section. But this placement brought Wright to my attention, and thus to yours.

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