so , you think you want to be a californian

California is a tragic country , like Palestine, like any Promised Land ——–Christopher Isherwood

Don’t just come here to California , plop down , and expect to have your dreams fulfilled . I assume , right off the bat , that you have dreams to fulfill . Why else would you come ? Avoiding bad weather from where you were living , perhaps . Good reason , but then what ? There are things you need to know to make it out west .


Well , I say  “out west” facetiously , kind of tongue-in-cheek .  ” Out west ” is cowboy land . Deadwood . Tombstone . Abilene . San Antone . Maybe Yuma .  California isn’t . Sure , we have plenty of cowboys in the Golden State . Many of them are actors , though , as you know . They’re part-time cowboys now , those actors . In the early film era real honest-to-goodness  cowboys came to Hollywood to make a living in the movies .  wiedemann beer cowboy poster


cowboy lost trail poster


hopalong cassidyThere’s a corner in Hollywood , Gower and Sunset , that was known as Gower Gulch from the early days because so many cowboy extras hung out there waiting for work . I suppose there were a couple of bars and a cafe or two there in those days . Nowadays there’s a Starbucks and a Dennys and a Rite Aid and a Supercuts .and some other uninteresting shops  all dressed up in faux-western town facades . There’s a fake stage coach  in the parking lot . I think the corner shopping  center  still calls itself Gower Gulch , maybe Gower Gulch Shopping Center . But the studios that were once nearby are long gone .


Wyatt Earp , by the way , made it to Hollywood . He lived near Echo Park lake and worked for the movies . He was a movie consultant for westerns . I’m pretty sure he didn’t act , though ;  was too old , I guess ; but , well , I could be wrong .  There couldn’t be anyone more “western” than Wyatt Earp , although Wyatt  never was a cowboy , as far as I know . He was , as you know , a lawman . Before Miranda rights and police commissions .


Good thing he got out of Tombstone , too , in my opinion . He was town marshall there . That place has become a tourist mecca , full of German fake cowboys all dressed up in cowboy gear . The Germans , evidently , love  cowboy and Indian stuff .  There are gunfights staged in the street every day . Stop in to the old timey saloon for a sasparilla . Walk over to take a look at  what you might believe is the O.K. corral . Visit Boot Hill  . Read some of the epitaphs : HERE LIES LESTER MOORE . SHOT DEAD WITH A .44 .  NO LES NO MOORE .


Anyway .  Hawaii is much more western than California . Take a look at a map if you don’t believe me.


California is the ” Left Coast” ,  after all .  California is sophisticated and metropolitan !  Ha .


Right here in this post you may want to reconsider coming to California . This is your out . Pause . Take a deep breath . If you think you’re going to make it in the movies , or maybe in the music industry , forget it . That dream should have been put to rest decades ago . Sorry , but , get a life .


First , you should make your choice : Northern California or Southern California .  Two roads diverged in a yellow wood……..We have two states out here . Choose one or the other . Before you do that you should realize that you’ll be tagged one or the other from then on . I don’t have time to differentiate the two in this post . You’ll have to do the research . Maybe you could reflect on the fact that Wyatt Earp came to southern CA and William Randolph Hearst went north ( Well ,truthfully , he was born in San Francisco . Then , how about Leland Stanford, who came from New York ? ) .  Research stuff like that before you commit yourself . And , once again , James Dean you ain’t , so get over that make-it-in-Hollywood dream . Even Hollywood left decades ago . Do the homework …..and that has made all the difference.


Next , you should decide whether you want to live near the beach or inland . Think . If you decided : near the beach , then you might as well stay where you are ;  stay home . No one can afford to live  near the beach these days. And , if you somehow had the money to do it , or , with ingenuity , managed to slip through the cracks and were successful in that monumental quest , then you would instantly regret the gridlock there and immediately start dreaming of getting out . It’s too crowded near the beach .


If you decide to live away from the beach , remember we are in the midst of a drought . Remember that our heat waves are becoming the way of life here . Remember that northern California away-from-the-beach is much much worse that southern California away-from-the-beach . [ A bit of bias evident here . Live with it . ]  The Jackson Browne song goes  Stuck in Lodi again , after all ; not  Stuck in Palm Springs again , not even Stuck in Riverside  again . Just saying . Things to consider .


If you’re that Rebel Without a Cause  sort of personality , and also love westerns , you should check out the State of Jefferson up around Yreka , California . Just your type of place , perhaps . It’s full of independence-minded people . Just your cup of tea ( or sasparilla ) . And so little traffic if you keep off  Interstate 5 ! You have a lot of options .


California … a Garden of Eden , a paradise to visit or to see  ;  but , watch out , as the Woody Guthrie song says , you might find it a problem if you don’t have the dough  re me , boy .  Believe it or not , you won’t find it so hot , if you don’t have the dough re me . Better go back to beautiful Texas , Oklahoma , Arkansas , or Tennessee .  Toyota , by the way , just went  to Texas . Pulled out suddenly , lock , stock, and barrel , from Redondo Beach . Or was it Torrance ?  Lower taxes in Texas . Texas ? Sorry , Texans , but I can’t help remembering that old  quote :  If I owned land in Hell and in Texas , I’d live in Hell and rent the place in Texas .  Maybe the Toyota pedal stuck and the company couldn’t stop themselves ’til they’d  got to Texas .

O.K. , a couple of CA quotes :

California is a fine place to live , if you happen to be an orange ———-Fred Allen

When the Oakies left Oklahoma and moved to California , it raised the IQ of both states ——-Will Rogers 

I love California . I practically grew up in Phoenix ———-Dan Quayle


Filed under humor

7 responses to “so , you think you want to be a californian

  1. In case you’re interested: In one of the “Gunfight at O.K. Corral” movies (either the one with that title or My Darling Clementine, Wyatt Earp was portrayed as having been a cowboy who had his cattle rustled by the Clantons. I don’t know if it’s true. Also, Stuck in Lodi (I think) was a CCR song. I enjoyed the post and you can feel free to moderate the heck out of this comment.

  2. I do believe Hollywood romanced the idea of the west, but it sure would have been interesting to see it first-hand, don’t you think?

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