I guess by now you know that Arnold Schwarzenegger started his
campaign here on Main Street.
When I first was told that Arnold would be running for governor of
California, my first thought was that George Arnold had come back to
us and was running again for governor as he had so unsuccessfully
done in 1980.
But I soon found out that I had made an blunder. This week we are
going to look at a few other humorous blunders that occurred over the
years here in Huntington Beach.
Our first mistake happened to Dante A. Siracusa, the office
manager at the S.R. Bowen Oil Tool Co., in October of 1943.
While in his office, just before noon, the phone rang and on the
other end was the frantic voice of his wife Doris wanting her husband
to come home right away. She quickly told him that their two
children, Bunky, 6 and Nicky, 4, had just painted their new 1942
sedan with white house paint. With complete composure, Dante told his
wife, "It's all right, dear. The paint's still wet, so it will wash
off and I'll be home for lunch at my usual time."
When Mr. Fraser's chemistry class at Huntington High experimented
with too much sulfur in March of 1943, things got a little stinky as
the smell of rotten eggs penetrated the halls for some time.
His fellow teachers had a word or two for his experiment.
Again in March of 1943, Douglas Hedrick was in an automobile
accident. He had just purchased a used 1933 coupe and was taking it
for a spin around town and as he headed north on Pacific Coast
Highway heading toward 23rd Street (Goldenwest Street) Hedrick found
his reconditioned and guaranteed coupe was riding along on three
wheels as his fourth sailed across the highway.
The car behind Hedrick's hit his brakes and was then struck in the
rear by a third car. The second car in turn crashed into Hedrick's
Bet that dealer was surprised to see that crushed car back.
Our next blunder happened to a member of our Police Department.
In the early 1940s, Officer Alfred Parker was called to the beach
because kids were acting up. In his patrol, car he quickly caught up
to those kids on the beach road and while he was arresting them, he
watched as his patrol went off the raised road and halfway in the
Parker had forgot to pull the emergency brakes on Unit 452 patrol
car and it took two tow trucks to pull the front wheels out of the
sand and back up unto the road.
Robert P. Mandic was at home at 737 Main St. one Sunday afternoon
in February of 1945. The nation was still at war and rationing was
still being done on dairy products.
While the Mandic family took a Sunday afternoon stroll some thief
entered the Mandic's back porch and stole a pound of fresh creamery
butter from the Mandic's unlocked ice box.
Mandic was quoted as saying at the time, "Why, its just like
Delilah cutting off Sampson's hair to steal a man's butter, and the
rat took a pound of cheese, too."
In the 1920s there was a popular song that contained the line
little ol' Ford she rambled right along..."
On Feb. 18, 1924 the city was paving Ocean Avenue (now Pacific
Coast Highway) between 5th and 6th streets using two steam rollers,
one large and one small.
It seems that the driver of the littlest one, ol' six-ton, stepped
out of the cab and left the motor running in the middle of the
highway. Somehow it slipped into gear and rambled across the highway
where it bumped the curb, veered, circled and dashed back to the
It bumped that curb and continued back to the other curb as
workmen raced for cover. Orders were shouted at the runaway steam
roller, but to no avail and ol' six-ton kept moving around in
While this was happening, across the street inspecting the paving
job was city trustee James Macklin and with him was resident E.A.
Macklin told Suter to "watch me," as he stepped in front of the
moving vehicle and he yelled to it, "I'm a city trustee and chairman
of the street committee. You stop. You are damaging this street
driving around that way."
Needless to say, as Macklin jumped out of its way, ol' six-ton
kept moving along. Next it was Suter's turn as he stepped toward the
heavy roller and said to it, "Suter's my name and I'm in charge of
this job. You stop right now or you're fired."
Suter made a similar leap away from ol' six-ton.
By now the big steam roller pulled up to the scene and the driver
switched off his engine and climbed out of the cab and rushed over to
ol' six-ton and climbed aboard and turned off its engine.
When ol' six-ton's driver returned, he was surprised at what his
well behaved machine had done.
The moral to these stories are that one can never know when an
mistake might be made. Some can be dangerous and some, like 'ol
six-ton, prove that even the words of a city official are not enough
to stop a steam roller when its' mind is made up.
* JERRY PERSON is a local historian and longtime Huntington Beach
resident. If you have ideas for future columns, write him at P.O. Box
7182, Huntington Beach, CA 92615.