2 Ditties from Wendy
(Phillips) Deal Early 1970's
mom decided to come out to southern cal to visit me. I had written to
her about working at the Oar and about all the good times I was having.
Mom and I didn't get along very well, so it really mattered to me to
show her a good time. A couple days before mom arrived I went into
Buffalo Chips. I'd been sick that week, and almost the minute I got
into Chips, the heat and the beer smell hit me and I felt faint. I made
it to the bathroom and passed out, cutting open my forehead on the
sink. I was taken out of Chips on a stretcher (SO embarrassing) and got
stitched up at the hospital. So when I picked up my mom at the airport
I had a black and blue forehead and a butterfly bandage over the
stitches, and had to tell her I had passed out at a bar.
Once I knew I'd be taking mom to the Oar, I told Jenx NOT to say "fuck"
around my mom. Mom really disliked that word, and Jenx really liked
using it. Mom and I walked in to the Oar on a weekday night, and there
was Jenx in a booth in the back. I introduced them and Jenx stood up,
took my mom's hand, kissed it and said how glad he was to meet
her and hoped she'd have a good visit and hoped he'd see a lot of her.
Then he asked her if she'd care to sit down and could he buy her a
drink. A few minutes later a couple of friends walked over to meet my
mom and when they got to the table, Jenx abruptly stood up, and loudly
said "HEH, DON'T SAY FUCK AROUND WENDEE'S MOM. HER MOM REALLY HATES THE
WORD FUCK". My mom kind of sputtered, and then laughed like crazy.
relationship with my mom changed that night. We still had many rough
years ahead of us, but it was that night at the Oar that I saw my mom as
a three dimensional person. That night I saw her as being someone in
addition to being a mom. At the Oar House, I learned that my mom was
fun and she was a good sport and all my friends at the Oar liked her. I
was prepared to leave the Oar after an hour or so, but mom was having
such a good time that we stayed until closing. One of the guys asked
mom to dance, and from then on she was up dancing most of the evening. A
slow song played and I remember mom challenging the guys to dance slow
with her, telling them that she had danced their way and now it was
their turn to dance her way. Mom knew that I usually went out to
breakfast after the Oar closed, so she insisted we join the group going
to Denny's for breakfast. I remember mom and me walking into my
apartment, laughing, at 3:30am.
and then, and then....
I worked at Buffalo Chips. For awhile, Rusty Hamer would sit next to my
station at the bar. Rusty Hamer was the cute little curly haired kid in
the tv program, Make Room For Daddy, starring Danny Thomas, which was on
the air from 1953 - 1965. Rusty was born in 1947, so at the time he was
in the bar, he was about 25 years old. Rusty was a nice guy who seemed
lonely and sad. Each time I would go to the station to yell an order to
the bartender, Rusty would talk to me about the screen play he was
writing. He would tell me a little of it each time I was at the
station, and then he'd ask me what I thought. I had no clue about
screen plays and I could barely hear his description of the screen play
with all the Buffalo Chips noise. I offered to take home the script to
read it, but he didn't go for that. I think what he really wanted was
someone to talk to. Rusty killed himself in 1990. When I heard the
news I wasn't surprised.
I have several scars from my years at the Oar House. One
night I was working the beer wagon and was very drunk. With mixed
drinks costing only 35 cents, it didn't take much out of my tips to get
drunk. I leaned forward to give a customer a beer, and I leaned too far
forward, and fell part way out of the wagon. I have a faint 1-1/2" scar
on the under side of my wrist as a reminder of that night. I had a sign
taped to a beer pitcher that said something like "I need tips to help my
roommate pay for her abortion". It wasn't true, but I did get really
good tips that night.
For awhile I dated John Shields, one of the bartenders.
There was a very nasty girl who liked to flirt with John when he and I
worked the same shift. She'd hang out at his station and she'd make
sure I saw her coming on to him. At least once a night during the
shift, she'd order a dark beer from me, in a very condescending way.
I'd just smile and go to the bartender I was working with, frequently
Bob, and I'd order a glass of spillage for her. I'd give her the
spillage, take her money and the TIP, and I'd look forward to her next
OK Wendee, here's a typical
night for me at the Oar 1975
evening I was training a new manager named Timmy Keene…his first night
on the job. I had him do the beer box count and he left the outside
beer box door open. A truck camper was backed up to the door and the
driver decided to help himself. As he was leaving Timmy saw his hasty
exit into the street and ran after him opening the driver door. The
driver slammed on the brakes throwing Timmy into the street and spilling
3 kegs down 2nd avenue. The Oar was closing and there were many people
in the back parking lot. I was just about across the street from the
office with the breakage replacements when the guy driving, floors it,
aiming for me almost on the Chips curb. Somebody yelled "Clark stop
him!". I put the crate down on the sidewalk grabbed the first bottle I
saw…Courvoisier, and fast balled it into the front windshield at point
blank range. We phoned the police who minutes later apprehended the guy
going the wrong way down Venice Blvd. Wasn't hard to ID him, the bottle
smashed his windshield and the booze was all over him. Days later after
I wrote up the daily log sheet I was summoned to a board meeting
upstairs. I was commended for my actions and reprimanded for not using
good judgment by not selecting something less expensive like Smirnoff
A Recollection from
Shannon Burke 1989-91
remember a great Scanlon story. We were in the Oar House for an employee
meeting, it was a Sunday @ noon. Everyone was hungover. in the middle of
the meeting a canoe hanging from the ceiling started to move. It
startled everyone, I remember some girls screaming. Then Scanlon's head
pops up. He had been in there all night.
riding in his car once & he asks, "wanna stop for a drink" I say yes. He
pulls over, opens his trunk & makes me a gin & tonic from his "trunk
bar" complete with ice & a lime garnish.
Puckering Atwill Moments 1975
I have so many it rivals the Old Testament
I always thought Joe and I
were pretty good friends. I was even willing to forgive him for
verbally assaulting Malibu Judge Merrick when we were sneaking in to Pt.
Dume to surf and were accidently caught by the Judge and two Malibu
Sheriffs. When loudly asked by the Judge what the hell we were
doing, Joe pushed up his crooked black frame glasses and proceeded to
tell him he was the son of a California Congressman and should carefully
watch his tone of voice. He then read the Judge the riot act about
how he ( the Judge), a local resident. was breaking the law by illegally
restricting access. Ray Gann & I were frozen with fear as the 2
Deputies were reaching for their cuffs. The Judge screamed "Get out
of here and never let me catch you here again." Joe was about to
reply but Ray and I grabbed his arms, groveled a thank you to the
Judge and left. It was a quiet ride back to Santa Monica.
later I was debating inviting Joe to my wedding but was afraid of
what he could do to the straight guests...AKA my parents, 2 right winged
Huckabees from Alabama. I finally sat him down & told him if he
behaved, ironed his clothes, combed his hair and no funny business, he
could come. He assured me he would abide by my wishes.
Several hours into the wedding reception I see a well groomed &
dressed Joe, talking to my parents. I almost passed out from fear.
As I made my way toward them, I could hear Joe pontificating to them on
how much of an inspiration I had been in his life. I listened for
several minutes as Joe went on and on with the accolades.
Just as I began to relax, it happened...Joe suddenly stopped and said
"but isn't it a pity?" my Mom asks "what?" Joe head down and
shaking replies..."that he's suffering from a castration complex."
My mother dropped her champagne glass on the floor as my father whisked
her away whispering. "Now honey that's why we don't live here
anymore." Joe turns and looks at me, now wide-eyed, mouth agape
and says..."Lovely day for a wedding, don't you think?" Somehow we
(nearly castrated by fear)
Jimmy's real bad thang & a dinner
with my In-law's 20 years later
Like every Oar story this one is
bizarre..kinda goes without saying. Jimmy B was a Doorman & a
friend. During a time in 1972 he lived in the closet under the stairs in
our apt. in Santa Monica with his black lab Chelsea. Yes it was a
tight fit but a single mattress fit perfectly. Our place was
an Oar House flophouse as there was always some employee(s) hanging out.
One night at the Oar somebody slipped Jimmy a little something in his
drink. It was about 6PM in the evening. Now remember this
was the early 70's. It didn't agree with him and in an elevated
state of mind he decided to strip naked and stand in the back parking
lot of the Oar/BC greeting the customers. There were about 5 of us
working that were Jimmy's friends. We all tried to convince him to
put his clothes back on and all we got were lumps for it. We
started taking shifts but to no avail. After some unfortunate
antique auto carnage, acting Manager Alan Christian said we had to bring
in the SMPD. That was a very tense situation for all of us because
Jimmy would not cooperate. Finally an officer maced him (and me)
and it was soon all over except the crying (me). We picked up
Jimmy from a hospital in the east valley at about 2 in the morning.
Jimmy, a decent chap at heart was devastated at what he had done.
I remember in addition to the auto damage there were a lot of torn
clothes that night. Jimmy made good though, all the way around.
Its now 25 years later in
Thousand Oaks and I am having dinner with my future in-laws
and their neighbors. In those awkward opening moments
at the table my fiancé's mother says "Oh Herb, our
neighbor is a retired SMPD officer". I laughed
and said "oh we've probably met as I was a manager at the
Oar House. He says, " I hated to respond to calls at
that place. My worst situation ever involved
restraining a naked man with mace in the parking lot.
I blurted out...."and you maced me too, I was standing right
behind him - cried like a baby for 30 minutes."
Everyone at the table was horrified. Herb & I just
laughed it off. It was a quiet dinner after
that. My fiancé asked me to never bring it up again.
Absolutely no relevance to
the story - I was hit with 42 cream pies in the Oar House on
my 24th birthday I looked like the abomidible snowman.
I was then stripped naked put in the Chips kitchen sink, hosed off
and given an orange tutu with a ruffle to finish the
evening. I believe I had been drinking -
Damn, OK just one
A Tribute to David
Baumgardner's Double Dawg Dare (wherever you
Our GM was ill and DB & I
had to work the day shift together. I did the books, DB ran
Chips. It was not a cake walk day. At 6PM the relieving
night manager came in (late) and DB & I headed for the Oar
to relax and have a beer. After doing a pitcher, DB looks
at me and says …"lets go have a beer somewhere else". I
said "where, somewhere else?" hoping he didn't mean the
Circle Bar. "Saint James Infirmary in San Jose" he says.
This was the classic DB double dawg dare. I felt good about
winning this one and said "OK". He says "be ready in 5
minutes and goes to call the bar to arrange a pickup in SFO.
Next thing I know we're on a PSA flight north. The guys at
the St. James, our sister bar, picked us up and we drank all
night. The crew hung with us and I think we even bagged a
couple of waitresses. It was great to visit another
store..you were always treated like royalty. At 9AM the next
morning we were eating a burger breakfast at the bar and
Dave says…"Lets go have a beer"…I said "where?"…he says
"Fanny Anns in old Sacramento". At noon we were on another
PSA flight and by 3pm we were still drinking, now at another
sister bar. At 9PM Dave says "lets go have a beer" I say
"where?" he says "…if we hurry, we can make last call at the
Oar House". We did, and left a wake of very pissed
off airline employees in our wake. It took 3 days to
recover…but it was worth it…I never backed down.
I'd love to tell you the
one about DB, a bottle of scotch, dancing the watusi on the
chips bar with a Von's checker, but I think Rip Van Flannery
has finally woke up and wrote a ditty...now where's Baralt's
theme paper? BARALT get in here!
Who's Next ya scallawags?
On to Page
2 of the tallest tales ever told
OK, I know this isn't a dyed in the
wool Oar House story but the Oar House is
in it...so until we can get a
hold of the good stuff...enjoy. I bet you can do better. I know
you can. Hell, I can! Let me introduce you to Armadillo Dave
- ex-patron and in the parse collective to have seen Miki Dora in