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Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Digi-blog goes to Los Angeles for Georgia’s trip to the Rose Bowl

I had a normal childhood. At least it seemed normal. My normal was having some friends in TV commercials. One kid, I can’t remember his name, but he was dork, was in an orange juice commercial, and all of us in the second grade were convinced he was a millionaire, so we hated him.

I was in the “Indian Guides,” which was a father-son group like Boy Scouts, except with a Native American twist, and one of the other dads was Werner Klemperer, who played “Colonel Klink” on the TV show, “Hogan’s Heroes.” So yes, Klink and Schultz were in the same tribe. I always asked Mr. Klemperer if he would wear his Klink costume to one of our meetings, but he said no.

I attended University High School in West Los Angeles, which wasn’t quite Beverly Hills High School, but had its share of famous alumni, including Judy Garland, Roddy McDowell, briefly Marilyn Monroe -- we dated, ugly breakup, she transferred I think -- David Cassidy, Sandra Dee, Patty Duke’s kids, Julie Andrews’ kids, Della Reese’s daughter, John Densmore, Dave Navarro, James Brolin, Jeff Bridges, former NFL wide receiver Steve Smith and, on a far lesser note, Patricia Krenwinkle from the Manson family.

So my normal was different than kids in, say, Atlanta. The beach, Hollywood, Sunset Strip, Westwood, Santa Monica Pier, Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and Magic Mountain were just stuff that was there. Everybody didn’t have that?

Given Georgia is playing in the Rose Bowl in nearby Pasadena, the folks at the AJC thought the Digi-Blog should bring you a few shots from my past. So here goes.

(Look for updates later today from Disneyland.)

This is the La Brea Tar Pits, which is an area of downtown called the “Miracle Mile,” which I believe got its name from the fact that every single dinosaur on earth died when they walked up to this place for a drink of water and got stuck in tar. That’s what I thought as a dumb kid. There were school field trips to this place every year, and it was hot, and it smelled like tar, but we got to see fake dinosaurs and stories of their extinction. Because they did find fossils here. So I just assumed all prehistoric creatures, even ones from China, somehow found their way to Wilshire Boulevard, stopped off for some deli down the street on Fairfax, then walked over here because they were thirsty and, poof, dead dinos. By the way: Yes, that is a Volkswagen pulling a mammoth in the lead photo. Just another day in L.A.

This is MacArthur Park, named for Douglas MacArthur, a small dot of a green space sandwiched between some old downtown buildings. They cleaned it up a bit since I was young. Took my future wife here once on a date because taking your girlfriend on a paddle boat with a bottle of cheap wine in a part of town nobody would walk in back then seemed like a nice romantic thought. There are actually ducks in this lake, but back then these ducks had tats, smoked cigarettes and made threatening quacking sounds if you didn’t throw them your sandwich. 

This is the Whiskey-a-Go-Go on Sunset Strip, which I actually went to only a few times growing up but, along with the Troubador and a few other clubs, was the go-to spot for music. The first time my parents took me to the Sunset Strip, nobody was allowed to get out of the car. I think they viewed it as like a wild-animal park that you just drove through. But I remember one night in the late 1960s when we rolled down the Strip, everybody was screaming and crowds were following a young couple on the sidewalk named “Sonny and Cher.” Not sure whatever happened to them. Also, I saw a new comedian down the street at the Comedy Store named, “PeeWee Herman.” Not sure what happened to him, either.

This is Carney’s. I know the Varsity has its legion of devotees, but anybody who has had a real chili dog, chili burger or chili fries from this place on Sunset in Hollywood or on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City will never go back to the Varsity. Also, it’s owned by my best friend Bill. When I was in college, I used to meet him late at night and eat a chocolate-covered frozen banana from his kitchen while he was mopping the floor, which I found amusing. Bill works in the Studio City restaurant. Ask for him, tell him you know me and he’ll give you, well, probably nothing.

As far as I can tell, the only Georgia graduate with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is Ryan Seacrest. What a letdown. No Herschel. No Dooley. Not even Uga. So I figured I’d show you Donald Duck, one of the greatest comedic actors of our generation. The Walk of Fame lists Donald Duck’s ethnicity as, “Caucasian.” I’m still trying to figure that out.

Since I talked about my high school, here’s a shot of Uni. Remember that scene in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” when the side door to a van opened and Spicoli and his friends tumbled out, along with clouds of smoke? Yeah. Uni. Also, pal Steve Wynn (later of the “Dream Syndicate,” the “Baseball Project” and solo career) and I used to sneak out of one of the ground-floor windows during journalism class to go to “Arlene’s Donuts” down the street, with the full permission of the teacher (who I believe wanted us to bring her back a bear claw.) Also, it turns out the school was built on or near an ancient native american burial ground, so one year when the gardener found bones while trimming the bushes, all renovation projects had to be stopped so archaeologists could come in. Consequently, the school cafeteria, which had been condemned, could not be rebuilt for years. So when I went to school, there was no cafeteria. Hard times, man. Hard times.

See, there was a time when I didn’t have a beard. That’s me on the left, with future rock star Steve Wynn on the right. Between donuts, we kicked butt on the “Warrior” school newspaper in writing competitions. (I know. He had the big trophy. Shut up.)

So L.A.

This is the Venice Beach boardwalk. Best summer job I ever had was on this strip. Worked for a wholesale jewelry manufacturer, setting up a kiosk and selling stuff because it was the summer and I was on the beach and there were females in bathing suits. It was a frequent location used for TV shoes and movies. I’m pretty sure every episode of the TV show “CHiPS” included a scene with “Ponch” chasing a bad guy, who advertantly ran into a roller-blader. I also once saw a Hassidic rabbi dressed in his full black garb rollerskating here.

My boss asked me to take a picture of the beach. This “Impeach Trump” stand jumped in the way of my camera shot. (I looked for a pro-Trump stand in interest of equal time, but couldn’t find one. Wrong state.)

A scene that could take place only in Venice.

Mostly amused by the “Caduceus” symbol of medicine on the sign out front, along with the words, “Medical Marijuana Evaluation.” I hear it’s quite an arduous evaluation process. I didn’t study. So I passed on taking the test.

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.