Categories
Weird and Strange History

The Original In-N-Out Replica in Baldwin Park: The First In-N-Out

The Original In-N-Out Replica in Baldwin Park: The First In-N-Out

There are 371 In-N-Out Burger locations in the United States as of December 2021. The state with the most number of In-N-Out Burger locations in the US is n California with 257 locations, which is 69% of all In-N-Out Burger locations in America.

However, it all started with one.

Harry and Esther Snyder open the first In-N-Out burger stand on October 22, 1948 in Baldwin Park, CA. It is California’s very first drive-thru restaurant.

The first In-N-Out was demolished to make way for what is now Interstate 10 and the San Bernardino Freeway.

A replica of the original In-N-Out was built in 2014 to preserve the history of this iconic landmark.

The Original In-N-Out Replica is located at 13766 Francisquito Ave, Baldwin Park, CA 91706.

It is open Thursday through Sunday, 11:00am – 2:00pm. If you stop by at any other time you’ll have to view it from behind a locked gate.

Categories
Weird and Strange History

Tim Burton’s Lost Hansel and Gretel

Tim Burton’s Lost Hansel and Gretel

From Edward Scissorhands to Beetlejuice to the Nightmare Before Christmas, the dark and magical world Tim Burton creates is iconic. However, his version of the classic Brothers Grimm tale of Hansel and Gretel, and the unlikely pairing with the Disney Channel, wasn’t as well received as his future creations would be early in his career.

Burton worked as an animator and artist for Disney. One creation born from that pairing was a live action, short film, and essentially his version of Hansel and Gretel. The bizarre retelling of the fairytale would air only once on October 31st, 1983. At a cost of $116,000 on 16 millimeter film, Hansel and Gretel featured a cast of amateur Asian actors complete with special effects, stop motion and an avant-garde aesthetic.

According to Screen Rant “The short is quite faithful to the original Brothers Grimm tale, despite odd quirks like a kung fu battle between the title duo and the witch, who uses candy cane nunchucks. There’s also a character called Dan Dan the Gingerbread Man, who sings an odd cover version of Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” and wants Hansel to eat him.”

The film was considered lost and some question if it actually ever existed Hansel and Gretel resurfaced at the museum of modern art as part of a Tim Burton exhibition from November 22nd, 2009 to April 26th, 2010, a 34 minute version of the film was uploaded to YouTube in 2014, although it’s speculated that a 45 minute version exists.

Categories
Esoteric Abandoned Places Weird and Strange History

The Rise and Fall of the Futuro House

The Rise and Fall of the Futuro House

The three decades 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s were remarkable times in history when two nations, the United States and the Soviet Union, were having their race to space. While the world’s superpowers were pouring their resources into conquering the universe, designers on Earth were competing to create the most ultra-modern homes, using science fiction as their inspiration. When Neil Armstrong then stepped on the moon in 1969, the idea of a futuristic utopia did not seem far away.

In that era was created Futuro, a flying saucer-looking portable plastic house that looks it arrived from somewhere really far from space. Measuring 4 meters (13 feet) high and 8 meters (26 feet) in diameter, Futuro house has a variable amount of oval-shaped windows that look a lot like bug eyes. The entryway is a single pull-down door that opens with a key. The door descends and turns into stairs, like in an airplane.

Inside, the floor plan featured accommodations around a central space that looked very much like those in spaceships. The chairs could be kept upright during the day and put down at night for sleeping. In the center, there is often a fireplace, and depending on the model, there were also amenities like a kitchenette, toilet and dressing room. Still, a Futuro house was not really a place where you would necessarily live permanently. So what was this iconic piece of architecture’s original purpose?

Me at a Futuro House. Wallingboro, NJ.

It all started when a Finnish doctor Jaakko Hiidenkari asked 1965 his schoolmate Matti Suuronen to design a ski cabin that would be “quick to heat and easy to construct in rough terrain.” For his project, Matti chose fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic as the main material as it was already familiar to him and had been used in Finland before for another structure of a similar shape. So that the cabin would be easy to transport, it was designed to consist of 16 elements that were bolted together to form the floor and the roof. On top of that, the house could be heated in only thirty minutes, from −29 to 16 °C (−20 to 60 °F.) It was a masterpiece, an avant-garde retreat. 

In addition to the original idea, Matti also had a vision his creation could be used for families as an affordable, durable and easy-to-clean plastic house they could move whenever they moved. He saw a different kind of future without homelessness.

Yet, despite widespread domestic and international interest, Futuro never lived up to its commercial expectations. After all, it was just too weird and expensive for mass markets, no matter the ongoing space age. However, the severity of the public hostility was a surprise. Some Futoro’s were vandalized, some even destroyed. The last nail in the coffin was the oil crisis of 1973 which tripled the price of plastics and made it much more challenging to manufacture and market Futuro.

In total, less than a hundred Futuro houses were ever made of which 64 have survived, five of them still being in Finland. The one located in Espoo is actually Futuro 001, the first Futuro ever manufactured after the prototype. There it stands, proudly reminding you of an optimistic vision of a future that never came to pass.

 

Sources

The Futuro House

Futuro no. 001 

Welcome to the Futuro house

What Exactly is Matti Suuronen’s Futuro House?

A Map of the Last Remaining Flying Saucer Homes

This flying saucer is one man’s vacation home

10 Out-of-This-World Facts About the Futuro House

 

Categories
Videos Weird and Strange History

MTV’s Toxic Pink Houses John Cougar Mellencamp Contest

MTV’s Toxic Pink Houses John Cougar Mellencamp Contest

John Cougar Mellencamp’s MTV Pink Houses contest included a pink house, pink jeep, and a toxic waste dump.

MTV was in full swing in 1984, and along with the music videos, MTV was obsessed with contests. Specifically, contests based on homes. Giving you a home, turning your home into a party house, or living in someone else’s.

In 1983, the John Cougar Mellencamp song Pink Houses, about the so-called American dream, lyrically situated in his home state of Indiana.

The 1984 contest “Paint the Mutha Pink” involved sending in a postcard, and if there’s was selected, the lucky winner in 25 friends were flown to Bloomington Indiana, John Cougar Mellencamp his hometown for a house party hosted by John Cougar Mellencamp, Mellencamp would play a live concert and the winner got to keep the house, which of course had been painted pink. Other prizes included a pink Jeep and a garage full of pink colored Hawaiian Punch.

What was the catch? Initially the whole prize was a catch. The house is more of a shack than a house. MTV bought the property for $20,000, which is not a bad price considering it was across one of the country’s worst toxic waste dumps. According to the June 25th, 1984, Lakeland ledger:

“Rock and roller John Cougar, Mellencamp and music television thought they had the perfect little house in the country to give the winner of a nationwide contest until they found out it was across the street from a toxic waste dump.

The music video maker bought the house and painted it pink. In honor of Mellencamp’s popular song, Pink Houses, which mentioned little pink houses he recalls seeing while growing up in Indiana. A promotional ad for the MTV party house contest was filmed featuring Mellencamp and the house, only then did promoters learned that the houses across the street from a 40 acre landfill, that made the environmental protection agencies in 1981. It was one of the nations 115 most hazardous waste dumps. So MTV bought another house in the country near Bloomington to give away and put the original one story wood frame house on the market for $38,900.”

“We had the well tested and the water samples came out. Okay. But we did not want to take a chance.” Said Priscilla Mellencamp, Mellencamp’s ex-wife and MTV’s real estate agent in Bloomington.

“Basically John did not feel right about it.”

The winner was Susan Miles from Seattle, Washington. According to a 1991 article in the Herald times online, it turned out that Susan Miles had only kept the house long enough to reap some tax advantages from owning a property. She never actually lived in the house. She went back to Bellevue, Washington after the contest was over.

 

 

Categories
True Crime Videos Weird and Strange History

The Tragic Case of Charemon Jonovich & Robert Pastorelli

The Tragic Case of Charemon Jonovich & Robert Pastorelli

The Tragic Case of Charemon Jonovich & Murphy Brown actor Robert Pastorelli leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

The death of Murphy Brown actor Robert Pastorelli’s girlfriend in 1999 was an open and shut case. Until it wasn’t. Pastorelli’s overdose in 2004 was on the heels of his upgrade from grieving boyfriend and father, to suspect.

According to a story in the National Enquirer, “police were about to reverse the decision of death by accidental gunshot to murder, in the death of Pastorelli’s ex-girlfriend, Charemon Jonovich. The original claim was that Jonovich threatened to kill herself with the gun when it accidentally went off, but according to the story, “Insiders say the DA never believed Pastorelli’s version” of events, particularly when gunpowder residue was found on Pastorelli’s hands.”

Categories
True Crime Videos Weird and Strange History

San Diego Tank Rampage | The Tragic Case of Shawn Nelson

San Diego Tank Rampage | The Tragic Case of Shawn Nelson

On May 18, 1995, unhinged military vet Shawn Nelson stole a tank and went on a 23 minute rampage through the streets of San Diego.

Nelson’s spiral downward began in 1990, when he got hospitalized for both neck and back injuries he sustained from a motorcycle accident. He sued the hospital for $1.6 million, citing negligence, assault, battery, and false imprisonment. He also made the claim that he was forced to be treated without his consent. However, a superior court judge not only dismissed his case, but the hospital also counter-sued him for the $6,640 in medical fees and legal expenses.

In 1991, his wife of six years filed to divorce against him. By 1992, he lost both of his parents. Nelson also developed an addiction to meth.  Shawn’s strange behavior continued, including digging a 17 foot deep in his backyard to mine for gold.

Then, things went downhill further. Nelson’s plumbing business got halted from the combination of his neck and back problems, as well as his plumbing equipment getting stolen. He then lost his new girlfriend to overdose.

Nelson lost his income, which resulted in both his utilities getting cut off and his house going into foreclosure.

The Tank Rampage

On Wednesday, May 17, 1995,  Nelson reached his breaking point. He drove to the California Army National Guard Armory. The armory, located in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood of San Diego was easily accessible. He managed to start 57-ton M60A3 Patton tank.

For the next 23 minutes, Nelson led police on a televised chase through the streets of San Diego

Throughout Nelson’s rampage, the tank plowed through road signs, traffic lights, utility poles, fire hydrants. In addition to that, the tank also crushed several parked vehicles. The damage from the tank to multiple utility poles, power was out to at least 5000 customers of SDG&E.

While on Interstate 805,  Nelson attempted to knock down a pedestrian bridge by repeatedly running into its support beams. Nelson then drove the tank southbound on Route 163 resulting in the freeway quickly getting closed down and blocked off. Thousands of motorists were also left stuck as the police continuing trying to stop Nelson whose rampage continued.

Nelson attempted to cross northbound into oncoming traffic. However, this was stopped when he got stuck trying to go over the concrete median divider .

With Nelson now stuck, four San Diego police officers climbed onto the tank. However, instead of complying, he attempted to free the tank by moving it back and forth to and resume. His attempt was ultimately stopped when, Nelson was shot through his shoulder officer Richard Piner.

With the rampage finally over, officials took Nelson to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he ultimately died from his injuries.

 

Categories
True Crime Videos Weird and Strange History

The Mysterious Death of Bobby Fuller

The Mysterious Death of Bobby Fuller

Musician Bobby Fuller of the Bobby Fuller Four, best known for their cover of  the song “I Fought the Law”, was found dead in the parking lot of his Hollywood apartment on July 18th, 1966 at age 23. The mysterious death of Bobby Fuller leads to more questions than answers.

On the night of July 17, 1966, Bobby Fuller left in his mother Lorraine’s Oldsmobile. The next morning, she woke up and found that he had not returned. At 5PM, fourteen hours after Bobby had left, the Oldsmobile was back, not parked in the parking lot of the apartment, but parked in the vacant lot next to the apartment building. His mother found Bobby dead in the car. His body bruised and bloodied body, and deep rigor mortis, in the front seat of the car, without the car keys.

Next to him in the unlocked vehicle was a one-third full gas container with a a hose attached. Bobby himself was covered in gasoline. Based on his mother Lorainne’s statements, someone had to have driven the car into the parking lot after his death.

Despite the contrary evidence, investigators concluded that he committed suicide. They believed that he had died from drinking gasoline. However, the coroner didn’t find gasoline in his stomach. The coroner’s office determined official cause of death was  “asphyxia due to inhalation of gasoline,” There were also conflicting information the coroner’s report. One page listed his death as an “accident” while another page had question marks next to “accident” and “suicide”. The injuries found on his body, including a broken finger and other bruises, suggested that he had been injured before his death.

Evidence was destroyed or discarded and the vehicle was never dusted for prints. Witnesses noted one of the investigators throwing the gas can into the garbage. When asked why the can was being thrown away, the investigator said that Bobby was “just a rock-and-roll punk who killed himself”. It’s believed that investigators assumed he committed suicide because his mother stated that he was upset around the time of his death. However, she and the rest of his friends and family stated that he was not depressed or suicidal, as he was on the brink of stardom. Despite the many theories, the case remains unsolved.

 

 

Categories
Abandoned Places Weird and Strange History

Vintage Neon Signs | Neon Museum Las Vegas

Vintage Neon Signs | Neon Museum Las Vegas

Las Vegas has a past. It probably has the pasts of all pasts. While the rest of the tourists and bachelorette parties are in full swing, I suggest visiting the Neon Museum. Vintage neon signs galore. It’s a graveyard of Vegas signs gone by. So many Vegas hotels have come and gone, but this home to fallen Vegas is alive, and especially at night.

Stardust

Sahara 

The museum was founded in 1996. The sign for the Sands couldn’t find a home, so it was scrapped, and the Neon Museum was born. The front office was created out of what was once the La Concha Motel. So you get a retro feel even before you enter the actual museum.

The museum opened for business to the public in 2012. Previous to that it was appointment only. The “boneyard” (a good amount of the collection came from the Yesco Boneyard) contains over 150 signs. The Neon Museum also maintains several restores signs on the strip. I’ve only been there at night, and even though it can be 100 degrees at 10pm, it’s worth it to see all the signs in it’s neon glory. Not every sign is lit up, but there’s enough to go around, and the guides really know their stuff.

Some say I haunt this place but I’m just waiting for an Uber.

 

Categories
Videos Weird and Strange History

Freaky Friday the 13th

Freaky Friday the 13th

I produced a trailer for a fictitious movie called Freaky Friday the 13th in 2013 with Yahoo and College Humor starring Daniella Monet from Victorious. In 2020 the movie Freaky was released. The video was wiped from the internet. Until now. Is there any connection? Probably not but see for yourself in the above video.

 

Categories
Weird and Strange History Esoteric

Louise Huebner: Official Witch of Los Angeles

Louise Huebner: Official Witch of Los Angeles

Born in New York in 1930, Louise Huebner was a sixth-generation witch, and a 3rd generation astrologer. Louise moved to Los Angeles with her illustrator husband Mentor Huebner, where she opened her first astrology office. By the mid 60’s she was writing astrology-themed newspaper columns, and made her way in media. Louise was a regular guest on LA’s KLAC radio station and a frequent guest on TV talk shows.

Louise was also the Cultural Chairman of the 14th district of Los Angeles. After planning many successful events, she was asked to kick off a series of 12 summer concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.  The first concert was called “Folklore Day,”  Louise suggested she would host the world’s first Spellcast. Huebner would lead the crowd into casting a “sex-spell”, to increase the sexual vitality of all 78 cities within Los Angeles County. A week before the first Spellcast, the Board of County Supervisors chairman, Ernest Debs, awarded Louise with a sealed certificate designating her as the “Official Witch of Los Angeles County”.

The event Hollywood Bowl took place on July 21, 1968.  Over 11,000 people appeared that day to accompany Huebner in casting a sexual vitality spell over LA County. Members of the crowd were provided with candles, garlic, and chalk and were instructed to draw a chalk circle around themselves for the “invocation”.

In unison they chanted:

“Light the flame,

Bright the fire,

Red is the color of desire.”

However, her newly crowned title wouldn’t last.

On New Year’s Eve 1969, Louis received a letter from the LA County Counsel, John D. Maharg, letting her that she no longer had authority to operate under the title of  “Official Witch of Los Angeles” He stated that the certificate was only intended for promotional use relating to the Hollywood Bowl concert series.

Louise made a public response. she made her response. She threatened to invoke her magical powers. In her letter to John D. Maharg, she writes:

“If Supervisor Debs persists in asking the Department of Parks and Recreation to unload me–or, Mr. Maharg to intimidate me, that will only create bad feelings in me, and I will be forced through an act of pride to take back the Los Angeles County Spell for increased Sexual Vitality. What with smog and freeways being what they are, I shudder to think of what the De-Spelling could do to devastate the County. Surely in these critical times, other areas should capture the attention of both Supervisor Debs and our Mr. Maharg. To think that good and valuable County time and effort could go into getting rid of happy publicity and good clean fun in the County Parks fascinates me.”

Although Louise Huebner led a less public life soon after, she continued her work in the occult, and died in 2014 at 84. She  left behind a legacy of books, albums of spoken word, and remains the one and old Official Witch of Los Angeles.