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Image 1 for Depression era beach hangs with Dick Metz and Shirley Temple

The natural entertainer, Depression years, early '30s.

Image 2 for Depression era beach hangs with Dick Metz and Shirley Temple

Hanky, San Onofre, a decade later, early ’40s. Photo: Metz Collection

Depression era beach hangs with Dick Metz and Shirley Temple

8 March 22

From SHACC - Dick Metz stories, as told to Ben Marcus: Dick Metz can no longer lie about his age. He was born September 4, 1929 in Laguna Beach, California — just in time to be a Child of the Depression, but also for good things, too.


“During that time, in the ’30s, when the Del Mar racetrack opened - Bing Crosby and Bob Hope were involved - Hollywood was different then than it is today. Movie stars were kinda regular people. You know, you’d see them in movies, but they weren’t so elevated, so red carpet, such a big deal.

"The movie lots - MGM, Warner Bros., and all those - were where these guys worked five days a week. And because Laguna was a cutesy town and had a lot of artists living there, the movie stars (not all of them, obviously, but a bunch of them) would spend time down there.


"I used to play with Shirley Temple on the beach on weekends. She was the same age as I was, and her folks would stop at the restaurant. There were no freeways, and to go to San Diego, you had to go down Coast Highway.

"The towns along the way were small, and there weren’t many restaurants, so movie stars would drive down Friday afternoon when they got off work at the different Hollywood lots – drive down to Laguna, have dinner, usually at my dad’s restaurant, and spend the night in Laguna.

"Then they’d get up on Saturday morning, drive to Del Mar, watch the races Saturday, spend Saturday night down there, watch the races on Sunday, and then Sunday afternoon, when the races were over at four o’clock, they’d drive back to Laguna, spend Sunday night in Laguna, and Monday morning, get up at a reasonable time to drive back to L.A.

"So we had a lot of movie people stopping at the restaurant - Bing Crosby and Victor Mature, Bette Davis, I can’t remember all of them, but that’s the way the economy kind of ran. And it saved us, especially because there weren’t tourists like there are now. And during the Depression, these small towns needed that extra financial input. That’s what kind of kept Laguna going during those early years of the Depression. And I was playing on the beach and surfing with Peanuts and Hevs. That was the lifestyle in those early years."


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