March 2020 General Meeting: Early Motorcycling in Southern California

“Outdoor Motorcycle Recreation in Pre-World War II California” will be the topic of historian and OCHS member Paul Clark’s presentation at the March 12, 2020 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society.

7:30p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
2400 N. Canal St., Orange.

The public is welcome to this free event.

(Please note that this program replaces a previously planned program on Cinderella Homes, which will likely be rescheduled at a later date.)

Horse power took on new meaning around 1900, with motorized vehicles transforming transport and life throughout California and the world. Motorcycles were part of this movement away from the horse and buggy, leaving many (literally and/or figuratively) in the dust. Southern California’s climate welcomed outdoor sports, and soon motorcycling attracted the interest of newspapers, radio, and eventually motion pictures. Local motorcycling events began to draw tens of thousands of spectators.

Not only were there massive group rides down the coast and races, but also wildly-popular “hill rides” where riders pitted their stamina and engines against gravity. The 1923 Capistrano Hill Ride, for instance, drew 50,000 spectators.

Paul Clark, as a graduate student at CSU Fullerton, co-authored a report in 1978 to the Federal government spanning the wide range of outdoor recreation in the California desert. Since then, he completed his MA in history and has published extensively on recreational history. The recent Brand Book 23 of the Los Angeles Corral of Westerners features Clark’s article focusing on outdoor motorcycle recreation in California from 1900 to 1945.

February 2020 General Meeting: The Assault Trial of Alexander Pantages, 1929-1931

It seems there’s a sensational “trial of the century” about every ten years or so. And from the Overell Trial to O. J. Simpson, Orange County has played a role in a surprising number of these nationally covered legal dramas. Among these is the attack by powerful theater impresario Alexander Pantages on 17-year-old Eunice Pringle of Garden Grove. The stories of Pringle, Pantages, and the famous trial will be the subject of the next Orange County Historical Society meeting. Historian Paul R. Spitzzeri and Pringle’s daughter, Marcy Worthington, will present “The Value of a Girl’s Honor: The Assault Trial of Alexander Pantages, 1929-1931” on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. The event is free and open to the public.

When wealthy entertainment tycoon Alexander Pantages attacked a young dancer at his opulent Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, two criminal trials were held with polar opposite outcomes. Both trials emphasized discussion of the teen’s image and honor. The story has special resonance in this era of Harvey Weinstein and the “Me Too” movement.

Spitzzeri will focus on the story of the assault and trials, and Worthington will talk about her mother’s life before and after the attack. Eunice Pringle’s resilience in the face of relentless public exposure and courtroom grilling from the theater mogul’s attorneys was truly remarkable. She went on to live a full life which lasted almost 70 years beyond the incident.

Paul R. Spitzzeri, who grew up in Orange County, is the director at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in City of Industry, California, where he was worked since 1988. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from California State University, Fullerton. He has published extensively on California and regional history, including a biography of the Workman and Temple families which won an award from a national history association. Paul has given presentations to the historical society on several topics in the past, including on Carbon Canyon and the killing of Los Angeles County Sheriff James R. Barton and posse by the Flores-Daniel gang.

Marcy Worthington is the only child of Eunice Pringle-Worthington and Richard Worthington. She is a professional photographer and teaches photography, forensics, and criminal justice at the regional police and sheriff’s academy in San Diego and at a local community college. She has a M.A. in Forensic Science and B.A. in Behavioral Science, with an emphasis in Criminal Justice. Worthington has served as a reserve police officer and is a member of the San Diego Police Chief’s Advisory Board for the Disabled Community. She is writing a book about her mother which “will set the record straight, and show her to be a lady… of great character and intelligence.”

January 2020 General Meeting: Phil Brigandi: The Historian, his Work, and his Legacy

We begin this new year by saying goodbye.

There are no words to accurately sum up the loss of beloved historian and friend, Phil Brigandi, but coming together and sharing mutual memories seems to be the best way to remember him. In response, we have decided to dedicate our January meeting in his honor.

Please join us on January 9, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. (note the special time) as we review Phil Brigandi’s numerous writings of and contributions to understanding the history and cultural landscape of Orange County. A panel of those who knew him and his work will share their insights. Participants include Dr. Arthur Hansen, Mark Hall-Patton, Eric Plunkett, Chris Jepsen, and Stephanie George.

A small reception will follow.

Phil began researching and writing as a 16-year-old growing up in the city of Orange. Focusing on what and who he found interesting, those topics eventually expanded to include Orange County and southern California, and most recently, a foray into the entire Portola Expedition would have included his first publication about a statewide event.
A prolific author, he wrote more than thirty books, countless articles for newspapers, magazines, and journals, and served as editor on multiple publications.

Thursday, January 9, 2020
7:00 p.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church
2400 N. Canal St.
Orange, CA