Linda Vista's Most Famous Movie Star
Plus: LV Resident Receives Education Award, LV News Update, and Cross Street Chicken and Beer on Convoy
If you were to ask a typical fan of classic cinema for the name of a male actor synonymous with Hollywood westerns, notable names such as Gary Cooper, Alan Ladd, and Randolph Scott might be mentioned. These actors became famous for playing the traditional role of the brave town sheriff, pitted in the script against black hatted desperados.
But ask any long time Linda Vista residents to name the most famous cinematic sheriff in Hollywood history, and chances are they will chuckle and offer up one more name. If you grew up in this area, you already know that the star of the 1974 hit movie Blazing Saddles, grew up right here in Linda Vista. The famous Kearny High School grad—Cleavon Little—became a Hollywood star after playing the role of Sheriff Bart in what many consider to be the one of the funniest movies ever, a comedy directed by comic genius Mel Brooks.
We at the Linda Vista Update thought it important that ALL of our readers—especially those new to Linda Vista—be made aware of this interesting bit of Linda Vista lore. So, we spent some time reviewing several web site to stitch together interesting information about Linda Vista’s favorite movie star.
Cleavon Little was born in Oklahoma in 1939. His family moved when he was a teen to Linda Vista. He attended Kearny High, where he graduated in 1957. While at Kearny he participated in sports and in the dramatic arts program. He eventually graduated from San Diego State University. From there he went to the Julliard School and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Upon completing his studies he began appearing in several theatre roles (on and off Broadway) and eventually in various TV shows and movies.
“Of course, he got his big break when he starred in Mel Brook’s classic spoof of Hollywood westerns—Blazing Saddles. If you have seen Blazing Saddles (the comedy still holds up quite well after all these years), there is no mistaking the fact that Little proved perfect for the role. Richard Pryor, who was originally considered for the part, could not have done a better job. Mel Brooks put together quite an ensemble for the movie—to include such comedic talents as Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, Gene Wilder, and even NFL football star Alex Karras and an unfortunate horse, but Little made everyone’s performance come together in an over-the-top hilarious way. If you have never seen Blazing Saddles, then I feel sorry for you. Something essential is missing from your life! Check out the movie if you like to laugh. Be ready for some outrageous scenes.
After Blazing Saddles, Little continued to work on Broadway and appeared in quite a few movies like Greased Lightning, FM, and Fletch Lives, and TV shows like All in the Family, MacGyver, and The Rockford Files. On stage, he toured with Judd Hirsh in the play I’m Not Rappaport.
Unfortunately, his career was cut way too short when he passed away from colon cancer in 1992 at the age of 53.
He was posthumously honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994.
In 2011 he was part of the inaugural group of selectees for the Kearny High School Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame.
Perusing through Linda Vista/Kearny High associated Facebook pages, we noticed comments about him like, “He was a great guy and good at everything he did.” And “He was also a member of the A ‘Capella Choir (at Kearny High)” and “In our annual he said he wanted to be an actor which he became,” and “We were fortunate to see him on stage at Kearny before he became famous. He was so funny!” and “Cleavon grew up as my cousin's neighbors on Osler Street, in Linda Vista. He was funny back then too.”
Long time Linda Vista resident Janet Kaye, co-founder of the Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair and Parade, had the opportunity to meet Little when he served as grand marshal for the parade. She commented about her parade day encounter with Little by saying, “Cleavon was quiet, humble, and patient, with his agent directing him all morning. We drove around the community after the parade in the convertible, (Cleavon and me in the backseat). He said he had a good high school experience at Kearny.”
If any of our readers have any interesting stories they would like to share about Linda Vista’s own Cleavon Little, we encourage you to send them to us, so we can share with the rest of our readership.
LV Resident Receives Lighthouse Award
The San Diego Office of Education recently recognized nine individuals in the county by presenting them with the prestigious Lighthouse Award. This award is given to people who “serve as beacons in the educational community by channeling and leading others in diversity, equity, and inclusion.” We are happy to report one of these individuals was Dr Alberto Ochoa, a Linda Vista resident.
The Lighthouse Award recognizes achievements in six different categories. Dr Ochoa was recognized in the “Equity Champion” category—this category recognizes educators who “encompass the light necessary for people to come together and create multiple opportunities for all students and families in pursuit of equitable outcomes.”
Dr. Ochoa is a professor emeritus at San Diego State University who has worked since 1975 in the University’s School of Education. During his tenure, he served as Chair of the Policy Studies in Language and Cross-Cultural Studies Department (PLC) at SDSU. .As a professor, Dr Ochoa has taught graduate students in the teacher credential program as well as those in the doctoral program. During this time he has focused much of his work on issues related to how language impacts social integration in schools and the rest of society. While serving as an advisor to doctoral candidates he has especially enjoyed advising those dissertations that address how educational approaches make a social impact on our community. His published work has addressed the areas of public equity, school desegregation, language policy, critical pedagogy, student achievement, and parental leadership.
Dr Ochoa has worked extensively with the San Diego Unified School District, as well as other districts throughout the state, in areas addressing the education inequality gap. This work has involved consulting schools with ethnically diverse student enrollments.
One of Dr. Ochoa’s biggest achievements has been his work with the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), an organization which he co-founded in 1987. This organization has made a state-wide impact. PIQE is driven by the belief that students succeed when families, schools and communities work together. The organization attempts to “engage, empower, and transform families by providing the knowledge and skills to partner with schools and communities as a way to ensure students achieve their full potential.” PIQE helps families by doing such things as equipping them with the ability to support literacy at home, helping them to guide their children to a STEM career, and helping them to allow their children to successfully make the transformation from high school to college. PIQE has partnered with 130 school districts in California.
Throughout his career, while working with various individuals and organization, he has tried to contribute by “critiquing and engaging in order to arrive at a solution,” and by “being an advocate.”
When asked what advice he has for prospective teachers, he responded by saying they should always ask the question…”How do we give back to the community?”…and keep in mind that “We invest in the future of our kids when we touch their hearts and ensure academic rigor.”
As a Linda Vista resident he especially appreciates the community’s multi-cultural makeup and its language diversity. He continues to play an active role in the community by serving as member of the Linda Vista Community Planning Group. He is the Group’s chair of the Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) committee. You can read all about this important civic function by reading a previous issue of this newsletter which featured an article about the MAD.
We at the Linda Vista Update offer our congratulations to Dr. Ochoa for his recognition as a Lighthouse award winner, and thank him for all the education-related work he has done over the years.
LV News Update:
—Farmers Market: The Love, Linda Vista Farmers Market will operate today from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Linda Vista Plaza Shopping Center. Come out and get your fresh fruits and vegetables. There are also plenty of other vendors selling everything from arts and crafts to delicious ethnic food.
—Community Conversation: The City of San Diego will hold a community conversation about affordable housing and the City Housing Action Plan 2.0 proposal tonight March 2. Check out the below flyer for more details.
—Parking Near Francis Parker School: The Linda Vista Town Council (LVTC) has been working with Francis Parker School to resolve parking problems (caused by campus construction) for residents living in the vicinity of the school. These residents are encouraged to read the recently published parking related instructions/solutions issued by the LVTC, as provided here.
—Community Cleanup: The Bayside Community Center will conduct its monthly community clean-up this Sunday March 5 at 10:00 am. Volunteers will meet in the Linda Vista Library parking lot. This is a great community service event.
—SDPD Community Meeting: The San Diego Police Department is holding community outreach meetings on a proposal to use Smart Streetlights and Automated License Plate Reader technologies to investigate and solve crimes. The meetings will consist of a presentation outlining the capabilities of the new technologies and their use by the department including access, data storage and retention, the release of video collected, and more. There will also be time for community input and questions. San Diego Police Department’s Western Division will be holding a meeting for our community members on Tuesday, March 07, 2023 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at on the campus of Education First , 3455 Kenyon Street San Diego CA 92110. Those wishing to attend the presentation please RSVP via email to Officer David Surwilo (email@example.com) no later than 8pm today, Thursday March 2, to ensure there is ample seating
—Car Show Rescheduled: The 5th Annual Kearny Alumni Car Show has been rescheduled for Saturday March 11. Check out the below flyer for details.
—Kelly Street Park Feedback: Residents of Linda Vista are invited to attend the next meeting of the Linda Vista Recreation Council (Tuesday March 14 at 5:00 pm) during which City of San Diego representatives will take feedback on the Kelly Street Project. The LV Update has previously written about problems associated with the park. This is an opportunity to share your thoughts on improving an important community asset.
—Linda Vista Town Council: The Linda Vista Town Council will hold its monthly general meeting on Wednesday March 15. Meet and Greet begins at 6:00 pm and the official agenda part of the meeting begins at 6:30 pm. The meeting will be held at the American Legion Post 731 which is located at 7245 Linda Vista Road.
—LV Multi-Cultural Fair/Parade: The ever popular Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Parade and Fair will be held Saturday April 29. If you or your organization wish to participate in the fair and/or parade, please visit this site to apply for parade, entertainment, booth, volunteer, or sponsorship opportunities.
Where Chicken Meets Beer in the Convoy District
It was getting close to deadline time and we hadn’t yet picked a restaurant to review. We decided we would go back to one we had aleady reviewed to see how it was doing, but then discovered to our dismay that they are closed on Wednesday. Panic set in and we went to a map frantically searching for a place we had not yet reviewed, but close enough so we could make it though the rainy, frigid arctic San Diego weather. Unfortunately we had to wander out of our immediate LV comfort zone again and traipse all the way to Convoy to find such a place.
The restaurant is called Cross Street Chicken and Beer at 4403 Convoy Street. It is at Convoy and Armour and there is parking available. You can use Yelp’s wait-in-line and it tells you how long a wait to expect. We lucked out in that we found out that the Carnivore Sidekick’s work place gives him a break at lunchtime, so he was able to join us.
The restaurant’s website says that this is where Korean Fried Chicken meets Classic Southern Cooking and that their love for both met at a Crossroads to bring patrons extraordinary chicken, as well as beers (craft and on tap), cocktails and Korean entrees and bites. In perusing the on-line menu, we also noticed that they had a selection of plant based chicken entrees as well as fish and chips.
So off the three of us went to give this restaurant a try. It’s just 10 minutes away and there was no wait so we were seated immediately. I was told by our server that they have been in that location about 5 years and also have a location in Carlsbad and Del Mar. He thinks the Convoy location is the most popular and business seemed to be good. The menu is quite extensive and includes appetizers and small bites such as wings, tenders, beer battered fries, tater tots, fried dumplings, fries or tots loaded with caramelized onions, melty cheese, and then drizzled with house sauce, corn poppers, corn cheese and chipotle slaw. Sides include rice, kimchi, Thai chili, and other sauces. Their entrees include various chicken sandwiches, fire chicken, chicken and waffles, kimchi fried rice, fish and chips and various salads. They also have plant based items such as the Anti Chicken sandwich, plant based “chick’n” tenders in half or full orders.
Steve opted for the anti-chicken sandwich which was made with a crispy plant based chick’n and dressed with house sauce made with herb mayo, spring mix, pickles, cheese and served on a freshly toasted brioche bun. He said it was delicious and tasted moist and looked and tasted like the real thing, from what he can remember from his pre-vegetarian days. The brioche bun was buttery and the sandwich was huge. He had a side of fries but this proved to be a little more than he needed, so some of the food came home in a box.
I decided on a half order of anti-chicken tenders and the garlic parmesan sauce. There were four large pieces of chick’n tenders covered with cheese and garlic. The other sauce choices include Seoul spicy sauce, herb mayo, honey butter, and more. The tenders were very large and arranged nicely. I only managed to eat one and a half, and boxed the remainder for another day. They were so tasty and moist, most unexpected for a plant based chick’n meal. I almost asked the server if he had mixed up my order. It was so good and there can never be enough garlic and parm cheese for me. For sure I will go back and try some of the other sauces and items.
The Carnivore, true to form, ordered the Seoul Spicy sandwich, which is a classic fried chicken sandwich with garlic, herb mayo, cheese, pickles and lettuce on a brioche bun. He commented on the moistness of the chicken as well as the size of the chicken piece. It thought it was almost perfect, and declared it “awesome”. He really enjoyed the brioche bun.
They have a great selection of beers on tap. Steve chose the SDSU Blonde Ale to go with his sandwich.
Service was excellent and the servers friendly. Give it a try. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 to 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 to 9:45 pm.
Subscribe to the Linda Vista Update
We invite everyone to subscribe to the Linda Vista Update. It’s free. Just click on the below “Subscribe now” button. Once you do so you will be on automatic distribution for all future posts. Stay informed. Join our growing community of readers.
The Linda Vista Update publishes informative, interesting and fun news about Linda Vista and its neighboring communities.
If you already subscribe to this newsletter, please share with it family and friends.
Thank you. We appreciate the comment!
Another great issue!