Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Ben Stein: Ocean Park Plunge Life Guard", by Barry Stein

Just in from Palisades resident and photographer (and childhood resident of Ocean Park beach, aka, Santa Monica South), Barry Stein (aka, The Mayor). Ben Stein was Barry's dad and before he became a Santa Monica policeman he was a life guard at the Ocean Park Plunge and the Venice Plunge in the 1930's where he and his colleagues also made rescues in the ocean. The enclosure above features some undated newspaper clippings from this time period when Ben was a life guard and features stories of some rescues in the ocean during high surf and rip currents. Here are excerpts from two of these articles:


"... Three visitors, two men and a woman, were swept among the piling(s) of Lick pier yesterday afternoon and were rescued by Municipal Guard Sumner and Ocean Park Plunge Guard Stein."

Excerpt from "Girl Rescued In High Seas Here".

"Rescued from a high tide in the surf in a totally exhausted condition, Miss Mildred Scerber, 17 years old, living at 1440 Second street, Santa Monica, had a narrow escape from death here yesterday due to the prompt and valorous action of Municipal Life Guard Staines, assisted by Municipal Guard Carroll and Venice Plunge Guard Stein.

Per Barry: "I have no idea the date of the articles. As noted to Will, these were the ones that did not fall apart, dates might have been on other articles. My dad was born 1910, my sister was born 1934. I just don't know if he was a life guard early in (my parent's) marriage. I just remember him as being a policeman.

(These articles feature) my Dad, Ben Stein. I'm getting stuff for my nieces and just touching the old print a dozen or so just fell apart. I'm sure the articles are from the 30's. He was raised in Ocean Park and I knew he did some lifeguarding, but also a policeman in Santa Monica 1935-1945. As a little boy I remember meeting Myron Cox, Pete Peterson, Fred Wadley, Bob Butts [these are the names I remember today] on a regular basis. I used to get rides on a lifeguard boat. It was probably Tommy Zahn running it. I met Tommy in 1986, I never thought of asking him if he knew my father. Others [names] are long forgotten.

Going to the movies, and especially if there were any water stunts, I knew most by name because at that time the industry used lifeguards.

We moved from 121 1/2 Surf St. [one of the streets that was eliminated with the development of the towers] in the late 40's to the city. But I spent many a summer with my grandparents who lived on Raymond and with the Lakin family who lived on Hart. (Some of) you might know or remember Marty Lakin. Tommy Zahn lifeguarded with him... poor guy would have to take me to the beach. We'd go to State Beach/Tower 18, only rules were come back in four hours.

I sure didn't know that it was something special, but I did have fun."


Many thanks to Barry Stein for sharing these great news clippings with all of us!

Note: Barry Stein's remarks are Copyright H. Barry Stein 2011. All Right Reserved. Used here with permission.


Until next time.....

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