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Welcome To Venice High School

Dantes Summer Class of 1959

(Updated July 7, 2015)
Click on the Venice Alumni Banner above to enter the Alumni Association.

Leave a message or chat awhile!


Do you have any photos to share?     Maybe cameras were not very handy in our years, but there must be some photos around.   Make our website more interesting and post current family photos. Come back and visit.

The States Where The Dantes Live Now!

13 live in Arizona 1 lives in Georgia 3 live in Missouri 2 live in Tennessee
1 lives in Arkansas 1 lives in Hawaii 2 live in Mississippi 4 live in Texas
1 lives in British Columbia 3 live in Idaho 9 live in Nevada 2 live in Utah
171 live in California 1 lives in Illinois 1 lives in New York 2 live in Virginia
2 live in Colorado 1 lives in Indiana 2 live in North Carolina 8 live in Washington State
4 live in Florida 2 live in Michigan 11 live in Oregon
1 lives in France 1 lives in Minnesota 1 lives in Pennsylvania Total 250 known whereabouts



Michael Fels - current photo while visiting in Mexico and now living in California

Windward Ave at Pacific Ave
- 1953 looking west to the beach
How many times did you walk here?

Pacific Ave at Windward Ave
1927 photo looking north
to Santa Monica.

Venice Circle where the post office
is located all these streets were
formerly canals in 1920's

The trams that used to take
us on the boardwalk to Santa Monica

Windward Ave the main street of Venice, modeled after Venice Italy.   This is what it looked like in 1953 when we were just turning 13 years olds and becoming teenagers. We would walk under these arches in the heat of the day going to the beach.   On Pacific Ave the Red Car railroad trains used these tracks to go to Santa Monica.   Not two years later, in early 1950's the train stopped running and the tracks removed to make way for cars.   The traffic circle in front of the postoffice and the postoffice are still there.   In the early 1900's these street were canals and the circle was a large lagoon for boating and gondola rides.   The trams cost a nickel to ride to Santa Monica.   A cost that was not affordable so we hitched a ride by grabbing onto the back and jumping on the back seat when the driver was not looking.

Studio Drive-In
on Sepulveda Blvd - 1958
Remember this drive-in theatre?  
How many dates did you have here?

Hamburger Handout, which opened at the corner of Sepulveda and Centinela boulevards near the Culver City/Westchester border in October 1952 became a hangout.

Big Donut Drive-In
A landmark that stood at Sepulveda Blvd
and Washington Place in 1959

Big Dog Restaurant
A landmark that stood behind Venice High at Zanja St, Washington Pl and Washington Blvd, called the Triangle. This was across from the Triangle Market in 1959

The 19-cent Hamburger Handout chain that eventually grew to four outlets began in 1952.   Founder James Collins had studied the new hamburger operation that New Hamsphire brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald had begun in San Bernardino on December 12, 1948.   He decided to use their concept for his own version, Hamburger Handout, which opened at the corner of Sepulveda and Centinela boulevards near the Culver City/Westchester border in October 1952.   The location was called Airport Village and housed Kentucky Fried Chicken and Sizzler Restaurant as well as many other shops.   The other Hamburger Handouts opened in 1957, 1958 and 1960.

High School students from the nearby high schools of Culver City, Hawthorne, El Segundo, Westchester, Dorsey and Venice Highs met here on Tuesday nights to show off their hotrods, rides and even the girls they were dating.   The challenges were, who had the fastest car, and the drag racing was on.   They used to go out and run behind LAX airport which was not an international airport place at the time, on Lincoln Blvd.   It connected Imperial Hwy with Westchester and was east of the airport.   Later they used the construction site of the 405 freeway with the wide and smooth pavement.   Also, we could all sit down on the raised sides which acted as a grandstand with perfect view of the drag race.

By the early 1960s, Collins had begun to abandon the concept after meeting up with Col. Harlan Sanders over this new fried chicken concept and closed down the Hamburger Handouts. As a result of the Sanders discussions, in 1962 Collins became the exclusive agent for Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in Southern California.   By the mid-1960s his group owned more than 200 KFC outlets in the West.   This was the end of the Hamburger Handout we knew and in its place is the Radisson Hotel and other large office buildings.

Who are these Dantes???

eMail for an immediate answer

See the Myrna Loy Statue


Venice is a neighborhood in Los Angeles' Westside neighbored by Santa Monica to the north, Mar Vista to the east, Culver City and Del Rey to the southeast, Marina del Rey to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.   It's famous for its canals, Muscle Beach, Venice Beach and Ocean Front Walk -- "the Boardwalk."
Click on the photo to the left.     Courtesy of Amoeblog web site

Who was "Troubles?"   The school janitor who most students knew, was likelable and very ticklish!   Everyone knew him as "Troubles" and yet no one knew his real name.   Read about who he was and see the only two photos of him that we know to exist among students. Troubles

Quote from Venice High School Alumni Association Email

Venice High Fight Song - An Explanation

The VHSAA has received a lot of feedback from puzzled alumni who have no memory of "Mighty Gondoliers" and remember their fight song as one with the following lyrics (sung to the tune of the Notre Dame fight song):


That was the fight song prior to the 1970's when former music teacher Bill Paney wrote an original song (both music and lyrics) especially for Venice High School. The name of that song is "Mighty Gondoliers" and has been the official fight song ever since. You can hear an amazing rendition of the fight song here.

Special thanks to Fran (Irie) Nakayama S'58 for providing information about the original fight song.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift.

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be.   Oh, not my body!   I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagginess.   And, often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my father!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly.   As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself.   I've become my own friend.   I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly thing that I didn't need, but I liked it so I bought it.   I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon;  before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50 & 60's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.   They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful.   But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten.   And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken.   How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car?   But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion.   A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.  So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive.   You care less about what other people think.  I don't question myself anymore.  I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer a question, I like being old.   It has set me free.   I like the person I have become.   I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be.   And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

This is one of the most enjoyable 1950's video's you'll see.   You will enjoy this part of our generation!   And if you were not in our generation -- listen and eat your hearts out.   It was one of the best of times...

Link to the 1950's  >>> The 50's music and photos.

HIGH SCHOOL -- 1957 vs. 2008

Scenario 1:
Jack goes quail hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck's gun rack.
1957 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2008 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.


Scenario 2:
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.
1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2008 - Police called and SWAT team arrives -- they arrest both Johnny and Mark.   They are both charged with assault and both expelled, even though Johnny started it.


Scenario 3:
Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students.
1957 - Jeffrey sent to the Principal's office and given a good paddling by the Principal.   He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2008 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin.   He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for A.D.D. The school gets extra money from the state because Jeffrey has a disability.


Scenario 4:
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.
2008 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse.   Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang.   The state psychologist is told by Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison.  Billy's mom has an affair with the psychologist.


Scenario 5:
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1957 - Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.
2008 - The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations.   His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.


Scenario 6:
Pedro fails high school English.
1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.
2008 - Pedro's cause is taken up by the State.   Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist.   ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro's English teacher.   English is then banned from core curriculum.   Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.


Scenario 7:
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.
1957 - Ants die.
2008 - ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called.   Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism.  The FBI investigates his parents -- and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated.  Johnny's dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.


Scenario 8:
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee.   He is found crying by Mary, his teacher.   Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2008 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job.   She faces 3 years in State Prison.   Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.


What has happened in the U.S. since 1958...?????

For Those Of You Planning A Retirement

For those of you contemplating retirement, I would like to share my retirement experiences with you, which I hope will be helpful.

Fifteen years ago my wife and I moved into a retirement development on Florida 's Southeast coast.   We are living in the Delray/Boca/Boynton Golf, Spa, Bath and Tennis Club on Lake Fake-a-hachee.   There are 3000 lakes in Florida only three are real.

Our biggest retirement concern was time management.   What were we going to do all day?   Let me assure you, passing the time is not a problem.  Your days will be eaten up by simple, daily activities.   Just getting out of your car takes 15 minutes.   Trying to find where you parked takes 20 minutes.   It takes 1/2 hour on the check-out line in Wal-Mart and 1 hour to return the item the next day.

Let me take you through a typical day.   We get up at 5:00 AM, have a quick breakfast and join the early morning Walk and Talk Club.   There are about 30 of us, and rain or shine we walk around the streets, all talking at once.   Every development has some late risers who stay in bed until 6 AM.   After a nimble walk avoiding irate drivers out to make us road kill, we go back home, shower and change for the next activity.

My wife goes directly to the pool for her under water Pilates class, followed by gasping for breath and CPR.   I put on my 'Ask me about my Grandchildren' T-shirt, my plaid mid-calf shorts, my black socks and sandals and go to the club house lobby for a nice nap.

Before you know it, it's time for lunch.   We go to Costco to partake of the many tasty samples dispensed by ladies in white hair nets.   All free! After a filling lunch, if we don't have any doctor appointments, we might go to the flea market to see if any new white belts have come in or to buy a Rolex watch for $2.00.

We're usually back home by 2 PM to get ready for dinner.   People start lining up for the early bird about 3 PM, but we get there by 3:45 because we're late eaters.   The dinners are very popular because of the large portions they serve.  You can take home enough food for the next day's lunch and dinner, including extra bread, crackers, packets of mustard, relish, ketchup and Sweet-and-Low along with mints.

At 5:30 we're home ready to watch the 6 o'clock news.   By 6:30 we're fast asleep.   Then we get up and make 5 or 6 trips to the bathroom during the night and it's time to get up and start a new day all over again.

Doctor related activities eat up most of your retirement time.  I don't mind reading old magazines in sub-zero temperatures in the waiting room.   Calling for test results also helps the days fly by.   It takes at least half an hour just getting through the doctor's phone menu.   Then there's the hold time until you're connected to the right party.   Sometimes they forget you're holding, and the whole office goes off to lunch.

Should you find you still have time on your hands, volunteering provides a rewarding opportunity to help the less fortunate.   Florida has the largest concentration of seniors under five feet and they need our help.   I myself am a volunteer for 'The Vertically Challenged Over 80.'   I coach their basketball team, The Arthritic Avengers.   The hoop is only 4 1/2 feet from the floor.   You should see the look of confidence on their faces when they make a slam dunk.

Food shopping is a problem for short seniors or 'bottom feeders' as we call them because they can't reach the items on the upper shelves.   There are many foods they've never tasted.   After shopping, most seniors can't remember where they parked their cars and wander the parking lot for hours while their food defrosts.

Lastly, it's important to choose a development with an impressive name.   ITALIAN names are very popular in Florida.   They convey world traveler, uppity sophistication and wealth.   Where would you rather live... Murray's Condos or the Lakes Of Venice?   There's no difference.   They're both owned by Murray who happens to be a cheap bastard.

I hope this material has been of help to you future retirees.   If I can be of any further assistance, please look me up when you're in Florida.   I live in The Leaning Condos of Pisa in Boynton Beach.

Have a great day!

Venice Grads want Myrna Loy, the Statue, to take another bow.   - L.A. Times article by Sandy Banks - April 5, 2008

Movie star Myrna Loy has passed from legend to relic status on the Venice High campus.   For 80 years, a statue she posed for as a Venice student was a landmark on the aging campus.   But most Venice students have never seen it; it's been hidden in a storage shed since todays seniors were freshmen.

I wasn't surprised that none of the kids I talked to at the campus this week were familiar with their school's most famous graduate.   The actress died before most of them were born.   Her heyday was in the 1930's.   But that doesn't matter to the school alumni group trying to resurrect her legacy.

"We're trying to bring back the art and grace and focus of school spirit in this community," said Laura Ferre, Class of 1976.   "Its something that's near and dear to many families."   Ferre remembers when tour buses included the school on the movie star route.   "The tourists would all get out and take pictures with Myrna Loy."   But Venice is more than its world-famous boardwalk and iconic canals.   It's a place with an enduring sense of community, and the high school is a focal point.

Ferre was the third generation of Venice High Gondoliers in her family.   "My grandfather graduated from Venice.   My mom and dad graduated from Venice."   Her son and daughter followed her as Venice grads.   Her story is not unusual in Venice, where families settle and stay for years.  ' "There's a lot of longevity in Venice," she said.   "A lot of families who remember when Myrna" - the statue - "was there."

Myrna Williams was a shy 16-year-old dance student when her art teacher asked her to pose for one of three clay statues being created for the school's front lawn.   A few years later, she would begin her career as a dancer at Grauman's Chinese Theater, entertaining audiences between silent movie screenings.   Her exotic looks led to roles as sirens and vamps, and in 1934 the "Thin Man" series helped make her one of America's most popular stars.

But her star faded.   Her statue crumbled.   Body parts were stolen by pranksters and vandals ignited and explosion that blew off the head of the statue.   A fence was erected to protect it, but lack of maintenance turned that into an eyesore.   When the statue was finally taken down, it was rotting from the inside out, too damaged to restore.

A small group of heart-broken alumni began plotting its return in the late 1990's.   It would cost more than $200,000 to re-create the famous statue, but after five years the group had raised less than $10,000.   Cue music.   Enter alumni hero.   Peter Schwab, Class of 1961.   "Venice High always had an aura of being a little funky, a little tough," said Schwab.   "But I loved it there.   And the statue was a big part of who we were."
Rival schools would paint it with their school colors.   People would dress it up in outlandish gear.  Even to the world beyond Venice High, it was instantly recognized from the opening scenes of the movie "Grease."   So when Schwab saw an announcement about fundraising efforts in the alumni newspaper last fall, he contributed $75,000 and pledged to match additional donations to help the group reach its fundraising goal, so the new statue can be unveiled next spring.   "I've been blessed to have a very, very good business career," said Schwab, CEO of Foothill Capitol.  "I don't know what it means to kids at the school now.   But there are certain things that were a tradition, and one of them was Myrna."

It's unlikely in the age of YouTube and "American Idol" that high school students will connect with a film legend whose career began before movies had sound.   I walked the grounds of Venice High asking students what they knew of Myrna Loy.   Only a few had even heard the name, and none knew who she was.   Senior Ashley Packard thought for a moment, then guessed. "Wasn't she some kind of civil rights leader?"   A skateboarder who rolled off before I could get his name thought she was a former principal.   Senior Shirley Perez said she'd heard about efforts to restore the statue "but I have no idea who this person (Loy) is."

School spirit could certainly use a boost.   This year's winter formal had to be canceled because only 33 tickets were sold on the 2,500-student campus.   But will a statue of Myrna Loy help bring the old Gondolier spirit back? Ashley shrugged. "I guess they want us to know about our past," she said, looking out over the lawn where Myrna will stand. "It'll be something special about our campus."

Take a moment and go back in time to the days when we were growing up... click on this link and take a moment to enjoy being 'forever young.'

Take Me Back To The 50's

Photos of Palms Jr. High taken in 2005 and of the 10th grade class of Venice High taken in January 1956 have been posted in "Neighborhood Photos."   Who do you recognize as a 16 year old in these 10th grade photos?   Dantes would have been A-9's in Junior High and would eventually get to know these 10th graders if they didn't already know them in junior high.   Photos courtesy of Richard Garcia, Shna-Nahs W'59.


New photos have been added and rearrangement of old photos have been made throughout our web page as of January 18, 2014

Do you have any photos from high school?   How about photos of you and other classmates that you may have tucked away?   We would like to find old photos of anything that we shared or had interest during our school years?   Anyone have any photos of the parking strip in front of our school (Venice Blvd)?   Remember the drag races in front of school?   Remember Curries Ice Cream Parlor on the corner of Beethoven St. and Venice Blvd?   Tito's Tacos?   The Fox Theatre, Meralta, Culver Theatre, 3rd street in Santa Monica, Venice Beach.....

Do you have photos to share?   You can email photos to the website or mail them to anyone of the coordinators.   Maybe cameras were not very handy in our years, but there must be some photos around.   Make our website more interesting to come back and visit.

Share yourselves with us.   Tell what you have been doing.

Thanks for stopping by!!!!