Stranger Than Fiction


SkateBoarder Magazine
Vol. 3, No. 4
April, 1977
Short Stories by John Smythe

THE REVOLUTION MAY BE TELEVISED It's a medium-cool afternoon in Anaheim, and the camera crew for NBC News, with Ray Duncan anchorman, arrives for a film session at the new skatepark. On hand at the park are a few skate notables, including Guy Grundy, who is knee-deep in groupies. Stacy Peralta, who's doing 360 banked slides, Foster Dupont, who is changing the oil in his '48 Chevy, and Paul Constantineau, who, in between aerial assaults, is reminiscing over last night's events backstage at the Forum with Charlie Daniels, Eric Clapton and a few hundred others. (In one of his finer scams. Paul C. with Dexter the Rastaman, are skating on the banks of the subterranean artist's entrance to the arena, and catch the eye of Charlie Daniels, the Uneasy Rider. Charlie and his entourage trip so badly on the dog soldiers' actions that they grab ole Slow Hand Clapton. Who obliges the boys with backstage passes to the sold-out concert. A splendid time was had by all, especially Constantineau who is just beginning to come out from under the residuals of last night's madness) While the NBC crew is committing the frenzy at the cement wave to celluloid, Ray Duncan interviews a wide variety of personages.

In Stacy Peralta's segment, the newscaster comments that he’s never seen anything like this, and Peralta replies, “There's never been anything like this.“ At that point, the interviewer recoils lost in speculations over this new type of fun-70's style, that is so far beyond the conceptual shadow of Disney’s plastic Matterhorn which exists statically lust across the Santa Ana Freeway.

At the other end of the park’s concrete and Astroturf expanse, the camera crew is engrossed in a discussion with Paul C. Over photographic possibilities in general when the director idly speculates that “it would be sensational to attach the newsreel camera to a skateboard.“ Constantineau immediately shifts into overdrive, since in the last couple of years he’s done action and stunt camera work with a variety of filmmakers such as MacGillivray-Freeman, Dittrich, Darrin, Jepsen, Kalionzas, Murphy, Valentine and Ketonen. The crew immediately seizes upon the opportunity, attaches the camera to the nose of the warptail, and PC begins to put it through the paces Blazing trails of animal grace and aggression. Constantineau performs continual uppers, vertical berts, slides bunnyhops, etc., and ends his performance by booking it through the snake run with the 30 pounds of video gear upfront. down into the center bowl, and does a high flyaway out of the bowl, lands on his feet, casually catches the camera board and hands it to the director. The director is totally speechless, having just seen several thousand dollars worth of camera and lens, his job, his sanity and his life pass before his eyes simultaneously. As they leave, Ray Duncan takes the boys aside and says, "You guys are really heavy." Their reply was, "You ain't seen nothing yet."

Stacy Peralta and Bob Biniak were in the third eastbound and of the Ventura freeway, heading for a pool located vaguely north of Hollywood Boulevard when a bulletin came over the radio. The news flash concerned a woman who was sunbathing in Miami Beach, using one of those mirror-like metalized mylar reflective devices, which in the advertisements are guaranteed to double your tan. The sun worshipper, it seemed had oiled herself up, stepped into her reflective solar pit, suffered heat stroke, passed out and was found by her husband seven hours later literally roasted to death. Biniak, a master of the classic understatement, wryly commented, "That’s a hard way to get a tan." The news item was immediately followed by the announcement that consumer advocate Ralph Nader was launching an investigation of dangerous tanning products.

The story served as fantasy fuel, feeding numerous bizarre speculations as they traveled the misbegotten avenues of Hollywood searching for the pool. Having finally pinpointed the basin, all energies were directed to the usuals of parking, gaining entry, possible escape routes and posting a good lookout. Halfway through the skate session, several local kids showed up to check out the action, and began conversing. "Hey, that guy looks just like Stacy Peralta," one of the lads directs towards Biniak, who flatly replies, "Yeah, he kind of does." Biniak, who figures he diplomatically has handled the situation, is amazed at the kid's next statement "Tony Alva was here this morning. We skated with him for four hours, and he took us to lunch; my brother got his autograph. Now Biniak, who took the fate of the woman in the foil cooking pouch completely in stride, is more than a little skeptical over this revelation (particularly since he spoke with Tony on the phone that morning, at which point Alva was in Hawaii where he'd just returned from riding Pipeline with Rory Russell and Bunker Spreckels). The youths, seeing that Biniak is not suitably impressed, ask him. . . “You have heard of Tony Alva, haven't you?" Biniak thinks it over for a while, and begins his cross-examination: "You guys saw Tony Alva? . . .Right here? . . . This morning?. . .And he gave you his autograph? Well, then, let's see it." The youngsters produce the autograph in question, and it does vaguely resemble that of his old friend from Dogtown. After thoroughly scrutinizing the signature, Biniak shakes his head, and states, "The only Tony Alva I've ever heard of is living in Hawaii in fact, I talked to him today." Peralta looks at Biniak and shrugs, while the street urchins tell them both: "We are talking about Tony Mad Dog Alva, not the one you guys know." Being pretty well skated out anyhow, the Z-boys decide to journey elsewhere, totally perplexed over the riddle of the multiple Mad Dogs. The pair began laughing uncontrollably over the knowledge that somewhere in the wilds of North Hollywood there is somebody dressed up in a Tony Alva racing Suit, wearing a dreadlock wig, and carrying a bogus Mad Dog Model, giving Out autographs, One thing is certain, he may look like Tony Alva, but he definitely won't skate like him.

Spencer the Space Monkey, back from Burleigh Heads, comes to town for that Dogtown debutant debut, the Annual Pass Around Pack Christmas Party and Luau. Spencer, one-time guerilla fighter in the psychedelic wars, is now on the road to prosperity with his new Balinese-Congolese import-export business. A pack of Rit dye, a Balinese peasant outfit, a Paasche A/B airbrush, pinking shears, and 30 minutes are all the Space Monkey needs to turn a 50-cent foreign smock into the latest 75-dollar trendset New York status fashion ensemble. His export business is based on selling Levi blue jeans in Eastern European countries at a substantial markup. Spencer's abilities with an airbrush are legendary. His latest exploits include airbrushed special effects for Dino De Laurentis' King kong, and the multi-hued, metal-flaked jumpsuit he is wearing attests to his facile mind and hand. Anyhow, the Space Monkey is hanging out in the Lunar Liquors parking, chatting with the uptown high heeled sneakers gang as they all powder their noses in preparation of the upcoming melee. Everyone is dressed up to the max in Dogtown finery. . .true Salvation Army chic. As the group begins to dance, Spencer appears as a glittered eel in the eerie cast luminescence of the streetlight. His everpresent, five-foot downhill skate beastie is color coordinated to match his outfit. When the two redded-out yokels in the '65 Buick Electra with Jersey City Garden State plates drove into the Lunar lot, nobody paid much attention. Their hasty departure, however, caused quite a stir, for as the two piled into the Buick and laid down a 60-foot positraction trail, Bennie the Book, liquor store clerk and night manager, was screaming after them in red-hot foot pursuit. Bennie runs down the story: "dese two jorks on da nod come in and stick me up-now dis one guy's got his finger in his pocket and jives me it's a gun. Shit. . .l only got 30 bucks in da register, an I figure rnaybe it is a gun . . .so why chance it?" The Book may be a fool, but he's sure not stupid. Bennie knows two things the crooks aren't aware of. . .1) Ocean Park is a very small town, and 2) Lunar Liquors is the official caterer to the Packs Christmas Party. At this point, the store clerk offers the boys an intriguing proposition. . . cases of Heinekins Dark to anyone and everyone who helps apprehend these criminals. The gang is off in a flash over to the Third Street cutoff where Spencer grabs a skate tow off the rear of the crook's car. While the Space Monkey, unbeknwnst to the speeding desperados, is enjoying a free ride, his cohorts inform the police. The rest was simple. . .I mean, just how many madmen in neon rainbow metallic Suits are going to be towed down Main Street by a car with out of state plates?

For Spencer's heroics he was awarded $100 cash by the local merchants association, and is being named the Optimists' Bay Area Boy of the Year. This cooperative citizenship is also a very positive step in raising the prestige of the sport in the eye of the public. The newspaper headlines referred to the episode as follows: "Skateboarder spoils armed robbery attempt in high-speed pursuit." The only question now is what sort of outfit the Space Monkey will wear to the highly formal Optimists awards banquet? Whatever it is, it's sure gonna blow them Out.

Tony Alva was relaxing by the pool at the Kuilima on Oahu talking things over with his close friend and confidant Wentzle Ruml IV The course of the discussion covered Alva 5 more recent activities such as his unique screen test for the Argentine film genius Adolpho Antonio Brasura. For the final sequence of the test, Brasura, a master of a vicious brand of cinema verite, rented an entire posh resort on the Kauai coast, and had Tony toss a 24" Zenith color television off the roof twenty stories into the pool below. The TV was plugged in via a 250-foot extension cord, and its impact produced a 100-foot-high brilliant flash.Tony Alva offers a recent island conquest for closer inspection of pure prismatic color. The Zenith people were so taken with the quality of this work that they are negotiating for the rights to a Brasura-Alva commercial. Imagine Alva skate jumping off a pile of color TV's, grabbing one, dropping it into a swimming hole far below, and the resultant crash landing at which point an underwater reveals that the set is still working perfectly. It would definitely sell a few million sets. The conversation revealed other interesting facets of the upcoming Brasura epic Robin Alaway will play the female lead (an apt choice considering her stunning performance with Russ Howell in the hilariously satirical segment of "Freewheeling"). Arthur Jennings Brewer will handle the in-the-pool water photography, Ted Nugent will record and engineer the soundtrack, Senor Brasura will play himself in a cameo role, and Roy Rogers' horse Trigger will be the hero's mount. By far the most interesting thing to emerge that afternoon was Tony's plan for a bowl-riding invitational. The sponsors and entrants would all put their money into a collective pot, up front, with the winner taking it all. Alva envisions it as either a one-on-one, or a team competition. When queried as to how it would be judged, he laughingly replied; "Well, just have everyone go skate it out. . and the last man to emerge from the bowl wins"

A group of young rowdys were sitting in the alley down by the Central Towers when the patrol car arrived. The two policemen inside get out, saunter over and politely ask the kids what they're up to, and this smart-ass punk sardonically replies. "What the hell is it to you, anyway?" Now the elder cop of the duo is about to blow his cool. but the younger one intercedes "Let me handle this." "Is that your skateboard son?" he inquires "Yeah, bet you can't ride it, pig." The young Centurion silently grabs the skate, takes off his gun and borrows a pair of tennis shoes from one of the other kids, all of whom are quite upset with their loudmouth friend for getting them into trouble. With the borrowed Adidas three-stripers on his feet, the lawman executes a highly technical freestyle routine, and ends it with a stylish crossover dismount. The troublemaker, now thoroughly humbled, apologizes profusely, and the skating policeman advises the youth to tighten up his mounts as well as his act. The two officers reenter the black and white, and motor on, leaving the mischievous lad a bit wiser in the ways of the world.

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