The Redondo Beach Pier | HumorOutcasts

The Redondo Beach Pier

June 25, 2015


As the Unofficial Chronicler of all things Southern California, I recently had the pleasure of spending a day at the Redondo Beach Pier, or the Land That Time Forgot.

Let’s get some business out of the way. The Redondo Beach Pier is conveniently located in Redondo Beach, and by the ocean. Coincidence? I think not.

To enter the pier, you first must pass under a giant flying saucer-like police station building overseeing everything on the pier in a distinctly alien invasion/Big Brother sort of way. Apparently, there might be a small crime factor in the excitement of visiting the pier.

deepfriedfoodOnce past the eye in the sky surveillance, the fun begins. Visitors stroll hand-in-hand past the shirtless, hairy and tan day drinkers who dominate any of the multiple bar patios, delight in safely avoiding the crazy sweaty lady who insists on jumping out at people, warning them to “watch out for my seagulls…SCREEEEECH!” and marvel at the many opportunities to eat deep-fried anything.

The Pier dates back to the 1800’s, and has the distinction of being the largest endless pier on the California Coast. By “endless pier” I think they mean that either you can walk out on one section of pier and come back on another different section, or the pier has been endlessly burned and rebuilt, destroyed by storms and rebuilt, and gone in and out of bankruptcy, since the freakin’ Gold Rush. At some point you’ve got to wonder, “Is this the right location?”

funnelcakeIf you blur your eyes, you can be transported back to another era.  You know, the one with funnel cakes and cotton candy, skee-ball and magic machines that could figure out your weight, and kids in horizontally striped shirts and baseball caps who would run up and down the pier yelling, “Jeepers!” and “Holy cow!” and “Golly gosh, Mr. Erickson that sure is a swell hat!”

A halcyon time, when dogs could rescue kids who had fallen into wells with just a few barks and wags of the tails.  “What’s that Lassie?  Timmy’s caught in a well?  Again?  Okay, what are the coordinates, and what kind of heavy equipment will we need…good girl!”  We had a lot more wells back then.  So many so that kids were falling into them right and left.  Really, it was a tragic situation.

McCarthyIt was an innocent world where smoking was good for you, and drinking martinis – as in more than one – after a hard day’s work, or just to calm down those pregnancy nerves, was socially acceptable. A time when neighbors were friendly and offered a wave from across the street, unless they thought you were a Communist, in which case they turned you in to the House Un-American Activities Committee, and you were never heard from again.

The good old days, when you could be sitting on the endless pier watching the sunset, making out with your best girl, and suddenly the air raid sirens would sound and you would wonder,  “Is this it?  Is this the nuclear attack we’ve all been waiting for?  Let’s run inside the Mini Chinese Food stand so we can duck and cover.”

Come to think of it, I’ll take the pier today, with it’s rotting timber charm, aggressive seagulls, and that intoxicating smell of the battered shrimp hitting the hot oil. Besides, there’s nothing like that first 10am beer to make you take your shirt off.


I’ll just steer clear of the screechy, sweaty lady.

Forrest Brakeman

Forrest is a former stand-up comedian, half of the ancient comedy team of Proops & Brakeman. After training with the Groundlings, he founded the improv comedy group Los Angeles Theatresports where he performed and served as Co-Artistic Director. Forrest has performed at The Comedy Store and The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, The Punch Line and Cobb's Pub in San Francisco, and has appeared on The Tonight Show and The Sunday Comics. His essays have been published in the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy/The Mid, Boomer Cafe, the Los Angeles Daily News, NPR's "This I Believe," and the Chicago Cubs Yearbook (you heard me).

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8 Responses to The Redondo Beach Pier

  1. Bill Y Ledden
    June 25, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Eye blurring is one of Bill Y’s favorite past times. Life’s a beach and you wouldn’t catch me in Redondo for all the money in Arabia.

  2. June 25, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Too funny and a great journey through the past. Too bad McCarthy didn’t opt to be a hairy shirtless day drinker on the pier instead.

    • June 25, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      So true. Just a 10am beer, and a long walk off a short pier away from saving all those great writers and artists.

  3. June 25, 2015 at 11:37 am

    It’s sneaky how they named that pier after the beach it is on and then put it in the ocean. I smell a conspiracy.

    • June 25, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      It just worked out too easily. Somebody must’ve had pictures of some civic leaders in a locked desk drawer.

  4. Bill Spencer
    June 25, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Nice. I feel like I’ve taken a short walk on a long pier, and as I looked out over the ocean, I could see all the way into the long past.

    • June 25, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      The view is great from there, isn’t it?

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