1959: When the “Beat Scene” Hit Miramar Beach, Part IV

Armed with a sociology degree from UC Santa Barbara, Pete Douglas set out to create what he called “a spontaneous scene” at the Ebb Tide Cafe at Miramar Beach–(today the home of a reborn Ebb Tide Cafe and the longtime location of the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society).

Surrounding the Ebb Tide was a knee-high fence and within it a picnic table. On weekends Pete dangled the speakers of his hi-fi out the windows–and played big, round 78 rpm records like the lush soundtrack to the hit movie “Black Orpheus”.

“And,” Pete told me, “I used to sit out there in my captain’s hat and occasionally wave in some interesting people driving by. I didn’t have any money–I had to create my own social scene. Where else could be better than Miramar Beach?”

People were everywhere on that very warm fall Sunday in 1959 and Pete Douglas recalls it as a magical day. Here was the Beat Generation, fictionalized in books, creating the real thing on our beautiful Coastside.

On the other side of the hill, on the Peninsula, the temperature had soared and thousands of people hopped into their cars and headed for what they expected to be the air-conditioned Coastside.

They were disappointed: Instead of relief, the stream of vehicles caused what was then a rare occurrence–a major traffic jam on Highways 1 and 92. Some of the more adventurous drivers glimpsed the odd assortment of people “cavorting and pirouetting” on Mirada Road and veered toward the beach.

….To be Continued…

RonS.jpgPhoto: For years Ron Swinnert was a familiar face at the Bach Society.