Santa Monica Lookout
|Play Commemorates Activists Who Saved Santa Monica Pier||
By Niki Cervantes
“Save the Pier!,” a one-hour play staged on the Pier itself from September 23rd to September 25th, is a “love letter” to the citizen warriors who created a force so formidable it toppled the plans of its powerful foes, said Carolyn Yost, the producer.
“It was a beginning,” she said. “People didn’t realize they could be organized and make a difference.”
Harris is also deputy director for the Santa Monica Pier Corporation. The play is directed by Paul Sand, a long-time Santa Monica resident and Tony Award winning actor.
By that time, pier amusement parks in general were declining in popularity, which historians tie to the emergence of theme parks such as Disneyland. The Santa Monica Pier was sold by Walter Newcomb to the City in the 1970s.
One group was led by Jack Sikking, who had left his Hollywood life heading The Troubadour to manage Al's Kitchen on the Pier. He rallied his staff and guests to join the fight, Yost said.
The other pro-Pier group was led by Diana Cherman, head of the Santa Monica Pier Citizen's Committee, who started a petition and personally solicited signatures from Paul Newman and Robert Redford, who were on the Pier filming “The Sting.”
Instead of tearing down the Pier, the council established the Pier Restoration Corporation to take charge of rehabilitation efforts. More than a third of the structure was destroyed by two major El Nino storms in 1983. The rebuild cost an estimated $42 million, officials said.
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