THE HISTORY OF BEACH VOLLEYBALL
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"SANDS OF TIME" is a complete history of Men's and Womens beach volleyball, including its roots that began with the indoor game.
The following is a selection taken from the book: "THE SANDS OF TIME"
The Beach Club’s were a haven for motion-picture stars, many of whom developed into superb players. Celebrities like George Murphy, Buster Crabbe, Doodles Weaver and Joel McCrea often took part in games. Crabbe was reputed to be one of the better players around. Spectators included Joe E. Brown, Harold Lloyd and many others.
State Beach added more courts and retained its reputation as the spot where the best players trained and competed. Not only the men, but the women were out on the court as well.
One of the top female beach volleyball players, of the 1940's and 1950's, was Lila Shanley. Lila first began playing volleyball in 1935 on the beaches and at recreations centers in California. She was also a top player at USVBA events. Shanley was a member of the Santa Monica Mariners, the Women’s National Champions from 1955 to 1960 and played on the United States Women’s team in the Pan American Games in 1959. She also played on the U.S.A. Women’s team that went to Paris in 1956 and Rio de Janeiro in 1960.
As a sign of these "Golden" times, there was one time when actor John Carradine came to the beach, but not to play volleyball. Carradine arrived with a lovely lady wearing a mink coat over her bathing suit. In a very refined manner, she walked down the stairs to State Beach and cast off the mink coat, placed it upside down on the beach and positioned herself down on it, proceeded to oil herself with copious amounts of baby oil. The lady then stretched-out on the satiny lining of the coat to "take-a-tan."
Other notables that showed-up at State Beach over the years includes: basketballer’s Pat Riley, Gail Goodrich, Keith Erickson, Wilt Chamberlain, Kiki Vandeweghe and his father Ernie. Also Hollywood personalities, Richard Widmark, Ted Healy, Ted Grossman, and Vince Minette.
During the early days of beach volleyball, the Santa Monica beach volleyball sanctuary of Sorrento Beach was the location where the closest thing to a "Hall of Fame" for beach volleyball was established. From the mid-50's to the mid-70's there was nothing more Californian than a beach volleyball tournament at Sorrento Beach. The parking lot, beside and behind the "Sorrento Grill" was packed.
At Sorrento, there were two walls of prominence, the legendary "Sorrento Wall" on the beach and the other was at the "Wall of Fame" inside the renowned Sorrento Grill. The Sorrento Grill, frequented by most of the local players, was a weather-beaten greasy spoon, with a beer-dispensing back room wall that was covered with fading and crinkling photos’ of beach volleyball's "champions." There were photos’ depicting men's, women's, and mixed double's players in all the different ratings from "A" to "AAA." From corner to corner, it was an exposé of champions and contenders. Many of the Grill’s historic photo's, were taken by Dr. Leonard Stallcup along with several by Ivan and Kevin Goff along with a sprinkling of other photographers.
Beach volleyball "advocate," Dave Heiser recalls: "The Grill was packed from dawn to dusk every day of the summer, but it really jumped on Saturday. They would set up a beer and wine bar in the back of the Grill, carve a ham and roast beef, and get a band to play in the parking lot. The Hilton’s (Hotel entrepreneur Conrad Hilton and his family) lived next door and didn't care about the noise, so every weekend was just one big, long luau."
After the Sorrento Bar and Grill was leveled, a large condominium structure was raised in its place. The beach and the "Sorrento Wall" could not be seen from the Pacific Coast Highway and the "Wall of Fame" was gone.
A restaurant called "Neinie’s," originally was in the location of what became the Sorrento Grill. It was run by "Neinie" Neinherhauser and was a legendary short-order restaurant. It was the perfect place to pop into for a fast burger, a piece of homemade pie, and catch-up on the local gossip. The tradition of displaying volleyball photo’s, prior to the "Wall of Fame" started in this establishment. When "Neinie’s," moved to another location, north of Sorrento, now known as Gladstones, The Sorrento Bar and Grill continued the tradition that eventually evolved into the "Wall of Fame."
Take a look inside Volume #1:
Sneak Previews to Volume #2:
THE SANDS OF TIME" and the "Winners"
series, as well as additional beach volleyball publications are available
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