"The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" was the first 45 I bought when I moved to California. I was 13 years old and I was a new kid in Southern California, fresh from the prairies of Kansas and desperately wanting to fit in with the surfer culture that I encountered. I bought the record even before I ever purchased a Beatles or a Beach Boys album.

My family had moved from Kansas to Southern California that summer and I was convinced that a two piece bathing suit and the right music would help me fit in with the "cool kids" in the warm California sun. The Jan and Dean song "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" and a bikini were going to be my ticket to popularity, or so my hormone addled teen brain figured.

Though I never ended up as prom queen as a result of my music and wardrobe choices, I remained a fan of surf music. I had all of Jan and Dean's records and most of the Beach Boys, as well as the Ventures and a few others mixed in with my Beatles, Stones, Herman's Hermits, Sonny and Cher and Dave Clark Five albums.

I didn't know it at the time but that song was kind of a take off on a sales pitch of used car salesmen, "the original owner was a little old lady from Pasadena who only drove this car to church on Sundays!" Jan and Dean turned that little old lady into a rock out granny with a super stock Dodge and a penchant for street races. Rolling Stone dubbed them the "clown princes of rock and roll" with good cause.

So now, some forty odd years later, I sit listening to the record only to realize that I have become the "little old lady from Pasadena". Technically, I was from Tustin, not Pasadena. I do drive a Dodge, though it's super stocked with art for my shows and my website and not glass packs, I live a life that would be considered unusual for a person my age, I embrace a challenge and I have a lead foot. I don't spend Saturday night drag racing down main street, but I don't spend it sitting home listening to today's equivalent of Lawrence Welk either. Probably not exactly what Jan and Dean pictured, but I ain't sitting home knitting and baking cookies for a passel of grandkids, so I figure I embody the essence of their heroine in the song. Yup, that's me, The Little Old DIVA from Pasadena!

Go Granny, Go Granny, Go Granny, Go!

This Day in History:
Birthdays: 1940 Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean Fame

1964 - The first Ford Mustang is introduced- (The first car accident I was ever in was in a 1964 turquoise Mustang with white leather seats - my friend Linda was driving and it was a minor fender bender, but it was in what was to become a classic car and we were all okay.)

1969: Ray pleads guilty to the assassination of Martin Luther King


  1. Jan & Dean put out some cool records in the late 50s/60s. Did you ever see the movie "Deadman's Curve"? Although the movie wasn't totally accurate, it had its moments.

  2. Yes, I saw it's original airing and have seen it in reruns too. I enjoyed it even though it wasn't spot on.

    I remember when Jan Berry was injured in the accident. There was such a big deal made out of the fact that his accident occurred very close to the real "Dead Man's Curve" that he and Dean sang about. It was kind of freaky.

    It's very cool that Dean is a graphic artist - I've kept an eye on his work for years.


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