Hollywood Walk of Fame
Day Four- The Mission
Picture by SueZZZ
As Mission San Luis Rey is quite a ways
south of Los Angeles, we set out somewhat early. That would not do
us any good, though, as it seemed that everyone else in Los Angeles had
the same idea. However, what could be more pleasant than to be
stuck in traffic with friends from the list. Paddie and Ellie were
great and the time seemed to flow ever so quickly. As we drove up
to the mission, a warm feeling came over me. Not just because of
the fact that I recognized the place from the episodes of Zorro, but for
something else. It is a feeling that comes over me whenever I go
to a place where people have experienced joy, peace, sorrow, feelings of
faith and love, where loved ones have been married, buried and where
they have professed their beliefs. And there has been great deal
of history at that place, turmoil as well as triumph. Now
that may sound silly, but this was a place that enveloped you in peace
and comfort. Maybe that is why those episodes are some of my
favorite ones. That feeling comes through even on the screen.
We were met by several people who work at the mission and I realized
that we were not just tourists, but we were special guests, to be
treated to a unique tour of this historic site. Forgotten
was the long wait on the freeways, the lack of breakfast or lunch, or
any other perceived inconvenience. The people who were there
to greet us didn't charge us admission, even though they need every
penny they can get to keep the mission up, and to renovate. (I was
told later that a list member had paid for the excursion. Thanks
In the back. Retreat area.
Don't know what I expected from the head priest of the Mission San Luis Rey, but it wasn't someone who reminded me of Friar Tuck. Father Ben Innes, OFM was a wonderful host and tour guide.
Michael Panvini under the famous pepper tree.
Father Ben--- what can I say? Father Ben is dedicated to the
memory of the mission, to its preservation, to keeping it available for
future generations. He spoke lovingly of the buildings, of those
who come to feel of its peaceful settings and he treated us with such
respect and kindness. While we were at the pepper tree, he called
upon Jill to tell the story of the 'Ghost of the Mission,' and he
answered all questions about the shooting of the series there as well as
questions about the mission in general. (And as an aside, there was a
film crew taping during our tour, which sometimes made me uncomfortable,
but which I forgot most of the time.)
As the pepper tree looked so very fragile, I asked Father Ben if Guy (and/or Buddy) actually was up in the tree or if a prop had been built. From my remembrance of the episode, I felt it was that tree. Father Ben said that the tree was in much better shape forty years ago. He also said that the pepper tree was the original and all other pepper trees in the state 'sprang' from that one. Father Ben showed us the buildings where the priests lived, including himself, and where visitors stayed who came on retreats. (And I can certainly see why one would want to do that. The peaceful feeling stayed with me during the entire visit.) We were taken through a small museum where we were shown a door that had been build and used in the show and that he had rescued a few years before.
It was hard to get an adequate picture of this beautiful chapel.
Then we were taken into the chapel. It is not a huge church, but
it has vaulted ceilings that made it seem bigger. There were many
statues, one of Christ, which was very graphic in its depiction of the
suffering of Jesus on the cross. There was a statue of the virgin
Mary and of the man after whom the church was named, King Louis IX, King
of France. Wooden pews sat serenely from the front all the way to
the back. There was so much that was recognizable from the
episodes filmed there, but as someone pointed out, it seemed as though
there were some scenes in the show that might have been reconstructed in
the studio, just subtle differences.
Next we were taken to the bell tower which was also the way to the organ loft. While there, several of us, including yours truly, attempted to ring the large bell with the bell rope. Needless to say I was not one of the ones who was lifted off her feet, but I was embarrassed that it took a great deal of time for me to get the bell to ring. And it was awesome just standing there and looking over the chapel.
Detail of part of the chapel. I believe this was by SueZZZ.
We were taken to the baptistery on one side of the back of the chapel
and then near the entrance to the bell tower there was a little room
where there were candles that could be lit in memory of loved ones.
I was a bit behind the group and only SueZZZ was there, but we
felt compelled light a candle for Guy. It is Guy, after all, that
made all these friendships possible. It was an emotional moment
and I felt his presence and his feelings of gratitude. I felt deep
gratitude for being there myself. Out the door was the cemetery.
It was much larger than what we saw in the episodes, but Father Ben
explained who was buried there and in which sections. He described
the section that he called the gravesite 'of the Innocents,' that place
where the little children and babies were buried.
The baptistery. It is on the left just inside the chapel door.
A lovely picture of the bell tower, courtesy of Ellie de Mol. You can almost see Zorro climbing down from there.
Another great shot from Ellie. Just as they had in the Golondrina, Guy, jr. and Wendell put on a marvelous show.
We were led back to the "Zorro Arch" on the other side of the chapel where lo and behold, Guy jr. and Wendell were there in full regalia. BarBara Luna was there too, but mostly in the capacity of videographer. Guy and Wendell put on another show, first under the pepper tree and then near the arch, which I imagine was difficult in the hot sun. They were wonderful. They posed for pictures, gave an interview to the film crew that was there, Father Ben serving as the host and the man with the questions. At the end we were allowed to ask questions, take pictures, pose and mingle. I felt like part of a great, huge family and wished that everyone from all the lists could have been there to experience this.
BarBara Luna and I-- one very vivacious lady.
This is above the doorway to the cemetery. We were told this was a common feature at most California missions.
This is by the colonnades in front of the mission, and looks very much like the place where Diego and Bernardo conspired against Monastario. This and the photo to the left are by SueZZZ.