Former Paradox owner fills in some blanks

by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted courtesy of the Tustin News


(Read the original article by clicking here.)

In attempting to answer the question, “Where was the Paradox in Tustin?” being asked by those who read Steve Martin’s new book, “Born Standing Up,” in Remember When on Feb. 7 I fell flat on my face.

Because Martin mentioned the Paradox being in Tustin twice, on pages 66 and 70, I assumed it was correct. Research on the Internet turned up additional references to Tustin as well as to Jamestown Village.

Since the Village Theater had closed, it seemed likely that the Paradox had taken over that location.

A call from Janet Hampton proved all this wrong. Janet, who appeared at the Paradox as a singer when she was only 15, thinks that after some 40 years Steve Martin confused the town of Tustin and the Tustin Ave. location of the Paradox. She was able to give me the names of the owners as well as the correct address in Orange.

Then Hank Fisher, who was one of the owners, sent a wonderful e-mail which really ended the confusion.

“Since your article last week my wife Cordi and I have received several calls informing us about it. Since there was much confusion about where it (the Paradox) was and when it was, I thought you might like some help in filling in the blanks.

“My partner, Bob Sheffer, our wives and I opened the Paradox at 225 S. Tustin Ave. (just south of Chapman) in the city of Orange in June of 1965. We closed it in May of 1968. All of the entertainers that you mentioned in your article plus others appeared at the Paradox and most got their start there.

“The comedian Pat Paulson lived only a few blocks away and used to drop by regularly just to hang out. It was during this time that he became a regular on the Smothers Brothers TV Show and his fame spread far and wide as he became a perennial candidate for president.

“Another regular who would stop by from time to time to just jam with other regulars after closing was Jose Feliciano. Other popular entertainers who also appeared at that time were Hoyt Axton, Brownie McGee and Sunny Terry, The New Lost City Ramblers, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, The Pair Extraordinare, Jimmy Fielder, Tony Duecy and Steve Gillette.

“Of course, there were many, many others whose names I have forgotten.

“Coincidentally, this past year several of our alumni decided it would be nice to have a 40-year (roughly) Paradox reunion for all those able and interested.

“Our ex-partners Bob and Helen Sheffer bought 8 acres in the Grass Valley/Nevada City area about 15 years ago and moved there from Santa Ana . Many former entertainers have moved north as well.

The Sheffers’ 8 acres were perfect for an outdoor songfest and so it was held there over this past Labor Day weekend . The reunion was well attended and many of those who couldn’t attend phoned, including Jackson.”

I am grateful to hear from those who could correctly answer the question, ”Where was the Paradox?” I am sorry that they didn’t turn them up in my original research, but I appreciate their kindness in getting me on the right track. Thank you!


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