VIDEO: Pepito and Joanne Portrayed on Living History Tour at Santa Ana’s Fairhaven Cemetery (2010)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The annual guided historical tour of Fairhaven Memorial Park and Santa Ana Cemetery features costumed actors portraying historic figures who share stories from Orange County, California’s past.  This unique “living history tour” is the recipient of a prestigious California State Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation, and is a joint presentation of the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society and the Orange County High School of the Arts.

In 2003, Pepito was portrayed solo on the cemetery tour.  That year, Joanne provided the biographical information for the scriptwriter, and costume items for the actor. See  VIDEO: Pepito the Spanish Clown Reenactor at Fairhaven Cemetery (2003).  Joanne passed away less than six months later, in April of 2004.  

This year’s tour was the first time Pepito & Joanne were portrayed together, as a husband & wife vaudeville team and dance school owners.  For the first time, Joanne is the “lead” and Pepito is the “comic foil.”  Young actresses Annika Borg-Sundstrom as Joann Falcy, and Sophia Theofanos as Pepito the Spanish Clown, did a wonderful job.  Watch the video of their performance above.

The delightful script was written by Will Morton, using PepitoAndJoanne.com’s archives as his resource.  Mr. Morton has written plays for the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society’s annual Fairhaven Cemetery Tour every year since 2005.  For the 2010 tour, he also wrote “Richard Robinson”, and “Robert Henry English” in addition to “Pepito, the Spanish Clown”. Mr. Morton has had several science fiction short stories in anthologies published by Pill Hill Press.  He is currently at work on a book of children’s poetry for Toy Box Books.  Visit him at his website www.willmorton.com.

To add an extra touch of authenticity and historical context to the costumes, memorabilia collector Lisa Ortega generously opened her collection and loaned a red velvet cape, and a rhinestone-studded gold fringe collar, for the actresses to wear.  These are authentic, one-of-a-kind pieces from Pepito and Joanne’s vaudeville wardrobe. 

Says Mrs. Ortega, “I got excited when started looking on eBay at the estate items of Pepito and Joanne Perez that were selling.  One lot was a collection of costumes.  I saw his clown outfits and his shoes. I bid and I won.”  Mrs. Ortega, who mainly collects items related to “I Love Lucy,” says she took a chance purchasing memorabilia of Pepito and Joanne, who were good friends of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.  “But when I got the box, it was like opening up a package from Disneyland,” containing around 20 costume pieces from their vaudeville days. 

Says Ortega of Joanne, who made her own costumes: “She was quite a seamstress. It is all tediously hand stitched. I have these undergarments that have rhinestones sewed on them — we’re talking 500 rhinestones on a pair of underpants, and each rhinestone has its own thread.”  Regarding the red velvet cape with gold lining and the rhinestone collar, Ortega says, “I’m happy to lend them to the historical society, because that’s who should be having them in their hands, people who can enjoy them and appreciate them for what they are.  I don’t want them stuffed up in my attic for 20 years.”

For more about the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society tours of the famous interred at Fairhaven Cemetery, see http://www.santaanahistory.com.

Award-Winning Cemetery Tour Celebrates the History of Orange County Émigrés

“Strangers in a Strange Land: Immigrants Who Shaped Orange County” will be held on Saturday, October 23, 2010.  This guided historical tour of Fairhaven Memorial Park and Santa Ana Cemetery features costumed actors portraying historic figures who share stories from Orange County’s past.

Dating back to the 1800s, settlers came to the Santa Ana Valley from far and wide—including émigrés from dozens of countries.  English, Dutch, Canadian, Mexican, Japanese, German, Chinese, and more came to share in the prosperity of California.  Strangers in the unfamiliar melting pot of American society, these immigrants contributed to the success of the county. A Canadian braves shipwreck to travel around the Horn to California; an English Mormon mother lives in a covered wagon in Southern California; a Mexican laborer buys his first home in the Logan Barrio in 1906; a Dutch Holocaust survivor’s evangelist mission leads her to the US. These are the stories of people who shaped a truly “international” Orange County.

Docents will guide visitors through scenes that played important roles in the history of the county, culminating in a presentation in Fairhaven’s beautiful 1916 mausoleum. Comfortable shoes are recommended for the hour-and-a-half long walking tour.

The event is presented by the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society and will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fairhaven Memorial Park, 1702 Fairhaven Ave., Santa Ana. Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors and Members, and $14 for students and children 10 and over. (Children 9 and under are free.) 

The unique “cemetery” tour has won a prestigious California State Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation.  This is the Society’s 13th annual Living History tour, with proceeds benefiting the organization’s museum and educational programs. The event is produced in partnership with local writers, and actors from the Thespian Club at Orange County High School of the Arts.  The tour is co-sponsored by Fairhaven Memorial Park. 

Reservations are recommended. Discounted advance sale tickets are available. More information can be obtained on the Society’s website at www.SantaAnaHistory.com or by calling (714) 547-9645.  You can also email to tour@sahps.org.

Our mailing address is:

Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society
120 Civic Center Dr., W., Santa Ana, CA 92701-7505.

Note: If you would like to see photos of past history tours, you can view them 

at http://www.santaanahistory.com/CemeteryTour.html)   

4 Comments 

Thursday, November 4, 2010 – 12:23 PM

Sandra

delightful – thx – as i was unable to attend.  appreciate

Thursday, November 4, 2010 – 01:55 PM

Roger Schutt

How delightful!

Thursday, November 4, 2010 – 04:36 PM

Barbara

Pepito & Joanne sure do have a devoted following. Too bad they can’t know this!

Friday, November 5, 2010 – 08:04 PM

John & Nancy

We really enjoyed the Historical Cemetery Tour of Fairhaven.  Obviously, the SAHPS and the actors from the Orange Co. High School of Arts gave their “all” for this day of entertainment.  Many thanks for your hard work.

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