A high-temperature record of 93 degrees was set just before noon Monday at John Wayne Airport, and the heat lured more than 150,000 sun seekers, many of them college and high school students on the first day of spring break, to Orange County beaches.
The previous record high temperature on April 1 was 91 degrees, set in 1959.
It was a slightly cooler--81 degrees--at Newport Beach, where the boys were, where the girls were, and where the girls met the boys.
But it was a tamer crowd than in the days of Bal Week (short for Balboa Island and Peninsula), according to Frederick Scott, 31, who grew up on West Ocean Front and remembers the '60s social scene. Back then, surfers in fast cars drag-raced up and down the streets, and Dick Dale and the Daletones played in the Rendezvous Ballroom on Balboa Peninsula.
"It used to be a lot more rowdy in '67, '68," said Scott. The locals would throw eggs at the tourists, and there was a lot more drinking and use of drugs, he said, but the young people at the beach Monday were comparatively and decidedly "mellow."
Until about 1970, Bal Week drew about 50,000 college and high school students. They rented houses for the week and kept the police busy around the clock, Newport Beach Police Lt. Gary Petersen recalled.
Officers on 12-Hour Shifts
"Basically, it was wall-to-wall party 24 hours a day," he said. "I can't say I miss it." All officers were on 12-hour shifts, and all police vacations were canceled, Peterson said.
On Monday, two officers were added to foot patrols along the beach in anticipation of a weeklong influx of students, according to police spokesman Tom Little. But the young people coming to the beaches nowadays come for the day, not the week, Little said. "We just don't have the Easter problem."
Ron Eido, a 20-year-old Cal State Fullerton student, said he came to the beach to "look at the girls, get a start on summer and see what the newest trends are."
He said many of his friends went to Palm Springs for the week, but he couldn't because he has a job.
Eido said the beaches are crowded with students who couldn't afford Palm Springs, but he added, "This whole week is total parties."
Diamond Bar High School students Kallin Klein and Kathi Hallisey, both 16, were on the beach to "scope" on all the "really happening" guys.
They said they had heard from their parents about Bal Week--how dozens of students would rent a house for the week. "From what I heard, it was radder (more radical) then," said Klein. "Parents now are so afraid to let their kids do anything ."
Ed Schiffer, 39, of Laguna Beach, remembers Bal Week as "a bunch of wild kids interested in drinking and cars and girls."
'Period of Unrestrained Recreation'
Schiffer was with his 10-year-old daughter, Deeana, on Monday. He said the present-day goings-on would have been considered "boring" in the old days. "Now, it's nice, since I've changed and the atmosphere's changed."
Phil Richards, who lives year-round in an apartment on West Ocean Front, overlooking the beach, said only the Fourth of July equals Easter week in student rowdiness and partying.
"It seems to be a compressed period of unrestrained recreation," he said. "It's fun to sit and watch the world go by, but it doesn't stop during Easter week. I'm always glad when this week is over."
High-temperature records also were set Monday at the Los Angeles Civic Center, where it was 92 degrees, and at San Diego's Lindberg Field, where it was 87. The ocean temperature was 58 degrees off Newport Beach, and 57 off Huntington Beach and San Clemente.
The National Weather Service forecast for Orange County was for clear skies through today, with high temperatures in the low 90s and lows in the upper 50s to mid 60s. The South Coast Air Quality Management District predicted unhealthful air quality for sensitive persons in northern Orange County, including Fullerton, Yorba Linda and Placentia.