ED VAUGHAN - The Malibu Connection

My path first crossed Ed Vaughan's briefly in the early sixties when we both surfed Malibu and he helped organize the photo shoot for Life Magazine's photo essay on surfing that was published in the September 1, 1961 issue (with First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy on the cover). 

This cover shot guaranteed that the issue would be
hugely popular. As a result, millions of people around
the world also saw The Photographic Essay -
The mad happy surfers: California "hot doggers"
enjoy a new way of life on the wavetops.

My friend, Paul Fritz had a classic old Ford Milk Truck that he sometimes used for surfing trips (the boards fit beautifully, but the truck could be a tad temperamental) and Paul had picked me up on his way to Malibu that day.  I can't remember who asked whom, but the Life people wanted shots of some surfers tooling down PCH in the truck and we ended up driving up to Arroyo Sequit to accommodate them. The shoot itself was not fun at all. We kept driving up and down the highway while the photographer shouted instructions which we attempted to follow. It seemed to take hours. To relieve some of the boredom, I put my hand up in the air to feel it lift my hand as we drove by again. It wasn't a Nazi salute, but close enough. On the next run, the photographer asked us to do a Nazi salute as we drove by and two of us foolishly obliged. Of course, that was the shot that appeared in Life Magazine.

That's Paul Fritz driving, with me at shotgun and, just behind us,
Carol Brown next to Ed Vaughan, with Duane King at the rear .

Ironically, both Ed and I went on to work in the media and our first jobs involved surfing. While I was working for Surfguide Magazine, I was asked to co-host the 1964 Malibu Invitational Contest for KHJ Channel Nine. Later I was asked to co-host a weekly surfing show called "Surf's Up" on the same station. I turned down the offer and the show was hosted by the late Jim Freeman of MacGillivray-Freeman fame. Around the same time Ed Vaughn had created another surfing show for Channel 11, which he also produced and directed. The show was hosted by surfing filmmaker, Dale Davis and called "Surf City."

Ed went on to enjoy a distinguished career in television and film (see LINK and LINK). Then, in 198,7 he put all his things in storage and took off around the world in his 40 foot yacht, Mas Alegre

Ed and I also shared a number of friends, acquaintances and experiences during the late-fifties and sixties. But other than the Life Magazine shoot, neither of us can recall having run into each other during that time. So it was a real revelation when I received an email from Ed a few months ago from his home base in Phuket, Thailand.

Since then we've exchanged quite a number of emails about those days and I asked Ed if he'd write about them for the website. The photos are from his personal collection.

Thanks for the privilege.

Ed Vaughn - The Malibu Connection Robert R. Feigel, 2008 - All Rights Reserved