Johnny Weismuller found the desert to his liking, thanks to plenty of swimming pools and golf courses.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PALM SPRINGS HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Palm Springs may have seemed like an unlikely place for a guy used to being around water, but Johnny Weissmuller found the desert to his liking just the same. In 1941, the newspaper carried a headline, “Does Some Swimming.”
The story beneath noted, “Johnny Weissmuller, who was in Palm Springs for the golf tournament, delighted El Mirador guests by presenting an impromptu swimming program at the pool over the week-end.”
Weissmuller, an Olympic swimmer, became famous for the part he played of Tarzan the Ape Man, a very popular movie of the same name released in 1932.
Desert life suited Weissmuller. The newspapers covered his appearances on the links throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. “You couldn’t buy the talent for $100,000 a day, but stars of the entertainment and sports world are building up charity coffers with their golfing prowess. Bob Hope, Bing Crosby… Johnny Weissmuller, Hoagy Carmichael…and many others love the game—and they devote days and weeks of their time every year to help worthy causes and get in a game of golf at the same time. ‘We love to play golf’ said Weissmuller who was here to play in a charity international, ‘and we like to help worthy causes. When we can do both at the once, we jump at the chance….’”
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There is a multitude of ways to learn more about Palm Springs, which turned 83 in 2021. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.
The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a story whose time and place correspond with today.
For more information, visit pshistoricalsociety.org, or visit their location at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive.