Watch the Visa and Calvin Klein TV ads filmed at La Jolla Home


The Razor Residence, designed by famed architect Wallace Cunningham, finally sold…for $14.1 million. Many of the news accounts about the sale make note that TV commercials for Calvin Klein and Visa were filmed in the home but none of them that I’ve seen have provided links to video of the actual commercials.

Since I think it is cool to see commercials filmed in San Diego showing off our great city and beautiful landscape, I present them below for your pleasure. If you like seeing interesting tidbits about San Diego, be sure to follow this TourGuideTim Reveals San Diego blog, or follow my TourGuideTim page on Facebook or Twitter where I’ve posted the Visa Black Card Commercial filmed in La Jolla a few times in the past year.

For those who don’t know, the person who commissioned Wallace Cunningham to design this modern home on the cliffs overlooking Black’s Beach, went bankrupt after spending $34 million for construction. For a while, there were attempts to sell the home at various price points starting at $45 million. It was in the news lately because it got to the point where the home was going to be auctioned off. Now, the home in the La Jolla Farms neighborhood has been sold for $14.1 million, supposedly to a Florida investor who plans to live there.

Visa Black Card Commercial filmed in La Jolla

Here is the full 2-minute commercial.

Behind the Scenes Look at the Visa TV Ad

Here is the behind the scenes look on finding the model, the home, and the boat used in the TV ad.

Calvin Klein TV Ad filmed at the La Jolla Mansion

When advertisers create the dreamy world of wealth and elegance, they create it in San Diego!

Where to see the La Jolla house

The best way to see the Razor Residence with your own eyes is to visit the Torrey Pines Gliderport and look south into the adjacent canyon. Never been to the gliderport? You’ll find it and the architecturally signficant Salk Institute (designed by Louis Kahn) using my brand new La Jolla Map being used by hotels and visitor centers. (Check out special offers by the Birch Aquarium, Torrey Pines Golf Shop, and Hike Bike Kayak Tours.)

TourGuideTim Tip: If the style of the house looks vaguely familiar, it may be that you’ve seen Wallace Cunningham’s City House, a very thin house you see on your left as you drive into the Village of La Jolla on Prospect.

Bill Clinton Praises San Diego Biotech Industry as Model for Creating Jobs


I love it when San Diego gets praise at a national level. On the Sunday ABC News show ‘This Week with Christiane Amanpour‘, former President Bill Clinton cited San Diego as a model for the country, and in particular Washington, where cooperation among various groups leads to job creation and a strong economy.

Here’s a brief excerpt of what he said:

“There are places all over America, believe it or not, that have low unemployment, high growth, strong home prices, jobs being created, a shortage of skilled workers and in every one of those places they have networks of cooperation. San Diego’s got the largest concentration of Nobel Prize scientists in America. It has become the biotech center of the country.”

During my La Jolla Sightseeing Tour, we pass through Torrey Pines Mesa, which local boosters refer to as ‘Biotech Beach’. I make mention of the Nobel Prize winners and thousands of Ph.D’s that work at the research institutes and at UCSD. The area is also home to several research and development labs for major pharmaceutical companies and it is surrounded by hundreds of biotech companies.

Road to the CureYou can get the ‘cliff notes’ description for several institutes on Torrey Pines Mesa from earlier blog posts, that have been among my most popular pages in recent years.

Actors from San Diego – Can you guess who I am?


Lyceum Theatre in San DiegoA lot of famous actors and actresses got their start in San Diego. I’ll provide a background description on some of the more famous actors from San Diego and let you guess who they are.

1. After graduating from Julliard, I came out to San Diego to start my career with a three year internship performing at The Old Globe in Balboa Park. I would eventually become the star of my own TV sitcoms. Who am I?

2. My father was an aerospace engineer who moved us to La Jolla when I was two years old. I would eventually become Miss La Jolla, which was my first step to stardom. In 2010, I released my auto-biography and philosophy for life. Who am I?

3. We recently interviewed on ABC’s TV show, The View, during which we began reminiscing about first meeting at the Comedy Store in La Jolla. We’ve gone on to great success as stand-up comics and performing in major films. One of us used to work as a dishwasher at a venerable San Diego restaurant and then eventually help start the San Diego Repertory Theatre. Who am I? Extra bonus: Who was the other person on The View who occasionally returns to San Diego to ride a bike in charity events?

4. While growing up as a kid in La Jolla and watching so many planes flying around the area, I was inspired to become a pilot. I was personally selected by John F. Kennedy to fill an important movie role. In 1968, I won an Oscar. In 2005, my beachfront home in La Jolla sold for $16.5 million. Who am I?

Theatre in La Jolla5. My dad owned a pharmacy in La Jolla, right at the corner of Girard and Prospect. I made my way to Broadway before I eventually ended up in Hollywood. I would eventually win an Academy Award in 1962. While in Hollywood I missed performing on stage in front of a live audience. So, I brought my fellow Hollywood stars to La Jolla for the summers, where we started our own theatre company. Who am I?

6. I too grew up in La Jolla. I starred in such films as Forrest Gump and Princess Bride. Until 2010, I was married to another famous actor. Who am I?

7. I was voted ‘most likely to succeed’ at Helix High School. I interned as a stagehand at the La Jolla Playhouse and performed with the San Diego Junior Theatre and Old Globe Theatre. I went on to become a well-known actor, writer, and director, earning two Academy Award nominations, including one for supporting actor in Hoosiers. Who am I?

8. I moved to San Diego when I was 7 years old, attended Patrick Henry High School and Mesa College, during which time I performed with the San Diego Junior Theatre and Old Globe Theatre. I went on to earn four Academy Award nominations. I’m currently married to a famous actor, who I starred with in a movie remake about two star crossed lovers who had agreed to meet at the top of the Empire State Building. Who am I?

So, go ahead and post your guesses below. I’ll be curious to see if anyone can name all eight actors (and actresses) from San Diego described above.

Update: Thank you to the Facebook fans of the San Diego Junior Theatre, who came up with 5 of the 8 answers. Below, you will see Shannon correctly guessed all eight Hollywood Actors from San Diego. However, I’m still looking to see if anyone can answer the bonus question on #3. I reveal another hint in the comments below.

Visiting Secluded Black’s Beach in San Diego

Quite Black's Beach in Southern California

Black's Beach on 4th of July Weekend

Are you looking for one of California’s most quiet beaches this holiday weekend? Do you want to avoid the beach crowds? If your answer is yes, head to Black’s Beach in San Diego.

Cool ocean breezes attract lots of visitors from the desert cities of Phoenix and Las Vegas to the beaches in San Diego, particularly on holiday weekends. As a result, up until recently, I tended to avoid the San Diego beaches on weekends from Independence Day through Labor Day. Not only were the beaches crowded, but sitting in traffic heading to the beaches wasn’t my cup of tea.

Then, the light bulb finally turned on for me. After a year of giving Sightseeing Tours to La Jolla, which includes a stop at the Torrey Pines Gliderportand a mention that the adjoining Black’s Beach is one of the most secluded beaches in sunny Southern California, it finally hit me over the last 4th of July weekend that’s where I should go for some rest and relaxation on the beach.

Lifeguard stand at Black's Beach

See lifeguard stand on cliff

My wife, who also prefers quiet beaches, thought I was crazy when I suggested we head to the beach, especially considering this past Independence Day weekend was particularly warm for San Diego with beach temperatures getting into the 80s. I wasn’t sure what to expect but being the curious person I am, I had to check it out.

Well, it met all my expectations and then some. There was no traffic heading to the Torrey Pines Gliderport parking lot. From there, we headed to the beach, which was even emptier than I was expecting. Check out the picture I took of a desolate stretch of beach I took on a 4th of July weekend!

The other surprise was the lack of nude bathers. Considering the online travel review web site TripAdvisor rates Black’s Beach as the #1 Nude Beach in America, it was a relief to only see a few (3 or 4) exhibitionists on the beach. They were (surprise, surprise) strategically positioned near the main entrance to the beach but once you got past them, it was a nice, quiet beach all to ourselves.

So, you may wonder, why is Black’s Beach so quiet, even on a summer holiday weekend? Or more importantly, why is TourGuideTim revealing this little known secret of a quiet place to spend a San Diego beach weekend?

Entrance to Black's Beach

Stairway to Black’s Beach

Well, to enjoy this quiet beach, people have to be willing to descend 300 feet down the side of the Torrey Pines Cliffs to access the beach…which means you have to climb those 300 feet back up to your car after an afternoon of soaking up the sun, running sand through your toes, and listening to the ocean waves crash on the beach.

There is an old stairway built into the cliffs that take you to the beach. Despite the fact signs encourage you to stay away because of the eroding sandstone, it’s not too difficult to use for those in decent shape and it’s much better than following some surfers who have their own, more direct path down the side of the cliffs. Don’t follow these surfers who shun the stairwell unless you want to be featured on the local news because you were rescued by helicopter off a precarious perch half way down the cliff.

For most, including my wife, it’s not worth the climb to enjoy the secluded beach. But, for me, it’s the beach beach in San Diego.

San Diego Weather in August has Never Hit 100 Degrees


Picture of sunset in San DiegoCan you believe the San Diego weather for August has never reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) in recorded history? Add to that the fact it’s only reached 100 degrees once in the month of July, way back in 1930. This reflects the records kept at Lindbergh Field, the official San Diego weather station just a mile from Downtown San Diego.

Having moved from the Mid-Atlantic, this is just unbelievable. When I lived back East, you could always count on at least a week of 100 degree weather.

For example, in Philadelpia, just over 50% of the dates in July and August have recorded a 100 degree temperature at least once in recorded history.

If you look at the Dallas – Fort Worth area, they had a streak of 40 consecutive days of 100 degree weather in 2011!

Over the past 30 years, Phoenix has 100 degree weather an AVERAGE 110 days per year!

The highest temperature ever recorded in San Diego for the month of August was 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 degrees Celsius) back in 1955.

Another interesting fact for San Diego weather during the month of August is that 60% of our Augusts have not recorded any measurable rainfall…for the whole month! Just incredible. Another reason we are so lucky to live in San Diego.

Stay tuned each month as I’ll share more interesting facts about San Diego weather history. For those planning a vacation in San Diego and looking for average San Diego temperatures and what to expect, visit my San Diego Travel Guide.

Thank You Jerry Schad – Your Legacy Will Live On


I was shocked to read in this morning’s Union Tribune that Jerry Schad is terminally ill with stage 4 kidney cancer.

For those who don’t know, Schad wrote the bible on San Diego hiking. San Diego is arguable one of the best places for hiking in the world and his book Afoot & Afield in San Diego County is the best guide to explore those trails. It is 456 pages of work taking us from the beach bluffs above our ocean during the summer months through the tree covered mountains during the fall and into the desert caves during the winter. He has covered it all.

Afoot and Afield is one of the first books I bought when I arrived in San Diego thirteen years ago and it’s rarely more than an arms length away. I have seen so much of our beautiful natural environment because of him.

I’ve seen Jerry on KPBS as he’s taken viewers on some of his favorite trails. I always figured I’d meet him one day. But, it appears that expectation will not come to fruition. I’m sure many others will feel the same when I say it always felt like he was right there with you as he took you around each turn and told you where to look for hidden treasures along each trail.

I wish Jerry and his wife strength to enjoy these final days together. You can be rest assured your fans will carry on your legacy of getting people out of their homes and into the beautiful nature surrounding us in San Diego County. Thank You.

Here’s a link to today’s article about Jerry Schad in the Union Tribune.

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