Media Life: Auburn’s hometown links come from near and far

By: Gus Thomson/Media Life
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It’s always interesting to hear from readers after putting your heart and soul into a Media Life column. Such was the case this past week when Alice Olguin took the time to send an e-mail this way from her home in Southern California on “Not as a Stranger” doctor David Kindopp, which ran last week. The column itself was 10 years in the making, one of those Auburncentric factoids that needed expanding on but waiting for some extreme serendipity. That came in the form of a phone call from the significant other of a fledgling author hoping for a book review or mention in the AJ. While the Journal doesn’t regularly feature book reviews and Media Life shies away from featuring self-published authors, the name of this particular newcomer to the writing world was intriguing – David Kindopp. As it turned out during an entertaining conversation from his home in Lincoln Hills, he was the grandson of Dr. Kindopp, was born in Auburn, and well aware of “Not as a Stranger.” Last week’s column highlighted some of the background culled over the last 10 years on “Not as a Stranger,” a book written by Morton Thompson with thinly veiled Auburn settings and characters. It became a national best-seller in the early 1950s and a major motion picture of the same name starring Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra. Dr. Kindopp and his work in Auburn were a major feature of the book. His character – Dr. David Runkleman – was played in the movie by stellar character actor Charles Bickford. Olguin wrote Media Life to say that she has good memories of Dr. Kindopp as her family’s family doctor. Kindopp delivered her son on July 16, 1945 at the old Highland Hospital and she has kept her copy of “Not as a Stranger” all these years. “A somewhat worn book but nevertheless still readable,” Olguin mentioned. She has lived in Southern California since 1965 but Olquin said she still considers Auburn her hometown. Billy Joe back Speaking of hometowns. Make an entertainer feel at home, like Scott Holbrook and his Keep Smilin’ Promotions does, and they’re bound to make the effort to return. Original outlaw country great Billy Joe Shaver has received a hearty return Auburn “welcome” since his landmark 2009 Party in the Park show. As you may recall, Shaver had just been found not guilty in a Texas courtroom of shooting a man outside a bar. The Auburn appearance that year was touch and go because of the possibility a jury would convict Shaver and he would be facing prison time. Instead, the Auburn show was a celebration. Shaver dropped out of entertaining for some time because of physical problems but is back with a new album and a quick West Coast swing that includes playing The Auburn Event Center “and Honky Tonk” on Saturday. Promoter Holbrook said Shaver had such a good time last time he was here, he asked to come back. High compliment from an artist whose work has been recorded and sung by Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. Local book deal While Dr. Kindopp found himself part of a work of fiction through a working relationship with Thompson (the “Not as a Stranger “ author was still relatively unknown and augmenting his writing career as a lab tech), Media Life has found an easier way than earning a medical degree and working in a small town to burst into print. It’s kind of quirky. But here goes. Chery Anderson of the Gold Country Writers says the group is in the process of raising the grand total of $1,849 to create a softcover book showcasing the work of local writers. The donations will be used to cover the cost of editing, formatting, designing and printing the tome. The creative folks behind the fundraising drive have come up with some unique ‘thank-you gifts’ at different funding levels, including a copy of the anthology with a $24 donation and a signed copy of the Gold Country Writers Anthology with a $49 contribution. Even $10 gets a copy of the book “Publish It Yourself” by writers group author Alton Prior. But the $100 level is the real bonus round, for those who want a little lasting literary cred – or wish to bestow that cred on a friend or loved one. For a single Benjamin, you’ll get all the other perks and your name or the name of someone you want to honor used in a fiction story. Go to for more information. Deadline for contributions is the end of Monday. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at Also hear Thomson most Fridays at 6 p.m. on Dave Rosenthal’s drive-time radio show on KAHI 950 AM. He’s also a regular guest on Capital Public Radio’s “Insight.” And you can catch up with Thomson on Twitter at AJ_Media_Life.