Remembering OB Spaceman, Clint Gary

by on May 19, 2021 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

Editordude: Here is nearly a 30 year old article about OB Spaceman – Clint Gary – one of the most colorful characters to cross the stage of Ocean Beach. Tom Arnold wrote a surprisingly moving piece about OB Spaceman in the San Diego Reader, so check it out. I have my Space Number – as well as three of Spaceman’s paintings.

By Thomas Arnold / San Diego Reader / December 23, 1993

Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Won’t you please take me along?
I won’t do anything wrong
Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Won’t you please take me along for a ride?

Whether or not the classic 1960s rock tune by the Byrds really was about him — he said it was, but he said a lot of things — one thing is certain: Clinton Beverage Cary, better known as the Spaceman of O.B., took Ocean Beach residents and visitors on a 30-year ride as cosmic artist, agent of the planet Rillispore, and belligerent town drunk.

That ride came to a sad but not unexpected end at 2:30 in the afternoon of October 21, two months before what would have been his 85th Christmas, when his tired, crumpled body finally gave out in Sharp Cabrillo Hospital.

“He’d been bummed out the last few months,” says Dallas Perdue, an Ocean Beach house painter who had been a friend of the Spaceman since 1979. “When you’re old and blind around the holidays, you get depressed. He needs a lot of attention, and he wasn’t getting any. He lost the will to live. I’m glad he’s gone, because when you’re just sitting around, what’s the use of that?”

Cary had spent the last two years of his life in a wheelchair. His long white beard was scarred by burn marks, the result of failed attempts to light the cheap menthol cigarette stumps that were always dangling from his mouth. He was often situated on the corner of Newport Avenue and Bacon Street, looking like a frayed Q-tip, wearing dark wraparound sunglasses. He would babble at passersby about Rillisporian aliens and Elvis sightings, and try to sell them paintings that were really nothing more than blotches of paint haphazardly dropped on scraps of particle board.

“Three days before he died, he was down on Newport, sitting in his wheelchair, selling his pictures,” recalls Bob Oaks, a former cemetery plot salesman and professional jazz musician who had known Spaceman for more than 30 years. “Then, when we didn’t see him for a couple of days, we thought he couldn’t get out of bed, so we went to see him in his apartment by Dog Beach.”

For the balance of this article, please go here.

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