General Hershey Bar

General Hershey Bar was a Hollywood local, he frequented the 180 and 181 RTD bus lines in the Los Angeles area during the time I was in Hollywood from 1976 to 1983.  The General greeted everyone he saw with a hearty, “Good Morning, General!”  Having searched the Internet for quite a while for as much info as I could find, this is the only known color photograph of the good General.

An Anti-Vietnam War Protester who was often seen with his partner in the Selective Service System, General Wastemoreland, General Hershey Bar was seen frequently at anti war rallies all along the West Coast from San Diego to San Francisco and Haight Ashbury.   The limited info on him says that his “real” name is “Calypso Joe” and General Wastemoreland was identified as Tom Dunphy.

I can’t count the number of times I spoke with General Hershey Bar, or just how long our conversations were.  But I can tell you, it was always enlightening and (if you don’t mind me saying so) GENERALLY speaking, lots of fun! It was during one of those conversations that I told him the story of how my mom was depressed hearing the news that her Uncle was passing away and she would now be the older generation in the family.  The idea for the collection of celebrity pictures came to me as a means of cheering her up.  The General was happy to participate.

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50 Responses to General Hershey Bar

  1. ValDude says:

    See the General at 00:49
    in X’s Los Angeles video

    • tony says:

      OMG, I remember first meeting the General at the Downtown Courthouse in the 1960’s. The last time that I saw him was in 1986 when I was teaching traffic violator school at Gower and Sunset. He came walking by and I said hello and asked him to speak to my class. The General said he was busy, but made me a FIVE STAR GENERAL FOR PEACE and told me to talk to the class on his behalf about peace. Only in Hollywood.

  2. Very cool to see video of the good General. It was an almost impossible task to find out his “real” name is/was Calypso Joe. I still can’t get any more than that. But not being in the area any more, I sure do miss seeing him all the time.

  3. John Cavello says:

    Hi,

    General Hershey Bar’s adapted performer name was Calypso Joe. It was a name he created when he was a Calypso dancer in the 40’s and 50’s. His true-to-life real name (given at birth) was William Matons (something that most of those closest to him didn’t even know).

    If the good General was still alive, he’d be dancing with the ripe old age of 102 (come September, 2008). Sadly, he passed away on October 13, 1993. He was a wonderful mentor and his image and character will live on for generations to come.

    I salute the General with highest prestige and I know he salutes us all back from that wonderful land of street theatre up in the sky.

    Carry on General!

  4. brian says:

    I remember the General. I would never have known that he was a calypso dancer. I am ballroom dancer migrating to Argentine Tango.

    He was active on the UCLA campu in the late 60s.

  5. Brother Man says:

    I remember The General quite well.

    I was an RTD Bus Operator in L.A. from 1982-1986, and The General would ride with me several times a week. And when not on MY bus, I’d often see him, mostly on Hill St., interacting with the folks on the street. I even used to collect the flyers he used to make up and pass out. He’d always leave me with a half dozen or so of his latest, lol. I used to have them posted on my apartment wall in Hollywood. I enjoyed talking with him on many occasions. He would always be singing that Mexican song… “Aye yi yi yi”, lol. He was a well known friend to all the bus drivers.

    I’m sorry to be learning of his passing though, but The General had a very colorful life and touched many people; including myself. May he be resting peacefully. At ease, General!

  6. Michelle says:

    It’s a long story, but I knew him before he died, and I miss him.

  7. Steve says:

    Wow! How wonderful to find this page. I rode on several busses with the gentleman in question back in the early 1970s and was able to chat with him only very briefly. Received many of his flyers, and have often thought about him over the years. Last time I looked for info about him online was probably 3 years ago and found nothing. I’ve often thought he was a character who deserved to be immortalized in a book, movie, play, SOMETHING.I’d love to hear any stories.

  8. I remember the General very fondly from my days in LA.
    I used to have printing done at Charlie Chan at Gower Gulch, and the General and I crossed paths often when he had his flyers printed at the shop.
    Most memorable conversation, circa 1980 : General HB pulled out a quarter and asked me to read the legend on the obverse beneath George Washington’s chin. “This is the only country in the world where they print ‘In God We Trust’ on the money. We’re the laughing stock of the world”.

  9. Lynn & Charlie says:

    WOW–we knew the “GENERAL” as “Calypso Joe” back in 1971, when he was the manager of our very first apartment at the Malaga Castle over 38 years ago! The picture that you have of him provides us with an excellent refresher to our fond memories of him! He was a character to say the least, indeed. At the time we rented the apartment, we were both 17 years old and, since we had the cash for the apartment, I don’t think we were ever asked to fill out a rental application and we moved in right away! We lived on the 3rd floor of the east wing and had a wonderful balcony (as Calypso Joe described it to us and it was actually just the fire escape landing:) but his description was much better). We also remember the time when the aged-white tile in our kitchen started coming up and we mentioned this to Calypso. He said no problem and the next day as we came home, he proudly reported that the problem had been fixed. Eager to see things repaired we’ll never forget our reactions when we went into the kitchen and found a bright red tile that was installed right in the middle of the kitchen! It was a great place for us to start our lives together (we still are together by the way) and we always referred to the Malaga Castle as the “Noah’s Ark of Hollywood” because there were at least 2 of everything weird that Hollywood had to offer at that time–Hells Angels, Black Panthers, Gays, Lesbians and everything else!

  10. David Lea says:

    Here is a shot of the General I took at a Green Peace
    “Show” at the Hollywood Bowl summer of 1978.
    Just a teen ager at the time, my Uncle introduced me
    to the General…

  11. David Lea says:

    Click on my name to see the Photo….

  12. Chris says:

    The General was a regular visitor on the UCLA campus during the late 70s, early 80s often walking the aisles of Royce Hall and the ballroom in Ackerman and before lectures and special events.

    UCLA and the Country has lost a great American.

    Thanks for keeping his memory alive.

  13. i used to work w/green power focalizing the love-ins at griffith park. hershey bar was a welcome treat at all the events

  14. Steve says:

    Someone mentioned a description of him on another website, and I knew right away it was the good General. I used to see him around the rallies in LA. I’ve noticed in recent years that he appears walking straight up the middle of an away-from-the-stage shot at Altamont in the film Gimme Shelter.

    • Candace Strang says:

      HAHA, this is a true blast from the past. I had lunch w/ General HB @ the Treehouse on the UCLA campus once. Then there was an article in the Times about him. The article said that he had been a business man and a workaholic. Then his wife died and he regretted not spending more time with her on vacations and such. So, then he decided to bring joy to others… Is that not true? What a character!

  15. Sandi says:

    would like to find John Buzzell. He use to hang with General Hershey Bar he was the five star general. remember me as slack

  16. BBurk says:

    The General was a regular at a store I worked at in the early 80s by Melrose and Vine. Loved to hear him rant about President Ray-gun. The General was always ahead of his time!

  17. Fred says:

    This is not the general hershey bar I knew. He was younger did hang out in L.A. and Berkley. Was on the Joe Pine show a couple of times. I lived with his sister for a few years. lots of stories

    • Fred says:

      Excuse me i am thinking of general wastemorland. who was comrads of general hershey bar both were on joe pine’s tv show.

  18. Tim says:

    Wow, the General…

    When I was 12, I used to go to meetings of the American Atheists on Wilshire Blvd in West LA. The General was always there, must’ve been ’77-’78. In your picture, he’s wearing an American Atheist patch on his left shoulder, the blue one on top. I may still have one of his flyers somewhere…

    Awesome to hear that so many have memories of him.

  19. John says:

    I don’t remember the 180 & 181 bus lines back then. It’s possible those were numbers that replaced the original numbers in Hollywood or were simply bus numbers in parts of downtown/outer Los Angeles that I never used. Back then I remember the following RTD buses: The 85 was the Crenshaw/La Brea Bus. The 91W travelled Hollywood Blvd. between downtown LA and Century City. The 91S travelled Hollywood Blvd. from Hollywood & Vermont and then down Sunset to somewhere around Fairfax or so. The 31 was the Glendale/Pasadena bus (which later became the 436). The 81 came from the valley somewhere and stopped at Hollywood and Vine while the 81V continued out to Burbank. The 42 was the Sunset Blvd. line. 93 and 94 travelled between downtown LA and down Santa Monica Blvd. The 93 turned north on Highland Ave. while the 94 went all the way down Santa Monica Blvd. The 83 was the Wilshire Blvd line which went from downtown LA all the way out to UCLA. I can’t remember the numbers the of the buses that went down Western or Vermont Avenues as I rarely used them. I know I’d remember them to hear them (the earlier numbers used during 1976-1981) but I’m drawing a blank at this time. Bus those were fun times.

    • Brian says:

      John, the 436 line became the 180/181 in the early ’80s (and amazingly hasn’t changed since). I was in my teens at the time and rode it almost daily. I saw the General on board more times than I can count.

    • Prime Puma says:

      I remember it was the 436 and 437 back then

  20. scott osborn says:

    I moved to LA from Northern California in 1976. General Hershey Bar was just one of the many people and things that made LA magic for me. I had an apartment in Silverlake and frequently took the RTD bus to Hollywood. Many times I saw the general when he boarded the bus along Hollywood Blvd. I still have a few of the many anti-war flyers that he would hand out.
    (P.S. I once picked up Wild Man Fischer hitchhiking at the corner of Wilshire & Westwood in the summer of 1976. Another bit of LA/Hollywood magic that I doubt could ever be duplicated today)
    Scott Osborn
    Burbank

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  22. Hey, I remember the General. I used to see him on Fairfax Ave., around Canters. I still have one of his fliers from 1977

  23. […] 1972, a man named General Hershey Bar (I’m not making this up!) took over the management of the Afton Arms and renamed the place “The […]

  24. Gregor Samsa Mendel says:

    I have fond memories of the General from my student days at UCLA during the early ’80’s. I always wondered what became of him.

  25. rakava says:

    Aww! I remember him from when I was a little kid in the late 70s/early 80s. I grew up in Los Feliz and he was always on the bus to Hollywood or at one of the bus stops. I knew he was um… a bit off but he was a fun off.

  26. art says:

    Aww, I remember him when I was a kid growing up in Echo Park. I didn’t know what to make of him, but he was always really nice, and I would salute him on the bus. I didn’t realize he was a peace activist. I have nothing but fond memories of him..

  27. Prodigy says:

    When I was 5 years old, I lived in a small town in Washington State called Washougal. I lived on a small ranch on a long stretch of rural road. At the northernmost part of the community where the road ran and met with another road was a state prison. I remember very clearly, walking out of the house and down the driveway to the road. I opened our mailbox and found a plastic sandwich bag full of marijuana. I thought it was tea. It was a calling card for the events that would take place 24 hours later. I took the “tea” into the house and showed it to everyone. “Look, I found tea in the mailbox!” My mother told me to give it to her so I did. Years later I learned it had been flushed down the toilet. The next day, there were all sorts of cars parked in tandem all along the road. We didn’t know what was happening or why. My mother and uncle and I took a walk to see what the excitement was all about. There were hippies walking around, bell bottomed jeans, long hair, both adults and children, some of them entirely nude, casually strolling. Some strapped with guitars, walking while playing. Apparently, there was a protest against this prison or it was just a spot chosen for a “happening,” neither of us have sure to this this day why this area was occupied.

    I spotted a man in a military uniform, like a general. He had all the plastic planes and missiles and various buttons pinned to his coat and cap. He was handing out leaflets. I walked up to him, imagine- a five year old, and he greeted me with a smile, a handshake and proclaimed he was General Hershey Bar. I remember laughing about it and he handed me a Hershey chocolate bar!

    Since years passed, we had moved to Oregon. Eventually I had moved down to Los Angeles. I lived for many years in Glendale. I took the RTD buses at the time, the 180 & 181 line to Hollywood, frequently. It was at Vermont & Prospect bus stop on a hot summer afternoon that I saw him again. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I knew him instantly. His face had changed some but the uniform was the same as when I saw him in 1969. I was much older when I saw him again. He boarded the bus I was on, sat down, I approached him if he was General Hershey Bar. He told me yes and asked me how I knew. I asked him if he was in Washington State back in ’69. He confirmed that. I then asked him if he remembered a little boy who walked up to him, you introduced yourself and gave him a chocolate bar? He said he remembered a little boy he gave a chocolate bar to and a small description about the color of the boy’s hair. I said, that that little boy was me. I want to believe that he really remembered, who knows, maybe he did. So he said he didn’t have any chocolate bars but gave me a flyer about our then president Reagan AKA President Ray-Gun, something about the Star Wars orbiting technology and it’s political scandal of the time. It’s moments like this that I really treasure and I’m happy to find this place on the web and read the accounts and memories of other people. I felt compelled to share my story. Thank you for reading and creating this celebrity page. Gen. Hershey Bar is indeed a star in my life.

  28. peetie25 says:

    In the early 70’s ,i began working for the main branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. I was 18 and thus began my entrance to a whole new world of people and experiences. One of those was coming in contact with a colorful character who would check out books at least once a week or more, decked out with various badges and plastic fighter jets on his shoulders and hat. I greeted him with a “hello sir” and he retorted with “It’s General …. General Hershey”. He then saluted me and waited for me to salute him back. I was astonished and felt privileged that he would take the time to do that. I actually looked forward to this man coming in every week. Even though he was shunned by most working there as a loon. I must have collected a number of his hastily prepared flyers that i wished i would have held on to all these years. Who knew.

  29. willy says:

    General Hershey was a part of my life during 67-68 when I attended LACC. At first his uniform with missiles and jets mystified me, but as my awareness of Vietnam grew, my anti-war lifelong stance nurtured by his ability to hand out flyers, speak forcefully against War still resounds today. I was reflecting and looked up his name. Alas, a Wiki came up for a General Hershey who during WWII helped enact law that allowed for conscientious objectors to serve in a civil manner. Now, looking back i would ask did he take that moniker as part of a historical gestalt?

  30. Elizabeth says:

    Dear Other Brother,
    We would like to use this photo in a book. We want to give you full credit and are happy to send you books. Please let us know ASAP. We have a good General Hershey Bar story!

  31. Renny Keed says:

    I’m thrilled to read all of your stories of the General… I too saw him at all the rallies, on the streets and buses over several years. I was always fascinated at what he was doing. I found that when I engaged him beyond his initial lines pertaining to the viet nam war and other issues, that if saw that you were taking him seriously, he would engage quite deeply with you. Especially one-on-one. I asked him how he chose his character once, and he said “humor can have much more impact on serious issues than simply complaining and protesting” this stuck with me till this day. He was much more than he appeared to be…thank you General Hershey Bar, I salute you!

  32. Howard says:

    I met Wastemoreland in UofBerkeley in 71. Drank some elecyic wine with him. He was also known as Reserected Bull, with full head dress. And according to him, he was Winnie The Pooh on sundays. I couldn’t make this shit up

  33. I also knew the General from 1978-1982 or so
    Lived in Hwd and saw him and talked with him
    Loved him
    Worked up his Wikipedia page with info in his life I found.
    Worth a read over. The man did a lot of cool stuff

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Hershy_Bar?wprov=sfsi1

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