310. Pacific Biological Laboratories

Pacific Biological Laboratories - Ricketts' Lab The author John Steinbeck created several characters named Doc in his novels, but perhaps none has obtained such legendary status as the one in the books Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday. The character of the kindly, thoughtful "Doc" was inspired by Steinbeck's close friend, Edward F. Ricketts. The real "Doc" was a marine biologist, an early promoter of ecology, and a philosophical writer. Ricketts founded Pacific Biological Laboratories, a company supplying biological specimens to schools, colleges, universities, and museums. Ricketts' true passion was marine research, and with his friend Jack Calvin he created the classic study of tide pools published in 1939. The book, Between Pacific Tides, would remain the ultimate authoritative source on the subject for students and scientists for over 60 years. In 1940, Ricketts and Steinbeck boarded the ship Western Flyer for a scientific expedition to the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the publication of The Log of the Sea of Cortez. Co-authored by the two men, it was Steinbeck's first non-fiction book. After Ricketts' untimely death in 1948, a local high school teacher named Harlan Watkins rented the Lab, which he subsequently purchased in 1956. Watkins and a group of friends, including several well-known artists, musicians and cartoonists, gathered together to form the "PBL" or "Lab" group. The Lab became an informal club to meet, party and discuss topics of interest. As ardent jazz enthusiasts, the group invited jazz radio broadcaster Jimmy Lyons to the Lab in 1957. It was here the idea for the internationally famous Monterey Jazz Festival was born with Lyons serving as the General Manger of the festival for 35 years. The simple wood-sided building standing before you today has changed very little since Ricketts rebuilt the lab in 1937 after a devastating fire. If you take the walkway between the building and the Hotel Clement, you can view the specimen tanks Ricketts used in his work.