MEET THE GUIDES
Tim and Celia Bannister
Gotta Love This Job!” As the owner Tim strives for the most knowledgeable, and entertaining talent available when it comes to the use of “Your” $$$. Tim has been in the tour business for the past 18 years and in Palm Springs for 8. He has created a unique and fresh approach to his tour as he works his way through the neighborhoods. Simply put “I want to paint a picture for folks; starting abstractly and in the end pulling it together into a masterpiece that they wont forget”. Join Tim in his now famous “Count of the Eccentrics”, learn about Date Production and every mans harem, the history of the wind energy generators (windmills), and his trivia known as “Expiring minds want to know”.
Tim married Celia De Almeida May 7 2016, who he met in 2010 at their local churches “Vacation Bible School” of all places. Their honeymoon (pictures on left) was a 12,484 mile trek on Tim’s 1999 Honda Valkyrie (known as “The Dragon”) motorcycle. From Ontario, CA to Washington DC with “Run For The Wall” veterans run, then on to Dominion, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. From there to West Virginia, Niagara Falls, through Michigan’s U.P. to Washington State and back. “I have been blessed to have visited 49 states, and 4 Canadian provinces. I love to hear from our visitors, where they are from, and the experiences they share about their hometown.
Update 2017 – Traveled for a second year with “Run For The Wall” before heading south to Key West, around the Gulf of Mexico, through Texas, and back to Palm Springs. This year though Celia rode her own bike, a 2011 Can Am Spyder RT a total of just under 8,500 miles.
Multiple Award Winner “Tour Guide of the Year”., Born at Venice Beach in Santa Monica, California, his parents celebrated their honeymoon in Palm Springs and as a child was introduced to the desert in 1958. Mom and Dad were avid fans of Gene Autry’s California Angels and even before they were a major league team the family use to spend every available day in Palm Springs where the Angels held spring training. He tells wonderful stories of how Palm Springs use to be – in his words, “a celebration of the California desert.”
Jeff left to go to college and spent a number of years away from the desert working in the publishing business for such companies as The Wall Street Journal. You would have to know Jeff to know that he would eventually own his own business. . . . often hearing him say “The worse day of being self-employed is better than the best day of working for someone else.” After selling his business in Michigan he came back to his roots here in Palm Springs. Jeff’s mix of old and new Palm Springs along with his quick smile and desire for you to have fun makes his tours a blast and frequently requested. His tours are fun and his stories are guaranteed to make you laugh.
Jeff also does Mid-Century Modern architecture tours, which are very much in demand, and a great way to see all there is to see of Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs.
During the summer, when it heats up here in the valley, Jeff takes to the road, heading to the Great Lakes where he enjoys his time at “The Cottage”. “Life is so wonderful there, on the lake.” Two wonderful grown sons and their families as well as the recent addition of his first Grandchild keep him busy. . . . . and that is a good thing. You will enjoy his energy! We are happy to have him here at Celebrity Tours and you will be too!
Rick is pictured here at the Palm Springs home of Elvis Presley. Rick is a veteran of over 2,000 tours of Palm Springs Celebrity homes.
A native Californian born in Long Beach, California, Rick has spent most of his life here in the desert between Palmdale in the north and Borrego Springs in the south, and for decades has considered Palm Springs to be his home. “Doing tours of movie star and television star’s homes is a wonderful job”, says Rick, “and working for Celebrity Tours is a dream come true”.
Rick has been fortunate to meet many celebrities in his life, including a long-time Hollywood movie star and full time Palm Springs resident he met in 2022; you’ll have to ask Rick to find out who that star is.
Rick is happily married to his wife, Maylene, and they have 2 kids and 5 grandkids. Rick and Maylene live near downtown Palm Springs so they enjoy the ambiance and culture of the rich movie star history here in town every day. Says Rick, “I grew up in the desert and I appreciate the beauty and the weather of the Coachella Valley, and I love to have tourists experience that with me all year long.”
Rick shares with all his tour guests the rich history of Palm Springs, facts about the nearly windmill farms, the local Native American history, and he draws on his lifelong interest in architecture to explore Mid-Century Modernism homes for tour guests—“Palm Springs is the Modernism architectural capital of the world” says Rick, and many of the celebrity homes are also examples of spectacular Modernism architecture. Take a quick-wit sense of humor and blend that with countless stories about the movie stars and their careers at dozens of their homes along the route, and you have Rick. Ride along with him as he takes you up close and personal to the doorsteps of Hollywood’s biggest star’s Palm Springs homes for an unforgettable experience.
Two time “Tour Guide of the Year” award. . From the upstate Rochester New York area where she chooses to spend her summers, Annie, is simply a legend in the valley. She loves to play golf, and is competitive every year in the resort league she plays in.
Appearing on television and radio, Annie has been sharing her love of the silverscreen for 22 years. Annie carries you beyond the walls and gates where her stories make you feel as if every star sits at her dinner table. They are her family, her friends and you will think she was with them last night. By the end she is your friend and just maybe hanging out with her would be your way to see a star.
John Stark has been doing tours since he moved to Palm Springs in 2018. He is a veteran
journalist who spent 10 years as a Senior Writer at People magazine in New York. Before that,
he was a movie critic and feature writer at the San Francisco Examiner. He knows his stars and
has stories, from Lucille Ball to Frank Sinatra. He is passionate about mid-century architecture
and has written extensively about it. He has even interviewed Hugh Kaptur, the last living post-
World War II modernist. A history buff, John can tell you about our colorful past and our bigger-
than-life pioneers. He grew up in a and has fond memories of family outings in the desert and
the Salton Sea. “I enjoy showing people Palm Springs,” he says. “No place like it.”
John Stark has been doing tours since he moved to Palm Springs to “retire.” He is a veteran
journalist who spent 10 years as a Senior Writer at People magazine in New York and before
that was a movie critic and feature writer at the San Francisco Examiner. He knows his stars and
has stories, from Lucille Ball to Frank Sinatra. He is passionate about mid-century architecture
and has even interviewed Hugh Kaptur, the last living post-World War II modernist. A history
buff, John can tell you about our colorful past and our bigger-than-life pioneers. He grew up in
California and has fond memories of family outings in the desert and the Salton Sea. “I enjoy
showing people Palm Springs,” he says. “No place like it.”
If the intersection of Golden Age Hollywood and Palm Springs history is your jam, then Philip is your man. Creator, sole operator and performer of the award winning Felix In Hollywood Tour Company for a dozen years, this Entertainment Industry historian now happily calls Palm Springs his home. “In researching Hollywood History for over 25 years, I kept seeing an overlap with Palm Springs. In the classic era movie years of the ‘30s, 40s and 50s, as well as the golden era of television of the 50s, 60s and 70s, it sometimes feels like everyone from Hollywood had second homes in Palm Springs or at least spent a lot of visiting time here. That combined with the incredibly rich history of the City of Palm Springs itself, makes for a fascinating tour that I can’t wait to tell you about!”
Mershon also spent 20+ years working in Hollywood doing production and costuming work and considers himself lucky to have been able to work with, among others, Rodney Dangerfield, Jeff Goldblum, Sandra Bullock, Forest Whitaker, Bill Murray, Angela Bassett, Cindy Williams, Eric Roberts, Debi Mazar, David Straithern, Ben Stiller, Amy Madigan, Judd Apatow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Flea, Susan Anton, Micky Dolenz, Beverly D’Angelo, David Cassidy, Mare Winningham, Rip Torn, Elle Macpherson, Joe Montegna, Madonna, Robert Culp, Marissa Tomei, Paul McCartney, Don Cheadle, Ann Meara, James Doohan, Adam West, Sherman Hemsley, Fred Willard, Isabel Sanford, Beau Bridges, as well as legendary names like Debbie Reynolds, Mickey Rooney, Jackie Cooper, Dustin Hoffman, Cyd Charisse, Ann-Margret and Burt Reynolds.
Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Dave embodies a down to earth Midwestern style and work ethic. A fan of cinema, his tours incorporate "behind the scenes" stories about the celebs and their homes and desert lifestyle.
Dave loves to research (which he calls his "mining expeditions”). When he finds the nuggets, he weaves them into his tours to create humor, surprise, delight and wonder for his guests. He has a deep knowledge of our local architecture, history, climate, geography and the native people who settled here centuries ago.
In his spare time, Dave plays guitar, swims, rides his bike and explores restaurants in the area (ask him for rec's!). He and his wife also enjoy visiting their kids and grandkids on the Southern California coast