Whos What and Whats Where

The Pacific pioneer broadcasters

newsletter

Edited by Sue Clark Chadwick

 

February 2003

 

 

Former Miss America, Miss California and Miss San Francisco, LEE MERIWETHER was guest of honor for the January luncheon. and LEE hasnt missed much, but you did if you werent present. Not just a pretty face, but a combination of beauty, brains and talent best describes this versatile actress who has excelled in television, stage and films. President GIL STRATTON introduced LEEs friends on the dais before clips from some of LEEs many works were shown. Entertainment Chair JEANNE DeVIVIER BROWN read messages from the many friends who, regretfully, couldnt make the luncheon. Joining LEE to pay tribute and discuss their association, were actor and animal rights activist Earl Holliman, Founding Theatre West member Betty Garrett, who currently works with LEE and also appeared with her on Broadway; JAMIE FARR, actress Bridget Hanley, dance instructor and choreographer ZINA BETHUNE, actor Richard Erdman and our own in-house humorist HAL KANTER. LEEs response when accepting her award from President GIL STRATTON, was filled with gratitude for PPB and loving words for all of the participants.

 

Chairman of the Board and Founding President ART GILMORE kept his audience in suspense, but not for long, when he gave a short history of the Diamond Circle Awardee. Born on a ranch in Oklahoma, he and his family, along with many other Okies, moved to California in 1935it was the Great Depressionremember? Knowing what he wanted to do at an early age, he took a radio course at L.A. City College after graduating from Van Nuys High School, and that led him into his chosen profession. Shortly after winning his first announcing job, he did something very few can brag abouthe attended Marilyn Monroes first wedding. The war came and he joined the Navybecame a carrier pilot flying Wildcats and Corsair fighters. Post war, he returned to radio in Oregon and Central Californiamarried Ednaand began a 22-year tenure at KFI. About 1956, he started a Big Band record show called Swingin Years, and began national syndication of that program in 1972, which also was broadcast for 16 years by Armed Forces Radio and Television Service. After 46 years, the show is still in syndication. During those 46 years, over 300 big bands and jazz musicians have been taped for the show, including our own BEA WAIN and JACK SMITH. Three times the L.A. Times named Swingin Years the best popular music show in Los Angeles, while the music editor of Readers Digest says it is the best show on radioperiod. Swingin Years is currently on KKJZ (88.1 mh) and KCSN (88.5 mh). We welcome into the Diamond CirclePPB Vice PresidentCHUCK CECIL.

 

Nostalgia Night Co-Chairs RAY BRIEM and LINA ROMAY are ahead of the game at this time with their great guests. Les Brown, Jr. guested in February and regaled an attentive audience about his illustrious father and the Hope yearsand talked about his own notable career. He started as a drummer with his fathers band at 15, then, after Duke University, he rejoined the band as boy singer. In 1962, he became an actor and appeared in over 200 segments of various comedies and dramas including The Baileys of Balboa, General Hospital, and Young Marrieds. The busy Les produced records, had his own production company, became a band leader and music booking agent.and it goes on and on. If you didnt attend, you missed a great evening. Les plans to take The Band of Renown into the next millennium.

Mark your calendars for upcoming Nostalgia Nights. Radio personality Wink Martindale guests March 6. Our own PPB Historian, JANET WALDO (ne Corlis Archer), guests Thursday, April 1, and the talented former MGM star ANN RUTHERFORD closes our season, Thursday May 1. Now thats an impressive slate. Nostalgia Night is the first Thursday of each month at our Clubroom on the lower level of Washington Mutual, Sunset and Vine. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and close promptly at 7:30 p.m. BE THERE!

 

WHAT HAPPENED? We didnt get any holiday travel newssomeone must have gone somewherebut, well give some after-holiday highlights. Diamond Circle member VAN ALEXANDER and his high school sweetheart, Beth Baremore, will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary, February 27, cruising the Mexican Riviera on the beautiful Crystal Harmony, along with their daughters and sons-in-law, with the kids picking up the tab. Well, thats mighty sweet music, VAN. Cruising is in. ED WILLIAMS and wife, Nancy, have returned from a Caribbean cruise on the five-star Costa Victoria. ED says his grandfather crossed the Isthmus of Panama on foot in 1850; ED and Nancy relived that crossing via bus and small boat in 2002.

 

PPB member NICHOLAS ROYCE, a legendary show business performer and dancer on such TV shows as Milton Berle, Ed Sullivan and Kate Smith, and an activist for the Greek Orthodox faith in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, was honored for his 50 years of achievement by California congresswoman Diane Watson in ceremonies at her Los Angeles office open house, December 15. ROYCE, son of Greek immigrants, started his dancing career in Baltimore at age 14. He continued dancing while in the Army during World War IIentertaining the troops, and was known as the Greek Fred Astaire. Following the war, the Nicholas Royce Dancers appeared on many shows and in supper clubs across the nation. In later years, ROYCE worked for Family Theatre, and in retirement, continues to work to broaden public understanding of the Greek Orthodox faith and volunteers for such causes as the homeless, abused children and victims of AIDS.

 

Board member GERRY FRY writes that he was struck by a bit of nostalgia recently while playing a congressman in the upcoming movie Red, White and Blonde, starring Reese Witherspoon. While waiting for his call to the congressional set at Don Carlos Stages in downtown Los Angeles, he wandered onto a barroom set and spied a movie poster on the wall for 1949s Cheyenne Cowboy, starring Tex Williams and His Caravan and PPBs own nostalgia co-chair LINA ROMAY. And speaking of nostalgia, MARTY HALPERIN received a letter from a person currently employed in the old KHJ building on Melrose, wondering if any PPB members had ever worked thereparticularly in the 1940s. If so, hed love to talk to them. If interested, give a call to Bill Stevens, (626) 798-5328.

 

Who says age slows you down, asks PPBer Mr. KAY KUTER. KAY did two more Hersheys Kisses voice-overs (KAY has been their spokesperson for 14 years), had a guest role in Charmed, as a wizard, did a voice for Disneys Bears. Then on-camera for two national commercialsa wizard for Nenyendo, ham actor for Tostitos, and the role of a Mojave Desert undertaker for a feature, Grand Theft Parsons. With all of this, he found time to spend a week at Christmas in Las Vegas with his sister and 103-year-old mother.

PPB member, novelist ROBERT S. LEVINSON has been elected for a second term as President of the Mystery Writers of America, Southern California Chapter.LEVINSON will continue serving on MWAs national board of directors.

 

Hope you didn't miss the recent "Biography" on "Dragnet's" Jack Webb with PPBers ART GILMORE, PEGGY WEBBER, HERMAN SAUNDERS, JEAN MILES and TOM WILLIAMS. The five, all of whom worked with or for Webb, gave great insight into Jack as a man, performer, friend and boss. The show certainly must have created interest in the new Dragnet movie for TV.

 

Board member EWING LUCKY BROWN certainly belied his name in recent months. Around Thanksgiving, LUCKYs car was hit and he escaped with cuts, bruises, sore muscles and a rear-ended Volvo. Then he went in for surgery and was recovering nicely, when, while driving on Cahuenga, a car barrelled out in front of him and LUCKY hit it broadside, totaling his own car. Intensive emergency treatment only disclosed more cuts and bruises and more sore muscles. On the bright side, LUCKY and wife JEANNE DeVIVIER BROWN celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary, February 18. They didnt drive anywhere.

 

The Writers Guild of America West has tapped comedy writer, PPB Board member AARON RUBEN to receive its Valentine Davis Award for Public Service. Kudos will be presented at the Guilds 55th Awards Ceremony, March 8. Award is given to writers who have contributed to the entertainment industry as well as the community at large and who have brought dignity and honor to the profession of writing everywhere. WGA prexy Victoria Riskin said Aaron Rubens lifetime of good work reflects well on writers everywhere. He has dedicated his life to helping children. His selflessness is inspiring. Hope you didnt miss the large story and picture in Daily Variety. The article lists many of his impressive credits as well as defining more of his good works. Past recipients include our own HAL KANTER.

 

And speaking of pictures, there was a good one of PPB Press Chair FRANK LIBERMAN and his daughters, Meg and Kay, in the Motion Picture and Television Fund newsletter. FRANK recently moved into the Motion Picture Home, and the accompanying story tells how thrilled he is to be there. The article chronicles FRANKs long and notable career. In addition to his many other clients, LIBERMAN was a publicist for Bob Hope for 41 years.

Palm Springs PPB member MARY DORR (Gordon) writes that the 26th annual Excellence in Media Gold Angel Awards will be announced February 28. Too late for this newsletter, but well print them next time. As a non profit, non political, non sectarian organization that cuts across all demographic strata, their awards are considered the best in moral, ethical and/or socially impacted productions. Someone said they stand for nontoxic entertainment.

Last-minute gatheringsSecretary BARBARA FULLER is excited about the student film she is doing at Chapman Universityloves the part and predicts a great future for the young people shes working with, Zach Goode and Stacy Kattman. Librarian JANET WALDO is having mail problemsfirst, her mail was being stolen, so she bought a mail box with a lockand it was stolen too.so, if you are expecting an answer to your letter to JANETdont waitshe probably never got it.

 

President GIL STRATTON arrived home from his semi-annual trip to London just in time for the February 10 Board meeting. GIL and his eldest son, Gibby, were in London for soccer and theatre. Due to new restrictions, because of hooliganism, they were shut out from purchasing soccer tickets. However, GIL says, they managed to see seven shows, including The Breath of Life, starring the Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. Also saw the new production of My Fair Lady, and it was, as the British say, brilliant. In mid-March GIL will be lecturing aboard the Seabourne Pride from Fort Lauderdale to Lisbon, Portugal. V.P. CHUCK CECIL will emcee the March PPB luncheon.

 

HHH

 

Membership Chairman MARGOT EWING reports:

 

New Members

 

JON ANTHONY DOSA

MICHAEL J. HORN

 

 

Reinstatement

 

J. JAY SMITH

 

 

We will remember with admiration

 

RICHARD CRENNA

CLIFF NORTON

HARRY SPITZER

DON STANLEY

JIMMIE BAKER

STACY KEACH, SR.

 

 

Please send your news and that of your PPB friends to:

 

SUE CLARK CHADWICK

1841 Outpost Drive

Hollywood, CA 90068-3721

Fax (323) 851-2401

 

 

NOTE

 

THE DEADLINE FOR THE NEXT NEWSLETTER IS

 

MARCH 26, 2003