June 2002

President TOM HATTEN had a full plate to preside over for his last luncheon as President, which honored sportscaster, announcer, Broadway, motion picture, television and radio actor and all ’round good guy, PPB First Vice President GIL STRATTON. Before those on the dais were introduced, Entertainment Chair JEANNE DeVIVIER BROWN read messages from friends unable to attend: GALE STORM, who said GIL would forever be Freddie Wilson on "My Little Margie"; Coach John Wooden, who had a late L.A. arrival; PETER GRAVES, who worked with GIL on Stalag 17, was in Hawaii; and BETTY WHITE, who was out of town.

ART GILMORE narrated clips from a few of GIL’s films and television shows as they were shown on the big screens. (Those big screens are such a help, thanks to Board member STEPHEN BROWN.)

The star-studded dais mixed humor, roasting and real admiration while expressing affection for GIL. Guesting were NANETTE FABRAY, who met GIL when they were appearing across the street from each other on Broadway; JANET WALDO, who knew GIL when he played one of her boyfriends on "Corliss Archer"; actor and friend RICHARD CRENNA; longtime sportscaster Stu Nahan; comedy writer/director/producer HAL KANTER; Joe Harper, general manager of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, who worked with GIL during the feature race shows that GIL hosted for KNX (Harper is also Cecil B. DeMille’s grandson) and George Nickolaw, vice president and general manager of KNX, for whom GIL worked for many years. TOM HATTEN made the presentation and GIL responded with heartfelt thanks to all on the dais with a few anecdotes of his own. A truly warm and remarkable program. President TOM HATTEN closed the last luncheon of this season with thanks to the members for the wonderful two years he has spent as President—and we thank TOM for being a wonderful President!

Thursday, May 9, was the last Nostalgia Night until September. Co-Chairs LINA ROMAY and RAY BRIEM will get a well-deserved rest. They want to remind members that Nostalgia Night is the first Thursday of every month, starting in September and ending in May. If you haven’t been, plan to attend in September. Author Thomas DeLong was the guest for May, and the prolific writer of books on radio, television, movies, music and celebrities regaled the audience with stories about John Davis Lodge, Paul Whiteman, Deems Taylor and the many stars from Westport, Connecticut. TOM SHELLEY was on hand to help RAY BRIEM in the absence of LINA ROMAY whose husband, Bobby O’Brien, had just returned from the hospital…happily, Bobby is recovering nicely.

Two songs written by PPBer JOHNNY ROTELLA, "Just Close Your Eyes" and "Baby O," written with Johnny Mercer, are included in the two new CD releases of Dean Martin on Reprise label, Dream with Dean and Everybody Loves Somebody. Alice and JOE HARNELL recently returned from Florida where JOE was conducting master classes in film scoring at the University of Miami. They also attended a recital given by Luciano Pavarotti, followed by a gala reception where JOE spoke honoring the 35th anniversary of the Florida Concert Association, and performed "Fly Me to the Moon and an original composition, "Memory of a Dream."

A CD with children’s stories written and performed by our own JUNE FORAY will be in the stores in September, sponsored by Helion Audio Books. JUNE is still recording Baby Looney Tunes—57 Segments, with more on the way. New member LEE MERIWETHER is appearing in Theatre West’s 40th anniversary commemorative production of Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology—which runs from May 23 through June 23. For information, call Theatre West at (323) 851-7977.

LOUISE ARTHUR and daughter, Donna Sharpe German, are spending most of June in Tennessee. Donna’s father was Don Sharpe, an actor, writer and agent with the Frank Vincent Agency for several years and executive producer of "The Lucy Show" and other major programs. LOUISE and Donna will be visiting relatives in Hermitage, Tennessee and attending some major events in Nashville.

A not-to-be-missed exhibition at the Motion Picture Academy—The display recalls the glory days of the Brown Derby. The walls are covered with pictures of stars who were Derby regulars, including Nancy and Ronald Reagan, Carole Lombard and Clark Gable and the regular table holders Jack Hellman and Neil Reagan. The opening night reception was sensational with all of the food and drink from the Derby recipes including Cobb salad and concluding with grapefruit cake. There was also a copy of the 1947 Derby menu when grapefruit cake was forty cents and a gallon of Edinburgh Scotch was $29.00. The fourth floor exhibit features clips from RALPH EDWARDS’ "This Is Your Life" programs. Subjects were frequently surprised at the Hollywood Derby. Shown are Milton Berle in a booth with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, Harold Lloyd, Philis Diller, Mickey Rooney, Phil Harris and William Frawley. PPBers spotted were PAT GLEASON, SUE CHADWICK and DALE OLSON. The L.A. Times’ write-up had a quote from playwright JEROME LAWRENCE about frequenting the Derby in the forties when he was writing for radio.

I don’t know if this is right for the Newsletter, but here goes…The Hollywood Walk of Fame was born in the back room of the Los Feliz Brown Derby and the first 1500 stars were designated. Bob Cobb insisted that RALPH EDWARDS’ two stars be placed near the Hollywood Derby, as that’s where the radio stations and the agencies were. Also, in those days, everyone charged at the Hollywood Brown Derby and Cobb says some were terribly slow pay. So, for Christmas the year that the Diner’s Club came into being, Bob Cobb sent all of his charge customers (including the Chadwicks) Diner’s Club cards paid up for a year…Don’t miss the exhibit. It runs through July 14 and is on the grand lobby and the fourth floor (where the video is). That’s Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Viewing hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; noon to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is free. Information: (310) 247-3600.

MARY DORR sends a copy of the program celebrating the 25th anniversary of the International Angel Awards. The program lists past honorees—recipients of the Gold Angel Awards—which included JAMIE FARR, GALE STORM, Art Linkletter, PAT BOONE and TOM POSTON. The program was dedicated to co-producer Gordon, who was DORR’s late husband and co-author with her of many books including That Darn Cat.

AND MORE EVENTS…The gala celebration for Army Archerd’s 50 years at Variety was truly a celebrity-filled event. ALICE BACKES, PPBer and AFTRA Board member, graciously hosted a table for ten with guests including Kae and HERM SAUNDERS, Bobby and FRANK BRESEE, FRANK LIBERMAN, SUE CHADWICK, Frank Hill and others.

PPB Board member EDDIE CARROLL (Jack Benny impersonator) will be performing his "Jack Benny Show" in the Los Angeles area next month. This will be the award-winning show’s only Southern California appearance. EDDIE will give two performances at the Madrid Theatre, 21622 Sherman Way, Canoga Park on Saturday evening, July 13 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday afternoon, July 14 at 3:00 p.m. Ticket prices for both performances will be $25—discounted if tickets are purchased between June 15 and June 30. Call the Madrid box office at (818) 347-9938. PPBer CHARLES WASHBURN, through his Admiral Ace Entertainment Company, is producing the event. CHARLES, a writer/producer/director, is waiting word from one of the networks on a TV movie proposal he has fashioned about the relationship between Jack Benny and Rochester. EDDIE will star in the movie.

PPB Diamond Circle Member and jazz musician PEGGY GILBERT has been the recipient of many honors in the past few weeks. She was presented with the annual Lil Hardin Armstrong Award during a private reception co-sponsored with Ford Research Institute for Women in Jazz at the American Jazz Museum. Prior to the presentation, she was interviewed on a live remote on National Public Television and answered many questions about professional female jazz musicians in the ’20s and ’30s, and as PEGGY just retired in 2002, it is a long period of history. PEGGY says she received a fantastic sweatshirt and cap imprinted with the American Jazz Museum Kansas City logo. This all took place during the annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach…A few days later PEGGY was 97 and everyone serenaded her with "Happy Birthday." CONGRATULATIONS PEGGY GILBERT—97 and still going strong…

Good to see former Vice President RALPH STORY at the May Luncheon in the company of former President JACK SMITH. And congratulations to Engineer Bill—BILL STULLA, former Board member, who just turned 91. Lot of youngsters in this group.

Received a copy of Say Goodnight, Gracie—The Last Years of Network Radio by Jim Cox. Haven’t had time to read it, but in glancing through, found a picture of Art Linkletter on "House Party," a bit about PARLEY BAER on "Gunsmoke" and a listing of "My Little Margie" starring GALE STORM. I’m sure there are more. The book is published by McFarland, and I will give my copy to our archives when I’ve finished it…Jim Cox researches well, so I am sure it will be a great addition to our library.

LES TREMAYNE is taking a class at Emeritus College in Santa Monica—much to BARBARA FULLER’s delight…A woman stopped LES one day on seeing the PPB logo on his windbreaker and asked him to have BARBARA call her. BARBARA says, "It turned out we had been classmates in the seventh grade, and I went to dinner at her home in Brentwood during the Memorial Day weekend."

JANET WALDO to Sundance, Utah in July where Dear World, a play written by JANET’s late husband, Robert E. Lee, and JEROME LAWRENCE, is playing. Dear World ran on Broadway some years ago, and Angela Lansbury won a Tony for her role. Maybe JANET will run into Robert Redford. GINNY TYLER and NANCY WIBLE off to the National Lum and Abner Society meeting in Mena, Arkansas. ART GILMORE back to Seattle where he started on the KOL staff 67 years ago. In June, he travels for his yearly appearance at Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound. Joining him will be his yearly travel mate, June Luncheon Honoree, First Vice President GIL STRATTON and other PPB members who go nearly every year including TYLER McVEY, ALICE BACKES, BARBARA FULLER and others. They recreate old radio shows they did many years ago tight here in Hollywood.

On April 12, ART GILMORE was honored by the city of Los Angeles for his work on the "Highway Patrol" series and a few other things. If you’ve read ART’s bio, you know that, among other things, he voiced 150 episodes of "Highway Patrol" (some 30 plus years ago). And he has been doing other things too numerous to list. In recently celebrating his 90th birthday, his nephew, Robb Weller of ET and "The Home Show," put together a video about the old boy which noted that ART was born just before the Titanic hit the iceberg and sank. To see some more of that "more" that ART did, just keep watching TVLand. In fact, SUE CHADWICK wrote a radio series, "Movies Are Your Best Entertainment," that ART narrated 50 years ago.

JEANNE DeVIVIER BROWN was honored June 2 for her over 38 years of reading for the blind with a gala luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel. There was a reception and silent auction prior to the luncheon, which was emceed by RICHARD CRENNA. This Newsletter is due at the printers before the luncheon, so I can’t give a full report.


Membership Chairman MARGOT EWING reports:

New Members




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August 1, 2002