Weekly Newsletter, March 26, 2014
Written and posted by Bill Paul
Photography by Ernie O'Dell
(REDONDO BEACH) March 26, 2014 -President Karen Weigel rang the bell to open today's luncheon and quickly introduced Rotarian Walter Campbell. A trained Shakespearean actor, Walter (shown at right) set the stage by describing a scene from one of Shakespeare's most famous plays, King Lear. He recited Lear's lament In Act III scene IV. In it Lear said he hadn't done enough for the poor when he had money. Now, in this self chastisement, the poverty-stricken Lear said he knew what it felt like to be poor. Walter concluded the quote by tying Lear's message to Rotary's charitable and humanitarian foundations.
President-elect Rolando Andrade led us in the Flag Salute.
Guests included Manny Pacheco, Deborah Smith, Justin Steele, Lucas Larsen, Alex Ioda, Connie Siegel of the Harrisburg (PA) Rotary Club, Leslie Scollo a special guest of Jeff Melodia, and Conrad Barrington a special guest of Wayne Bradshaw.–
Meals on Wheels were delivered today by Jeff Weigel BY HIMSELF! Good show, Jeff.
President Karen announced the bookmark (shown at left) of the winning posters in the club's annual art contest, is now available. Contact Chat Campbell for additional copies, and see the article preceding this one above for details about contest results.
Karen also reminded members of the April 12th District wide Community Service Day. Galina Gilman is heading up this hands-on community project. Rotarians will engage in greenbelt planting on 190th & Rindge Lane. We'll work under the direction of Joe Lodinsky, Redondo Beach Public Works Manager of Parks & Urban Forestry.
The blood drive that had been scheduled as part of the Community Service Day has been cancelled.
The Redondo Union High School Interact Club is organizing a District 5280 Social Event scheduled for the evening of April 12th.
Rolando Andrade announced the long-awaited thank-you party for the winners of the Casino Night fund-raising drive will be feted at a party at the home of Rotarian Scott Fellows, April 26th. More details to follow.
Karen announced the fourth club evening meeting will be held April 30 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza in the Promenade Room. This is the same location where the club held its past-president's party last May. Cost: $10 appetizers, $5 beer and wine, $7 well drinks, and $10 validated self parking, Scholarships worth $1,000 each will be presented to five graduating RUHS students.
Fine master Dave Whitehead (shown at right) noted that Rotarian Mark Smith, a community banker, recently took out a full page ad in a local newspaper AND posted a billboard prominent on Pacific Coast Highway featuring himself. Yes, yes, everyone acknowledged that it was for business promotion purposes, but the fine master still assessed a $75 fine to Mr. Smith.
Luncheon speaker Manny Pacheco, a southern California radio and TV personality for more than three decades, gave a presentation that only a movie buff and Los Angeleno could give. His informative talk focused on the Golden Age of Hollywood and explored the intersection of 20th and 21st century history with the film capital of the world.
Pacheco has enjoyed a growing acclaim through his Forgotten Hollywood Book Series, now included in the library collections of the Hollywood Heritage Museum, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, American Film Institute, among others. He has also spoken to 33 Rotary clubs.
"I will focus (this presentation) on the actors beneath the titles," he said, zeroing in on actors who didn't necessarily receive top billing but were the workhorses of the movie-making industry.
His presentation described the relationship to American history of actors Van Heflin, Peter Laurie, Sidney Greenberg, Lionel Barrymore and Frank Morgan, with the production of films such as the Wizard of Oz, Shane, Cry for Battle, Captain Courageous and Shop Around the Corner. "You might know this last film better by its remake, You've Got Mail," he said.
When Pacheco asked Rotarians if anyone knew who the highest grossing actor was for the MGM studios, several members called out old-time actor names. Alas, no one got it right. "It was Lassie, the dog," said Pacheco.
Pacheco elaborated on the impact of Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Columbia Picture studios on American culture starting in the 1930s to contemporary times.
Historical events that were influenced or somehow linked to Hollywood included the Manhattan Project in World War II, Lee Harvey Oswald and the assassination of President Kennedy, and Super Storm Sandy that devastated the East Coast a few years ago. "That storm hit Hoboken, New Jersey, the boyhood home of Frank Sinatra," he said.
He concluded his luncheon speech with an obscure story linking President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the well known actor of the 1930s and '40s, Lionel Barrymore.
Because Barrymore insisted on working at the MGM studios after learning that arthritis would soon confine him to a wheelchair, a letter from Helen Keller to Eleanor Roosevelt alerting Mrs. Roosevelt to Barrymore's condition prompted the President to go public with his own disability. Soon, FDR championed The March of Dimes to raise funds in the fight against polio, the disease that confined him to a wheelchair. This little-known fact launched the decades-long lure of Hollywood star power with America's political elite.
Pacheco concluded with this observation. "Now, Rotary International is within five years of eradicating polio from the face of the planet. I thought you folks in this audience might like to know where it all started."
Raffle Ticket The ticket of Fine master Whitehead was drawn but he did not luck out and draw the winning marble. $10 for you Dave.
See y'all next week!