August 9, 2001




We had an impostor at the podium, since Pres. GEORGE was away, along with PETER MORE and KEN LEVER, attending to some nefarious Rotary business - or so they claimed, anyway. It was none other than that famous ACLU Sponsor, RUDY ALVAREZ - and he done pretty good, I must say. But before he could get us underway, an anonymous voice from the cheap seats shouted, "What, no joke?" Not missing a beat, Stand-in RUDY called on PP ERIC LOBERG, who happened to be seated at the head table. ERIC - and it's always risky to call on him - posed a riddle, which confirmed his dangerous image. Moving right along, Stand-in RUDY started with the Pledge, led by TODD GURVIS, and followed by that frequent duo (that means two people) of LENNY FRIEDMAN and PP JIM DOWNIE with The Battle Hymn of the Republic. LENNY claimed he had such a request, although he didn't reveal who it might be. Memo to Pres. GEORGE - would such withholding of evidence be a cause for a fine? Just asking. PP TOM LENEHEN gave the Thought for the Day, and since the movie business was our speaker's subject, TOM focused on Will Rogers. Will ( I love that name - my grandson also has it) made 50 silent and 21 talkies, plus writing a daily newspaper column syndicated in 350 newspapers. Not bad for a high school dropout - perhaps his most famous line was "I never met a man I didn't like". As an aside, I found a full page of Will's quotations in the Brentwood News after our meeting - if you would like a copy, lemme know, please.

RO SHAW led us in some Tai Chi, and we may yet get the hang of it. Afterward, Stand-in RUDY called on PP JIM DOWNIE to stand, reminded him that it had taken RO four minutes to get JIM'S blood pressure down, and wondering what his next announcement might do, RUDY then, cold-bloodedly but clearly, said the words, "ACLU"! Fortunately, medical attention was available nearby, thereby averting a possible health crisis. We gotta watch this guy - can't ever tell what he might pull next, right? By the way, we have a nice note from Yvette Garfield, retiring President of our wonderful Rotaract Club - she thanks us for our continuing support, and says she expects that new President, Jessica, will continue the fine leadership and activities they have carried on.

Pres. GEORGE asked that Stand-in RUDY publicly thank those who helped with the visiting Japanese students last week, including PP MIKE NEWMAN, YOE, NEAL ZAVLAVSKY, and SLOSS VIAU - there were others, but RUDY did point out that it's an excellent program, and we should continue to support it. We were reminded that the District Governor will be with us for dinner and his official visit on Sept. 13th and the Annual Picnic at the SISKEL'S will be on September 23rd. Closer to home, before our meeting on August 23rd, the Youth Service Committee will meet at 11:30 here at the hotel. And the following week, the 30th, our speaker will be Rocky Delgadillo, newly elected LA City Attorney, who spoke to us earlier, during his campaign. SUSAN ALLEN spoke about the dozen incoming Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars who will soon be arriving for the fall semester. WVRC has SIX of the counselors - ANN ELKIN, RUDY ALVAREZ, NEVIN SENKAN, TODD GURVIS, SHERRY DEWANE, and CLARICE EVANS. Our congratulations to each of you - that's a pretty good representation of involvement and support, with ALL the rest of the District supplying the other six counselors. YOE recalls that he was the Counselor for an Israeli student in the 60's, and we are still in touch. It truly is a wonderful experience.

JIM GREATHEAD was thanked for his long and faithful service as coordinator for the monthly District Leadership Breakfast. CLARICE EVANS has taken over, and she called on SLOSS VIAU for a testimonial after he attended the most recent Breakfast.SLOSS drove to the LAX Marriott with PETER MORE, and he was immediately impressed with all the energy evident in the room. District Governor Len Wasserstein, from Beverly Hills, put on a great meeting. The faux 'Andrews Sisters' provided the entertainment, and the whole meeting was very motivational. As SLOSS pointed out, it took him a year and a half after joining to get to his first Breakfast, but it was most worthwhile. LYNDON PARKER, a new member, was at the head table, and when introduced, he pointed out that coming from LA 5, "It was nice to belong to a small club". Visiting Rotarians included Matt McGowan from Mission Valley, who is in plastics, and Earl Bubar from Venice-Marina, an optometrist - who has SIXTY years of perfect attendance! Joachim (and I always thought that was a Spanish name, but since we have JOACHIM FISCHER, it must be German) Mohn belongs to Rotary in Munich, and is a geologist. Guests of Rotarians included PP DAVE MORE'S wife, Eleanor, and Tina, JIM BECHTEL'S wife. PP STEVE ADLER brought his special guest Charles Gaffner who is in the promotion field, while ELLIOTT TURNER introduced. ELLIOTT had the unfortunate experience of a hacker using his name, trying to insert a virus into any computer that answered. YOE has to admit that it is better to be lucky than good - he didn't know how to open the attachment that would have invaded, so was spared. Ignorance does pay, sometimes, anyway…

KEN KILPO introduced another excellent speaker. He is Stanley Chase, who has been a Producer for most of his professional life. His credits include The Threepenny Opera, which ran on Broadway for SEVEN years, a huge number of TV credits, plus working with Universal Studios, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Columbia Pictures and as Director of Network TV Program Development for ABC. Truly, a most impressive resume.

Mr. Chase began by asking, what do Producers do? It turns out that the answer is close to EVERYTHING regarding the making of a movie, or a play. His first office, in Brooklyn, was in a drug store, using their pay phone to raise money. The total cost of Threepenny was $10K - and those who came aboard got a return of 40 times their investment! But New York was his lead-in to Hollywood - after what he referred to as his 'cerebral period' - and he found all kinds of producers. John Peters was the hairdresser for Barbra Steissand, and after they married, he, too, became a producer…

The PGA (no, not golf, but the Producers association) has tried for some time to codify the various aspects of production, with relatively little success. Apparently, the problem is that there are just so many KINDS of producers. Anyway, his job starts with an idea, or a concept. Sometimes this will 'cook' or be in development for years - thus you need to have several such projects going on at the same time to stay afloat. And it certainly is true that most of the projects never get to the screen. But, back to his 'job description'. Besides raising the money, he selects the actors, gets a production manager, sets the preliminary budget, oversees the music, provides 'consultation ' (which apparently means he can be the guy who has to listen to all the problems), is involved with distribution, plus post-production, and usually remembers that he should NEVER use his own money for his projects.

He told a great story about a young kid who kept sneaking in to the filming of Colossus: The Forbin Project. This was an award-winning Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror category production, and he was close to telling the kid to vamoose. But Chase's wife, who often is a partner in his production efforts, told him to let it go. Turned out that the young kid was named Steven Spielberg… During the Q&A, PP STEVE SCHERER asked if there was an ethical screen that kept some things from being shown. Unfortunately, money drives the program, so if it will sell, it will probably be produced. The only way you make any real money in his aspect of the business is if you own the negatives - because otherwise, screen credits won't pay the bills. Who has the final say about what stays in - the Director, probably. And LENNY FRIEDMAN, of all people, wanted to know about the Casting Couch! (LENNY, what would Sunny think of this question?) Stanley told him about the sign hanging over the casting couch in Jerry Lewis's office - "You are about to become a Star". Thank you, Stanley Chase, for a most interesting peek into the wonderful world of make-believe..

And a piteous plea - Applications are now being accepted for the one-time editorship of the Windmill, on September 13th. YOE will be up in Napa, with grandson Will, while Will's parents and Allie go college visiting. Think about it - this is your chance to do some minor character assassination on whomever you choose, OK?

YOE, Ernie Wolfe