WOW – Art Linkletter on March 6th at WVRC
KEVIN KOMATSU lost a hundred bucks when he failed to show to lead the
Pledge. YOE leaped to his feet as a replacement – and then couldn’t remember
all the words! One hopes that this omission does not create eligibility for
a fine… We did better next, with GREGG ELLIOTT and LENNY FRIEDMAN taking us
through Let Me Call You Sweetheart. New Member SEAN McMILLAN provided a
thoughtful Invocation, reminding us that Rotary is an ethical system built
on morality. He asked that our leaders in Washington be guided by a Divine
Presence in their coming fateful decisions. This was followed by a few
moments of silence, which allowed us to focus on where we are and what is
important. Good job, SEAN.
SALLY BRANT introduced two visiting Rotarians, Bert Kreisberg from
Beverly Hills and Elesio McCloud from Studio City. The Co-Chairs and
founders of Inside Out were with us – Camille Ameen and Jonathan Zeichner.
RUDY ALVAREZ introduced Elinor, wife of PP TOM LENEHEN, PP JIM DOWNIE
brought Margie, RALPH SMITH had a Special Guest, Christian Foster Jr, as did
who introduced Waverly Johnson, the new Area Director for PATH. LENORE
MULRYAN was with our Ambassadorial Scholar, Erin Rattuzzi, who will be going
to South Africa soon. DON NELSON had his next-door neighbors, Jean Louis Le
Renard and is wife, Dahlia. Joan Howland was the guest of Prexy TED and BOB
FLICK. There were a number of Spouses present, who were introduced ‘en
masse’, including Marie ROLF, Mary Fran COX, Veniece MARRONE, Carol COLLINS,
Bettye WOODWORTH, Eloise SISKEL, Pauline HARRIS, Janice DEA, Shirley MORE,
Doris SUMNER and Annie TSENG – she and Henry have been married for 67 years!
Cousin LEO TSENG and Marian celebrated their thirtieth recently.
The Head Table was graced by the presence of three NINETY-YEAR OLDS –
BRUCE ROLF, RICK LIVERMORE and HENRY TSENG. Sad to announce that Ellen
BECHTEL is back in the hospital – check in with JIM, please. Remember that
the District Conference is coming up from May 1st to 4th in Temecula –
reserve your rooms right away, since there aren’t that many still available.
Save the date of April 8th at 3:30 – ART HENRY will be conducting a very
special tour at the Huntington featuring the exhibit of William Blake –
there are only 20 spaces available. Our two INSIDE OUT Co-Founders next
presented a brief slide video on this program. They have found that using
Art as a medium can help to bring youngsters together who don’t even know
each other. Their Center is located next door to the Venice Boys and Girls
Club, and their results show that change is indeed possible. This has been
verified by a recent comparative study by UCLA. Their classes meet once a
week for five months, and they have a waiting list – their only handicap is
funding. You can reach them at (310) 397-8820, and your inquiries are
certainly most welcome.
I arrived today about 11:45, who was standing out in the parking lot but
Marian and LEO TSENG. This of course is the standard waiting area for
Program Chairs, and sure enough, Lois and Art Linkletter drove up about that
time. It may be true that LEO knows EVERYONE! In his introduction, LEO
pointed out that ART had been on two of the longest running TV shows of all
time – House Party for 25 years, and People are Funny, for a mere 19 years.
He has written 36 books, the most famous being “Kids say the darndest
things”, is on the Board of MGM, and now chairs the Alzheimer’s committee.
LEO’S final intro line was, “Here’s the Renaissance Man of All Seasons” –
and that is certainly Art Linkletter.
His opening line was to thank LEO, but he added that after hearing it
all, he thought he might be dead! He gives about seventy talks a year, all
over the world, and his favorite intro was by his 6-year old great
granddaughter (he has 14 greats), who noted that he was “married, or
something – or maybe it was nothing”. When he received the Will Rogers
Award, his response was that there weren’t too many great men alive today –
to which his wife, Lois, added, “and there’s one less than you may think”.
He was a guest at the White House with President Bush, and slept in the
Lincoln bedroom. Afterward, he reminded the President that there weren’t any
Chinese Bankers in bed with him (which ART apparently thought was worth
bringing to Dubya’s attention.)
Art began his career in the entertainment business in 1933, as he
described it, “climbing the rickety ladder of success”. He soon specialized
in working with people – they are all different, and this reminded him of
the answer a lady who was 100 provided when asked what was the best thing
about being that age –“there isn’t much peer pressure”. His interviews with
four to ten year olds were special – one kid told him he was the smartest
kid in the class, and when Art asked him if the teacher told him so, the kid
replied that he had noticed it himself. Another kid seemed sad, and when
asked why, said his dog had just died. Art, trying to be helpful, suggested
the kid would see the dog again up in heaven, and the kid then asked, “what
would God want with a dead dog in heaven?” Finally, a little girl was asked
what her favorite activity was, and she said she liked to wake up her
brother, by tossing the cat onto his bed. When questioned further, it turned
out that her brother slept with their dog.
One of his favorite questions concerned their knowledge of the word
Pedigree. One replied, “No, we’re Catholic”, and another said that was what
they put under the dog’s legs. Another one allowed as how they cut that off
two week ago. When asked how his parents met, one kid replied that his dad
chased his mother round and round the table, caught her, and “here I am”.
Another remarked that he didn’t know – “they lock the door”.
Art feels that kids under ten and adults over sixty-five are the best
ones to interview – the young ones don’t know what they are saying, and the
old ones don’t care. When they had a nationwide contest to find the oldest
new father, a man who was 104 won – Art’s comment, don’t think that didn’t
put a spring in MY step.
At one point in his career, he was paying 92 cents of every dollar he
earned to the federal or state in taxes. He had a number of investments –
and one successful one was a million acre livestock farm he developed in
Western Australia. This led to his being appointed Ambassador to Australia
by President Reagan, and he enjoyed it. Life is what happens when you are
making other plans, and when his twenty year old daughter, Diana, died, it
changed his life. Norman Vincent Peale got him interested in combating Drug
Abuse, as a Memorial to Diana, and he has spoken to groups about this
problem all over the world. He reminded us that kids want to be happy ALL
THE TIME – and this is the appeal of drugs. They must learn to keep on
keeping on – the challenge in life is making something out of what is inside
society is getting older – rapidly. When Art was born in 1912, life
expectancy was 47 years – and now it is 77 years. We have 70,000 people who
are over 100 today – soon the whole country will be looking like Florida! 1%
of people who are 50 have Alzheimer’s – and at age 85, 60% will be
afflicted. He ended with a poem, and pointed out that he, personally,
planned to start thinking about retirement four days after he dies. As noted
YOE, Ernie Wolfe